Espirito Santo, Credit Agricole Strengthen Portuguese Partnership

February 21, 2006

Portugal’s Espirito Santo Financial Group S.A. (ESFG) and France’s Credit Agricole S.A. (CASA) announced that they have agreed that CASA will acquire 50 percent of the capital and have management control of the life and non-life bancassurance subsidiaries of ESFG in Portugal, Tranquilidade Vida and Espirito Santo Seguros.

At the same time Banco Espirito Santo (BES), a subsidiary of ESFG, will acquire the other 50 percent of the capital of Tranquilidade Vida and will hold 25 percent of the capital of Espirito Santo Seguros while Tranquilidade Seguros will continue to own 25 percent. In addition, ESFG will have 100 percent ownership of Tranquilidade Seguros (buying out the minority interests indirectly owned by CASA) which will be the vehicle for conducting the non-bancassurance operations of the group. ESFG said it plans to “use the proceeds of this restructuring to de-leverage its consolidated balance sheet.”

The bulletin noted: “For CASA, these transactions fit with its strategy to develop bancassurance as one of the drivers of its international expansion. They also testify of the quality of CASA’s long-standing partnership with the Espirito Santo Financial Group. The partnership between the two groups in bancassurance in Portugal offer significant value creation opportunities by combining CASA’s bancassurance expertise with the broad customer base, distribution capabilities and market knowledge of BES.

“In turn, after these transactions, BES will be able to diversify further its revenue base and participate more directly in the increasingly important life and non-life bancassurance activities directed at its own large customer base of more than 1.5 million customers. These activities will also allow BES to benefit more directly from the convergence of banking and insurance products, especially in the life pensions business, where it already has a leading market share in the Portuguese market.”

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