Greece top of restructured debt league

GREECE’S record-breaking $263bn (£163.8bn) debt restructuring was by the far the biggest deal of its kind in 2012, according to research released yesterday by Thomson Reuters.

It massively distorted the market, doubling last year’s total industry-wide deal value to $422.6bn even though the actual number of such deals dropped from 774 to 430.

The Tribune Company, the US publisher that owns the Chicago Tribune and LA Times, was in second-place behind the Hellenic Republic after it restructured $13bn of debt.

Restructuring deals occur when a company or government cannot afford its debt repayments and takes remedial action to avoid bankruptcy.

Investment bank Lazard was able to claim an astonishing 78 per cent market share in 2012 thanks to its involvement in the Greek debt exchange, although it would have topped the advisers’ league table regardless.

“For the past couple of years we’ve seen a downturn in distressed debt and restructuring,” explained Matt Toole of Thomson Reuters. “2012 was a bit of an outlier and the deal value was down 24 per cent excluding Greece.”

“Companies are restructuring their balance sheets and waiting for M&A activity to pick up. I would guess M&A, not debt restructuring, will be the story of 2013.”