Arthur Cox advises as Irish government restructures bank debt

A team from Irish firm Arthur Cox has seen the completion of five years of work acting for the Irish government with today’s confirmation that a deal has been struck to restructure the nation’s bank debt.

The firm’s former managing partner Pádraig Ó Ríordáin led the Arthur Cox team as it worked closely with the Irish Attorney-General’s department to draw up the necessary legislation which will liquidate the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly the Anglo Irish Bank, and the Irish Nationwide Building Society.

The deal announced today with the European Central Bank (ECB) allows the Irish government to replace €25bn (£21.3bn) of promissory notes, which were used to bail out Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, with long-term government bonds with maturities of up to 40 years.

The agreement will mean Irish taxpayers avoid a payment of €3.1bn (£2.7m) due every March for the next 10 years to cover the losses sustained by the two institutions. It also means the liquidation of both banks is complete and there is a €20bn (£17.1m) reduction in the payments due by the state over the long term.

Irish Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny told the parliament this morning: “Today’s outcome is an historic step on the road to economic recovery.”

Other Arthur Cox partners involved in the restructuring and liquidation included capital markets head Cormac Kissane, company compliance and governance head Thomas Courtney, financial services regulation partner Robert Cain, litigation partner Isobel Foley and corporate insolvency partner John Donald.

Background to the deal:

Arthur Cox was first instructed by the Irish government on the capitalisation of Anglo Irish in 2008 and followed up by acting on the bank’s nationalisation in 2009 (20 January 2009) with Matheson Ormsby Prentice (now Matheson) representing the bank.

The firm is a regular adviser for the state, also appearing on the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) panel alongside 63 other firms (27 January 2010). Last year it was revealed Arthur Cox had earned a total of €3m in fees from Nama, more than any other firm (13 February 2012).

Arthur Cox has also just won a spot on the UK Government’s new legal panel, as part of the major or complex projects sub-panel (31 January 2013).

In 2007 Ó Ríordáin was appointed as chair of the newly-established Financial Legislation Advisory Forum (27 April 2007).