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Argentina’s Puente Hermanos Argues Against Favoring Holdouts

Puente Hermanos SA, the biggest manager of bond sales by Argentine provinces, told a U.S. appeals court that it shouldn’t favor holdouts from the country’s 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings over investors who accepted the terms, according to the firm’s president.

Puente Hermanos’s lawyers presented arguments yesterday to the appeals court in New York, the firm’s president, Federico Tomasevich, told reporters today at a press conference in Buenos Aires. The brokerage firm, which is based in the city, is the first Argentine entity outside the government to present arguments to the court in the case, he said.

“If the court confirms the recent ruling by Judge Griesa, the consequences on our country can be extremely serious, unfair and unpredictable, especially if the court requires Argentina to default on obligations it has paid systematically to the 93 percent of holders who entered the swaps,” Tomasevich said in a company statement.

Argentina’s risk of bond default soared to record highs after U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa said on Nov. 21 that Argentina must pay holders of defaulted debt including the hedge fund NML Capital Ltd. the full $1.3 billion in principal and interest that they claim. The appeals court delayed the ruling and will hear oral arguments Feb. 27.

A second default would have “serious” consequences for Argentina’s economy and would likely make gross domestic product plummet and unemployment soar, Tomasevich said.

New York-based law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Buenos Aires-based Cabanellas Etchebarne Kelly & Dell’Oro Maini are representing Puente Hermanos, according to the company.

The U.S. appeals court must accept Puente Hermanos’s presentation for its arguments to be considered, said Marcelo Etchebarne, a lawyer at Cabanellas Etchebarne Kelly who joined the press conference by telephone.

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