WCI Communities Exits Bankruptcy

(Reuters) – Bankrupt luxury home builder WCI Communities Inc (WCIMQ.PK) said it has emerged from Chapter 11 as a private company, eliminating more than $2 billion in debt and liabilities.

The company, once led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, constituted a new board of directors comprising five members.

Monarch Alternative Capital, a private investment firm, will be the largest shareholder of WCI, the company said in a statement.

WCI, whose business was concentrated in Florida, one of the states hardest-hit by the housing downturn, had filed for bankruptcy protection in August last year.

The Chapter 11 petitions were filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington.

At the time of filing for bankruptcy, Icahn owned about 15 percent or 6 million shares of the company.

Icahn, who was chairman of WCI’s board, had said the bankruptcy filing became necessary because of a failed effort to obtain financing and concerns that the company’s entire $1.8 billion of debt may be in default.

He had bought his stake in WCI in early 2007 for about $19 per share, and offered $22 a share for the company in March 2007.

The company had rejected his offer and taken itself off the market. Icahn was named WCI chairman only after a protracted proxy battle.

Florida-based WCI Communities’ filing was among the biggest in builder bankruptcies, which also included Tousa Inc (TOUSQ.PK) and Levitt & Sons. (Reporting by Eric Yep in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)