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General Healthcare Lenders Can Vote on Debt Deal, Judge Says

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Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc can vote on a proposed restructuring of about 660 million pounds ($1 billion) of securitized debt linked to General Healthcare Group Ltd., a London judge ruled.

Barclays is among a group of senior lenders to General Healthcare who had sought guidance on their voting rights, Judge Peter Smith said in his ruling today. Loans underlying two special purpose vehicles are due to be repaid in October, and if a restructuring isn’t arranged “there is likely to be a security shortfall,” a Citigroup Inc. unit acting as trustee to the debt said in documents from a court hearing August 14.

Junior lenders to General Healthcare, whose largest shareholder is South Africa-based Netcare Ltd. and runs 65 private hospitals in the U.K., are seeking to extend the date of repayment for about 1.5 billion pounds of debt maturing in October.

Barclays holds 231 million pounds of Class A notes issued by Theatre (Hospitals) No. 1 Plc, and 57 million pounds in Class B notes sold by Theatre (Hospitals) No. 2 Plc, according to the judgment. Rabobank International has 154 million pounds in Class A Notes of the Theatre 2 bonds, which are subject to a swap agreement with Barclays.

Citicorp Trustee Company Ltd. can’t proceed with a restructuring without approval from Barclays and Rabobank, it said in legal documents.

Jeffrey French, a spokesman for Citigroup, declined to comment. Jodie Gray, a Barclays spokeswoman in London, declined to comment.

General Healthcare’s debts are linked to its property companies and don’t threaten the operation of hospitals by its subsidiary BMI Healthcare Ltd., Craig Lovelace, BMI’s chief financial officer, said in an e-mailed statement last week.

The case is Citicorp Trustee Company Ltd. v. Barclays Bank Plc & Ors, case no. 13-3323, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

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

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