Battersea, Centro, Eircom, Glencore, Portsmouth: Bankruptcy

Creditors of Battersea Power Station asked a court to put the landmark property’s owner into administration the day after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne backed a London Underground extension to boost the area’s development.

A group led by Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) and Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency will ask an English court on Dec. 12 to have administrators appointed for various units of Battersea Power Station Shareholder Vehicle Ltd., according to a statement. The lenders are owed 502 million pounds ($786 million).

London Mayor Boris Johnson and Osborne donned hardhats and visited Berkeley Group Plc’s St. James’s Riverlight project next to the power station site on Nov. 28 to highlight regeneration in the Nine Elms neighborhood south of the River Thames. In his budget statement the next day, the chancellor backed a proposed extension of the Underground’s Northern Line to Battersea and announced a plan to create an enterprise zone in the area to ease planning restrictions for businesses.

Developer Real Estate Opportunities had planned to build 3,400 homes and 330,000 square meters (3.5 million square feet) of commercial space at the power station, a protected historical landmark that was closed 28 years ago. With four 350-foot-high smokestacks, the station is Europe’s largest brick building and it featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album “Animals.”

Centro Plan to Erase A$2.9 Billion of Debt Approved by Judge

Centro Properties Group, whose shareholders and debt holders agreed to a plan to wipe out A$2.9 billion ($3 billion) of debt last week, won court approval for the proposal, avoiding receivership.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Ian Barrett approved the plan. He ordered Centro to hold off filing documents with the Australian Securities & Investment Commission until 11 a.m. tomorrow in Sydney to give PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which objected to the proposal, time to consider an appeal.

“Upsetting of any or one element could be fatal to the whole plan,” Barrett said in delivering his ruling in New South Wales Supreme Court.

Centro has A$2.9 billion of debt maturing Dec. 15, and failure to win approval for the reorganization plan would likely have pushed the company into receivership, Centro Properties Group (CNP) Chairman Paul Cooper told security holders on Nov. 22. Current shareholders wouldn’t have received any payments, he said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said the company improperly transferred A$100 million with almost half benefiting shareholders at the expense of creditors.

Portsmouth Soccer Club’s Parent Put Into Administration

Portsmouth, the first Premier League soccer club to seek protection from creditors, said its parent company has been placed into administration, a form of bankruptcy.

The move by Convers Sports Initiatives Plc was announced Nov. 29 on the team’s website. Portsmouth Football Club Ltd., the operating company, continues to do business, the team said. The team itself was placed into administration in Feb. 2010.

Vladimir Antonov, who bought the club in June, has resigned as chairman and director of the club.

Portsmouth was docked nine points by the Premier League in the 2009-2010 season, which ended in the club being relegated. It is now 17th in the Championship, England’s second division. The club has short-term funding in place, and will seek more investors for the long-term, it said.

Eircom First-Lien Lenders Said to Weigh Plan B of Full Control

Eircom Group Ltd.’s first-lien lenders may write off some debt and seize control of Ireland’s largest phone company under a restructuring that could supplant proposals by owner Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte., according to two people familiar with the matter.

Eircom’s most senior lenders would write off about 8 percent of the 2.36 billion euros ($3.18 billion) they are owed by the Dublin-based company, said the people, who declined to be identified as the talks are private. The plan was disclosed by a committee of first-lien lenders in a conference call on Nov. 28 with a larger group of the creditors. The plan is a back-up if STT doesn’t make an acceptable proposal, they said.

Eircom’s independent directors set an extended deadline of Dec. 2 for debt-restructuring pitches for the company, which is saddled with 3.75 billion euros of borrowings following five ownership changes in the past 12 years. The company in September negotiated a three-month standstill on obligations to its senior lenders.

Eircom spokesman Paul Bradley and a spokesman for the company’s first-lien lenders both declined to comment.

Glencore Unit Pays Tipco Asphalt (TASCO) $20.2 Million Arbitration Award

Glencore International Plc’s Singapore unit has paid a $20.2 million arbitration award to Tipco Asphalt Pcl’s Thai Bitumen Co., which will withdraw a lawsuit seeking to liquidate the commodities trader in the city.

“Glencore Singapore has only just paid the principal sum of the award,” Thai Bitumen’s lawyer Lim Chee Wee said in an e- mailed statement. “The only outstanding issue now is the recovery of interest and costs.”

Thai Bitumen filed a winding-up petition on Nov. 23 against the Singapore unit of Glencore, the largest publicly traded commodities company, claiming it should be declared insolvent for being unable to pay its debts. A closed hearing was scheduled for Dec. 9.

Glencore was ordered to pay $20.2 million and interest to Thai Bitumen by arbitrator Kenneth Rokison on Sept. 21, according to the lawsuit. Glencore failed to deliver 600,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude oil to Thai Bitumen, breaching an October 2008 sale contract, Rokison ruled in the London arbitration proceedings.

Thai Bitumen, a unit of Thailand’s biggest asphalt producer Tipco Asphalt, and Glencore couldn’t agree on the interest amount to be paid on the arbitration award, according to court papers. Glencore’s lawyers claimed Thai Bitumen had over- calculated the interest by $42,785, according to court filings.

AMCI Habitat SA Files for Protection From Creditors

Spain’s AMCI Habitat SA agreed to seek voluntary protection from creditors after a financial institution began to execute mortgage guarantees, the company said in a filing to regulators.

Geronzi, Arpe Convicted in Parmalat-Related Case, Radiocor Says

An Italian court convicted bankers Cesare Geronzi and Matteo Arpe in a case related to the 2003 bankruptcy of Parmalat SpA (PLT), Radiocor news agency reported.

Geronzi was sentenced to five years in jail, while Arpe was given a sentence of three years and seven months by the court in Parma, Radiocor said. The bankers were accused of fraudulent bankruptcy connected to the sale of water company Ciappazzi to Parmalat.

Ennio Amodio, a lawyer for Geronzi, termed the sentencing “profoundly unfair,” Radiocor said. Both of the bankers previously have denied any wrongdoing. Spokesmen for Geronzi and Arpe weren’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

-- With assistance by Joe Brennan in Dublin, Christopher Elser, Patricia Kuo, Neil Callanan and Simon Packard in London, Joe Schneider and Nichola Saminather in Sydney, Andrea Tan in Singapore, Sonia Sirletti and Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan and Charles Penty in Madrid. Editor: Christopher Scinta

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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