Insolvency is one of B. Levinbook & Co.’s core areas of practice. We are regularly rated as a leading firm in the fields of insolvency law, liquidations and receiverships, and debt settlements.
Our extensive experience in banking law, coupled with our ongoing representation of many of Israel’s leading banks, has naturally led to our staff accumulating unprecedented experience in all aspects of insolvency and debt settlement proceedings, including liquidation proceedings, receivership, stays of proceedings, creditors’ arrangements, bankruptcies, and more.
Our firm’s insolvency clients include the majority of Israel’s banks, including Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Union Bank of Israel, Mercantile Discount Bank, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, Bank Leumi USA, and Bank Leumi UK.
In addition to giving ongoing advice on insolvency issues, and taking into account that banks are creditors with a high rate of subordination, B. Levinbook & Co. is adept at taking on particularly extensive and complex insolvency proceedings, many of which involve some of the country’s largest corporations. Among these cases are proceedings involving IDB Holdings, IDB Development, Hadassah Medical Center, Hefziba, Tevel, Hamashbir, Polar Investments, Control Centers, Phoenicia, Electrochemical Industries, Forum Group, Hatehof (now Carmor), Solor, Inspire, Rabintex, and many others.
Another specialization of our firm is representing officials appointed during insolvency proceedings in claims against directors and their insurers for their responsibility for the company’s collapse and insolvency.
The following are several notable examples of B. Levinbook & Co.’s outstanding success rate in a wide variety of insolvency cases:
- Representing Bank Leumi in an application for permission to appeal, and the appeal on a Tel Aviv District Court ruling. The Supreme Court accepted the application for appeal and the appeal filed by Bank Leumi against shopping malls and their management companies. This resulted in a precedential decision that the term “rent” in section 354(a)(3)(c) of the Companies Ordinance, which is due to the landlord, does not include the charges accompanying the tenant’s right to use the property or land (i.e., payment for management fees, cleaning, electricity and parking fees, etc.), and that these debts do not have “preferential right” debt status.
- Representing a trustee in a creditor arrangement in his claim against the directors and their insurance company. After the firm filed a claim against the directors alleging that their negligence in fulfilling their duties caused the company harm and led to its collapse, the District Court approved an agreement in which the directors’ insurance company would pay $8 million to dismiss the claim. The compromise was reached following the Supreme Court’s August 19, 2008, ruling rejecting the directors’ motion for leave to appeal. This precedential ruling approved the District Court’s decision, according to which proceedings under section 374 of the Companies Ordinance are also available to trustees in creditor arrangements, and not just to liquidators.
- Representing three banks (Leumi, Poalim and Discount), who were secured creditors, in insolvency proceedings regarding the matter of Electrochemical Industries. As part of this procedure, a precedential decision was issued stating that the Ministry of Environmental Protection, not the secured creditors, is responsible for neutralizing and removing hazardous substances from the company’s manufacturing plants, contradicting the State’s policy.
- Representing four banks (Leumi, Poalim, Discount and First International), in a request filed on their behalf together with Tevel and its shareholders, for the dismissal of a claim by one of the company’s minor shareholders, claiming declaratory relief and recognition of right of first refusal of the plaintiff for acquiring shares in the HOT telecommunications company, which were allocated to the banks as part of a creditors arrangement and the merger of the cable companies. The court ruled that, despite the existence of a right of refusal in Tevel’s regulations, and in light of the Tevel’s creditors’ arrangement’s approval by the court, as well as the approved merger agreement, which implemented that arrangement under which the right of first refusal was revoked, the plaintiff was prevented from raising arguments that their acceptance would impinge upon approvals given by the court. It was further ruled that the right of refusal granted in Tevel’s regulations can only be exercised on the sale of Tevel shares, and since in this case the company’s operations were sold, and not its shares, the right of refusal did not apply. The court further added and ruled that the sale to third parties of the shares allocated to the banks with HOT is a fait accompli, and it is not possible to exercise a right of refusal on shares transferred to third parties.