This year’s finance team of the year award goes to Paul Hastings, led by partner David Ereira. The team oversaw one of the biggest bail-outs of the year, succeeding on the restructuring of the beleaguered Co-operative bank within the space of a few weeks. Paul Hastings acted for the fund management companies, stitching together a rescue package to save the bank before a £400m bond was due to fall for repayment.
As well as meeting the requirements of the bank, the deal had to satisfy the needs of the funds, agreeing to convert their claims to equity and providing the new capital particularly to ensure a more appropriate management and governance structure could be put in place.
The full restructuring solution was agreed and implemented within just a few weeks, requiring no public money and with no bank resolution.
The judges commented that the restructuring of the bank was an “impressive, broad based team effort” which juggled “a number of different and competing issues”. They concluded that the entry is “a stand out”.
“Most impressively they seem to have devised an alternative scheme to the one originally proposed, to the very significant benefit of their clients and the other stakeholders and interested parties”.
Highly commended: Reed Smith.
Reed Smith, led by partner Rasajoy Basu developed and launched the word’s first development impact bond (DIB) aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality in Rajasthan, India, in what the judges described as a “socially significant” and “clearly very bespoke” transaction. The interventions that the bond will finance will reach up to 600,000 pregnant women and could lead to up to 10,000 lives being saved over five years. A judge commented that “this is the stand-out entry for me from all the categories I have judged: a technically complex transaction which achieves positive social impact as well as commercial results; the tram have innovated with technology as well as having saved the clients fees by contributing a substantial number of pro bono hours”.
Orrick, led by partner Stephen Phillips, oversaw drilling contractor titan Ocean Rig through a successful restructuring in the Cayman Islands and a Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing, following a huge downturn in the oil industry. The judges commented that this was “a very impressive and highly complex strategy for dealing with the restructuring and refinancing of an offshore drilling company, involving many innovative features and a ground breaking use of a litigation trust”.