Unsecured creditors to Lehman Brothers will receive a dividend from PricewaterhouseCoopers repaying them in full, six years after the largest bankruptcy in US history kicked the financial crisis into high gear, reports Harry Wilson for The Telegraph.
Full repayment to Lehman Brothers’ creditors is a ‘remarkable feat’: Lomas
“The fact that we have been able to pay ordinary unsecured in full, including the return of their trust assets and client money, with a significant surplus remaining, highlights the importance of having a healthy level of capital within a firm’s balance sheet,” said PwC’s lead administrator for the project, Tony Lomas.
This effort, which Lomas calls a ‘remarkable feat,’ required hundreds of PwC and former Lehman Brothers employees, and plenty of legal wrangling, to untangle.
There have been plenty of signs that initial estimates of how much creditors could expect were too low, and there has been fierce competition among hedge funds to buy them over the last year. Paul Singer’s Elliott Management is one of the biggest winners on this news, after buying claims against Lehman worth $3 billion in October.
The most recent deal was a $767 million settlement between Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc Plan Trust (OTCMKTS:LEHMQ) and Freddie Mac, approved at the end of February, but there have been a string of positive developments over the last few years. Still, repaying creditors in full with some money left over, implying another dividend down the road, would have been unimaginable at the end of 2008.
£5 billion is reasonable: Lomas
While it hasn’t been easy to figure out who was owed money up to this point, paying dividends has just been a matter of settling debts, much of which had been bought by hedge funds and distressed debt investors. Now that there are additional funds to pay out there may be some negotiation to decide how the money should be distributed.
“Five billion pounds is a reasonable estimate,” said Lomas in regards to the expected surplus, Reuters reports. “It depends on where we end up with the further recoveries of cash we are seeking and the quantity of creditors whose claims will eventually be agreed.”
PwC is expected to come out with a proposal soon for what to do with the money, and the surplus could be distributed before the end of this year if everyone gets on board, bringing the worst fallout from the financial crisis to a surprisingly positive conclusion.