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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Team

  • Andrew Muckian
    • Andrew Muckian stands out for development and property investment matters. Clients highlight that he is "very thorough and good at identifying solutions." Chambers Europe 2016
    • Interviewees say: "He proved extremely efficient, commercial and practical with a good legal brain. He was able to bring commercial focus to an extremely tight transaction."  Chambers Europe 2016 
    • Practice head Andrew Muckian remains a "very highly rated" property lawyer, with wide-ranging experience of real estate property investments, developments and disposals, involving domestic and international clients.  Chambers Europe, 2015 - Real Estate
    • Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 lauds Andrew as a "stand-out lawyer".
    • Chambers Europe, 2013, Andrew Muckian is described as "unflappable and practical, and will highlight risks without labouring the point."
    • Sources of Chambers Europe, 2012, credit Andrew as 'the driving force behind the practice'.  In Legal 500 EMEA, 2012, he is widely praised for his ‘overall knowledge and attention to detail’. 
  • Michael Quinn
    • Michael enjoys a strong reputation with both clients and peers, with sources noting that he has "a huge amount of experience." Chambers Europe 2017
    • William Fry’s ‘superb’ practice head Michael Quinn. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Michael Quinn “is a very experienced lawyer and is very technically proficient”. IFLR 1000 2017
    • Group head Michael Quinn has many years of experience in this field and is "very commercially minded and solution-driven. He will steer you away from lengthy legal proceedings if at all possible." Chambers Europe 2016 
    • Michael "really knows what he is doing - there is very little in the insolvency world that he hasn't dealt with."  Chambers Europe, 2015 - Restructuring and Insolvency
    • Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 describe Michael as a "true specialist".
    • "His depth of experience is incredible." They add that he is "a great negotiator and strong in the high-profile mediation and litigation cases." Chambers & Partners, 2014 - Restructuring and Insolvency
    • Michael is described as 'a leading insolvency expert. He is experienced, flexible and determined.' Chambers Global, 2013
    • Michael Quinn is "technically knowledgeable and very practical". Legal 500 EMEA, 2012 - Insolvency & Corporate Restructuring
  • Elaine Hanly
    • Elaine is ‘an excellent and thorough banking lawyer’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Elaine Hanly receives praise for her pragmatic approach: "She manages to distil the advice from a technical legal point of view into a business suggestion." Chambers Global, 2015 - Banking & Finance
    • Elaine Hanly’s team at William Fry provides ‘proactive service’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 - Banking & Finance 
    • Elaine Hanly is a "a top lawyer, a great operator, with a fast turnaround. She works all day and night to get the job done". Chambers & Partners, 2014 - Banking & Finance
    • Elaine Hanly 'has an impressive track record and wins the admiration of her peers.' Chambers Europe, 2012 - Banking & Finance
  • Sonya Manzor
    • Sonya Manzor is well renowned for her technical expertise in a broad spectrum of tax matters, including inward investment, corporate reorganisations and M&A transactions. Chambers Europe 2017
    • Sonya Manzor ‘devises well-thought-out tax strategies’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
    • Sonya Manzor is the firm's most prominent corporate tax lawyer, coming recognised for her "tremendous knowledge and experience. She understands direct and indirect tax in Ireland, the EU and the US. She is instrumental in coming up with creative ideas to get around the problems we face." Chambers Europe 2016 
    • Sonya is "decisive and proficient, and knows about corporate issues. She also won't back down, but nor will she pick a fight for the sake of it".  Chambers Europe, 2015 
    • She "provides creative solutions".  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
    • Sonya "has a very broad depth of knowledge and experience - she is exceptional on corporate transactions." Chamber Global, 2014 
    • Sonya Manzor 'finds solutions to all sides of an issue and works seamlessly with her corporate colleagues to solve the problem. She also has an incredible work ethic and is always positive and constructive'. Chambers Global, 2013  
    • Sonya is described as having ‘tremendous energy’ and ‘quick understanding.’  Legal 500 EMEA, 2013
  • Cormac Commins
    • According to clients, the "very approachable" Cormac Commins' "knowledge is exceptional in terms of UCITS, and Irish UCITS in particular." He is well known and highly regarded for assisting promoters with open-ended and liquid funds. Chambers Global 2017
    • Sources report that "he makes everything seamless. He is a very calm and collected individual who gives sound, practical advice, and takes the time to understand your issues to the same extent an in-house lawyer would." Chambers Global 2016 
    • Cormac Commins receives praise from sources as a "very personable, down-to-earth and pragmatic lawyer, who understands the law and can explain it to clients."  Chambers Global, 2015 
    • Cormac Commins is ‘technically excellent’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Cormac Commins is ‘exceptional’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
    • Cormac Commins is praised as 'a safe pair of hands.' Chambers & Partners, 2014 
    • Cormac Commins 'views himself as a long-term partner of our firm, and is knowledgeable, accessible and responsive.' According to a source of Chambers Europe, 2013
    • Cormac is described as ‘exceptional’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013 
  • Brendan Cahill
    • According to Chambers & Partners 2014, Brendan Cahill is recognised by sources as an "excellent practitioner."
    • Brendan Cahill is described as “sharp and clever" in the 2013 edition of Chambers Global.

Key Contacts

Elaine Hanly Partner

Michael Quinn Partner