This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of Recovery Magazine and is published here with their kind permission.

The Companies Act scheme of arrangement – now set out in part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006), has come a long way.  Long gone are the times when schemes of arrangement – never an Insolvency Act process – were merely seen as tools for implementing solvent reorganisations. Schemes of arrangement are nowadays one of the most favoured means for rescheduling, reorganising or otherwise compromising the liability of companies to their creditors in complex multijurisdictional restructurings.

English schemes are popular because of the breadth and flexibility of the legislative provisions and their low jurisdictional threshold. Additionally, the courts take a robust and pragmatic approach to the proponents and opponents of the part 26 process. This article summarises four examples of that pragmatism in action.  Click here to read the full article.

 

In order to promote a “rescue culture”, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 – better known as TUPE –  says that where the transferring business is the subject of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings instituted “with a view to the liquidation of the assets of the transferor”, the employees will not transfer and any dismissals connected with the transfer are not automatically unfair.

The wording of this insolvency exemption is contained in the European Acquired Rights Directive from which TUPE is derived. In Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging v Smallsteps BV the European Court was asked to decide if a pre-pack sale – designed to prepare the business transfer in advance so as to allow a swift re-launch once the insolvency had been declared – fell within this exemption.  The decision was published on 22 June, click here to read our note on the case.

The Singapore Companies Act (Amendment) Act 2017 (the ”Act”) significantly overhauls Singapore’s corporate rescue and restructuring framework. In doing so, Singapore has adopted a number of key features from Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.  This client alert highlights the main amendments of the Act that corporate debtors, lenders and distressed investors should be aware of.  In particular the Act now provides: 

1. better accessibility to Singapore’s corporate rescue and restructuring framework for foreign companies;

2. US Chapter 11 style rescue/DIP financing;

3. enhanced moratoriums with extra territorial effect;

4. increased disclosure, cram-downs and prepacks; and

5. for the adoption of UNCITRAL Model Law. 

There is no doubt that the introduction of this Act greatly improves the legal framework for debt restructurings in Singapore. We envisage that this Act will put Singapore firmly on the map as a key centre for international debt restructurings providing debtors, lenders, alternative capital providers and distressed investors access to internationally recognised and highly familiar restructuring tools and techniques.  The amendments discussed in this client alert came into effect on 23 May 2017.  Read our alert, Singapore Insolvency and Restructuring Reforms

 

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

The Singapore parliament recently passed a bill bringing in U.S. Chapter 11-inspired changes to its debt-restructuring framework, including provisions allowing (i) courts to approve financing with priority ahead of existing senior secured facilities; (ii) courts to approve a scheme even if there are dissenting creditor classes; and (iii) international assistance proceedings.

These provisions borrow heavily from the existing provisions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

In light of these changes and the impact on future restructurings, we hosted a webinar on the current and coming use of U.S. Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 proceedings in Asian restructurings.

Some of the topics discussed included:

  • Why Asian debtors might look to a Chapter 11 solution over other procedures such as Schemes of Arrangements;
  • How the equivalent provisions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code are applied and the key concepts parties will need to be familiar with; and
  • The likely need for U.S. counsel to provide expert testimony in Singapore proceedings regarding the application and interpretation of the new U.S.-based provisions.

Click here to view the webinar.

In seiner lange erwarteten Entscheidung zur Verfassungsmäßigkeit von § 8c KStG, der Vorschrift zum Verlustuntergang bei Beteiligungswechseln, hat das Bundesverfassungsgericht (“BVerfG”) am 29. März 2017 eine Entscheidung getroffen (2 BvL 6/11), die jetzt bekannt gemacht wurde. Das BVerfG hält § 8c Abs. 1 Satz 1 KStG für verfassungswidrig.

Continue Reading Totgesagte leben langer – Steuerverluste ab 2008 doch nicht verloren

Hogan Lovells’ U.S. Business Restructuring and Insolvency Practice head Chris Donoho and partner Ron Silverman, along with Jefferies’ Restructuring and Recapitalization Group co-head Richard Morgner, recently joined Debtwire legal analyst Richard Goldman to discuss current issues concerning cross-border restructurings.

During the discussion, the panel addressed the factors that prompt foreign-based companies to avail themselves of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in lieu of local insolvency proceedings, the hurdles that such companies must overcome to secure a U.S. court’s administration of their Chapter 11 cases and pitfalls that foreign-based companies may encounter in the U.S.

The panel also reflected on some recent cross-border cases, including Abengoa, Hanjin Shipping, and Baha Mar.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Over the past several years, the international financial community has witnessed a significant increase in cross-border restructurings of Chinese companies. These restructurings have involved large enterprises with billions of dollars of revenues and indebtedness. The increase in cross-border financings, and therefore restructurings, is tied to the huge debts that Chinese companies, banks and municipalities have been accumulating since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. As central banks have held interest rates at record lows and bought up government debt to stabilize the financial system, investors have increasingly turned to corporate debt issued in emerging markets as a source of higher returns. Chinese companies have capitalized on this appetite for foreign investment and have borrowed $377bn from 2010 to 2014, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

A new wave of foreign investment seems just over the horizon. A regulatory shift was promulgated by the People’s Republic of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) circular on administration and filing of foreign debt, which came into effect on 14 September 2015. The NDRC rule is just the most recent in a series of changes that China’s regime has gone through over the last two years that facilitate cross-border Chinese financing and investment.

Continue Reading Restructuring foreign investments in Chinese companies