PPB was appointed administrator for Lehman Brothers Australia (LBA) in 2008 following the collapse of the Lehman Brothers group of companies. The LBA administration subsequently turned into a liquidation. In June 2008, PPB was acquired by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and most PPB staff moved to PWC. The LBA liquidation was not a core business for PWC so PPB was replaced as Liquidator by Ferrier Hodgson. To further complicate matters, the main partner on the case, Marcus Ayres, had previously left PPB and joined Ernst and Young in June 2017 and was contracting back to PPB for the LBA case. The change of Liquidator has caused some disruption recently as Ferrier Hodgson gets up to speed with the case.
The Liquidation is in its latter stages (as one would hope since it is now over 10 years since the Lehman group collapsed). The assets remaining in the LBA estate at this point are simply cash and legal claims (the majority of which are inter-company claims within the Lehman group). The cash is being held back largely as a provision for claims made by other Lehman companies against LBA. Payment of future dividends from LBA now depends on these claims made against LBA being resolved (thus freeing up the cash held for distribution) and/or LBA resolving its claims against others and receiving monies owed to it as part of that resolution. The major issues outlined in PPB’s last update of September 2017 have not changed materially over the last year and so we have no reason to believe the 11c/$ to 15c/$ range of likely future payments has been varied.
Amicus understands Ferrier Hodgson will write to all claimants shortly and that Ferrier Hodgson is hopeful of being able to announce some solid progress resulting in a precise timetable for the payment of the next dividend. However, whether Ferrier Hodgson can announce a dividend payment is dependent on some of the issues outlined in the update of last year being resolved. Clearly, if the intention is to announce a dividend payment then several of the outstanding issues are likely to be very close to resolution, although there have been many false dawns previously.
Please feel free to contact Amicus if you would like to discuss the various issues in greater detail.