Offshore insolvency filings drop in Bermuda

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Bermuda saw a near 30 per cent drop in offshore insolvency filings last year compared to the year before, the lowest figure since 2013.

The island saw a total of 15 compulsory winding up orders last year.

In addition, the conversion rate for Bermuda, which is the number of initial filings later converted into actual court orders, also fell, with two out of three court petitions converted.

The news came in a report from law firm Appleby on petition filings and court orders filed in offshore jurisdictions last year.

The total number of petitions filed across the six offshore jurisdictions surveyed fell by 10 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015.

A total of 184 compulsory winding up petitions were filed in 2016, with 79 winding up orders made.

The report said: “The conversion rates of winding-up petitions into orders fell across the offshore jurisdictions as more companies were able to successfully oppose petitions or reach consensual resolution.”

Tony Heaver-Wren, a dispute resolution partner in Appleby’s Cayman office, said: “Although the number of petitions was down in 2016, numerous complex restructuring negotiations were under way during the year — particularly in the oil and gas sector — without having reached the point of petition filing.

“The general fall in petition filings in offshore jurisdictions to some extent reflects this movement towards restructuring over the course of the year and is expected to be reflected in the 2017 petitions profile.”

Bermuda, the Caymans and the Isle of Man were fastest at issuing winding up orders, with an average of six weeks to conversion, while Mauritius tended to take the longest, with an average duration of nine weeks.

The survey examined records in Bermuda, the Caymans, the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Mauritius.

An overview of Jersey, where the corporate insolvency regime is not petition-based, was also included in a summary of its insolvency and restructuring options.

The report looked at notices published across four categories — compulsory winding up filings, conversion of voluntary liquidation, to court-supervised liquidation, schemes of arrangement and capital reduction.

Mr Weaver-Wren said: “Some of the lowest numbers of filings occurred in the BVI and the Isle of Man, where alternative processes to petitions exist for creditors or shareholders, while Mauritius returned a disproportionately high number of filings, fuelled by a significantly larger population and domestic economy.”

The report added that some court orders may not yet have been published, so the figures are subject to change as new information emerges.

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Published May 15, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm)

Offshore insolvency filings drop in Bermuda

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