Insolvency and corporate recovery in South West

Ashfords LLP

The team at Ashfords LLP is regularly instructed in corporate and personal insolvencies as well as in transactional and restructuring assignments, providing advice on cross-border and related litigation matters. Practice head Alan Bennett has 'a legendary status among insolvency lawyers in the South West'; he is well versed in restructuring across borders and law firm insolvencies. David Pomeroy specialises in land and asset recovery. Legal director Katie Farmer handles transactions and contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Alan Bennett

Other key lawyers:

David Pomeroy; Katie Farmer

Testimonials

‘This is a team that bats massively above its weight. Led by Alan Bennett, who has legendary status among insolvency lawyers in the South West, this is a national firm with a South West base, with a conspicuous and growing presence in London.’

‘In my view, no other insolvency team in the South West can boast anything like their catalogue of High Court insolvency litigation. They are more than a match for the London firms, as is evidenced by the list of litigation against them.’

‘Collaboration, multi-disciplined, technical knowledge and efficient.’

‘Without a doubt one of the leading insolvency law teams in the South West. The team is now headed by Alan Bennett, who covers all 3 offices, supported by David Pomeroy based in Bristol and Katie Farmer in Exeter. They cover all aspects of commercial and personal insolvency, both contentious and non-contentious. There is no need to go anywhere else.’

‘Each individual brings an ability to analyse and understand complex problems. They never lose sight of the commercial considerations of the client (whether an office holder or an individual). Alan Bennett is also very experienced in international cross-border insolvency ’

‘The team has an excellent reputation for deals with contentious insolvency matters as well as cross border matters. Alan Bennett is supported in the Exeter market by Katie Farmer who has a great profile in her own right and client following.’

‘Katie Farmer deserves to be recognised as a leading individual, as I regularly encounter her on high value and profile matters taking a leading role. She is highly technical and effective. Clients really like working with her and appreciate her no nonsense approach.’

 

Key clients

Smith & Williamson LLP

CVR Global LLP (now Begbies Traynor LLP)

Menzies LLP

Kirks

Albert Goodman LLP

PKF Francis Clark LLP

Bishop Fleming LLP

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Milsted Langdon LLP

Quantuma LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for the administrators CVR Global LLP of Scott Fowler LLP in connection with a sale of the business, including Solicitor Manager appointment.
  • Acted for the Liquidators of Menzies LLP who had the benefit of a deed of indemnity given by the Company’s former directors in relation to tax claims arising for a tax avoidance scheme the Company had entered into, resulting in a significant recovery for the liquidation.
  • Successfully supported the administrators CVR Global LLP who were the subject of a removal application.

Burges Salmon LLP

Praised as being 'incredibly proactive', Burges Salmon LLP's broad client portfolio includes banks and financial institutions, corporates, funds, distresses investors and pension trustees. It equally spans numerous industries, such as renewable energy, real estate, hotels and healthcare. A special area of expertise is insolvency matters involving pension law issues. Practice head Andrew Eaton has longstanding experience in national as well as international distressed situations. Director Emily Scaife is 'a rising star with a great profile in the space.' She handles corporate restructurings in the public and private space. Colin Ligman is noted for structuring and securing loan facilities.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Colin Ligman; Emily Scaife; Nick Middleton

Testimonials

‘The restructuring and insolvency team takes a very commercial view in how they look at situations. They take the legal requirements and then overlay a commercial aspect which makes it easier for non-lawyers to relate and understand the available options. They work seamlessly with other Burges Salmon functions – notably banking and corporate who we work with. They are incredibly proactive and offer really strong value for money being as they are not based in London. I would say you get a London silver circle offering for significantly less cost.’

‘I have worked with both Andy Eaton and Emily Scaife. They are both first class, Andy is a seasoned pro and Emily is a rising star with great profile in the space. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.’

‘Emily Scaife was outstanding. She was incredibly diligent on a very complicated and time pressured case. The restructuring would never have happened without her.’

‘Burges Salmon’s team is reliable, efficient and knowledgeable with approachable team members. They have built an excellent reputation in the region and outside of it and have been involved in many of the landmark cases in our region so their breadth of experience is unrivalled in Bristol.’

‘Andy Eaton, Emily Scaife and Nick Middleton are wonderful people who have formed good relationships and are easy to engage with. They are excellent specialists and listen to their clients and advise appropriately.’

Key clients

Adelie Foods Limited (in administration)

Trustees of the Silentnight Pension Scheme

Bakers & Baristas UK Limited

Beulah London Ltd

FTI Consulting LLP

FRP Advisory

Deloitte LLP

Trustees of the Beales DB Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for Adelie Foods Limited throughout its accelerated M&A process and subsequently acted for administrators from Deloitte on a number of asset sales.
  • Acted for FTI Consulting LLP as administrators on the sale of the business and operating assets of Cote Restaurants Group Holdings Limited and other Group companies.
  • Acted for the Unitech Aerospace group and subsequently for administrators from FRP Advisory on a restructuring including the trading administration of Tods Aerospace.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Practice head Nigel Boobier and legal director Claire Bundy at Osborne Clarke LLP are praised as 'exceptional restructuring specialists.' The team has established connections to insolvency practitioners, clearing and challenger banks, and it works regularly on the lender side. The client portfolio includes names from the financial services, real estate and technology industries. It further has a solid track record in acting in insolvencies and corporate restructurings involving pension funds. Douglas Hawthorn joined from Michelmores LLP in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Boobier

Other key lawyers:

Claire Bundy; Douglas Hawthorn 

Testimonials

‘Good quality personnel at each level with no weak links’

‘Nigel Boobier – very client focused making sure that advice is tailored to client needs.’

‘Claire Bundy is a hard working and practical lawyer.’

‘What makes Osborne Clarke such a strong proposition is their strength in depth, being able to involve a number of strong disciplines including pensions, property and corporate in particular. We take a lot of comfort that we have strong advice from a number of disciplines, but importantly always led by an experienced restructuring professional who not only has an extensive legal understanding, but are highly focussed and commercial and coordinate the team to get the best result, usually against very tight timetables.’

‘Nigel Boobier and Claire Bundy are exceptional restructuring specialists. All of these individuals have an exceptional legal understanding but also a highly commercial approach and a strong commitment to deliver to meet their clients (sometimes tough) expectations, which are always managed realistically.’

Key clients

Barclays

KPMG LLP

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Deloitte LLP

BDO LLP

Pension Protection Fund

Alder King LLP

Grant Thornton LLP

Rcapital

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Begbies Traynor Group

Work highlights

  • Instructed by PwC to deal with the retention of title claims in the retail administration of Laura Ashley which involved advising PwC in respect of domestic and overseas suppliers.
  • Instructed by Deloitte as administrators to advise on the validity of their appointments in respect of 9 companies and on the validity of the security created by these entities in favour of lenders.
  • Advised the administrators on a complex business and asset sale to a competitor.

TLT

TLT 'has the widest breadth of capability in the region with a strong and diverse team across all levels.' Led by the dedicated James Forsyth, the practice is well positioned to advise the full range of stakeholders, including lenders, bond and equity holders, banks and debt acquires; it has special experience assisting Indian clients. Beyond his broad knowledge, Peter Carney has special expertise in agricultural insolvency. Abigail Hadfield is a key contact for lenders and insolvency officeholders.

Practice head(s):

James Forsyth

Other key lawyers:

Peter Carney; Abigail Hadfield; Tom Ward

Testimonials

‘Very strong “go to” regional firm, with a deep team bench across a number of key specialisms and sectors. Strong connection with the South West business community.’

‘James Forsyth offers a calm head during times of crisis with pragmatic, clear and robust advice.’

‘Abigail Hadfield provides high quality and timely legal advice. She seeks out solutions for her clients whilst also balancing the needs of other key stakeholders, helping to deliver strong outcomes.’

‘The team are always available to contact whether that is through phone or email. Access is direct without having to go through an assistant or P.A.’

‘The individuals know their specific areas in great detail and more often than not, able to provide a swift response without the need to go away, research the answer and come back. Their advice has proven very useful in dealing with tricky matters.’

‘The TLT team has the widest breadth of capability in the Region with a strong and diverse team across all levels.’

‘James Forsyth is one of the leading lawyers in the Region, with a high level of experience and industry knowledge. James is always highly commercial in his approach with a clear understanding of various stakeholder dynamics to deliver the best outcomes.

‘Abigail Hadfield is great at covering off all of the angles, with deep relationships with clients to really understand their needs.’

Key clients

boohoo.com

Stonebridge Private Equity (SCP)

Arlington Energy

KPMG

The Insolvency Service

FRP Advisory LLP

Wolf Minerals

Menzies LLP

NatWest

Grant Thornton

Begbies Traynor

BDO

Work highlights

  • Acted for the online fashion retailer boohoo on its purchases of the IPR and digital assets of Debenhams and, subsequently, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis from their administrators.
  • Advised SCP Private Equity on the precedent-setting acquisition of popular menswear brand T.M. Lewin.
  • Advised Deloitte on the prepackaged sale of Go Outdoors to JD Sports Fashion and subsequently on aspects of the administration.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is noted for covering the full range of insolvency and restructuring mandates, be it contentious or non-contentious. In the latter, the team is particularly active in breach of duty and employee benefit trusts claims as well as those where tax planning or offshore structure schemes have been implemented. Martin Askew has experience in asset recovery and Ken MacLennan is 'a sophisticated and charming non-contentious operator'; together, they head up the team. Senior associate Stephanie Bishop advises on misfeasance and wrongful/fraudulent trading.

Practice head(s):

Martin Askew; Ken MacLennan

Other key lawyers:

Sonal Chudasama; Stephanie Bishop

Testimonials

‘Nothing is too much trouble form the smallest client to a multi-million pound enterprise. Both are treated with the same care and attention.’

‘Ken McLennan – Ken is a pragmatic lawyer who always looks for ways to solve a situation in the most practical way. He is also interested in the client paying a real attention to them.’

‘Martin Askew is a quality solicitor. Probably one of the best technical insolvency solicitors I have ever come across.’

‘Clarke Willmott have a particular expertise in complex, contentious insolvency litigation involving transaction avoidance claims, particularly involving the use of s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986. ’

‘Martin Askew is a tenacious and diligent litigator with an impressive understanding of the technicalities of insolvency law.

‘Sonal Chudasama has impressed me greatly with her attention to detail. Working on a case against 63 Respondents, and she has repeatedly demonstrated a comprehensive command of the key facts relating to each of those individuals. ’

‘A great strength in depth and a regionally-leading firm with highly rated specialists in all departments. Of particular merit is the quality of the more junior staff. ’

‘Stephanie Bishop – supports the partner team with knowledge and commitment.’

Key clients

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Bradford & Sons Limited

CVR Global LLP

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Kingston Smith & Partners

KPMG LLP

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

Mazars LLP

Menzies LLP

Quantuma LLP

Smith & Williamson LLP

The Insolvency Service

The Rugby Players’ Association

Umberto Ferioli, as curatore of Estate Service S.A.S Di Toniolo Lucia Catherine & C.

Wilkins Kennedy

WSM Marks Bloom LLP

Elwell Watchorn & Saxton

Work highlights

  • Acting for a liquidator pursuing a claim against in excess of 60 respondents in respect of their use of an NIC and PAYE avoidance scheme with a case value of £3.5m.
  • Acting for administrators on pre-pack administration, taking and enforcing security, claiming against deceased estates, insurance, misfeasance and insolvency officeholder claims.
  • Acting for Bradford & Sons Limited in relation to a former group member that entered administration and our client’s position as landlord, guarantor, creditor and IT service provider to the former group member as well as ability to access tax losses.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP advises lenders, investors, creditors, institutional landlords, corporates and insolvency officeholders in insolvency and restructuring matters. Giles Hindle leads the team, which also includes Kevin Hawthorne.

Practice head(s):

Giles Hindle

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Hawthorne

Foot Anstey

The service provided by Foot Anstey is 'excellent in terms of value for money, timeliness of response and ability to combine a technical answer with commercial awareness.' The team particularly advises affected stakeholders but is also instructed in personal insolvency proceedings. Matters often take place in the financial services, charity, school and infrastructure space. Practice head Joanne Rumley has established herself as a trusted advisor for distressed lenders. Legal director Tim Pritchard and associate Lydia Lloyd are also key team members.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Rumley

Other key lawyers:

Tim Pritchard; Lydia Lloyd

Testimonials

‘Smaller firm, so you receive fantastic value for money.’

‘Primarily I work with Joanne Rumley. She is my “go to” when it comes to technical insolvency advice and consistently outshines others in the market.’

‘Service is excellent in terms of value for money, timeliness of response and ability to combine a technical answer with commercial awareness.’

‘Joanne Rumley is the stand out member of the team, and in our view, the leading restructuring lawyer in the region. She offers an excellent partner-led service and ensures that all outputs are of a very good quality.’

‘Tim Pritchard has a very good eye for the detail, and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that work is delivered on time and on budget.’

‘Their associates, including Lydia Lloyd, deliver work of a very high standard.’

‘We have worked with the Foot Anstey team on a number of highly complex transactions over the course of the last few years, and I have found them to be a very capable team able to deal with transactions that require a multi-disciplinary team with legal input across a range of issues to cover insolvency/restructuring, corporate, property, employment and pensions.

‘Individuals who deserve special mention are Joanne Rumley, Tim Pritchard and Lydia Lloyd.  Each of these individuals have a solid technical legal understanding but importantly are highly commercial, giving practical advice and supporting strategy and key decision making. ’

 

Key clients

KPMG LLP

Smith & Williamson LLP

FRP Advisory LLP

Duff & Phelps Ltd

Mazars LLP

Richard J Smith & Co LLP

Catalyst Business Finance Limited

Quantuma LLP

PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co Limited

BDO LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised the buyers on a lender back management buyout via a pre-packaged administration process of one of the largest manufacturers of windows and doors, preserving 850 jobs primarily in the South Wales region but ensuring continuation of key branded processes used extensively across the UPVC market.
  • Assisted HawleyHurst School with ever increasing creditor pressure and subsequently supported the appointed administrators over all three companies.
  • Advised the joint special administrators of Reyker Securities plc  on their appointment as special administrators and providing on going advice and support in the special administration.

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP's broad practice spans corporate debt restructurings, asset investigations, recoveries, transactions and Individual Voluntary Arrangements. It also has know-how in personal insolvencies and works closely with its London office, in particular in cross-border mandates. Practice head Sacha Pickering is an able advisor on all aspects of appointment holders' duties, powers and responsibilities. His team also includes the 'very thorough and detailedKaren Williams who is well versed in property related insolvency matters. Charles Maunder left for Pinsent Masons LLP in August 2020; two months later, senior associate Emily Reeve joined from TLT.

Practice head(s):

Sacha Pickering

Other key lawyers:

Karen Williams; Emily Reeve

Testimonials

‘Collaborative; Good technical knowledge; Personable’

‘Very experienced team and well set up. Reliable and commercial. Very nice team to deal with.’

‘Emily Reeve is a very safe pair of hands and very capable for insolvency litigation.’

‘Karen Williams – excellent partner, very thorough and detailed.’

‘Sacha Pickering is an excellent partner, great personality to deal with.’

 

Key clients

BDO

FRP Advisory

Smith & Williamson

Intu Plc

Neo Investment Partners LLP

James Cowper LLP

KPMG

Grant Thornton

Leonard Curtis Recovery

Duff & Phelps

Begbies Traynor

Azets

Work highlights

  • Advised Relyon Beds in relation to the pre-pack purchase of the business and assets relating to the Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture administrations.
  • Acted for Head in relation to the acquisition of the business and assets of swimwear brand, Zoggs, by way of a pre-pack administration.
  • Acting for the trustee in bankruptcy in relation to international investigation and asset realisation in various jurisdictions including Iran, BVI, France, Monaco and the UK.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Harrison Clark Rickerbys 'has strength in depth' in insolvencies and restructurings. Led by Robin Koolhoven, the practice covers contentious and non-contentious related matters, with knowledge in director disqualification under CDDA 1986 as well as a focus on the education, defence and security and renewable energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Robin Koolhoven

Other key lawyers:

Paul Grundy

Testimonials

‘Commercial and innovative firm that is well networked and offers opportunities to work collaboratively with other advisors and their client projects to help give the best possible advice.’

‘They go the extra mile, have in-depth knowledge of their subject area and are personal in their approach.’

‘Well rounded team with the breadth and depth to provide both insolvency and asset disposal advice. The team works well with IP’s the borrower and their agents. The team works well together to help deliver strategies in a timely manner.’

‘This team has strength in depth, it has acquired partners from a number of other well known local firms to build a formidable and well respected team. The knowledge of insolvency and corporate recovery is unparalleled locally.’

‘Robin Koolhoven – strong, pragmatic and commercially minded lawyer, focussed on helping his clients overcome hurdles in deals and achieve good commercial outcomes.’

‘Quick thinking and commercial.’

‘Robin is very approachable and quickly grasps the nub of the contentious issues. I particularly appreciate his willingness to accept that there may be differing opinions to his own and will discuss to ensure consensus before proceeding.’

‘HCR has a very strong team in the South West and one of the few that can support on both personal and corporate insolvency cases and also contentious and non-contentious matters. The insolvency team continues to grow alongside the wider practice.’

Key clients

BDO LLP

RSM Restructuring and Advisory LLP

Safran Landing Systems UK Ltd

Rimes and Co Limited

McAlister & Co

Mazars

CVR Global

Quantuma

Grant Thornton

Opus

Work highlights

  • Advised the Joint Administrators of St Mary’s School Shaftesbury Trust on the administration and closure of school which was run as a charitable foundation.
  • Advised and assisted the joint administrators in respect of the sales of the manufacturing and retail divisions of the South West based chain of opticians.
  • Advised the Joint Administrators of The Great British Card Company on the administration and sale of one of the largest greeting card provided in the UK.

Stephens Scown LLP

Led by the 'measured, calm and thoroughAndrew Knox, the team at Stephens Scown LLP handles investigations into director conduct, challenging injunction proceedings, and claims against directors, among others. It acts for liquidators and business owners. Toby Claridge has experience in contentious matters. Solicitor Sean Jenner advises insolvency practitioners, company directors, and individuals.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Knox

Other key lawyers:

Toby Claridge; Sean Jenner

Testimonials

‘Good technical knowledge, collaboration and personable.’

‘Andrew Knox – Andrew is a great lawyer. Hugely experienced in insolvency, who normally sends very comprehensive instructions.’

‘Very approachable and skilled team for insolvency work. They genuinely care about the cases and help to make them work.’

‘Sean Jenner – good attention to detail and very affable to deal with. An associate to watch.’ 

‘A broad based and practical provided of solutions to legal issues that arise in all types of insolvency, and at reasonable cost.’

‘Andrew Knox – measured, calm and thorough.’

Key clients

Corporate Recovery Specialists Limited t/a Purnells

Richard J Smith & Co LLP

Bishop Fleming LLP

PKF Francis Clark LLP

Lameys

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Thomas Westcott Business Recovery LLP

ACL Properties (2013) Limited

Brailey Hicks Limited

Jones Giles Clay Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the consortium ACL Properties (2013) Ltd formed to acquire the business of Axminster Carpets Limited from administrators on bid strategy and also instructed on undertaking the acquisition.
  • Advising trustee in bankruptcy on asset realisations (including an income payments order) and claims for preferences and transactions at undervalue on three linked bankruptcy cases.
  • Advising the liquidators on asset recovery, investigation and a petition brought by shareholders claiming unfair prejudice and the return of a property to the company

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP has notable know-how in the agriculture, professional services and manufacturing supply chains sectors. It works closely with the firm's litigation, corporate and finance groups in order to cover contentious and non-contentious matters comprehensively. Mark Cullingford is well versed in corporate restructurings, and Melissa George is a key contact in distressed transactions; together they lead the group.

Practice head(s):

Mark Cullingford; Melissa George

Other key lawyers:

Kevin McGuinness

Key clients

Leonard Curtis Recovery

Moore Kingston Smith

Mazars

Grant Thornton

Quantuma

Moorfields Recovery

Bibby Financial Services Ltd

Begbies Traynor

Evtec Automotive

Smith & Williamson

Milsted Langdon

PACT

Moorfields

Work highlights

  • Advising a UK Bank on options to enforce its fixed charge security over property in Europe owned by an English Borrower following Bankruptcy and taking steps to secure control of properties for sale.
  • Advising an EU retailer on the implications of a structural merger and subsequent EU insolvency proceedings to their obligations under English leases, concurrent claims by multiple landlords, Covid related issues and enforcement action in England and UK Secondary Insolvency Proceedings.
  • Advising Evtec Automotive Limited on the multi-million pound purchase of business and assets of Arlington Engineering Limited from Administrators

VWV

VWV covers formal insolvencies, fiduciary and directors’ duties as well as the sale, acquisition or transfer of insolvency assets. Practice head Ed Husband has experience in debt recovery and insolvency litigation. Senior associate Kelly Johnson is another visible practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Ed Husband 

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Johnson