Offer to engage with the BPF on Restructuring Plans
Over the past few years, many high-street firms have looked to the UK’s insolvency framework in order to navigate the structural changes fundamentally changing consumer behaviour. As the Government’s support mechanisms expire and the economic fallout of the crisis comes to a head, this is only going to become more acute in the months ahead.
We support a rescue culture and want viable businesses in genuine distress to be given the lifeline they need to survive, but equally, insolvency processes need to be as fair and transparent for creditors as they can be, with everyone’s interests and ideas taken into account.
In order to facilitate this in respect of property owner creditors, we would like to encourage insolvency practitioners and their client firms to engage with the BPF in discussions on potential terms of Restructuring Plans, in the same way we have seen for Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) for the past few years. To that end, we would expect the company to provide details of funding, liquidity and timescales for implementation of any proposals with a view to having a meaningful engagement ahead of any proposals being finalised. This will ensure that property owners are able to make an informed evaluation of the business and its suitability for proposing a Restructuring Plan, thereby guaranteeing that all appropriate avenues are explored and any impairments to creditors as a whole can be considered on a fair and equitable basis.
Seeking property owners’ informed input will reduce the inherent risks within insolvency processes and will ultimately maximise the chance of creditor approval.
We and our members are willing to engage at the earliest opportunity and under the terms of a Non-Disclosure Agreement, if that would make those approaching us more comfortable to disclose required information.
This engagement should be in addition to – and not a substitute for – engagement with individual property owners in relation to matters specific to them.
Restructuring Plans are, as a new procedure, somewhat of an unknown quantity. We are conscious that the market precedent set by the first few will be crucial for the procedure’s success going forward.
Property owners are key partners for any business and will want to do what they can to support those going through tough times. It is in all of our interests to do what we can to ensure our industries approach Restructuring Plans in the spirit of partnership.
In the first instance, Insolvency Practitioners wishing to discuss this letter or to engage in relation to Restructuring Plan proposals should contact the BPF’s Head of Retail Policy, Laurence Raeburn- Smith at email@example.com.