Very possibly the writing was already on the wall, but two of Portugal’s national newspapers have become the latest victims of the collapse of Banco Espírito Santo.
More than a year since the country’s private banking empire imploded, Newshold, the company owned by former BESA president Álvaro Sobrinho, has announced that it is closing – and taking weekly paper Sol and daily paper Jornal i with it.
The news was broken to staff at the two media outlets this morning.
It means the almost instant lay-off of 120 people, but it is not the ‘absolute end’ of Sobrinho’s “journalistic project”, explains Público.
The idea is to merge the two papers into one, retaining 66 staff members and producing, ultimately, something very similar to what hits the streets every day at the moment: a weekly and a daily edition.
The “totally reformulated” papers may even retain their current names, says Público. These ultimate decisions have yet to be made, but the deadline for Sol and i in their current forms is December 15 as losses last year ran into several millions of euros (Sol €4.4 million and i €3.8 million).
As for Sobrinho, he still remains under suspicion in the wider probe into mismanagement at BES and the famous “missing €4.2 billion”. But last week at least he saw Lisbon’s Appeal Court annul the seizure of all his Portugal-based properties.
Ironically, of the two publications, Jornal i’s circulation was on the up, having increased its quota of the market to 4,118 copies per day.
Sol has not been doing so well, seeing sales this year falling 2.7%.