Orrick Ranked a Top 10 Bankruptcy and Restructuring Firm by The Deal

 

The Deal’s latest Q3 2016 bankruptcy and out-of-court restructuring league tables again rank Orrick as a top bankruptcy and restructuring law firm. In the Out-of-Court Restructuring League Tables, Orrick earned a #6 ranking for creditor’s counsel in out-of-court restructurings. Additionally, the firm ranked #7 by billings in The Deal’s Bankruptcy League Tables for the third consecutive quarter in 2016. These are not the first league table distinctions Orrick’s Restructuring Group has garnered in 2016. In Q1, we were also ranked #5 for restructuring counsel to distressed companies. In 2015, we were earned an inclusion in the top ten bankruptcy legal advisor rankings in each quarter.

Over the past few months, Orrick’s Restructuring group has advised clients on several key restructuring matters, particularly in the areas of distressed energy and equipment finance. We have counseled a majority lender in the restructuring of Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the administrative agent in the restructuring of loans to Stonegate Production Company.

The Deal’s Bankruptcy League Tables are the industry’s only league tables focused solely on active bankruptcy and out-of-court-restructuring cases. These rankings are compiled on a quarterly basis through comprehensive deal intelligence to identify the top law, crisis management, investment, and non-investment firms and professionals involved in bankruptcy transactions throughout the United States.  Firms are ranked based on advice provided to creditors, debtors and out-of-court restructurings.

Orrick Honored by IFLR1000 as Leading Restructuring Firm

 

IFLR1000 once again recognized Orrick’s restructuring group as a leading restructuring and insolvency practice in its 2017 rankings, reflecting our recent work representing major financial institutions in a variety of distressed situations, including energy/commodities, healthcare, and distressed municipalities.

IFLR1000 also identified several leading lawyers and rising stars amid our ranks. Practice Head Raniero D’Aversa and Partners Marc Levinson and Lorraine McGowen were again selected as leading lawyers, recognized by their peers and clients to be the leading figures in their specialist areas. Partner Laura Metzger and Of Counsel Nick Laveris were included as rising stars.

IFLR1000 provides tiered rankings of the leading financial and corporate law firms for different regions, markets and practice areas based on in-depth market research as well as peer and client feedback.

New LSTA Par Confirm Penalizes Buyers for Settlement Delays

 

In an effort to reduce settlement times, the Loan Syndications and Trading Association (the “LSTA”) recently revised its standard par loan trading documents to penalize buyers who take too long to settle. Beginning September 1, 2016, buyers who fail to fulfill their obligations to timely settle par loan trades will forfeit the right to receive interest that accrues prior to the settlement date. The changes do not apply to loans trading on distressed documents.

The LSTA’s revisions represent the trade group’s most aggressive step to combat settlement delays. The revisions are also the most consequential changes to the LSTA’s standard par trading documents in years.

Under the current version of the LSTA’s Standard Terms and Conditions for Par/Near Par Trade Confirmations (the “Standard Terms”), buyers are automatically compensated for interest that accrues on a loan during the period beginning on the seventh business day after the trade date up through the settlement date (“Delayed Compensation”). Starting on September 1, 2016, this provision will no longer be automatic. Instead, par loan buyers will only be entitled to Delayed Compensation if they satisfy several new requirements, including paying the purchase price to the Seller in accordance with specific timing requirements (the “Delayed Compensation Prerequisites”). The LSTA believes that the Delayed Compensation Prerequisites will create a new sense of urgency for buyers to close trades and discourage buyers from tying up sellers’ balance sheets. READ MORE

English Law Schemes of Arrangement: Class Composition

 

Focus on the AB InBev and SABMiller merger

Having received the sanction of antitrust regulators in Europe, the U.S., China and South Africa, the planned merger of brewing giants AB InBev and SABMiller was scrutinised this week by the High Court in London on a topic very familiar to those acquainted with English law restructurings: class composition. The outcome of the hearing, that not all members of SABMiller should be considered to be in the same class for scheme voting purposes, raises some interesting questions around class composition because of the unusual circumstances of the proposed merger. READ MORE

The Impact of PROMESA on Creditors

 

On June 30, 2016, the United States Senate passed the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act” (“PROMESA”) and it was quickly signed into law by President Obama.[1] PROMESA enables the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its public corporations and other instrumentalities in financial distress to restructure their debt.[2] The goal of PROMESA is to “bring solvency to Puerto Rico, build a foundation for future growth and ensure the island regains access to capital markets”.[3] PROMESA, though, is not limited to restructuring and enforcement of debt obligations or securities.  If you lent money or extended other forms of credit, or provided goods or services, to Puerto Rico or any of its instrumentalities, PROMESA may affect you. READ MORE

Supreme Court to Resolve Circuit Split Over Structured Dismissals

 

The Supreme Court again will be addressing the powers of bankruptcy courts. At the end of the term, the Court granted certiorari in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp. to decide whether a bankruptcy court may authorize the distribution of settlement proceeds in a way that violates the statutory priority scheme in the Bankruptcy Code.  No. 15-649, 2016 WL 3496769 (S. Ct. June 28, 2016).  The Supreme Court is expected to address this fundamental bankruptcy issue sometime early next year. READ MORE

Indah Kiat – A Scheme Pulped

On 12 February 2016 Snowden J handed down his judgment in Indah Kiat International Finance Company B.V. [2016] EWHC 246 (Ch). Indah Kiat International Finance Company B.V. (“Indah Kiat”), part of the global Asia Pulp & Paper Group (one of the world’s largest pulp and paper manufacturers), applied for an order convening a meeting of scheme creditors to consider and, if thought fit, approve a proposed scheme of arrangement (the “Scheme”) under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006. One creditor, APPIO, opposed the Scheme on various grounds and in this hearing sought an adjournment on the basis that insufficient notice was given to the creditors of the convening hearing.

The Indah Kiat judgment neatly follows a similar judgment of Snowden J in Van Gansewinkel Groep BV [2015] EWCG 2151 (Ch) only a few months earlier. In this case Snowden J took the opportunity to review the current law on jurisdiction relating to schemes of arrangement, and, arguably, to raise the jurisdictional hurdle. He noted that in recent years, schemes of arrangement have been increasingly used to restructure the financial obligations of overseas companies that do not have their centre of main interest or an establishment or any significant assets in England, and stated that companies seeking approval of a scheme would be well advised “to ensure that greater detail is provided, both in the explanatory statement and in the evidence before the court”. Additionally, and more importantly for Indah Kiat, he commented on the judgment in re Telewest Communications plc (No 2) [2005] 1 BCLC 772 that the court will not generally sanction a scheme if it finds a “blot” in the scheme such that the scheme will not have the effect that the company and creditors intend. This is key in the underlying message of Snowden J’s Indah Kiat judgment.

Whilst schemes of arrangement have become increasingly popular to compromise creditors’ claims in a pragmatic manner which may not be available in the jurisdiction of incorporation of the relevant debtor, the judgments in Van Gansewinkel and, more specifically, in Indah Kiat, make it clear that the English courts will not compromise the integrity of this highly effective restructuring tool where the parties invoking the court’s jurisdiction act other than with the “utmost candour”.

READ MORE

Monoline Insurer Challenges Puerto Rico’s Moratorium Law

On June 15, 2016, National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation, an indirect subsidiary of MBIA Inc. (“NPFG”) commenced an action in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico against the Governor of Puerto Rico and certain other officials in an action styled under the caption National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation v. Alejandro Gracia Padilla et. al, No. 16-CV-2101 (FAB), seeking a declaratory judgment that Puerto Rico’s Emergency Moratorium and Financial Rehabilitation Act (the “Moratorium Act”) adopted by Puerto Rico is preempted by the Bankruptcy Code and violates the United States Constitution. READ MORE

US Supreme Court Issues Two Significant Cases on Puerto Rico’s Sovereignty

In the first decision, on June 9, 2016, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico that Puerto Rico and the United States are not separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause contained in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in the appeal styled under the caption Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, No. 15-108. Opinion. Sanchez Valle was the first of two appeals heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this term involving Puerto Rico.

On June 13, 2016, the US Supreme Court also confirmed the decisions by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and by the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico that Puerto Rico’s Debt Enforcement & Recovery Act (DERA) was unconstitutional in the appeals styled under the caption Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, 15-233, and Acosta-Febo v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, 15-255 (the “Franklin Fund Appeals”). Opinion. We previously covered the First Circuit’s decision here. READ MORE

Not So Fast – Supreme Court Holds Prepetition Fraudulent Transfer Precludes Post-Petition Discharge in Husky International

One of the goals of the Bankruptcy Code is to provide a debtor with a fresh start. The discharge of prepetition debts at the conclusion of a bankruptcy case is one of the most important ways to attain this fresh start.  On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court made it harder for debtors to obtain a fresh start by broadening an exception to discharge.

Section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that an individual debtor is not discharged from any debt “for money, property [or] services … to the extent obtained by false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud[.]” Circuits split as to whether actual fraud under Section 523(a)(2)(A) requires an affirmative misrepresentation; the Fifth Circuit had held that this was a necessary element to prevent discharge, but the Seventh Circuit had held that “actual fraud” encompassed a broader range of behaviors.

The Supreme Court resolved this split, rejecting the Fifth Circuit’s narrow interpretation and finding that the term “actual fraud” does not need to include an affirmative misrepresentation by the debtor. With this broader reading, debtors will be unable to discharge prepetition debts where there is evidence that they inappropriately siphoned of their assets prior to filing for bankruptcy. Husky Int’l Elecs., Inc. v. Ritz, No. 15-145, 2016 WL 2842452 (U.S. May 16, 2016). READ MORE