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Singapore > Restructuring and insolvency > Restructuring and insolvency – Local firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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  1. Restructuring and insolvency – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Allen & Gledhill LLP is a popular choice for large-scale, cross-border restructuring and insolvency work. Highlights included acting for Jurong Town Corporation in the statutory transfer of bankruptcy actions and claims from the Housing Development Board to Jurong Town Corporation, in a matter that involved a series of High Court and State Court applications relating to more than 400 claims. It also represented the Chapter 11 Trustee for the China Fishery Group/CFG Peru Investments after a large number of the China Fishery Group companies filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US. Andrew Chan, who has wide-ranging expertise including handling one of the first sukuk defaults in Singapore, is a key name along with Edward Tiong. The latter acted for Gibson Innovations in the restructuring and insolvency of Gibson Brands, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with debts estimated at  $500m; as part of the restructuring, Gibson Brands agreed to a restructuring support agreement. Corina Song is also a noted practitioner. Edwin Tong SC is now Senior Minister of State for Law and Health.

Drew & Napier LLC's team is 'one of the best', according to clients, especially for more complex matters. Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek are 'outstanding in developing and implementing effective and creative strategies that have produced successful debt restructurings in circumstances that seemed hopeless at the start'. Blossom Hing was part of the team representing two Humpuss Group companies in the shipping sector that faced a claim of around $110m by the liquidators of a former Singaporean subsidiary of the Humpuss Group. The matter resulted in the Court of Appeal clarifying the rules on service out of the jurisdiction of court proceedings commenced in Singapore. In other work, Mohan Gopalan is part of the team that is handling a huge, cross-border restructuring in the resources sector.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP fields 'a strong team with good depth' that provides 'a superb standard of service' and is 'very business savvy'. The 'technically very strong and commercial' Sim Kwan Kiat heads the team, which also includes 'great strategic thinker' Mark Cheng (deputy head) and Patrick Ang, 'who is very well known in the market and is commercial and solution-oriented'. Other highly rated names in the team include Danny Ong and newly promoted partners Chew  Xiang  and Matthew Teo. Managing partner  Lee Eng Beng SC is also highly respected. The team has had a role in many of the major restructuring and insolvency cases and is advising three of the largest Singaporean banks on the restructuring and refinancing of Ezra Group companies and its subsidiary EOL, several of the companies filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US with debts in the region of $1.5bn.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP is 'unrivalled in terms of insolvency disputes'. The team has had a role in a number of significant cases, particularly in the energy and marine sectors and in Chapter 11 filings. Sarjit Singh Gill SC, who has many years of experience in domestic and cross border insolvencies and restructurings, heads the team. Debby Lim has, according to one client, 'a perfect record in achieving successful and often ground-breaking outcomes'. She acted for the liquidators of a Singapore shipping company that was part of an Indian conglomerate in filing an application in the High Court to void a lien over sub-freight under the Companies Act. The matter eventually went to the Court of Appeal for it to consider the interplay between shipping practice and insolvency law. David Chan is also noted for his skills in this area as well as his wider litigation and arbitration expertise.

Chou Sean YuMark Choy and Manoj Sandrasegara jointly head the team at WongPartnership LLP, which has 'an indepth knowledge of restructuring and insolvency law, good depth, and strong commercial and business acumen', and stands out for its 'cohesive' approach and for having 'a single point of contact coordinating internally'. Leading the team, Sandrasegara is 'responsive and extremely commercial and has good connections in the market'. Smitha Menon is 'technically very strong and responsive'. The group attracts high-profile and complex insolvency matters in the region involving consensual or court-driven restructurings combined with capital raisings and refinancings. It acted for EMAS Chiyoda Subsea and its subsidiaries on a $1.6bn cross-border debt restructuring, which was completed with S$90m of debtor-in-possession financing so that four of the key operating entities emerged as going concerns, saving about 400 jobs in the US and in Singapore.

BlackOak LLC is 'a go-to firm that does exceptional work and has a high-quality team, which is able to provide spot-on commercial advice on complex legal issues under time pressure'. Director Darius Tay 'is a lawyer that every client would want in their corner' and has 'impeccable knowledge and commercial awareness' and 'the solutions he provides are never cookie-cutter'. Senior associate Sean Lee is 'very smart, exceptionally hardworking and very pleasant to deal with'. Practice head Ashok Kumar has considerable experience. The team handles local and regional restructuring and insolvency and is regularly instructed in ground-breaking cases. In highlight work, it advised BLD Investments on the restructuring of 8.265% guaranteed equity-linked bonds and is also acting for Glencore Singapore on the restructuring of Jurong Aromatics Corporation.

Dentons Rodyk is singled out for 'its excellent knowledge of the courts and local procedure and laws'. Lek Siang Pheng, Herman Jeremiah and Foo Maw Shen, who stand out for their 'strategic' approach to litigation and drafting skills, handle a range of high-profile insolvencies and restructurings including acting for creditor banks on schemes of arrangement. Ajinderpal Singh is also noted. The team is representing a group of investors in a dispute with Opus Offshore, an insolvent Bermuda offshore oil and gas drilling company with wholly-owned subsidiaries incorporated in Singapore, concerning the failure to repay a loan facility; the matter involves multi-jurisdictional insolvency issues and competing winding-up petitions. It is also acting for a party and its related companies in the judicial management of Swiber Holdings and Swiber Offshore Construction.

Eversheds Harry Elias' well-regarded team includes Justin Chia, who advises liquidators, judicial managers, receivers and creditors on insolvencies, restructurings, winding up and schemes of arrangement. Chia was instructed by TT International  to act for a group of medium-term note holders, who were creditors of the company, following the sanction of the company’s scheme of arrangement. He also represented Standard Chartered Bank in court enforcement proceedings against borrowers under various loans and credit facilities extended by the bank including the winding up of companies.

Marina Chin and managing partner Eddee Ng are key names at Tan Kok Quan Partnership and Paul Seah is also noted for his expertise in advising accounting firms and financial institutions on insolvencies and large-scale judicial management cases. The team is acting for Foreguard in a cross-border dispute concerning an alleged deed of counter-guarantee signed between Foreguard, a former Singaporean subsidiary of the Siva Group, and Siva Industries and Holdings. It is also acting in a number of liquidation, winding up and insolvency cases.

Managing partner Thio Shen Yi SC leads the restructuring and insolvency team at TSMP Law Corporation, which advises creditors, debtors and insolvency professionals on corporate rescues, restructurings and the winding up of companies. The team acted for the White Knight investor group on the rescue financing of Marco Polo Marine, which had some S$400m of debt; the restructuring involved several schemes of arrangement and cross-border elements.

Withers KhattarWong provides 'excellent client service, is highly responsive and committed and the firm’s rates are also reasonable'. Leading partner, Tahirah Ara is commended for being 'commercially minded in her approach' and for her 'extensive experience in the Indonesian market'. Special counsel Lawrence Altman is also singled out for 'thinking commercially and for being both legally and commercially insightful' and partner Justin Yip is also recommended - a client sees him 'as a rising star'. The team attracts considerable Indonesia-related work and acted for Bumi Resources on a complex debt restructuring deal which  included a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement in 2016 and a Chapter 15 proceeding in the US in 2017.

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