The Hunt brothers of Texas have paid more than $12 million to settle two additional silver speculating debts and have sold off some 250,000 shares of Penn Central Corp. stock they bought just before silver prices collapsed.
Two of the Hunts' creditors, Paine Webber Jackson Curtis Inc. and A. G. Edwards & Son, reported receiving payments from the Hunts yesterday. The Penn Central transactions were revealed in reports to the Securities and Exchanged Commission.
Paine Webber announced it received $8.6 million to meet deficits in "two large commodity accounts," that were acknowledge privately to belong to Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brother W. Herbert.
Edwards, a St. Louis commodity specialist, said the Hunts have paid it more than enough money to settle a $4 million debt.
The companies that have publicly acknowledged the Hunts owed them money now all say the billionaire brothers have paid or arranged to pay all they lost when silver prices plunged from $50 an ounce to $10.80.
When silver prices hit bottom on March 27, the Hunts were unable to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars they owed commodity trading firms. At the time it was feared losses on the Hunts' accounts might force some of the companies into bankruptcy.
This week federal regulators told congressional investigators no firms are in trouble any longer because of dealings with the Hunts.
Paine Webber officials had originally projected a potential loss of $10 million on the Hunts account. That was the amount still owed after all the Hunt's investments in silver futures contracts had been sold.
A final accounting reduced the deficit to $8.6 million and the cash was wired to Paine Webber Tuesday night. Edwards got its money several days ago.
The Hunts have been forced to sell off other investments purchased when silver prices were rising to pay their losses once silver started to slide.
In an SEC report, Nelson Bunker Hunt said he had purchased 432,000 shares of what is left of the Penn Central Railroad and preferred stock convertible into 565,000 shares.
As of Jan. 17 -- a few days before silver prices started to fall -- they owed more than 5 percent of the company, Hunt reported. Later in the day Penn Central reported Hunt had sold at least 250,000 shares, worth $3.75 million.
The Hunts are still believed to owe about $10 million to Bache Halsey Stuart Shields Inc. and other subsidiaries of the Bache Group Inc. Bache says the Hunts have agreed to pay when a final accounting is completed at the end of the month.
Bache has already collected about $40 million from the brothers and sold off Hunt holdings to pay other debts.
The brothers' biggest reported settlement was with Engelhart Minerals & Chemicals. The Hunts gave them Canadian oil and gas wells estimated to be worth $400 million and 265 tons of silver to settle a debt.
Another big Hunt creditor, ACLI International, said last week it has "no problems with the Hunts" who reportedly borrowed $123 million from the firm to finance silver speculation. ACLI is headed by Adrian C. Israel, chairman of People's Drug stores of Washington.