Insolvency and restructuring

test image test image

In distressed situations, you need pragmatic and timely advice. You can rely on our extensive insolvency and restructuring experience.

There is a misconception that you only need assistance when your company has failed or is in serious financial difficulty. However, seeking legal advice at the first sign of financial difficulty is the best solution.

With one of the largest insolvency and restructuring legal teams in the country, ranked Tier 1 by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and IFLR 1000, we have the pedigree and market recognition to get quick results. Our team has a proven track record of leading New Zealand’s most complex or multi-jurisdictional insolvency administrations and restructuring deals, as well as significant and complex insolvency-related litigation.

We consult on corporate advisory, finance, insolvency, and litigation. Our multi-disciplinary team regularly advises lenders, trustees, receivers, voluntary administrators, and liquidators, as well as companies going through restructuring and workouts.  We are also a trusted adviser to The Treasury New Zealand on large, complex, and challenging insolvency and restructuring assignments involving the Crown.

We have broad experience across numerous industries, including agribusiness, construction, energy, resources and mining, funds management and derivatives, health and aged care, shipping and transport, industrial, infrastructure and project finance, real estate, retail and cryptocurrencies.

The team has strong and longstanding relationships with all major insolvency and restructuring accounting firms and sits on the panels of all major banks and financial institutions in New Zealand, so we receive the most insolvency and restructuring engagements – keeping us at the forefront of this field. We are also actively involved in industry developments: Partner Sean Gollin advised on New Zealand’s COVID-19 relief package for directors and businesses and Partner Richard Gordon sits on the Board of the Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand Inc (RITANZ).

As part of the MinterEllison Legal Group we are able to provide seamless service on trans-Tasman, regional and cross-border insolvency and restructuring assignments.  

We can help with:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Creditor claims
  • Debt rescheduling
  • Corporate restructurings, turnarounds and workouts
  • Loan book factoring and securitisation
  • Distressed debt trading/acquisitions 
  • Advising trustees of debt issuers
  • Analysis of validity
  • Voidability and risk
  • Security enforcement and recovery
  • Liquidations, receiverships, voluntary administration, and statutory management
  • Directors’ duties and liabilities , particularly in a distressed context
  • Cross-border insolvency issues
  • Insolvency litigation

An experienced team who get the job done quickly and efficiently. Long and strong history in restructuring and insolvency. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023

Recent highlights
Advising on high profile New Zealand restructuring and insolvency matters

Advising on some of New Zealand’s most high profile and complex restructuring and insolvency matters. This includes Dick Smith’s voluntary administration and receivership (a cross-border insolvency transaction and New Zealand’s largest voluntary administration impacting on a diverse group of stakeholders), the Mainzeal Richina Group insolvency (a complex group liquidation involving 14 companies), the Crafer Farms receivership (involving New Zealand’s largest privately owned dairy farming operation and attracting substantial media attention), the Hilton Queenstown development receivership (Kawarau Falls was a $1 billion, six hotel development in Queenstown and was one of the largest property developments in New Zealand that ended up in receivership) and acting as lead adviser to the New Zealand Government on the restructuring and liquidation of state-owned enterprise Solid Energy.

Warkworth Land Development receivership

Acting for the receivers, BDO, on the receivership of Warkworth Holdings Limited (in receivership and liquidation). The main asset was a large plot of undeveloped residential land that was ultimately sold for $53 million. The matter was contentious with the mezzanine lender, shareholders and interested third parties threatening legal action against the receivers on their appointment and on the conduct of the receivership. Our advice helped the receivers sell the secured assets above market value and their appointers’ expectations. As a result, all secured and preferential creditors were paid in full, and no formal action was filed against the receivers.

Sacred Hill Vineyards

Acting for a major bank in relation to its appointment of both receivers and administrators to the Sacred Hill Vineyards group of companies and the subsequent receivership, including various High Court challenges to the sale process and actions taken by the administrators.

JUCY Rentals restructure and sale

Advising JUCY Group and Calibre as receivers on JUCY Group’s post-Covid restructure, resulting in the pre-pack receivership sale of the business and assets of JUCY Group to Polar Capital – the most significant tourism business restructured as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landmark decision on directors’ duties with significant damages

Representing the liquidators in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a claim against the directors of Mainzeal Property and Construction Limited (Mainzeal) and two related companies for breach of directors’ duties, reckless trading, knowing receipt and transactions for inadequate consideration. The High Court ordered the directors to pay $36 million to Mainzeal for reckless trading, the highest such award in New Zealand to date.  The Court of Appeal found that, while the directors were not liable for reckless trading, they had incurred obligations without reasonably believing that they would be performed. Both decisions broke new ground for the approach taken to liability and to the assessment of loss for insolvent trading. We continue to act for the liquidators in the recently-heard appeal to the Supreme Court, the quantum determination in the High Court and enforcement action to recover the judgment sum.

Kurow-Duntroon Irrigation Scheme 

Acting for the administrators of the Kurow-Duntroon Irrigation Company Limited (Administrators Appointed and In Receivership). The company had 70 shareholders party to the Scheme who were landowners located in the Kurow-Duntroon area. The Scheme upgraded its infrastructure and through that process a dispute occurred leading to an award, by way of adjudication, being made against the Company which resulted in the directors appointing administrators and inviting the major secured creditor to appoint receivers. We advised the administrators on all aspects of the voluntary administration including the creditors meeting, the watershed meeting, the DOCA and the administrators’ report.

Crown financial support in response to COVID-19 

Acting for The Treasury on a full range of its economic support initiatives as a consequence of COVID-19, including the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme and the Economically Significant Business Scheme. Providing advice on support options, including advising on a large number of tools that were available to the Crown such as debt, equity and quasi equity structures, as well as holding structures and governance.

Australasian agribusiness group collapse 

Acting for BNZ on the enforcement of its security over a number of entities comprising a family-owned group, which had a long-established presence in agribusiness, and significant holdings in New Zealand and Australia. With over $40 million in exposure, the matter was of significant importance to the bank.