2016's Leading Debt Advisory Firms

Penningtons Manches’ corporate finance team in London is headed by Matt Martin who specialises in debt and capital advisory work. We spoke to him to find out more about the team, and how it is excelling within its highly competitive industry.

From our firm’s perspective, 2016 started positively and activity levels are generally high. There is, however, some uncertainty and concern emanating from the global markets and our relationship with the EU. In economic terms, we expect a continued recovery but we suspect it will be modest and uneven. As such, there is an ever growing need for support for businesses to find funding solutions. Moreover, we are experiencing a lot of deal flow generated between the private equity and ABL players as businesses look for funding. From our experience, to be successful in this field, you need to understand the industry and the players that work in it. You also need to know what works and what doesn’t and who your clients need to speak to. Additionally, we need to move really quickly as we are often working in distressed situations, and we need to ensure that our clients are confident that we can cope under these conditions.

In terms of the work we do, our team advises clients on all aspects of their debt and capital needs, assisting borrowers and shareholders in achieving their financing objectives. This can include raising finance, refinancing existing debt facilities, recapitalisations or raising capital is distressed situations. Alongside these services, we also advise institutions that provide the funding solutions and where a quick disposal is needed, we also specialise in accelerated sale mandates. Generally speaking, our work comes from our client base, the debt advisory community and the funding provider institutions.

As for my experience, I have more than 20 years’ experience across the full range of debt capital markets, including senior debt, second lien, mezzanine, private placements and asset-backed lending (ABL), as well as quasi-equity products such as payment- in-kind (PIK) notes, and in running accelerated sales processes. Over the years, I have gained a strong reputation in the retail space which led me to heading up Penningtons Manches’ Fashion, Luxury and Lifestyle group. My team includes corporate finance, banking and insolvency experts, and we work cross-discipline and across the firm’s core sectors.

A prime example of the work we do was when we acted for All Saints Retail through a series of refinancing and restructuring over a period of years. This included a revolving credit facility for Landsbanki that was refinanced with Kaupthing and Glitnir banks following its collapse. A PIK facility was also issued with those Icelandic banks. Eventually Lion Capital refinanced and acquired All Saints Retail with debt provided by Lloyds Banking Group. The process also included an accelerated sale mandate and constant attendance at all board meetings to advise on the process and the insolvency position.

We also acted for Needle & Thread, a private design-led fashion brand, to secure a capital injection in a distressed situation. The process required up-to-the-minute insolvency advice to the board; an accelerated sale through an administration process; and arrangements with the third party private investor.

Additionally, we have also acted for Lloyds Commercial Finance on over 30 ABL deals including the refinancing of a large private equity backed group of companies requiring bespoke ABL LMA-based documentation. When working on a particular case, a CEO of an international fashion retail commented: “Matt Martin and his corporate team are simply outstanding in respect of advice, business acumen, work ethic, innovation and on-time delivery.”

Penningtons Manches
Name: Matt Martin
Address: 125 Wood Street,
London, EC2V 7AW
Phone: 44 (0)20 7457 3000

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