Coverage of the latest Canadian insolvency filings, court cases, news and more

MF Live Inc.

MF Live Inc., a Saskatchewan-based company organizing the Roxodus Music Fest, filed for bankruptcy on July 12, listing $18.3MM in liabilities, including $11.2MM to Taurus Site Services and $5.0MM to Eventbrite. The company was organizing a four-day concert to be held from July 11 to 14 on a 420-acre space near Wasaga Beach, Ontario. Featured groups slated to perform at the event included Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Nickelback and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others. Just days prior to the festival, however, the company announced that it was cancelling the event, citing tremendous rainy weather that impacted its ability to adequately prepare the venue for the event. It has also come to light that the company is under investigation from the local conservation authority for allegedly destroying protected forest and wetlands in preparation for the festival. Grant Thornton is the bankruptcy trustee. BT Legal is counsel for the company.

Miniso Canada

Miniso Canada, the Canadian-based retailer of Miniso, a global retail brand (“Miniso Global”), obtained protection under the CCAA on July 11. Launched in 2017, the Canadian company has grown to 67 stores across the country, operating under a license agreement with Miniso Global. A dispute arose in the fall of 2018 over the quantum of debt owed to Miniso Global which led to Miniso Global demanding repayment and filing a bankruptcy application against its Canadian partner. A forbearance agreement was ultimately reached in January 2019 between the parties that required Miniso Canada to, among other things, enter into good faith negotiations for the sale of the Canadian operations to Miniso Global. A transaction never transpired, and when the forbearance agreement expired on June 25, repayment was again demanded. Rather than appointing a receiver, Miniso Global elected to make an application for CCAA protection for the Canadian company so as to maintain enterprise value. Alvarez & Marsal was appointed monitor and has been given enhanced powers to manage the Canadian operations during the proceedings while a restructuring transaction is pursued. Counsel is Fasken for Miniso Global, McMillan for Miniso Canada and Dentons for the monitor.

ILTA Grain

ILTA Grain, a Surrey, British Columbia-based grain producer, filed for protection under the CCAA on July 7, listing $149.5MM in liabilities. Founded in 2011, the company has become one of the two largest processors of quality grains in Canada, operating from six state-of-the-art facilities in Saskatchewan. As part of its growth strategy, the company has made significant efforts to export its products internationally. Over the past few years, however, the company has faced increasingly challenging international trade conditions as countries such as India, China and Saudi Arabia have decided to limit, and in some cases, entirely discontinue their Canadian imports. The reduction in international sales, coupled with a highly leveraged balance sheet, has left the company without the working capital necessary to fund operations and service its debt. While under creditor protection the company will explore its strategic alternatives, including conducting a sale and investment solicitation process. PwC was appointed monitor. Stikeman Elliott is counsel for the company.

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Michael Rotsztain on the evolution of restructuring and insolvency work in Canada

“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius’ quote is a favourite of Michael Rotsztain, who has been practising insolvency and restructuring law for over 40 years. Beginning his career at the legendary insolvency firm of Harries Houser, where he had the good fortune of being mentored by a bankruptcy law dream team, Michael spent the major part of his career at a leading Bay Street firm and since 2014 has been the chair of GSNH’s five-lawyer Restructuring and Insolvency Group. Michael recounts how insolvencies and restructurings have evolved over his career and shares what he thinks are the next steps in the evolution.

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