EU Insolvency Reform: Lessons from France
> Respecting the order of priority
> Why it’s all about valuation
Sophie VERMEIL...
2
Introduction
We can learn two lessons from the study of Law and Economics:
Negotiations, whether out-of-court or during...
3
PART I
Why is preserving the order of priority so important?
PART I. Why is preserving the order of priority so important?
1. Law & Economics Theory
4
 Respecting the order of priori...
P
5
2.1 – The nature of the problem
 Creditors are divided into three classes of creditor only:
 trade creditors;
 bank...
P
6
2.2 - The narrow procedural impact of this problem on out-of-court negotiations:
 Companies cannot properly deleverag...
P
7
2.3 - The broader economic impact of this problem on the French economy
85% of French companies successfully emerging...
8
PART II
Why is a proper valuation methodology so important to preserve the order
of priority?
P
9
 Reorganization is justified provided that it creates more value than a piecemeal liquidation.
 Provided that the va...
P
10
The Commission’s Recommendations of 2014 make no reference to the valuation issue,
despite most European countries n...
Available on ssrn.com
A Critical Appraisal of French insolvency law Through the Lens of the Law and Economics Movement:
A...
12
Contact
Sophie VERMEILLE
Droit & Croissance
Rules for Growth Institute
+ 33 (0) 6 73 04 89 90
svermeille@droitetcroissa...
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Droit croissance order of priority and valuation

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Droit croissance order of priority and valuation

  1. 1. EU Insolvency Reform: Lessons from France > Respecting the order of priority > Why it’s all about valuation Sophie VERMEILLE Corporate & Restructuring Lawyer at DLA Piper LLP Researcher at Paris II (Paris II Panthéon-Assas) Founder and President, Droit & Croissance / Rules for Growth European Commission, Brussels, 12 July 2016
  2. 2. 2 Introduction We can learn two lessons from the study of Law and Economics: Negotiations, whether out-of-court or during formal proceedings, always lead to suboptimal agreements if the order of priority is not respected. If there is no proper valuation methodology when the company is reorganized the "order of priority rule" cannot be fully enforced.
  3. 3. 3 PART I Why is preserving the order of priority so important?
  4. 4. PART I. Why is preserving the order of priority so important? 1. Law & Economics Theory 4  Respecting the order of priority means respecting property rights From an economic perspective:  property rights are not limited to rights in rem (according to the civil law approach)  they also include rights derived from contracts: junior vs. senior creditors; secured vs. unsecured creditors.  According to the Coase Theorem, created by Nobel Prize Economist Georges Stigler, negotiations lead to optimal agreements, provided that property rights are clearly respected.  Respect for property rights is necessary to avoid the destruction of value resulting from suboptimal restructuring agreements.  Where formal insolvency proceedings can violate the "order of priority" rule, there are negative effects on out-of-court negotiations conducted in its shadow:  Increased antagonism with shareholders who have little or no incentive to avoid bankruptcy proceedings;  Suboptimal agreements with creditors who cannot enjoy the full leverage of their position.
  5. 5. P 5 2.1 – The nature of the problem  Creditors are divided into three classes of creditor only:  trade creditors;  banks; and  bondholders.  This division is made regardless of the creditors’ seniority. In each class of creditor, each member holds one vote and the majority threshold is two thirds;  For example, secured and unsecured creditors or junior and senior creditors find themselves in the same class and have equally-weighted voting rights amounting to the sum of their claim.  This mechanism is referred to as a single-limb aggregated voting procedure, and it applies to each of the three separate classes of creditor.  This is a clear violation of the rights of the senior and secured creditors. PART I. Why is preserving the order of priority so important? 2. Analysis: Lessons from the French example
  6. 6. P 6 2.2 - The narrow procedural impact of this problem on out-of-court negotiations:  Companies cannot properly deleverage their balance sheet due to the common disregard for the rights of creditors and the “absolute priority rule” agreed by contract;  Therefore, a large amount of companies (especially LBO companies) abuse the pre-insolvency proceedings by filing for it a number of times;  Meanwhile, the management is focused on other issues than the business;  Lengthy and costly negotiations are an expensive option for debtors;  Debtors are unable to solve their operational difficulties quickly and decisively;  In practice, fresh money investors demand double digit interest rates, in spite of their super- senior priority privilege, and expect the same return as a shareholder would under “normal” (non-distressed) circumstances, proving that the company has not been properly deleveraged and that substantial risks remain. PART I. Why is preserving the order of priority so important? 2. Analysis: Lessons from the French example
  7. 7. P 7 2.3 - The broader economic impact of this problem on the French economy 85% of French companies successfully emerging from formal insolvency proceedings (redressement judiciaire) on a standalone basis, end up in liquidation again within five years, showing that these formal proceedings are highly ineffective; This figure falls to 50% for companies emerging from another type of formal proceedings (procédure de sauvegarde), which demonstrates that these are ineffective as well; There is no market for DIP financing available to French debtors who have filed for formal insolvency proceedings; Banks and other lenders often demand significantly greater collateral and personal guarantees than in other jurisdictions such as Germany or the UK; Businesses are forced to rely excessively and dangerously on obtaining trade credit in order to finance their working capital needs. PART I. Why is preserving the order of priority so important? 2. Analysis: Lessons from the French example
  8. 8. 8 PART II Why is a proper valuation methodology so important to preserve the order of priority?
  9. 9. P 9  Reorganization is justified provided that it creates more value than a piecemeal liquidation.  Provided that the value of assets is maximized, whether the company is liquidated – following a sale of assets to a third party – or reorganized is irrelevant.  However, the order of priority should be exactly the same in either case.  The order of priority is an easy concept to grasp when the company is liquidated.  What does this mean when the company is reorganized ? Two possibilities: 1.The senior secured creditors draw all the benefits of the reorganization and the rights of unsecured creditors are preserved by reference to the liquidation value (no worse off principle); 2.The rights of unsecured creditors are better preserved if senior secured creditors cannot have any say in the reorganization vote provided that they are not affected by reference to the going-concern value. PART II. A proper valuation methodology to preserve the order of priority 1. Law & Economics Theory
  10. 10. P 10 The Commission’s Recommendations of 2014 make no reference to the valuation issue, despite most European countries not having a consistent and clearly established methodology to determine the going-concern value of a business during a restructuring process. The debate over valuation in Europe gravitates around two main models: the English versus the US-German approach:  The English approach is based on the liquidation value; while  The German/US model is based on the going-concern value. In Continental Europe, most countries have chosen not to address this question and consider that this is not a matter for the Court. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the order of priority is properly respected. PART II. A proper valuation methodology to preserve the order of priority 2. Analysis
  11. 11. Available on ssrn.com A Critical Appraisal of French insolvency law Through the Lens of the Law and Economics Movement: A Solution for the Future ?” by S. Vermeille, A. Pietrancosta, 2010 “Risk Sharing and Value Sharing: A Study of the Effects of French insolvency law on Out-of-Court Debt Renegotiations” by S. Vermeille, B. Chopart, S. Portsmouth, L. Grégoire Sainte-Marie, 2011 “How Law & Economics Analysis Can Solve the Problem of Over-Indebtedness in LBO Target Companies -- Promoting Changes in French insolvency law” by S. Vermeille, S. Bardasi, 2014 “A European Credit Law of Non-Financial Institutions for the Benefit of the Banking Union” by S. Bardasi, A. Bézert, A. Salord, S. Vermeille, 2014 “Potential economic gains from reforming insolvency law in Europe” by Association for Financial Markets in Europe, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Frontier Economics, 2016 “Crossroads in EU harmonization on restructuring and insolvency: Towards a market-based model or one where the “senior takes all”?” by Adrian Thery, 2016 11 References
  12. 12. 12 Contact Sophie VERMEILLE Droit & Croissance Rules for Growth Institute + 33 (0) 6 73 04 89 90 svermeille@droitetcroissance.fr www.droitetcroissance.fr http://fr.linkedin.com/in/sophievermeille

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