Kirkland & Ellis advised an ad hoc group of the major third party financial creditors of the Steinhoff retail conglomerate on the highly complex, multi-jurisdictional settlement of c.€10 billion litigation proceedings. This follows the restructuring of c.€9 billion third party financial indebtedness in 2019 in respect of which Kirkland advised an ad hoc group of convertible bondholders.
Kirkland’s engagement has spanned four and a half years, beginning with the initial discovery of serious accounting irregularities that were disclosed in December 2017. The Steinhoff group has operations in South Africa, Europe, the US and Oceania. The parent company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
The settlement - among the most complex of its kind - was implemented pursuant to a Dutch law suspension of payments plan, a South African ‘section 155’ scheme of arrangement and a series of bilateral contractual arrangements. The restructuring of the group’s financial indebtedness also involved a Chapter 11 process (in respect of a US subsidiary), an English scheme of arrangement and two parallel UK company voluntary arrangements.
The Kirkland team was led by litigation partner Richard Boynton, restructuring partners Sean Lacey and Thomas Jemmett, restructuring associate Arwyn Davies and litigation associate Noah Stewart-Ornstein. The team was assisted by Bowmans in South Africa, led by James McKinnell and Loyens Loeff in Netherlands, led by Vincent Vroom.