Sarah ArcherLegal Director
Sarah Archer is an experienced restructuring lawyer whose practice encompasses all aspects of corporate and financial restructurings, formal insolvency proceedings and distressed acquisitions and sales, often involving cross-border legal issues.
Sarah acts for a broad base of clients on the lender side (clearing banks, investment banks, funds and agents) and debtor side (corporate debtors and their directors, shareholders and sponsors), as well as for insolvency officeholders. She acted for the ad hoc group of senior secured lenders in the first scheme of arrangement used to restructure debt issued by a US based group and the new security agent on the implementation of Smile Telecom’s debt restructuring pursuant to the UK Restructuring Plan procedure.
Sarah has wide cross-sector experience, including in financial services where she is currently advising the administrators of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited, energy and infrastructure, tourism, real estate and retail and consumer, including having acted for the insolvency officeholders of UK high street retailer British Homes Stores and the receivers of the Whitgift Centre in Croydon.
Sarah has completed client secondments at Lloyds Banking Group and as the Deputy Executive Director at the Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI) in Singapore where she reported directly to the Chief Justice of Singapore. Sarah remains part of ABLI’s high profile Asian Principles of Business Restructuring Project jointly run with the International Insolvency Institute.
- Acting for a global energy distribution group on its options in respect of its European business following the increase in wholesale gas prices, including a potential sale, solvent wind-down or utilising liability management solutions.
- Acting for the Administrators of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited on a number of connections in which GCUK is exposed to defaulting debtors in the US and Australia with non-performing SCF facilities. Work includes collapsing trust structures, releasing security, cross-border enforcement options analysis, negotiating with debtor and other financial stakeholders and formal recovery actions pursuing debtors and guarantors for payment defaults.
- Advised Cooperative Bank on the transition of its commercial loan portfolio from LIBOR to SONIA, including innovating bespoke standardised documentation and process implementation protocols, in order to ensure ease of customer experience, regulatory compliance and cost efficiency.
- Acted for the security agent on the enforcement of security against a global infrastructure group in Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
- Acted for Staffline Group Plc, the UK’s leading outsourced workforce, adult skills and training provider, on its equity fundraising and debt refinancing in June 2021.
- Acted for GLAS as new security agent on the implementation of Smile Telecom’s debt restructuring pursuant to the new UK Restructuring Plan procedure. This plan was the first of its kind involving an African group and followed a COMI shift of the issuer from Mauritius to England.
- Acted for a syndicate of lenders in relation to the financial restructuring of a global travel and events management group based in 11 jurisdictions.
- Acted for John Menzies plc in relation to its implementation of a revised temporary banking covenant structure with its banking facilities to provide additional flexibility to support the group in response to the financial impact of the pandemic related flight restrictions as the aviation industry recovered from the impact of the pandemic.
- Acted for a syndicate of lenders in relation to the financial restructuring of a leading nationwide same day courier business which saw new funding go into the business combined with a debt for equity swap.
- Acted for joint receivers on their appointment over a private aircraft owned by a Cayman registered company and the subsequent sale of the plane for circa. US$20 million to a US company.
- Acted for FRP Advisory as administrators of UK high street retailer British Homes Stores ("BHS") on the wind-down of the business and on investigations into the causes of the company's collapse and pursuing avenues of recovery for creditors. BHS' collapse was one of the highest profile retail insolvencies of recent years with outstanding debt of more than £1bn.
- Acted for the ad hoc group of senior secured lenders on the landmark restructuring of the global logistics syncreon group implemented through English schemes of arrangement, with US and Canadian recognition. It was the first time a scheme was used to restructure debt issued by a US based group and the first time that Canadian CCAA recognition of an English scheme was granted. As a result, the group's $1.1 billion funded debt balance was significantly reduced by more than half and additional liquidity was provided, in exchange for which the group's financial creditors received the majority of the equity in a new Dutch holding company.
- University of Oxford, Worcester College Master of Arts in Modern History, 2006
- BPP Professional Education, London, Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Distinction, 2005
- BPP Professional Education, London Graduate Diploma in Law, Distinction, 2004
University of Oxford, Worcester College Class 2:1, Bachelor of Arts in Modern History, 2002
- Some comfort for directors with the reintroduced suspension of wrongful trading, 1 December 2020
- COVID-19 UK: What next for distressed companies and their stakeholders?, 29 September 2020. Last updated October 2021
- 2014 - 2019; Senior Associate, London, global law firm
- 2006 - 2014; Trainee, Associate, Senior Associate, London based international law firm
- 2017 - 2018; Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI) in Singapore, as the Deputy Executive Director reporting directly to the Chief Justice of Singapore. Sarah remains part of ABLI’s high profile Asian Principles of Business Restructuring Project jointly run with the International Insolvency Institute.
- 2012 - 2013; Lloyds Banking Group in the Restructuring Legal team and as a Relationship Manager in the Mid Markets Business Support Unit.
Memberships And Affiliations
- The Law Society of England and Wales
- The Asian Business Law Institute’s Asian Principles of Business Restructuring Project
- International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC)
- INSOL International