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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Lessons from the first 3 years of Restructuring Plans” and “Real estate – the dog that hasn’t barked?

18 September, 2023

On 13th September 2023, over 80 delegates attended the TMA UK’s latest London event for an evening of lively discussion and networking.

The event kicked off with a Freshfields panel of Richard Tett, Rachel Seeley and Roger Schofield delivering an update on the Restructuring Plan and discussing how real estate may be the topic of the next round of distress.

Rachel introduced the key features of an English restructuring plan and its importance as a tool for driving negotiations between companies and creditors, particularly due the availability of cross class cramdown. After providing an overview of the 23 sanctioned restructuring plans to date, she shared learnings from the past three years including the Court’s guidance on when it will permit the cram down of HMRC, and the emergence of parallel restructuring proceedings in foreign jurisdictions.

Discussion then shifted to the use of restructuring plans in the mid market space where Richard shared his observations in ‘a story of two halves’. Despite the significant cost of court proceedings, he highlighted the growing track record of mid market companies such as Houst and Fitness First successfully using restructuring plans. Richard then provided insight into how the restructuring plan could be made more viable for the mid-market, including tailoring the volume of evidence provided to the size of the company. Following discussion of the possibility of restructuring plan ‘templates’, he explored the key takeaways from recent practice and court judgments.

Roger addressed the growing discussion around the real estate sector as “the dog that (largely) hasn’t barked”. He outlined growing signs of distress, including the recent crash in values across European commercial property and high levels of commercial real estate debt. With the office sector being most exposed, Roger discussed the variety of legal and capital solutions he was seeing clients implement.

The panel concluded with an exploration of opportunities for distressed investing and restructurings in real estate, leaving it up to the audience to decide whether the dog has barked - or just a threatening growl?

The panel event was followed by networking over drinks and canapés.

This event was kindly hosted and sponsored by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Please click here to view the power point presentation.

About the speakers

Richard Tett

With more than 25 years of restructuring experience, he has worked extensively on ‘in court’ and ‘out of court’ restructurings/refinancings, intercreditor agreement disputes, formal insolvency appointments, high-yield bond and CMBS bond restructurings, distressed M&A, English schemes of arrangement and the new restructuring plans, US Chapter 11s, 15s and s363 sales, pension deficits, insurance workouts, telecoms, and insolvency aspects of structured finance.

Richard has acted across the capital structure for all the key stakeholders including corporates, lenders, bondholder/lender formal and ad hoc committees, creditors, shareholders, private equity sponsors, distressed debt investors and asset purchasers, directors, security trustees, administrators and liquidators.

Richard has particular cross border restructuring experience involving the UK, Europe, the US and across the globe.

Rachel Seeley

Rachel is a restructuring and insolvency Counsel in Freshfields’ global transactions group based in London.She has experience acting for lenders, borrowers, administrators, liquidators and other key parties in the restructuring and insolvency market.During her time at Freshfields, Rachel has spent nine months on secondment with Angelo, Gordon Europe LLP and six months on secondment with the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Roger Schofield

Roger advises mainly on big-ticket property transactions involving complex cross-border structures and on real estate M&A, JVs, capital solutions and restructuring.Roger has acted on several key transactions and restructurings in the UK retail space.His clients are typically private capital investors. Roger has undertaken secondments to KKR, Barclays Bank and the firm’s Paris office.

Roger was singled out for special commendation at the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards, in the category Driving Value - Law firms and legal service providers, for his work for Mount Street Mortgage Servicing on the debt restructure and sale of CityPoint Tower. This deal was also shortlisted for Real Estate Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2017.