Dr. Sven-Holger Undritz | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice

Dr. Sven-Holger Undritz

Partner, Hamburg

“The top-ranked Sven-Holger Undritz is universally acknowledged as an ‘outstanding name in the community’. Interviewees appreciate his ‘practical, hands-on approach’.”

Legal 500, 2015

Overview

Sven-Holger Undritz is head of White & Case's Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Group in Germany and Office Executive Partner in Hamburg.

Frequently appointed by numerous district courts in Hamburg and northern Germany, Sven-Holger has guided hundreds of companies through insolvency proceedings, using the framework of such proceedings where possible to rehabilitate the companies' businesses. Notable insolvency proceedings that Sven-Holger has administered include Schieder Möbel Holding GmbH, once Europe's largest furniture manufacturer, as well as Conergy AG, the parent of a major solar energy group. He is also involved in the restructuring of air carrier Hamburg Airways.

Both German and international clients benefit from his wide-reaching and unparalleled expertise in insolvency and corporate reorganization law. Of particular note is his considerable deal experience in the distressed global shipping market, where he advises debtors as well as lenders.

As a well-known figure and highly recommended expert in the market, Sven-Holger writes for leading academic and business journals, is a regular panelist at restructuring forums and is consulted by legislative as well as government decision-makers in respect of insolvency reform initiatives.

Finally, he also is a member of several national and international professional associations, including the renowned and highly-selective Gravenbrucher Kreis, an elite college of Germany's foremost insolvency professionals (www.gravenbrucher-kreis.de).

Bars and Courts

  • Insolvency Lawyer
  • Rechtsanwalt

Education

  • Dr jur, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg
  • Second State Exam, Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg
  • First State Exam, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg
  • MBA, Academy of Business and Administration of Hamburg

Languages

  • German
  • English

Experience

Caritas Hamburg GmbH, 2014/2015

Sven-Holger led the restructuring of this Catholic charitable organization, which continues to maintain several homes for the elderly in northern Germany. The main objectives were to identify and sell uneconomical facilities and to save the viable parts of the company through a rehabilitation plan. The plan preserved all jobs, and unsecured creditors received an 80% rate of recovery on their claims. The shareholders retained equity, and a new strategic partner was added to the company. The bankruptcy proceeding was terminated one year after it was filed.

Ahrenkiel Group, 2014

Sven-Holger advised Christian J. Ahrenkiel, owner of German shipping group Ahrenkiel, in restructuring negotiations in connection with the financing and sale of the German and Cypriot units of Ahrenkiel Group. The negotiations with HSH Nordbank, NordLB, M.M. Warburg, Commerzbank and Credit Suisse were vital to ensuring the continuation of operations until and after a new investor could acquire them. The acquirer was a new company created by Hamburg MPC Group and shipping company Thien & Heyenga. Ahrenkiel Group employs approximately 600 seafarers and more than 60 employees on shore. The fleet consists of 14 container vessels, six bulk carriers and three tankers.

Dual-Purpose Trusteeships

Sven-Holger is regularly appointed as a so-called dual-purpose trustee in special situations where an intermediary between financial creditors and existing shareholders is needed, but where all parties agree that an insolvency proceeding needs to be avoided. In such cases, if no compromise among the stakeholders can be negotiated, the trustee is normally empowered to sell the shares to new owners free and clear of financial claims, and the proceeds of sale are then used to at least partially satisfy such claims. Sven-Holger is currently the dual-purpose trustee in respect of the Kittner group, formerly one of the ten biggest car dealers in Germany. He also is involved in this capacity in a major health care provider case. The company operates more than 50 care homes and rehabilitation centers throughout Germany and is financed by a pool of about 20 banks.

Hotel Intercontinental, 2013

As insolvency administrator of the five star hotel InterContinental Hamburg, Sven-Holger succeeded in the difficult task of finding a buyer, Kühne Immobilia GmbH, for the hotel’s land and buildings. Though the real estate is in a prestigious location on the Außenalster, Hamburg’s famous urban lake, the acquisition required intense negotiations to resolve a highly complex array of long-term building rights. Reaching a deal and closing the transaction depended not only on great expertise in insolvency law and in M&A and real estate matters, but also on a specific knowledge of the hotel sector. The hotel had been forced to seek the opening of secondary insolvency proceedings in Germany in late 2012 after insolvency proceedings had been opened in Switzerland in respect of its parent company, Grod Hotel GmbH (Schweiz/Switzerland) Niederlassung Deutschland (subsidiary Germany).

Conergy AG, 2013 (ongoing)

Appointed by the district court of Hamburg, Sven-Holger acted as the preliminary administrator of Conergy AG, a leading worldwide photovoltaic solution service provider. The company owned more than 30 subsidiaries throughout the world. Within only five months, Sven-Holger succeeded in finding a buyer for the holding company and most of the major subsidiaries. He was also able to craft and implement separate restructuring solutions for the Frankfurt-based solar module producer Conergy Solarmodule and the Berlin-based frame producer Mounting Systems GmbH. As a result of these successes in the restructuring proceeding, 500 jobs were saved.

PowerWind GmbH, 2012

In this matter, Sven-Holger was appointed as the temporary custodian of an onshore wind turbine manufacturer and service provider. The proceeding was one of the first under the new German Insolvency Law (ESUG), pursuant to which the debtor remained in possession of its assets.

Speaking Engagements

"Preparation for the Insolvency and Restructuring of a Going Concern", 2015: 11th Annual Restructuring Conference,
Düsseldorf

"Restructuring Shipping Funds and Ship -Owning Companies", 2014: PKF maritime,
Hamburg

"Insolvency of Going Concerns – Challenges for Legislating and Practice", 2013: Bucerius Law School,
Hamburg
, (together with Karsten Schmidt)

Publications

  • Role of Creditors, Sanierungsrecht. Ed. Andreas Schmidt. Cologne, pages 468-543, 2016, (Gläubigermitbestimmung)
  • Commentary on self-administration (Sections 270 et seq. of the Insolvency Code), Insolvenzordnung (formerly Kilger/Schmidt). Ed. Karsten Schmidt, 19th ed., Munich, Pages 1883-1962, 2016, (Kommentierung der Eigenverwaltung)
  • Commentary on international insolvency law (Sections 335 et seq. of the Insolvency Code, Article 102 of the Introductory Act to the Insolvency Code and of the EU Insolvency Regulation, Hamburger Kommentar zum Insolvenzrecht. Ed. Andreas Schmidt. 5th ed., Münster, 2015, (Kommentierung zum internationalen Insolvenzrecht (§§ 335 ff. InsO, Art. 102 EGInsO und EuInsVO))
  • International Group Insolvency Law, Handbuch Konzerninsolvenzrecht. Ed. Lucas F. Flöther, Munich, Pages 342 et seqq. 2015, (Internationales Konzerninsolvenzrecht)
  • Banks' Security Interests in Insolvency Proceedings – The ,Limitation Language Following the Reform of the German Insolvency Act by the MoMiG Act, NZI, Issue 9, Pages 348-354, 2015, (Banksicherheiten im Insolvenzverfahren – die Limitation Language in Zeiten des MoMiG) (co-author with J. Ernst Degenhardt)
  • § 3 Excursus: Restructuring Outside Insolvency, HRI - Handbuch Restrukturierung in der Insolvenz. Ed. Kübler, Bruno M. 2nd ed., Cologne, Pages 28-99, 2015, (§ 3 Exkurs: Sanierung außerhalb der Insolvenz) (co-author with Béla Knof)

Awards & Recognition

Leading Individual, JUVE 2015/2016

Insolvency Administration

Highly Recommended Lawyer, JUVE 2015/2016

Restructuring and Corporate Rescue

Leading Lawyer (Tier 1), Chambers Europe 2015

Restructuring/Insolvency: Administration – Germany

Leading Lawyer, IFLR 1000, 2014

Restructuring and Insolvency - Germany

Leading Individual, The Legal 500 EMEA, 2016

Restructuring and Insolvency – Germany

Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers/Handelsblatt 2015

Restructuring and Insolvency