This digest outlines significant legal work undertaken by Conyers on behalf of our clients globally in the past year. Although 2021 marks the second year of challenges brought by Covid-19, deal activity is returning to – and in some cases surpassing – levels of previous years. In this digest, you’ll find details of a record breaking M&A landscape and an overview of capital markets activity, restructurings and financings across sectors including insurance, banking, aviation, shipping, investment funds, energy, telecoms and more.
Covid-19 remained a strong headwind in 2021, impacting all aspects of the economy, but it did not operate alone. Pressures were also exerted by Brexit and the changing tax landscape. For our corporate clients, these combined impacts were seen most clearly in the prevalence of restructurings, financings and business combinations across the commercial landscape. Restructuring work increased steadily in all Conyers jurisdictions in 2021, and we expect workouts from insolvency to remain prominent through 2022. While widespread, property development and aviation are two of the most impacted sectors.
There is also significant growth. Particularly noteworthy in 2021 was the global increase in mergers and acquisitions, with worldwide deal-making reaching a remarkable US$4.4 trillion1. In the Asian markets, we expect to see this M&A activity continue as private equity funds seek to deploy capital and acquire assets, and SPACs undertake business combinations. This explosive activity is explored in greater detail within the digest.
The story extends beyond M&A. In Bermuda, the shipping sector saw tremendous support financing and new capital investment. A renewed interest in Bermuda funds has also been observed. The British Virgin Islands reports an increase in incorporations, demonstrating its resiliency despite macro-economic challenges. The jurisdiction also saw its largest ever IPO in the US$2 billion listing of Fix Price on the London Stock Exchange (more on this inside). The Cayman Islands continue to see remarkable growth in the banking and finance space, including fund finance involving Cayman-based private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. In London we observe a notable uptick in asset finance, including Bermuda and Cayman ship finance work, and an increased interest in the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone as a way for entrepreneurs to structure their businesses. Asian capital markets show great activity as interest continues among US-listed Chinese groups to consider listing in Hong Kong, and those listed in Hong Kong consider the benefits of dual listing in PRC domestic markets.
All of this points to a busy year ahead. We hope this digest will be of interest to our legal colleagues, clients and market followers.
1 Source: Refinitiv Global Mergers & Acquisitions Review – First Nine Months 2021 – Legal Advisers