Slaughter and May advised the Valaris group (“Valaris”) – an industry leading offshore drilling service provider which operates one of the largest global fleets in the sector - on the negotiation and implementation of a comprehensive restructuring in relation to its existing bank and bond debt. The restructuring eliminated $7.1 billion of debt and secured a $520 million capital injection for the go-forward Valaris group through the issuance of $550m of new secured notes.
The agreed restructuring was developed over several months of discussions following Valaris’ chapter 11 filing in August 2020 and was ultimately approved and confirmed by the US bankruptcy court on 3 March 2021 following approval from substantial majorities of all relevant voting classes of creditors and shareholders.
The restructuring was subject to a range of complex conditions (including Saudi and Mexican antitrust approvals) and culminated in the pre-packaged administration sale of the business and assets of Valaris plc to a newly-incorporated Bermuda company owned by Valaris’ existing financial creditors on 30 April 2021. As part of implementation of the restructuring, Jonny Marston and Mark Firmin of Alvarez & Marsal Europe LLP were appointed as joint administrators of Valaris plc. The common stock and warrants of the new parent company of the Valaris group commenced trading on the NYSE on 3 May 2021.
The Slaughter and May team was led by restructuring partner Ian Johnson and corporate partner Hywel Davies, together with corporate partner Christian Boney and financing partner Samay Shah. They were supported by an associate team which included Ed Couzens, Richard Bach, Owen Vanstone-Hallam, Beatriz Posada, Lewis Rowley and Daniel Smith. Tax advice was provided by partner Mike Lane with support from associate Charles Osborne. Antitrust advice was provided by partner Will Turtle with support from associates Eloise Morgan and Rosalind Paulson. Employment advice was provided by senior counsel Ian Brown with support from associate Jennifer Allan. Support on dispute resolution matters was provided by partner Peter Wickham and associate Nupur Upadhyay.
A separate Slaughter and May team, led by restructuring partner Tom Vickers and supported by Rebecca Davies, is advising the joint administrators of Valaris plc.
Slaughter and May worked as part of an integrated team with the Valaris in-house legal team and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Lazard acted as financial advisor to Valaris in connection with the restructuring and Alvarez & Marsal acted as restructuring adviser.