Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 18:51 UK

Banks' exposure to Lehman emerges

Lehman headquarters in New York
The administrators have expressed an interest in developments in New York

The financial impact of the demise of Lehman Brothers is emerging as firms worldwide state their degree of exposure to the bankrupt firm.

Three Chinese banks have some $297.4m (166.1m) in Lehman Brothers bonds, state media and local reports said.

Swiss Life said it had exposure of $20m Swiss francs (9.9m) and Swiss Re had exposure of 50m Swiss francs.

German bank KfW transferred 300m euros (237m) to Lehman after it collapsed on Monday, local media reported.

However, a spokesperson for KfW said the transfer had been done in error.

"There was an erroneous swap payment on Monday... for reasons for which are being investigated internally", the company told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Lehman Brothers collapsed after seeing billions of dollars of losses in the US mortgage market.

UK deal

Of China's exposure, Industrial & Commercial Bank said it owns Lehman bonds worth $151.8m, according to the Xinhua agency, while Bank of China has $75.6m in bonds and China Merchants Bank had $70m in Lehman bonds.

Meanwhile, UBS said on Tuesday that its exposure to Lehman Brothers was less than $300m.

But Japanese firms' total Lehman exposure was far greater at 440bn yen (2.3bn), according to an earlier Kyodo news report.

Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa that while Lehman's collapse would harm Japanese firms, those hit had enough funds to cover losses.

"I am not concerned that the recent events will destabilise the financial system in Japan," he said.

The news comes as UK bank Barclays has acquired certain core assets of Lehman Brothers for $1.75bn.

Barclays bought Lehman's North American investment banking and trading unit for $250m, and paid $1.5bn for its New York headquarters and two data centres.

The administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said it had a keen interest in developments with Lehman Brothers in the US.

The administrator said that all UK employees at Lehman still attending work will be paid by the end of the month.


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