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The London ABL and Restructuring team at Crowell & Moring feature in this month’s Business Magazine, following their arrival earlier in 2019 from the London office of Squire Patton Boggs.

The article comments on the growth of the London team, its approach to market and how the new team differentiates itself from the rest

British Steel has entered compulsory liquidation today with EY being appointed as special managers. Is British Steel the first real victim of Brexit? First, as a result of the delay in the UK’s divorce deal, the EU delayed granting carbon credits to British Steel necessitating a £120m loan from the government to stave off significant penalties in relation to its emissions targets. The directors now cite “Brexit-related issues” as the reasons for the failure of the business, with the on-going uncertainty over future tariffs and trading terms resulting in the company’s order book from Europe falling off a cliff.
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On 10 April 2019, the government launched an Independent Review into the Quality and Effectiveness of Audit. This comes at a time when the Business Select Committee has called for the Big 4 accountancy firms to be split up and also reports in the news that following the failures of Carillion, Patisserie Valerie, Interserve and others, shareholders are going to give very close scrutiny to the performance of auditors and not merely rubber-stamp their re-appointment at annual general meeting.
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The number of times Mrs May’s Brexit deal is being put to the vote in the House of Commons may remind some of the film “Groundhog Day”.  At least in that film there was a happy ending – can the same be said when Brexit is finally done and dusted?

In the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2017“ Report, the UK was listed as the 7th best country in which to start a business. Will that remain the case once we leave the EU? The news that many financial services companies are relocating their headquarters to EU bases, Honda is preparing to close its plant in Swindon by 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs, the recent collapse of Interserve and the failure of a host of high street retailers over the past few months does not bode well. Some of these events may have occurred even if Brexit was not in play – but certainly, Brexit has had an impact. What, ultimately, could be the cost to UK business of Brexit, even if a deal is ultimately agreed?

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In the recent case of BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA & others, the Court of Appeal considered (1) whether section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 could apply to the payment of a dividend and (2) when a director’s duty to consider the interests of creditors arises. The Court held that a dividend is capable of being a transaction at an undervalue within the meaning of section 423(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986 and commented that a director’s duty to creditors arises when directors know or should know that the company is or is likely (i.e. probable) to become insolvent.

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