Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised Icelandic bank Kaupthing hf. on its restructuring, which is effective from December 23, 2015.
The landmark transaction follows the failure of Kaupthing Bank hf., which first entered into Icelandic insolvency proceedings in 2008 with liabilities of more than US$45 billion and creditors in more than 100 countries. It is one of the largest ever bank insolvencies.
"White & Case has been representing Kaupthing as international restructuring legal counsel since 2011, and the completion of the restructuring represents the culmination of years of working with our client on this highly sophisticated transaction," said London-based partner Christian Pilkington, who co-led the Firm's deal team. "It represents the very best of White & Case, helping a client navigate the significant complexities of a large, cross-border transaction that involved English law, New York law and a multitude of different local laws, as well as the competing interests of stakeholders, to achieve a successful outcome."
Kaupthing hf. is the entity that holds the foreign assets of the failed bank following the establishment of Arion Banki hf., which was carved out of Kaupthing as the Icelandic bank. Kaupthing's Winding-up Committee, which pending completion of the restructuring was responsible for all the company's affairs and which will continue to manage Kaupthing until a new board of directors is appointed, issued a composition proposal – a form of restructuring under Iceland's Bankruptcy Act – to senior unsecured creditors of Kaupthing at the end of October 2015. The composition proposal was overwhelmingly approved by those creditors and subsequently confirmed by the Reykjavik District Court on December 15, 2015.
With priority creditors having already been paid, and subject only to receiving certain exemptions from capital controls upon delivery of an agreed stability contribution to the Icelandic authorities, the successful restructuring will enable the distribution of billions of euros in cash, as well as other instruments, to senior unsecured creditors. It will also facilitate those creditors taking control of the company and its remaining assets. Completing the restructuring before the end of 2015 also ensures that Kaupthing is not subject to an Icelandic stability tax on its assets, preserving value for creditors.
The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by London-based partners Christian Pilkington, Richard Pogrel, Rob Bennett and Laura Prater, with support from more than 100 colleagues including London partners Philip Broke, Michael Doran, Gavin McLean, Doron Loewinger, Charles Balmain, Prabhu Narasimhan, Stephen Ravenscroft and Stuart Willey, Miami partner Richard Kebrdle, London associates Ben Davies, Morvyn Radlow, Hayley Mitchinson, Adhuv Prinja, Paul Gallup, Bree Peterson, Josh van der Ploeg, Alexis Fong, Xiaoyan Sun, Ahu Langley, Chantelle Forster, Man Hay Yip, David Nisbet, Laura Kitchen and Karina van Ginkel, New York associate Ric Graham and London trainee solicitors Sanni Nissila and Alexandra Doyle.
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