Akin Gump Advises Joint Administrators of African Minerals Limited on Successful Implementation of a Scheme of Arrangement

(London) - Akin Gump has advised the joint administrators of African Minerals Limited (AML) in relation to the successful implementation of an innovative English law scheme of arrangement.

AML was an AIM-listed company whose principal asset was an iron ore mine in Sierra Leone. It entered administration in England in March 2015 with debts of approximately $1 billion. At around the same time as entering administration, Shandong Iron and Steel Group, AML’s former joint venture partner, effected a security enforcement sale process through which the mine and associated infrastructure was sold to a Shandong affiliate for nominal consideration.

The administration raised a number of high-value and complex issues, including, most recently, the implementation of the scheme, which was a novel mechanism designed to resolve differing views between creditors as to whether or not certain claims arising out of the security enforcement sale should be pursued. As part of the scheme structure, the claims were assigned to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) controlled by certain of the creditors. The administrators then declared a dividend of the majority of the cash held by the estate and allowed creditors to elect whether to receive their pro rata share in cash or to use their cash distribution to subscribe for interests in the SPV.

The scheme was implemented against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as such, was one of the first schemes of arrangements to be approved at a virtual meeting of creditors and by the court at a virtual hearing.

The Akin Gump team was led by London litigation partner Richard Hornshaw and included London litigation counsel Tom Laidler and London litigation associate Srishti Kalro, with London financial restructuring partner Liz Osborne, London financial restructuring counsel Jess Ling and London financial restructuring associate Mitali Ganguly.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers and advisors in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1945, the firm is proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020. #AkinGump75

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