COVID-19 and Business Distress

We understand how worried our clients are about the Coronavirus pandemic. It is a significant concern for all individuals and businesses.

Leaving aside issues of whether some sections of the media have created unnecessary panic rather than a rational response, the reality is that many businesses are already struggling with the indirect effects of the virus. Supply chain problems are starting to bite and productivity and consumer confidence problems appear to be on the horizon.

Business advisers, particularly solicitors, sometimes get too excited too soon. We can be specialist in doomsday scenario forecasting! One of the responses to the virus is that businesses have been given more tools than they would usually have to manage financial distress.  In our view, this should mean that good businesses survive the pandemic. However, the right tools need to be used in the right circumstances. That is where we can help. Obviously lawyers always want instructions, but this is a situation where early advice could allow the best chance of survival and, if necessary, restructuring in the aftermath. Experience tells us that early engagement can save jobs, preserve value and help local and regional economies.

Our employment team can advise on HR issues such as short time working, lay off, contract variation, and if necessary redundancy.

Our wider team can advise on contract variation, creditor engagement and negotiation, and utilise the best restructuring support from insolvency practitioners to assist with working capital management, funding options, government assistance and HMRC negotiations (with of course extra options now being available since this week’s budget).

We can advise on domestic or cross border assignments and are happy to speak to businesses on a no obligation basis about how we can assist.