Insolvency and restructuring in Belgium

DLA Piper

The restructuring and insolvency practice at DLA Piper attracts praise for being 'well integrated, coherent and technically very solid'. The group has assisted Sabena as trustees since the company's bankruptcy, including with the disposal of properties and in disputes. The group also has experience acting for creditors and investors, and counts CFE among its clients. Ilse Van de Mierop heads the practice and is regularly appointed to act as receiver, liquidator and provisional administrator in insolvency proceedings. Other key names to note include litigators Christian Van Buggenhout and Joris De Vos.

NautaDutilh

The restructuring and insolvency team at NautaDutilh is frequently instructed by financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank and Euroclearas well as debtors and corporates, to handle a full range of strategic and contentious matters and transactions. It acted for Parfip Group on its restructuring, which included assisting Parfip France, Parfip Spain, Luxemburg-based Socobail and Parfip Lease in Belgium with obtaining a judicial reorganisation. The team is jointly headed by Sophie Jacmain and Stan Brijs, who are recommended particularly for insolvency advice and litigation respectively. Jean-Luc Hagon left the firm.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's 'attentive' insolvency and restructuring team is experienced in handling domestic and cross-border matters and acts for clients including GSO, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. The department is advising Standard Chartered Group, as lender to Exelco, on the latter's insolvency filings in the US and Belgium. In another prominent matter, practice head Thierry Bosly led a team that assisted Ecobank on a global restructuring and recovery of debt facilities granted to the construction group Zakhem to build pipelines in Kenya. Muriel Alhadeff is noted for insolvency advice. Nathalie Colin joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2020.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP multi-disciplinary team has the capacity to handle a range of restructuring and insolvency matters for both creditors and debtors. The group is instructed by Morgan Stanley to assist with various claims filed in the bankruptcy of Sabena, which is currently on appeal. Banking and finance partner Filip Tanghe heads the team alongside Koen Van Den Broeck and senior associate Thales Mertens, who are highlighted particularly for contentious matters.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

The insolvency and finance litigation team at Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick handles a range of advisory and contentious insolvency matters. It acted for Mount Street Mortgage Servicing in enforcement proceedings in Belgium concerning the recovery of a mortgage-backed claim under a facilities agreement entered into with various Gibraltar-based entities. Roel Fransis led a team acting for the liquidators of Gemeentelijke Holding in a ranking conflict between secured creditors. The group also has experience acting for debtors, and assisted Hotel Berlaymont with the Belgian aspects of a court-supervised restructuring. Paul Vandepitte jointly heads the practice with Fransis.

Linklaters

The cross-departmental restructuring and insolvency team at Linklaters leverages its expertise across banking, finance and litigation in a range of matters. The team is particularly known for its representation of creditors and investors. Charles-Antoine Leunen and litigator Stefaan Loosveld are key names to note.

Stibbe

The restructuring and insolvency practice at Stibbe has experience acting for both debtors and creditors. In a recent work highlight, Paul Van der Putten and Pieter Wouters are acting for Nyobe in its judicial reorganisation proceedure.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS' insolvency and restructuring team frequently acts for creditors and investors in judicial proceedings and disputes. It acted for De Raekt Sàrl, Luxemburg on the protection of its right of preference and securities in the framework of its outstanding loans to CarréCouture. Carine Van Regenmortel and Alexander Hansebout jointly head the practice and are key names for restructuring advice and disputes respectively. Marie Brasseur was recently promoted to the partnership.

ASTREA

ASTREA’s team handles a range of insolvency and restructuring matters for creditors and debtors. The group has particular experience in the shipping sector and was instructed by BHP Billiton Marketing as creditor to a Singapore debtor in this sector; the group was active in a number of disputes brought by other creditors challenging the the client's position. Louis Verstraeten heads the team, which includes commercial lawyer Marc Van Looveren.

CMS

CMS’ insolvency and restructuring team has been particularly active in the retail sector. It advised GiFi on the closure of its Belgium stores and bankruptcy of its nine Belgian subsidiaries. The group also assisted Brico following the financial difficulties of one of its biggest franchisors. In another matter, the group is acting for Verdesis in a dispute brought by a bank concerning money lent by the latter to an insolvent company taken over by the client. Jean-François Goffin heads up the practice.

Loyens & Loeff

The team at Loyens & Loeff, led by counsel Laurent Mertens and senior associate Ahmed Tayane, leverages the firm's strength across the corporate, M&A, employment, tax, finance and contentious areas to provide a multidisciplinary approach. The group has particular experience assisting companies with restructuring and downsizing, it advised P&V on employment and redundancy matters and was instructed by De Lijn on its strategic restructuring as well as in relation to employee strikes. The practice also counts LRC Group and the National Bank of Kazakhstan among its clients. Stefaan Deckmyn left the firm and Martine De Roeck was appointed as  a judge.

Lydian

The insolvency and restructuring team at Lydian  handles a range of reorganisations, M&A transactions and liquidation proceedings. The team was instructed by Verona, and a Belgium private equity fund as shareholder, in the judicial reorganisation of the company. Key names to note include Yves Lenders and Patrick della Faille, who are regularly instructed by creditors and in liquidations respectively.

Monard Law

The restructuring and insolvency team at Monard Law attracts praise for 'going beyond expectations'. It assists companies in distress, as well as acting for creditors and investors. Inge De Haes, who is based in Antwerp and is regularly instructed as bankruptcy trustees, is the key name. Youri Steverlynck left the firm.

Quinz

The restructuring and insolvency team at Quinz is instructed in reorganisations and liquidations, both on the debtor and creditor side. The group acts as joint liquidator, alongside KPMG, for Holding Communal. It is also acting for Krea Sales on its restructuring, including advising on a buy-out of the minority shareholder, the proposal of a debtor protection scheme and assisting with attracting new investment. Benoît Allemeersch and Vincent Van Obberghen lead the practice.

Racine

Racine's insolvency and restructuring team 'is well known and highly reputed in the market', and attracts praise for its 'no-nonsense pragmatic approach'. Stijn Vanschoubroek, who 'combines sharp legal analysis with a cost-effective approach', led a team that acted as the bankruptcy trustee of BTR Services. The 'truly professional' Joan Dubaere and Vanschhoubroek jointly head the practice, which includes the 'hands-on and pragmaticAnthony Van der Hauwaert. The team was strengthened by the arrivals of senior associates Sien Vermeesch and Rubben Lindemans from K Law and NautaDutilh respectively.

Strelia

The ‘specialist’ insolvency and restructuring practice at Strelia has 'a good understanding of the Belgian market’ and ‘a straight-forward approach’. The team was appointed as office holder in the judicial reorganisation of the Flamant Group Brussels. It also acted as liquidator in the bankruptcy of Photo Hall Multimedia. ‘Stand-out’ lawyer Bart De Moor heads the practice and is ‘very competent in cross-border cases’.