Takefuji, Landsbanki Depositors, Lehman, Japan Air: Bankruptcy

Takefuji Corp. (8564), the bankrupt Japanese consumer lender, postponed a deadline for the submission of bids from potential acquirers by about 10 days from March 10, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Takefuji found potential bidders that need more time for determining the value of assets, the people said on condition of anonymity. The Tokyo-based lender, whose rehabilitation is being overseen by court-appointed lawyers, plans to select a sponsor by the end of the month.

Takefuji has selected five potential bidders. Its September bankruptcy stemmed from a government crackdown that allowed borrowers to claim refunds of overcharged interest, capped rates at 20 percent and restricted loans based on customer income.

The company overcharged clients a total of 2.4 trillion yen ($29 billion) in interest as of Oct. 31, more than eight times the 273 billion yen it set aside for repayment claims as of March last year, according to a court document obtained by Bloomberg News last month.

Landsbanki Wholesale Depositors Fight to Ensure Claims Covered

Wholesale depositors at Landsbanki Islands hf are fighting to ensure their claims aren’t ranked behind regular deposits, said Johannes Karl Sveinsson, a member of the committee negotiating claims stemming from the bank’s 2008 failure.

Should the District Court of Reykjavik rule that 147 billion kronur ($1.27 billion) in wholesale loans aren’t regular deposits, which were granted priority status after Iceland passed an emergency bill in 2008, “it will reduce the financial burden of the Treasury,” Sveinsson said yesterday.

According to Larus Blondal, another member of the negotiating committee, a ruling against wholesale depositors would mean “the Treasury will not incur any cost” from covering depositor claims, once Landsbanki’s assets are liquidated.

The government faces costs of 32 billion kronur to cover British and Dutch depositor claims stemming from Landsbanki’s collapse, revised calculations by the Finance Ministry showed. The previous estimate put the costs at 47 billion kronur. Landsbanki assets are now valued at 1.175 trillion kronur, enough to cover 89 percent of the depositor claims, according to the statement.

Lehman Hid Risks from Australian Towns; Seeks Money from Calyon

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ)’s Australian unit failed to advise of the risks of collateralized debt obligations, a lawyer for towns and councils seeking to recoup investment losses said.

The town officials “had little or no knowledge of the complex structured investments,” Tony Meagher, a lawyer representing the towns, told a judge in federal court in Sydney yesterday at the start of a trial.

Wingecarribee Shire Council, the City of Swan and Parkes Shire Council claim they were sold improper investments as Lehman pushed synthetic collateralized debt obligations, or SCDOs, to collect fees and commissions that were greater than it would have earned from selling term deposits. The towns, which represent Australian municipalities that bought SCDOs from Lehman from March 2003 to May 2008 and lost money, seek refunds for the cost of the investments.

Credit Agricole SA (ACA), Frances third-largest bank, owes 12.7 million euros ($17.6 million) to Lehman’s commodity services unit over an unpaid letter of credit, a U.K. judge was told at a trial March 1.

The French lender’s investment-banking arm, Calyon, “wrongfully” withheld the money when it was supposed to repay in full a 50 million-euro letter of credit in November 2008, Lehman Brothers Commodity Services said in court papers filed Jan. 25. Lehman is seeking 11.6 million euros in unpaid principal and 1.08 million euros in interest at a trial that started March 1 in the High Court in London.

When the agreement expired, Calyon allegedly told Lehman it would pay only 38.4 million euros on the 2007 letter of credit and keep the balance, citing a right of setoff in a 2006 master agreement between the banks, according to Lehman’s court filing. Lehman alleges Calyon’s action violated industry standards.

Lehman’s claim is based on a “false premise” about standard market practices, Calyon’s lawyer, of 3-4 South Square in London, told the court. “There is no such market practice,” he said.

Separately, Lehman said yesterday it will pay $957 million to buy $1.5 billion of notes held by German affiliate Lehman Brothers Bankhaus AG, according to a court filing in New York.

Japan Air Retires Last 747s from What Was World’s Largest Fleet

Japan Airlines Corp., once the largest operator of Boeing Co. 747s, retired its last jumbo jets as it restructures operations in bankruptcy protection.

The final two 747-400s touched down at Tokyo’s Narita airport March 1 after flights from Honolulu and the Japanese city of Okinawa, the airline said in an e-mailed statement. The flights carried 679 passengers between them, it said.

JAL ended more than four decades of 747 operations as it focuses on smaller aircraft such as 767s and on-order 787s to pare operating costs. The Tokyo-based airline entered court protection last year after posting three losses in four years.

The carrier has owned a total 112 747s beginning with a 747-100 that was delivered in 1970, it said. The tally includes 44 747-400s. The airline was able to carry 568 passengers on 747-400s configured for domestic routes, it said.

O’Leary Says Oil Price Increase Will Cause Airline Bankruptcies

High oil prices will probably cause some airlines to go bankrupt, Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said.

“I think it’s inevitable: Higher oil prices generally means more airlines go bust,” he told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Rome today. “It’s generally the second tier, the smaller airlines.”

While Ryanair is “80 percent” hedged on oil prices this financial year, “if oil prices stay high, that will clearly hit our earnings in 2012,” he said.

Wigan Auditor Says Club at Risk Without Owner’s Millions

Wigan Athletic’s auditor said yesterday there’s “material uncertainty” about the soccer team’s future as a going concern without infusions from its millionaire owner. The club forecast losses for the next two years.

Wigan, playing its sixth season in England’s Premier League, is sustained by funding from its owner Dave Whelan. He’s converting into equity 48 million pounds ($78 million) of loans to the team from his family’s companies.

The team has the league’s second-lowest attendance and posted a loss of 4 million pounds for the year ended May 31 2010, 31 percent narrower than a year earlier, according to a filing at Companies House. Sales declined 7 percent to 43 million pounds, less than half the amount league leader Manchester United makes from its sponsorship activities alone.

Wigan’s statement that it will continue to post losses, its reliance on Whelan’s funding and ongoing talks with Barclays Plc (BARC) about the future of a 20 million-pound loan led its auditor Fairhurst to say in the accounts that there’s “material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

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

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