On 23 May 2018, New York’s Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department (an intermediate appellate court covering a vast swath of “downstate” New York) decided Soroush v. Citimortgage, Inc. – a closely watched case that many in the industry worried would decide the fate of “de-acceleration letters.” De-acceleration letters are commonly used by loan servicers as a tool to revive aged defaulted mortgage loans that otherwise would be in danger of becoming time-barred.
Hogan Lovells’ London restructuring team led by partner Tom Astle assisted our clients, lenders of a €1.06bn priority funding loan, with distressed Croatian retail giant Agrokor’s proposed restructuring settlement plan which was voted for unanimously at a meeting of key creditors in Zagreb this week on 19 June 2018.
Having an agreed settlement plan is a breakthrough stage in the process and paves the way for one of the biggest restructurings in the world so far this year. The settlement plan will now be put to the wider creditor vote, requiring 66⅔ by value to approve, before being submitted to the Commercial Court of Zagreb for approval prior to 10 July 2018.
The Supreme Court, in Merit Management Group, LP v. FTI Consulting, Inc., 138 S. Ct. 883 (2018), recently resolved a circuit split in the interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code’s safe harbor provision. The Court held that section 546(e) does not protect transfers made through a financial institution to a third party regardless of whether the financial institution had a beneficial interest in the transferred property. Instead, “the only relevant transfer for purposes of the safe harbor is the transfer that the trustee seeks to avoid.” This decision will have implications for companies pursing leveraged buyout transactions.
New York Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane determined that the Australian debtors in a Chapter 15 foreign recognition proceeding satisfied the U.S. property requirements of Section 109(a) of the Bankruptcy Code on the basis of attorney retainers and claims against insiders located in the U.S.
Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on insolvency proceedings (recast) (the “Recast Insolvency Regulation“) applies to insolvency proceedings opened after 26 June 2017. Ordinance of 2 November 2017 (the “Ordinance“) amended the French Code de commerce to reflect the Recast Insolvency Regulation by inserting a new Title IX into Book VI. Continue Reading Insolvency Proceedings: ordinance adapting the French Code de commerce to the EU Regulation of May 2015 on insolvency proceedings
On February 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a circuit split under the Bankruptcy Code and determined that where funds passed through financial institutions acting as payment conduits, where the ultimate transfer sought to be avoided was not the type of transaction protected by the safe harbor provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, the safe harbor provisions of Bankruptcy Code Section 546(e), shielding transfers through financial institutions from avoidance actions by bankruptcy trustees, was inapplicable.
The Supreme Court found that prior circuit decisions applying the safe harbor simply because financial institutions were intermediaries in the transfer is not consistent with the language or intent of the safe harbor provisions. Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrows Scope of Safe Harbor Exception for Securities Clawbacks
It’s an open secret that the commendable goals envisaged by the legislature with the introduction of the business rescue proceedings in Chapter 6 of our Companies Act are being hampered as a result of poorly drafted statutory provisions that govern the business rescue process. Section 141(2)(a)(ii) is however not one of these vague provisions. In Western Crown Properties 61 (Pty) Ltd vs Able Walling Solutions (Pty) Ltd & Others/ 8073/16, the Western Cape High Court considered this provision and whether a business rescue practitioner can merely file a notice for the termination of the business rescue proceedings without applying to court to liquidate the company. Continue Reading Taking the easy way out of business rescue proceedings
The English High Court has decided that collapsed retailer British Home Stores cannot challenge its own company voluntary arrangement as an unenforceable contractual penalty and must repay rental discounts to its landlords (Anthony John Wright and Geoffrey Paul Rowley as joint liquidators of SHB Realisations Limited (formerly BHS Limited) (in liquidation) v The Prudential Assurance Company Limited , decision handed down on 6 March 2018)
The case, in which Hogan Lovells represented the successful landlord, provides important guidance on the operation of company voluntary arrangements (CVAs), particularly after termination, and the payment of rent as an expense of a company’s administration in priority to other debts. Continue Reading BHS Company Voluntary Arrangement – Landlords Win on Penalties
In January 2018 the English High Court considered whether it had jurisdiction under the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006 (CBIR) to extend a temporary stay on the commencement of enforcement action in respect of English law debt obligations owed by a foreign debtor so that in effect the stay became permanent, or whether such a permanent stay would breach the long established rule in Gibbs(which provides that the discharge of an English law governed debt under the insolvency laws of a foreign jurisdiction outside of England and Wales is not a valid discharge of such debt). Ultimately, the court found that ordering a permanent stay would substantively affect the creditors’ rights and amount to a discharge of the English debts, in breach of the rule in Gibbs, and that the CBIR could not be used to modify that rule.
 Antony Gibbs & Sons v La Societe Industrielle et Commerciale des Mataux (1890) 25 QBD 399 Continue Reading “Stayin’ Alive” – English Court confirms CBIR doesn’t override the rule in Gibbs
On 8 February 2018, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance (the “Hong Kong Court“) ruled in Re Supreme Tycoon Limited  HKCFI 277 that the common law power to recognise and assist foreign insolvency proceedings extends to voluntary liquidations. This is the first authority on this issue in Hong Kong. Continue Reading Hong Kong Court confirms common law recognition and assistance for foreign voluntary liquidations