Advocate Anthony Williams discusses notable cases involving a complex cross border restructuring, the discharge of a company administration order by the Royal Court returning the company to its owners and a novel application to wind up a group of online gaming companies in Alderney as a result of a massive fraud perpetrated in the United States.
In a highly complex and sensitive commercial matter, Appleby successfully sought administration orders in respect of a number of Guernsey investment companies, forming part of a wider UK property holding structure. The primary purpose of the administration order was to implement a plan of restructuring to rescue the group as a going concern. The reorganisation involved the proposed restructuring of a secured loan facility in excess of £700m, and the managed disposal of an extensive portfolio of UK commercial real estate assets.
The administration application was unusual insofar as it involved the appointment of administrators to the Guernsey investment holding company level, rather than to the direct property holding companies. The reason for this approach was to avoid sending unnecessary distress signals to the wider market thereby resulting in a rapid devaluation of the underlying property assets, which could have eventuated if insolvency processes were undertaken at the real estate holding level. The Guernsey investment holding companies did not have any substantial assets of their own other than the shares in the underlying property holding subsidiaries. The purpose of the Guernsey investment holding companies was to facilitate the efficient disposal of tranches of the portfolio or the entire portfolio itself.