Some Lehman Brothers creditors set for payday 12 years after collapse

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Investors in two subordinated bonds from Lehman Brothers received word that a payment is coming, just two weeks after the 12th anniversary of one of the world’s most spectacular banking collapses.

A proposed “initial interim payment” will go to owners of a 200 million euro ($234 million) note and a $500 million issue, according to a statement from liquidators distributed on Tuesday. The size of this payment will be disclosed in a formal payment notice.

The collapse of the one of the world’s largest investment banks on Sept. 15, 2008, was the iconic moment of the great financial crisis, prompting fear among policymakers that the global economy would seize up. While the Federal Reserve’s subsequent intervention staved off total disaster, Lehman Brothers has since become a byword for the nadir of the crisis.

The noteholders who stand to gain from the new payout hold “enhanced capital advantaged preferred securities,” or ECAPS. The notes, issued backed in 2007 by U.K.-based special-purpose entities, were designed to raise regulatory capital and benefited from a guarantee by the parent group.

After Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy a year later, the price of these high-coupon notes fell to mere cents. Both notes are still indicated at around 3 cents in a thin market, with at least one broker offering a bid at less than a cent, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

The liquidators at RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP held 9.8 million euros, net of costs, in a fund set up for the entity that issued the euro-denominated notes, according to a notice to holders a year ago. It held more than $27 million in the dollar note issuer’s fund.

In response to a request from Bloomberg News a representative at RSM said that it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.

Defaulted bonds change hands mainly between funds that buy them at distressed prices in anticipation of a larger payout from liquidators.

The proposed payment will add to the distributions made to other creditors in Lehman’s byzantine structure. The 22nd distribution is expected next March.

Bloomberg News
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