Neil Cook

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Business Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 29 May 2020 LAST UPDATED: 30 May 2022

Debt Restructuring During Coronavirus Crisis

The severe economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted many companies’ ability to make payments under their debt obligations. It follows, that many companies now find themselves in financial difficulty and need to take action to restructure their debts to enable them to manage their cash flow.

There are a number of ways in which businesses can agree with their lenders to restructure debts:

Swapping Debt for Equity

The debt for equity swap may be effected under a scheme of arrangement to ensure that it is binding on creditors and minority shareholders. Equity may comprise of shares, warrants or options. The value of the shares issued does not necessarily have to match the loan written off, nor is there a specific amount of time which shares must be held by the creditor. This is normally used as an alternative to putting a company into liquidation or administration.

Companies should take care when opting to swap debt for equity as it may be possible that the lender could end up with a substantial and controlling shareholding in the company.

Subscription and Repayment

A lender could subscribe cash for new shares and that cash could then be used by the company to repay the debt.

Interest Postponement

A company may be able to enter an agreement with its creditors to postpone the interest payments on the debt. This usually applies where the debt is paid in full by a set deadline.

Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A CVA is a form of restructuring which can protect companies from creditor pressure and allows them to settle unpaid debts with their creditors over a period of time. A CVA would need to be agreed with the company’s creditors and requires the approval by at least 75% (by value) of the creditors who vote on the proposal of a CVA.

In addition to the above options, companies may also wish to consider restructuring company operations which could provide additional time for the business to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and to get back on their feet. This may include streamlining or cutting back parts of the company or a reorganisation of their assets and liabilities.

Contact us

If you would like any corporate advice, please contact our Business Services Partner, Neil Cook on 01202 525333 or email

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

Make an enquiry

Related news

4 minute read

Franchise Agreements – The Importance of Post Termination Restrictions

Read more
4 minute read

Top 5 Tips for Prospective Franchisees

Read more
4 minute read

Finalist at the 2024 Solent Deals Awards

Read more
3 minute read

My experience as a Legal Placement at Ellis Jones

Read more