The global economic conditions are precarious and uncertain, with unfavourable headwinds in many sectors. As a result, developers are finding themselves under increasing pressure to deleverage their balance sheets and ensure the continued solvency of their businesses. One commonly adopted strategy to achieve this is debt restructuring, which involves converting debt into equity. In this article, we will explore the different approaches to debt restructuring and provide insights into navigating the process in times of economic uncertainty.

Three Main Approaches to Debt Restructuring

When it comes to deleveraging the balance sheet, developers have three main restructuring approaches at their disposal. Each approach is tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the developer, ensuring the best possible outcome for the company. Let’s explore these approaches in more detail:

Structure 1 – Consensual Restructure Agreed with Lenders

The most straightforward approach to debt restructuring involves reaching a consensus with lenders. In this scenario, a lender or a group of lenders agrees to convert the outstanding debt into equity. Instead of repaying the debt with cash, the developer issues shares to the lenders, satisfying the debt obligation. This approach allows developers to reduce their debt burden while providing lenders with the opportunity to become shareholders in the company.

Structure 2 – Solvent Creditors’ Schemes

A creditors’ scheme of arrangement is a formal process through which a company proposes a restructuring among a specific class of creditors. In exchange for compromising their claims against the company, creditors receive some form of consideration. This scheme requires approval from the Court and the relevant class of creditors. Solvent creditors’ schemes provide developers with a structured and legally binding mechanism to restructure their debt while ensuring fairness and transparency in the process.

Structure 3 – Alternatives in Administration

In challenging economic conditions, developers may find themselves insolvent and forced to enter into external administration. Two common forms of external administration are Voluntary Administration and liquidation. Voluntary Administration offers the possibility of restructuring through a Deed of Company Arrangement, while liquidation represents a more drastic measure. These alternatives provide developers with an opportunity to address their financial difficulties under the guidance of an external administrator.

Navigating the Debt Restructuring Process

Debt restructuring can be a complex and intricate process, especially in times of economic uncertainty. It is crucial for developers to understand the accounting models and considerations associated with debt restructurings. Getting the accounting model right is essential for accurate financial reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements. Let’s delve into the key aspects of navigating the debt restructuring process:

Common Themes in Debt Restructurings

Before diving into the accounting models, it is essential to examine the common themes observed in debt restructurings during times of economic uncertainty. Developers often face similar challenges, and understanding these challenges can help in formulating effective strategies for debt restructuring. Some common themes include:

  • Decreased cash flows and revenue
  • Increased interest rates and financing costs
  • Breaches of loan covenants
  • Fragile balance sheets and high debt levels

By recognizing these common themes, developers can proactively address the underlying issues and tailor their debt restructuring plans accordingly.

Accounting Models for Debt Restructurings

When it comes to accounting for debt restructurings, developers have different models at their disposal. It is crucial to choose the appropriate accounting model based on the specific circumstances and outcomes of the restructuring. Let’s explore the main accounting models for debt restructurings:

Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) Model

The Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) model is applicable when a debt restructuring occurs due to financial difficulties faced by the developer. Under this model, the developer must assess whether the restructuring meets specific criteria to be classified as a TDR. Key judgments are required to determine if the restructuring represents a concession by the lender and if it is a result of financial difficulties. Proper classification under the TDR model ensures accurate financial reporting of the restructuring.

Non-Troubled Debt Restructuring Model

In cases where the debt restructuring does not meet the criteria for a TDR, developers must apply the Non-Troubled Debt Restructuring model. This model involves assessing whether the restructuring represents a modification of the original debt terms or an extinguishment of the debt. Developers must carefully consider the terms and conditions of the restructuring to determine the appropriate accounting treatment.

Financial Statement Presentation

In addition to selecting the right accounting model, developers must also consider the presentation of debt restructurings in their financial statements. Proper disclosure and transparency are essential to provide stakeholders with a clear understanding of the restructuring’s impact on the company’s financial position. Developers should adhere to relevant accounting standards and regulations when presenting debt restructurings in their financial statements.

Expert Insights and Advice

To gain further insights into debt restructurings in times of economic uncertainty, we reached out to industry experts. Suzanne Stephani, a director in PwC’s National Office specializing in accounting guidance related to financing transactions, and Brian Staniszewski, a partner in PwC’s capital markets and accounting advisory group, shared their observations and advice on recent debt restructurings. Here are some key takeaways from their insights:

  • Understanding the different accounting models is crucial for accurate financial reporting.
  • Key judgments are required to determine if a restructuring qualifies as a troubled debt restructuring.
  • Non-troubled debt restructurings require careful evaluation of the modification or extinguishment of debt terms.
  • Proper financial statement presentation ensures transparency and clarity for stakeholders.


Debt restructuring provides a viable strategy for deleveraging the balance sheet and strengthening the company’s financial position. By understanding the different approaches to debt restructuring and navigating the accounting models effectively, developers can chart a path towards financial stability. It is essential to seek expert advice and stay informed about the evolving economic landscape to make informed decisions and secure the future success of their businesses.