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Freshfields advises ED&F Man on its USD1.5bn refinancing by way of innovative restructuring plan

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has advised the ED&F Man Group, one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural products, on its successful corporate restructuring and complex cross-border refinancing.

The restructuring plan and refinancing comprised the ringfencing and recapitalisation of ED&F Man’s commodities businesses (sugar, coffee and molasses products) from legacy assets. It included a USD300m injection of new money to finance commodities trading, thereby addressing the business constraints arising from the steep commodity price increases over the last year.

The transaction was implemented by way of an innovative English law restructuring plan. It is the first large scale international financial restructuring where the new English plan was also used to amend the company’s articles of association. The plan was approved by significant majorities of ED&F Man’s creditors and shareholders and, including the cross-class cramdown, was sanctioned by the English High Court on Wednesday 23 March 2022. The transaction, which closed on Thursday 31 March 2022, provides the Group with a strong balance sheet, the injection of new funding, and the separation of the commodities businesses. As a result, the Group and its commodities businesses are well placed, both regarding liquidity and balance sheet, for trading going forward.

The cross-practice Freshfields team was led by partner Richard Tett and senior associate Rachel Seeley, along with partners Paul Davison, Simon Johnson, Craig Montgomery, Sundeep Kapila and senior associate Verity Stevens.