What form does the relaxation take?
The European Commission has reintroduced its “comfort letter” system for cooperation in relation to shortage of supply. This allows cooperating businesses to check what the Commission’s view of their proposals are before implementing them.
In the UK context the SMA has introduced an exemption for suppliers of healthcare services to the NHS. This allows:
- Sharing information about capacity
- Coordination of staff deployment
- Joint purchasing of goods, services and facilities
- Sharing or lending of facilities
- Division of activities, including agreeing whether to expand or reduce the volume or type of services provided by suppliers
In relation to whether the CMA will investigate cooperation, it has indicated:
- The CMA will use its discretion as to the prioritisation of its enforcement action to permit some agreements/collaboration which would otherwise potentially give rise to enforcement action (including potentially attracting fines of up to 10% of group worldwide turnover)
- The CMA will use its existing power to exempt certain agreements under the Competition Act 1998 where these are in the public interest
You should speak to your advisors. We do not know presently how existing petitions will be dealt with by the Court. We do know that if any winding up order is made (based on a petition presented after 27 April), it could be found to be void and a creditor may face challenges. Even for petitions presented before 27th April, there is a risk that the Court will not be keen to make a winding up order so it is important that you look at the facts of your debt and weigh up all of the factors before deciding how to proceed.Read more about this
A number of our clients and networks raised issues in the early stages of the Scheme around the requirement for personal guarantees to access finance under the Scheme. The Scheme has now been updated so that:
- For facilities under £250,000, personal guarantees cannot be taken to support lending under the Scheme.
- For facilities above £250,000, personal guarantees may still be required by a lender but the amount which can be recovered under these guarantees is capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after taking into account any other recoveries from business assets.
The coronavirus outbreak has seen State support being given to businesses on an unprecedented scale.
This issue is likely to be increasingly relevant as Governments seek to protect and stimulate their economies as they emerge from lockdown.
How have the rules been relaxed in the context of the crisis and what facets of the existing law can be used for the State to provide support to undertakings?Read more about this
In our latest “in conversation” webinar we discussed the outlook for the corporate transaction market. Whilst it would be a brave person to predict the future of anything at the moment given current circumstances, we were joined by two organisations who are very well placed to provide their views.
John Laud, Head of Corporate Banking for North and West Yorkshire for Barclays, his colleague Stephen Loureda from their Credit Analysis Team, and Jill Williams, Investment Director of Mercia Asset Management’s Growth Fund, were in conversation with Ward Hadaway corporate partners Adrian Ballam and Jonathan Pollard to share their thoughts about how the ‘new normal’ for the transactions market may look:
- With supply chain and forecast prediction challenges, how will banks and investors determine what represents a sound opportunity?
- How will distressed and opportunistic acquisition opportunities be funded, and what is investor appetite for such opportunities?
- How have seller and buyer pricing expectations been impacted as a result of the pandemic?
- How are funders reacting, and how should ambitious businesses respond to the very low, or even negative, interest rates?
We expect this video to be of real value to those businesses whose plans of buying, selling or investment may have been impacted by the current economic crisis, but who are looking at opportunities to determine how they may shape their futures – #gettingbacktobusiness.Read more about this
This free Getting back to business webinar was held on Wednesday 6th May. On this video, employment partner Paul Scope and associate Flora Mewies looked at your options if you need to flex your employee resource or reduce cost without reducing headcount. This may apply across the business or to particular functions. They discussed a range of options when the furlough scheme comes to an end, including: lay off, short time working, reduced hours, reduced pay and other ways to be flexible.
They also discussed the pros and cons of each option, and cover what you will need to undertake with each of these routes.Read more about this