Restructuring and insolvency in Greece

Bernitsas Law

At Bernitsas Law, the team undertakes the restructuring of finance and project finance transactions, local and cross-border companies and distribution networks. The team also advises lenders and borrowers on distressed situations and is experienced in handling refinancings, liquidations, debt reschedulings, administrations, workouts and receiverships. Athanasia Tsene ‘is always at the top of her business, providing timely and informed advice’; she heads the practice alongside Lambros Belessis. Dionysis Flambouras is another name to note at a practice which is focused on all forms of financing arrangements, securitisations and bond issues. The team recently acted as Greek law counsel for Aegean Marine Petroleum Network in relation to the comprehensive restructuring of the client’s worldwide operations and capital structure.

Practice head(s):

Lambros Belessis; Athanasia Tsene;

Testimonials

Athanasia Tsene and Fanis Krystallis are top of their business. Always close to their clients providing timely and informed advice taking into account also the business aspect of any issue.’

Key clients

Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.

Alvarez & Marsal

Commerzbank

doBank SpA

Eurobank Ergasias

Ellington Funds

Hellenic Petroleum SA

Hoist Hellas SA and Hoist Finance (publ) AB

Pillarstone

Piraeus Bank

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF)

Thea Artemis SA

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel to a major Greek Shipping Group on the $133m refinancing of seven bulk carriers registered under the Cyprus flag, with Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank as senior lender and bondholder.
  • Advised HRADF in the privatisation of the Rolling Stock Maintenance Company (ROSCO), the independent company providing maintenance of the rolling stock, through the sale of shares representing 100% of the company’s share capital.

Karatzas & Partners

Karatzas & Partners ‘covers all possible options and obstacles’ and is praised for its ‘understanding of commercial issues’. The practice, headed by Vassiliki Salaka, has recently handled a number of complex restructurings in addition to various securitisations of NPL portfolios. In a recent debt-restructuring matter, the team assisted Regency Casino, manager of the two largest casinos in Greece, to achieve a reduction of approximately €304m to the nominal value of its debt. Noted for its ‘knowledge of the financial market’, the group also recently acted for Alpha Bank in relation to the sale and transfer of receivables of a portfolio of sub-performing and non-performing consumer and small business loans with total exposure of approximately €2.5bn.

Practice head(s):

Vassiliki Salaka

Testimonials

‘Karatzas firm provides us with legal advice that covers all possible options and obstacles that can occur during the negotiation of a specific contract. Their knowledge of the financial market and the understanding of the commercial issues is a great help to us in the execution of a specific project.’

‘They have the experience and expertise in a vast variety of subjects-sectors which enables the team to face every problem in a quick and efficient way. Catharine Karatza, who happens to be an excellent negotiator and a very experienced lawyer, has given us on several occasions very important support in order to finalize a specific financial deal.’

Key clients

Eurobank

Senior Bondholders of Frigoglass

Piraeus Bank

Chipita

Bain Capital Credit

Work highlights

  • Advising B2Holding, a co-investment structure with Waterfall Asset Management, in respect to its acquisition through an SPV from Eurobank Ergasias S.A. of a non-performing credit portfolio composed of unsecured credit loans granted to private individuals (Project Zenith).
  • Acting on behalf of Eurobank in relation to the largest securitization in Greece, a securitization of non-performing loans of a gross book value of €7.5bn.
  • Advised Bain Capital Credit on the acquisition from Piraeus Bank of non-performing and repudiated corporate credit exposures, secured with real estate collateral, equivalent to €1,950m total legal claims or €1,450m on-balance sheet gross book value (also known as “Project Amoeba”).

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright represents major financial institutions and corporates in relation to reorganisations, special liquidations and creditor plans, COMI and bankruptcy matters. Yianni Cheilas heads the department which is also renowned for its offering on the contentious front, handling litigation pertaining to the enforcement of security, debt collection and court-sanctioned reorganisation plans. In a recent highlight from the caseload, the team acted for Citibank and other lenders in the context of the financial restructuring of Toisa, one of the largest offshore and ocean-going ship operators. In addition to the transport sector, the team also handles restructurings in the real estate, energy and corporate industries, advising on both Greek and English law.

Practice head(s):

Yianni Cheilas

Key clients

Alpha Bank

Citibank NA

Eurobank Ergasias SA

Piraeus Bank SA

Credit Suisse

Commerzbank AG

National Bank of Greece

Citibank International plc

DNB NOR Bank ASA

Royal Bank of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and IIG Bank in relation to the restructuring of the debt of Sklapanis Brothers SA, one of the biggest cotton ginning businesses in Greece, through the placement of the company under special administration.
  • Continuing to act for the lenders in the financial restructuring of Marinopoulos SA and Marinopoulos Holdings, a Greek-based international group which is a household name and market leader in the retail, supermarket and pharmaceutical sectors.
  • Represented Citigroup and other lenders in the restructuring of circa US$2.5bn of commercial bank debt of Danaos Corporation, an international NY-listed container liner group.

PotamitisVekris Law Firm

At PotamitisVekris Law Firm, lawyers combine ‘deep technical knowledge with business sense’. Practice head Stathis Potamitis possesses ‘all necessary qualifications’, tailoring his practice towards corporate restructuring, refinancing plans and negotiations, bank resolution and recapitalisation as well as the liquidation of investment service firms. He recently acted for creditors Eurobank, National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank in relation to efforts to restructure the debtor, a distressed maritime transport business. The wider team also delivers expertise in relation to the renegotiation of banking loans, related litigation. NPL transfers and insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Stathis Potamitis

Testimonials

‘Combination of deep technical knowledge with business sense.’

‘Stathis Potamitis is a well-rounded lawyer with common sense and business acumen that is not always the characteristic of a lawyer.’

‘A readily available team with well thought out and educated restructuring solutions.’

‘I would recommend Stathis Potamitis as he is very knowledgeable of the industry and has both a continental and Anglo-Saxon legal background.  This is a very strong combination especially where the client is based on a jurisdiction where one type of law is practised but the relevant assets/collateral are situated in another jurisdiction where another type of law applies.’

‘Potamitis-Vekris firm is working in a pure professional level and is providing specialized services of high quality.’

‘Stathis Potamitis insolvency team manages to combine all necessary qualifications: cooperative spirit, inventive approach, familiarity with the legal framework and market perception.’

Key clients

Agricultural Bank of Greece Liquidator

PWC

ASTY SA

Hellenic Post Bank Liquidator

Alpha Bank

Bank of Cyprus

Piraeus Bank

EBRD

DIAS Aquaculture

SkyGreece

Work highlights

  • Advising Alpha Bank on an out of court workout that involves settlement of disputes with the Greek state an important employer that has significant contracts with the Greek navy.
  • Advising a major creditor, PHQ,  for a recovery agreement.
  • Advising Varagis AVEPE, a manufacturer, as debtor on its attempt to restructure and sell the business.

Alexiou & Kosmopoulos Law Firm

Alexiou & Kosmopoulos Law Firm is home to ‘hands-on partners’ who provide ‘quick and insightful responses’. The team is geared towards advising public companies undergoing special administration on all aspects of the liquidation process and also represents lenders, shareholders and investors on corporate recoveries, business and asset restructurings and collective enforcement procedures. Additional core strengths include the acquisition of distressed and non-distressed assets and the full range of advice for pre and post-insolvency proceedings, including disputes. Alexandros Kosmopoulos and Constantine Alexiou jointly head the practice which includes Sotiris Foteas, hailed by clients as a 'very good business partner'.

Practice head(s):

Constantine Alexiou; Alexandros Kosmopoulos

Testimonials

‘Hands on partners; our interaction was with partners directly which shows that AKL does not assign junior staff to do the work and have partners available only for meetings.’

‘Alexandros Kosmopoulos is a quick-thinker and can provide an ad hoc verbal analysis when provided with the points that need to be addressed. Sotiris Foteas was always available when we needed him and he would prepare memos that helped us in our analysis.’

‘Quick and insightful responses, strategic approach, focus on efficiency and quality.’

‘Sotiris Foteas is a very good business partner, has a very solid background and is always available to support our efforts.’

Key clients

Piraeus Bank S.A.

Eurobank Ergasias S.A.

Alpha Bank S.A.

Diorama SARL/Deca S.A.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Piraeus Bank and the Hellenic Republic in proceedings to have the Skaramangas shipyards, a major domestic supplier of the Hellenic Armed Forces, placed under special administration against a backdrop of high-stakes arbitration proceedings and questions relating to the recovery of unlawful State Aid.
  • AKL is advising on the restructuring of financial debt of a food and drinks group of a total amount of €355m.
  • Represented Eurobank Ergasias, the bondholder agent and lenders, under a €33m project loan.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm has expertise which encompasses insolvency, pre-insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings, support on debt-recovery matters, liabilities of insolvency, claw back actions and the ranking of creditors. Practice head Konstantinos Issaias handles contentious and advisory matters alike with specialist knowledge in advising creditors on all issues arising from their participation in restructuring schemes. Currently, his team is acting for aluminium frames producer Alumil in relation to restructuring discussions pertaining to its existing debt to six Greek banks.

Practice head(s):

Konstantinos Issaias

Key clients

Forthnet Group S.A.

Folli Follie

Alumil

Work highlights

  • Restructuring of the Greek jewellery and commercial brands representative FF Group (Folli Follie).
  • Advising the group of companies of Alumil, an aluminium frames producer and trader in its restructuring discussions regarding its existing debt towards six Greek banks as well as in other restructuring options involving possible cooperation and partial divestment to strategic investors.
  • Acted as legal adviser to the lending banks and shareholders in the Greek-listed company Forthnet S.A., a telecom and pay-tv company, in relation to the managing of their credit exposure in the issuer.

Lambadarios Law Firm

At Lambadarios Law Firm, the ‘partners are very responsive’ and possess ‘fantastic industry knowledge and contacts’. Prokopios Dimitriadis is renowned for his ‘invaluable guidance’ and jointly leads the practice with the ‘greatly experiencedConstantinos Lambadarios. While NPLs are a particular focus, the team also has further key strengths in debt restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy cases, securitisations and restructuring projects.

Practice head(s):

Prokopios Dimitriadis; Constantinos Lambadarios

Testimonials

‘Lambadarios Law Firm assisted our team with a number of Greek NPL acquisitions from Greek banks. Partners are very responsive, always available to make time for calls and document reviews or questions at short notice, and provide succinct analysis and notes on Greek law queries / issues and suggested solutions / next steps. Fantastic industry knowledge and contacts. The banking / restructuring team are also able to bring other teams up to speed on short notice where required (for example, data protection and tax).’

‘Prokopios Dimitriadis – Very knowledgeable on the Greek NPL market. Provided invaluable guidance on Greek securitisation and NPL laws and Greek banking secrecy laws.’

‘Constantinos Lambadarios – Great knowledge and experience of various sectors, including securitisation and NPL laws, competition laws and others. Very helpful with coordinating input from various internal teams.’

‘Chara Daouti – Very impressive with data protection and Greek banking secrecy negotiations.’

‘The team is solid and able to provide clear advice in a C-suite friendly fashion.’

‘Constantinos Lambadarios is an experienced lawyer, who is always available to take your call.’

Key clients

Hoist Finance

PQH

Baker & McKenzie

LoneStar

Cana Pharma

LoneStar

Davidson Kempner

Intrum

Work highlights

  • Advising Hoist Finance in the licensing procedure for the management of NPLs in the Greek market. This license is issued by the Bank of Greece and will be one of the few licenses to be issued for this purpose.
  • Advising Hines Inc. on the restructuring of a Pasal S.A. a listed entity going through bankruptcy.
  • Advising PQH, the single liquidation project run by PWC, Qualco and Hoist Finance, on regulatory matters of banking regulation, specifically focused on NPLs.

Platis – Anastassiadis & Associates Law Partnership

Platis – Anastassiadis & Associates Law Partnership provides ‘full coverage from start to finish’ on matters including restructuring procedures, rehabilitation agreements, common and special insolvency and pre-bankruptcy and bankruptcy procedures. Eirinikos Platis and Vassileios Mavrommatis head the practice which is also adept in respect of special administration and special liquidation procedures and owing to its partnership with the EY Law Network, is able to call upon extensive tax and advisory expertise.

Practice head(s):

Eirinikos Platis; Vassileios Mavrommatis;

Testimonials

‘Full coverage from start to finish of the procedure.’

Key clients

G. Lazaridis Marmor S.A. Under Special Administration

TEMKA S.A.

FESSAS S.A.

KATSIAMAKAS ANONYME INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL COMPANY Under Special Administration

CRONOS FINANCIAL SERVICES S.A Under Special Liquidation

Hellenic Vehicle Industry S.A. (ELVO)

Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund  (HRADF)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Temka S.A. on all aspects of its restructuring including debt advisory over capital structure and raising alternatives, designing the restructuring / turnaround plan and the implementation of the optimal exit strategy.
  • Acting for Fessas S.A. on all aspects of its restructuring including debt advisory over capital structure and raising alternatives, designing the restructuring / turnaround plan and the implementation of the optimal exit strategy.    
  • Acting for Cronos Financial Services on its entry into a special liquidation procedure, including debt advisory regarding the legislative framework; facilitating any interim capital restructuring, including participation in meetings and negotiations with the authorities and creditors.

Sarantitis

Sarantitis is home to ‘genuine expertise in restructuring and insolvency’, providing ‘comprehensive and business-orientated legal services’. Practice head Dorotheos Samoladas is noted as possessing ‘great experience’ in the field and recently advised Atlas Holdings in its negotiations as a potential investor in Alumil. The proposed investment plan includes discussions with the target’s lenders, several Greek banks, to restructure its debt obligations of approximately €160m.

Practice head(s):

Dorotheos Samoladas

Testimonials

‘In-depth, genuine and proven expertise in restructuring and insolvency, providing top-quality, comprehensive and business-orientated legal services at value-for-money prices.’

‘Dorotheos Samoladas as partner leading the department has a great experience in restructuring and insolvency, is highly proactive, takes account of business issues and provides top-quality and comprehensive, effective advice. George Dedes is an experienced senior associate who has participated in major restructuring deals in the industrial sector; highly responsive, proactive providing top-quality services.’

‘We find their approach entrepreneurial as well. They understand the business and the client needs on a potential investment. They spent time on understanding how we approach a specific investment. They work with us to explore different options.’

‘The individuals carry the firm’s DNA. Dorotheos Samoladas and Terina Raptis have a business approach as well as a legal approach. We value their business approach and their understanding of the businesses we want to invest in. They proved good at assisting us in our business negotiations.’

Key clients

Maillis S.A. / Maillis Group of Companies

Powerbrook SA

Club Hotel Loutraki SA

Atlas Holdings

11 former employees of Adel Saatchi & Saatchi S.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising Maillis S.A., Maillis’ Group and the owners of the Maillis’ Group i.e. H.I.G Europe Capital Partners L.P on the process, payment mechanics, drafting of security release and other loan and corporate documentation in relation to the sale by the Group’s subsidiary in Luxembourg.
  • Advising Atlas Holdings in its negotiations, as a potential investor in the Athens Stock Exchange-listed company ALUMIL S.A., parent company of the Alumil Group, one of the largest aluminium products manufacturers in Greece and world-wide.
  • Provision of legal services for the sale of Powerbrook’s stake in CHL SA, which controls both Casino Loutraki and Casino Belgrade, after the restructuring of the Casino Loutraki business, through among others, a pre-pack deal procedure with major creditors in 2017.