Funding round-up: Burford raises another £127m, Therium backs Noel Edmonds claim, and much more

Edmonds: Significant endorsement

Burford Capital has continued to grow its financial muscle after raising $180m (£127m) through an oversubscribed issue of US dollar-denominated bonds on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The bonds will pay interest at an annual rate of 6.125% and mature on 12 August 2025.

Earlier this month, Burford Capital revealed that it had made £960m in new commitments last year, more than triple its 2016 level.

Chief executive Christopher Bogart said: “Demand for Burford’s first US dollar-denominated bond was strong, requiring us to close the order book sooner than we had anticipated and cut back allocations.

“The level of subscription interest in our bond offerings underscores the attractions of the investment opportunities presented to Burford thanks to its leadership of the fast-growing commercial litigation finance market.

He said that adding US dollar debt to its hitherto sterling-dominated debt “will serve to diversify our currency risk, better matching the multi-denominational income profile of the Burford Group”.

Meanwhile, Therium Capital has received national newspaper coverage today after agreeing to back the claim of up to £60m being brought by TV presenter Noel Edmonds against Lloyds Banking Group. Its commitment is rumoured to be around £1.5m.

The claim concerns the losses allegedly suffered as a result of the complex fraud carried out by six, now jailed, bankers at HBOS’s Reading branch, which led to the collapse of Mr Edmonds’ former business Unique Group.

Jonathan Coad of Keystone Law, who is acting for Mr Edmonds, said: “Noel’s legal action against Lloyds Banking Group is now fully funded by Therium with the added benefit of after-the-event insurance…

“This means that Lloyds has been denied the logistical advantage it has often used to suppress legitimate claims in the past, and we can now start to prepare the proceedings in earnest.

“This will begin by an application to set aside the settlement agreement which concluded the bank’s 2008 claim against Noel on his personal guarantee, which we say was obtained by fraud on the part of the bank.

“As well as the bank’s fraud, we will also be relying on the overwhelming evidence of the deliberate concealment by Lloyds of its wrongdoing to defeat any limitation defence.”

Timothy Mayer, senior investment officer at Therium, said: “We are delighted to be working with Keystone Law on this action to obtain appropriate redress for Noel Edmonds who is one of the many victims of the egregious conduct perpetrated by HBOS against its SME clients.”

Mr Edmonds said Therium’s “endorsement and support is hugely significant and much appreciated”.

In other third-party funding news, Vannin Capital has appointed Richard Hextall as chief executive officer. He joins from global insurer and reinsurer MS Amlin, where he was chief finance and operations officer for five years.

Dublin-based Claims Funding Europe – a joint venture between Australian class action law firm Maurice Blackburn and Singapore-based International Litigation Funding Partners – is to fund a Dutch shareholder action against Steinhoff International.

Dutch mass litigation law firm BarentsKrans is acting in the case, which follows announcements by Steinhoff last month that its accounts would need to be restated, resulting in the share price plummeting by more than 80%.

Finally, leading offshore law firm Harneys claimed to have “forged a new path in Cayman Islands law”, acting for the applicant in obtaining the Grand Court’s approval of a third-party litigation funding agreement for the first time.

The plaintiff is a “well-resourced” Korean company that was the victim of a complex fraud and obtained a New York arbitration award in its favour against the fraudsters. The fraudsters instead dispersed the proceeds of the fraud into bank accounts across the world.

The company entered into a funding agreement with an unnamed UK-based litigation funder “with a view to managing risk and costs”, rather than because it could not afford to litigate.

It then commenced proceedings in jurisdictions across the world which led to bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.

Before commencing recognition and enforcement proceedings in the Cayman Islands, the claimant sought a declaration from the Grand Court that the funding agreement was lawful.

The Grand Court said it was but that funding agreements must not risk “corrupting public justice” and that the integrity of the litigation process was protected, such as around the funder exerting improper control over the litigation and the profit they would make from the case.

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