After years of bitter wrangling with the Zhuhai government, banks owed HK$8 billion after state investment company Zhu Kuan's spectacular collapse in 1998 are finally about to get some money back. Most of the lenders have taken massive haircuts, losing 82 per cent of what they were owed. Zhu Kuan's 35 unsecured lenders, mainly international institutions including Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, will recoup just HK$828 million of the HK$4.6 billion they lent Zhu Kuan. Another group of 10 banks, whose loans were secured against land owned by the collapsed investment company and which include Standard Chartered and Societe Generale, are getting a better deal. They owned mortgages worth HK$3.4 billion and the Zhuhai government will pay them half of this back on average. Most lenders will feel relieved at the end to a tortuous saga that began with them hoping to capitalise on China's boom but descended into a fierce debt recovery battle after Zhu Kuan wasted cash on white elephant projects and went bankrupt. Cosimo Borrelli, of Zhu Kuan's liquidator Borrelli Walsh, confirmed the cheques were in the post. 'We have irrevocable documents in place from a leading Hong Kong bank that guarantees the payments,' he said. 'They will be made in the next two to three weeks.' Zhu Kuan was 100 per cent owned by the Zhuhai government. Like many other so-called window companies on the mainland, its purpose was to borrow money primarily from abroad, invest it in local enterprises and repay lenders after the companies prospered. The company built a high-performance motor speedway, but the Formula One event they had expected to host went to Shanghai instead. It also constructed the Zhuhai Airport, which hemorrhaged money for years before finally breaking even in 2008. It was the secured lenders who fought hardest during the insolvency. They had rights to seize Zhu Kuan's land if the business went bankrupt. But in 2003, they discovered much of the land had been mysteriously moved out of the company by the Zhuhai authorities. This included a potentially valuable site on Hengqin, a Zhuhai island a stone's throw from Macau, which the Guangdong government has proposed as a landing site for the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge. The restructuring agreement means the Zhuhai authorities definitely own the land use rights. In October 2007, Hong Kong's High Court rubber stamped a scheme of arrangement agreeing the terms of the liquidation. Banks have waited for their payments since then. But the court in Macau, where Zhu Kuan was incorporated, took until earlier this month to bless the scheme.