Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright advised a group of senior secured lenders to the DeepOcean group, a leading provider of subsea services for the oil & gas and renewables industries, on its successful restructuring via inter-conditional restructuring plans (under the new Part 26A of the UK Companies Act 2006). These restructuring plans were sanctioned by the English Court, in a landmark decision under English restructuring law.
As a result of certain creditors not supporting the Restructuring Plans, this was the first case in which the cross-class-cram-down mechanism, introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA), has been approved by the Court.
Prior to the enactment of CIGA in June 2020, it was not possible for the English Court to sanction a scheme of arrangement unless each class of creditors and/or members (as applicable) voted to approve the scheme by the requisite statutory majorities.
James Stonebridge, restructuring and insolvency partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, commented:
“This decision is likely to herald the way for more cases which will use cross-class-cram-down as a restructuring tool. This opens up a new realm of possibilities for companies looking to restructure – something we will inevitably be seeing more of as the pandemic continues to affect business-as-usual across many sectors. For companies and creditors alike this is truly a momentous decision.”
The Norton Rose Fulbright team is led by London restructuring partner James Stonebridge and banking and finance partner Eleanor Martin, along with senior associates Alex Blaney and Joseph McHale and associate Geon Sik Kang, and includes lawyers across the firm’s global restructuring and insolvency and finance groups.