In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recognised the English law schemes of arrangement of the Syncreon group under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, RSC 1985, c C-36 (“CCAA“). This was the first time a Canadian court was asked to determine whether proceedings under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 (the “Companies Act“) could be recognised as “foreign proceedings” under Part IV of the CCAA. The schemes, which included third party releases in favour of the Canadian operating entity of the Syncreon group, were given full force and effect in Canada.  
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On 19 September 2019, Norris J handed down judgment in the challenge brought by six landlords against the Debenhams Retail Limited (Debenhams) company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which was approved by 94.71% of Debenham’s unsecured creditors on 9 May 2019. The challenge been watched with significant interest, particularly by the landlord community, which has for some time expressed increasing concerns regarding the use of CVAs as a mechanism to commute leasehold liabilities while other unsecured creditors’ rights remain unaffected. While CVAs have been the subject of legal challenges previously, the Debenhams challenge is the first time certain key elements of CVAs in play in the market have been tested before the court.  Norris J’s decision provide welcome clarification on a number of key issues concerning the treatment of leases in retail CVAs.

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The development of new powertrain technology; challenges within established markets, such as diesel emissions issues; and falls in automotive production – production in the United Kingdom has fallen during the last 12 consecutive months – have all had a significant impact on the automotive and mobility industry.  The rapid increases in demand for connected, electric, and hybrid vehicles – together with the associated infrastructure – means that effective cooperation among OEMs, suppliers, regulators, and other stakeholders is now more important than ever. The cost of this new technology, aligned with shocks to production, such as the ongoing uncertainties around Brexit and China trade tariffs, means that more than ever, fortune will favor the innovative and the well prepared innovator.

Hogan Lovells partners Joe Bannister (UK), Heiko Tschauner (Germany), and Chris Donoho (U.S.) are part of the firm’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency practice. Bannister and his colleagues have a wealth of experience acting for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers in some of the most complex and intractable automotive cases of the past decade.  In this article they discuss the challenging issues that arise when an OEM is faced with a distressed supplier, and what can be done to mitigate the resultant risks.


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The recent Debtwire European Mid-Market Forum opened with a presentation from Paul Johnson of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. He warned the delegates of storm clouds gathering over the economy, suggesting that we may begin to see an increasing number of distressed credits – perhaps not as significant as in the aftermath of the financial crisis, but that the general mood suggests an imminent turning of the credit cycle.

This was the backdrop to the “When direct lending turns distressed” panel, moderated by Mariana Valle of Debtwire, in which Hogan Lovells restructuring partner, Tom Astle took part. The other panellists were Steve Morris from Beechbrook Capital, Tristan Nagler from Aurelius Investments and Ciara O’Neill from DC Advisory.
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Recently finance partners Paul Mullen, Jo Robinson, and Tom Astle sat down with Joelle Jefferis, Debtwire to discuss what has happened so far in distressed direct lending scenarios and what can be expected in the future.  The short podcast covers areas such as how many unitranches have already been at restructuring stage, to how distressed

A recent High Court case (Fairhold Securitisation Limited v Clifden IOM No 1 Ltd) has affirmed that in debt issuances involving a trustee, noteholders have only limited rights to take direct enforcement action.  The case confirmed that:

  • trustees do not need to act on holders’ instructions until holdings have been verified;
  • on receipt of instructions, a trustee is not bound to act until it has had a reasonable time to verify holdings, review instructions, take advice and obtain satisfactory indemnification;
  • where a trustee holding a floating charge is obliged to take enforcement action, its failure to do so does not entitle noteholders to step into the shoes of the trustee and appoint administrators.


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Hogan Lovells’ London restructuring team led by partner Alex Kay has acted as lead transaction counsel and advisor to the ad hoc committee of Noteholders in the successful, landmark US$1 billion restructuring of Mriya Ago, the Ukrainian agricultural conglomerate.

Completion of the restructuring is the culmination of a multiyear process which has resulted in the first example of creditors taking control of a Ukrainian corporate.
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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.


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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 [2018], 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.
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