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Lehman starts closing India deals at discounts

By Anirudh Laskar in Mumbai
Last updated on: March 10, 2009 10:08 IST
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Six months after declaring bankruptcy, US-based financial services firm Lehman Brothers has started closing its deals with Indian firms at a discount. Most of these deals include outstanding payments for acquisitions or stakes in companies.

In August 2007, Lehman Brothers had acquired Brics Securities' institutional equities business, which included 45 research analysts and sales and trading professionals, for Rs 290 crore (Rs 2.9 billion).

The payment was scheduled to be made to Brics in three tranches, the third tranche of which was considered to be Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.2 billion). Sources said the deal was recently settled at Rs 91 crore (Rs 910 million), at a discount of 25 per cent.

"Brics had to agree to the lower price as there was no certainty on whether the payment would be made at all," said a source familiar with the deal.

Lehman Brothers had also bought a 26 per cent stake in ECL Finance, Edelweiss's non-banking financial company at $45 million or Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.8 billion). Sources said the deal might not go through, as the remaining payment was still outstanding.

Despite repeated attempts, the Edelweiss spokesperson could not be reached. Edelweiss also did not respond to an e-mail from Business Standard.

"Lehman Brothers had made financial commitments of over Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) to some other Indian firms as well," added the source.

Market experts explained that these Indian firms were keen to settle their deals, even at a discount as they feared that payments might get delayed indefinitely, in case the matter reached court.

KPMG, Singapore, has been appointed as liquidator of Lehman Brothers' assets in the Asia Pacific. The firm's assets in India are currently valued at over Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).
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Anirudh Laskar in Mumbai
Source: source

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