Restructuring & Insolvency

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When reputation is at risk and creative and effective solutions are urgently needed

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Our lawyers have been key to the restructuring of the Dutch Retail Icon, HEMA; the rescue attempts of various financial institutions; extensive litigation resulting from Russian Yukos Bankruptcy; and finance vehicles (Spanish Isolux Group, Brazilian OI, Indian Jet airways). All these matters were front-page news in both the national and international press.

We advise financial institutions, multinational companies, private equity investors and management, on all types of restructuring or insolvency-related issues with the benefit of the expertise within the firm, be that in Litigation, Corporate Governance, Regulatory, Distressed M&A, Tax, IP, and/or Employment. We are frequently involved in international and multijurisdictional transactions and litigation proceedings, and we occasionally accept appointments by foreign courts to act as special counsel or an expert in foreign proceedings.

We are the oldest Dutch law firm to be a member of the INSOL International Group of Thirty-Six (G36). Member firms of this select body provide significant ongoing financial support to INSOL, enabling INSOL to carry out its collaboration with major projects. Aside from handling individual matters, our insolvency team is also heavily involved in making recommendations on bills submitted by the Dutch government, notably the Dutch Scheme (WHOA).

Recent Matters

14 September 2021

Financial group Ennia Caribe sells Banco di Caribe N.V. to United as part of its restructuring

An important milestone in the financial restructuring of the largest financial group in the Dutch Caribbean, De Brauw advised Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten ("CBCS") and ENNIA as seller on the sale of Banco di Caribe ("BdC"). Each of the target (BdC), the seller (ENNIA) and United (purchaser) are institutions with systemic importance in the Netherlands Antilles. The sale was set up as a competitive, limited auction. The sale of BDC to United Group Holdings N.V. marks an important step in the financial restructuring of the ENNIA Group, which has been under emergency regulations since 2018, and CBCS's efforts to maximize value and reduce risk for ENNIA and its policyholders.
21 October 2020

Debt restructuring HEMA successfully completed

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek advises on the successful restructuring of HEMA's capital structure. De Brauw advised HEMA on the implementation of a complex and multi-jurisdictional debt restructuring and recapitalisation process. This process was successfully completed on 19 October 2020. As a result, HEMA's existing bond debt of €750 million was more than halved to €300 million and its liquidity position greatly improved with an additional bond financing of €42 million. With a solid balance sheet and a profitable operation, HEMA can now fully concentrate on its future. De Brauw and HEMA have been working on the restructuring of HEMA's capital structure since 2019. On 15 June 2020, after extensive negotiations, HEMA reached an agreement with its banks and a group of noteholders holding approximately 62% of the €600 million senior secured notes and more than 50% of the €150 million senior notes, to reduce its debt in a controlled manner to safeguard the future of the company. The restructuring was implemented through court proceedings in three jurisdictions: a scheme of arrangement in England, a Chapter 15 proceeding in the United States and security enforcement proceedings in the Netherlands. The recapitalisation was achieved through a number of debt-for-equity swaps. The existing debt structure, including NY law and UK law governed publicly traded notes and bank financing, added particular complexity to the transaction. The transaction required a multi-expertise and cross-jurisdictional approach. De Brauw worked with counsel in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg. Involved practice groups included finance & restructuring, corporate advisory, capital markets, competition, employment and employment benefits, tax, M&A and financial regulatory. As lead counsel, De Brauw worked as part of an integrated team with Slaughter and May and Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Goldman Sachs International acted as financial adviser. The De Brauw team was led by restructuring partner Ferdinand Hengst.Finance & Restructuring: Ferdinand Hengst, Reinout Vriesendorp, Niek Biegman, Tristan Peters, Laurens Peters, Sebastian Hinse, Gilles Becker, Thijs Elseman, Roos de Blécourt, Chris Noordam, Kirsten Lagerweij, Laurens van de Ven and Hafida FaroukTax: Wiebe Dijkstra, Joppe de Bruijn, Pim Siemons, Dana Horvath and Maarten van der WeijdenLitigation: Reinout Vriesendorp, Berto Winters, Charissa Veldman, Hylke ten Bruggencate, Mick Gerrits, Dennis de Feij, Geert Lokhorst, Malte Malycha, Rein Ferwerda and Jeroen van der SchrieckCorporate advisory: Mark Rebergen, René van Tricht, Peter Nolten, Daan Gieben and Tijmen van de Leemkolk Employment: Janneke van der Kroon, Barbara Kloppert and Rik van Haeringen M&A: Arne Grimme, Heather Giannandrea, Chaggai Kon and Sasja Uijldert FMR: Mariken van Loopik and Tjalling Waterbolk Competition and state aid: Maikel van Wissen
12 June 2020

Just Eat to combine with Grubhub

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, working as a combined team with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Slaughter and May, is advising Just Eat on its announced USD 7.3 billion all-stock acquisition of Grubhub Inc., which would create the world’s largest online food delivery company outside of China. The combined group will be built around four of the world’s largest profit pools in online food delivery: the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, increasing the Combined Group’s ability to deploy capital and resources to strengthen its competitive positions in all its markets. Just Eat is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange and will introduce an ADR listing in the US. As adviser to Just Eat, the intricacies of this transaction required a multi-expertise approach whereby experts from various practices including M&A, corporate advisory, capital markets, competition law, employment and employment benefits, tax and financial regulatory were involved. Team effort by: Klaas de Vries, Reinier Kleipool, Tijmen Klein Bronsvoort, Gert Slatman, Max Lamb, Gaby Smeenk, Jan Willem Hoevers, Vivian Lee, Josse Klijnsma, Helen Gornall, Evija Butane, Barbara Kloppert, Daniël van Gerven, Henk van Ravenhorst, Vera Gal, Mariken van Loopik, Maurits ter Haar and Bas Boutellier
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WHOA - the Act on Court confirmation of extrajudicial restructuring plans bill - entered into force on 1 January 2021.

WHOA gives both domestic and foreign companies a game-changing ability to safeguard their business continuity for the benefit of all stakeholders. It offers an attractive Dutch alternative to the US Chapter 11 mechanism, and to the English Scheme of Arrangement and Part 26A Plan.

We have been heavily involved helping to sculpt this legislation since 2014, but the timing now could not be better, given the challenges faced by so many due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Well able to handle multi-jurisdictional matters thanks to its well-established relationships with law firms abroad - the team's service is excellent.

Chambers Europe, 2021
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Dutch roots and a UK anchor

Anchored and unrivalled in the Netherlands with global reach, De Brauw London is an integral part of our Restructuring & Insolvency practice based in Amsterdam. From the U.K. we advise UK-based clients – investment banks, financial institutions, private equity and private and public companies – who do, or intend to do, business in the Netherlands.

Our London Office


23 November 2022

Director duties: greater focus on creditor interests in times of distress

Across the globe, the fiduciary duties of executive and supervisory (or non-executive) directors dictate that they act in the company's best interests. The vibrant economy of the last few years permitted many companies to focus nearly exclusively on growth and the creation of shareholder value. When a financial outlook dwindles, however, the content and focus of these duties shift. This may be of particular relevance in today's challenging financial climate.
23 March 2022

One year and 100 court decisions later: Dutch restructuring scheme in practice

The new Dutch restructuring tool, referred to as "WHOA" or the Dutch scheme, entered into force on 1 January 2021. We previously reported on the first three court orders handed down in WHOA cases. Since then, the courts have reviewed WHOA applications approximately 100 times, which demonstrates the appetite for this new restructuring instrument. We have carefully selected the three most relevant lessons that can be learned from the published court decisions. The new law appears to live up to its potential and is being used in a creative and pragmatic way by debtors and courts alike - making the WHOA the effective and expedient restructuring tool envisaged before being enacted.
18 January 2022

New debt restructuring scheme in Netherlands now automatically recognised EU wide

A recent amendment of the European Insolvency Regulation recast (EIR recast) means that the public version of the "WHOA", also known as the Dutch scheme, falls in the regulation's scope as of 9 January 2022. This is relevant for cross-border restructurings, most notably because the effect of a public Dutch scheme will be automatically recognised in the EU (except for Denmark and Ireland, which are not parties to the amendment). Given that the Dutch scheme provides great flexibility in the design of the restructuring plan and offers various tools to reach a consensual deal with a qualifying majority of creditors, automatic recognition will make the public version a powerful cross-border restructuring tool. The Dutch scheme's private version remains outside of the EIR recast's scope, but might be recognised based on other treaties or domestic private international law.