A captivating webinar organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) took place on September 8th. The event, entitled “Restructuring in the Covid-19 era: Where do businesses need support?” brought together the following speakers, Francis Malige – Head of Financial Institutions and Catherine Bridge Zoller – Senior Counsel Legal Transition Team, both from EBRD, Piya Mukherjee, President of INSOL Europe and Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary University of London.
The discussion focused on the financial aftermath of the pandemic and the inevitable long-term effects. But what do companies actually need? This is the main question that seems to concern the entire world. The SME sector is the backbone of the economy and is now facing an unprecedented crisis. Even if local administrations will establish aid packages to help enterprises sail through the pandemic, the lack of revenue is set to pressure most companies towards alternative solutions as well.
Even though we are slowly heading toward the end of the year, there has been no major increase in terms of new insolvencies in the EU countries, showing once more that the insolvency market has not reacted yet to the new climate. In some countries, measures were taken to suspend applications for new insolvencies while others did not react yet to the inevitable wave of new insolvencies. Major creditors seem to be unwilling to pursue actions against companies falling behind on their payments as long as there is still a promise to reach a consensual deal in the near future.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is to adapt to the new consumer trends. Enterprises will need to react and propose changes to their business model if they are to stand a chance in the new world that is slowly emerging.