Our cross-border team advised on a complex international advisory and crisis management mandate for a petrochemical-based commodities business.

Jurisdictions involved

United Arab Emirates

The business and background

The company is a petrochemical-based commodities business headquartered in the United Arab Emirates specializing in commodities processing, distribution and trading with global operations and a turnover of US$5bn.  

The business had trade finance irregularities valued at more than US$500m which resulted in a business-critical balance sheet impairment and funding crisis. Our team were approached by the shareholders and board of the business to provide advice and find a solution.

What we did

Within 48 hours of instruction, we had spoken to c.40 trade-finance, bilateral and syndicated lenders within Europe, the GCC countries and India and secured an informal standstill whilst further investigations were undertaken. We also assisted the group with public relations initiatives to manage press coverage across its main trading regions. 

Despite Covid-related travel restrictions, we deployed a team to the UAE to implement a business stabilisation and group restructuring exercise involving the disposal of non-core assets and subsidiaries.

Over a six-week period, we continued to report to lenders and undertook a detailed appraisal of the group’s assets, which we used to publish over 15 information memoranda. We introduced an independent Chief Restructuring Officer and worked alongside his office to help develop the restructuring plans.

The outcome

Despite the group’s imminent collapse at the point of instruction, we successfully stabilised the situation and built the foundations upon which the Chief Restructuring Officer was able to develop and implement a credible restructuring plan. Our key deliverables were the crisis management plan which facilitated consistent and honest communication with the group’s lenders, and the detailed vendor due diligence and lead advisory services which assisted the Chief Restructuring Officer’s work.

The group continues to trade and has avoided formal insolvency processes.