Lehman fallout earns £500m for PwC so far

Elizabeth Fournier
THE FALLOUT from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy has netted its administrator PwC almost half a billion pounds in fees since it was appointed in September 2008.

In a progress report released this morning, PwC said the total remuneration paid since the start of the proceeding had reached around £495m by the 12 March this year – with administrators billing almost 230,000 hours in the past six months alone.

The latest update also gave the clearest sign yet that European lenders to Lehman Brothers could see some of their money returned this year, with PwC saying it was targeting the first payments to creditors before the end of 2012.

But just how much the administrators expect to recover is still up in the air, with ballpark figures for the potential total claims ranging from £14.7bn to £47.9bn.

As the total amount that will be recovered is predicted to come in at a maximum of £13.4bn, the worst-case scenario would see just 28 per cent of claims returned to creditors.

To date, only 2,372 of an estimated 5,350 outstanding claims have been submitted to Lehman Brothers International (Europe) – the US bank’s principal UK trading company. Though creditors have until 31 December to submit, they must meet an earlier deadline to be in with a chance of receiving a payout this year.

The news comes as US creditors of the bank were told it would start the first round of paybacks next week, with a total of $22.5bn (£14.1bn) available for distribution. The figure is significantly higher than the $10bn estimated last month, when Lehman Brothers Holdings was officially taken out of bankruptcy proceedings in the US and its winddown began.