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October 22, 2009

PwC UK earns £420k a day from Lehman Brothers wind-up

By Nicholas Moody

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) has earned £154 million ($250 million) in fees as joint administrators of Lehman Brothers International Europe (LBIE) in the year to 14 September.

According to its annual report to creditors, the firm has spent more than 250,000 hours on the administration at an average hourly rate of £302 in the six months to 14 September, a drop from an average of £329 from the six months to 14 March. The firm said a drop in the number of senior staff working on the LBIE project was the reason for the cheaper rate.

Lehman Brothers incurred losses of billions of dollars in the US mortgage market. It was forced to file for bankruptcy on 15 September 2008 when US authorities failed to convince banks to bail out the troubled investment bank. PwC was swiftly appointed as joint administrators of LBIE.

In the report, PwC said over the past 12 months it gained control of about $40 billion of securities and cash and returned $13.3 billion of these assets to clients. Administrators have filed $118 billion worth of gross claims against Lehman entities in eight countries, as well as $90 billion of guarantee claims that will soon be lodged.

KPMG Hong Kong is liquidating eight main Lehman entities registered in Hong Kong, which were responsible for the bulk of the bank’s non-Japanese operations in the region. The book value of assets belonging to these entities is in the region of $20 billion.

Steven Pearson, one of PwC’s four joint administrators, said administrators were now focusing their efforts on agreeing claims.

“Our actions have yielded significant recoveries which, in due course, will be paid to creditors. There are still some major challenges to address, which we will put before the UK court,” he said.

On 28 July, the UK High Court reappointed PwC as joint administrators to LBIE until 30 November 2011.

Nicholas Moody

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