Despite a modest uptick in recent years, it is still a relatively rare occasion for the Supreme Court of the United States to tackle issues involving bankruptcy. This term, however, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in two bankruptcy appeals that could have important consequences for the financial community. In FTI Consulting, Inc. v. Merit Management Group, LP, the Court will define the parameters of the safe harbor of Bankruptcy Code section 546(e), which excludes certain financial transactions from the debtor’s avoidance powers. In PEM Entities LLC v. Levin, the Court will also determine whether federal or state law should apply when analyzing whether debt should be recharacterized as equity. Both cases could alter how financial transactions are structured and documented.
In the recent case of Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd v Forge Group Power Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (receivers and managers appointed), the Western Australian Supreme Court has confirmed that the grant of a security interest under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPSA) by a company to a third party will likely render any rights of set-off enjoyed by the company’s contractual counterparties worthless where the company subsequently enters liquidation.
The PPSA is a relatively new legislative regime in Australia, and applies to a wide range of “in substance” security interests over most types of property other than land. The decision is significant, because it represents the first time an Australian Court has conducted a detailed analysis as to the interplay between security interests granted under the PPSA and statutory rights of set-off applicable in insolvency.
  WASC (2 June 2017)
In one of the most significant decisions relating to schemes of arrangement in Australia in recent years, the New South Wales Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal challenging the composition of classes of creditors in the Boart Longyear restructuring.
The decision significantly widens the extent to which creditors within the same voting class may be treated differently, both in terms of their existing rights and their rights under the proposed scheme. As a result, the decision may lead to greater flexibility for stakeholders and distressed companies seeking to devise restructuring plans via scheme of arrangement. Continue Reading New South Wales Court of Appeal upholds Boart Longyear scheme classes decision
It has long been considered that lenders under a syndicated facility retain a right to seek to recover their portion of a loan directly following a payment default, typically by seeking the winding up of obligors. This is based on the several nature of the rights of finance parties which appears in clause 2 of the standard LMA terms.
However, a recent first instance decision of the Hong Kong court in Charmway Hong Kong Investment Limited and others v Fortunesea (Cayman) Ltd and others (unreported) found that a syndicated facility based on LMA standard terms creates an aggregate loan, rather than individual loans due to the lenders. Continue reading