opesunsecured creditors may get some moneyback

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    Opes receiver says unsecured creditors could get some return
    4-April-08 by AAP


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    The receiver of collapsed stockbroker Opes Prime says unsecured creditors may get some of their money back.

    Opes Prime was placed in receivership and administration on March 27 after cash and stock movement irregularities were uncovered.

    Opes Prime, which was involved in the lending and borrowing of securities, owes more than $1 billion to secured creditors - mainly the ANZ Banking Group Ltd and Merrill Lynch.

    The accounts of up to 1200 unsecured Opes clients have been frozen.

    One of the receivers, Sal Algeri of Deloitte Corporate Reorganisation Group, said today that the receiver's investigation into Opes Prime was continuing.

    "I think there'll be a return to (unsecured) creditors, but it's difficult and too early to speculate what the range will be," Mr Algeri told AAP.

    "But our position is that they will get something."

    Mr Salgeri said the critical factor in working out how much would be returned to creditors was the money that could be recovered from the irregular accounts within Opes Prime Stockbroking.

    The irregular accounts were of a small number and "not reflective of the majority of trading activities of Opes Prime".

    Mr Algeri said there could be between $200 million and $300 million that could be recovered from the irregular accounts.

    There were also assets that could be realised from an investment vehicle associated with Opes Prime called Hawkswood Investments.

    The assets in Hawkswood had a book value between $130 million and $140 million, but the value upon realisation could be less.

    "That pool of assets needs to be closely scrutinised," Mr Algeri said.

    "Some of the assets in Hawkswood involve investments in unlisted companies and that sort of thing.

    "It's very difficult to ascertain what that's worth overnight."

    There may also be funds available for unsecured creditors from the pool of shares that were placed with Opes by its clients.

    That pool of shares is being sold down by the secured creditors in a move to recoup their loans to Opes.

    Mr Alegri said it may take "a month or so" before the receivers could provide more precise information.

 
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