2021 Annual Review Corporate Restructuring + Insolvency – Insolvency/Bankruptcy/Restructuring
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2021 has been a productive year for the Corporate Restructuring + Insolvency group at Morrison & Foerster. We want to offer our friends and clients an overview of the cases we have worked on throughout the year. As you will notice, our work in 2021 continued to reflect our experience as the go-to firm for complex restructurings across all industries and jurisdictions.
Our roles have varied, from representing a range of corporate clients and official ad hoc committees to liquidators and trustees. Additionally, we have been active in a number of industries including energy, retail, aerospace, telecommunications and real estate, among others. Details of our work can be found on the following pages.
As always, we would like to thank our customers and friends for a strong 2021.
We have advised the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Valaris plc (“Valaris”) and its affiliated debtors in their Chapter 11 matters. Valaris is a leading provider of offshore drilling services to the oil industry and international gas. It currently operates the industry’s largest modern offshore drilling fleet of 67 rigs and maintains drilling operations in nearly all major offshore markets, spanning 24 countries.
Valaris customers include many leading national and international oil companies, as well as many local and independent offshore exploration and production companies. The company listed total assets of about $13 billion and total debts of about $7.85 billion in its day one filings.
Valaris, which is incorporated under the laws of England and Wales, has required the implementation of certain restructuring operations in the United Kingdom. This engagement exemplifies the global footprint of MoFo’s restructuring practice, as the New York and London teams worked in tandem to provide a full range of legal services to the committee, ultimately ensuring full payment of general unsecured claims. .
Ad Hoc Group of Constitutional Creditors – Puerto Rico
We represent an ad hoc group of holders of constitutional debt, that is, debt issued or guaranteed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and entitled to priority under the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Members of the ad hoc group at one point held more than $3 billion in constitutional debt, making it the largest group of bondholders in the ongoing Commonwealth Title III case. The Commonwealth Title III case is the first case to be administered under a newly enacted federal insolvency law, raising a host of complex and novel legal issues not typically present in a corporate restructuring typical. In January 2022, the Title III Court upheld the Commonwealth Adjustment Plan, which is expected to come into effect in the first quarter of 2022.
We are acting as bankruptcy counsel for CalPlant I Holdco, LLC and CalPlant I, LLC in their Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. CalPlant is nearing completion of the world’s first manufacturing facility capable of producing panels of medium density fiber using rice straw as raw material. CalPlant filed for Chapter 11 in October 2021 to conduct a commercialization process for substantially all of its assets and/or restructure approximately $380 million in secured debt.
Former Justice James M. Peck continued to attract a wide range of judicial and private mediation assignments. Public engagements include the successful resolution of nullification actions in the Miami Metals Chapter 11 case in the Southern District of New York and the Our Alchemy Chapter 7 litigation in the District of Delaware asserting complex claims and defenses arising of the failed acquisition of a media company. There is, however, a discernible trend in confidential undertakings that fit into an emerging category of “synthetic bankruptcies”. We are currently involved in such a bespoke claims resolution process which aims to reach beneficial agreements between and among counterparties while avoiding the expense, delays and potential value destruction of a formal bankruptcy filing. We are exceptionally well positioned for other assignments in this new “synthetic” arena of liquidations and restructurings.
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Due to the generality of this update, the information provided here may not be applicable in all situations and should not be applied without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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