Atlantic creditors' hopes are raised

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The Independent Online
HOPES of a decent return for creditors of Atlantic Computers, the leasing group that collapsed two years ago dragging down its parent company, British & Commonwealth Holdings, have been raised thanks to a deal in the United States, writes Jason Nisse.

Creditors of Atlantic, the subject of a yet-to-be-completed Department of Trade and Industry inquiry, were warned earlier this year that dividend payments on its pounds 500m liabilities were unlikely to exceed a few pence in the pound.

But in the past few days prospects have been raised, though John Soden and Peter Padmore, of Price Waterhouse, joint administrators of Atlantic, are unwilling to put a figure on the payout.

The administrators say they have struck a deal with other creditors of Atlantic Computer Systems Inc in the US. This will allow the parent company to recover up to a third of the dollars 141m (pounds 74m) owed to it by the US group, which filed for protection from its creditors after Atlantic's collapse.

Other creditors, owed about the same as Atlantic, appear to have preference under US law, but the deal limits the other creditors' payouts to 72 cents in the dollar.

Mr Soden said it was hard to estimate how much Atlantic would recover from the American group. However, he thought it could be in 'tens of millions' of dollars.