But who should take that loss is often a difficult and nerve-jangling process. Brinkmanship is the usual tactic with hard deadlines often the only way to draw situations to a close. Clever application of legal strategies usually helps also.
All of these factors are at play in the upcoming restructuring of Wind Hellas. The big Greek mobile operator has 3.2 billion euros of debt but is running out of cash to pay its interest bills.
Of the company’s lenders, those at the bottom of the pile — the subordinated bondholders, owed 1.17 billion euros — are under most pressure.
Wind Hellas said on Wednesday that it would not pay an interest payment to these junior lenders as it finalises talks with new investors. With just 26 million euros of liquidity and a 67 million euro interest payment required in the next month someone and something had to give.
The decision not to pay interest to subordinated bondholders indicates where the most pressure is being applied.