MF Global U.K., Saab, Sean Quinn, Don Gil Sale: Bankruptcy
The London Metal Exchange suspended 274 steel warrants held by the U.K. administrator for MF Global Holdings Ltd.
The U.K. administrator, KPMG, took control of the warrants and “as a result, we had to suspend them,” Chris Evans, an LME spokesman, said by phone last week. MF Global U.K. Ltd. was stopped from trading on the LME on Oct. 31 after MF Global Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection. The unit is one of 12 category 1 members that gave it the right to trade on the floor.
Steel trading accounted for less than 1 percent of LME futures volume last year after the metal was introduced on the exchange in February 2008. Stockpiles of the metal in warehouses monitored by the LME stand at 59,215 metric tons, equivalent to 911 warrants, according to LME data. The 274 warrants equal about 30 percent of the stockpiles.
“To ensure the functioning of the market, we have suspended the warrants until such a time when the ownership has become clear,” Evans said.
Warrants are documents entitling holders to take possession of metal at an LME-approved warehouse. The suspended warrants are for steel billet stored by Metro International Trade Services LLC in New Orleans and Chicago, North European Marine Services Ltd. in Rotterdam and Pacorini Metals (Asia) Pte Ltd. in Johor, Malaysia, the LME said in a notice to members Nov. 11.
Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi Wins Cayman Judgment Against Al-Sanea
Maan al-Sanea, founder of Saudi Arabia’s Saad Group, must pay damages to competitor Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. for conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty, a judge ruled in the Cayman Islands.
Al-Sanea failed to file a defense in the case in which he’s accused of taking out billions of dollars in fraudulent loans in Algosaibi’s name when he was working for the company, according to a Nov. 7 default judgment from the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. Damages will be determined later, it said.
“Al-Sanea has repeatedly said he is waiting for his day in court to defend the charges against him,” Eric Lewis, a legal coordinator for Algosaibi, said in the statement after the judgment was issued. “Clearly, he cannot defend the fraud charges on the merits and the court has acted accordingly.”
The case is part of a global dispute between the companies after they defaulted in 2009 on a total of about $15.7 billion in loans from more than 100 banks. Al-Sanea, one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men, married into the Algosaibi family before founding Saad Group. He faces claims he forged signatures to take out as much as $10 billion in fake loans through Algosaibi’s Money Exchange unit, which he ran.
Al-Sanea also faces a fraud lawsuit in New York and investigations in Bahrain and Switzerland.
Tim Robertson, Saad Group’s London-based spokesman, declined to comment. Al-Sanea has repeatedly denied the allegations and said Algosaibi knew of the loans he took out.
Saab Auto Owner May Liquidate as Sale May Not Raise Enough Cash
Swedish Automobile NV, the Dutch owner of Saab Automobile, may liquidate even if it succeeds in selling the former General Motors Co. (GM) brand, as the proceeds may not be enough to pay off creditors.
Swedish Automobile, which has tentative agreements to dispose of Saab as well as its Spyker sports-car business, will consider “all of its options,” including a voluntary liquidation should the deals go through, the Zeewolde, Netherlands-based company said in a Nov. 11 statement.
The transactions would raise 132 million euros ($181 million) and would be insufficient to cover the company’s 136.5 million euros in debt, said Swedish Automobile, also known as Swan. A lack of approvals and final agreements on the deals raises questions about “the future of Swan and any settlement with stakeholders,” the company said.
GM, which sold Trollhaettan, Sweden-based Saab last year to the sports-car manufacturer, then called Spyker Cars, said on Nov. 7 that it wouldn’t approve a planned shift of the unit to two companies in China as the Detroit-based automaker sought to protect its interests in the country. Saab has built few cars since it first stopped production in March because of a lack of cash, and is under court-administered protection from creditors.
Sean Quinn, Once Ireland’s Richest Man, Applies for Bankruptcy
Sean Quinn, once ranked as Ireland’s richest man, applied for voluntary bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, seven months after he lost control of the business group he founded in 1973.
“I have done absolutely everything in my power to avoid taking this drastic action,” Quinn said in an e-mailed statement. “I cannot now pay those loans that are due.”
Quinn, whose business interests spanned building materials to insurance, estimates he lost more than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) after investing in Anglo Irish Bank Corp, which was nationalized in 2009. Quinn and his family owe almost 2.9 billion euros, the bank said in a statement Nov. 11.
The Quinns have taken legal proceedings against Anglo, now renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corp., disputing the size of the debt. The bank meanwhile said it is looking into whether the bankruptcy filing is in the right jurisdiction and vowed to pursue “maximum recovery” of the money owed.
“The bank is examining the validity of this application for bankruptcy in the light of Quinn’s residency and extensive business interests and liabilities within the state,” the bank said in a statement, adding that Quinn lives in Cavan in the Republic of Ireland.
In 2008, Quinn and his family were estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth about $6 billion. At its peak, Quinn Group had 8,000 workers Europe-wide and the company was the biggest employer in the region where Ireland borders Northern Ireland.
Gerry Weber, Benetton Interested in Insolvent Don Gil, WZ Says
Gerry Weber International AG (GWI1) of Germany, Benetton Group SpA (BEN) of Italy and Austria’s KBS Kleider Bauer Betriebs-GmbH and Schoeps are among companies interested in buying insolvent Austrian clothing retailer Don Gil Textilhandel GmbH, Wiener Zeitung newspaper reported, citing the company’s bankruptcy administrator Guenther Hoedl and its lawyer Ulla Reisch.
Bids are due by Nov. 16, according to the report. Don Gil is owned by insolvent Mariella Burani Fashion Group SpA, the Vienna-based paper said.
ND’s Samaras Says Main Concern Is to Save Greece From Bankruptcy
Antonis Samaras, leader of Greece’s main opposition New Democracy party, said the ruling Pasok party must propose a head for a national unity government and the priority is to secure a European Union financing agreement and “unblock” a 6th loan payment under a May 2010 bailout.
“New Democracy won’t be part of the problem,” Samaras said in comments televised live on state-run NET after a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister George Papandreou ended in Athens. “The initiative on a new prime minister lies with the governing majority.”