Cathryn Williams leads the London Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group and has many years of experience in the restructuring arena, particularly in the asset-based lending sector. She acts for banks, financiers, insolvency practitioners, officeholders, corporates and private equity and distressed lenders in all aspects of non-contentious and contentious insolvency, restructuring, fraud and asset recovery.

Cathryn has a wealth of experience in restructuring, formal insolvencies, insolvent business sales and purchases and insolvency litigation. She has worked with businesses in a wide variety of sectors, including retail, manufacturing, technology, removals and logistics, construction, brewing, meat production and distribution, engineering, film and TV production and distribution, DVD, CD and software production and distribution, printing and credit and smart card production. In her career, she has worked on some of the largest and most high-profile failures, including BCCI, Leyland DAF and the Commercial Agents litigation arising out of the failure of Enron.

Clients have praised Cathryn in The Legal 500 UK as “very professional and proactive” and “a first class operator” who provides “quality advice in a professional and practical manner”. Her team is described as providing “excellent service”. Cathryn is also complimented on showing “a deep understanding of asset-based lending as a debt structure”.

Cathryn is a council member of R3 and co-chair of R3’s Education, Conferences and Courses Committee. In addition, she is a CEDR-qualified mediator.

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  • Austin Reed/Country Casuals – Acted initially in drafting, launching and completing CVAs and later for AlixPartners as administrators of the iconic Austin Reed/Country Casuals group. Conducted various sales processes and mediated on a dispute over commission due for property realisations.
  • High-profile online retailer – KPMG referred this matter, which involved advising the board of directors of a company in distress whilst the business was marketed for sale. Whilst a solvent share sale was ultimately achieved, the whole gamut of transaction documents for a pre-pack sale were also prepared in readiness.
  • National haulage and logistics business – Acted for the financier of this national group of companies in restructuring, including advising on the licensing issues arising and applying for administration orders in relation to each group company. Subsequently dealing with the refinancing of the client’s debt in full.
  • Dreamland Margate – Initially instructed by the bank funder in the sale of the bank’s debt and assignment of underlying security and subsequently for Duff & Phelps in the administration of the theme park, which traded for a year and then exited administration via CVA.
  • Acting in the administration and sale of the retailers Blue Inc and Officers Club. The retailers, which previously operated 230 retail outlets throughout the UK, Ireland, Malaysia and Eastern Europe, had suffered a fall in profits requiring it to restructure its business through an administration. The shareholders of the existing trading company bought the business out of administration following a competitive marketing process. Seventy stores were closed as a result of the administration, but the majority of stores continued to trade, securing 1,500 jobs. The lender to the business was repaid in full.
  • Acting for Plexus Law in the acquisition of the defendant insurance and consumer businesses from the administrators of legal services provider and insurance law specialist Parabis Group. In 2012, Parabis became the first UK law firm to be licensed as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) and to take on private equity investment. The deal saw the transfer of over 900 staff, supported by a substantial equity investment by the founders of the business, a £4.2 million loan from OakNorth and overdraft facilities from Barclays.
  • Acting for the lender and subsequently the joint administrators of Unipart Automotive Limited, the nationwide motor parts and accessories business. We effected an out-of-hours appointment of administrators before completing three sale transactions with Andrew Page, Parts Alliance and Unipart Group later that evening. Unipart Automotive was one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of car parts, workshop consumables and garage equipment, with 180 branches and hubs throughout the UK trading under the Unipart Automotive, Partco Autoparts and Express Factors brands and employing 1,813 staff. The sale transactions saved 361 jobs.
  • Acting for the lenders and subsequently the administrators of Tenza Technologies Limited and Advanced Coated Products Limited, effecting a sale of each of the businesses to separate purchasers. Tenza Technologies is a global packaging and self-adhesive tap manufacturing firm; its sister firm Advanced Coated Products is Europe's leading specialist coater of paper and film.
  • Acting for the buyer of all the intellectual property assets from the failed FX trader Alpari UK (known also as a sponsor of West Ham Football Club). This matter attracted considerable media attention in London and nationally, linked as it was to currency market turbulence.
  • Jaeger – Acted for the bank in the sale of its debt and assignment of underlying security to distressed investor.
  • Advising the bankers and subsequently the administrators of a large international film and TV producer and distributor. This involved a contested administration, resolution of multiple inter-bank issues, drafting a CVA and various option and transactional documents to effect a sale of the business/its assets.
  • Advising the boards of private companies and PLCs on insolvency and restructuring issues.
  • Dealing with preference, undervalue, misfeasance, wrongful and fraudulent trading actions on behalf of officeholders.

Education

  • College of Law, Guildford, Law Society Finals, 1990
  • University of Reading, LL.B., 1989

Admissions

  • England and Wales, 1992

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Recommended in  The Legal 500 UK and in Chambers UK 2014 as “an established force in the market”
  • Council Member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals
  • Qualified mediator accredited by CEDR
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2017 for Asset-based lending; Corporate restructuring and insolvency

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