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Jpmorgan chase dispute { January 2 2003 }

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J.P. Morgan settles dispute Shares jump after bank resolves dispute with 10 of 11 insurers in Enron financing deals.
January 2, 2003: 11:44 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said Thursday it settled a dispute with 10 of 11 insurers that will cover about 60 percent of the $1 billion the bank lost from complex financing deals arranged with bankrupt energy trader Enron Corp.

After being halted earlier, J.P. Morgan (JPM: up $0.99 to $24.99, Research, Estimates) shares gained more than 4 percent in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

"It's obviously a positive, because everyone I spoke to said there was no way in heaven or hell J.P. Morgan would win this case," said Richard Bove, an analyst at Hoefer & Arnett.

At issue in the lawsuit was whether 11 insurers, including Chubb Corp. (CB: up $1.27 to $53.47, Research, Estimates), CNA Financial Corp. (CNA: up $0.45 to $26.05, Research, Estimates), and Travelers Property (TAP.A: up $0.39 to $15.04, Research, Estimates), had to pay out on bonds issued to guarantee a series of gas trades between Enron and offshore entities set up by New York-based Morgan.

Travelers said Thursday it will pay $139 million to J.P. Morgan Chase as part of the settlement.

All the insurers in the group except Liberty Mutual decided to settle, Judge Jed Rakoff said in federal court in Manhattan Thursday, Reuters news agency reported. A jury will decide the Liberty Mutual case, Rakoff said.

The bank had argued the deals were covered unconditionally. The insurers said they were misled by J.P. Morgan and the deals really were disguised loans.

A spokesman for J.P. Morgan told CNNfn, "We are pleased to have this case behind us." The company declined further comment on the settlement.

A loss would have been a big blow for Morgan, which has about $965 million exposure on the deals on top of about $500 million it already has written off for Enron. The loss would have taken a big bite out of its $2.1 billion profit for the first nine months of last year.


-- Reuters contributed to this report.

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