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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
  • Dominion Diamond Mines CCAA Proceedings Dominion Diamond Mines ULC in connection with its Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) filing.

  • JTI-Macdonald CCAA Proceedings The court-appointed monitor in the CCAA proceedings of JTI-Macdonald Corp., which is playing a central role in developing a structured settlement to resolve over half-a-trillion dollars of litigation claims that, if implemented, will in effect restructure Canada’s entire tobacco industry.   

  • Sears Canada CCAA Proceedings – A significant group of unsecured creditors and prominent inventory 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 Restructuring – Carillion 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.

  • syncreon Restructuring – Canadian counsel to the syncreon Group in connection with its multi-jurisdiction balance sheet restructuring of over US$1-billion in funded debt. This was the first-ever recognition of a U.K. scheme of arrangement in Canada pursuant to the CCAA. 

  • Pengrowth Plan of Arrangement Cona Resources Ltd. in all aspects of its acquisition of Pengrowth Energy Corporation, completed by way of plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta).

  • Bumble Bee Group Insolvency – Canadian counsel to Wells Fargo in respect of a pre-filing asset-based lending facility and a post-filing DIP facility, in insolvency proceedings for the Bumble Bee Group in both Canada (under the CCAA) and the United States (under Chapter 11).

  • Redwater Receivership Proceedings – The senior secured creditor, ATB Financial, at all levels of court in the precedent-setting receivership proceeding of a junior oil and gas producer, Redwater Energy Corporation, including at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Hollander Sleep Products Chapter 11 Proceedings – Canadian counsel to the term agent in respect of the U.S. Chapter 11 and CCAA recognition proceedings of Hollander Group, including assisting the term agent in all aspects of the complex and novel cross-border proceedings. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Arrangement – Jupiter 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.

  • 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. 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.

  • 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.

  • Urbancorp Debtor Proceedings – Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc., as court-appointed receiver and manager and construction lien trustee of Urbancorp (Leslieville) Developments Inc., Urbancorp (The Beach) Developments Inc. and Urbancorp (Riverdale) Developments Inc. The debtor companies were engaged in the development, construction and sale of residential properties in Toronto, including a partially completed residential development, and were part of a larger group of Urbancorp companies that were placed into separate insolvency proceedings. However, these debtor proceedings differ from the other Urbancorp insolvency proceedings, as they successfully reached a multi-party settlement among key stakeholders, including the completion of construction and purchasers keeping their homes under modified terms.

  • 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 to purchasers in a series of transactions and a unique and complex CCAA joint plan of arrangement and compromise has been successfully implemented, settling significant claims, including pension and employee related claims of over C$155 million.

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