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  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals
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Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP’s corporate restructuring and insolvency group is singled out for its ‘professionally sound, helpful and personable’ advice. With sector strengths in renewable energy, distressed real estate, pensions, retail, food and farming, the team has experience of high-value debt restructurings and insolvencies, and is well positioned to handle cross-border instructions through its transatlantic restructuring and insolvency group. Andrew Eaton joined the firm from Travers Smith LLP and now heads the practice group. Eaton acted for a US-headquartered law firm on the insolvency aspects of a US-based private equity firm’s acquisition of a global company from its administrators. Colin Ligman heads the real estate insolvency practice and James Sutherland specialises in contentious real estate restructurings. Standout figures in associate level include Emily Scaife, who is ‘consistently concise and proactive in anticipating and resolving issues’. Additional clients include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, HSBC, the Pensions Protection Fund and PwC. Richard Clark joined TLT in 2016.

The restructuring and insolvency department at Michelmores LLP regularly handles high-profile insolvency matters. Headed by Charles Maunder, the team continues to advise York Global Finance BDH as a creditor in relation to the application by Lehman Brothers’s UK administrators for direction on the distribution of £7bn. The team is also acting for Ticketus I LLP and Ticketus II LLP as main creditors of Rangers Football Club in relation to its liquidation. Sacha Pickering is advising Octopus Investments on the £1.5m bankruptcies of two individuals. Pickering has particular expertise in voluntary arrangements; he and associate Anna Thompson are providing ongoing assistance regarding the creditor voluntary arrangements related to Sunshine Care Limited. Karen Dunstone is an accomplished senior associate with particular expertise in property-related insolvency transactions and has been involved in numerous high-value and cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters. Additional clients include Quantuma LLP, KPMG, Lameys Accountants and Leonard Curtis Recovery Limited.

The insolvency team at Osborne Clarke provides ‘technically excellent’ advice in a ‘refreshingly down-to-earth’ manner and compares very well to other South West practices. The department has longstanding relationships with insolvency practitioners and a number of banks, for which it handles distressed loans, and sits on the Pension Protection Fund’s insolvency panel. ‘Knowledgeable and effective’ practice head Nigel Boobier is acting for PwC as liquidator on insolvency proceedings arising from the bankruptcy of Alitalia Airlines. Boobier acted for BDO LLP in relation to its appointment as administrator to and subsequent sale of Broad Oak Toiletries to Potter & Moore. He is also working alongside legal director Claire Bundy for FRP Advisory as the administrators of Red Hot Wold Buffet. Bundy acted for the same client as the administrators on the pre-packaged sale of Crediton Confectionary to Devon Sweet Factory.

TLT’s insolvency practice has ‘great strength-in-depth’ and is ‘one of the best technical teams in the South West’. The Bristol-based department has grown in recent years, and brought on Richard Clark from Burges Salmon LLP in 2017. The ‘commercially minded’ James Forsyth acts for some of the largest accountancy and insolvency firms; he acted for Deloitte in its role as administrators of Riley’s Sports Group concerning £5m of property in Twickenham, and in a dispute brought by the landlord of the property in question. Forsyth acted for KPMG and Smith & Williamson as the administrators of retail group My Local, which was one of the largest insolvencies in Bristol in 2016. With over 20 years of insolvency experience, Peter Carney is assisting a Plc in negotiations with regulatory agencies and dividend payments to institutional shareholders. Also recommended are Abigail Hadfield and Maria Connolly, who has extensive experience of the commercial property aspects of insolvencies. Other clients include PwC, Grant Thornton and FRP Advisory.

Fielding a ‘truly national practice’, Ashfords LLP has experience of multi-jurisdictional insolvency and restructuring. Law firm insolvencies are a particular area of expertise; the ‘invaluable’ Samantha Palmer is appointed as joint solicitor manager in relation to King & Wood Mallesons’ insolvency, which involved providing regulatory and insolvency advice to the joint administrators of the firm. Bristol-based practice head David Pomeroy worked with Quantuma on the administration of Isaac Abraham LLP via court application, and Palmer subsequently advised on the sale and asset transfer of the partnership. ‘A fierce litigator’, Alan Bennett has expertise in foreign jurisdictions including Canada, USA and Dubai, and acted for an Ireland-based bankrupt individual in opposing an application made by the official receiver to annul the client’s bankruptcy. Legal director Katie Farmer has experience of contentious and non-contentious insolvency issues.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s insolvency practice is ‘among the best in the region in terms of responsiveness and results’. The team is well-known for its non-contentious, contentious and property-related insolvency capabilities, and has developed expertise in investment bank special administrations. Tim Pritchard now leads the South West insolvency group and in 2016, acted for KPMG as administrators of Avalon Investment Services in relation to the transfer of all of Avalon’s client monies and assets to Embark Investment Services. Pritchard also acted for Veolia UK in connection with the £4.25m acquisition out of administration of the business and assets of Boomeco Limited. The South West group was part of a cross-office team that advised Smith & Williamson as the special administrators of European Pensions Management. Former department head Joanne Rumley joined Foot Anstey in 2016.

Clarke Willmott LLP is an ‘insolvency powerhouse with impressive national connections’. The department is the sole legal adviser to The Insolvency Service, for which it handles Insolvency Act claims and other civil recovery matters. The ‘highly commercialKen MacLennan (who is a ‘firm negotiator’) is acting for Begbies Traynor as administrators of a South West bus company with £2.25m of assets on book, and is advising BDO LLP as proposed administrators of a group of companies engaged in the provision of branded and licenced goods on a wholesale basis. Martin Askew (a ‘robust litigator’) specialises in contentious insolvency matters and investigations. Ruth Hartnell-Thorne is acting for DDJ Insolvency in its role as liquidator, and is assisting with the investigation of Volterra Consulting Limited’s use of employee benefit trusts to minimise its liability tax. Lisa Cooke and associate Stephanie Bishop are also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s insolvency practice acts for lenders, corporates and insolvency practitioners, and has sector expertise in health, retail and manufacturing. Giles Hindle heads the practice group and is acting for new client Quantuma in its role as administrators regarding the sale of Specialist Engineering Systems Limited. Hindle is also instructed by clients such as Mazars, RSM Tenon and Stonham & Co, and has also been instructed by a local authority in relation to its exposure in a major development project. Kevin Hawthorn was promoted to partner in 2016 and specialises in asset tracing, recovery and insolvency litigation. Hawthorn is acting for Begbies Traynor as administrators in relation to the sale of Pink Planet Exchange Limited. Senior associate Christopher Stoate is another active member of the department and specialises in cross-border insolvency restructuring and transactions and asset tracing.

The ‘reassuringly professional and effective’ insolvency practice at Thrings LLP specialises in acting in relation to insolvent or distressed mid-sized owner-managed businesses and is particularly strong in the professional services and agriculture sectors. Praised for his ‘technical expertiseMark Cullingford advised a Swedish foodstuffs producer on the recovery of debt from its UK distributor and on the protection of its interest in branded stock held in the UK. On the contentious side, the ‘calm and experiencedMelissa George acted for Begbies Traynor as administrators in claims against a bank for mis-selling interest rate hedging products, alleging that had the mis-selling not occurred, the LLP in question would have avoided administration. Nicola Brastock is a ‘clear and tenacious’ associate with a decade of experience in both commercial and personal insolvency matters. Other notable clients include PwC, Grant Thornton, Mazars and Leonard Curtis business Solutions.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s ‘commercial and technically strong’ insolvency team has been kept busy with insolvency work emanating from the education and charity sectors. Ed Husband, who has particular experience of insolvency litigation, leads the Bristol-based insolvency department and is acting for Moore Stephens LLP in relation to the liquidation of Bi-Folding Doors and the parallel bankruptcy of the company’s director. Husband also assisted KPMG with the realisation of assets held by a bankrupt individual. Also recommended are Simon Heald, who has significant insolvency experience, Kelly Johnson and senior associate Nick Martindale. Other clients include PwC, BDO and Grant Thornton.

The insolvency and restructuring team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys works closely with the firm’s banking group and sources much of its high-profile work from the London market. The team, primarily based in Cheltenham and Worcester, has been especially active in the social care and education sectors. Jonathan Whitbread, who leads the finance group, is acting for the joint administrators of Boomeco in relation to a £4m sale of a fuel business in Gloucestershire; he is also acting for Rcapital on the restructuring of the Tie Rack Group. Sam Payne joined the firm in 2016 from Shakespeare Martineau LLP and now leads the insolvency offering out of the Worcester office. Following the Brexit referendum, Payne has been advising an agriculture parts manufacturer on a potential group-restructuring or wind-down and sale of parts of the group; he also has experience in contentious insolvency.

Meade King LLP provides ‘proactive advice with excellent response times’ and acts for clients ranging from insolvent individuals and corporates to insolvency practitioners. Keith Mahoney has ‘impressive industry knowledge’ and provides ‘no-nonsense advice’ on a wide range of matters including possession and antecedent recovery actions on the bankruptcy side, and misfeasance and wrongful trading issues with regards to liquidations. Mahoney is acting for a liquidator in claims against a group of company directors for breach of fiduciary duty, and acted for an administrator in negotiations with a local authority. Mahoney also has experience of international recovery matters, and is assisting a group of trustees with the recovery of assets in Bulgaria, Germany and South Africa.

Stephens Scown LLP’s ‘exceptional’ insolvency practice acts for corporates and insolvency practitioners in contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters. The ‘knowledgeable’ Andrew Knox advised the liquidators of Gerald David and Family Limited in successfully obtaining bankruptcy petitions against the former company directors, who were living abroad. Knox also acted for the liquidators of Jetstream (Europe) Limited on the sale of water jetting equipment to a Danish buyer, and acted alongside the firm’s corporate team on the acquisition of the shares of a UK and BVI subsidiary company from the administrators of Western United Mines and Cornwall Minerals. Another key contact in the group, Toby Claridge, advised a minority shareholder in two companies on a petition to have them wound up. Other clients include The Insolvency Service and Begbies Traynor.

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Legal Developments in South West for Insolvency and corporate recovery

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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