Restructuring and insolvency in Australia

Allens

Allens handles the full range of restructuring and insolvency mandates with notable expertise in large multi-jurisdictional matters involving syndicates of banks. The group’s cross-border experience is also enhanced by the firm’s alliance with the Linklaters LLP global network, and the team leverages the firm’s national network to handle substantial domestic matters; it recently acted for Ernst & Young as liquidators of One Key Workforce, a labour hire firm which became insolvent after its enterprise bargain agreement was declared void. Alf Pappalardo heads up the group, which is primarily based in the firm’s Brisbane office. Other key practitioners include restructuring specialist Geoff Rankin, Melbourne-based partners Matthew Whittle and Tania Cini, and Chris Prestwich in Sydney. Clint Hinchen retired.

Practice head(s):

Alf Pappalardo

Testimonials

Allens has strong team depth and is client focused. It goes the extra mile.

Its operating structure allows the firm to effectively manage both large and small matters in a cost-effective manner.

Key clients

Westpac Banking Corporation

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

National Australia Bank

ANZ Banking Corporation

Ernst & Young

McGrathNicol

KPMG

KordaMentha

PwC

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ernst & Young as liquidators of One Key Workforce, a labour hire firm, which became insolvent after its enterprise bargaining agreement was declared void by the Federal Court.
  • Advised the secured US bondholders of the Quintas Group and McGrathNicol as receivers and managers following Quintas’ voluntary administration and receivership.
  • Acting for CBA as senior agent for a syndicate of 20 domestic and international banks on the proposed refinancing of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal’s $3.8bn of debt.
  • Acting for PwC as liquidators on the collapse of Careers Australia Group.
  • Advised Ferrier Hodgson on the liquidation of Welldog.

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Melbourne-based practice is led by Leon Zwier, who, according to clients, is ‘one of the best commercial lawyers in the country’. Other noteworthy individuals include Ben Mahoney, who focuses on debt and equity financing and restructuring mandates; Genevieve Sexton, who counts administrators, corporations, financiers and borrowers as clients; and Sydney-based Susanna Ford, who is a key name for contentious work. Litigators Elyse Hilton and Stephen Lloyd, who are based in Melbourne and Sydney respectively, were both promoted to the partnership in 2019. The practice is regularly involved in the market’s high-profile mandates spanning restructurings, deeds of company arrangement and schemes of arrangement, debt issues, enforcement work and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Leon Zwier

Testimonials

ABL has a long and proud history of providing commercial advice that is both innovative and commercial. While they are all very good technicians, more importantly than that they understand how to apply the black letter law in the real world.

We have had most recent involvement with Leon Zwier. Leon is one of the best commercial lawyers in the country and has an extensive number of strategies, solutions and approaches that he applies to a range of complex engagements. Leon is great to work with and brings a sense of calm and understanding to every situation.

Key clients

Wentworth Capital Group

Lego

Andfam Retail Pty Ltd

Deloitte

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

KordaMentha

Adapt-A-Lift Group

Beckhaus Civil Engineering Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Lego on the Australian implication of the Toys R’ Us bankruptcy.
  • Assisted KordaMentha as administrators of the Arrium Group on all aspects of the administration including a substantial asset consolidation deal.
  • Assisted Deloitte as administrators of OrotonGroup with the administration and subsequent entry into deed of company arrangement.
  • Acting for PwC as liquidators of Redstar on the liquidation including priority claims, intercreditor issues and employee claims.
  • Advising creditor Wentworth Capital Group on the implications of the collapse of chocolate group, Max Brenner Australia.

Ashurst

James Marshall heads up the restructuring and special situations practice at Ashurst, which is recognised for its substantial expertise across high-profile restructuring work, scheme of arrangement structures, distressed investing and security enforcement and litigation. The group’s client roster encompasses senior lenders, debtors, bondholders, insolvency practitioners, private equity houses and distressed asset and debt control buyers; notable examples include ANZ, HSBC, KordaMentha and Bain Capital Credit. Ross McClymont is also highly regarded in the field, Tony Ryan specialises in insolvency, distressed debt and restructuring work; and Emanuel Poulos also has expertise in personal property securities law. Michael Murray left the legal profession in 2019.

Practice head(s):

James Marshall

Testimonials

Ashurst is very commercial and outcome focused, and creates a team with the client.

They never leave you hanging out to dry.

Key clients

Australia and New Zealand Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

National Australia Bank

Westpac Banking Corporation

HSBC

Deutsche Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Macquarie

Mizuho

KordaMentha

McGrathNicol

Deloitte

PPB Advisory

FTI Consulting

KPMG

Ernst & Young

Grant Thornton

Ferrier Hodgson

PwC

Bain Capital Credit

KKR

Apollo Global Management, LLC

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Oaktree Capital

Värde Partners

King Street Capital

Centerbridge Partners LP

Davidson Kempner

Anchorage

Carlyle

Abu Dhabi Investment Council

Lone Star

Capital Partners

Carval

Amgen Inc

BBY Limited

Boart Longyear Limited

Consolidated Press Holdings

GE Commercial Corporate (Australia) Pty Ltd

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited

Norske Skog AS

Yancoal

Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal

Wellard Limited

MMA Offshore Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Downer EDI on its consortium arrangements with Senvion relating to the Murra Warra Wind Farm project; Senvion entered into self-administration proceedings in Germany.
  • Advised KordaMentha as deed administrators and scheme administrators of the Quintas Group on its restructuring by way of a creditors’ scheme of arrangement and deed of company arrangement.
  • Assisted Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal with the restructuring of its senior facilities via a creditors scheme of arrangement.
  • Acted for Boart Longyear on its proposal to redomicile to Canada by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Assisted PwC as administrators of Tasman Market Fresh Meats on the sale of its business and assets including 14 retail stores and the head office.

Clayton Utz

Clayton Utz is singled out for its contentious insolvency work and has been notably active in the construction, mining, retail and financial services sectors; key clients include Myer, Westpac and GFG Alliance. The practice also regularly handles non-contentious restructuring mandates and debt restructuring matters, a key area of work for national practice head Timothy Sackar, who regularly acts for funds and investment banks. The group also builds on its substantial national network with increased international work, most notably in the Asian and US markets. Former practice leader Karen O’Flynn is the key contact for contentious mandates, Perth-based Cameron Belyea focuses on the commodities market, and Orla McCoy is ‘definitely one to watch for the future’.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Sackar

Other key lawyers:

Karen O’Flynn; Cameron Belyea; Orla McCoy

Testimonials

Commercially aware, supportive and very responsive. Transparent with their billing and always willing to accommodate our needs and situation.

Orla McCoy is an very responsive partner who is very up to date in her knowledge of the law and commercially aware. She frequently follows up to ensure that our expectations are met while keeping a very close eye on the fees that we were incurring. She is a very reliable lawyer, one that we would not hesitate to rely on in times of need.

Orla McCoy is a rising star in the field and definitely one to watch for the future.’

Very personable and easy to work with. work product and results could not be better.

I have worked closely with Karen O’Flynn for many years and have the highest possible regard for her intellectual rigour, strong work ethic and integrity. She shines a beacon of light into the darkest of corners and can explain the most complex problems with clarity and precision.

Key clients

Myer

GFG Alliance

Westpac

Financial Guarantee Insurance Company

OrotonGroup

Napoleon Perdis

Caledon Coal

Forge

The Trust Company (Nominees) Limited

Mirabela Nickel

Commonwealth Department of Jobs & Small Business

Mesa Minerals

Avenue Capital Group

Securities Exchanges Guarantee Corporations Limited

Custom Bus Australia

Public Trustee of Queensland

Peabody Energy Australia

The Law Debenture Trust Corporation plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Myer Holdings and its subsidiaries on the refinancing of its syndicated and bilateral financing arrangements, which were approaching maturity.
  • Acting for the Law Debenture Trust Corporation in litigation resulting from the collapse of the Bell Group.
  • Advised Oaktree Capital Management on its restructuring of Marlin Management Services including the provision of new debt facilities.
  • Advising on all aspects of the administration and subsequent liquidation of the Caledon group of companies.
  • Representing the receivers of Forge in high-profile proceedings against Hamersley Iron relating to the operation of set-off in a liquidation scenario.

Gilbert + Tobin

Gilbert + Tobin is a key name in the market for complex, high-profile work; it recently advised McGrathNicol as administrators and liquidators on all the Australian law aspects of the insolvency of Toys R Us, the largest insolvency in Australia in 2018. The group acts for banks, borrowers, investors, directors and insolvency practitioners on a range of issues including restructurings and workouts, distressed debt investing, corporate distress, voluntary administrations, liquidations and receiverships. Dominic Emmett leads the practice, which also includes Peter Bowden, who specialises in front-end restructuring and insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Emmett

Other key lawyers:

Peter Bowden

Key clients

McGrath Nicol

Oaktree Capital

Campus Living Villages Canberra

Work highlights

  • Advised McGrathNicol as administrators and liquidators on all the Australian law aspects of the insolvency of Toys R’ Us, the largest insolvency of 2018.
  • Acted for the noteholders, led by Oceanwood Capital, on their bid for insolvent paper manufacturer, Norske Skog.
  • Advised Oaktree Capital on the provision of a $50m loan facility to Blue Sky Alternative Investments.
  • Assisted Campus Living Villages Canberra and its directors with the restructuring of its debt facilities and the financing, operation and ownership of the University of Canberra Village.

King & Wood Mallesons

At King & Wood Mallesons, Tim Klineberg and David Cowling head up the national and global restructuring and insolvency practices respectively; other key individuals include Melbourne-based Tony Troiani, who is a key contact for insolvency-related disputes, Philip Pan in the firm’s Brisbane office, and Samantha Kinsey in Melbourne. The team handles the full spectrum of mandates including restructurings, distressed debt and insolvency litigation. It also leverages the firm’s global network in relation to international work; it has recently been active assisting with China-related mandates. The group’s client roster spans banks, accounting and insolvency firms, government agencies, distressed investors and corporates; key examples include CBA, the Australian Government Department of Employment and Ferrier Hodgson. Litigator Natalie Tatasciore was recently promoted to the partnership and Sam Dundas joined the Perth office from HWL Ebsworth.

Practice head(s):

Tim Klineberg; David Cowling

Testimonials

Excellent ability to quickly understand complex situations and propose realistic solutions. Absolutely top-class knowledge of relevant law, its application and industry players.

Philip Pan is a powerful presenter and is very credible in-front of executives that are stressed/looking for solutions.

The team is client centric and well connected.

With strong relationship-based engagement, the group is in the trenches with their clients and forms life-long relationships.

Key clients

Australian Government Department of Employment

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

ACPA, a division of global hedge fund Anchorage Capital Partners

Ferrier Hodgson

KordaMentha

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

PPB Advisory

Perpetual

FTI Consulting

McGrath Nichol

Work highlights

  • Advised major Australian banks, several foreign banks and distressed investment funds on the disposal process related to the administration of the Arrium group including asset realisations.
  • Assisting the Commonwealth of Australia and Ferrier Hodgson as special purpose liquidator of Queensland Nickel on the recovery actions and investigations following its collapse.
  • Advised RCR Tomlinson and its Australian subsidiaries on its cashflow issues and subsequently assisted McGrathNicol as administrator.
  • Assisted Paladin Energy and KPMG on Paladin’s complex balance sheet restructure.
  • Advised McGrathNicol as liquidators of the Penrice Group of companies.

Minter Ellison

Clients praise Minter Ellison as ‘simply the best in the market’ thanks to ‘excellent legal talent combined with a pragmatic view on achieving outcomes’. Michael Hughes heads the department, which has experience at a domestic and multi-jurisdictional level across bankruptcies, creditor claims, cross-border insolvencies, directors’ duties, distressed debt issues, liquidations, receiverships and voluntary administrations. The group is also singled out for its managed investment schemes expertise and fields restructuring experts in its Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide offices. In Melbourne, Brendon Watkins is an insolvency expert, Caitlin Murray is a key name for contentious work in Sydney, and Brisbane-based David O’Brien leads the Queensland dispute resolution practice.

Practice head(s):

Michael Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Brendon Watkins; Caitlin Murray; David O’Brien

Testimonials

Simply the best team in the market. Exceptional legal talent combined with the pragmatic view on achieving outcomes.

The team are able to provide excellent advice on short notice.

The key strength Minter Ellison brings is the ability to mobilise an experienced team extremely quickly. They also work very well with internal colleagues to provide a seamless service.

Brendon Watkins is simply the best insolvency lawyer in Australia. Knows his area, great to deal with, pragmatic and outcome focused.

Caitlin Murray and Anthony Sommer have always provided excellent advice and are responsive and available.

Partners are genuine and you can have honest conversations.

Michael Vickery is very commercial and practical. He quickly identifies the legal issues, then puts them in the context of practical reality and identifies the best overall solution. This means we end up with a sensible solution at an appropriate cost. At the same time, risk is contained because Michael quickly identifies where other advisers (including other parts of the Minter Ellison team) might be useful to involve.

Key clients

McGrathNicol

KordaMentha

Ferrier Hodgson

National Australia Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Westpac Banking Corporation

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (including BankWest)

Rabobank Australia Limited

LendLease

Steinhoff Asia Pacific

Sonic Healthcare

PricewaterhouseCoopers (and PPB Advisory)

OM Holdings Ltd

SingTel Optus Pty Ltd

AGW Funds Management Ltd

Sigma Company Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised McGrathNicol as liquidators of the BrisConnections group of companies on insolvency issues relating to its A$3bn debt to a banking syndicate and A$1bn of equity holders.
  • Acted for KordaMentha as trustee for LM Managed Performance Fund on the liquidation of LM Investment Management.
  • Assisted ANZ Banking Group with the restructuring of Myer’s banking facilities with a syndicate of banks and the extension and restructure of bilateral facilities with ANZ.
  • Acted for Westpac in its role as primary secured creditor of Hughes Drilling Group, which is subject to a deed of company arrangement.
  • Advised Steinhoff Asia Pacific on its restructuring including directors’ duties advice.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s restructuring, insolvency and special solutions team covers the full range of matters including front-end refinancings, securities and loan issues, restructurings, insolvency processes and the related contentious matters. It is also recognised for its expertise in the retail and mining sectors; it recently advised on the voluntary administration of the Red Lea Group and assisted the receivers and managers of Lake Coal and Fassi Coal with the sale of the Wallarah Coal joint venture. Cameron Cheetham heads the practice, which also fields litigators Sam Delaney and Craig Ensor, and Patrick O’Grady, who has notable experience in distressed lending and workout and restructuring arrangements. Michelle Dean was also promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Cameron Cheetham

Other key lawyers:

Sam Delaney; Craig Ensor; Patrick O’Grady; Michelle Dean

Testimonials

The team get along very well and share opportunities in a collaborative way that gives you confidence as a client that they are focused on delivering a great result, rather than personal reward. Importantly, the team at Corrs is pretty flat in the sense that most of them are very experienced, senior lawyers so the work is done very efficiently.

Cameron Cheetham has technical insolvency and restructuring skills with a very common sense approach to deals. He has lots of international experience that he brings to the table in negotiations that require a firm position to be taken. He is not afraid to formulate and implement strict legal solutions, but has the commercial acumen to understand when it should and shouldn’t be done.

Incredibly agile firm who have extremely good lawyers across all the disciplines. The firm work together in a united fashion and are my go-to firm on anything complex.

Cameron Cheetham is an extremely well connected and bold lawyer who always looks for the commercial solution and has proven credentials delivering superior outcomes.

Craig Ensor is an extraordinarily thorough and reliable lawyer who works through issues and fights in the trenches with you in the hard times.

Clearly they know their stuff in terms of their knowledge of the law and the insolvency field generally. Perhaps that’s a given but where they’re exceptional is in their understanding of what’s most important to their clients to achieve the best commercial outcome in the most cost effective manner.

Sam Delaney exhibits a great understanding of what’s required to help us achieve our commercial goals in the fastest, most cost-effective manner. He’s responsive and easy to deal with. His advice is practical, pragmatic and clearly communicated; an excellent practitioner in his field.

Key clients

BlackRock

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Deloitte

CBS

HLB Mann Judd

McGrathNicol

M.H. Carnegie

Macquarie Bank

Metrics Credit Partners

National Australia Bank

Remagen Capital

SC Lowy

Moelis

Monash Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised CBS on its acquisition and restructuring of Ten Network Holdings including the appointment of voluntary administrators and receivers to the Channel Ten Group.
  • Acting for McGrathNicol as voluntary administrators of the Red Lea Group on creditor, supplier and franchise issues.
  • Assisted the receivers and managers of Lake Coal and Fassi Coal on the A$200m sale of the Wallarah Coal joint venture.
  • Acting for the liquidators of Bruck Textiles on issues relating to an alleged illegal restructuring of Australia’s largest textiles manufacturers and an alleged scheme to defeat the payment of employee entitlements.
  • Representing Laing O’Rourke in Federal Court proceedings brought by the liquidators of the Hastie Group relating to the availability of the statutory rights of set-off.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Paul Apáthy and Peter Smith jointly lead the practice at Herbert Smith Freehills from Sydney and Brisbane respectively; Apáthy is also co-chair of the firm’s global restructuring, turnaround and insolvency group. The team leverages the firm’s global network to provide cross-border support to its client base of banks, insolvency practitioners and corporates; it is particularly noted for advising Australian headquartered corporates, Australian branches of foreign owned-companies and foreign special situation funds investing in Australian distressed assets. Other key individuals include Mark Clifton and Nikki Smythe; Smythe regularly handles structured and mezzanine finance issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Apáthy; Peter Smith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Clifton; Nikki Smythe

Testimonials

The team has a great profile in the market with great industry experience.

The group provides proactive advice and excellent client service.

Key clients

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Westpac

Commonwealth Bank of Australia & Bankwest (a division of Commonwealth Bank)

National Australia Bank

Suncorp

Bank of Queensland

Deloitte

KPMG & Ferrier Hodgson

McGrath Nicol

Korda Mentha

PWC

Deutsche Bank

Varde

KKR

Carlyle

Work highlights

  • Advised a syndicate of senior lenders on the collapse of RCR Tomlinson and the subsequent appointment of administrators.
  • Assisted the Queensland Government with issues arising from the liquidation of Linc Energy including significant rehabilitation liabilities.
  • Acted for PwC as liquidators of Careers Australia Group in multiple preference claims against creditors.
  • Advised the senior lenders to the Bis Industries Group on its A$1.2bn restructure and recapitalisation.
  • Assisting Hawkes Point Holdings with the reconstruction of Eastern Goldfields, a listed mining company.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright handles contentious and non-contentious mandates for a mixture of domestic and international clients including financial institutions, creditors, syndicated lenders, investors and insolvency practitioners; notable examples include ANZ, Grant Thornton, KordaMentha and CBA. Alongside traditional financial and operational restructuring matters, the group is singled out for its distressed transactional lending and enforcement work and ability to handle cross-border mandates. Steven Palmer and Alex Mufford jointly lead the group from Melbourne and Sydney respectively; other noteworthy names include Scott Atkins, who is particularly praised for his cross-border insolvency expertise; and the highly regarded John Martin.

Practice head(s):

Steven Palmer; Alex Mufford

Other key lawyers:

Scott Atkins; John Martin

Testimonials

Under the leadership of Steve Palmer I feel that the NRF team would go to war for me. They absolutely and genuinely have my interests at heart.

Steve Palmer has created the team’s culture, supported by technical and commercial aptitude. First class, and my lawyer of choice. Very good listeners. Able to cut through the noise to the nub of an issue. Shuffles his diary to accommodate. Makes me feel safe.

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Bank of America

Bank of New York Mellon

BDO

Blue Sky Alternative Investments

Citibank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Deloitte

Ernst & Young

Ferrier Hodgson

Grant Thornton

KordaMentha

McGrathNicol

National Australia Bank

PwC (acquired PPB Advisory)

Westpac

Work highlights

  • Advised McGrathNicol as voluntary administrator on investigations into the collapse of the RCR Group following a A$100m capital raise.
  • Assisting Ferrier Hodgson as receivers and managers and NAB and HSBC Bank Australia as appointing banks with the collapse of Dick Smith.
  • Acting for Grant Thornton as liquidators on the trans-national investigations and actions for recovery of funds allegedly misappropriated from the Centaur group of companies.
  • Advising the Asian Development Bank and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the drafting of new corporate and personal insolvency laws.
  • Assisting the Bank of New York Mellon with the voluntary administration and subsequent restructure of the Quintis group.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie’s restructuring and insolvency practice is singled out in the market for restructuring mandates and is notably active in the mining and resources sectors; it recently advised PwC as administrators of Laguna Gold on its voluntary administration and liquidation. The group is also noted for its handling of contentious matters - it regularly handles complex banking litigation work, and cross-border matters, leveraging the firm’s strong US capabilities. Maria O’Brien leads the practice and also heads the Asia Pacific working group; David Walter focuses on the infrastructure and mining sectors, and Peter Lucarelli handles restructuring and insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Maria O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

David Walter; Peter Lucarelli

Testimonials

The Baker McKenzie Restructuring and Insolvency Practice has clarity of purpose as a key strength. They are very strong on communication skills and get straight to the point. Their advice is commercial, practical and clear. A clear market leader.

David Walter has an uncanny knack of quickly identifying the key risks issues that may arise and then putting in place plans to properly deal with them in a commercial and practical way.

Key clients

KordaMentha

Grant Thornton

Oaktree Capital Management L.P.

McGrathNicol

Perpetual

Fortress Investment Group

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Sandhurst Trustees Limited

Macquarie Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised PwC as administrators on the voluntary administration and subsequent liquidation of Laguna Gold.
  • Advised McGrathNicol as administrator on the administration of Max Brenner Australia.
  • Represented Lendlease Group in debt proceedings brought in the Federal Court of Australia by the liquidators of the Hastie Group.
  • Assisting FTI Consulting as administrators with the administration of Antares including the disposal of assets, investigations and the recapitalisation of the company.
  • Acted for KordaMentha as administrators of Arrium and its 93 subsidiaries on operational and property matters.

Dentons

Following its substantial expansion in 2018, Dentons’ department now covers Australia’s key insolvency markets with partners in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The group handles retail, commercial and corporate recovery and restructuring work alongside notable multi-jurisdictional insolvency and bankruptcy expertise. The client roster encompasses banks, insolvency practitioners and corporates; examples include RSM, Macquarie Bank and McGrathNicol. Tim Sherrad leads the practice, which counts Justin Bates, the highly regarded John Stragalinos, restructuring expert David McIntosh and Scott Guthrie, who specialises in secured and unsecured insolvencies, as key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Tim Sherrard

Testimonials

Dentons has demonstrated technical expertise in the insolvency and restructuring professions. They are equally adept at advising liquidators and bankruptcy trustees, as well as banks and financial institutions. As an international law firm, they have the global resources with the local Australian expertise. Their knowledge of Australian insolvency law is second to none.

Stand out individual partners at Dentons are David McIntosh, Justin Bates and Kylie Britton. They have outstanding insolvency technical knowledge and skills, as well as a commercial mindset that is vital for insolvency and restructuring matters.

Key clients

RSM

Hall Chadwick

BRI Ferrier

Macquarie Bank

ING Bank Australia

Suncorp

HLB Mann Judd

Pitcher Partners

KordaMentha

McGrath Nicol

Work highlights

  • Acting for Bell Group Holdings, which is in liquidation, in litigation relating to the distribution of settlement funds.
  • Advised a syndicate of lenders on the cross-border aspects of the financial restructure of Wolf Minerals and its UK subsidiary.
  • Advising Wilmington Trust National Association and Wilmington Savings Fund Society on all aspects of the administration and liquidation of Toys R’ Us Australia and Babies R’ Us Australia.
  • Advised the voluntary administrators of a not-for-profit organisation, which provided disability support services.
  • Assisted KordaMentha with its duties as a receiver relating to the administration of two partnerships.

HWL Ebsworth

HWL Ebsworth counts Australian lenders and insolvency practitioners among its client base and fields dedicated practitioners across Australia. The group has been notably active in some of the market’s key matters; it recently acted for the general purpose liquidators of Queensland Nickel. Grant Whatley and Jonathan Kramersh jointly lead the team from Sydney and Melbourne respectively; Wayne Jenvey in Brisbane is a key contact for financial institution clients, Richard Johnson is a noteworthy name in the Perth market, Brisbane-based David O’Farrell focuses on contentious work, and Polat Siva handles insolvencies from the Melbourne office.

Practice head(s):

Grant Whatley; Jonathan Kramersh

Other key lawyers:

Wayne Jenvey; Richard Johnson; David O’Farrell; Polat Siva

Key clients

Deloitte

Grant Thornton

KPMG

FTI Consulting

McGrathNicol

Worrells

Citigroup Pty Ltd

La Trobe Financial Services (WA Recovery)

BlueScope Steel Limited

AMP Bank Limited

Credit Union Australia Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing FTI Consulting as the general purpose liquidators of Queensland Nickel in an interim injunction and an interlocutory application relating to the liquidation.
  • Assisting Grant Thornton as receiver and manager of particular feeder funds on the collapse of LM Investments.
  • Acting for Deloitte as liquidators of Force Corp in a claim against its directors.
  • Advising a service provider to the Channel Ten group of companies on its rights and obligations following the group’s administration.
  • Acting for Deloitte as administrators and liquidators of the Animal Supply group of companies.

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Joseph Scarcella leads the standalone practice at Johnson Winter & Slattery, which is a key name in the market for debtor clients; it also acts for key insolvency practitioners including Ferrier Hodgson, McGrathNicol and Grant Thornton, and counts several ASX listed companies on its roster. The team is also singled out for its sector-specific approach, which focuses on the energy and natural resources industries; and its expertise in debt finance and dispute resolution work. Former practice head David Proudman is highly regarded for his insolvency work, and Melbourne-based Paul Buitendag focuses on contentious mandates.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Scarcella

Other key lawyers:

David Proudman; Paul Buitendag

Testimonials

The team is well set up to advise their clients with great skill and efficiency.

In addition to a strong legal intellect, Joseph Scarcella excels in case strategy, efficiency and management. It is always reassuring for in-house counsel when Joseph has been engaged, especially in difficult and complex matters.

David Proudman is a tough unflinching lawyer, who gives good advice, but his key attribute is his ability to think through issues/disputes to identify the desired end goal(s) and develop strategies to achieve the same.

Key clients

PwC (formerly PPB Advisory)

LifeSmart Trading Pty Limited

Black Oak Minerals Limited (In Liquidation)

Brookfield

Angas Securities Limited

PKF Melbourne

Ferrier Hodgson

McGrath Nicol

Grant Thornton

Deloitte

EY

KordaMentha

Macquarie Bank Limited

RSM Bird Cameron Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising the administrators and liquidators of Linc Energy on the administration and liquidation process, asset sales and various related litigation proceedings.
  • Assisting LifeSmart Trading as a representative creditor and investor on the collapse of Courtenay House.
  • Represented Angas Securities in disputes with the trustee of its $220m debenture fund.
  • Acted for PKF Melbourne as liquidators of APCHL in two claims arising from the restructure and sale of the rights to manage 12 retirement villages owned by the collapsed Prime Trust.
  • Acted for PwC as liquidators of the Gunns Group of companies in 70 voidable preference claims against numerous creditors.

Jones Day

Jones Day’s practice sits as part of the firm’s global team, which ensures extensive experience in cross-border mandates (particularly involving the US) including international workout transactions and multi-jurisdictional reorganisations and bankruptcy proceedings, alongside substantial domestic expertise. The practice handles a variety of matters spanning refinancings, distressed and solvent corporate acquisitions, distressed investing, insolvency procedures, corporate governance work and contingency planning, as well as contentious insolvency matters. Roger Dobson heads the department, which includes Katie Higgins, who acts for financial institutions, corporates, funds and insolvency practitioners and litigator Tim L’Estrange.

Practice head(s):

Roger Dobson

Other key lawyers:

Katie Higgins; Tim L’Estrange

Testimonials

Roger Dobson is strong on insolvency law.

For major litigation, Tim L’Estrange is great and communicates with boards effectively and earns their trust. He has an engaging personality.

Key clients

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

McGrath Nicol

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia

Ferrier Hodgson

Macquarie Bank Ltd

Varde Partners

Lazard

Asia Research & Capital Management Limited

Korda Mentha

Oaktree Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Represented the Insurance Commission of Western Australia and the Western Australia State Solicitors Office in multiple pieces of litigation relating to the liquidation of the Bell group of companies.
  • Acting for receivers of NewSat in seeking damages against its directors.
  • Advised Silver Chef on its exposure to the Max Brenner Chocolate Group as equipment financier relating to the administration and liquidation of Max Brenner.
  • Assisted the administrators of Topshop with its administration and liquidation including the sale and assignment of various assets.
  • Advising Eureka Group Holdings on the restructuring of its investments in Couran Cove Resort.

Colin Biggers & Paisley

Colin Biggers & Paisley provides advice to directors, corporations and restructuring professionals, particularly in the construction, property, mining, retail and registered clubs sectors. The group handles the full spectrum of restructuring and insolvency mandates and is on the Commonwealth Government Australian Financial Services Authority's insolvency panel and it also counts Scentre Group, Grant Thornton and Bentleys as clients. Peter Harkin leads the practice and is a key name for insolvency work; Scott Hedge and Glen Williams are also recommended practitioners. 

Practice head(s):

Peter Harkin

Other key lawyers:

Scott Hedge; Glen Williams

Key clients

Scentre Group

Grant Thornton

Korda Mentha

Russell Corporate Advisory

Hayes Advisory

Bentleys

BDO

Downer Group

Offermans

Bent and Cougle

Cor Cordis (Brisbane)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Scentre Group in the defence of an action commenced by the liquidators of the Hasties Group.
  • Advising the liquidators of Samgris Resources on various issues arising from the liquidation including the sale of assets.

DLA Piper

With substantial expertise in the financial services, retail and mining sectors, DLA Piper counts debtors, lenders, government trustees, shareholders, senior executives and investors as clients, examples include the Bank of Queensland, Ferrier Hodgson and Deloitte. Alongside key expertise in domestic restructuring and insolvency work, the group also handles investigations, enforcement matters, litigation and asset recovery work at a cross-border level, leveraging the firm’s wider global network. Kon Tsiakis and Amelia Kelly jointly head the team from Melbourne and Sydney respectively; Tsiakis regularly assists banking clients with the enforcement of security and asset recovery strategies, and Kelly is a key name for mid-market insolvency work.

Practice head(s):

Kon Tsiakis; Amelia Kelly

Testimonials

Excellent Advice delivered in a timely manner at an appropriate price.

Amelia Kelly is always available and approachable and is always focused on the client’s best interests.

Key clients

Atlantic Limited

AssetInsure

Bank of Queensland

Brynecut Offshore

Deloitte

Ferrier Hodgson

QBE

Molopo Energy

Westpac Banking Corporation 

Work highlights

  • Acted for AssetInsure as a secured creditor of the Hickory Group in an investigation into the proposal for a deed of company arrangement and AssetInsure’s related position.
  • Advising the Bank of Queensland on its exposures and the management of customers in various industries.
  • Assisting Ferrier Hodgson with its role as voluntary administrator and deed administrator of Eastern Goldfields and its subsidiaries.

Gadens Lawyers

At Gadens Lawyers, Robert Hinton, James Roland and Scott Couper are the key contacts in the recovery and insolvency department; Hinton counts banks, administrators, liquidators, receivers and creditors as clients, Roland regularly assists secured lenders with the management of non-performing corporate loan exposures, and Couper is noted for his handling of contentious cases. The group is a key name in the SME market with particular expertise in the technology sector. Its client roster also encompasses the four major Australian banks and insolvency practitioners. Kirsten Ganley moved in-house.

Practice head(s):

Robert Hinton; James Roland; Scott Couper

Key clients

BDO

Courtney Jones & Co

Dye & Co

Ferrier Hodgson

Freemantle Media Australia Pty Ltd

Macquarie Bank

Mitre 10

Pitcher Partners

PPB Advisory

Work highlights

  • Acting for Courtney Jones & Co as liquidator of Biodental Remin in two Federal Court of Australia proceedings.
  • Advising the court appointed receivers of several managed investment schemes including LM First Mortgage Income Fund and Equititrust Income Fund under the BDO umbrella.
  • Assisting Pitcher Partners as the liquidator of LGL Commodities in an insolvent trading matter.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates’ practice counts local and global banks, wealth managers, financial service intermediaries, government departments and corporations as clients and also assists clients across Asia with cross-border insolvency mandates. With expertise spanning transactional advice, planning work and litigation, the team is particularly noted for its capabilities in asset acquisitions, corporate reorganisations, contentious cases and bankruptcies. Jason Opperman leads the wider finance practice, while Melbourne-based practitioners Andrew Chambers and Stephen Hume also contribute to the work; Chambers is a key name for litigation and Hume regularly handles insolvency mandates. Danielle Funston joined Maddocks in late 2018.

Practice head(s):

Jason Opperman

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Chambers; Stephen Hume

Testimonials

Jason Opperman leads a small but very strong practice group in Australia. The corporate client base of K&L Gates is very well served by Jason’s team. A key strength of K&L Gates has always been bringing in the right internal resources for a particular matter, effectively ensuring the client gets the right advice in an economical and expedient matter.

Andrew Chambers is a fantastic insolvency practitioner and litigator, who is very client and outcome centric. Very easy to deal with.

Jason Opperman is a first-class operator who enjoys an incredibly strong reputation in the market. What really sets Jason apart from his peers in the commerciality of his advice in addition to the considered nature of it.

Key clients

Westpac

National Australia Bank Limited

Bendigo Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

BlueScope Steel Limited

Ferrier Hodgson (now KPMG)

KordaMentha

Bentley’s Corporate Recovery Pty Ltd

Flex Limited

Citicorp International Limited and Citibank, N.A., London Branch

Work highlights

  • Advising Ferrier Hodgson as administrator of Halifax Investment Services on its collapse and the related investigations into its pre-insolvency transactions.
  • Assisting Flex with the orderly shutdown of its subsidiaries.
  • Acting for Bentleys Corporate Recovery as liquidators on the collapse of the Keystone Group.
  • Acting for Citicorp International as trustee for two defaulted series of bonds issued by Hsin Chong Group Holdings.
  • Advising KordaMentha as receivers and managers of Gunns Finance on its collapse.

Maddocks

Marelda Hibberd heads up the department at Maddocks, which is singled out for its restructuring and asset realisation litigation expertise. The practice serves banking clients including CBA and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, and is regularly instructed by clients in the public sector including the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority. Hibberd is a key contact for formal insolvency administrations, David Newman handles corporate insolvencies and security enforcements, Michael Johns counts secured lenders and insolvency practitioners as clients, and Sam Kingston handles contentious work. Danielle Funston joined the team from K&L Gates in late 2018.

Practice head(s):

Marelda Hibberd

Testimonials

The group stands out for its accessibility to all team members and commercial approach to solving complex issues.

David Newman, Marelda Hibberd and Melissa Jerimiah are all talented, very intelligent and quick to adapt to issues.

Key clients

Ferrier Hodgson

Bendigo & Adelaide Bank

RSM Australia

Grant Thornton Australia

McGrathNicol

PCI Partners

Vince & Associates

Cor Cordis

Pitcher Partners

Commonwealth Bank Australia

CornoNero Pty Ltd

FTI Consulting

Brooke Bird Pty Ltd

Lipp Group Pty Ltd

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority and other state and Commonwealth government departments and agencies.

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ferrier Hodgson as liquidator and special purpose receivers of Banksia Securities in litigation arising from its collapse.
  • Representing a former director of Australian Property Custodian Holdings in proceedings commenced by the receivers and managers and the liquidators of the company alleging breaches of directors’ duties.
  • Advising Vince & Associates as administrator and liquidator of Cameron Lane on all aspects of the administration and liquidation including the deed of company arrangement proposal, asset realisation and trust asset issues.
  • Assisting Ferrier Hodgson as administrator and deed administrator of H Buildings, which was part of the Hickory Group.
  • Advising Watpac Construction on issues arising from the liquidation of one of its large subcontractors.

Mills Oakley

Mills Oakley’s expertise in the retail, manufacturing and construction sectors allows for a client roster including GA Australia and Van Laack; it also counts insolvency practitioners, creditors, stakeholders and directors as clients. The group’s experience spans contentious work, employee entitlement arrangements, debt and equity restructures, personal liability issues and administration mandates. Melbourne-based Stuart Lewin leads the practice, which includes insolvency specialist Ariel Borland in Melbourne, Sydney-based practitioner Matthew Kelly, and Nirupa Manoharan, who made partner in 2019 and leads the firm’s Perth-based insolvency team.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Lewin

Testimonials

The team includes intelligent and strategic partners, who are supported by hard working teams.

Deep understanding of the needs of the insolvency and restructuring profession developed through years of shared experience. Broad variety of experience from small everyday work to large high-profile appointments and cutting-edge legal work.

Ariel Borland has excellent technical ability and sound judgement, coupled with the capacity to relate to clients easily and the willingness to advance their interests forcefully.

Key clients

KordaMentha

Grant Thornton Australia

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited

Rodgers Reidy

Cor Cordis

PKF Melbourne

Ferrier Hodgson

Vince & Associates

Hall Chadwick (Perth)

PwC (Perth)

Commonwealth, represented by the Attorney General’s Department and the Department of Jobs and Small Business

GA Australia Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Hall Chadwick as administrators and subsequently deed administrators and trustees on the insolvency of Cooper & Oxley, one of the largest corporate collapses in Western Australia.
  • Assisting KordaMentha with recovery actions relating to the collapse of Timbercorp Group.
  • Acting for one of the four representative parties appointed by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in proceedings brought by the liquidators of BBY relating to the distribution of monies.
  • Assisting Grant Thornton as deed administrator of AED Oil with all aspects of its appointment.
  • Advising Rodgers Reidy as liquidators of a responsible entity of a mortgage managed investment scheme on the winding up of the scheme.

Piper Alderman

Under the leadership of Michael Lhuede in Melbourne, Piper Alderman’s team focuses on SME market transactions with expertise in the retail, food services and construction sectors. The practice counts insolvency practitioners, specialist insolvency firms and banks as clients; examples include ANZ, Deloitte and Grant Thornton. Other key practitioners in the firm’s national network include Melbourne-based Joanne Hardwick, Mike Hayes in Adelaide, who handles personal and corporate insolvency and turnaround work; and Sydney-based Thomas Russell, who is an expert in Personal Property Security Act litigation and securities enforcement. Sydney-based litigator Angelina Kozary made partner in 2019 and partner Cheryl Weston  joined the team in July 2019.

Practice head(s):

Michael Lhuede

Testimonials

I find the team’s strength and key capabilities are their care (and concern for the client), availability, approachability, knowledge and professionalism.

This firm is large enough to deal with all matters but personal enough to deal with each individual circumstance/job individually. Always receive a personal call regarding updates on matters.

The team at Pipers are very responsive where matters require urgency of action. They treat your matter as if it is the only one they are working on and obviously have a “strong bench” of junior lawyers supporting the partners in the delivery of timely commercial advice. There is rarely a matter that they are unable to deal with.

Mike Hayes always has an opinion and is happy to share without having to research everything in depth. He thinks on his feet and adapts his style to the required situation.

Michael Lhuede is bright and astute on all matters and offers practical advice each time. I never have to question Michael’s judgement on how to approach a matter.

Joanne Hardwick and Michael Lhuede provide confident advice with reasonable fees and the ability to work on a spec basis.

Stand out partners are Michael Lhuede, Thomas Russell and Angelina Kazary. All very good technically, responsive and able to deal with complex insolvency issues.

Key clients

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

Autism Plus Pty Ltd and Wiltis Pty Ltd

Beacon Lighting Group Limited

BRI Ferrier (SA)

Brooke Bird & Co

Centralian Controls Pty Ltd

Chifley Advisory Pty Ltd

COESR Pty Ltd

Cor Cordis

Courtney Jones & Associate

Crouch Amirbeaggi

CRS Insolvency Services Australia Pty Ltd

Deloitte

DV Recovery Management

Dye & Co Pty Ltd

Establishment 5 Developments Pty Ltd

FSA Group Limited

Grant Thornton

Hall Chadwick

Jones Partners

Lindway Pty Lt

Lucas Total Contract Solutions

MJRFACD Pty Ltd

Moshav Custodian Pty Ltd

Neave Management Pty Ltd

O’Brien Palmer

Pitcher Partners

PKF

Pure Australian Milk Ltd

Quality Education Providers Pty Ltd

Rapsey Griffiths Pty Ltd

RB Flinders

Rising Rocket Pty Ltd

Rodgers Reidy Chartered Accountants

Ryals Hotel Pty Ltd

Sushi Train (Australia) Pty Ltd

Thermolec Pty Ltd

Vannella Pty Ltd

Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants

Vince  Associates

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Ausjet Group and its director in appointing administrators and resolving its NAB bank debt and unsecured creditor claims.
  • Acting for the administrator of Engineering Structure Retention, which is subject to a deed of company arrangement.
  • Assisting Dye & Co as liquidator of Mamouia with its liquidation and fund allocation issues.
  • Representing the directors of Autism Plus in litigation against the Department of Health and Human Services following the breakdown of the relationship, and issues relating to the transition of services to a new provider, employee-related matters and directors’ duties.

Jackson McDonald

With experience across contentious and non-contentious matters, Jackson McDonald handles reconstructions, workouts, security enforcements and insolvencies for listed and unlisted companies, banks, mid-tier financiers, creditors, borrowers, investors and insolvency practitioners. While the group assists with the full range of restructuring and insolvency work, it receives praise for its Personal Property Securities Act expertise. Eva Lin heads the Perth-based group, which also counts litigator Neil Gentilli as a key practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Eva Lin

Other key lawyers:

Neil Gentilli

Key clients

WA Insolvency Solutions

RSM

Westgem Investments Pty Ltd

Robson Cotter Insolvency Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the liquidator of a property development company and two prominent property developers in a claim against former financiers of a landmark Perth office tower and retail development.
  • Acted for Subiaco Asset Management in obtaining an order from the Supreme Court of Western Australia to wind up a company in which it had invested.
  • Advised WA Insolvency Solutions as court appointed receivers of the property and assets of the Advanced Visual Design partnership and the court appointed liquidators of Advanced Visual Design.
  • Acted for a Western Australia concert promoter in negotiations with several outstanding creditors following the owner’s decision to exit the industry.
  • Assisted the liquidator of an electrical contracting company with the recovery of monies collected from the company pursuant to invalid garnishee notices issued prior to the liquidator’s appointment.

McCullough Robertson

Scott Butler leads the department at McCullough Robertson, which primarily operates in the Queensland market and excels in the resources and renewable energy, finance, agribusiness and public sectors, with increasing volumes of cross-border insolvency work. Clients include insolvency practitioners, government departments and corporates. Senior associate Ann Watson is a key contact for contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Scott Butler

Other key lawyers:

Ann Watson

Testimonials

The team stands out for its responsiveness and the superior legal knowledge. No problem seemed insurmountable.

When dealing with an insolvency event it is extremely stressful period. Scott Butler’s manner and professionalism was greatly appreciated.

Key clients

Commonwealth Department of Jobs and Small Business

AMCI

PwC

Deloitte

Geokinetics

Integrapay

Greensill Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised the Commonwealth Department of Jobs and Small Business on the interpretation of key legislative provisions relating to the administration of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme.
  • Assisted AMCI as the major shareholder of LakeCoal, Fassi Coal and LDO Coal with the voluntary administration and receivership of each company.
  • Advised Conergy Australia on the preservation of its solar farm asset and ensuring the maintained investment by lenders.
  • Advised Geokinetics on the issues arising from its American parent company entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the subsequent acquisition of the Australian-based assets by a competitor.
  • Assisted Carbon Energy and its subsidiaries with its solvency issues and the subsequent appointment of administrators by the board.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs stands out for its expertise in handling contentious cases, regularly handling issues at State and Federal Court levels; it recently represented Ferrier Hodgson as liquidator for Forge Group in claims relating to the debt of a company it acquired in 2012, and acted for Deloitte as liquidators of Heavy Plant Leasing in proceedings involving alleged breaches of contract and unconscionable conduct. Amanda Banton heads the department, which includes Shaan Palmer, Perth-based practitioner Graeme Slattery, and of counsel Susan Goodman.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Banton

Key clients

Ferrier Hodgson

Hall Chadwick

KordaMentha Pty Ltd

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Worrells

DEM Australasia

TLC Marketing Worldwide Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ferrier Hodgson as liquidators of Forge Group in a dispute arising from its acquisition of CTEC, in which Forge alleges that CTEC’s contracts for the construction of two power stations were uneconomic and that its directors breached their duties in proceeding with the acquisition.
  • Acting for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as liquidators of Heavy Plant Leasing in two proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against McConnell Dowell Constructors relating to alleged breaches of contract, unconscionable conduct and unfair preference payments.
  • Representing KordaMentha as trustee for the LM Managed Performance Fund in investigations into the potential causes of action arising from the collapse of the fund.
  • Acting for Hall Chadwick as liquidators of Equititrust and two failed managed investment schemes in prosecuting claims against the company, its directors and the schemes’ auditors for loss and damages.
  • Acted for the deed administrator of Kupang Resources in a Supreme Court of New South Wales action against its former directors and auditors relating to a failed mining joint venture.

Thomson Geer

Thomson Geer saw notable expansion in late 2018 following its acquisition of legacy firm Kemp Strang, which brought five new specialist partners to the restructuring and insolvency practice. These include practice head Peter Harrison, litigators Phil Kaunitz and Michael Joseph, Nora Minassian, who leads the firm’s recoveries team; and Melbourne-based Emma-Jane Stevens. The group focuses on the financial services sector and counts major Australian and global banks as clients; it also acts for insolvency practitioners and other financial institutions. James Daniel and Norman Fryde are also recommended for contentious work and Michael Barrett is a restructuring specialist.

Practice head(s):

Peter Harrison

Work highlights

  • Advised Bent & Cougle as administrators and liquidators on the winding up of fashion label, Zachary the Label.
  • Acted for PCI Partners as trustee in the bankruptcy of a private individual.
  • Advised the liquidator of an industry training organisation that was wound up following alleged fraudulent misappropriation of funds by the company’s general manager and financial controller.
  • Advised the liquidator of three corporate trustees that carried on business in partnership.
  • Assisted Croyway with a judicial review application to seek declaratory relief relating to the decision of a government department to grant conditional consent to the transfer of a service approval and subsequently withdraw that consent.