Restructuring and insolvency in Greece

Bernitsas Law

Bernitsas Law advises on cross-border finance, distribution network and company restructurings, and M&A pertaining to distressed companies and assets. The team is also equipped to handle administrations, workouts, debt rescheduling, liquidations and receiverships, relevant investigations, bankruptcy and liquidation disputes, as well as restructuring-related IP and employment law mandates. Athanasia Tsene is renowned for financial restructurings and insolvency proceedings; she heads the department alongside Lambros Belessis, whose primary focus is the corporate restructuring of multinationals active in Greece. Another key contact is senior associate Dionysis Flambouras, who specialises in rehabilitations, financing arrangements and securitisations. The team regularly advises the Greek government on the restructuring of state-owned companies, but is active in an impressive array of industries, including insurance, technology, energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and real estate.

Practice head(s):

Lambros Belessis; Athanasia Tsene

Other key lawyers:

Panayotis Bernitsas; Dionysis Flambouras

Key clients

Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.

Eurobank Ergasias

Ellington Funds

Hellenic Petroleum SA

Hoist Hellas SA and Hoist Finance AB

Intrum AB

Piraeus Bank

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF)

Thea Artemis SA

Thomas Cook Group Tour Operations Limited (in liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Advising Thomas Cook Group Tour Operations Limited on the sale of its shares in its subsidiary Westfort Capital Limited to its other shareholder.
  • Advised Intrum AB on the acquisition of a portfolio of NPL loan and credit receivables (Project Aeolus), the first NPL portfolio transfer in the Greek market effected by the special liquidator appointed in respect of banks placed into liquidation, under the supervision of the Bank of Greece.
  • Advised XS Spirited Investments Corporation Limited, as an investor, on a rehabilitation agreement entered into by Spiliopoulos BG with the majority of its creditors, including lending banks represented by doValue and PQH.

Karatzas & Partners

Karatzas & Partners’ market-leading corporate, M&A, and banking and finance expertise makes it an ideal choice to handle the full suite of corporate and debt restructuring matters. Vassiliki Salaka heads the department, which recently advised B2Holding as a participant bidder in the sale and transfer by Alpha Bank of an approximately €2.5bn portfolio of sub-performing, non-performing consumer and small business loans. In addition, the group was engaged by Eurobank in relation to an NPL reduction acceleration plan dubbed Project Cairo.

Practice head(s):

Vassiliki Salaka

Other key lawyers:

Alexandros Metallinos; Christina Faitakis

Key clients

JP Morgan

Eurobank Ergasias

KKR / Pillarstone Greece

B2Holding

Alantra

Work highlights

  • Acting for JP Morgan and Alantra, as the arrangers, on Project Vega, which consists of three NPL securitisations by Piraeus Bank with a book value of €5bn.
  • Advising KKR and Pillarstone Greece on acquiring from Greek banks the debt of key Greek corporate borrowers through a securitisation platform and assuming the management and restructuring of such NPL positions in accordance with the new Greek NPL law on the acquisition and management of bank loans.
  • Advised Eurobank on its recently completed NPL reduction acceleration plan, Project Cairo.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is home to extensive insolvency law expertise, covering reorganisations, bankruptcy, centre of main interests (COMI), debt collection, security enforcement, special liquidations and creditor plans. On the restructuring front, the team is active in various sectors, including shipping, energy and real estate; it is well placed to advise on new loans, the restructuring of existing loans, debt and equity swaps, delisting and public tender offers. Department head Yianni Cheilas provides notable expertise in work-out arrangements, problematic loan monitoring and distressed debt enforcement cases. Beyond the firm’s extensive international footprint, a key differentiator for the Athens office is its capacity to provide both English and Greek law advice on-site.

Practice head(s):

Yianni Cheilas

Other key lawyers:

Vassilis Koroxenidis

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

  • Represented certain lenders – Citibank, N.A., the Export-Import Bank of China and others – in the financial restructuring of Toisa, one of the largest offshore and oceangoing ship operators, in the context of its Chapter 11 filing in the US.
  • Represented Citigroup and other lenders in the restructuring of $2.5bn of commercial bank debt of Danaos Corporation, an international container liner group.
  • Advising the Royal Bank of Scotland and EY Greece on the special administration of Zenon Real Estate SA, a Greek company which holds a property portfolio of commercial stores leased to the troubled Greek supermarket chain Marinopoulos SA.

PotamitisVekris Law Firm

One of the most dynamic firms in the Greek market’, PotamitisVekris Law Firm is acclaimed for its ‘very deep expertise in restructuring and insolvency’. Managing partner Stathis Potamitis is highlighted by his clients as 'an expert in the legislative framework surrounding liquidations’; he is particularly acclaimed for his work on corporate restructurings, bank resolutions and recapitalisations, refinancing plans and the liquidation of investment service firms. The team also delivers expertise in the negotiation of banking loans, refinancings, employment-related matters, insolvency, NPL transfers and related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stathis Potamitis

Other key lawyers:

George Bersis

Testimonials

‘One of the most dynamic firms in the Greek market. Very deep expertise in restructuring and insolvency.’

‘Stathis Potamitis combines theoretical knowledge and extensive experience. Apart from his universally acknowledged expertise, one very strong point is his very high EQ. Together with his authority, this really facilitates the complex and lengthy negotiations needed for a restructuring.’

‘I believe it is the best firm in Greece for restructuring and insolvency.’

‘Stathis Potamitis’ best qualities are his extensive knowledge of Greek, European and international law, ability to accommodate the complex needs of various stakeholders, kind behaviour and ethical character.’

‘They are experienced, honest and responsive. They always outline areas of legal risk in a focused way, allowing for evaluation from a business perspective.’

‘Stathis Potamitis is commercially aware and provides creative thinking. He has a transactional background and is an expert in the legislative framework surrounding liquidations.’

Key clients

Hellenic Ministry of Finance

Folli Follie

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

  • Advised the Greek Ministry of Finance on the coordination of an ad hoc committee set up to redraft the Greek Bankruptcy Code to create an integrated set of proceedings covering both commercial and consumer insolvency and providing both for preventive and liquidation solutions.
  • Advising the board of directors of Folli Follie SA on the attempted restructuring of the company in agreement with international noteholders, one of the largest restructuring efforts in Greece.
  • Acting as lead adviser to PQH, the sole special liquidator for Greek banks and financial services companies, on dealing with liquidation and collection, regulatory adjustments, placement of portfolios and the reorganisation of the legal department of the liquidator.

AKL Law Firm

AKL Law Firm's practice is equipped to handle the full array of company restructuring and insolvency mandates. The keystones of its workload are its advice on distressed and non-distressed asset transactions, enforcement procedures, associated disputes, and business and asset restructuring, as well as corporate recoveries. Alexandros Kosmopoulos is the key contact for regulatory and transactional matters, while Constantine Alexiou leads the contentious offering; the pair jointly head the department alongside Sotiris Foteas, who supports on all fronts. The team counts a number of prominent Greek banks among its clients, routinely advising them on debt restructuring deals.

Practice head(s):

Constantine Alexiou; Alexandros Kosmopoulos; Sotiris Foteas

Key clients

PIRAEUS BANK S.A.

EUROBANK S.A.

ALPHA BANK S.A.

DIORAMA SARL/DECA S.A.

HELLENIC SHIPYARDS S.A. (under special administration)

Work highlights

  • Representing the special administrator of Hellenic Shipyards in various court proceedings seeking a judicial extension of the duration of the special administration procedure.
  • Advising a consortium of three Greek systemic banks (Eurobank Ergasias SA, Alpha Bank SA and Piraeus Bank SA) on a long series of pending proceedings between the owner of a landmark hospitality unit on the island of Crete and the concessionaire of a landmark hospitality asset in the wider Athens area.
  • Represented Eurobank Ergasias SA, acting as the bondholders’ agent on a €33m project loan, in taking termination action and pursuing enforcement proceedings seeking to foreclose on the property of a private clinic at the pre-completion stage following the acceleration of the loan.

Koutalidis Law Firm

Clients recommend Koutalidis Law Firm for its ‘unique understanding of commercial challenges and ability to tailor creative legal solutions’. Over the past year, the department has been engaged on a number of high-end debt restructurings and NPL-related transactions, frequently acting for the four Greek systematic banks. Nikos Koritsas jointly fronts the practice alongside Ioannis Kaptanis and Effie Papoutsi.

Practice head(s):

Nikos Koritsas; Ioannis Kaptanis; Effie Papoutsi

Testimonials

‘Unique understanding of commercial challenges and ability to tailor creative legal solutions.’

‘Superb level of response and collaboration.’

Deep understanding of business challenges and tailor-made solutions to every aspect of legal work.’

Key clients

Alpha Bank

Piraeus Bank

Eurobank

National Bank of Greece

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Goldman Sachs International Bank

J.P. Morgan Securities plc / J.P. Morgan Europe Limited

Merrill Lynch International

Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc.

Barclays Bank plc

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft

Nomura International plc.

Société Générale

Credit Suisse

HSBC France / HSBC Bank plc

GMR Group Limited

Aktor Concessions S.A.

Fraport Greece

Euroxx Securities S.A.

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

ING Bank N.V.

Aegean Motorway S.A.

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of the four Greek systemic banks (National Bank of Greece S.A., Alpha Bank S.A., Piraeus Bank S.A. and Eurobank S.A.), as the largest creditors, on the appointment of a provisional board of directors of Creta Farm and on the negotiation of the debt restructuring with the new investor.
  • Acted on behalf of the four Greek systemic banks, as the largest creditors, on the corporate reorganisation and debt restructuring of Nireus and Selonda.
  • Advised a foreign financial institution, acting as finance arranger and provider, on the debt portion of the consideration of the sale by the National Bank of Greece S.A., by way of a securitisation, of a portfolio of secured NPLs of €900m to a joint venture of Centerbridge Partners and Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm

Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm is equipped to handle insolvency, pre-insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings, as well as lending its expertise on debt recovery matters, claw back actions and the ranking of creditors. Department co-head Konstantinos Issaias handles contentious and advisory matters alike, with a strong track record in out-of-court restructuring projects in addition to judicial restructuring proceedings. Theodore Rakintzis leads the team alongside Issaias.

Practice head(s):

Konstantinos Issaias; Theodore Rakintzis

Work highlights

  • Acting for the group of bondholders of the CHF 150m bond loan provided to Folli Follie Group.
  • Advising Alumil Group on restructuring discussions regarding its existing debt with six Greek banks, as well as restructuring options involving possible cooperation and partial divestment to strategic investors.
  • Advising Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, National Bank of Greece and Attica Bank on the restructuring of the Forthnet Group and the potential sale of its debt, convertible notes and listed shares held by the clients.

Lambadarios Law Firm

A key differentiator for Lambadarios Law Firm's 'hands-on and very knowledgeable' team is its relationship with Baker McKenzie, which refers to the firm numerous matters on behalf of prestigious multinationals active in Greece. Among its fields of expertise are company liquidations, internal restructurings, regulatory and compliance matters, ancillary agreements and NPLs, among other matters. The department is jointly headed by 'strong leader’ Constantinos Lambadarios and Prokopis Dimitriadis, who is described as ‘an excellent client-facing partner’; it also includes Melina Katsimi, who specialises in relevant due diligence work.

Practice head(s):

Prokopis Dimitriadis; Constantinos Lambadarios

Other key lawyers:

Melina Katsimi

Testimonials

‘The team is both experienced but also deal-oriented, trying to assist the client and the other parties involved to make a deal.’

‘They are knowledgeable, with industry experience, responsive and committed.’

‘Constantinos Lambadarios stands out and is a strong leader. Prokopis Dimitriadis is experienced and an excellent client-facing partner.’

‘Lambadarios Law firm provides assistance to financial institutions and companies in distress. They are very good in advising on the effect of insolvency proceedings and supporting on debt recovery matters.’

‘The team is always hands-on and very knowledgeable in understanding the issues raised, and always responds in a very quick and precise manner. They are always reachable and ready to help, no matter how simple or difficult the question is.’

‘Constantinos Lambadarios and Prokopis Dimitriadis are always involved in a day-to-day manner and do not just have high-level oversight of the case. They are involved in all communications and enquiries in a very personal manner. You know that they will pick up the phone whenever you need them.’

Key clients

National Bank of Greece

Piraeus Bank

Hoist Finance

PQH

Baker McKenzie

Lone Star

Cana Pharma

Davidson Kempner

Intrum

Work highlights

  • Advising natural gas company Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) on its corporate transformation (demerger) valued at approximately €1bn, which is the largest ongoing restructuring in Greece’s energy sector.
  • Acted as lead lenders’ counsel to Piraeus Bank on the sale of multiple NPL portfolios of a total of approximately €700m.
  • Advising a syndicate of four major Greek banks (National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank) as subscribers to a bond loan amounting to €130m, regarding the refinancing of GEK Terna.

Platis – Anastassiadis & Associates Law Partnership

Platis – Anastassiadis & Associates Law Partnership is highly regarded for its strength in common and special insolvency, administration, special liquidation, bankruptcy and pre-bankruptcy proceedings. The team also demonstrates prowess in debt recovery solutions and supports its clients at all stages of the restructuring process, covering rehabilitation, collateral agreements and court petitions. Founding partner Eirinikos Platis has garnered vast experience in the sale of distressed loan portfolios to Greek systemic banks, while Vassileios Mavrommatis leverages his track record of acting for liquidators, special liquidators, administrators and creditors.

Practice head(s):

Eirinikos Platis; Vassileios Mavrommatis

Key clients

G. Lazaridis Marmor S.A. Under Special Administration

TEMKA S.A. Under Special Administration

FESSAS S.A. Under Special Administration

KATSIAMAKAS ANONYME INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL COMPANY Under Special Administration

CRONOS FINANCIAL SERVICES S.A Under Special Liquidation

Hellenic Vehicle Industry S.A. (ELVO) Under Special Liquidation

Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF)

Creta Farm S.A.

Maria AVEE Under Special Administration

ALEX. P. PALAIOLOGOS S.A. Under Special Administration

Work highlights

  • Providing restructuring law advice to Lazaridis Marmor S.A. on capital structure and raising alternatives and designing, from a legal perspective, the restructuring/turnaround plan, and the implementation of the optimal exit strategy.
  • Advising the special liquidator of Cronos Finance S.A., upon its entry into a special liquidation procedure, on the legislative framework and facilitating any interim capital restructuring, including participation in meetings and negotiations with the authorities and creditors.
  • Advising the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, which was established in order to exploit the private assets owned by the Greek state and the assets of bodies governed by public law or public corporations whose share capital belongs entirely to the Greek state or bodies governed by public law, whether directly or indirectly.