This digest highlights some of the significant legal work carried out by Conyers’ lawyers since the start of 2020 for our corporate clients in markets around the globe. The deals include significant restructurings, IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, and finance transactions across a wide range of industry sectors including insurance, banking, investment funds, aviation, shipping, energy, telecoms, property development, healthcare, education and more.
The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe and far-reaching. We are seeing otherwise viable companies forced to restructure liabilities and business structures to try and salvage ongoing trading and keep ahead of the dark cloud of insolvency. It is no surprise that we have seen a rise in corporate restructurings and re-financings.
In Bermuda, the biggest deal of the year was the US$7 billion Digicel restructuring which involved an innovative Bermuda scheme of arrangement. There were also a number of significant financing deals involving the cruise line and aviation sectors, such as Carnival Corporation’s US$6 billion private offering and Avolon Holdings’ two private offerings totalling US$2.4 billion. M&A activity continued in the insurance sector, and there were two sizeable take-private deals, as well as the locally high-profile acquisition by Algonquin Power Utilities of the Ascendant Group, which owns Bermuda’s power plant.
BVI M&A deals included advising AquaVenture Holdings Ltd on its US$1.1 billion acquisition by Culligan, one of the largest takeovers of a publicly-listed BVI company by transaction value. On the finance side, the firm advised Despegar, the leading online travel company in Latin America, on a series of financing transactions raising US$200 million to augment the company’s liquidity levels which had been hit by Covid-19, and advised on its acquisition of an 84% equity stake in a Brazilian online payment platform. It was also a busy year for BVI funds with significant work for clients such as Kawa, ACE & Company and Orbimed Partners Ltd.
In the Cayman Islands, Stonegate Pub’s US$1.57 billion bond issuance program was the largest in the UK since 2013. LatAm deals remained strong: Brazilian distance learning company, Vitru, had an IPO on Nasdaq and Brazilian facial-recognition company Acesso Digital had a US$107.5 million funding round. On the M&A side, the firm advised Chrysaor the UK’s leading independent North Sea oil and gas group, on its proposed merger with Premier Oil plc through a reverse takeover, which will create the largest independent oil and gas company listed on the London Stock Exchange. There have been a number of insurance-related deals, including the establishment of US$1 billion Ivy Co-Investment Vehicle LLC.
Our offices in Hong Kong and Singapore have continued to see significant deal flow in 2020, particularly with regard to capital markets. IPO activity remained strong and included China’s largest IPO in a decade, the US$6.6 billion listing on Shanghai STAR market of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. Our Asia offices also provided Cayman and BVI law advice on at least 75 notes offerings, many by PRC companies, raising over US$31.6 billion.
We hope this digest will be of interest to our legal colleagues, clients and market followers.