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Retail CVAs – update for landlords

Carpetright, the UK flooring company, has announced that it is considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the aim of “rationalising the company’s property portfolio in order to improve the long-term prospects of the business”.  This is expected to enable the business to close unprofitable shops and reduce their rent bill.  With 409 shops across the … Continue Reading

A sobering reminder of the potential pitfalls in doing a “pre-pack” administration

VE Vegas Investors IV LLC and others vs Shinners and others [2018] EWHC 186 Ch Background The applicants were creditors of VE Interactive Limited (In administration) (“VE”). VE encountered financial difficulties and its directors sought insolvency advice from insolvency practitioners at Smith and Williamson (“S&W”) and appointed them to advise on and effect a pre-pack … Continue Reading

Zombie High Street: Retail Casualties

There was a magical place that’s now in administration. It’s called ‘Toys R Us’, Toys R Us’, Toys R Us’. This week has seen another two major retail casualties with the aforementioned much-loved toy shop and well-known electrical retailer Maplin going into administration within minutes of each other. As predicted in one of our recent … Continue Reading

Is the restaurant trade “dining out”?

Jamie Oliver’s two flagship restaurants have hit the headlines this week, with the upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa in London’s Piccadilly closing. This comes shortly after last month’s announcement that Jamie’s Italian was closing 12 of its 37 restaurants, following the 6 sites that closed in January 2017. The Guardian reported that the number of UK … Continue Reading

The ongoing deconstruction of Carillion

Media attention has waned from the initial deluge of front-page headlines regarding the Carillion collapse. It would therefore be easy to be ignorant of the ongoing disintegration of the web of Carillion companies beneath Carillion Plc, the ultimate parent company of the Carillion group, which (according to its latest accounts) holds interests in over 350 subsidiaries … Continue Reading

Hellas – a blow to the confidentiality of litigation funding arrangements

A great deal of insolvency litigation is funded by non-parties to a claim – for example, by a creditor or an “after the event” (ATE)  insurer. Ordinarily such arrangements and their precise terms are confidential and are not required to be fully disclosed to a counterparty in litigation. In the recent case of Re Hellas Telecommunications (Luxembourg) [2017] EWHC 3465 … Continue Reading

Carillion’s Insolvency – How to Protect Yourself

Following our post on the failure of Carillion yesterday, Ray O’Connor of our Construction team has written the following article “Carillion’s Insolvency – How to Protect Yourself” which looks at practical ways forward for any sub-contractor, employer/developer or funder involved in a project with Carillion. In the event any advice is required on any issues … Continue Reading

The deconstruction of Carillion

On 15 January 2018, Carillion, the UK’s second-largest builder and one of the Government’s largest contractors, was placed into compulsory liquidation and the Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator, with Michael John Andrew Jervis, David James Kelly, David Christian Chubb, Peter Dickens, David Matthew Hammond and Russell Downs of PwC being appointed as special managers … Continue Reading

Contracts via email – potential pitfalls

A recent decision of the High Court (Goel and another v Grant and another [2017] EWHC 2688 (Ch)) has provided a useful reminder that care must be taken when administrators enter into pre-contract negotiations and the risk of inadvertently entering into a binding contract before terms are finalised. It also deals with the risks of disposing … Continue Reading

Happy new year – or economic meltdown?

At the turn of the new year, economists provide their financial predictions akin to the great Nostradamus. They predict a bleak outlook for the UK economy in 2018, but such forecasts are not always accurate. The continuing uncertainty of the Brexit negotiations is likely greatly to affect the prospects of any improvement in the UK … Continue Reading

The woes of Toys R Us – will the “magical place” have its Christmas dreams come true?

“There’s a magical place, we’re on our way there, with toys in their millions, all under one roof – it’s called… Toys R Us!” The lyrics resonate with millions worldwide. The advert is as iconic as Coca Cola’s “Holidays Are Coming” commercial or the Sainsbury’s “Christmas is for sharing” World War 1 cinematic ad. Sadly, … Continue Reading

We wish you a profitable Christmas

Introduction With Christmas fast approaching and black Friday/Cyber Monday having passed, retailers will be hoping for a big spike in sales this December to add some sparkle to another challenging year. The uncertain political environment both domestic and abroad has had a visible impact on consumer confidence and, coupled with rising prices and a weak pound, is adding to … Continue Reading

A Fight over the Runway II – Monarch Successful on Appeal

Following on from our previous blog A Fight Over the Runway – Monarch Administrators Lose High Court Battle, the latest development in the saga is the recent Court of Appeal decision in Monarch Airlines Ltd v Airport Coordination Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 1892. Overturning the decision of the High Court, the Court of Appeal held that Monarch … Continue Reading

There’s Gold in Them Thar Employee Benefit Trusts … Fool’s Gold

EBTs – The Good Employee Benefit Trusts (“EBTs”) have become prevalent in recent years. They were originally devised as a form of discretionary trust to benefit employees and in most cases continue to be operated as a legitimate part of employee incentive plans, such as to house shares for distribution to employees. EBTs – The … Continue Reading

Know the rules! Further changes to IR 2016 afoot

UK insolvency law has seen a number of significant changes over recent years, including the introduction of the Insolvency Rules 2016 (“IR 2016”) in April 2017. Further legislation has been expected in order to ensure that all of these changes apply consistently throughout the whole insolvency regime, after it became clear that IR 2016 did … Continue Reading

A Fight Over the Runway – Monarch Administrators Lose High Court Battle

An out-of-hours office appointment of an administrator, although not unusual, is not a regular occurrence in the world of insolvency. It is however, exactly what happened at 4am on Monday 2 October, as Britain’s longest surviving airline brand ‘Monarch’ entered administration. The collapse of the airline comes as a result of mounting cost pressures in … Continue Reading

Taking flight: taxation on receivership

The recent case of Farnborough Airport Properties Company and another v HMRC is noteworthy for the light it shines on the dimly lit and often difficult interaction between tax law and insolvency. The issues The two companies operating Farnborough Airport (the host of ‘the largest industry event on the aerospace calendar’) were members of the … Continue Reading

LIBOR – living on borrowed time?

The FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey announced 0n 27 July 2017 that market participants should not rely on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) being available long term. The announcement made it clear that the long-standing benchmark used both in the UK and the US is to be replaced. The speech presented by the FCA’s … Continue Reading

Blockchain: Buying a Property in 60 seconds…

In a recently published article, John Danahy, a real estate partner in Squire Patton Boggs’ London office, explores transactions of the future using cryptocurrencies, blockchains and “data vaults”containing both personal and property information.  Restructuring and insolvency professionals will need to keep up to date on these developments which will have an impact not only on … Continue Reading

Reporting the misconduct of companies, directors and bankrupts

There are various ways misconduct can be reported in respect of companies and individuals. Establishing which authority has the power to conduct investigations of wrongdoing depends to a certain extent on the status of the companies and individuals. The Insolvency Service is empowered by law as the proper authority to investigate transgressions such as serious corporate abuse and the conduct of … Continue Reading

Shining a light on the GDPR – is the insolvency profession prepared?

What is the GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation designed to strengthen and harmonise data protection rules for processing data of all individuals within the EU and covers the transfer of such personal data outside the EU. One of the aims of the new legislation is to give control back to individuals … Continue Reading

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations: Neymar, Mbappe and PSG’s transfer policy – “Financial Doping” or Market Forces?

Paris Saint Germain’s summer transfer activity came to an end in (Seine)sational style! The facts speak for themselves: The two largest football transfer fees in history – £366M combined spending on Neymar da Silva Santos Junior and Kylian Mbappe; Combined wages of a reported £700k/week (both on 5 year contracts). The signings of Neymar and … Continue Reading