SVP, Attestor Seek Legal Action Against Events Firm Comexposium

Strategic Value Partners and Attestor Capital are taking legal action against directors and shareholders of French events firm Comexposium in the U.K., the latest chapter in a battle between lenders and owners over its restructuring process.

The funds have served notice of a lawsuit to the company’s shareholders -- Credit Agricole SA’s Predica insurance business and the Paris Chamber of Commerce -- and managers, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Lenders allege directors and owners conspired to deny their rights, the people said.

The suit follows a complaint made in March in a U.K. court over an alleged refusal to share financial information, as required by loan agreements under English law, the people said.

The outcome of the cases could set a precedent over how English law --- traditionally used for European corporate loan agreements including international lenders -- works for companies seeking protection from creditors in their home countries. While the French process is private, SVP and Attestor -- which bought part of the loans at discount prices -- argue that the company should continue to provide information, the people said.

Representatives for Comexposium, Predica, the Chamber of Commerce and SVP declined to comment. An Attestor spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

Dwindling Revenues

The Paris-based group saw its revenues dwindle amid the coronavirus pandemic and filed for creditor protection in France in September, buying time to present a restructuring proposal to creditors.

Under the procedure, the owners can make a restructuring proposal that needs approval from two-thirds of lenders to take effect. In the meantime, the court can’t force losses on shareholders and creditors without their consent.

The company has 483 million euros ($567 million) in outstanding term loans and a 90 million-euro revolving credit facility, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Credit Agricole CIB acted as global coordinator, bookrunner and arranger in the term loans that funded the partial takeover by Predica.

Read more: KKR, Hayfin Form Lender Group in Debt Talks With Comexposium

Last year, KKR, Hayfin, SVP and Attestor formed a group of creditors representing 85% of the senior debt to negotiate with the company, the people said. In November, the company turned down a creditor proposal to inject cash and swap existing senior debt into equity, the people said.

Representatives for KKR and Hayfin declined to comment.

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