Barings settlement remains unsettled

The grand Barings settlement plan, agreed this spring after two years of conciliation by the City Disputes Panel, was delayed last week when a group of investors said they had not made up their minds.

Three groups of bondholders were to vote on the deal under which they would receive a proportion of their original investment. Two of the groups, the 1994 noteholders and the Perpetual noteholders agreed, but there were not enough 1986 noteholders ready to vote to achieve the 75 per cent quorum required.

Slaughter and May partner George Seligman, acting for Barings liquidators from Ernst & Young, said: “Some of the 1986 noteholders told us just before the meeting that they had not yet decided.” Ernst & Young now has to hold a second meeting in no more than 42 days and no less than 28.

“It wasn't entirely unexpected,” said Seligman. “They just need more time to think.”

The second meeting requires a quorum of only 25 per cent. Many of the 1986 notes have reportedly been bought by vulture funds who bankers speculate may be holding out to see if they can get more money.

Another lawyer advising one of the groups of noteholders commented: “If the vote is “no' then the deal with all the other noteholders collapses as well and it's back to the drawing board.

“That could mean the liquidator either pursuing more money through the courts or going back to the City Disputes Panel.”