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TMA Europakonferenz 2010

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TMA Europe Conference 2010 - Post Conference Review

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2010 TMA Europe Conference - Berlin10 - 11 June, 2010

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The city of Berlin hosted this year's third TMA Europe Conference entitled "European Turnaround - new tools, new approaches, new problems?". The once divided city, now Germany's capital provided an appropriate backdrop to the era of increasing cooperation between the West and East of the continent. Once again the conference attracted some of Europe's most prominent restructuring professionals as speakers and panellists.

100 delegates and speakers attended the reception and dinner sponsored by Gordon Brothers, Freshfields and Nikolaus & Co on the eve of the conference. The dinner hosted by Conference Chairman Lars Westpfahl was preceded by a thought provoking speech by Dr. Ulf Merbold, German physicist and astronaut, one of only a few European astronauts.

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Dr. Merbold spoke of his experiences in space exploration, explained the day-to-day problems of life in a space shuttle and demonstrated astonishing views of planet earth. His message that we need to preserve the limited resources available to mankind resonated with the audience and put into perspective the more earthbound activity of enterprise value preservation which was the subject of the following day's conference.

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After breakfast, sponsored by Gila & Co, the conference kicked-off for the 120 delegates with a welcome address by Hans-Joachim Weidtmann of TMA Germany.

The welcome was followed by the first keynote speech by Dr. Andreas Dombret, recently appointed member of the Board of Directors of the German Federal Reserve (Bundesbank) and Director of its financial stability, markets and statistics department. Dr. Dombret provided the audience with figures showing that the global economy is in fact recovering better than expected if unbalanced, but also noted that the overall economic outlook was still uncertain. He named the currently deteriorating public budgets and sovereign debt in Europe as the major risk to global financial stability.

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Dr. Dombret was followed by the next keynote speaker, industry veteran and distinguished legal practitioner Harvey Miller from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York. Harvey provided personal insights into the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies and especially into the crucial 78 hours before the filing of Lehman Brothers. His participation in such momentous decision making meetings captivated the audience. He also reported on the legislative challenges with regard to Chapter 11 proceedings, the increasing use of sec. 363-sales and their advantages and disadvantages compared to full Chapter 11 plan proceedings.

After a coffee break the panel session on operative restructurings chaired by Nils Kuhlwein von Rathenow (Roland Berger, Düsseldorf) included the following panellists;

  • Eugenio Berenga (Alix Partners, Milan)
  • Peter Briggs (Alvarez&Marsal, Munich) and Marcel Windt (Houthoff Buruma, Rotterdam) - who highlighted the scarcity of funding in the different jurisdictions and the difficulties in obtaining DIP financing in the current economic environment.

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In the final morning slot a panel featuring;

  • Gordon W. Johnson (EM Advisors, USA) as chairman
  • Russia: Alexander Yerofeyev (Ernst &Young, Moscow)
  • Turkey: Candas Gülez (Nexia, Istanbul)
  • Romania: Valeriu Nistor (SOAR, Bucharest) - provided an update on restructuring regimes in these major Eastern European Economies focusing on their deficiencies and strengths, including the developments of pre-packaged plans.

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After lunch jointly sponsored by Epiq Systems and Skadden, landmark case studies on cross-border multi-jurisdictional restructurings were introduced by Conference Vice Chairman

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Tyrone Courtman, including;

  • La Seda de Barcelona: Richard Tett (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London),
  • Carlos Gila (Gila & Co., Madrid),
  • Alan Tilley (Bryan Mansell &Tilley, London)
  • Thomson S.A.: Neil Devaney (Bingham, London)
  • Monier: Andrew Wilkinson (Goldman Sachs, London)
  • Icelandic banks: J Eric Ivester (Skadden, Chicago), Dan McElhinney (Epiq Systems, New York).

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The variety of the case studies and their significance and size included French "sauveguarde" and "cram down" using English law scheme of arrangement proceedings for non UK owned companies. The cases demonstrated the great diversity of restructuring tools available and the flexibility to transverse jurisdictions to achieve desired results. The panellists' firsthand experience of innovative approaches to save value demonstrated also the progress that professionals have made in adapting new processes to old problems.

 

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The case studies were followed by an address of Steffen Koch on behalf of INSOL Europe and continued with the final panel session which focused on the comparison of multi-jurisdictional out-of-court restructuring regimes moderated by Dr. Frank Nikolaus, President of TMA Germany. Panellists included;

  • Antonin Besse (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Paris)
  • Mario Lisanti (Norton Rose, Milan)
  • Jesper Trommer Volf (Accura Advokataktieselskab, Denmark)
  • Bryan Green (Gordon Brothers Europe, London), Chris Hart (Lloyds TSB, London).

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During this panel session a lively discussion emerged on the various out-of-court regimes in the different jurisdictions and the willingness to embrace these pre formal process methods. Dr. Nikolaus put to the test and compared the most distinctive features of the different out-of-court restructuring tools from country to country.

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The third TMA Europe Conference was closed by TMA International Chairman Pat Lagrange who thanked all the delegates for their attendance, the panellists and speakers for their contributions, and the steering committee and administrative staff, particularly Pauline North and Katherina Weimer for organizing the conference. He gave notice of the next conference to be held in June 2011 in Helsinki, Finland. The delegates then concluded the conference and enthusiastically continued their networking at a champagne reception kindly sponsored by Bryan Mansell & Tilley LLP.

Once again the TMA Europe conference brought together a broad cross section of professionals and nationalities. Sixteen countries were represented including non members from prospective new Chapters. The enthusiastic atmosphere as delegates networked and exchanged experiences across the various jurisdictions demonstrated the importance of this event to the restructuring world's calendar and the contribution TMA members are making to progressing innovative processes in value preservation of distressed European companies.

TMA European Chapters

With TMA chapters in UK, France, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, Holland, Italy and Spain, plus significant interest in Eastern Europe, TMA's international and European growth has reached the point that members can now benefit from wider regional networking and educational opportunities. TMA plans to build on this framework to develop its regional presence in Europe for the benefit of members.

 

This event is kindly supported by INSOL Europe