In March 2020, IMAP’s Global Debt Advisory & Restructuring Team held a virtual roundtable, discussing the financial effects of the COVID-19 crisis. IMAP Experts return to share their perspectives on how things have evolved since then.
They explain how the various phases of the COVID cycle have unfolded, the effects and subsequent lender reactions. They also look at the restructuring market, reflecting on expectations versus reality and the outlook for this year.
IMAP Chairman, Jurgis V. Oniunas says:
"For struggling companies facing crisis situations such as the current COVID pandemic, having a proven advisor with established restructuring and debt advisory teams, strong relationships with lenders and vital access to capital and equity, is crucial."
Henning Graw, Managing Partner, IMAP Germany:
At IMAP M&A Consultants AG in Germany, we offer comprehensive dedicated “Special Situation” M&A services along the entire cycles of a company crisis. Our mission is to stop loss in value through M&A as early as possible, to maximize returns for current shareholders and lenders. Our current focus is the liquidity and profitability crisis and as always, to ensure that the objectives of debt restructuring and the M&A process, are aligned so that we achieve the optimal overall result for our clients.
If we go back to April, we said we didn’t expect a wave of insolvencies until the Fall and in fact, due to government measures (suspension of the obligation to file for bankruptcy until year end and financial support programmes), the number has dropped. However, we expect this to rise at the start of 2021 when these measures are no longer in place.
Guilherme Paulino, Managing Partner, Brasilpar:
In Brazil, the COVID-19 crisis has been less significant than expected. Though there was a major decrease in activity, we have seen a V-shape curve, whereby many sectors are recovering well, including: Construction, Services and Transportation, though those directly affected by social distancing remain depressed.
As 80-85% of the corporate credit raised is by banks in Brazil, there were concerns that the pandemic would cause banks to retract. However, due to a combination of government stimulus and new insurance options, as well as low levels of inflation and subsequently unprecedented record low interest rates, credit in fact increased. We also see significant demand for debt capital market instruments by higher yield-seeking investors, as well as for new IPOs, which previously nearly nonexistent we believe are a new area of growth and opportunity.
Brian Davies, Head of Financial Advisory Services, Capstone Headwaters:
Back in April 2020, we were only just beginning to understand COVID-19 and how it was spreading. Looking at the early effects on the U.S. market and how it was reacting, everyone believed we were between full spread and containment, though in hindsight, we were far from containment. The industry specific restructurings we were expecting at that stage, didn’t appear, primarily due to the USD 2.2 trillion pumped into the economy by means of the U.S. Government CARES ACT, resulting in the industries holding back, waiting to see how the market would evolve.
David Santangelli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Morrison Park Advisors:
As is often the case, Canadians measure their success or failure as in comparison to our friends south of the border. The timeline, trends and conclusions experienced in Canada are broadly the same as the U.S. market, with a few exceptions. In typically Canadian fashion, our COVID-19 public response in general has been positive, with constructive response to the restrictions, and without any widespread politicization. Our health policy has been seen to be reasonable and uncontroversial, and our federal stimulus strategy has been comprehensive and extensive.
Ventakesh S., Director, IMAP India:
At IMAP India, we follow the “Bear-Hug” principle with respect to client servicing; we work with them across their lifecycle and hence as a result, our product portfolio spans the entire lifecycle of a business. Our Debt & Special Situations Advisory teams also work together seamlessly since both products are focused on the client’s credit requirements.
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