There has been a significant increase in insolvencies in the construction, real estate, retail and wholesale sectors of the Russian economy, according to the statistics in the Competition Development Bulletin “Concentration on the Russian Markets: Trends in the Period of Recession” published in December 2015 by the Analytical Centre of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Only a month ago we were singing the praises of the CVA and calling them the saviour of the high street following the creditors’ approval of the BHS CVA. (See our earlier blog Move over Mary Portas, CVA’s are the real saviour of the High Street).
2014 was the first year in which the number of insolvency proceedings filed by Spanish companies fell each month since 2004, the year when the last bankruptcy reforms were enacted. Last year, a total of 6,508 insolvency proceedings were initiated in Spain, a reduction of 26.2% when compared to 2013, which was a record year when 8,823 cases were filed. As a result, in 2014, the streak of consecutive years of increase in the number of insolvency filings ended.
The past eighteen months have seen a marked increase in the use of the Company Voluntary Arrangement (“CVA”) by retailers to reduce their lease liabilities and win the release of onerous parent company guarantees, with several high street names going through the process. Although this practice received cautious support from landlords, real concern continues to be voiced over the practice of “guarantee stripping”.
The recent English court decision in Goldacre (Offices) Limited v Nortel Networks UK Limited (in administration)  EWCH 3389 (Ch) may be controversial and raises thorny practical issues, especially in relation to the restructurings of retail businesses.
Re Trident Fashions PLC: Exeter City Council v Bairstow  EWHC 400 (Ch)
In March 2007 the High Court ruled that that non-domestic rates are payable as an expense of the administration as a “necessary disbursement” under Rule 2.67(1)(f) Insolvency Rules 1986 (IR), in priority to payment of the administrator’s remuneration.
Re Powerhouse Limited: Prudential Assurance Company Limited v PRG Powerhouse Limited  EWHC 1002 Ch Guarantees are widely used in commercial transactions to provide assurance to creditors that debts or other obligations owed to them are discharged fully in the event the principal debtor fails to perform. This assurance was shaken by the steps taken in early 2006 by PRG Powerhouse Limited (Powerhouse) to enter into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that contained proposals to release certain parent company guarantees given to landlords of premises being vacated by Powerhouse.
Consumers could be set to jump up the insolvency hierarchy if Parliament backs the latest Law Commission recommendations.
The Law Commission’s report, Consumer Prepayments on Retailer Insolvency, recommends, among other things, that consumers who prepay for goods or services over £250 in the six months prior to a formal insolvency process should be paid out as preferential creditors instead of unsecured creditors.
The ready availability of credit over the first seven years of the past decade fuelled a massive, property-led consumer boom. Although perhaps a long time coming, the restriction in the continuing availability of such credit since mid 2007 has resulted in a serious recession. The scale of the problems will take time to unwind but given the continuing restrictions on credit, consumers are spending less, especially on high-value discretionary items.
Valuation is a critical and indispensable part of the bankruptcy process. How collateral and other estate assets (and even creditor claims) are valued will determine a wide range of issues, from a secured creditor’s right to adequate protection, post-petition interest, or relief from the automatic stay to a proposed chapter 11 plan’s satisfaction of the “best interests” test or whether a “cram-down” plan can be confirmed despite the objections of dissenting creditors.