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Suffrage Denied

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Laurencio
Words 8733
Pages 35
WORKING PAPER

SUFFRAGE DENIED: Sociedad Comercial del Plata and the Disenfranchisement of Its Bondholders
By Laurence P. Wiener1

To promote investment in Argentine companies, in 1988 the Argentine Government revised laws to imbue holders of securities qualified as obligaciones negociables (negotiable obligations) with specific rights to assure the securities’ transferability and rapid judicial resolution of claims for nonpayment.2 To further attenuate risk, investors insisted on foreign laws to govern substantive terms of the securities. By the late 1990s, as various Argentine issuers began defaulting on their obligations, these bondholder rights and protections were tested. It soon became apparent that bondholders were far more vulnerable than originally thought. Highly-publicized reorganization proceedings undertaken by Argentine bond issuers, including In re Central Términal Güemes S.A.3 and In re Supercanal S.A.4, illustrated procedural difficulties encountered by bondholders. Investors found themselves hampered in having their claims admitted by Argentine bankruptcy courts and in being represented as a group by a bondholder trustee or fiscal agent. No case, however, better illustrates the great divide between the expectations of foreign creditors and the outcome of an Argentine insolvency proceeding than In re Sociedad Comercial del Plata S.A.5

Of Counsel, Negri & Tejeiro Abogados (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The author wishes to give special thanks to Dr. Alejandro Breit for his invaluable help and patience in reviewing this article and to Stephanie de Moerloose for her comments and help with the more tedious tasks. This publication has been prepared solely for educational purposes. It provides general information and should not be used or taken as specific legal advice. For further information on this publication, please contact the author at (54-11)...

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