Lloyds to Buy Back $4.7 Billion of Bonds at Center of Lawsuit

Lloyds Banking Group Plc moved to buy back about 3.3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion) of high-yield notes, even as holders petition the U.K.’s Supreme Court to prevent such purchases.

The lender will redeem $1 billion of bonds, in pounds, dollars and euros, on Feb. 9, it said in a statement on Friday. It separately offered to buy back another $3.7 billion of similar notes. Any bonds not tendered in the voluntary offer will be redeemed, probably at a lower price.

Lloyds is seeking to cancel the enhanced capital notes in order to save 200 million pounds of financing costs a year through 2020. Bondholders, including retail investors, have tried to stop the London-based bank redeeming the notes at face value as they want to hang onto coupon payments as high as 16 percent a year.

A London appeals court on Dec. 10 said Lloyds could call the notes, overturning a lower court ruling. Trustees are appealing against the decision in the U.K.’s Supreme Court. Lloyds said in Friday’s statement that it will compensate bondholders if it loses the case.

The bank’s 614 million euros of May 2020 notes, which are part of the tender offer, fell two cents on the euro to 102 cents. The tender offer runs until Feb. 8.

Lloyds issued the contingent convertible notes, which can convert into shares to absorb losses, in 2009 after U.K. regulators found a 29 billion-pound shortfall in its core capital. The note terms allow for them to be redeemed at face value in the event of regulatory changes. Lloyds said this occurred when the U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority decided not to consider the notes in 2014 stress tests.

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