By Tom Hals
Feb 21 (Reuters) - Restructuring professionals do not expect
much increase in big bankruptcies this year, but they aren't
letting signs of a strengthening economy get them down. Their
theme for the year: "Above All, Don't Lose Hope."
That's the conclusion of a survey by Weil, Gotshal & Manges,
which asked about 100 restructuring professionals their views on
the coming year. Weil, which has a top restructuring practice,
also asked respondents to pick a movie theme that best described
The theme from the film "Life of Pi" was chosen by 44
percent, topping the more optimistic message of "Silver Linings
Playbook." In third place was the bearish message from "Argo."
The survey showed there is little expectation of an increase
in Chapter 11 or Chapter 15 bankruptcies worth at least $1
billion. Forty-four percent expected between six and 10 big
bankruptcies, while 36 percent forecast between 11 and 15.
In 2012, there were 14 bankruptcies worth $1 billion, which
was up from 10 in 2011 but below 2009's level of 19.
According to the survey, retail was once again expected to
be a main industry in distress, identified by 42 percent of
respondents, followed by publishing, energy, healthcare and
Retail has been in one of the top two spots in each of the
three years that Weil has done the survey.
Two industries that were named by more than half of
respondents in the 2011 survey - commercial real estate and
homebuilding - were near the bottom of this year's survey.
Industry and economic data has pointed to a strengthening
recovery in the housing market, including a report on Thursday
that showed the supply of homes for sale at a 13-year low.
The corporate default rate is expected to remain near its
current long-term lows, with about 70 percent of respondents
expecting the rate to be between 2 percent and 3 percent.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook