Global Restructuring Review - Cross-border restructuring and insolvency legal news, features and events

GRR Awards 2019 – full shortlists coming next week

Kyriaki Karadelis

10 May 2019

GRR Awards 2019 – full shortlists coming next week

El Palace, Barcelona

Over the course of next week GRR will be revealing the full shortlists for our 2019 Awards, to be held on 15 June in Barcelona. As a taster, here's our first list of nominees in a special category honouring the location of this year’s awards: Noteworthy Spanish restructuring matter.

The GRR Awards 2019 will be taking place in Barcelona’s stunning El Palace Hotel on 15 June, the night before the opening reception for the International Insolvency Institute’s 19th Annual Conference.

The Awards will kick off from 7pm with a networking drinks reception followed by dinner, before trophies are presented in 11 categories to celebrate the people, places and matters that took the cross-border restructuring and insolvency world by storm over the past year.

In addition to those 11 categories, we will also be revealing the top 30 firms in the GRR 100 2019 – our annual guide to approved cross-border insolvency and restructuring law firms, which will be unveiled to the wider public on the morning of Monday 17 June.

In March and April, we asked readers to submit their nominations for worthy awards winners in the following categories:

  • Most important cross-border recognition decision;

  • Innovation in cross-border restructuring and insolvency;

  • Cross-border cooperation in a specific restructuring or insolvency matter;

  • Jurisdiction of the year;

  • Most significant restructuring or insolvency-related litigation;

  • Diversity in restructuring award for a team or practice; and

  • Non-law firm advisory firm that impressed.

The shortlists for those seven categories will be revealed in the coming days, and we’ll also be revealing whom the GRR editorial team has nominated in the large law firm that impressed and small or regional law firm that impressed categories, as well as our special lifetime achievement award winner.

But first, GRR is delighted to introduce a new category for 2019 only, celebrating Spain as the location of our first Awards outside the UK. Below are the nominees for Noteworthy Spanish restructuring matter, an award celebrating a recent restructuring matter centred in Spain, which served to advance the practice of cross-border restructuring in the jurisdiction.

For more details about the GRR Awards 2019, as well as photos from last year and to book a place, please visit the event website.

All profits from the GRR Awards go to the Swawou Layout Community Primary School for Girls in Sierra Leone. The school is a project established by GRR’s parent company, Law Business Research, in 2008 to offer free primary education to girls from disadvantaged homes in Kenema town, eastern Sierra Leone.

Noteworthy Spanish restructuring matter – the nominees

Abengoa – Spanish energy giant Abengoa recently closed its second restructuring in three years, after coming to an agreement with creditors who objected to its 2016 judicially approved Spanish scheme of arrangement. That first case, in 2016, was the largest-ever restructuring carried out in Spain and was recognised in Delaware under Chapter 15 of the US bankruptcy code. It also witnessed parallel Chapter 11 proceedings for Abengoa’s US subsidiaries in Delaware, Kansas and Missouri, as well as proceedings in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Poland and the UK. The new restructuring includes a deal with bondholders who successfully challenged the first homologation in a Seville court in 2017.

Isolux Corsán Group – The restructuring of this multinational construction group has been playing out in courts in Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. After agreeing a €2 billion restructuring deal with creditors in 2016, the company sought protection in Spanish and Dutch courts, and obtained Chapter 15 relief in respect of both processes in the US. However, further financial difficulties led to seven companies in the group entering formal bankruptcy processes in Spain in 2017. In March, a Madrid court approved a Spanish scheme of arrangement for four Isolux companies, in an unusual decision outlining circumstances when homologation processes are open to companies already in insolvency proceedings. Against the backdrop of the Spanish and Dutch processes, Isolux managed to obtain creditor support for a judicial reorganisation in Brazil in December. The Brazilian deal restructures US$146 million worth of debt held by five of its Brazilian group companies. 

Grupo Celsa - Steel manufacturer Celsa agreed a €2.7 billion cross-border debt restructuring with a consortium of Spanish lenders in November 2017. The agreement was signed by 99.5% of the lenders, and a dissenting lender was subject to a cram-down in accordance with the Spanish scheme of arrangement process. Celsa also underwent a corporate reorganisation and reworked the security package around its debt. The deal was particularly well received in the UK, where Celsa employs around 2,000 workers, including 600 at a plant in the Welsh capital Cardiff. 

Banco de Sabadell, project Makalu – The Alicante-based savings bank sold a large non-performing loan portfolio worth €2.3 billion to Deutsche Bank and CarVal Investors in July 2018. The portfolio comprised of non-performing secured and unsecured loans, divided into three different sub-portfolios, which the bank inherited from its €1 purchase of the rescued Spanish savings bank CAM in 2011. Spain’s industry-financed national deposit guarantee fund granted Banco de Sabadell an asset protection scheme when it made the purchase, agreeing to guarantee losses up to 80% for 10 years. Banco de Sabadell last year announced broad plans to reduce its exposure to NPLs at a rate of €2 billion per annum: Around the same time project Makalu was completed, the bank also sold another portfolio of bad CAM assets worth €900 million, the Galerna portfolio, to Norway’s Axactor fund, and entered an agreement to transfer the rest of its property loans exposure in two portfolios, the Challenger and Coliseum portfolios, to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management.

Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) – This listed Spanish construction and environmental services company, partially owned by George Soros and Carlos Slim, sold a 49% stake in its water management subsidiary Aqualia to Australian fund IMF Investors last September. The €1 billion sale proceeds were used to pay down more than €800 million in financial debt owed by its parent, as well as to pay off a pre-existing syndicated loan. The deal then witnessed the execution of a new financing agreement between FCC and a new syndicate of lenders, with some of FCC’s group entities acting as guarantors and Banco Santander as new agent. With the pre-existing syndicated loan paid off, FCC was able to cancel security agreements associated with it that were under Spanish, UK and Austrian law, as well as several older personal guarantees from FCC group entities. The deal required FCC to obtain permission from the European Commission under EU merger regulations, as well as from Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission. Back in 2014, FCC underwent a €4.5 billion refinancing via a Spanish scheme of arrangement, which a UK court later found triggered an event of default in its €450 million English-law governed unsecured convertible notes.

Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación (Dia) – In March shareholders of this Spanish supermarket chain voted in favour of a €500 million share capital increase and takeover bid proposed by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, the owner of Luxemburg-based investment company LetterOne, which owns 29% of Dia through its L1 Retail fund. At the same general meeting, they rejected a capital increase proposed by its board of directors, saying it failed to tackle the long-term capital needs of the business. Dia also recently announced it had reached a restructuring plan with Spanish trade unions, which will affect around 1,600 of its more than 26,000 employees.