Insolvency and corporate recovery in Switzerland

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd has a stellar reputation in the insolvency and restructuring space. The group is experienced in dealing with distressed businesses, appointments as administrators and bankruptcy mandates, in particular if the work involves cross-border elements. Geneva practice head Vincent Jeanneret is regularly appointed as receiver or liquidator. Urs Hoffmann-Nowotny is the key contact in Zurich, particularly for litigation. Of counsel Olivier Hari and dispute resolution expert Louis Burrus are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Vincent Jeanneret

Testimonials

The team is very reliable, responsive and easy to work with. It has a quick grasp of problems that go beyond Swiss law and is very well versed in the handling of complex cases with multi-jurisdictional elements.’

Vincent Jeanneret has very broad experience and know-how of all insolvency / restructuring related issues; he is also noted for being an excellent negotiator.

Key clients

Three foundations in Assura group of companies

Fondation Hypotheka

Gilbert Albert employees’ pension plan

Petroplus – Neuchâtel Court of First Instance 7 No

Supra Assurances SA

Mr. Reto Stöcklin (bankruptcy)

Stigma Partners SA

Zenith Vie

EP Electricité

Bank of Singapore OCBC

Privatair

Ethical Coffee Ltd

Work highlights

  • Continued to act as official administrator of Petroplus Refining Cressier following the collapse of the group.
  • Advising the creditors of two Swiss distressed businesses, Alevo Group and Alevo International.
  • Handling the liquidation of Zenith Vie, an insolvent life insurance company, authorized by FINMA.

Wenger Plattner

Wenger Plattner has one of the most established practices in this field in the Swiss market. The team assists debtors and creditors and is regularly engaged to act as office holder in cross-border mandates. It has a strong track record in liquidation proceedings and restructuring matters. Practice head Brigitte Umbach-Spahn is a specialist in this area, just like of counsel Karl Wüthrich, who has more than 30 years of experience in the insolvency and restructuring area. Fritz Rothenbühler in Bern and senior associate Stefan Bossart are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Brigitte Umbach-Spahn

Testimonials

The team at Wenger Plattner are first class for large-scale cross-border insolvency / restructuring work.’

Brigitte Umbach-Spahn is excellent and a strong negotiator.’

Karl Wüthrich is a veteran and excellent problem solver.

Key clients

Swissair Group

Petroplus Group

Swissmetal Industries AG / Weidenareal Metall AG

Unifina Holding AG

mopac modern packaging AG / 2MP AG

Bank Hottinger & Cie. AG

Publicitas AG

SCL / SCT // Enzian Shipping AG / Swiss Chem Tankers AG

saltech AG

Work highlights

  • Acting as liquidator of the Enzian Shipping / Swiss Chem Tankers Group.
  • Continued to act as appointed liquidators of Petroplus Marketing.
  • Elected as extraordinary bankruptcy trustees at the creditors meeting of Publicitas.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is noted for its expertise in pre-insolvency and financial restructurings. It advises distressed businesses, creditors and suppliers, and is particularly well positioned to assist clients in cross-border matters, working closely together with the firm's international network. Lukas Glanzmann is the dedicated contact at the firm; he is supported by Alexander Fischer, who is also well versed in corporate law.

Practice head(s):

Lukas Glanzmann

Testimonials

BM has extensive knowledge of Swiss corporate insolvency law.’

The team delivers knowledge and experience, network, and practicable solutions.’

Lukas Glanzmann is a master in the field of restructuring, and is very team-oriented and reliable.’

Key clients

UBS Switzerland AG

Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG

Deutsche Bank AG

Westinghouse Group

Zürcher Kantonalbank

Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft

Patrimonium Private Equity

Forster Home AG

Meier Tobler AG

Work highlights

  • Acted for Westinghouse Group in connection with the Swiss law aspects of Westinghouse LLC’s Chapter 11 filing in the United States.
  • Advised an international bank consortium in the insolvency of Sempione Fashion.
  • Advised a portfolio company of Patrimonium on a distressed M&A transaction.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. has a broad insolvency and restructuring practice, which is regularly involved in cross-border mandates. A special area of expertise is out-of-court restructurings, in which it works closely together with other groups of the firm. Thomas Rohde is further well versed in dealing with distressed companies, while Luca Jagmetti is a key contact in liquidations and court proceedings; together, they lead the practice. Cédric Chapuis in Geneva as well as Christoph Neeracher are other key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Rohde; Luca Jagmetti

Key clients

Brookfield

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Brookfield with regard to its acquisition of Westinghouse from Toshiba out of Chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Appointment of Cédric Chapuis to chair the Creditors’ Commission in the liquidation of Banque Privée Espírito Santo.
  • Assisted Standard Chartered Bank with the voluntary liquidation and wind-down of the Swiss private bank subsidiary.

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard advises clients in liquidation proceedings, distressed situations and company restructurings. It also advises clients on how to avoid insolvency, as well as debt enforcement. Those are also the areas of expertise for group head Daniel StaehelinLukas Bopp is well versed in assisting foreign trustees with Swiss bankruptcies; both are based in Basel. In Lugano, Ivan Paparelli is highlighted.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Staehelin

Key clients

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA

Lehman Brothers Limited

Peter Lang AG

Parmalat Group

Banque Privée Espirito Santo

Alitalia – Società Aerea Italiana S.p.a.

Lenz & Staehelin

The team at Lenz & Staehelin is experienced in assisting clients with corporate and debt restructurings, preventive advice and enforcement proceedings. It is instructed by banks as well as companies in the chemical, retail, real estate and transportation sectors, among others. Practice head Tanja Luginbühl regularly advises companies in financial distress, banks and creditors. Roland Fischer is also well versed in finance transactions. Dominique Müller is a key contact for contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Tanja Luginbühl

Key clients

Sempione Fashion AG (formerly Charles-Vögele)

Agrokor d.d.

Sberbank (Switzerland)

AG

Bluehorn SA

ING Bank N.V.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Suntech Power International Ltd.

BP Oil International Ltd.

Deutsche Bank AG

Roust Corporation

Valartis Group AG

Various creditors of Lehmann Brothers Finance AG in liquidation

Various creditors of Petroplus Holdings AG and Petroplus Marketing AG

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Pentland Brands Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Agrokor in the Swiss aspects of its restructuring.
  • Acted for Sempione Fashion in respect of its restructuring, close-down and subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Acted as Swiss counsel to the coordinating committee and the lenders in connection with the restructuring of claims of the Nyrstar group.

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi's team has a particularly strong track record in bankruptcy proceedings and asset recovery actions. Beyond that, it advises national and international banks and companies on a wide range of insolvency and restructuring matters. The Geneva practice is headed by Christophe Emonet, who specialises in insolvency proceedings. In Zurich, co-head Thomas Rohner is also a dispute resolution expert. Beat Mumenthaler in Geneva as well as Florian Mohs are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Emonet; Thomas Rohner

Testimonials

Pestalozzi delivers a practical and commercial as well as intelligent and strategic approach.’

The team is deal-oriented, very time efficient and able to provide substantial advice on non-standard structures.’

Christophe Emonet is a tough but sensible lawyer, who understands the client’s needs.’

Key clients

Glencore

Swiss Life AG

Johnson & Johnson

Coop

Credit Suisse

First International Bank of Israel

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Credit Agricole

Olivier Maus

Republic of Kazakhstan

City of Almaty

Union Bank of Israel

Work highlights

  • Acted for First International Bank of Israel, Union Bank of Israel and Filstel Diamonds Ltd in the receivership and liquidation in an avoidance claim.
  • Representing the city of Almaty in civil disputes, recovery actions and criminal investigations.

Prager Dreifuss AG

Led by Daniel Hayek, the restructuring and insolvency practice of Prager Dreifuss AG is well versed in relevant proceedings and acting for creditors like banks, hedge funds or financial institutions. Hayek is noted for his experience in litigation. He is supported by Gion Christian Casanova, who regularly advises on the protection and recovery of assets in insolvency and attachment proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Hayek

Key clients

Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (Security Agent), Wilmington Trust National Association (Indenture Trustee)

Klaus Tschira Stiftung gGmbH and Dr. H.c. Tschira Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG

Attestor Value Master Fund LP

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Centerbridge Partners LP

Work highlights

  • Counseled Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas and Wilmington Trust National Association in their claims against Petroplus.
  • Advised Klaus Tschira Stiftung on filed claims against the estate of Lehman Brothers Finance in liquidation.
  • Assisted Attestor Value Master Fund with analysing various bankruptcy claims.

Froriep

Froriep has considerable experience in restructurings, whether inside or outside the courtroom. The team is also active in bankruptcy proceedings, clawback actions and liability lawsuits. Sabina Schellenberg and Marcel Steinegger's main area of focus lies in the dispute resolution space, in which both have a solid track record. The key contact in Geneva is Jérôme de Montmollin, who has expertise in debt collection and bankruptcy and is particularly active in the oil and gas industry.

Testimonials

Sabina Schellenberg is very knowledgeable and has a practical approach to handling difficult legal situations for clients in financial stress. The combination of her professional and personal way of working together stands out.’

Key clients

Petroplus

Bank of America

Work highlights

  • Counselling the joint liquidators of Petroplus Refining & Marketing Limited and Petroplus Refining Teesside Limited in pursuing claims in the Swiss insolvency proceedings against Petroplus Marketing.
  • Acting for Bank of America in civil and criminal litigation in connection with the Parmalat collapse.

Homburger

Homburger has a broad practice, with particular strength in preventive counselling and restructuring as well as recapitalisation and refinancing. Its mandates often come from clients in the financial services industry. Stefan Kramer is the practice head; he is a specialist in banking and capital markets matters as well as financial market infrastructure. René Bösch is knowledgeable in recovery and resolution planning. Benedikt Maurenbrecher and Daniel Haeberli are also noted. Senior counsel Ueli Huber has more than 30 years of experience in legal services.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Kramer

Key clients

Apollo Management International

ARYZTA

Credit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Advised Apollo in connection with a refinancing and recapitalisation of Airopack.
  • Advised Credit Suisse and UBS on bail-in legislation and instruments.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

The team at Niederer Kraft Frey AG covers an impressive range of insolvency and restructuring matters. It regularly acts for creditors as well as banks and bankruptcy liquidators. Thomas Sprecher and Marco Häusermann lead the practice and both have a broad practice in the field. Bertrand Schott specialises in debt and equity restructurings and corporate workouts.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Sprecher; Marco Häusermann

Testimonials

The team’s style and approach is very professional and responsive. It is pleasant to work with and the expertise is excellent.’

Key clients

Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)

Bundesverband Deutscher Banken

Cytos Biotechnology AG

International Capital Markets Association (ICMA)

International Securities Lending Association (ISLA)

Leclanché

Securities Industry and Financial Market Association (SIFMA)

Securities Lending and Repo Committee (SLRC) – Capital Adequacy Directive Working Group

UniCredit

Commerzbank

Bluebay Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Assisting CLS with insolvency and bankruptcy matters relating to its Swiss holding company.
  • Providing industry standard opinions for repos and securities lending to several industry associations and banks.
  • Advised a syndicate of banks on the restructuring of the Kathrein Group.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd has considerable experience in acting as liquidator as well as investigating agent appointed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). A key contact is Marc Bernheim, who is noted for being active as receiver and as representative of public receivers in insolvencies. Philipp Känzig is another prominent practitioner with more than 20 years of experience. Gaudenz Geiger is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Marc Bernheim

Key clients

Schweizer Kredit AG

Healthtronics Inc. (Austin, Texas)

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA

Zolfo Cooper (Tortola, BVI)

Atrib Switzerland Ltd in liquidation, Atrib Group in liquidation, Atrib Management Services AG in liquidation

Swiss Climate Cent Foundation

Work highlights

  • Represented the Swiss Climate Cent Foundation in a clawback action initiated by Petroplus Marketing.
  • Acted as bankruptcy administrator of Atrib Management and Group.
  • Appointed as commissioner in the debt restructuring moratorium of Schweizer Kredit.

VISCHER

The team at VISCHER is led by Basel-based David Jenny, who has extensive experience in assisting governing bodies of companies and creditors and in acting as liquidator. The team is also involved in bank bankruptcy proceedings. Another key member is Jana Essebier; her practice includes dispute resolution and regulatory law. Markus Guggenbühl and Thomas Weibel in Basel are also noted.

Practice head(s):

David Jenny

Key clients

FINMA

Weidenareal Metall AG

Work highlights

  • Acting as liquidator of the bankruptcy estate of a Swiss company as mandated by Swiss regulator FINMA.
  • Assisted a Russian bank with the recognition of foreign bankruptcy proceedings in Switzerland and the collection of assets.
  • Acted in the Lehman Brothers insolvency as liquidator’s counsel.

Walder Wyss Switzerland Global

Walder Wyss Switzerland Global is noted for its experience in advising creditors or debtors in insolvencies; financial restructurings; and corporate rescue. The team's work usually is of a cross-border character. Mark Reutter, who is a regular counsel for bankruptcy administrations, insolvency specialist Christoph Stäubli and Dieter Hofmann jointly lead the team. Micha Bühler knows DR-mandates well. Dominik Hohler was promoted to partner in early 2020.

Practice head(s):

Christoph Stäubli; Mark Reutter; Dieter Hofmann

Testimonials

A very good team, with Mark Reutter standing out.’

Key clients

Ad-Hoc Group in Nyrstar’s restructuring

Apollo International Management LLP

Ringier AG / Publicitas AG

Toys R Us AG

Cisco Capital

Creditors of Flightlease AG

Actavis Switzerland Ltd. / Allergan Inc.

CHC Group Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted as Swiss Counsel for the ad hoc group of noteholders in Nyrstar’s restructuring.
  • Advising Apollo regarding equity and debt investments in pre-insolvency restructuring and liquidation of securities of the Airopack Technology Group.
  • Represented the interests of the affiliate of Ringier, Admeira, as creditor in bankruptcy proceedings.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd advises on a wide spectrum of matters and its lawyers complement each other with corporate and litigation experience; with a good track record in insolvency and restructuring mandates, the team is regularly instructed by national and international companies. Urs BollerSamuel LjubicicAlexander Vogel and Reinhard Oertli in Zurich as well as Alain Le Fort and Christian Schilly in Geneva are the key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Urs Boller; Samuel Ljubicic; Alain Le Fort; Alexander Vogel

Testimonials

A very responsive, technically excellent team with a lot of experience in cross border projects.’

Alexander Vogel is a top restructuring lawyer. Technically outstanding, and at the same time very reasonable and pragmatic.’

Urs Boller demonstrates exceptional negotiating and mediation skills.’

Key clients

Publicitas AG

Meyer Burger Technology AG

P&R Group

Work highlights

  • Acted as court-appointed commissioner for Publicitas.
  • Advised Franz Carl Weber AG on its management buyout from the insolvent French parent company.
  • Acting for the court-appointed administrator of a European energy group in several bankruptcy-related proceedings regarding the group’s Swiss subsidiary.

Wenger & Vieli LTD

Wenger & Vieli LTD is active in representing creditors of insolvent companies as well as debtors in insolvency proceedings. In cases of restructurings, the team works closely with the firm's M&A practice, and it has experience in cross-border mandates. Georg Zondler is well versed in debt enforcement and bankruptcy law, while Pascal Honold combines corporate and restructuring expertise; they jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Georg Zondler; Pascal Honold

Work highlights

  • Acted as administrator and subsequently as liquidator in composition procedures of Helvetia Wealth.
  • Representing a banking consortium in insolvency proceedings over a smaller Swiss industrial group.
  • Representing a supplier in the insolvency proceedings of Bruno Piatti.