Next Generation Partners

Restructuring and insolvency: foreign firms in China

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis‘ sizeable Hong Kong-based restructuring practice group has an enviable market reputation for its advice to stakeholders on complex financial restructurings and insolvency proceedings; and covering the full range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring work, the team acts for companies, as well as bondholders and banks. Consistently sought out by large global companies in financial distress, Neil McDonald’s recent highlights include advising on the China Evergrande Group, Kaisa Group and Fantasia Holdings Group restructurings; Kelly Naphtali handles commercial and insolvency-related disputes that often require urgent action to prevent the movement or dissipation of assets; Jacqueline Tang regularly advises companies and creditors on matters involving the restructuring of distressed companies in China and other parts of Asia; and Wei-Yang Lim is experienced in assisting institutions that invest in distressed or special situation credits. In late 2021, former partner Daniel Margulies joined Dechert's Hong Kong office.

Practice head(s):

Neil McDonald

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Naphtali; Jacqueline Tang; Wei-Yang Lim

Key clients

Ad hoc committee of holders of the offshore notes issued by China Evergrande Group and its subsidiaries.

Ad hoc committee of holders of the offshore notes issued by Kaisa Group Holdings and its subsidiaries.

Ad hoc committee of holders of the offshore notes issued by Fantasia Holdings Group Co

Ad hoc committee of holders of the offshore notes issued by Huachen Energy Co

Ad hoc committee of holders of certain tranches of bonds issued by certain subsidiaries of China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group Company

Noble Group

Wing Sze Tiffany Wong, Edward Simon Middleton and Wesley Arthur Edwards, as Liquidators of Nuoxi Capital

Ad hoc committee of holders of notes issued by Unigroup International Holdings

Ad hoc committee of holders of offshore notes issued by Golden Wheel Tiandi Holdings Company Limited

Ad hoc committee of holders of offshore notes issued by certain subsidiaries of Reward Science and Technology Industry Group Co

Yestar Healthcare Holdings Company

CAR Inc

Sapura Energy Berhad and its subsidiaries

Global Brands Group Holding and certain of its subsidiaries

Ad hoc group of lenders under various loan facilities of PT Pan Brothers Tbk.

Dewan Housing Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising the Committee in relation to transactions involving offshore notes (issued by China Evergrande Group or its subsidiaries), including a potential restructuring and/or enforcement actions.
  • Advising the Committee in connection with transactions (including a potential restructuring and/or enforcement actions), and which relate to offshore notes issued by Kaisa Group Holdings or its subsidiaries.
  • Advising the Committee in connection with transactions (including a potential restructuring and/or enforcement actions), which concern offshore notes issued by Fantasia Holdings Group Co.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP‘s Hong Kong-based restructuring group has a strong reputation in the market for Asia-related creditor work. The practice also routinely leverages the credentials of its financial restructuring teams in both the US and Europe. Recent activity for the group ranges from major, cross-border financial restructurings, to sizeable Asia-Pacific-related distressed mandates. Highly focused on finance and alternative credit transactions, cross-border restructurings, insolvencies and workouts, Naomi Moore recent experience covers Australia, Greater China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore, along with the UK and the Caribbean. The practice’s key counsel, Jeremy Haywood, is experienced in advising on all aspects of corporate restructuring and insolvency.

Other key lawyers:

Naomi Moore; Jeremy Haywood

Allen & Overy LLP

Recent highlights for Allen & Overy LLP's Greater China team include assisting with increasing numbers of receiverships and restructurings involving mainland and Hong Kong real estate projects and assets. The group also experienced high levels of requests to advise on China’s Enterprise Bankruptcy Law (EBL), alongside the firm's joint operation team at Shanghai-headquartered Lang Yue Law Firm. Leading the restructuring practice in the PRC, Jane Jiang is a specialist in policy developments in the restructuring space, in addition to guiding PRC institutions through overseas processes, and assisting international creditors with PRC-related restructurings and the PRC EBL insolvency regime. In Hong Kong, Fai Hung Cheung advises financial institutions and insolvency office holders on domestic Hong Kong and cross-border insolvency-related matters; Viola Jing is an experienced restructuring and insolvency practitioner; and  Richard Woodworth and Ian Chapman  both routinely advise on large restructurings in the Asia-Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Jane Jiang; Richard Woodworth; Ian Chapman; Fai Hung Cheung

Other key lawyers:

Viola Jing; Karen Chan; Roberta Cheung

Key clients

China Development Bank

Export-Import Bank of China

ICBC

PwC

Kroll

Bank of China Hong Kong

Alvarez & Marsal

PAG

BNY Mellon

Clifford Chance

Combining transactional experience with contentious expertise, Clifford Chance‘s Hong Kong-based practice comprises experienced restructuring and insolvency specialists, who regularly work alongside the firm’s funds, M&A, finance and capital markets experts. The team is consistently mandated by creditors, lenders, coordinating committees, private equity sponsors, insolvency practitioners and debtors on heavyweight cross-border matters across the Asia-Pacific region. Asia-Pacific restructuring and insolvency group head, Scott Bache, specialises in corporate restructuring, distressed M&A and special situations investments, along with insolvency issues, security enforcement and general banking litigation; and with longstanding experience in representing liquidators and provisional liquidators in large Asian insolvencies, Donna Wacker leads the the contentious insolvency practice in Hong Kong. Also integral to the team are disputes partner Thomas Walsh, who is active in insolvency-related matters; and May 2022-promoted partner Phoebe Lo, who specialises in non-contentious, corporate insolvency and restructuring work. Consultant Yvonne Shek assists with cross-jurisdictional insolvencies.

Practice head(s):

Scott Bache; Donna Wacker

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Walsh; Phoebe Lo; Yvonne Shek

Key clients

FTI Consulting

HSBC

Davidson Kempner

Deutsche Bank

King Street

Carlyle Credit

Asia Broadcast Satellite

Work highlights

  • Advised the senior lenders and appointed receivers on the financial restructuring of Trans Maldivian Airways Private.
  • Advising FTI Consulting, as liquidator of Trinity, a holding company of the Trinity Group (the owner of a number of high-fashion brands).
  • Advising gategroup Holding and gategroup Guarantee on the restructuring of financial indebtedness.

Latham & Watkins LLP

The Hong Kong-based Greater China restructuring and insolvency practice at Latham & Watkins LLP has significant experience in debtor-side and creditor-side matters, with the team’s representative expertise covering workouts, restructurings and bankruptcy cases. Its recent workload includes advising on bondholder and debtor-side work, along with liquidations and insolvency mandates; and the group is active in representing creditor and debtor clients in relation to offshore debts borrowed or issued by Chinese corporations from the energy, real estate, finance, manufacturing, aviation and mining sectors. Clients additionally appreciate the firm’s ability to draw upon its European and US restructuring and special situations teams. Howard Lam‘s practice covers the representation of banks, bondholders, investors and insolvency practitioners in distressed contexts; and associate Flora Innes has significant experience in corporate restructurings, insolvency proceedings and cross-border disputes. Josef Athanas retired from the partnership in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Howard Lam

Other key lawyers:

Howard Lam; Flora Innes

Linklaters

Linklaters‘ Hong Kong-based team is highly rated for its expertise in distressed investments. Clients additionally benefit from its specialisms in structured lending, as well as the group's ability to act for funds and other alternative credit providers on direct lending transactions. The practice is also sought out for its experience in both court and out-of-court restructuring processes. Widely respected partner James Warboys acts for companies, financial stakeholders, advisory firms and insolvency practitioners on distressed M&A, debt-for-equity swaps and liability management exercises, along with bond restructuring, distressed debt investments, and alternative credit and other new money financings. Managing associate Suzi Duncan  relocated to the firm's Dubai office in February 2022.

Other key lawyers:

James Warboys; Suzi Duncan; Andrew Payne

Ropes & Gray LLP

The China-based restructuring practice at Ropes & Gray LLP has a significant track record in advising creditors on major restructurings involving Greater China; and the team regularly works alongside the firm's US and UK groups on large, cross-sector and cross-border instructions. Bondholder work is a core area for the restructuring team, which also advises credit and special situations funds on restructurings and work-outs, and is experiencing increasing volumes of contentious insolvency work. In Hong Kong, practice head and finance specialist Daniel Anderson is a widely respected restructuring and special situations partner; but former partner Kathleen Aka is at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP's Hong Kong office since October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Anderson

Key clients

Tor Investment Management

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Comprising specialists in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, Baker McKenzie FenXun‘s China restructuring and insolvency practice is consistently active in high-stakes restructurings and insolvencies in the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong-based company insolvency expert, Kwun Yee Cheung, assists with compulsory and voluntary liquidations, receiverships, corporate restructuring, and schemes of arrangement.

Other key lawyers:

Kwun Yee Cheung; Gary Seib

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s Hong Kong-based restructuring and insolvency practice covers formal insolvencies, bank workouts, bond/note restructurings, and other special situations. The experience of energy sector head for China, Carolyn Dong, includes representing insolvency practitioners and special situations investors, while former restructuring and insolvency head, Mark Fairbairn, recently left the firm.

Other key lawyers:

Carolyn Dong

Mayer Brown

Fielding practitioners from Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, Mayer Brown‘s regionally-integrated restructuring practice has substantial coverage of both China and South-East Asia. Hong Kong-based global restructuring co-head John Marsden has a strong track record in large-scale restructurings and insolvencies, while former partner Tom Pugh is at Walkers since September 2021.

Practice head(s):

John Marsden

Other key lawyers:

Terence Tung; Vincent Law

Key clients

Huarong Asset Management

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

China Development Bank

Bain Capital

PricewaterhouseCoopers

KPMG

Ernst & Young

FTI Consulting

International Finance Corporation

Malayan Banking Berhad

OCBC

DHB

CIMB

KfW

CACIB

DNB

RHB

HNA Group

Changgang Dunxin Holdings

Pinpoint

Nortel Networks (Asia)

Mercuria

Glorious Sun – Jeanswest

Hang Seng Bank

DBS Bank (Hong Kong)

Yuanta Commercial Bank Co

Chang Hwa Commercial Bank

Taiwan Cooperative Bank

Bank of Taiwan

EnTie Commercial Bank

Mega International Commercial Bank Co

Bank Sinopac

Taiwan Business Bank

Far Eastern International Bank

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s Hong Kong group routinely leverages the firm's specialisms in shipping, aviation, banking, corporate and employment. Practice head Jamie Stranger represents liquidators, provisional liquidators, receivers and bankruptcy trustees in insolvency proceedings; and assists creditors, debtors and shareholders with corporate and debt restructuring, schemes, buy-outs, and other work-out arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Jamie Stranger

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Tang; Eloise Matsui; Ivan Ng; Emily Li

Testimonials

‘Knowledgable, great with clients and efficient.’

Key clients

Madison Pacific Trust

PwC as Liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong)

PwC as the Joint Provisional Liquidators of CECEP COSTIN New Materials Group

FTI Consulting as the Liquidators of Days Impex and Days International

Société Générale

Joshua James Taylor and Yit Chee Wah (both of FTI Consulting) as Liquidators of Coastal Oil Pte

Hei Yu (Vincent) Fok and Nicholas Gronow (both of FTI Consulting) as  Liquidators of Coastal Holdings (Coastal Holdings) and Coastal Oil (HK)

Vincent Fok and John Batchelor of FTI Consulting as Bankruptcy Trustees of the Estate of Yeung Wing Sing (former director of various companies in the Coastal group)

Safe Castle

Georgia Chow and David Bennet (both of Grant Thornton) as Liquidators of Imperial Entertainment Investments

John McKenna, the Liquidator of Noble Group

The Joint and several Provisional Liquidators of U A Cinema Circuit

Aiful Corporation

John McKenna, the Provisional Liquidator of Global Brands Group Holding

Work highlights

  • Advised Madison Pacific Trust (as security trustee) on the enforcement sale of shares.
  • Advising the liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) on the sale of assets owned by the company and its subsidiaries.
  • Assisting the liquidators of Days Impex and Days International, in relation to fraudulent trading and misfeasance claims against the former officers of the companies.