Prepayment premiums (also referred to as make-whole premiums) are a common feature in loan documents, allowing lenders to recover a lump-sum amount if a borrower pays off loan obligations prior to maturity, effectively compensating lenders for yield that they would have otherwise received absent prepayment.  As a result of the widespread use of such provisions, three circuit courts of appeal – the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second, Third and Fifth Circuit – have recently had to address the enforceability of prepayment provisions in bankruptcy.  A quick review of these cases reveals a central theme: the enforceability of such a premium will likely turn on contract-specific language, and, in particular, whether the governing agreements specifically address payment following bankruptcy, including the effects of acceleration caused by bankruptcy.

Continue Reading Prepayment Premium/Make-Whole Enforceability in Bankruptcy: The Details Matter

The Momentive Performance Materials bankruptcy resulted in a number of disputes on issues germane to bankruptcy practitioners, including on intercreditor agreements (as we wrote about here), the enforceability of makewhole premiums and the proper interest rate in the context of a Chapter 11 cramdown plan.  On that third issue, Judge Drain entered an order on remand in April addressing the proper cram-down rate for two classes of senior noteholders that had been issued replacement notes under Momentive’s Chapter 11 plan. Given the notices of appeal filed just days later, it looked like another round of appellate review might occur.  But on May 15, Momentive announced that it had elected to refinance those notes, resulting in a voluntary dismissal of the appeals.

Continue Reading Replacement Financing Ends Momentive Cram-Down Rate Fight