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Building a Stable Platform - Financial Restructuring of the Quinn Group (now the Aventas Group)

A&O advises on EUR 1.3 billion restructuring of one of Ireland’s largest conglomerates. 

Quinn Group (2010-2011)

A&O advised the Quinn Group and its subsidiaries on its EUR 1.3 billion financial restructuring, implementing the deal via the ground-breaking use of a Northern Irish company voluntary arrangement.

The Quinn Group (later renamed the Aventas group) was one of Ireland's largest conglomerates, operating mainly in the building products, plastics, insulation, container glass and radiator sectors, plus a regulated insurance business. A family-owned business founded by Irish entrepreneur Séan Quinn, it was a major employer in Ireland and Northern Ireland, especially in the border areas of South Fermanagh and Cavan, with over 8,000 employees throughout Europe. The group got into financial difficulties when its funds were used by Séan Quinn to invest heavily in shares in Anglo Irish Bank, which itself had serious financial difficulties as part of the banking crisis and was nationalised by the Irish State.

In addition to being hugely challenging due to the complexity of the group's financial affairs, the restructuring was further complicated by the number of parties involved including local and international banks and noteholders, the Irish Financial Regulator, Anglo Irish Bank (and upon the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank and the creation of ICBC, the Irish State), the joint administrators of the regulated insurance business (Quinn Insurance Limited) and interests of the Quinn family which were not part of the Quinn Group. The successful restructuring was implemented via the ground-breaking use of a Northern Irish company voluntary arrangement to deliver unanimous creditor consent, together with innovative attorney/agency provisions to facilitate in excess of 10,000 signatures on over 600 restructuring documents.

“Working seamlessly across jurisdictions”

This was a very complex deal, delivered under huge commercial and political pressure. We are proud of our role in ensuring the survival of the Quinn Group businesses, supporting several thousand jobs in Ireland, Northern Ireland and beyond. The transaction involved teams in 18 A&O offices (and colleagues in other law firms), demonstrating our ability to work seamlessly as a team across jurisdictions” – David Campbell, Partner

The A&O Team

The restructuring spanned teams across Europe, including our offices in London, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg City, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Madrid, Prague as well as New York.

The London restructuring and banking teams were led by partners Earl Griffith and David Campbell, working with Darren Hanwell (then senior associate and now partner) and associates Peter Mailer and Joydeep Choudhuri.

The London tax team was led by partner Lydia Challen, assisted by counsel Tim Harrop.

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