Distressed Assets

A combination of difficult economic, real estate and credit conditions presents challenges and opportunities for asset owners and investors. William Fry's Distressed Asset Group combines the legal expertise necessary to provide timely Tax, Financial Services, Regulatory, Real Estate and Restructuring and Insolvency advice to both vendors and purchasers of distressed assets, whether based in Ireland or elsewhere. Where necessary, we can access our global network of international law firms and investment banks to deal with any cross border issues associated with the tranfer of these assets.

We offer our clients guidance and expertise on the opportunities available within the Irish market to sell and acquire distressed assets and provide advisory services on the:

  • Acquisition and disposal of loan portfolios
  • Appropriate Irish and international taxation planning for the acquisition of distressed assets
  • Acquisition and disposal of distressed real estate
  • Restructuring of businesses and the accompanying acquisition or disposal of assets out of liquidation, examinership or receivership
  • Appropriate fund and other corporate structures utilised to acquire and hold distressed assets

Our recent experience includes advising on the following:

  • Kennedy Wilson and Deutsche Bank on the acquisition of the Project Prince loan portfolio (real estate backed loans with a par value of €360m).
  • Gordon Brothers on its acquisition of the Clerys department store business.
  • consortium of international banks which established an Irish securitisation SPV to acquire a portfolio of German loans and related mortgages funded by senior debt and mezzanine debt in the restructuring of the facilities. 
  • Duke Street Capital, a private equity group based in the UK and France, on a novel cross border debt and capital restructuring of the Payzone group (the electronic payments network) which involved a debt for equity swap, and the disposal by joint receivers.
  • The funders to IWP International plc in relation to its debt restructuring which involved the secured creditors converting circa €57m of their existing debt to equity, resulting in them owning 90% of the enlarged share capital of the IWP Group and the delisting of IWP. 
  • The Examiner of Structured Credit Company on its successful restructuring.  SCC was the first Irish victim of the credit crunch. 
  • The establishment of a QIF fund of funds to invest in distressed collective investment schemes at highly discounted net asset values.
  • A group of equity noteholders in a Lehman Anthracite securitization structure following the collapse of the Lehman Group.
  • AIB on the acquisition of the private banking business of ABN Amro and a transfer of assets under Section 33 of the Central Bank Act, 1971.
  • Domestic Irish lenders on the transfer of loan portfolios to NAMA.
  • As part of a panel of legal advisers to NAMA on various enforcement and refinancing matters.
  • Joint Administrator of Nortel Networks on the administration of telecoms provider, Nortel Networks (Ireland) Limited.
  • Waterford Wedgwood plc on the restructuring of Waterford Wedgewood plc.

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We are consistently ranked as one of the leading Banking & Financial Services law firms in Ireland.


  •  William Fry's Banking department have been described by clients as "excellent to deal with. Their level of market knowledge is very high, and they are proactive at finding solutions to problems  and good at pushing the transaction to close." Other clients adds that they are "very knowledgeable and have the capability to manage large and complex transactions seamlessly," as well being "massively respected by the team on the other side of the transaction." The team is also known for being a "very well-resourced team, providing excellent turnaround times and always ensuring partner availability." Legal 500 2020
  • "Excellent and no weaknesses." says one interviewee IFLR 2020
  • A client states "The team that I primarily deal with are excellent. The team is partner driven, and I can always get access when needed. Their attention to detail is first class but they explain it in layman terms. They are very well regarded within the legal community, and this can be of huge assistance when negotiating and closing complicated deals." Another clients states: "William Fry (partners David Maughan and Mary Ward) provide unparalleled service on Irish law matters. Their advice is always on the spot, and they are always available. I only go to other firms if William Fry is conflicted from advising my client.". With another saying: "Very professional firm with a good team in place. Their strength is their people and breadth of experience on various projects." IFLR 1000 2019
  • "They are very easy to deal with, you can pick up the phone to any of them and they are quick to come back and respond, even on small queries. They are very thorough, client friendly and they put time into developing the relationship". An interviewee appreciated that "the client service was very strong, they had an excellent understanding of the transaction and they showed good responsiveness to requests". Chambers Europe 2019
  • One happy client says: "Their legal expertise, service levels and business-friendly approach sets them apart. I have recommended the team to other parties and continue to do so." Another source notes: "The firm is committed to its clients and develops strong relationships with them." Chambers Europe 2018
  • "They were very commercial on complex deals, extracted the important parts, were very proactive and made sure that nothing slipped away." Clients also point out that "they have a nice house style: professional, friendly and courteous." Chambers Europe, 2017 
  •  "The lawyers took a personal interest in the work and the overall objective was always in their minds. There was a big team offering a lot of strength throughout." 
    "This firm had the size and skills to handle a particularly complex transaction, and the commitment to throw the necessary resources at the job." Chambers Europe 2016
  • William Fry is an "excellent practice". Legal 500 EMEA 2016


Elaine Hanly

  • "Elaine Hanly has a long-standing presence in the market, advising borrowers on acquisition finance and refinancing. She also acts for lenders on project finance matters." Chambers Global 2020
  • "Ms Hanly's perspective and experience on banking issues is unmatched." IFLR 1000 2020 
  • Elaine has a "very strong technical understanding, is solution-driven and will seek to be very commercial in assessing transactions." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Sources say she is "pragmatic, diligent and goal-oriented," adding: "She tries to work with clients to find solutions rather than throwing up problems for the client and is comfortable driving an aggressive timetable." Chambers Global 2018 
  • William Fry excels in real estate finance, where practice head Elaine Hanly is "an excellent and thorough banking lawyer." Legal 500 EMEA 2017

David Maughan

  • David has been ranked in both Chambers Europe 2020 and Chambers Global 2020. Clients especially highlight him for his "excellent technical skills and strong commercial understanding of the aviation sector." Another client said that David "provides hands-on, pragmatic and on-the-point advice."
  • According to Legal 500 2020, David is "extremely knowledgeable and always has a practical solution to problems encountered" and "provides excellent commercial advice."
  • David is a widely respected figure in the market, particularly in relation to asset finance mandates including securitisations and structured finance deals. Interviewees attest that he "knows his stuff and is very approachable." Chambers Global 2019
  • David Maughan's practice revolves around the financing of aircraft and other assets. He also handles leases, joint ventures, refinancing and securitisations.  Sources see him as "a technically good lawyer." Chambers Global 2018
  • Clients say that David Maughan is "very approachable, responsive, easy to worth with, commercial and pragmatic." Chambers Global 2017
  • David takes an “excellent commercial approach”. IFLR 1000 2017
  • David is renowned for his experience of mandates in the aviation sector, as part of a wider structured finance practice. Sources say: "His advice is top-notch, and his communication is strong." Chambers Europe 2016 

Key Contacts

David Maughan Partner

Lyn Brennan Partner

Elaine Hanly Consultant