February 14, 2017 / 8:55 PM / 10 months ago

ABN Amro authorized to subpoena more Transmar units in asset search

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - ABN Amro Capital USA LLC has been granted authority to issue subpoenas to the U.S. and Ecuadorian units of cocoa trading house Transmar Group Ltd, a court filing showed on Tuesday, as the bank searches for more than $300 million in assets.

The bank has widened its search on behalf of the company’s lenders for assets that they say disappeared from Transmar Commodity Group Ltd before it filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 31, 2016, a court document showed. The lenders say the assets could have helped cover Transmar’s debt.

Transmar Commodity Group is a U.S. unit of Transmar Group, which is based in Morristown, New Jersey.

ABN Amro Capital USA LLC, a unit of ABN Amro Group NV and agent for lenders to Transmar Commodity Group, was authorized to issue subpoenas to several companies, including Transmar Commodity Group, Transmar Holdings LLC, Transmar Ecuador S.A. and several directors, for documents and examination of witnesses, the court filing showed.

ABN Amro was already authorized to issue subpoenas to ITC Cocoa House, Ltd, Itochu Corporation and Euromar Commodities GmbH, a Jan. 31 court document showed.

Transmar Commodity Group sells cocoa products to major chocolate makers including Hershey Co and Nestle . Transmar Group’s European operations, Euromar Commodities GmbH in Germany, declared insolvency, citing “unfavorable” cocoa contracts and British pound fluctuations.

Japanese trading house Itochu Corp, which bought a stake in a new joint venture with Transmar in early 2016, said earlier this month that it would exit the venture.

In February 2016, ABN Amro entered into a $400 million credit facility with a group of lenders and Transmar Commodities Group, a Jan. 17 court document showed.

ABN Amro is the most significant creditor in the Chapter 11 case, with total claims around $360 million in principal and $4.7 million in interest against Transmar, the bank’s attorneys stated in a Jan. 23 court document. (Editing by Simon Webb and Leslie Adler)

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