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AIG Receives New Aid, Less Bonus Amount; Other Restrictions Apply

Source: WSJ

Posted on 21 Apr 2009

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American International Group (AIG) announced yesterday that it has closed its deal with the U.S. Treasury Department to receive additional funds. The arrangement includes subtracting from the new funds the amount to offset the bonus payments AIG made in March to employees of its financial products unit. The unit was largely responsible for the woes that felled the company, and the bonuses set off a fierce reaction in Congress, the public and the media.

Although the deal was originally $30 billion, Treasury deducted $165 million, leaving a total of $29.835 billion, the agreement said.

The company was rescued by the government in September and now has an aid package of up to about $170 billion.

AIG also said Monday the Treasury will invest in the company as long as AIG doesn't file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the Treasury holds more than 50% of the voting power.

That's significant because it indicates the government is unwilling to become a minority shareholder in AIG even if that move would, as some have suggested, attract private investment into the company.

The AIG agreements with the government require the company to continue to maintain policies limiting corporate expenses, lobbying activities and executive compensation.

The extra restrictions on AIG are similar to some put on banking giant Citigroup, which also took multiple rounds of government capital. By contrast, analogous points in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s agreement are much briefer.

Travel expenses, sponsorship of conferences and events, use of corporate aircraft, office renovations and even holiday parties are to be restricted, the AIG agreement said.

AIG's total bonus pool for senior executives in 2008 and 2009 should be less than the average for 2006 and 2007, and employees who are promoted to a senior position must sign waivers if their promotion entitles them to bonuses above the limits, the agreement said.

AIG said it will comply with compensation limits outlined in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which set limits on pay for senior executives. In its agreement with the Treasury, AIG said that if necessary, it will have its senior partners agree in writing to the changes, which limit the use of so-called golden-parachute and retention payments. Under the legislation, retention payments for senior partners cannot exceed 3.5 times the partner's base salary and target annual bonus.

AIG also may not use funds provided under the agreement to pay annual bonuses or other performance awards and agrees to allow independent confirmation.

Also Monday, AIG said it must submit at its 2009 shareholders meeting a proposal authorizing its board to give a senior rank to all preferred shares issued to the Treasury over other preferred shares.

AIG said it also amended its credit agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, permitting the issuance preferred shares and the warrant, and removing the minimum 3.5% London interbank offered rate.


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