Bloomberg News

MF Global U.K., Quinn’s Nephew, Polish Builders: Bankruptcy

July 20, 2012

A London court gave administrators of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ:US)’s U.K. unit approval to start returning shares and other securities held at the failed broker to its customers.

The assets covered by the administrators’ plan don’t include cash and are valued at about 50 million pounds ($78 million), according to documents filed at the court.

“I’m satisfied that this is a plan that the court should approve,” Judge David Richards said.

MF Global Holdings, the New York-based brokerage run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) Co-Chairman and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine until he resigned Nov. 4, filed the eighth- largest U.S. bankruptcy after a $6.3 billion trade on European bonds led to margin calls.

KPMG LLP, appointed to wind up the U.K. unit, estimated in June that as much as $3.2 billion would eventually be recovered to return to clients and creditors.

KPMG has received about 1 billion pounds worth of claims for client assets which it doesn’t recognize as valid. Those claimants won’t receive anything, KPMG’s lawyer Martin Pascoe told the court. No clients appeared at the court hearing to object to KPMG’s plan.

Irish Judge Directs Police to Bring Peter Quinn Before Court

An Irish judge directed police today to bring Peter Quinn, the nephew of Sean Quinn, formerly Ireland’s richest man, before the court in a hearing on a contempt case.

Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn continued to place assets outside the reach of nationalized IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank Corp., after the court ordered them to stop last year, Judge Elizabeth Dunne found last month. Dunne temporally put aside “punitive” sanctions on June 29 as she made an order for asset disclosure.

Peter Quinn’s lawyer said his client was unable to attend court because of illness. Dunne said that “in the event of a genuine and real illness” that the police should “exercise their discretion.”

Polish Builders Like PBG to Get Government Help, PM Tusk Says

Poland may help building companies, including PBG SA (PBG), the Polish construction company under protection from creditors, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said.

Poland is ready to help troubled construction companies on condition that banks share the burden of builders’ losses, Tusk said in a televised press conference.

The court-appointed supervisor of PBG on July 17 ordered the builder to retake possession of 46 million shares in its Energomontaz Poludnie SA (EPD) unit it sold to its Rafako SA (RFK) subsidiary on Dec. 20, PBG said.

Polimex-Mostostal SA (PXM), Poland’s second-largest builder, is still in talks about a four-month delay in paying back its debts and as many as 95 percent of its creditors are ready to sign the standstill agreement, Puls Biznesu reported, without saying where it got the information.

Bank Gospodarki Zywnosciowej SA (BGZ), controlled by Rabobank Groep, doesn’t want to join the deal, the newspaper said. The bank’s press office declined to comment, Puls said. Polimex has 250 million zloty ($73 million) of debt due this month, according to the newspaper.

Hypo Alpe Says Liquidation Most Expensive Option for Austria

Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, the nationalized Austrian lender loaded with bad debt, said it will continue to sell and wind down assets gradually because this will reduce the burden for taxpayers.

Risks for taxpayers may materialize if the bank is liquidated immediately, Hypo Alpe Chief Executive Officer Gottwald Kranebitter said, when asked about a report in Format magazine that the bank would need more than 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) if it was dissolved.

Kranebitter, speaking to reporters in Vienna, said he rejects this strategy and that Hypo Alpe only calculated the costs of liquidation and of accelerated asset sales on request of the European Commission’s probe into state aid the lender received. He declined to comment on specific numbers.

“Liquidation is the most expensive scenario for the taxpayer,” Kranebitter said. “The European Union, as in every state aid probe, requires us to calculate a liquidation scenario,” he said. “Our scenario is a going-concern scenario in which we have a banking part that we’re giving back to the market, and a wind-down part which we are reducing bit by bit.”

Hypo Alpe is one of three banks which Austria rescued from looming collapse since 2009 after shareholders walked away. The risks of further capital injections into those and other banks was one of the main reasons the Alpine republic lost its triple- A rating at Standard & Poor’s and was slapped with a negative outlook at Moody’s earlier this year.

Kranebitter declined to say precisely how much less his plan for the bank would cost taxpayers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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