Linder Myers seeks to avoid administration with last-minute debt restructure

Ailing Manchester firm Linder Myers is close to completing a deal with consultancy Assure Law to restructure its debt.

Linder Myers filed its notice of intention to appoint administrators at the Manchester District Registry Court on 6 February (6 February 2014).

It is thought to be the first time a deal of this sort has been attempted after a notice to appoint administrators has been filed. Directors are permitted to re-file the notice every 10 working days, which Linder Myers has now done three consecutive times.

The deal is expected to mean a management team from Assure Law, led by Tony Stockdale, will work directly with Linder Myers’ directors to reduce and restructure the firm’s debt profile.

An email sent to staff by managing partner Bernard Seymour yesterday said the firm was “making good progress toward the finalisation of the agreement” and was working to complete matters by Friday this week.

Seymour told The Lawyer today that he was comfortable that it was possible to take this cause of action despite the fact that under the Insolvency Act 1986 filing a notice of intention to appoint an administrator is accompanied by a statutory declaration that the company is, or is likely to become, unable to pay its debts.

Seymour was unprepared to reveal exactly what had caused the debt problems that led to this point but said “the restructure means we have a healthy balance sheet” and added that if the deal goes through he would have “corrected the situation caused by an organisation”.

He said the Solicitors Regulation Authority is aware of the deal with Assure and is taking an active interest in what the firm is doing.

Up until yesterday, Midlands-based HCB Solicitors had been in the frame to rescue the firm in a more traditional pre-pack buy out, having registered a company called HCB Linder Myers the day after the notice to appoint administrators was filed (11 February 2014).

HCB later pulled out of the deal, renamed the newly registered company HCB (the Midlands) and said it would be used for another purpose (11 March 2014).