29 Oct 2012

Don’t Cry for Me Argentine Bondholders: the Second Circuit Decides NML Capital v Argentina

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The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has just released its decision in NML Capital, Ltd. et al., v. The Republic of Argentina (Docket No. 12 105(L)) (2d Circuit, October 26, 2012). This important decision arises from the contentious restructuring of Argentina’s sovereign debt, and in particular Argentina’s steadfast refusal to honor bonds whose holders have declined Argentina’s exchange offers. In NML, the Second Circuit adopted a broad construction of the so-called pari passu clause, a provision that is virtually universal in sovereign debt instruments, and which has long been ill-defined. However, the Circuit Court raised major questions about the terms of the relief to be granted to the plaintiffs, and remanded the matter back to the District Court for further proceedings. The outcome of those further proceedings could have major repercussions, on, for example, the value of Argentina’s debt and on the role of intermediaries in the payment streams with respect to such debt.

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