Restructuring and insolvency in Australia

Allens

Allens fields a nationwide team of specialists in restructuring and insolvency which is regularly involved in the most significant insolvency administrations and loan-to-own transactions in the Australian market. A distinguishing feature of the department is its experience in cross-border assignments through its integrated alliance with Linklaters LLP. The team is also able to call on experts in closely related disciplines, such as corporate, banking and finance, and commercial litigation, to provide a fully rounded service. The Brisbane-based Alf Pappalardo heads up the practice and maintains close connections with top banks and insolvency practitioners. Other key names include Matthew Whittle, a Melbourne-based litigator who regularly advises offshore lenders and investors, and Chris Prestwich in Sydney, whose client base is drawn from sectors including banking, infrastructure, private equity, mining, construction, and media. The name to note on the west coast is Philip Blaxill in Perth.

Practice head(s):

Alf Pappalardo

Key clients

Cerberus European Investments, LLC

Dongwha Group

OCP Asia and McGrathNicol

Nissan

General Mills

KPMG

EY

PwC

NAB

Westpac

Work highlights

  • Acting on Cerberus European Investments LLP’s acquisition of Axsesstoday Limited by way of a deed of company arrangement.
  • Acting for and advising KPMG as administrators in the restructure and sale of the aged care business of the Berrington Care Group to The Bethanie Group Inc.
  • Acting for OCP Asia and McGrathNicol on all aspects of the complex receivership of the Steller Group.

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Regularly involved in the largest insolvencies in Australia, Arnold Bloch Leibler advises clients in all aspects of law in this area, from early diagnoses for troubled businesses and restructuring through to matters involving enforcement and representation in actions. The firm is particularly strong in acting for clients in sectors including retail, mining, entertainment, manufacturing, property, health, and infrastructure. The well-respected Leon Zwier heads up the team, with support from Ben Mahoney, who focuses on restructuring transactions; Genevieve Sexton, whose work includes insolvent restructuring and workout transactions; and Sydney-based Susanna Ford, whose practice focuses on dispute resolution and often involves insolvency-related matters. In team news, there were two internal promotions to the partnership in July 2019: Elyse Hilton and Stephen Lloyd, both of whom specialise in commercial disputes, regulatory investigations, and insolvency litigation. All partners noted are Melbourne-based unless otherwise mentioned.

Practice head(s):

Leon Zwier

Testimonials

Very creative and commercial in approach and solutions.

Able to deal with tricky issues, and understand and manage complex stakeholder dynamics.

Key clients

Axsesstoday insolvency

Australian Football League

Spotlight Group

KordaMentha

PwC Australia

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Australian Football League (AFL) Commission on its A$660m rescue package and complex negotiations with the 18 clubs in the league, state governments and the AFL’s lending group.
  • Acting for the administrators on the sale to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP of Axsesstoday Operations Pty Ltd (Operations), A.C.N. 603 303 126 Pty Ltd (ACN603) and Axsesstoday Retail Pty Ltd (Retail) (all Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement)
  • Providing strategic and general legal advice on a broad range of employment and industrial matters in relation to the development and implementation of CALHN’s organisational and financial recovery plan.

Ashurst

Ashurst's restructuring and special situations group covers all bases across insolvency, turnaround, restructuring, and distressed investing, attracting a broad and impressive client roster including top banks, insolvency practitioners, funds, and companies. The team is distinguished by its commitment to novel approaches to the restructuring of distressed debt and equity, its record of advising on schemes of arrangement, and its involvement in the Australian secondary debt market. The Sydney-based James Marshall heads up the team, with support from Ross McClymont in Melbourne and Jason Salman in Perth. Other key names include Sydney-based Tony Ryan, an expert on the Australian personal property securities regime, and Melbourne-based Michael Sloan. Junior partner Camilla Clemente in Sydney has expertise in creditors' schemes of arrangement. In team news, Alinta Kemeny joined the Melbourne office in May 2020 from Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP following Lionel Meehan's departure to found Edwin Legal in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

James Marshall

Testimonials

Alinta Kemeny – strong technical expertise together with a focus on meeting the commercial needs of the client. Works well with the client and wider advisers to ensure that the project is delivered to a high standard.

Good understanding of the restructuring environment. Good commercial advice. Knows all the key players in the market.

James Marshall is highly commercial.

Very experienced team, in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry, responsive and commercial. Good relationships with multiple lenders means ideal for syndicated exposures. Able to offer insights across the industry including emerging trends and potential for law reform.

Extremely responsive, always delivers on time and legal advice is presented in an easily digestible format. Seeks to understand commercial objectives as well as consideration of any conduct risk/reputational impact.

The Ashurst Sydney restructuring practice is unique from the diversity of situations which it can service clients, and at a very high quality of service.

James Marshall hits a wide range of situations, for a wide range of clients and a wide range of solutions. His depth of knowledge and experience is his differentiator. He has a strong support team, and his adaptability in an ever-changing environment is stunning.’

The reason I use this team is because they know their banking knowledge is just as strong as its restructuring and insolvency knowledge. You don’t need to waste any time updating them on how products work – which means that you can move quickly and their turnaround time is amazing.

Emmanuel Poulos is just amazing. I don’t know if any other partner would have his commitment to ensuring the customers has the support it needs. I will always be grateful.

Key clients

ANZ

CBA

NAB

Westpac

HSBC

Deutsche Bank

BAML

Macquarie

Mizuho

Wells Fargo Bank

KordaMentha

McGrathNicol

Deloitte

PPB Advisory

FTI Consulting

KPMG

Ernst & Young

Grant Thornton

Ferrier Hodgson

PwC

Bain Capital Credit

KKR

Apollo

CPPIB

Oaktree Capit

Värde Partners

King Street Capital

Centerbridge

Davidson Kempner

Anchorage

Amgen Inc

BBY Limited

Boart Longyear Limited

Consolidated Press Holding

Cleanaway Operations

Ga

Work highlights

  • Advising Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) on the successful restructuring of its c. US$400m mezzanine notes known as Gladstone Long Term Securities (GiLTS).
  • Advising NorthWest Healthcare on the restructure of Waratah Private Hospital.
  • Advising Allegro Funds on its acquisition of Greenlit Brands General Merchandise and its wholly owned subsidiaries operating the Harris Scarfe, Best & Less, and Postie retail businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Clayton Utz

The top-tier restructuring and insolvency practice at Clayton Utz acts for a highly impressive client list, which includes major Australian banks, some of the most prominent insolvency practitioners, multinational investment funds, as well as corporates, and government clients. The sizeable team is spread across the country in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, and can draw on the expertise of related specialists in banking and finance, corporate and property and tax, as well as the firm's large commercial litigation practice. Particularly strong in non-contentious restructuring work, the department also has a significant offering on the contentious side, especially in cross-border matters. Practice head Timothy Sackar in Sydney is a specialist in business restructuring, distressed investing, and insolvency, with a number of international clients. Other key names in Sydney are seasoned litigation specialist Karen O’Flynn and Orla McCoy. Elsewhere, Nick Poole is the name in Melbourne, and Cameron Belyea the go-to practitioner in Perth.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Sackar

Key clients

Morgan Stanley

Deutsche Bank

Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited

Sphere Healthcare Pty. Ltd and Tabco Pty Ltd

Deluxe Entertainment

Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.

Ralan Group

Commonwealth of Australia

Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics Pty Ltd

Jeanswest

Westpac Banking Corporation

Ernst & Young (as liquidators of Verve Constructions Pty Ltd)

CRCG Rimfire Pty Limited

Caledon Group of Companies

Department of Health (Commonwealth)

Carnegie Energy Limited

Alita Resources Limited

JM Kelly Group

Sumo Power

Work highlights

  • Advising Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank (who in turn financed Cerberus Capital Management) on the acquisition of Axsesstoday Limited by Cerberus Capital Management.
  • Acting for the administrators of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited, the holding company of a complex group structure, with a range of entities within the group operating as diversified alternative asset managers.
  • Advising the voluntary administrators of Sphere Healthcare Pty. Ltd. and Tabco Pty Ltd on the voluntary administration, negotiation, and execution of a deed of company arrangement and court application under section 444GA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Gilbert + Tobin

Gilbert + Tobin remains a leading firm for restructuring and insolvency work in the Australian market. The practice focuses its energy on high-profile and high-value transactions, for a client base that includes debtors, banks, investors as well as leading insolvency practitioners. The core work done by the team includes restructuring and workouts, distressed debt investing, corporate distress, voluntary administration, liquidation and receiverships, and the resolution of related disputes. The practice brings together partner-level specialists in the corporate, finance, and litigation aspects of work in this space, to provide a full-service offering. Dominic Emmett in Sydney heads up the practice and is routinely involved in some of the largest restructurings in Australia. Other key team members include the Melbourne-based Peter Bowden, an expert in front-end restructuring whose clients include notable hedge funds, special situations groups, and investment banks, litigation specialist Colleen Platford, and corporate partner David Clee (both operating out of Sydney).

Practice head(s):

Dominic Emmett

Key clients

McGrath Nicol (as administrators and now liquidators to Toys R Us)

Ryan Eagle and Brendan Richards in their capacity as administrators of Bardot Pty Ltd (In Liquidation)

Campus Living Villages Canberra

Tribeca Investment Partners Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising a JP Morgan-led ad-hoc group of convertible bondholders to Paladin Energy on its restructuring.
  • Advising Ryan Eagle and Brendan Richards in their capacity as liquidators (and former administrators) of fast fashion retailer Bardot Pty Ltd (in Liquidation) (Bardot).
  • Advising the administrators and liquidators on all Australian law aspects of the insolvency of Toys R Us.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons remains a leading firm in the restructuring and insolvencies space, routinely attracting the most complex and high-profile work, both advisory and contentious, for significant clients in Australia and internationally. As a distinguishing feature, the practice benefits from close integration with the firm's M&A, banking and finance, real estate, and private equity practices, allowing for seamless coverage of complex matters involving cross-practice expertise. Tim Klineberg heads up the national R&I practice, while David Cowling acts as the global head of R&I (both are Sydney-based). Other key names in the department include Tony Troiani in Melbourne, a recognised expert on insolvency-related disputes, Philip Pan in Brisbane, who is active in the Safe Harbour advisory space, and Melbourne-based Samantha Kinsey. On the junior end of the team, special counsel Gavin Rakoczy in Sydney is a name to note; he has recently been highly active on multiple high-profile matters.

Practice head(s):

Tim Klineberg; David Cowling

Testimonials

A team of individual thinkers, who challenge the consensus view. Very easy to work with and listen to what the clients’ concerns are.

Commercial mindset. They balance risk and practical considerations for the outcome.

They are a leading restructuring practice in Australia and we use them for that reason; in addition, their team is supported by market-leading individuals in mining, banking, and M&A.

Tim Klineberg is a leading light in the restructuring industry and is supported by a very good team. Tim provides market-leading advice and insight when we look to provide capital to difficult transactions.

Key clients

Australian Government Department of Employment

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Deutsche Bank AG

KordaMentha

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Perpetual

FTI Consulting

McGrathNicol

KPMG

Flight Centre Travel Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the administrators (McGrathNicol) on all aspects of the ongoing administration of RCR Tomlinson and its Australian subsidiaries, a listed corporate group with engineering and infrastructure operations throughout Australasia.
  • Advising Mr Stephen Parbery of KPMG as the special purpose liquidator of Queensland Nickel, which collapsed owing in excess of A$200m to creditors including A$74m of entitlements owed to hundreds of workers.
  • Acting for Flight Centre, one of the world’s largest travel agency groups, on its recent A$700m entitlement offer and institutional placement.

Minter Ellison

With a sizeable team of restructuring and insolvency specialists based out of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, Minter Ellison is a leading adviser to a raft of top clients, including all the major banks and accounting firms in Australia. The department is also known for its ability to handle complex, multi-jurisdictional matters, and regularly advises on the full range of work in this space, including distressed debt trading, liquidation, and voluntary administration. Handling managed investment schemes is a further specialism of the department, which can draw a number of leading fund management lawyers. Michael Hughes heads up the team from Sydney. Other veterans in the practice are Brendon Watkins in Melbourne and David O’Brien in Brisbane. A junior partner with an impressive client base is the Sydney-based Caitlin Murray.

Practice head(s):

Michael Hughes

Testimonials

Ability to immediately call on a large team of experienced professionals. Great specialisation in particular areas, such as PPSR and property.

Very practical advice that can be relied upon to immediately advance matters.’

Key clients

McGrathNicol

KordaMentha

Ferrier Hodgson

National Australia Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ)

Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac)

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (including BankWest)

Rabobank Australia Limited

LendLease

Steinhoff Asia Pacific

Work highlights

  • Acting for Deloitte in its capacity as provisional liquidators and subsequently, liquidators appointed to the Plutus Group.
  • Acting on behalf of Steinhoff Asia Pacific, having been retained in response to global events affecting the parent entity, Steinhoff International.
  • Acting for Ferrier Hodgson in its capacity as liquidators appointed to Australian Institute of Professional Education Pty Limited (in liquidation).

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

The restructuring, insolvency, and special situations team at Corrs Chambers Westgarth handles the full range of work in this space, including advisory work and all aspects of restructuring, from informal workouts through to receivership and liquidation, with complementary expertise in due diligence and documentation. The retail and mining sectors are strong sources of work, and, in addition to longstanding relationships with major banks, the department has developed strong ties with alternative capital providers. Also notable is a growth in cross-border work, an area that supplies complex mandates with interests in Europe, Asia, and the US. Practice head Cameron Cheetham in Sydney has considerable expertise across a wide range of industries. Other notable team members are litigation specialists Sam Delaney and Craig Ensor (both Sydney-based). Elsewhere, Michelle Dean is a specialist in Perth, while the key name in Melbourne is Matthew Critchley.

Practice head(s):

Cameron Cheetham

Testimonials

Matthew Critchley from the Melbourne office is an exceptional operator. He is probably one of the most highly skilled operators in litigation that I have come across.

Craig Ensor from the Sydney office is also exceptional and talented.

The team blends a superior technical competence with a very commercial mindset and strong work ethic. The focus is on the desired client outcome.

The team has combined end-to-end financing solutions in one team, being front-end banking and finance with the insolvency and restructuring team, which provides superior client and deal coverage if and when a transaction has an issue.

Because of the team coverage the restructuring and insolvency process is very smooth and they are already up to speed with the deal and potential issues.

Patrick O’Grady – great banking documents. Cameron Cheetham – great strategic structuring advice and drives a restructuring outcome to get a superior outcome both in terms of returns and also the speed of the transaction.

Key clients

Vannin Capital

Treasury Corporation of Victoria

Mirvac

Harris Scarfe

Garbon Investments

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

Chubb Insurance

Perpetual Trustee Company

Work highlights

  • Advising an ad-hoc group of USD bondholders and A$ bondholders, including national and global institutions and more than 4,000 individual retail bondholders, located in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the USA on the imminent restructuring of ASX listed Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd, the national and international airline.
  • Advising the lending syndicate, including SC Lowy, ion a secured two-tier lending structure – the initial financing phase involved advising on all aspects of the provision of a $185m peak debt senior syndicated loan note facility and up to eight related construction and working capital loans to separate SPV landowners which are part of a highly leveraged development group.
  • Advising Remagen Capital Management on the complex vendor financed acquisition of a distressed asset in the resources sector, through to the enforcement and operational restructure (effected by a deed company arrangement) and provision of advice on potential claims against the vendor for breach of warranties and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills' restructuring, turnaround, and insolvency team is distinguished by its strong corporate client base and cross-sector expertise, spanning major industries including finance, mining, energy, TMT, consumer, real estate, and infrastructure. The department's impressive client list includes the four major domestic banks, investment banks, ASX-listed companies, accountancy and insolvency firms, and international funds. Sydney-based practice head Paul Apáthy is a widely recognised specialist. Other key names in the team include Mark Clifton in Sydney and the Perth-based David John, a recognised expert in bank-side insolvency work, complex restructurings, and the mining, resources, and energy sectors. In team news, Brisbane-based former practice co-head Peter Smith departed for Johnson Winter & Slattery in December 2019.

Practice head(s):

Paul Apáthy

Other key lawyers:

Mark Clifton; David John

Key clients

SMS Innovative Mining Pty Ltd

Speedcast International Ltd

Retail Food Group

Westpac

The Carlyle Group

Arq Group

Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

XCoal Energy and Resources

Mulpha Norwest Pty Limited

KPMG

PwC

Deloitte Financial Advisory

FTI Consulting

RMB Resources Pty Ltd and RMB Australia Holding Pty Ltd

Bain Capital Credit (Australia) Pty Ltd and

Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Speedcast on its restructuring and chapter 11 bankruptcy filings (the first chapter 11 bankruptcy of a major Australian group).
  • Advising Retail Food Group on its successful debt restructuring and recapitalisation in the face of regulatory action and class actions.
  • Advising Bain Capital on its successful bid for Virgin Australia, the second largest airline in Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright

The financial restructuring and insolvency group at Norton Rose Fulbright continues to deepen its bench strength at partner level, having promoted cross-border dispute specialist Jonathon Turner and active adviser to private equity Bernie Walrut to the partnership in January 2020 (both are based in Sydney). The department operates out of offices spanning Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. Cross-border mandates are a particular strength of the practice, which draws on expertise from the firm's global network. The team is jointly led by Alex Mufford in Sydney and Steven Palmer in Melbourne. Other key names in the Sydney office are Scott Atkins, who often acts as an adviser to Australia's leading banks and insolvency practitioners, and cross-border insolvency expert John Martin. In the Perth office, the go-to practitioner for resource sector work is Jeffrey Black.

Practice head(s):

Alex Mufford; Steven Palmer

Testimonials

The Norton Rose Sydney Restructuring team, specifically Bernie and Alex, are leaders in the Australian insolvency market. They provide advice from operationally stressed situations all the way through to highly financially distressed situations.

Bernie Walrut & Alex Mufford are very high performers in the reconstruction industry in Australia. They are distinguished by their ‘customer first’ approach and go out of their way to understand the problem from the customers’ perspective – they excel in walking in their clients’ shoes.

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

EY

Ferrier Hodgson (now KPMG)

Grant Thornton

KordaMentha

McGrathNicol

National Australia Bank

PwC

Westpac

Work highlights

  • Acting for General Motors Holdings LLC (GM) and GM Holden Pty Ltd (Holden) on the decision made by GM and Holden to exit Holden vehicles sales, engineering and design operations in the Australian and New Zealand markets and to undertake an orderly restructure of the group of Holden companies in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Acting on all aspects of the administration of the ASX listed SME Fintech lender Axsesstoday Limited (and its subsidiaries) including in relation to the sale of the Axsesstoday business, entry into a deed of company arrangement and the distribution of dividends to unsecured creditors through a creditors’ trust.
  • Working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for over three years to strengthen the legal and institutional framework of Myanmar for commerce and private sector investment (this has resulted in the enactment of the Insolvency Law 2020).

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie has a strong reputation for acting on the higher end of the restructuring market; it is also known for expertise in the mining, resources and energy sectors. Recent areas of activity have included advising companies on safe harbour and director matters, especially in struggling sectors such as retail and aviation, and handling high-profile administrations on the administrator side. The department also benefits from cross-border expertise, in collaboration with the firm's UK and US-based offices. Maria O’Brien heads up the team from Sydney. Other practitioners with active practices include David Walter in Sydney and Peter Lucarelli in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Maria O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

David Walter; Peter Lucarelli

Testimonials

Brings in the right skills and expertise at the right time.

Key clients

Harris Scarfe

Marcus Ayres (formerly of Ernst & Young, now of Duff & Phelps), liquidator of I Pipe Services group

Sargon/Diversa

Ceres

Paltar

Vale/QNI

Bounty Mining

Barry Kogan and Katherine Sozou as liquidators of 38 Akuna Pty Ltd (In Liq)

CBA Corporate Services (VIC) Pty Limited (as the notes trustee for the holders of the GiLTS)

PwC

LendLease’s debt proceedings

Administration of Arrium

Administration of Maria’s Farm Veggies

Work highlights

  • Acting for the voluntary administrators of the Harris Scarfe group of entities (Duncan Clubb and Andrew Sallway of BDO Australia), a national department chain with 66 outlet stores across Australia and more than 1800 staff.
  • Advising the administrators and now liquidator on the sale of I Pipe Services group (successfully completed within the administration); court-ordered public examinations in respect of the parties associated with collapse; extensive multi-party litigation associated with claims by subcontractors for payment under new Queensland specific legislation, including Constitutional issues about the operation of that legislation.
  • Advising Diversa Trustees Ltd, CSCL Ltd and Sargon CT Pty Limited and their boards on all aspects of dealing with the various complex insolvency proceedings opened in relation to their parent, Sargon Capital group of companies.

Dentons

Dentons continues its trajectory of growth in the Australian market through its combination with Adelaide firm Fisher Jeffries in October 2019, which brought Wendy Jones, Karen Guazzelli, and James Marsh. Among other significant team changes was the lateral hire of Kon Tsiakis to the Melbourne office from DLA Piper in March 2020. Headed up by the Sydney-based Tim Sherrard, the restructuring and insolvency practice is known for its top client base, including investment banks and all four of the major Australian banks. Also notable is the team's breadth of work, from retail, corporate and commercial recovery and restructuring work through to multi-jurisdictional insolvency. Scott Guthrie has joined Thomson Geer.

Practice head(s):

Tim Sherrard

Testimonials

The Dentons Restructuring and Insolvency team are highly regarded and well known for their technical expertise, especially for insolvency. Each partner is approachable and hands-on, whether it be for informal advice, formal advice, meeting attendance, or just to run something by them. They not only have expertise in large complex matters but also in smaller SME insolvencies and personal bankruptcies.

David McIntosh is an expert on secured lending, cross-border insolvency, and formal insolvency advice. Kylie Britton is an expert in personal insolvency and a secured lending adviser. Justin Bates is a highly experienced and well-regarded insolvency lawyer and banking specialist. All three are always available, approachable, and just good people to deal with.

Key clients

Westpac Banking Corporation

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

National Australia Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

BNY Mellon

Deloitte

EY

KordaMentha

PWC

ING Bank Australia

Work highlights

  • Assisting KordaMentha with a range of complex and urgent issues including creditor claims, PPSR (PMSI) claims, licence issues and trading trust issues.
  • Acting for Deutsche Bank in the restructure of Paladin Energy (recently relisted on ASX).
  • Acting for the receivers and managers of seven companies, displacing the VA’s post appointment (EY, advised by KWM) and advising the receivers on taking control of the operation of two gold mines, which are now in care and maintenance and in the process of being sold

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Johnson Winter & Slattery's restructuring and insolvency practice fields a team of lawyers capable of handling the full range of work in this area for both debtors and insolvency practitioners. In a key lateral hire this year, Peter Smith joined in March 2020 from Herbert Smith Freehills, having previously headed up the team there, and significantly bolstered the firm's Brisbane offering. Sydney-based practice head Joseph Scarcella is a respected litigator, while David Proudman lends deep experience in non-contentious insolvency and business reconstruction.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Scarcella

Testimonials

Speedy focused advice and flexibility.

They are all people of character and integrity; they perform at the highest level consistently; they look out for the interests of their client and they are supportive of each other.

David Proudman brings an astute commercial brain to resolving legal disputes. Despite acting for a number of clients, he is always available and is always up-to-date on every issue.

Sam Johnson is across the detail, the law, and the practicalities of delivery. Nothing is missed; the detail is immaculate. What makes Sam different from his competitors is his diligence, plain common sense, and acuity.

The Restructuring team are across all the big issues facing their clients. They are proactive in matters and make sure no stone is left unturned.

Paul Buitendag stands out because he is so passionate about the work he does and how he can improve your situation. He is always alert to finding opportunities to work together on.

Key clients

Nic Raja of Roger and Carson, Vincent Pirina and Ian Niccol of Aston Chase Group

William O’Dwyer (director of the Ralan Group of Companies)

Said Jahani and Shaun McKinnnon, Grant Thornton and then subsequently, Robert Hutson and Scott Langdon, KordaMentha

PricewaterhouseCoopers as liquidators of Gunns Limited

Angas Securities Limited

Administrators (and now liquidators) of Botanic Homes Pty Ltd (in liquidation

David Lombe as liquidator of Babcock & Brown Limited

Crescent Capital Partners

Brookfield

PwC – Liquefied Natural Gas Limited

Petrus Helberg

Rahul Goyal and Jenny Nettleton (KordaMentha) in their capacity as liquidators of Maria’s Farm Veggies

Work highlights

  • Acting in Supreme Court proceedings (Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Wily & Hurst [2019] NSWSC 521) seeking a ban of the defendant liquidators’ ability to practice as insolvency practitioners for 10 years.
  • Acting for Daniel Bryant, Ian Carson and Craig Crosbie of PwC in their capacities as the liquidators of the Gunns Group of companies in 73 voidable preference claims commenced in the Federal Court of Australia against numerous creditors of the Gunns Group.
  • Advising Crescent Capital Partners in relation to the restructure of the Tigerlily Group.

Jones Day

With a deep bench of specialist practitioners spread over offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, Jones Day has the resources to deal with complex and high-bandwidth restructuring and insolvency matters. The practice advises on the full range of work in this space, including refinancings, distressed loan portfolio acquisitions, and formal insolvency proceedings. Multi-jurisdictional reorganisation and bankruptcy proceedings are another area of strength, and cross-border work is leveraged through the firm's international network. Roger Dobson heads up the team from Sydney. Another key team member is Tim L’Estrange in Melbourne, who has deep experience working with multinational companies.

Practice head(s):

Roger Dobson

Other key lawyers:

Tim L’Estrange

Key clients

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA) and the Western Australia State Solicitors Office

Avior Consulting Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Western Australia State Solicitors Office and ICWA in its capacity as a major funding creditor of The Bell Group Ltd (In Liquidation) and its related entities.
  • Advising the receivers in seeking damages against the Directors of NewSat Limited, which failed due to financial and operational mismanagement.
  • Acting for Avior on a proposed restructuring of Centennial Mining Limited and Maldon Resources Pty Ltd by deed of company arrangement (DOCA).

Colin Biggers & Paisley

Colin Biggers & Paisley supports a number of government departments on insolvency work, while also providing niche advice to directors, corporations, and restructuring professionals. The practice, headed up by Sydney-based Peter Harkin and Scott Hedge, has a strong client base in the construction, property, mining, retail and registered club sectors. Another key team member is Glen Williams in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Peter Harkin; Scott Hedge

Other key lawyers:

Glen Williams

Key clients

Scentre Group Limited (Westfield)

Grant Thornton

KordaMentha

KPMG

Deloitte

RSM Australia

McGrathNicol

John Holland

Russell Corporate Advisory

Hayes Advisory

Bentleys

Cor Cordis

Downer Group

Offermans

Moelis Australia

BRI Ferrier

Work highlights

  • Acting for Scentre Group Limited in a dispute related to the administration of Harris Scarfe.
  • Representing Mono in a dispute with Cresco worth A$16m.
  • Acting for Scentre in proceedings that have been commenced by the liquidators of the Hastie Group of companies in the Melbourne registry of the Federal Court.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a strong track record advising clients in the financial services, energy, resources and mining, retail, property, and tech sectors. In particular, the practice has continued to grow its client base in the energy, mining and resource, and real estate sectors. The Sydney-based mid-market insolvency specialist Amelia Kelly heads up the restructuring and insolvency team, with support from Onno Bakker, the head of finance, projects, and restructuring. In team news, former team co-head Kon Tsiakis departed for Dentons in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Amelia Kelly; Onno Bakker

Testimonials

Amelia Kelly is an excellent strategic thinker and totally committed to getting the best result for her client. She is also good on legal analysis.

Key clients

KordaMentha (Receivers of Millennium Minerals Limited) (Receivers and Managers appointed) (subject to Deed of Company Arrangement)

IMC Resources Gold Holdings Pte Ltd (Singapore registration number 201115162Z) as security trustee for the Millennium Minerals Limited Security Trust

Atlas Advisors Australia Pty Ltd

Aquilini Investment Group

Bank of Queensland

Curtin University

Westpac Banking Corporation

HSBC Australia Limited

Ferrier Hodgson

QBE

Atlantic Limited

AssetInsure

Deloitte

Work highlights

  • Advising the secured creditor and KordaMentha on all issues in relation to the receivership of Millennium Minerals Limited, an ASX-listed gold producer.

Gadens Lawyers

The national restructuring and insolvency practice at Gadens Lawyers is recognised for its broad experience and for its strength in the SME market. Clients include the four major Australian banks, non-bank lenders, and financiers, in addition to the insolvency firms and practitioners. The practice is jointly led by Robert Hinton in Melbourne,  who is an expert in acting for banking clients, administrators, and liquidators in litigation, and James Roland  in Sydney whose expertise spans refinancing and restructuring transactions, schemes of arrangement, and security enforcement. 

Practice head(s):

Robert Hinton; James Roland

Testimonials

Extensive contact network and knowledge of insolvency.

Rob Hinton – ability to see all angles of decision making/litigation and develop appropriate responses.

Strong reputation that has been earned and kept over a long period. Always thinking and up to date with current law changes and judgements.

Rob Hinton always provides valuable considered advice that is practical and commercial.

Key clients

Deloitte

Westpac Banking Corporation

ANZ Bank

Judo Bank

Lucerne Investment Partners

Australian Whisky Holdings Limited

Export Finance Australia

DCF Asset Management Pty Ltd

Silver Heritage Group Limited

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Work highlights

  • Advising DCF Asset Management Pty Ltd (DCF) on the acquisition and debt funding of distressed assets from Rapid Securities Limited.
  • Acting for the administrators (now liquidators) at Deloitte of a large Australian manufacturing business in connection with ongoing disputes with the company’s landlord and its former equipment supplier, a related entity.
  • Acting on Australian Whisky Holdings Ltd’s position with respect to the collapse of the Nant whisky investment program including the recent appointment of voluntary administrators (PwC) to two of the Nant entities.

HWL Ebsworth

HWL Ebsworth fields a team of specialist restructuring and insolvency practitioners operating out of offices across the country. Jonathan Kramersh heads up the national group.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Kramersh

K&L Gates

Equally comfortable with contentious and advisory work in the restructuring and insolvency space, K&L Gates handles complex situations of financial distress for clients across a wide range of industries, while retaining strong links with major Australian banks and government entities. Jason Opperman heads up the team from Sydney, with support from Andrew Chambers and Stephen Hume in Melbourne. In team news, Alex Smith was promoted to partner in Sydney in March 2020; her experience includes in-house roles and secondments at major banks.

Practice head(s):

Jason Opperman

Testimonials

Direct access to partners who have a strong relationship with our team and an understanding of our requirements together with a good support network.

Openness, honesty, understanding of our business, culture, and needs. Builds strong relationships with our team. Handles conflict with customers and has demonstrated that “it’s always got our back”.

Key clients

BlueScope Steel

ExxonMobil

HP

Visy Industries

Nutrien/Landmark

Medibank

Campbell Arnott’s

Honda Australia

Avis

Continental

Sanitarium

EnergyAustralia

Reckitt

Dyson

Ericsson

Standards Australia

Work highlights

  • Advising KPMG as administrator of Halifax Investment Services on a complex multi-jurisdictional winding up involving over A$200 million of assets and 12,500 investors.
  • Advising five of the aircraft lessors: JP Lease, Aviation PLC, Chorus Aviation, Stellar Aviation, and Lunar Aviation which equates to around a third of the Virgin Australia fleet.
  • Acting for dVT Group, the voluntary administrators (and subsequently liquidators) of 2nds World, an electrical appliance retail group.

Maddocks

Particularly strong in the Melbourne market, Maddocks stands out for its banking sector expertise and strong local client base. Other areas of strength include sectors such as education, construction, aged and health care, consumer markets, and the public sector in Victoria. The practice is noted for its work in restructuring and its advice to insolvency practitioners and secured creditors in asset realisation litigation. Marelda Hibberd heads up the team, with support from David Newman and Michael Johns.

Practice head(s):

Marelda Hibberd

Key clients

KPMG

Watpac Construction Pty Ltd

Jindal Steel and Partners Pty Limited (JSPAL) & Wollongong Coal Limited (WCL)

HLB Mann Judd

McGrath Nicol

Vince & Associates

BPG Finance Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising in all aspects of the liquidation of AGM Markets Pty Ltd (In Liquidation), a former financial services provider which offered over-the-counter derivative products to retail investors, in relation to issues such as the assessment of investors’ claims, communications with creditors and Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) issues and an ASIC prosecution.
  • Acting on behalf of various Watpac entities in relation to the liquidation of a very large sub-contractor, the Hastie Group including defending liquidators’ recovery proceedings and liquidators’ examinations.
  • Acting for the first defendant in federal court proceedings relating to the administration and liquidation of Halifax, an online stockbroker.

Mills Oakley

Continuing its trend of growth beyond its historical Melbourne base, Mills Oakley has made a number of recent hires. Litigator Ashley Tiplady joined the Brisbane office from Russells in June 2019, which was followed by the arrival of Bernice Ellis to the Canberra office from Meyer Vandenberg in July 2019. In December 2019, Kirsten Farmer joined the Sydney office from DWF. In other team news, Matthew Kelly left the legal industry in March 2020. The team is notably distinguished by its expertise in the retail, manufacturing, and construction sectors. Stuart Lewin heads up the practice from Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Lewin

Testimonials

Mills Oakley has a great team. The partners are both very client-focused and very good lawyers. The talent pool below them is very strong. The quality and volume of their work in the industry is a testament to how they are perceived by insolvency practitioners Australia-wide.

Stuart Lewin is their most high profile partner. He is excellent with clients and has a great sense of how to manage litigation. Ariel Borland trained under Stuart and has been a partner for some years now. She is an excellent lawyer and combines that with a sound practical approach that clients appreciate.

Key clients

KordaMentha

Grant Thornton Australia

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited

Rodger Reidy

Cor Cordis

PKF Melbourne

KPMG

Vince & Associates

Hall Chadwick

PwC

BOQ

Work highlights

  • Advising KordaMentha on the recovery of A$500m loan book, as well as other matters.
  • Advising secured lenders on A$40m owing to them following the collapse of Steller Group
  • Advising the administrators and subsequent deed administrators/trustees appointed to Cooper & Oxley, one of the largest corporate collapses in Western Australia in recent times.

Piper Alderman

Active across markets in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, the restructuring and insolvency team at Piper Alderman is distinguished by its expertise in the SME market. Practice head Michael Lhuede continues to act in multiple insolvencies, and regularly advises banks and lenders on security enforcement. Other key team members include Joanne Hardwick in Melbourne and Mike Hayes in Adelaide.

Practice head(s):

Michael Lhuede

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Hardwick; Mike Hayes

Testimonials

Small but very proactive team with excellent knowledge of both corporate and personal insolvency. One of Adelaide’s leading insolvency practices.

Outcome-focused, pleasant to deal with, breadth of resources, knowledgeable staff.

Technically very good, practical advice, courage to give advice you might not like.’

Strong reputable firm, specialists in insolvency matters.

Michael Lhuede – prompt, strong commercial advice and reasoning. Joanne Hardwick – litigator with a great understanding of legal application and principles.

Professional, confident and willing to work hard to achieve a result.

Immediate access to partners in respect of legal advice. A service ethos in dealing with clients and as a business one that is willing to adapt, change and seek improvements to the way it does business.

The practice has a wide range of knowledge and the partners are prepared to seek support and refer you to the appropriate partner.

Their ability to listen to your instructions and communicate where you stand in law and support your view and way forward.

Key clients

Ausjet Group

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group

BPS Recovery

Brooke Bird & Co

Capital Transport Services (Vic)

Crouch Amirbeaggi

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Garrett, Renauf & Ors ats Anderson

Grant Thornton

Hall Chadwick

KordaMentha

KPMG

Pitcher Partners

PKF

Rodgers Reidy Chartered Accountants

Roger and Carson

Spectrum Brands Australia Pty Ltd

SV Partners

Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants

Work highlights

  • Acting in a breach of duty claim (value asserted by Plaintiff at more than $144m) commenced in 2015 by an individual plaintiff.
  • Acting for Liquidator appointed by Federal Court on application of ASIC to wind up following alleged breaches of AFSL.
  • Acting for Elizabeth Whiffin, an ordinary member of the incorporated association known as Parents Without Partners (Vic) Inc.

Banton Group

Founded in February 2020, specialist firm Banton Group is fronted by name partner Amanda Banton, former practice head of Squire Patton Boggs. Her key fields of expertise include restructuring and distressed transactions, corporate insolvencies and collapses, court-sanctioned schemes of arrangement, and out-of-court restructurings. The team primarily focuses on plaintiff-led disputes and is adept in a range of overseas jurisdictions including the US, UK, and Singapore; it is predominantly made up of other senior names from Banton’s previous practice including Shaan Palmer and Elliott Smith.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Banton

Other key lawyers:

Shaan Palmer; Elliott Smith

Testimonials

‘Banton Group is a boutique and focussed litigation practice which has the ability to conduct big litigation to the level of a top-tier large firm.’

‘Amanda Banton has a highly creative approach to litigation, is not afraid to take on forensically difficult cases, and has a first-rate strategic eye to overall litigation outcomes Shaan Palmer has an enormous work ethic and has an excellent appreciation of the interrelationship between complex areas of expert discourse in proving a case. Elliott Smith has a top-notch working knowledge of his areas of specialty, together with excellent organisational abilities.

‘Banton Group had considerable experience and skill in insolvency litigation, particularly in large cases arising from insolvencies. The firm is particularly experienced and skilled in acting for liquidators and other plaintiffs, an area which often presents difficulties. As a firm Banton Group has a skillset particularly suited for insolvency litigation, particularly large and often difficult cases.’

‘Amanda Banton is a highly experienced and skilful litigation and insolvency solicitor, whose insight I highly value.’

Key clients

McGrath Nicol in their capacities as Special Purpose Liquidators of Forge Group Limited (Receivers & Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation)

KPMG previously (Ferrier Hodgson), the liquidator for Forge Group Limited (Receivers & Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation)

Deloitte Australia, Neil Cussen as liquidator of Heavy Plant Leasing Pty Ltd (In Liquidation)

KordaMentha Pty Ltd as trustee for the LM Managed Performance Fund

KordaMentha Pty Ltd liquidators for Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited (In Liquidation)

Trilogy Funds Management (LM Wholesale Fund and Currency Protected funds)

Anthony Bogan and Michael Walton, on behalf of shareholders of Arrium Limited (In Liquidation)

Creditors in the liquidation of Lehman Brothers Australia Ltd (In Liquidation)

Litigation Capital Partners Funding Pte Limited

Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited

Damien Hodgkinson as Deed Administrator of Kupang Resources Ltd (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement)

KordaMentha Pty Ltd as receivers of South Eastern Secured Investments Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appt)

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for liquidators of Forge in conducting public examinations pursuant to section 596B of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) against Grant Thornton (GT) and subsequently commencing proceedings against GT alleging negligence, breach of contract, and conduct in contravention of ss 1041H and 1041E of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
  • Acting for creditors of Arrium and ASIC authorised eligible applicants under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), to investigate potential claims to be commenced against Arrium on behalf of its shareholders and pursuant to an examinations summons issued under s596A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to a former director of Arrium together with orders for production to Arrium, KPMG (former auditors) and UBS (underwriters of a capital raising).
  • Acting on behalf of the Deed Administrator of Kupang to bring an application for leave of the Court under section 444GA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to transfer all of the shares in Kupang to a major creditor, in accordance with a Deed of Company Arrangement executed by the Company and its creditors.

Hamilton Locke

At Hamilton Locke, Zina Edwards leverages a documented track record in prominent restructuring matters and also routinely acts on distressed and performing portfolio transactions; she also represents non-bank lenders and special situation funds in respect of their stressed and distressed investments and jointly leads the practice alongside Nicholas Edwards, a specialist in corporate distress and insolvency who is particularly active in the retail, mining, media, construction and financial services sectors. Other thriving fronts for the practice include refinancing, distressed M&A, debt trading, enforcement, and loan to own transactions.

Practice head(s):

Zina Edwards; Nicholas Edwards

Key clients

Mitchell Mansfield (Borrelli Walsh) and Vincent Perina (Veritas) in their capacity as Receivers of shares in Donaco International Limited

Christopher Hill and Phil Carter (PWC) as receivers and managers of Edhod Pty Ltd in its personal capacity and as trustee of the Edhod Unit Trust

Vaughan Stawbridge, Sam Marsden, and Jason Tracy of Deloitte in their capacity as administrators of Colette by Colette Hayman

Gayle Dickerson, Morgan Kelly, and Phil Quinlan in their capacity as joint and several administrators of Internet Services Australia 3 Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) trading as Zanui

Rahul Goyal and Scott Langdon of KordaMentha

Work highlights

  • Acted for Mitchell Mansfield and Vincent Perina who were appointed as receivers of the Donaco shares by OCP (a credit fund that was the secured lender to Donaco) and OCP’s security trustee being Madison Pacific Trust Limited.
  • Acting on the long and complex receivership of the Edhod Group, a childcare development business.
  • Acting on the administration of fashion retailer, Colette by Colette Hayman.

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells is home to a dedicated business restructuring and insolvency department which is fully integrated within the firm’s global practice. The group is equipped to support the full array of distressed situation stakeholders including banks, financial institutions, debtors, issuers, as well as bondholders, and is headed by workout, special situation, turnaround, and traditional insolvency appointment specialist, Scott Harris. A further key differentiator is its sector-specific approach which sees it direct particular attention to matters in the mining, oil and gas, real estate, manufacturing, shipping, insurance, and infrastructure industries.

Practice head(s):

Scott Harris

Other key lawyers:

James Hewer

Key clients

BDO Australia Ltd

Deloitte Financial Advisory Pty Ltd

Innovative Asset Solutions Limited

Navis Capital Partners

Grant Thornton Australia Limited

RSM Australia Partners

Bank of China Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Andrew Sallway, Helen Newman, and Nicholas Martin in their capacity as liquidators of MB Australia Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) (Receivers Appointed), which operated Max Brenner stores in Australia.
  • Acted for Deloitte in its capacity as deed administrators of Big Un Limited and continue to act for them in their capacity as liquidators of the company.  The matter involved a successful innovative court application under s444GA of the Corporations Act for leave to transfer the company’s shares.
  • Acted for Innovative Asset Solutions Limited (“IAS”) in relation to a capital restructuring, and in particular, the restructuring of its senior convertible notes and other convertible debt instruments by way of debt for equity swap.

Jackson McDonald

Perth-based Jackson McDonald is best known for advising in the construction mining and energy sectors. Practice head Eva Lin regularly acts for financiers, insolvency practitioners, companies and directors, on the full range of insolvency, restructuring, and enforcement matters, often advising on some of the largest cases in Western Australia.

Practice head(s):

Eva Lin

Key clients

Westgem Investments Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (receivers and managers appointed) – funded by IMF Bentham Limited, a publicly listed company, and Australia’s largest litigation funder.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the liquidator of a property development company, two prominent property developers and a number of their related entities in a claim against their former financiers of a landmark Perth office tower/retail development.

McCullough Robertson

McCullough Robertson fields a strong Queensland-based restructuring and insolvency team, regularly advising clients in the resources, finance, agribusiness, and government sectors, with particular expertise in cross-border matters. Scott Butler heads up the practice from Brisbane. In a notable arrival, David O’Farrell joined from HWL Ebsworth in June 2020.

Practice head(s):

Scott Butler

Other key lawyers:

David O’Farrell

Testimonials

Ability to mobilise quickly and zero in on the key restructuring issues to consider.

Clear, practical, and concise advice. Bringing a calm and analytical thought process to every situation.

Key clients

OneVue Holdings Limited

Bounty Mining Limited

Commonwealth Department Jobs and Small Business

Goondicum Resources Pty Ltd

Deloitte

FTI Consulting

Integrapay

KordaMentha

McGrathNicol

Work highlights

  • Advising OneVue Holdings Limited on its exposure to Sargon Capital and advising PwC as receivers and managers of the Madison Financial Group.
  • Advising Deloitte as the voluntary administrators and, subsequently, liquidators, of Lyon Solar on the sale of various solar plant and battery storage sites around Australia.
  • Advising fintech firm, Integrapay, on its large exposure to the travel agent, BestJet, in conjunction with KordaMentha.

Thomson Geer

With experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters, Thomson Geer handles a wide range of work across restructuring and insolvency law, with an emphasis on clients in the financial services sector. Team head Peter Harrison operates out of the firm's Sydney office. In team news, Louise Gehrig departed for Piper Alderman in February 2020, followed by Michael Joseph to a private mediation practice in April 2020.

Practice head(s):

Peter Harrison

Testimonials

Very experienced team of insolvency lawyers in Adelaide whilst developing younger practitioners at the same time. One of Adelaide’s best insolvency teams.

Always available to discuss a matter in a practical way.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a supplier of trucks and large mining equipment in relation to issues with the voluntary administration of Millennium Minerals Ltd.
  • Advising an aged care provider regarding options for the restructuring of the business with a view to continuing to trade the business in order to obtain a better outcome than a formal insolvency administration.