Firms To Watch: Insolvency and corporate recovery

Keystone Law‘s South West insolvency and corporate recovery offering includes acting for national and regional insolvency practices as well as companies and other stakeholders, often within a multi-jurisdictional context due to the firm’s international presence.

Insolvency and corporate recovery in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

The insolvency and corporate restructuring team at Burges Salmon LLP is praise for being ‘commercial and proactive‘. Based in Bristol and led by the ‘dedicatedAndrew Eaton, the team is increasingly involved in international matters alongside its sector expertise in the real estate, hotels, transport, and healthcare industries, amongst others. Emily Scaife regularly acts for key stakeholders on distressed matters, and has experience advising both the public and private sectors. Real estate related issues form part of Colin Ligman‘s portfolio.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Colin Ligman; Emily Scaife; James Sutherland

Testimonials

‘Top-quality firm with depth and breadth in all the relevant areas to deliver the services required in restructuring advisory. Inclusion and diversity is embedded in the firm’s culture.’

‘Andrew Eaton is dedicated, commercial and patient – all strong virtues when working in difficult situations.’

‘Andrew Eaton and Emily Scaife both provide clear advice and are happy to go the extra mile in order to support their clients.’

‘Good advice within the context of sector-specific requirements.’

‘Andrew Eaton clarifies the key points of complex situations and gives very sensible advice throughout.’

‘The team are commercial and proactive in their approach.’

‘This is a very well co-ordinated team that works well together and is clearly client-focussed. Good use of technology and very good co-ordination with other transaction-related teams.’

‘Andrew Eaton is an excellent leader of the practice. Experienced, creative, and understated.’

Key clients

C&J Clark Limited

FTI Consulting (acting as administrators of Côte Restaurants Group Holdings Limited)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Clarks on the restructuring of its debt favilities, which was effected alongside a £100m equity investment made by LionRock, the implementation of a CVA, and an internal group reorganisation.
  • Continued to advise administrators at FTI on the administration of Côte Restaurants Group Holdings Limited.

Osborne Clarke LLP

The team at Osborne Clarke LLP is well known for its sector expertise pertaining to financial services, real estate and construction, as well as energy and natural resources. Alongside its work for insolvency practitioners and lenders, the firm is also growing its focus on company-side matters. Located in Bristol, the team is led by Nigel Boobier, who regularly handles complex restructuring and insolvency assignments, often involving international aspects. Legal director Claire Bundy advises clients on contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Boobier

Other key lawyers:

Claire Bundy

Key clients

Teneo Restructuring Limited

Interpath Ltd t/a Interpath Advisory

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Pension Protection Fund

Alder King LLP

Grant Thornton LLP

Rcapital Partners

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Midas Group Limited and wider group companies

Work highlights

  • Advising Midas Group and related companies on contingency planning, sale options and directors duties ahead of administration appointments and then acting for Teneo in respect of the administrations relating to the Midas Group.
  • Advising the directors and subsequently the administrators/liquidators of the Castleoak group.
  • Advising Wirecard Card Solutions Limited following €3m accounting fraud by its parent company.

TLT

At TLT, the restructuring and insolvency practice covers the full gamut of stakeholders and is particularly sought after by banking clients hailing from India. Loan portfolio transactions, restructurings in the renewables sector, and acting for funds and private equity houses are additional strengths of the Bristol department. Practice head James Forsyth and associate Danielle Borthwick are praised for providing ‘faultless‘ advice with ‘exceptional‘ attention to detail. Peter Carney, whose specialistions include agricultural insolvency, and Abigail Hadfield are further key contacts.

Practice head(s):

James Forsyth

Other key lawyers:

Peter Carney; Abigail Hadfield; Danielle Borthwick

Testimonials

‘TLT provide an excellent service on contentious insolvency, their knowledge of the law practice and procedure of insolvency litigation is exceptional. Great attention to detail, good advice to the client and responsive and proactive throughout.’

‘James Forsyth and Danielle Borthwick – their advice is faultless and they are responsive and approachable at all times.’

Key clients

NatWest

HSBC

boohoo

Axis Bank Limited

American Express

Santander

The Insolvency Service

The Pensions Regulator

FRP Advisory

Teneo (formerly Deloitte)

Interpath (formerly KPMG)

State Bank of India

Work highlights

  • Acting for boohoo on its acquisitions of Debenhams and parts of the Arcadia group.
  • Acting for the directors of a local manufacturing business and helping them achieve a successful financial restructuring.
  • Working with one of the large firms of Insolvency Practitioners to achieve a complex international sale of a business and assets.

Ashfords LLP

Praised for its ‘broad experience in both contentious and non-contentious insolvency’, Ashfords LLP is particularly well known for its cross-border work for a wide range of clients. Alan Bennett heads the department with offices in Bristol and Exeter, and sports extensive experience handling insolvencies in a number of jurisdictions. Land and asset recovery as well as insolvent estates of deceased persons are the specialisms of David Pomeroy.

Practice head(s):

Alan Bennett

Other key lawyers:

David Pomeroy

Testimonials

‘This team continues to punch far above its weight in the insolvency litigation field.’

‘Alan Bennett continues to put most other insolvency solicitors in the shade. Judgement is perhaps the most important single quality in a litigation solicitor, and Alan has perhaps the best judgement in the market: when to press, when to take a pause.’

‘They are simply one of best insolvency teams in the South West with broad experience in both contentious and non contentious insolvency.’

‘The team were all collectively knowledgeable and there was never a case of them having to go away and research the legal position and come back with text book answers. They are a large firm and because of that you get the immediate expertise you require. This is essential when time is limited.’

‘Alan Bennett was exceptional in his guidance. Not only very skilful during mediation at keeping us as his client level headed but he also recognised the need to go further to avert any further attacks on our business and drove us to closing the deal in such a way that there would be no future comeback.’

Key clients

Smith & Williamson LLP

CVR Global LLP

Menzies LLP

Kirks

Albert Goodman LLP

PKF Francis Clark LLP

Bishop Fleming LLP

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Milsted Landon LLP

Quantuma LLP

Work highlights

    Clarke Willmott LLP

    Praised for its prowess in ‘dealing with technically challenging cases and litigation against multiple respondents’, Clarke Willmott LLP‘s restructuring and insolvency practice provides comprehensive support in litigation matters and non-contentious insolvency assignments.The ‘tenacious and robustMartin Askew, who specialises in insolvency litigation and misfeasance claims, and ‘standout’ Ken MacLennan jointly head the team. Senior associate Stephanie Bishop‘s portfolio includes restructuring and corporate insolvency, including bankruptcy.

    Practice head(s):

    Martin Askew; Ken MacLennan

    Other key lawyers:

    Stephanie Bishop; Ruth Hartnell-Thorne

    Testimonials

    ‘Excellent team, good product, works well with me as a client.’

    ‘Martin Askew is absolutely a top notch lawyer. Probably the best and definitely the most up-to-date knowledge than anyone I have worked with before.’

    ‘They have particular expertise in dealing with technically challenging cases and litigation against multiple respondents.’

    ‘Martin Askew has excellent technical knowledge of insolvency law, particularly in cases involving the use of offshore trusts.’

    ‘A cohesive team which stands out for its response times and availability. A high level of partner involvement but underpinned by a good quality team with a wide range of specialisms.’

    ‘Martin Askew – market leading understanding of contentious recovery routes. Tenacious and robust. Plain talking.’

    ‘Ken MacLennan – standout non-contentious specialist in local market. Wholly accessible and helpfully facilitates a wide range of specialisms.’

    ‘Clarke Willmott have long and an insolvency practice and the team has plenty of experience in contentious and non-contentious insolvency.’

    ‘I have recently worked with Ken MacLennan, who is very personable and has an excellent understanding of insolvency.’

    Key clients

    Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

    CVR Global LLP

    Elwell Watchorn & Saxton

    Grant Thornton UK LLP

    Interpath Ltd (t/a Interpath Advisory)

    Kingston Smith & Partners

    Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

    Mazars LLP

    Menzies LLP

    Quantuma LLP

    Smith & Williamson LLP

    The Insolvency Service

    Trustige Limited

    WSM Marks Bloom LLP

    Work highlights

    • Acting for Joint Liquidators/Joint Trustees from Elwell Watchorn & Saxton in respect of two companies in liquidation operating as cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
    • Acting for a liquidator from Moore Kingston Smith pursuing a claim against in excess of 60 respondents in respect of their use of a NIC and PAYE avoidance scheme with a case value of £3.5m.
    • Advising Hawksworth Securities PLC in relation to car parks owned by it that were included within the restructuring plan proposed by National Car Parks Limited (NCP).

    DAC Beachcroft LLP

    DAC Beachcroft LLP supports insolvency practitioners with contentious matters and advises clients on formal insolvencies, security issues, distressed debt, and restructurings, amongst others. The Bristol-based practice brings to bear particular sector expertise in regard to insurance, health, retail, and manufacturing. Giles Hindle and Kevin Hawthorn jointly lead the team, both handling a broad range of matters such as accelerated sale and misfeasance actions.

    Practice head(s):

    Giles Hindle; Kevin Hawthorn

    Key clients

    Smith & Williamson

    Quantuma

    Royal Mail Group

    Dura Automotive

    Equifax

    Nuffield Health

    CHG – Maridian

    SIKA

    Shiloh Industries

    AJ Gallagher

    Wincanton Plc

    Baker Tilly

    Boost & Co

    Leonard Curtis

    Mazars

    David Exell Associates

    Hawkins Insolvency

    Milsted Langdon

    Warrington Borough Council

    Savills

    Hazlewoods

    Moore Kingston Smith

    Work highlights

    • Advising Warrington Borough Council on their debt and investment exposure to the administration of Together Energy Limited.
    • Advising Dura GmbH on a collapse merger and COMI shift from Germany to the UK.
    • Advising Metinvest Group Ukraine on their UK group reorganisation.

    Foot Anstey

    The restructuring and insolvency practice at Foot Anstey is ‘innovative and creative with a strong regional market focus’, and handles matters from the first signs of distress to asset recovery and insolvency litigation. Joanne Rumley, who ‘expertly blends technical knowledge with commerciality and ensures that her advice fully meets the client’s needs’, leads the Bristol-based team. The disposal of trading businesses and real estate as well as the administration process of investment banks form part of legal director Tim Pritchard‘s set of specialisations. Senior associate Lydia Lloyd focuses on non-contentious restructuring and insolvency.

    Practice head(s):

    Joanne Rumley; Tim Pritchard

    Other key lawyers:

    Lydia Lloyd

    Testimonials

    ‘Solid mid-market firm that is innovative and creative with a strong regional market focus. Clearly diversity and inclusion is an important part of the firms DNA.’

    ‘Joanne and her team offer some of the best advice in the market as well as great value for money.’

    ‘Joanne Rumley is probably the best insolvency lawyer I know, she’s incredibly good technically but can also communicate on a human level and is extremely responsive.’

    ‘Joanne Rumley and Tim Pritchard are both flexible and pragmatic when providing advice and solutions. The team always provides responses in appropriate time frames, and are exceptional at providing guidance and strategy on difficult matters.’

    ‘The Foot Anstey team are highly experienced, and provide a very high quality service, at a very reasonable price, across mandates ranging from multinational transactions, to smaller bilateral matters.’

    ‘Joanne Rumley at Foot Anstey is the stand-out restructuring lawyer in the South West region. Tim Pritchard is also a very good lawyer, who gets the job done efficiently and to a very high standard.’

    ‘Foot Anstey’s Insolvency and Corporate recovery team are second to none. The level of knowledge, skills and experience are some of the highest in the industry meaning it is extremely unlikely you could provide them with a problem or scenario they wouldn’t be able to expertly advise on.’

    ‘Very strong and knowledgeable in all sectors but particularly financial services. Help work through difficult situations and legal advice is always backed up with practical guidance.’

    Key clients

    Smith & Williamson LLP

    FRP Advisory LLP

    BDO LLP

    PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co Limited

    Mazars LLP

    Quantuma LLP

    Catalyst Business Finance Limited

    Moore Kingston Smith

    Richard J Smith & Co

    McTear, Williams and Wood

    Work highlights

    • Advising the liquidator of SVK Capital Management Limited on the collection and return of house assets worth over £5m in multiple jurisdictions.
    • Advising the management and joint administrators of Jessops Europe Limited in respect of the company voluntary arrangement to enable the continued high street trading of the Jessops brand.
    • Advising Risk Capital LLP on the purchase of the Curious Brewery from administrators.

    Michelmores LLP

    Michelmores LLP has a strong track record of advising clients in corporate debt restructuring and voluntary arrangements in addition to personal insolvency and transactional work. Practice head Sacha Pickering splits his time between the firm’s Bristol, Exeter, and London offices. Also in Exeter, Karen Williams handles non-contentious debt and insolvency matters, while Sally Rice brings to bear a background in real estate finance.

    Practice head(s):

    Sacha Pickering

    Other key lawyers:

    Karen Williams; Sally Rice

    Key clients

    FRP Advisory

    Moorfields Corporate Recovery

    Quantuma

    Interpath Advisory

    Mazars

    De Villiers Corporate Advisory

    WSM Marks Bloom

    Smith & Williamson

    Duff & Phelps

    PKF Francis Clark

    Work highlights

    • Acting for FRP Advisory, the liquidators of retail brand Bon Marche, in relation to the business property portfolio and lease interests.
    • Acting as UK legal counsel for an international car manufacturer in relation to supply chain issues arising from the collapse of the Greensill Group and the related funding consequences for the Liberty Steel Group of companies.
    • Acting for a high net worth individual in defending a multi-million pound claim alleging a transaction defrauding creditors pursued under section 423 of the Insolvency Act.

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP joins the ranking with a Cheltenham-based practice whose core pillars are property insolvency, restructuring advice, and transactional work in the context of insolvencies. The department is led by James Hyne from London, while the key contact for the South West is insolvency expert Daniel Moore, who advises a broad range of stakeholders on international and domestic matters.

    Practice head(s):

    James Hyne

    Other key lawyers:

    Daniel Moore; Katy Ferguson

    Testimonials

    ‘I have found Charles Russell Speechleys extremely cost effective but still deliver excellent service, and value for money.’

    ‘Very commercial and will also take a view if matters are a bit tight.’

    ‘I have found Daniel Moore exceptional in all aspects of delivering what is required and as swiftly as possible, with the legal assurances, and the background experience to understand most situation. He is just brilliant, and would be delighted to recommend.’

    Key clients

    RSM Restructuring & Advisory

    Begbies Traynor

    Quantuma

    Work highlights

    • RSM Restructuring & Advisory (various matters)
    • Begbies Traynor (various matters)
    • Quantuma (various matters)

    Harrison Clark Rickerbys

    ‘A forward thinking practice with a wide range of skills’, Harrison Clark Rickerbys sports a broad restructuring and insolvency practice that covers corporate and personal as well as contentious and non-contentious matters. Robin Koolhoven, located in Cheltenham, regularly handles fraud and other allegations against stakeholders. Associate Deanne Hamilton and Paul Grundy are heavily involved in contentious insolvency work.

    Practice head(s):

    Robin Koolhoven

    Other key lawyers:

    Paul Grundy; Deanne Hamilton

    Testimonials

    ‘I have principally worked with Robin Koolhoven. The work has covered a range of commercial disputes in which Robin has provided not only legal advice but is also able to consider the wider commercial aspects of the matter in hand.’

    ‘This team has gone from strength to strength with the acquisitions and mergers of the last few years. There is now a lot of specialism within the firm.’

    ‘The more junior members of the team have high profile and experienced partners to learn from.’

    ‘Deanne Hamilton stands out because she is one of those people who always gives 110%, she is a perfectionist and makes sure she has thought about every angle of her cases.’

    ‘Robin Koolhoven is very personable but also very professional.’

    Key clients

    BDO LLP

    RSM Restructuring and Insolvency LLP

    McAlister & Co

    Teneo

    Menzies

    Durkan Cahill

    Grant Thornton

    Rimes & Co

    Hazlewoods

    Mazars

    Work highlights

    • Advising Simon Girling and Danny Dartnaill of BDO LLP, acting as joint liquidators of St Mary’s School Shaftesbury Trust.
    • Advising Simon Barriball and Sandra McAlister of McAlister and Co, acting as joint administrators of Norfolk Street Hotel & Residence Limited.
    • Advising the joint administrators of Dawnus Developments Limited and instructed to pursue claims including breach of fiduciary duty relating to a corporate restructuring transaction and share options entered into by the directors prior to insolvency.

    Stephens Scown LLP

    Praised for providing advice that is ‘unrivalled in terms of expertise’, Stephens Scown LLP‘s restructuring and insolvency practice is led by the ‘exceptional’ Exeter-based Andrew Knox, who specialises in wrongful trading cases and partnership insolvency. In Truro, Toby Claridge is noted for his involvement in minority shareholder claims as well as just and equitable winding ups.

    Practice head(s):

    Andrew Knox

    Other key lawyers:

    Toby Claridge

    Testimonials

    ‘The support received from this firm is unrivalled in terms of expertise and speed of response. From the point of instruction to delivery I have found all staff at partners to be thorough and knowledgeable in the areas of law required.’

    ‘Technically strong and very practical.’

    ‘Andrew Knox is an exceptional solicitor and is the insolvency partner at Stephens Scown.’

    ‘Very approachable and value for money on costs.’

    ‘Andrew Knox is excellent. Has very detailed knowledge with a great demeanour.’

    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 a shareholder and director in a deadlocked company in making an application to the court to appoint administrators to the company due to its insolvency.
    • Acted for Charter S.W. Limited in applying to court for an order to appoint administrators to Lomand Homes Limited in order to investigate a number of transactions involving the directors and a number of associated companies.
    • Acting for the administrators and assisting with dealing with a number of property/tenant matters and investigations into transactions involving the director and five associated companies.

    Thrings LLP

    Constituting a ‘sound option for all insolvency and recovery instructions’, Thrings LLP has recently been increasingly involved in crisis management and long-term business continuity matters, and has seen an influx in assignments with international elements due to Brexit. Mark Cullingford and Melissa George jointly lead the practice in Bristol.

    Practice head(s):

    Mark Cullingford; Melissa George

    Testimonials

    ‘They understand the human interests involved, and are as capable at looking at the big commercial picture as they are at getting into the thicket of legal analysis when necessary.’

    ‘Melissa George – a real pleasure to work with. She is well-organised, gives clear advice, and will fight for the client’s corner where necessary.’

    ‘Mark Cullingford – combines staggering analytical skill with superior legal knowledge and a boatload of commercial awareness.’

    ‘A sound option for all insolvency and recovery instructions. Market leading technical skills.’

    ‘Mark Cullingford – a great communicator.’

    ‘Melissa George – Creative and supportive.’

    Key clients

    Leonard Curtis Recovery

    Moore Kingston Smith

    Mazars

    Grant Thornton

    Quantuma

    Moorfields Recovery

    Francis Clarke

    Begbies Traynor

    Evtec Automotive

    Smith & Williamson

    Milsted Langdon

    Moore Kingston Smith

    PACT

    Moorfields

    Work highlights

    • Advised the management of an Italian-registered retail company and its UK establishment on the interaction of pre-Brexit Italian Insolvency proceedings and UK insolvency proceedings involving the closure of its two London West End stores, negotiations with landlords and interaction of Italian and UK Covid-related measures.
    • Advising a UK bank on the enforcement of its Euro loans and mortgages over Portuguese properties against a Scottish/Portuguese domiciled bankrupt on the appointment of trustees in bankruptcy in English bankruptcy proceedings to secure the early sale of the properties.
    • Advising the liquidators of a company in relation the arrangements under which the company had acquired the business and assets of mines and mining operations in multiple locations through a trust arrangement and immediately restructured those operations leaving the company insolvent and claims against the director shareholder and associated businesses.