Economy & Finance

JPMorgan says MF Global plan obscures possible recoveries

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(Reuters) – A proposed liquidation plan for MF Global Holdings Ltd fails to take into account that its finance unit is being hit twice for the same debt, undercutting what some creditors might recover, JPMorgan Chase & Co said in a court filing.

Creditors of the finance unit could get up to 47.7 percent of their money if the double liability were voided, according to the filing by JPMorgan, which is an agent and lender under the unit’s $1.2 billion liquidity facility.

That is more than the maximum 33.6 percent that those creditors would receive under the plan proposed earlier this month by Silver Point Capital, Knighthead Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners in conjunction with trustee Louis Freeh.

There are several legal strategies for voiding the double liability of the finance unit, according to the filing JPMorgan made late on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Furthermore, if the holding company claim against the finance unit were subordinated to lenders’ claims against the finance unit, the lenders could recover nearly 60 percent of their money, JPMorgan said.

Brett Miller, an attorney at Morrison & Foerster who represents the trustee, declined to comment on JPMorgan’s filing. Silver Point Capital and Bruce Bennett, a Jones Day attorney who represents the liquidation plan proponents, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The disputed double liability stems from $931 million that was borrowed under a liquidity facility in the days leading up to the bankruptcy of MF Global in October 2011.

While the holding company borrowed the money, the finance unit was also a borrower under the facility, creating the first liability. After the holding company received the money, it then transferred $928 million to the finance unit, creating a second liability.

“The impact of this double liability on Finco creditor recoveries is significant,” the JPMorgan filing said.

However, the claims against the finance unit are in the same class as $1 billion in notes issued by the holding company. JPMorgan did not say in its filing if voiding the holding company’s claim against the finance unit would reduce the recovery for holders of the notes.

Peter Pantaleo, the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett lawyer who is representing JPMorgan, declined to comment on the filing.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware- editing by Andrew Hay)

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