Restructuring and Insolvency

Any company, no matter how well managed, may experience financial difficulties. Economic downturns, refinancing risk, changing business models, new competitors and unexpected events can all create significant challenges. We have decades of experience of helping our clients navigate these issues, whatever their cause.

We advise on all stages and aspects of financial distress, from contingency planning, distressed investments, capital and corporate restructurings (including by way of scheme of arrangement, company voluntary arrangement and pre-packaged administration sale) and acquisitions and disposals, to formal insolvencies, both contentious and non-contentious.

We are recognised as the leading company-side firm in the market, and have extensive experience of advising the full range of stakeholders, including creditors, bond trustees, private equity firms, hedge funds, insolvency practitioners, central banks and governments.

  • Our Restructuring and Insolvency group is led by a team of partners with the specialist expertise needed to navigate the complex dynamics of a distressed scenario.
  • This core team works closely with specialists from the firm’s other market-leading practice areas where necessary, including financing, corporate, pensions, dispute resolution, tax and financial regulation to provide our clients with a first class service.
  • We have strong relationships with other advisers, including major accountancy firms, investment banks and turnaround specialists, which we can draw on where required to deliver seamless, practical solutions.
  • Our approach leads to us winning some of the largest and most complex cross-border mandates. We have developed extensive and meaningful relationships with law firms that are market leaders in their respective jurisdictions. These relationships enable us to provide our clients with a 'best of the best' global legal service.

We have had lead roles on many of the most significant restructuring situations in recent years. Clients come to us with their most complex and high value legal issues and ask us to deliver technically-challenging, bespoke, and often ground-breaking solutions.

Key Experience

Seadrill Limited

We advised Seadrill Limited, one of the world’s largest oil contractors, on its comprehensive restructuring plan, which was implemented via chapter 11 and encompassed its £12.8 billion of existing bank and bond debt, and new investment comprising a $200 million direct equity investment and an $880 million high yield bond.

The restructuring was described by the anchor shareholder as the most complicated transaction in more than half a century in shipping, and involved multiple jurisdictions.

Danaos Corporation

We advised Credit Suisse (in its capacity as secured lender) on the negotiation and implementation of Danaos Corporation’s refinancing and restructuring plan. Danaos is one of the world’s largest independent owners of container ships and charters its vessels to many of the world’s biggest liner companies.

The restructuring involved $2.2 billion of debt and complex negotiations with multiple stakeholders.

Interserve plc

We advised Interserve plc, one of the world’s leading support services and construction groups, on the development and implementation of a deleveraging plan designed to reduce the group’s debt by approximately £485 million and provide £110 million of fresh liquidity.

Following rejection of the plan by shareholders at a general meeting, the group implemented the restructuring by means of a pre-packaged administration sale. Careful contingency planning enabled this ‘plan b’ to be executed on the same day as the general meeting to preserve value and avoid business disruption.

A separate Slaughter and May team advised Hunter Kelly and Alan Hudson of Ernst & Young LLP as the administrators of Interserve.

Premier Oil plc

We advised Premier Oil plc on the successful restructuring of its $3.8 billion of debt facilities, implemented by parallel schemes of arrangement. Premier Oil is one of the UK’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies, with significant interests in the North Sea, as well as holding production assets in Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan, and exploration assets in the Falklands and South America.

The overall amount of debt, and the wide range of different stakeholders, means that this transaction was one of the largest and most complex financial restructurings of a North Sea oil and gas company in recent years.

Carillion plc

We advised Carillion plc on its high profile restructuring negotiations and its ultimate entry into compulsory liquidation, and subsequently the Official Receiver as liquidator and PwC as Special Mangers on aspects of the liquidation. The liquidation has given rise to a number of complex questions, and has been carried out under a huge weight of public scrutiny, often under considerable time pressure.

key Contacts

Ian Johnson
Ian Johnson Partner
Tom Vickers
Tom Vickers Partner
The work of the firm in general was of the very highest standard. We could not have asked for more in terms of commitment and quality of advice. Almost impossible deadlines were met without standards being compromised at any stage. The teamwork was truly remarkable. Chambers UK