The Barings collapse : Bondholders are hardest hit

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The Independent Online
Bondholders with £300m worth of Barings paper are the biggest losers from the derivatives debacle apart from the Barings family, despite cash payments offered by Barings' buyer, Internationale Nederlanden Group (ING) yesterday.

Lawyers representing bondholders put their views to the vice chancellor Sir Richard Scott, asking him not to discharge the administration orders on some parts of the Barings group without assurances that they would be paid.

The vice chancellor refused and the deal went ahead. Mr Scott said it was inevitable, given the circumstances in which some uncertainties remained.

Later ING's chairman, Aad Jacobs, said that his bank would pay holders of £100m worth of bonds £5m in cash up-front with the possibility of another £20m later.

The bondholders' intervention delayed the completion of the deal from the afternoon to the evening, but the vice chancellor concluded that not to approve the deal would threaten the stability of Far East markets due to open last night.

"I am in no doubt that ING genuinely intends to take over and continue the name of Barings and, in order to do so, they need to make a number of payments. Failure to do so would cast gloom on the markets," Sir Richard said.

The judge said the only alternative was to put Barings into liquidation, which would mean the end of the name.

Creditors would also get less, while under the ING deal "creditors can expect to be paid in full".

"The arrangement has been negotiated . . . as a matter of urgency because unless arrangements become final with ING in the saddle by eight o'clock this evening, in time for the opening of the Tokyo markets, there will be very dangerous repercussions on the markets in the Far East," the vice chancellor said.

Mr Jacobsaid that .a new liability figure of £860m comprises £610m in Tokyo, £90m in Osaka and £160m in Singapore.

ING said all creditors and depositors of the firms it is buying - Baring Bros, Baring Securities and Baring Asset Management - would be paid out in full.

ING is not buying the top company, Barings plc, but confusion reigned immediately after the hearing as to which creditors had been left out.

It is thought that holders of £200m of senior unsecured floating bonds will receive roughly 50p in the pound.

The deal came far later than expected, with much of the day spent in legal wrangling.

Of the new cash injection by ING, £394m will be allocated to so-called included liabilities and £146m to a pot of "excluded liabilities" to be run by the administrators at Ernst & Young.

Another £200m will be injected by ING as equity capital to allow Barings to continue trading, with a £10m indemnity for the administrators' costs as well as £5m to repay the subordinated bonds and for use of the Barings name.