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汽车业救助法案隐含的风险

(2008-12-16 03:45:42)
标签:

救助

government

法案

汽车业

debt

汽车

分类: 新闻
Auto Bailout's Hidden Danger

任何魔术的成功关键都是,把观众的注意力从魔术师真正在做的动作上转移开。

The key to any magic trick is to focus the audience's attention away from where the action is actually taking place.

这正是国会在它封杀的汽车业救助法案中所做的。从这部法案的字面上看,它似乎要维护三大汽车公司现有债权人的权益,同时也要避免纳税人救助底特律三巨头的资金打水漂。而事实上,这份法案让债券投资者看到了一个令其不寒而栗的前景:在极端情况下,政府有可能将传统的破产清算程序来个大倒转。

That is what Congress did in the failed auto bailout bill. Language in the proposed legislation seemed to uphold the rights of existing car-company creditors while also protecting any taxpayer funds used to prop up Detroit. In reality, the bill raised a chilling prospect for debt investors: that in extreme situations the government could upend the traditional pecking order of the bankruptcy process.

这有可能使信贷市场更加不稳定,而一年多来美国政府一直在努力解冻这一市场。不良投资研究机构Aurelius Capital的负责人布罗德斯基(Mark Brodsky)说,如果一家机构想向另一家公司提供有担保贷款,它就不能忽视这一事态发展。他说,汽车业救助法案使市场的不确定性大增。

The result could be further instability in credit markets, which the government has been trying to thaw for more than a year. 'If someone is thinking of providing a secured loan to another company, they can't ignore this development,' said Mark Brodsky, head of Aurelius Capital, which focuses on distressed investments. 'It introduces a tremendous amount of uncertainty.'

汽车业救助法案之所以会涉及债权人权益,原因是政府计划在被救助汽车公司发生破产的情况下,政府投入的救助资金将被最优先偿还。对于纳税人来说,这样做似乎是不言而喻的。他们显然不想承担比银行更大的风险。但此举与企业债务的偿还次序甚至美国宪法都有可能存在抵触,按照现有规定,优先债权人的资产是以破产企业的资产做抵押的。

Creditors' rights became an issue in the proposed automotive bailout because the government planned to put its money first in line for repayment in the event of bankruptcy. That seems like a no-brainer for taxpayers. They clearly wouldn't want to shoulder losses before banks. But such a move could contravene the way corporate debt structures work and possibly the U.S. Constitution since senior lenders have their debt secured against company assets.

为了回应来自银行业的反对声音,国会议员们对已在众议院通过的救助法案作了妥协性修改,不过修改后的法案似乎已被参议院封杀。从修改后法案的字面上看,有担保的优先债权人债务在偿还次序上排在政府贷款之前。

In response to opposition from the banks, legislators compromised in the bailout bill originally passed by the House of Representatives, but which appears to have died in the Senate. The new language ostensibly made any government loan subordinate to senior, secured lenders.

问题解决了?没那么简单。政府一只手给予的又被它用另一只手收回了。政府还对所有政府贷款施加了一些特别的保护措施。

Problem solved? Not quite. What the government gave with one hand, it took with the other. It also added in some extraordinary protections for any government loans.

根据汽车业救助法案中的一项条款,如果被救助企业发生破产,政府将可立即提出偿债要求,而按照常规,在法院完成破产企业资产的分割前,债权人是不得提出偿债要求的。救助法案还明文规定,偿还政府的贷款时不能打折扣,而破产企业在偿还债务时是经常打折扣的。

These included a provision that, in the case of bankruptcy, the government would be exempt from a legal stay, which freezes creditor claims until the court divides up the assets. It also included language saying the government's loans couldn't be haircut, as often happens to debts in bankruptcy.

芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)法学院教授皮克尔(Randy Picker)说,这些保护措施意味着,政府在任何破产案中都将占据优先收回贷款的有利位置。他说,政府在破产时拥有豁免权,不受延期偿债条款约束,这一条尤其重要,因为它使得其他债权人只能眼睁睁看着政府先把自己贷出去的钱收回来。

These protections mean that in any bankruptcy, the government 'would have a strong blocking position that is going to make them the dominant player,' said Randy Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. The exemption from a stay in bankruptcy is especially significant, he adds, because it would let the government seize assets when everyone else has to stand put.

事实上,汽车业救助法案的条文创建了一种新的债权级别,那些拥有担保债券的优先债权人只能退居其次。现在谁要想投资最终可能需政府救助的产业所发行的债券,他们必须将这种可能性牢记于心。

In effect, the language creates a new kind of debt and subordinates the senior, secured holders. That is a possible outcome debt investors now have to keep in mind when investing in industries the government may ultimately have to prop up.

由于当前这场金融危机,债券投资者已经对从信贷评级到银行资产负债表上资产的价值等所有东西都失去了信心。如果美国政府想让市场恢复正常运行,它最不应该做的就是让已如惊弓之鸟的投资者再添忧虑。

The financial crisis already has shaken the confidence of debt investors in everything from ratings to asset values on bank balance sheets. If the government wants to get markets working again, the last thing it needs to do is give these already skittish investors yet another reason to worry.

David Reilly

http://chinese.wsj.com/gb/20081215/hrd133252.asp

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