As a result of the numerous cross-border structures involving Cyprus, the need to recognise foreign insolvency proceedings in Cyprus is becoming more common. While the framework for recognising cross-border insolvencies originating outside the European Union remains largely untested in Cyprus, case law shows the Cyprus courts' willingness to follow the principles of common law in line with current commercial realities.
The examinership framework – which was introduced to the Companies Law in 2015 – offers an effective mechanism for restructuring financially distressed companies. However, judging from relevant case law, it appears that an application for examinership must be pursued promptly when the financial distress arises and not when the need for a moratorium becomes apparent.
Schemes of arrangement have advantages over other insolvency procedures. For example, they offer a flexible, operational, creative and simple mechanism for restructuring debt and allow companies in financial distress to continue as going concerns. Recent statutory amendments have reduced the required statutory threshold for approving a scheme of arrangement and eliminated the requirement to secure a special majority of 75% in both value and the number of creditors present and voting.
The European Commission has proposed a directive on preventive restructuring frameworks in order to reduce significant barriers to the free flow of capital caused by differences in member states' restructuring and insolvency frameworks. It aims for all member states to implement key principles for effective preventive restructuring and second-chance frameworks, as well as measures to improve the quality and efficiency of all types of insolvency procedure by reducing their length and associated costs.
The Bankruptcy Act has been amended by a statute which came into force on 1 July 2019. The amendments aim to simplify and accelerate bankruptcy proceedings. This article focuses on amendments that affect the position of creditors located outside Finland, such as those concerning the lodgement of claims, dates of creditors' meetings and the bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings case management system.
The Eastern Finland Court of Appeal recently ruled on a bankruptcy estate's liability for a mutual real estate company's maintenance charges. This decision further defines the scope of bankruptcy estates' liabilities and is a logical continuation of Supreme Court precedent in this area. As payments of bankruptcy estates' administrative expenses are privileged compared with claims against debtors, the definition of 'administrative expenses' should be interpreted cautiously.
In January 2015 two Supreme Court precedents indicated that assets subject to floating charges should be valued at their feasible liquidation value; however, under these precedents, the valuation terms were somewhat ambiguous and certain liquidation costs remained undetermined. The court's latest precedent addresses the equal treatment of creditors in both restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings and clearly improves the predictability of floating charges as securities in the former.
Generally, Finnish insolvency legislation has been stable and proven effective over the past decade. However, owing to technological advancements and recent bankruptcies involving businesses affecting the environment, there is a growing need to fine-tune bankruptcy proceedings and environmental liabilities in bankruptcies. After two years of research, an expert group established by the Ministry of Justice has published a report on these issues.
The tax issues of a bankruptcy estate and the creditors differ depending on whether the bankruptcy estate continues the previous business of the debtor company. The effects of a debtor's bankruptcy on the creditor's taxation may be particularly significant where the creditor is a lessor to the debtor. Pursuant to legislation, a bankruptcy estate is, in principle, entitled to choose whether to conduct activity liable to value added tax provided that it does not continue the debtor's business.
Charlottenburg Local Court ordered insolvency proceedings for safeguarding NIKI Luftfahrt, a company incorporated under Austrian law with its registered office in Vienna. At the time, its indirect shareholder, Air Berlin (with its registered office in Berlin), had already commenced proceedings in Germany. While Charlottenburg Local Court was satisfied that NIKI's centre of main interest was in Berlin, the Berlin Court of Appeal decided that it had been wrong to assume jurisdiction.
German regulations obliging managing directors to monitor the liquidity of a company during crisis situations are typically strict and give rise to the risk of personal liability in cases of non-compliance. Legislation requires company management to file for insolvency proceedings without undue delay in the case of illiquidity or over-indebtedness. Continued trading where the company is considered to be materially insolvent can have serious consequences.
The States of Guernsey recently passed the Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 (Insolvency) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, making Guernsey an even more desirable forum for insolvency proceedings. The changes show that Guernsey is prepared to arm insolvency office holders with the necessary tools and powers to tackle, draw in and preserve the assets of an insolvent company for the benefit of creditors.
Two joint administrators recently applied to the Royal Court of Guernsey seeking an order that it issue the High Court of Justice of England and Wales with a letter of request to act in aid of and auxiliary to the Royal Court in recognising their appointment as administrators of a company. While the Royal Court has dealt with incoming letters of requests, in making the application, counsel was unaware of any case where the Royal Court's jurisdiction to issue a letter of request had previously been considered.