Thursday, December 4, 2008

No swift resolution for Lehman Minibond holders

Below is an article extracted from Yahoo News on 4 Dec 08.

Channel NewsAsia.

SINGAPORE: Lehman Minibond holders will not be getting a swift resolution for their investments, according to an update by note trustee, HSBC Institutional Trust Services, and the note’s three receivers who are partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

That is because the unwinding process is expected to take years due to legal issues.

Lehman Minibond holders were told in mid—November that they would know by the end of the month what their options were — which could either be a restructuring of the notes or liquidation.

But PwC said that for Minibond Series 5 to 8, this can only happen after "orderly, step—by—step unwinding of the Minibond note structures, including the various swaps in the structures", and this involves a process that might see prolonged litigation.

Lawyers acting for bankruptcy proceedings for Lehman Brothers in the United States have reserved the right to challenge all aspects of the unwinding process.

HSBC and PwC said they could not give any valuations right now, but they promise to safeguard the interests of note—holders. As the unwinding process is likely to take considerable time, the restructuring proposals previously received are no longer an option now.

The process for Minibond Series 9 and 10 is expected to be less complicated and slightly faster as the underlying securities for these series are corporate bonds and have no swaps.

Even though Minibond Series 1, 2 and 3 have not defaulted yet, they are expected to go into default soon and holders would face the same process as those who bought Series 9 and 10.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it has asked the trustee and receivers to resolve legal issues as quickly as possible and to take all necessary steps within their powers to safeguard note—holders’ interests.

MAS said the legal issues will not affect the complaint process that was set out earlier, and it would continue to keep note—holders updated on developments.

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