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Insolvency and restructuring in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is strong across bankruptcies, reorganisations, and insolvency-related litigation, working with clients across Belgium and internationally. Alongside integrated employment, tax, and distressed transactional expertise, the team is also embedded with its global restructuring platform, allowing it to handle major cross-border matters. Clients include distressed companies, and a number of international banks acting as creditors, with debt restructuring and refinancing a key part of the firm’s offering, led by practice co-head Filip Tanghe. Thales Mertens also jointly heads the practice, and is an experienced litigator, handling contentious insolvency and restructuring proceedings. Senior associate Bart de Bock is a key player in banking litigation, while fellow senior associate Matthias Purnal advises on debt restructuring and distressed transactions.

Practice head(s):

Thales Mertens; Filip Tanghe

Other key lawyers:

Matthias Purnal; Bart de Bock

Testimonials

Good combination of theoretical knowledge and pragmatic solutions.

Interaction between partner, senior and junior members of the team is very smooth, as is the use of the international A&O network.

Easy to reach and accessible.

Look for feasible solutions.

Key clients

Aviapartner

Belchim Crop Protection

Blokker Holding

BNP Paribas Fortis

Gérard Darel

ING

KBC Bank

Kinepolis Group

Mirage Retail Group

Rabo Bank

Belfius

Vion Food Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the Mirage Retail Group on the acquisition out of bankruptcy of a leading French chain of toy stores, Maxi Toys.
  • Advised  KBC and a group of other lenders on the bankruptcy of Ecophos.
  • Advised Gérard Darel on formal bankruptcy proceedings.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper acts across all insolvency and restructuring-related matters, including representing distressed companies and creditors in insolvency litigation, running judicial reorganisation processes, advising on distressed transactions, and acting as court-appointed receivers. The firm advises banks and distressed companies, and is regularly involved in cross-border and multijurisdictional matters. The practice is led by Ilse Van de Mierop , who is regularly appointed as a liquidator and is an authority on bankruptcy law, alongside Joris De Vos, who focuses on litigation, particularly on behalf of shareholders. Senior associate Charlotte Sas is noted for her expertise in judicial reorganisation proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Ilse Van de Mierop

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Sas; Jan De Buel; Joris De Vos

Testimonials

‘Very engaged! Top team. Know how to push the client to a higher level.’

‘They are almost part of the client they represent and with a realistic / clear view. The team guided us through the most difficult period ever.’

‘The RSTR practice of DLA Piper Belgium is well known for the strategic handling of high profile insolvency cases.’

‘Charlotte Sas is an excellent lawyer who goes the extra mile for clients; file knowledge, pragmatic advice and perseverance is what characterizes her. A rising insolvency star.’

‘Since Ilse Van de Mierop’s team, including notable associates Charlotte Sas and Jan De Beul, also act as court mandataries, they are very familiar with the way of thinking and acting of receivers, liquidators, and other court mandataries. In the context of insolvency law and in contact with these court mandataries, the team can therefore offer an experience that few others at this level in the market can.’

‘A notable associate is Charlotte Sas. As Ilse’s right-hand woman, she has already successfully assisted many large restructurings, both on the side of the creditors and potential purchasers, as a court mandatory or for the debtor in distress itself. Charlotte is an intelligent and passionate lawyer always looking for an argument in favour of the client, making a real difference. Her broad experience in different judicial mandates has also given her a sharp pen.’

‘Ilse van de Mierop has built a solid reputation as a lawyer who always goes to great lengths to achieve her goals. Charlotte Sas complements Ilse Van de Mierop perfectly.’

Key clients

Getronics Belgium NV

CASA INTERNATIONAL

PATRONALE LIFE

ANSI NV

Experience! SA

Res Prepaid

YOUR ESTATE SOLUTION (in bankruptcy)

CDE (Centre for the Development of Enterprise)

Sabena NV

VAN KELEGOM GROUP

KBC Asset Management

SABENA (in bankruptcy)

Work highlights

  • Advised Getronics Belgium NV on the framework of a judicial reorganisation procedure.
  • Advised Ansi NV on its winning bid to takeover fashion chain E5 Mode in the framework of a judicial reorganisation procedure.
  • Advising Sabena on its bankruptcy as trustees.

NautaDutilh

With an international client base including a number of major corporates and financial institutions, NautaDutilh remains a standout for complex restructuring and insolvency proceedings both in and out of court, with involvements in high-profile litigation and cross-border restructurings. The team acts for creditors, debtors, and both distressed sellers and buyers, with ‘well-balanced‘ and ‘solutions-oriented‘ practice heads Sophie Jacmain and Stan Brijs highly respected within the market, evidenced by their regular appointments as administrators and judicial mediators, having previously advised the Belgian government on reforms to the country’s insolvency code.

Practice head(s):

Sophie Jacmain; Stan Brijs

Testimonials

‘ Strong and reliable team with huge insolvency and litigation skills.’

‘Sophie Jacmain is clearly on the top of the hill. Fully involved, very well balanced, deep knowledge of the insolvency practitioners in Belgium.’

‘Small firm, but dedicated professionals with a client focussed approached, thorough in their research, available outside normal business hours’.

‘Solutions orientated, assisting to find a way that works rather than focussing on what the obstacles are and what would not work.’

Key clients

Celio Group

Pimkie Belgium (Belsay)

Swissport Belgium NV

Flexos SA

Vaalon Capital GP

YSI Capital

Belfius Bank

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP specialises in global restructuring and insolvency proceedings, advising domestic and international distressed businesses, including private equity portfolio companies, alongside lenders, on insolvency filings, distressed acquisitions, and debt restructuring, as well as representing clients in high-level litigation. Airline insolvencies are a strong area of expertise for the team, led by the vastly experienced Thierry Bosly, including work for global flag carriers, with other sector focuses including consumer foods, diamonds, and chemicals.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Bosly

Key clients

Bank of Indonesia

Ecobank

GSO

Natixis Factor

Standard Chartered Group

Swissport

Hertz

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Le Pain Quotidien on its complex cross-border restructuring, including the restructuring of its credit facilities and the filing of insolvency proceedings in several jurisdictions, notably Belgium, the UK and the US.
  • Advising Swissport on its cross-border insolvency contingency planning by formulating a global strategy to protect the assets of the various entities of the group while allowing a restructuring of its debt.
  • Advising Standard Chartered on the complex cross-border insolvency filing of Exelco.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick focuses on restructuring and insolvency proceedings, alongside banking and finance litigation, and is heavily involved in a number of major cross-border proceedings both as lead counsel and through referrals from international firms. Standout involvements include high-profile insolvencies in the manufacturing and metals sectors, as well as retail and aviation. The ‘proactive and consistent‘ team is led by ‘exceptional‘ dedicated insolvency and distressed finance practitioner Roel Fransis.

Practice head(s):

Roel Fransis

Testimonials

‘The team is fantastic and our go-to firm in Belgium for high quality insolvency and restructuring advice.’

‘Roel Fransis is exceptional. His advice is very user-friendly, timely and practical.’

‘The team’s dedication to the client and the quality of its work is really exceptional. They are proactive and consistent in their approach, with good advice. The response times are incredible and the advice is well thought-out.’

‘Roel has a commercially driven approach to strategy. He is very available for the client and assists us with a great support and proactivity. He is practical and action-oriented.’

Key clients

Jenner Block LLP

Wetta Ventures

Alvance Aluminium

Enpay

Brussels Airlines

Proximus

Wunderwerk GmbH

Inno

Quinn Group Belgium

Brussels Airlines

Work highlights

  • Advising the ultimate beneficiary of the Belgian aluminium manufacturer ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel, on the restructuring and refinancing of the group and representing in litigation with American Industrial Partners and its affiliate ICP Origination I LLC acting as lender.
  • Advising Wetta Ventures on the filing and subsequent recovery of its $2.5m claim in the bankruptcy proceedings of Aerocircular NV.
  • Representing Proximus in litigation subsequent to the bankruptcy proceedings of Billi BV and Schedom NV in relation to the recovery of its claim worth €2m.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff works with creditors, debtors, and shareholders of distressed companies in restructuring and insolvency proceedings in a variety of sectors, including retail, private equity, aviation, and financial services. The practice is active on Belgian aspects of cross-border restructurings, working in collaboration with its Benelux offices, and also offers integrated cross-practice expertise in disputes, financing, and employment issues. The practice is led by Vanessa Marquette, who focuses on distressed financing and pre-insolvency proceedings, while Marc Vermylen  advises on debt restructuring. Jens De Winne is a litigator with strong involvement in high-profile insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Vanessa Marquette

Other key lawyers:

Marc Vermylen; Jens De Winne

Key clients

Pierre & Vacances

Nordic Capital

KBC Bank NV

Brussels Airlines

Lunch Garden

Cmgrp Belgium (The Back Room)

Work highlights

  • Advising on the cross-border structuring of Pierre & Vacances.
  • Advising Nordic Capital on the insolvency of the FNG Group.
  • Advising a syndicate of banks represented by KBC Bank NV as Global Facility Agent in relation to the offshore wind farm C-Power NV.

Quinz

With a strong portfolio of creditor clients including international financial institutions, the ‘unique‘ team at Quinz represents in high-profile insolvency and restructuring proceedings, both enforcing and on occasion defending against creditor claims, as well as handling debt recovery and debtor protection, particularly in relation to Covid-19 related issues. Practice head Benoît Allemeersch is an accomplished litigator with a record in insolvency and corporate restructuring proceedings in a range of sectors. Former fellow practice head Vincent Van Obberghen has now left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Benoît Allemeersch

Other key lawyers:

Wim De Meester; Thijs Vancoppernolle; Gillis Lindemans; Stijn De Dier; Bart Lintermans

Testimonials

‘Quinz is a unique law firm that combines professionalism with accessibility, transparency, respect and a down to earth attitude.’

‘Quinz has become a law firm of choice for many clients when it comes to litigation and insolvency work. They have a highly specialised and very knowledgeable team.’

‘They continue to innovate as well with their outsourcing start-up.’

‘Quinz’ practitioners are very closely connected with the academic world and are very knowledgeable about the intricacies of insolvency law. They are able to explain complicated issues in a clear and understandable fashion. Aside from Benoît Allemeersch, who is a top-notch litigator, Wim De Meester, Thijs Vancoppernolle and Gillis Lindemans are all excellent practitioners.’

‘Quinz is a firm up and coming with stable partnership, eager to serve the clients. They have recruited excellent professionals and the firm has already made its place amongst their peers.’

‘Benoït and Gillis are capable to understand the problems that a client is facing and to search for a pragmatic solution. They are both hard working and very much available.’

‘Benoit Allemeersch and Bart Lintermans are both experts.’

‘The team at Quinz is extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and sharp. Also, the team is able to clearly communicate complex and technical information.’

‘I worked with Benoît Allemeersch and Stijn De Dier. Benoît has the ability to advise you in the right direction and is top of his peers. Stijn has similar qualities and changes gear very quickly, all for the benefit of the client. They are always open for new ideas and their evaluation is great.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas Fortis

Holding Communal

Belfius Bank

Intercommunale van de Woluwe

KPN

Nyrstar

Biomin

Piqueur family

Raben Group

PMV

Hema

Selecta

E.F. Parmentier

Yesse Technologies

Vossemeren

Work highlights

  • Represented Euronext-listed Nyrstar in all Belgian procedures relating to its global restructuring.
  • Advising alongside KPMG on the liquidation of of the Holding Communal.
  • Representing BNP Paribas Fortis as creditor in the insolvency proceedings of E5-mode.

Stibbe

Stibbe has a strong focus on contentious insolvency and restructuring proceedings, representing debtors, lenders, directors, and shareholders in complex, often cross-border liquidations, judicial organisations, formal insolvencies, and associated liquidation. The team works closely with the firm’s financing, tax, employment, and dispute resolution practices, allowing for an integrated approach to business-critical matters. The practice is headed up by Paul Van der Putten, who focuses on complex liquidation issues, as well as drafting insolvency protection contracts, with senior associate Pieter Wouters also playing a key role, while co-head Oliver Stevens focuses on creditor-side matters, including debt recovery and cross-border restructurings.

Other key lawyers:

Pieter Wouters

Testimonials

Open minded, deep theoretical knowledge.’

‘Very knowledgeable, creative, ability to connect legal framework and practical context in order to work to a solution.’

‘Highly professional, quick responses and outcome-orientated.’

‘Very cooperative and helpful in our cross border cases.’

‘Hands-on approach.’

‘Paul Van Der Putten has the ability to cut through complexity and provide solutions that really address the problem at hand.’

‘Pieter Wouters is a brilliant litigator with an outstanding knowledge of insolvency proceedings.’

Key clients

Belgian State

Belgotex International

Berivo

Brussels Airport Company

Cegeka Group

Eisenmann

Elavon Financial Services

Flamant Acquisition

Flemish Government

Group D’Aucy

Immpact Vastgoed

KBC

Medec Benelux

National Bank of Belgium

SolarRise

Storm

Swissport

Uniper

Vitare

Work highlights

  • Advised Cegeka on the bidding process of certain assets of Getronics Belgium in the framework of the latter’s judicial restructuring procedure.
  • Represented KBC Bank in reorganisation and bankruptcy proceedings pertaining to its borrower, the Antwerp diamond trader Exelco.
  • Representing the Belgian state in litigation in relation to the bankruptcy of Proxima Bank and the intervention of Belgium’s deposit guarantee fund.

Strelia

Strelia advises distressed companies, creditors, and insolvency practitioners on restructuring and insolvency processes, including a number of cross-border proceedings, as well as representing in associated litigation. The team, led by the ‘excellentBart De Moor, is also regularly appointed by Belgian courts as administrator or liquidator of distressed companies. Another area of strength for the firm is creditor-side advice and litigation for the recovery of distressed debts.

Practice head(s):

Bart De Moor 

Testimonials

‘The department has its focus on administrator appointments and is involved in matters which are pertinent to restructuring/insolvency. This experience is important for companies in financial distress who are looking for legal assistance or for assistance in insolvency litigation’.

‘I have worked with Bart de Moor for a long time. He is an excellent lawyer. He is skilful, always helpful and responsive.’

‘Exceptionally committed partners, sought as contact persons in national and international topics.’

‘Great team which covers the Belgium market well.’

Key clients

Photo Hall Multimedia nv

Free Record Shop (Mega) store België

Work highlights

  • Advising Photo Hall Multimedia as the appointed bankruptcy liquidator by the Brussels court of Enterprises.
  • Advising Free Record Shop as the appointed bankruptcy liquidator.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS handles business restructurings, creditor claims, insolvency litigation, and judicial reorganisations proceedings, working in close collaboration with the firm’s employment and corporate teams. Practice heads Alexander Hansebout and counsel Bart Heynickx have a strong focus on insolvency law, specialising in litigation and business transfers respectively.

Testimonials

‘Bart Heynickx has excellent in-dept knowledge of Belgian insolvency law, being strategic and proactive.’

‘The team has a high quality of legal answers and practical solutions.’

‘The main quality is risk reducing and problem solving in practical solutions.’

‘A bit of a challenger in the market. They were prepared to take our company on as a client, knowing we were in a distressed situation. The firm takes pride in defending difficult cases and is happy to take on the most highly rated competitive firms. Associates are always available, very responsive, accurate in their responses. Great team to work with.’

‘Bart Heyninckx: litigation and restructuring, fast in his analysis, responsive to client demands, fighting spirit for the client. Weighs pros and cons very well and puts forward a strategy based on thorough understanding.’

‘Collaboration with Altius is always a pleasure. They are on topic, think out strategy and consult with you for the best possible solution. Above all, they never stop.’

‘Bart Heynickx and his teams are strategic and sharp. Bart is a keen thinker and presents solutions and thinks outside the box. No is not an answer for Bart.’

Key clients

FNG NV

FNG Nordic AB (Ellos Group)

G-Star

Apple

De Jong

Izola Bank

Container Centralen

Kontron

Manuloc

Association European Airlines

Work highlights

  • Advised FNG NV on its reorganisation and restructuring, faced with important claims from creditors while at the same time preserving the value and continuation of its activities in the Nordics.
  • Advised De Jong on the framework of the restructuring and take-over of assets, staff and customers from a printing company in financial difficulty.
  • Advising Container Centralen on the recovery of sums due by a competitor.

ASTREA BV CVBA

With clients including domestic and international distressed companies and insolvency practitioners, the team at ASTREA BV CVBA handles cross-border and company group insolvency matters, domestic judicial reorganisation proceedings, and insolvency litigation. Practice head Louis Verstraeten has experience in negotiating insolvency agreements, as well as representing in contentious proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Louis Verstraeten

Other key lawyers:

Clara Vanhecke

Testimonials

‘Great service! Fast and well known.’

‘Louis Verstraeten as a partner and Clara Vanhecke as a lawyer have managed and are managing a complex restructuring and solvency case. They have put together the right strategy to minimize the losses and risks for the rest of the group whilst maintaining the reputation of the company at a high level.’

‘Louis has a very deep knowledge of the (changing) legal environment in Belgian insolvency cases. His broad experience allows for a good view on the expected outcome in court.’

Key clients

AB InBev Belgium NV

Airopack BV/ Airosolutions NV

Cargill BV (Netherlands)

Cargill NV (Belgium)

Katoen Natie NV

Hoad Holding BV

Keymusic België

Bero Monaco Sarl

Blok Pekaar Bol BV

Diagnostics Medial Systems SA

BHP Billiton Marketing AG

Inbev Belgium nv/sa

FORT Advocaten

Imtech Belgium nv/sa (the directors of)

Schulze & Braun

Airopack/Airosolutions

Hi-Tech Radiators (India)

Hoad Holding BV

Work highlights

  • Representing Medical Devices International in litigation against the Walloon Region on whether the reduction of repayment debts, resulting from subsidies granted by public authorities, would violate competition law.
  • Representing Baliopharm AG in litigation to obtain a carve out of a Swiss subsidiary from the judicial restructuring of the holding company in Belgium.
  • Advising Bonita on its wind-down as part of a judicial restructuring.

CMS

CMS advises distressed companies and their directors on pure and soft insolvency proceedings, alongside cross-border business restructurings and judicial reorganisations. The team has particular strength in the retail sector, with a number of national and international clients within the space, and also regularly advises financial institution and investments funds on handling the insolvency of debtors. The practice is led by Virginie Frémat, who has experience in distressed M&A and restructuring transactions, alongside Jean-François Goffin, who takes the lead on insolvency processes and has notable expertise in directors’ liability issues.

Key clients

Novelis

Howden

Dekra

Maxi Toys

CNA

Nethys (Credis)

Republic of Albania

Sogepa (Investment Fund)

GE Healthcare/Medex

iU

Philcarbon/Upgrade Energy

Torfs

J. IDE

Work highlights

  • Advised the Maxi Toys group in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland on a cross-border restructuring.
  • Advised iU in Belgium and Luxembourg on judicial reorganisation by transfer under judicial supervision in Belgium for the Belgian and Luxembourg stores.
  • Represented the Republic of Albania in a dispute concerning en-route charges collected by Eurocontrol from a wealthy Italian businessman.

Deloitte Legal

Deloitte Legal advises on a wide range of restructuring and insolvency processes, including related tax and regulatory issues, with clients including major international corporates and financial institutions acting as lenders. The practice partners with the international Deloitte network to service cross-border clients, as well as developing its own organic client base. The team is led by Jürgen Egger, who has notable expertise in the intersection between criminal and insolvency law, alongside Glenn Hansen, a specialist in insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Jürgen Egger; Glenn Hansen

Key clients

Lehman Brothers

O’cool

Work highlights

  • Advising the administrators of Lehman Brothers on the recovery of assets.
  • Advising O’cool on its restructuring plan and process.

Lydian

Led by experienced commercial and insolvency practitioner Yves Lenders, the team at Lydian works with shareholders and directors on insolvency liability issues, alongside representing domestic and international creditors in debt recovery proceedings against insolvent companies, and overseeing judicial restructuring for distressed businesses. The practice is regularly referred work by international firms, allowing it to advise on cross-border mandates.

Practice head(s):

Yves Lenders

Key clients

CASA International

Schletter GmbH

CraftUnique Ltd.

Mathieu Gijbels NV

SMT Simple Management Technologies BVBA

Racine

Racine has a strong focus on ‘pure’ insolvency work, representing clients throughout restructuring and insolvency processes, including cross-border matters, while members of the team are regularly appointed as liquidators or trustees. Areas of strength for the firm include contentious issues such as debt recovery and enforcement disputes, with clients including a number of major financial institutions acting as creditors. The practice is headed up by vastly experienced insolvency law expert Joan Dubaere alongside Stijn Vanschoubroek, with counsel Rubben Lindemans noted for his strong record in restructuring proceedings and enforcement cases.

Practice head(s):

Joan Dubaere; Stijn Vanschoubroek

 

Other key lawyers:

Rubben Lindemans; Stefaan Aerts

Testimonials

‘Racine has a strong reputation in the area of insolvency law.’

‘With a considerable number of accredited bankruptcy administrators within this firm, it is the go-to firm when dealing with insolvency situations.’

‘Stefaan Aerts is a talented lawyer with a hands-on approach, which is highly valued by clients. I appealed to his services in an important liquidation and he performed the work in an impeccable manner. His advice is always clear and straightforward. It is also a pleasure working with someone who is this available and responsive.’

Rubben Lindemans has also built a strong reputation as one of the rising stars in the insolvency landscape. I look forward to working with him.

‘The team is a household name on the Belgian legal market for restructuring and insolvency. This is the firm which we typically recommend in this area of practice.’

‘It is the combination of their knowledge of this area of the law in combination with their extensive practical experience that causes us to turn to this team.’

‘Very strong team in restructuring & insolvency.’

‘Very good response times.’

Key clients

Besix Sanotec / Flamant Design

Bnp Paribas Fortis Factor

Bnp Paribas Fortis Lease

Btr Services

Flamant Group

Global Investments

Goldman Sachs International

Johnson Controls

Majestic Hotels

Primmoser

Unico

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustrees of Rolsa on levying attachments on the Belgian assets of the former director of Rolsa to secure a claim valued at €200m.
  • Advised Saey Home and Garden on the restructuring of its business.
  • Advised Flamant as liquidators on the liquidation process for several of its retail businesses.

Seeds of Law

Seeds of Law advises SMEs and listed companies on a range of matters, including debt restructuring, distressed transactions and debt trading, insolvency and liquidations processes - voluntary and otherwise, and corporate restructurings. Sector focuses for the practice include banking, construction and real estate, and telecoms. Practice head Leo Peeters has experience of national and cross-border restructuring and insolvency processes, alongside associated transactions.

Practice head(s):

Leo Peeters

Other key lawyers:

Aurélie Glinne

Testimonials

‘Seeds of Law covers a full spectrum of insolvency and restructuring law issues including difficult corporate, transactions and reorganisations. Cross-border issues with regard to the Benelux region are part of their standard repertoire.’

‘My first contact is Mr. Leo Peeters. He is a real luminary in the field of insolvency and restructuring as well as corporate and M&A, being brilliant in everything he does. You can feel his many years of experience in his work.’

‘Insolvency and restructuring is a real core practice at Seeds of Law and they are really tremendously good. The quality of the advice also benefits from the fact that the insolvency practice at Seeds of Law is very closely aligned with corporate law, a real benefit for clients.’

‘Most of the time I work with Leo Peeters. Leo has outstanding legal and commercial skills. He is a very constructive interlocutor, always calm, reflective and absolutely results-oriented. He is a quick thinker and transmits reassurance with his arguments, which are always very good.’

‘Easily accessible.’

‘Excellent team, proactive and practical.’

‘Leo Peeters- great expertise, proactive, practical, fast and strategic thinker.’

‘Aurélie Glinne- expert in her field of expertise.

Key clients

Belleheide center NV

Get Air Belgium

Work highlights

  • Advised Belleheide on a judicial reorganisation procedure, its prolongation, and ending.