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Restructuring & Insolvency

Restructuring & Insolvency
Restructuring & Insolvency
Expertise / Practices / Restructuring & Insolvency

Well-established restructuring and insolvency department. Widely acknowledged for its impressive track record assisting clients from the financial services, mining and natural resources sectors with large CCAA and cross-border Chapter 11 proceedings. Clients value the firm’s legal and business expertise, responsiveness and excellent quality of service.

Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020

Recognized as one of Canada’s leading domestic and cross-border restructuring practices, the Blakes Restructuring & Insolvency group combines unmatched experience and depth to meet the immediate and critical needs of our clients with expert practitioners in each of Canada’s four main business centres. Collaborating with our colleagues in Financial Services, Capital Markets, Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment, Employment & Labour, Commercial Real Estate, Tax, Environmental and Intellectual Property, as needed for each engagement, the Blakes team provides top-quality coordinated service and effective solutions to the unique and complex challenges our clients face wherever the parties are located or the insolvency proceedings are commenced.

 We represent all parties impacted by insolvencies and restructurings, including Canadian and U.S. banks and financial institutions, corporate debtors in domestic and cross-border insolvency proceedings, restructuring financial advisory firms that act as court officers, debtor-in-possession (DIP) lenders, and investors seeking to acquire assets and businesses in distressed circumstances.

We assist clients in a wide range of industries through workouts and restructurings (including under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), cross-border recognition of Chapter 11 proceedings under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as well as federal and provincial corporate restructuring statutes), DIP financing, security enforcement, distressed business acquisitions and post-restructuring issues.

Over the last few years, there has been much activity in North American resource, mining, energy and retail insolvencies. Some of our significant retainers on the public record in those industry sectors are described below.

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Recent Experience
  • Bellatrix Recapitalization National Bank of Canada, as the administrative agent, on behalf of the senior secured lending syndicate in Bellatrix's C$619-million recapitalization transaction.

  • Jupiter Plan of ArrangementJupiter Resources, Inc. and certain of its affiliates in a plan of arrangement pursuant to the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA), involving the applicants and holders of 8.5 per cent senior unsecured notes (Notes) issued by Jupiter pursuant to the indenture governing the Notes. The effect of the arrangement was the elimination of the principal amount of Jupiter's Notes by US$1.1-billion and the associated annual cash interest payments of US$93.5-million.
  • Sears Canada CCAA Proceedings – A significant group of unsecured creditors and prominent inventory suppliers holding millions of dollars of claims in the proceedings; and Morneau Shepell Ltd in its capacity as plan administrator of the Sears Canada Inc. Registered Pension Plan. Blakes participated in a complex, multi-party mediation that led to a settlement of pension priority litigation and terms of support by pension claimants of a plan of compromise and arrangement for distribution of the proceeds. Blakes is also involved in litigation commenced against officers and directors for wrongful conduct.

  • Carillion RestructuringCarillion Canada Group on all aspects of its Canada-wide restructuring efforts. Blakes assisted Carillion in selling its various business lines to maximize recovery for creditors. Each sale of a business line was a stand-alone, multimillion-dollar transaction.

  • Concordia Reorganization – The Concordia Group in its reorganization proceedings under the CBCA. Blakes acted for Goldman Sachs as agent for a lending facility that provided for aggregate financing of US$1.3-billion and £500-million. The filing included a number of offshore entities. The CBCA plan was approved, and the recapitalization transaction was completed in 2018. This filing presented unique challenges to secured lenders as arrangements approved in these restructuring proceedings can have a long-term impact on commercial lending and workout strategies.

  • Lightstream CCAA Proceedings – Lightstream Resources Ltd. in CCAA proceedings and successful defence of an attempt by certain holders of unsecured bonds to have their unsecured claims recognized as secured claims based on allegations of oppression, breach of contract and misrepresentation by utilizing a novel procedure for determination of certain threshold issues.

  • Toys “R” Us Bankruptcy – The DIP agent in connection with the US$2.3-billion DIP facility to Toys “R” Us Canada and its U.S. parent. In this complex cross-border proceeding, Toys “R” Us Canada, the largest dedicated toy and baby products retailer in Canada, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in the U.S. along with its larger corporate family. It also separately filed under the CCAA in Canada.

  • Target CCAA Proceedings – The largest group of suppliers to Target Canada in its CCAA proceedings. Blakes lawyers served on a court-appointed Consultative Committee formed of senior practitioners who represented key stakeholders in the case. With the support of the Consultative Committee, Target Canada entities ultimately submitted a plan that received the unanimous support of creditors. 

  • Bloom Lake and Wabush Restructurings – Bloom Lake Group and Wabush Group (iron ore) in their restructuring proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Prior to being idled, the Bloom Lake Mine located in Quebec, which was majority-owned by the Bloom Lake Group, was the fifth-largest iron ore exporting basin in the world. The Bloom Lake Mine, the Wabush/Scully Mine in Newfoundland and a port facility in Quebec were successfully sold in 2016 and 2017, completing the exit of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. from the Canadian iron ore market.

Awards & Recognition

Our members are consistently recognized by clients and peers as leaders in restructuring and insolvency law in the most recent editions of such leading publications and awards as:

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • IFLR1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Corporate Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • Who's Who Legal

  • Who's Who Legal: Insolvency & Restructuring

  • Who’s Who Legal: Canada

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers in Banking, Finance and Transactional Law (Insolvency and Restructuring)

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada

  • The Legal 500 Canada

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