Restructuring and insolvency in Hong Kong
Forming an integral part of the firm's global restructuring offering, which includes key offices in London and the US, Kirkland & Ellis' six-partner Hong Kong team advises debtors and creditors on international restructurings involving a significant Asia nexus, as well as on mandates emanating from the region. Led by the 'amazing' Neil McDonald - who is noted, in particular, for his China restructuring expertise - the team is well-versed across formal insolvencies, as well as more transactional/restructuring-based mandates, particularly on behalf of the firm's impressive roster of funds clients. The size of the team's offering in the region affords it a degree of specialism that is lacking at some of the lower-ranked firms, and as well as benefiting from practitioners with specific client relationships, it is also able to resource matters headed by practitioners who have developed core expertise in matters relating to distressed situations in particular Asian countries. For example, consultant Damian Coles has developed a particular niche advising on Indonesian matters, having been involved in many of the largest situations in recent years emanating out of the country. Coles has also been involved in India-related mandates and is regularly supported in this work by Tarun Warriar, who has a flourishing reputation across the spectrum of in and out of court restructuring techniques adopted by companies and a range of creditors. Kelly Naphtali is recommended for cross-border contentious insolvency-related matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Neil McDonald is amazing.’
‘Neil McDonald is always able to deliver practical and sensible advice and knows when to step in.’
Toys “R” Us, Inc.
China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited
Committee of creditors of China Fishery Group Limited
China Minsheng Investment Group Corp., Ltd.
IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd.
Ad Hoc Committee of holders of notes issued by subsidiaries of China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group Company Ltd.
Ad hoc committee of holders of senior notes issued by Huachen Energy Co., Ltd.
CWT International Limited and HNA Group (International) Company Limited
Ad Hoc Committee of certain holders of guaranteed senior notes issued by Reward International Investment Limited and guaranteed by Reward Science and Technology Industry Group Co., Ltd.
Ad hoc committee of holders of the US$ 546,916,000 Step Up Convertible Bonds due 2019 issued by Suzlon Energy Ltd.
- As part of the firm’s global representation of Toys “R” US in its multi-jurisdictional restructuring, the team advised the debtor on the sale of its interest in its Asian business which operates as a joint venture with Hong Kong’s Fung Group (which owns 15% of the joint venture).
- Advised Hong Kong-listed company China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited on the successful restructuring of its offshore indebtedness.
- The firm is advising a creditor group in relation to defaults under the $300m notes and $650m club loan facility guaranteed by China Fishery Group Limited and the subsequent chapter 11 proceedings commenced by China Fishery Group Limited and many of its affiliates.
Regularly referred work by international law firms and also benefiting from deeply entrenched relationships with local IPs and officeholders, independent domestic firm Tanner De Witt regularly advises creditors and debtors on purely Hong Kong-related matters, as well as on the local law issues associated with regional/international restructurings/insolvency. Co-headed by the 'user-friendly and cost-conscious' Ian De Witt and Robin Darton, although the firm is also active in consensual out-of-court restructuring matters (including an increasing amount of restructuring work relating to Hong Kong-listed companies), it is undoubtedly best-known for its contentious insolvency advice, including work relating to fraud and asset tracing, and claims against auditors. Sunny Hathiramani is also recommended.
‘The firm provides responsive, commercial, measured, and sensible advice.’
‘Ian De Witt and Robin Darton are both top practitioners in insolvency and restructuring. They are user-friendly and costs conscious.’
‘Ian De Witt is easy to work with and very strategic.’
‘Robin Darton is highly technical and is able to handle the most complex projects.’
RSM Nelson Wheeler (Hong Kong)
Duff & Phelps
Deloitte (Cayman Islands & BVI)
Ernst & Young (BVI)
Alvarez & Marsal
China Cinda (HK) Asset Management
China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited (now called China Shuifa Singyes Energy Holdings Ltd)
- Acted for the liquidators (KPMG) of construction conglomerate China City Construction International Co. Limited (“CCCI”), which collapsed following default of the RMB 2.5 billion bonds issued by it, and reversals in various litigation matters.
- Advised Dr Sit Kwong Lam, the former Chairman and indirect controlling shareholder of Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited (a Hong Kong listed company) on his bankruptcy worth billions of HKD.
- Acted for Pininfarina, a leading Italian car design firm, in relation to breached contracts worth €10m to €70m for the development of electric cars.
While it is relatively small in comparison with some of its peers, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's 'knowledgeable and commercial' three-strong team punches above its weight and is seen with considerable regularity in key roles for creditors on distressed debt and restructuring mandates throughout Asia Pacific. Leveraging market-leading bondholder practices in the US and London, the team is also effectively able to marshal resources across the firm's international network and to provide commercial advice to funds, as holders of debt under US and UK-governed law. Although matters handled by the team traverse a number of industry sectors, it has gained particular plaudits for its work within the commodities/energy sector, by dint of the firm's overarching sector knowledge in this area. 'Very attentive' team head Naomi Moore is appreciated by funds clients in the region for her ability to provide 'commercial and pragmatic' advice to ensure the maximum return on their investments in the region, whether it be through rescue financing, restructuring, or scheme of arrangement.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is particularly strong on the contentious restructuring side.’
‘I have found the team to be particularly knowledgeable and commercial.’
‘The very attentive Naomi Moore gives precise and commercial advice.’
Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited
Ad Hoc Committee of Bondholders of New Cotai LLC
Informal Steering Committee of Noteholders of Hyflux Limited
Payless ShoeSource, Inc.
Voluntary Administrators of Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Administrators Appointed)
- Represented an ad hoc committee of noteholders of $420m senior notes issued by China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited, a HKSE-listed provider of renewable energy solutions with more than $900m of debt in respect of a restructuring of the China Singyes group.
- Representing the voluntary administrators of one of Australia’s largest airlines, Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Administrators Appointed), as special noteholder liaison counsel to liaise with noteholders under several issuances of notes with an aggregate value of approximately AUD 1.9bn in connection with the voluntary administration as well as assisting with certain US law matters.
- Representing a committee of holders of $380m PIK notes issued by New Cotai, LLC and New Cotai Capital Corp., in respect of Chapter 11 proceedings.
Allen & Overy
While Allen & Overy's Hong Kong office has had regular involvement in restructuring and insolvency work in the region for numerous years, under the newly configured Asia Restructuring and Recovery group moniker, it has been better positioned to serve as a hub with which to provide co-ordinated contentious and non-contentious advice to creditors and debtors engaged in pan-Asian distressed situations. Able to leverage resources on the ground in Singapore and Jakarta, as well as to provide advice on local PRC law (by virtue of the recent joint operation established in Shanghai), the team has a particularly strong reputation on behalf of Chinese lenders and the local branches of international banks, on distressed debt exposure, where it generates both standalone work, as well as advising on matters where the firm acted as original deal/financing counsel. Richard Woodworth co-heads the team alongside the 'very experienced' Ian Chapman, who was tempted out of semi-retirement in August 2019 by the opportunity to help grow the firm's new Asia restructuring initiative. Associate Viola Jing provides 'reliable support to her clients', which includes banks as creditors, on PRC-related cross-border restructuring matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is efficient and understands its clients.’
‘Ian Chapman is very experienced on distressed situations.’
‘Viola Jing communicates exceptionally well and always provides reliable support to her clients.’
China Development Bank
HSBC/ Hang Seng Bank
Bank of China Hong Kong
Alvarez & Marsal
- Advised China Development Bank as one of the key creditors of the SuntechPower Group.
- Advised the liquidators of a Hong Kong engineering and renewable energy company on a multi-jurisdictional matter that involves complex issues of contract, asset identification and asset tracing.
Led from Hong Kong by Scott Bache and Donna Wacker, and supported by specialists on the ground in key offices throughout Asia Pacific, Clifford Chance's two-partner team is well-positioned to advise creditors and debtors - including funds, banks, IPs, and corporates - across the waterfront of contentious and non-contentious mandates. Bache's non-contentious expertise, runs the gamut from core restructuring mandates for debtors and creditors, as well as advice to funds on rescue financing and special situations investing (his recent mandates have included several high-profile matters within the energy space, including his ongoing work for the liquidators of certain entities in the Pacific Andes Group). Consultant Joanna Charter is also recommended.
Jindal Steel and Power Limited
- Advised a global distressed credit fund on multiple bilateral secured loans to a stressed PRC technology group with global business interests. The firm acted as lead transaction counsel for the initial financings and various extensions over 18 months, as well as on the client’s exit from the position in early 2020.
- Advised Jindal Steel & Power (Mauritius) Limited on the restructuring of its offshore syndicated and bilateral facilities.
- Advising the liquidators of certain entities in the Pacific Andes group, including with respect to ongoing US bankruptcy proceedings of other entities within the group.
Led from Hong Kong by Mark Fairbairn and also able to draw upon a significant presence on the ground in mainland China, Australia, and Singapore, DLA Piper has a strong reputation representing local and international creditors, investors, officeholders, and debtors across a wide range of Asia-related insolvency work, from distressed investment and special situations mandates, through to formal insolvency procedures. Carolyn Dong regularly advises Chinese corporates and banks (including China Development Bank) on their outbound distressed investments in the energy sector. Jonathan Leitch joined Hogan Lovells in January 2020.
Clearwater Capital Partners
Monarch Alternative Capital
China Development Bank
- The Hong Kong-based restructuring team (together with the Singapore, Australian and London offices) advised Jindal Steel & Power Limited on its protracted and delicate negotiations with its creditors and those of its Australia-based subsidiaries (including major Indian banks and credit funds) on the restructuring of circa $500m of indebtedness through amending (English and Australian law governed) banking facilities and implementing two parallel schemes of arrangement in Australia.
- Representing certain investment or funds clients who acquired bank indebtedness in the secondary market in respect of the China Fishery Group; and Monarch Alternative Capital, the leading US-based private equity firm.
- Represented an ad-hoc group of noteholders of $500m high yield notes due 2020 issued by China Shanshui Cement Group.
Strengthened by the arrival of the 'highly commercial' Jonathan Leitch, who heads the two-partner Hong Kong team, following his move from DLA Piper at the beginning of 2020, Hogan Lovells is increasingly well-positioned to provide a rounded service to creditors and debtors, across consensual restructurings, distressed transactions, and formal insolvency mandates. Leitch's arrival, in particular, adds more capability on the non-contentious side, in light of his excellent track record advising on Hong Kong restructurings, as well as his aptitude at handling distressed work throughout Asia for US-based and other international investors. Chris Dobby remains a pivotal member of the practice and is able to leverage his broader commercial litigation credentials to provide a strong service to clients on contentious insolvency mandates, including on asset tracing and recovery actions throughout the region. The team is also able to draw from the expertise of finance and restructuring lawyers situated across the firm's broad international network of offices, including London and New York.
‘Exceptionally commercial approach that saves time, addresses key commercial issues, combined with local knowledge.’
‘Hogan Lovells possesses a substantial footprint not only in Hong Kong but across the region, which is essential for large cross-border matters. As a full-service firm, they have the specialisation required for large matters and can draw on a deep bench of experts.’
‘Jonathan Leitch is a confidant to lenders and debtors throughout the restructuring process, providing commercial strategies optimising results for clients.’
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors for SpeedCast International Limited
Standard Chartered Bank
SSG Capital Management (HK) Ltd.
- Advised Madison Pacific as the replacement facility agent under the China Fishery Club Loan Facility Agreement including in relation to US mediation proceedings instigated by the Trustee aimed at resolving two disputes which are considered to be significant barriers to the Trustee being able to sell the valuable Peruvian fishing business.
- Advised the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of SpeedCast International Limited et al., an Australian listed provider of satellite telecommunications and IT solutions, as part of restructuring $690m of debt.
- Advised a syndicate of lenders, comprising Indian banks, international banks,and distressed investors in relation to multiple defaults under a $470m facility granted to a Singapore subsidiary of a large Indian conglomerate.
With Hong Kong-based lawyers who are able to provide domestic, UK and US law advice, as well as being able to leverage the firm's impressive international footprint, Latham & Watkins LLP excels at providing 'high-quality and commercial advice' to debtor and creditor stakeholders engaged in high-profile regional restructuring/insolvency situations. Bilingual speaking partner, Howard Lam, regularly handles China-related restructurings as part of his broad-ranging financing practice for both debtors, banks, and funds. The team is also noted for its 'excellent bondholder credentials', an area that US- qualified partner Josef Athanas is able to add particular value in relation to US-governed financing documents and US restructuring techniques.
‘The team has excellent bondholder credentials.’
Bank of China
Alvarez & Marsal
Hang Seng Bank
China Orient Asset Management
- Continues to advise Huachen Energy regarding its offshore $500m bond restructuring and on-going negotiations with its creditors in connection with the restructuring of its parent company Wintime Group.
- The firm advised the US dollar noteholders in relation to their enforcement actions against Top Wise Excellence which ultimately led to the acceleration of the Notes in 2019 and the winding up of the Issuer in the BVIs.
- Continuing to advise the ad-hoc committee of noteholders in connection with the default of senior notes issued by China-based coal mining company, Hidili Industry International Development Limited.
Linklaters' creditor-focused practice is well-versed at handling restructurings, special situations, and formal insolvencies, for global and regional banks, as well as a growing number of hedge funds as bondholders. The team's ability to draw upon experts from across complementary practice areas, including corporate, capital markets, and litigation, enables it to provide a truly holistic service to clients, which also benefit from an integrated offering throughout Asia Pacific, including a growing presence in Singapore. Since permanently relocating to Hong Kong in September 2018, team head James Warboys has made a big impact on the practice, particularly at the more transactional end of the market, including for distressed credit funds and other alternative capital providers on secondary debt and new money investments.
Other key lawyers:
Cross Ocean Partners
JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific)
Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co.
Standard Chartered Bank
- Acted for Jindal Steel & Power Limited on the restructuring of c.$400m of financial indebtedness of Jindal Steel and Power (Australia) Pty Ltd and Wollongong Coal Limited principally through creditors schemes of arrangement in Australia.
- Acted for Sinochem, a major PRC SOE and global conglomerate, in connection with the restructuring of its obligations under various sets of charter arrangements to facilitate a broader merger.
- Acting for Jingye Iron and Steel Limited on its acquisition of the assets and business of British Steel Limited (in compulsory liquidation) and assets and shares in certain subsidiaries of British Steel.
A well-established presence in the Hong Kong market, Mayer Brown has developed strong ties with regional corporates/issuers, banks and IPs, enabling it to provide an excellent perspective of both debtor and creditor needs, and to thereby offer a balanced service to clients engaged in Hong Kong-specific restructuring and insolvency matters, as well as on work extending across South East Asia (where it is able to tap into the expertise of lawyers on the ground in Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand). The 'hugely experienced and likeable' John Marsden is 'vastly experienced' in handling Hong Kong-related work, as well as situations throughout South East Asia, and is often instructed by banks with significant exposure to debt in the region. Tom Pugh is 'very analytical' and co-heads the team alongside Marsden.
‘Good level of bench strength and experience in undertaking particularly bank driven work.’
‘The best lawyers in Asia to work with for banks. The team has an in-depth knowledge of financial instruments and restructuring.’
‘Tom Pugh – the quiet assassin. Analytical with devastating effect.’
‘John Marsden – hugely experienced and likable – can get the deal done.’
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
Hang Seng Bank Limited
Standard Chartered Bank
Huarong Asset Management
Bank of China
China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited
China Development Bank
Ernst & Young
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Malayan Banking Berhad
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
Bank of New York Mellon
- Represented Citibank London, Hong Kong and Singapore as lender in the acquisition financing of a $350m non-performing loan portfolio (NPL) in the PRC, Citibank’s first such NPL transaction in the PRC.
- Successfully represented numerous banks as creditors with a significant exposure to the Bogart group.
- Advised a wholly owned subsidiary of Huarong Investment Stock Corporation Limited on the recovery of a significant loan to a Hong Kong company through enforcement by receivers.
Ropes & Gray LLP
Benefiting from strong investor side ties with hedge funds, credit funds, and banking proprietary trading desks, Ropes & Gray LLP's two-partner Hong Kong team regularly advises bondholders in many of the region's most complex restructuring mandates. Led by Hong Kong and New York-law qualified partner Daniel Anderson, who was himself a former director in the special situations group at Citadel Asia, the team benefits from an "insiders perspective", as well as the ability to provide on the ground advice in relation to New York-law governed debt products and potential US restructuring techniques (where it is also able to leverage a strong presence on the ground out of the US). Although the team has expertise throughout Asia Pacific, it has been particularly active of late for stakeholders in relation to Indian distressed situations, including for an ad-hoc group of bondholders on the restructuring of bonds issued by the Indian power company, Jaiprakash Power Ventures. Recently promoted to partner, Kathleen Berkeley handles work for the firm's core bondholder client base, as well as a growing pipeline of debtor/liquidator mandates.
Lenders to Jindal Steel & Power Australia PTY Ltd.
- Representing lenders to Jindal Steel & Power Australia PTY Ltd, the Australia-based coal mining subsidiary of Jindal Steel & Power, in relation to its potential restructuring and enforcement option strategy.
- Representing an ad hoc group of bondholders on the restructuring of bonds issued by Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited, an India-based power company.
- Representing the liquidators of LDK Solar, the China-based manufacturer of multi-crystalline solar wafers used in solar cells, in relation to various aspects of its insolvency process, including creditor and employee claims, disputes and litigation (both in Asia and the US), asset sales, and company claims.
Led by the 'highly strategic' Jamie Stranger and aided by a strong overarching commercial litigation offering, Stephenson Harwood's particular sweet-spot lies in advising IPs on contentious insolvency mandates throughout Greater China and Asia, more generally. The team also handles a significant flow of corporate restructuring matters, particularly within core areas of sector focus, including within the shipping and oil and gas sectors. On the non-contentious front, the team is able to leverage the strengths of the office's banking and corporate firepower to enhance the resources available to clients.
‘Hard-working, willing to go the extra mile and think outside the box. Aggressive when needed – great value for money.’
‘This team has a real focus on restructuring and insolvency practice. Everyone in the team is very familiar with the relevant laws and have up to date knowledge in the practice.’
‘The well-resourced and experienced team is able to demonstrate not just technical know how, but considerable depth of hands-on experience too.’
‘Jamie Stranger is excellent on litigation, extremely strong strategically, and provides great client service.’
‘Jamie Stranger thinks outside the box to achieve clients’ goals.’
‘Eloise Matsui is very easy to work with and has great commercial sense in dealing with the matters. Her advocacy skills were very impressive too.’
‘Alexander Tang is calm, measured, and detail-oriented.’
‘Alexander Tang has in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong insolvency and restructuring laws.’
‘Alexander Tang – a very technical partner in the firm. I always receive updates on the latest case law and attend his seminar. He is also fluent in Chinese which is quite important in Hong Kong.’
‘Ivan Ng and Emily Li are very proactive and always available to assist.’
- Acting for the joint and several provisional liquidators of CECEP COSTIN New Materials Group Ltd (in provisional liquidation).
- Acting for the liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) Limited, work which includes assisting in the sale of assets owned by the company and its subsidiaries.
- Advised UIL Singapore Pte Ltd in relation to the winding-up proceedings of its sister company UIL Hong Kong Limited.
Although Baker McKenzie's Hong Kong team has less robust relationships with banks and funds than some of its higher-ranked peers, and therefore is slightly visible on the creditor side, it does pick some high-quality debtor work by virtue of its strong ties with local office holders. In this regard, under the guidance of the 'strategic and commercial' Gary Seib and 'technically strong and experienced' Kwun Yee Cheung , and also able to leverage significant resources spread throughout the region and globally, the team excels at advising on complex multi-jursidictional work, often with a contentious angle. The team also regularly works alongside colleagues based in mainland China and is well-placed to provide a co-ordinated approach by virtue of its ability to practice local PRC law through its Joint Operation with Chinese law firm FenXun.
‘The firm is able to seamlessly handle every aspect of large cross-border restructurings and insolvencies.’
‘Kwun Yee Cheung is appreciated for her technical excellence and experience in the field of insolvencies. Gary Seib brings a strategic and commercial outlook for clients. Together they combine to make a strong team to lead major restructurings and insolvencies with the backing of recognised finance, commercial and property practices, not only within the Hong Kong office but also within each of its other offices.’
Westinghouse Electric UK Holdings Limited
Fergal Power of KPMG
Fok Hei Yu and John Batchelor of FTI Consulting Ltd
The Official Receiver of Hong Kong and KPMG
Guardian Trust Company (Asia) Limited
CWT International Limited (SEHK: 521) (“CWT”)
- Continuing to advise The Official Receiver of Hong Kong and KPMG acting as Special Managers of the Bank of Credit and Commerce Hong Kong Limited (In Liquidation). This matter involves thousands of creditors worldwide and numerous insolvency issues.
- Advised the liquidators in all areas of the Egana Group liquidation since 2007. The liquidators have also been appointed as liquidators and directors of subsidiaries of the Egana Group.
- A multi-office and multi-department team advised the joint receivers (Lui Lai Hang Kennic and Barry Buttifant of KLC Corporate Advisory and Recovery Limited) in their appointment as receivers over assets of the listed company, which is part of the HNA Group.
Eversheds Sutherland's fluid Hong Kong finance offering includes numerous lawyers who combine front-end transactional expertise, with a deep knowledge of workout/unwinding strategies, in the event of distress. This approach is encapsulated by Kingsley Ong, whose broad structured finance and securitisation transactional expertise ensures that he is particularly well-suited to advising on the unwinding of often very complex financial instruments in distressed situations. Although the firm is fairly balanced in terms of its debtor and creditor-side client base, under the guidance of Ong, who is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, it has a particularly strong track record advising IPs on the Hong Kong aspects of major global restructurings.
Ernst & Young (Hong Kong Liquidators of Manley Toys Limited)
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC)
Alvarez & Marsal
PricewaterhouseCooper (liquidators of Maplin Electronics (HK) Limited)
Bank J. Safra Sarasin
Xiwang Special Steel Company Limited (HK Stock code 1266.hk)
Gibson Innovations Limited
Tewoo (H.K.) Limited and Tianjin Huawu Trade Co., Ltd.
Golden Pillars (H.K.) Limited
Gam Kimura Commodity Trade Finance Fund Limited
- Successfully secured a heavily contested Chapter 15 recognition order in USA for Manley Toys.
- Acting for HSBC in the insolvency of Youyan International Holdings Limited, which went into provisional liquidation in October 2019.
- Acting for Bank J. Safra Sarasin in the provisional liquidation of VL Assurance(Bermuda). This is a rare insolvency of a regulated Bermuda insurance company, whichwent into provisional liquidation in late March 2020.
Drawing upon experts with significant restructuring and insolvency knowledge from within the firm's broader dispute resolution and finance practices, White & Case advises IPs, corporates, banks, and funds, as stakeholders in Asia-related mandates, both in a restructuring and formal insolvency context. Melody Chan has very strong ties with many local IPs and Chinese financial institutions, and leveraging her broader commercial litigation skills, is noted for her expertise at handling pan-Asian enforcement matters. Eugene Man co-heads the team alongside Chan and in addition to his front-end bank financing expertise, also regularly picks up work on restructuring mandates in distressed credits. The team is also well-placed to handle multi-jurisdictional mandates by virtue of its far-reaching international network.
Other key lawyers:
China Cinda (HK) Asset Management Co., Limited
Ernst & Young
- Advised China Cinda (HK) Asset Management Co., Limited on the enforcement of transaction documents made under a HK$800m loan financing to Hong Kong-based Linca Industry Holdings Company Limited.
- Advising Ernst & Young, as joint and several liquidators, in the liquidation of Blockchain Group Company Limited in Hong Kong.
Gall is particularly focused on contentious insolvency matters and as well as regularly advising IPs, also picks up a significant flow of referral work from foreign law firms to advise on the Hong Kong aspects of international insolvencies. Notably, the firm is also one of the few firms in Hong Kong acting for litigation funders and was at the forefront of two major decisions in Hong Kong relating to litigation funding in insolvency administrations. Team head Nick Gall has an excellent reputation in the local market and has gained particular recognition for his work on the investigative side of insolvencies. Chris Wong is also a key member of the team and is the key contact for PRC-related work.
‘The team is user friendly and costs conscious.’
‘Evelyn Chan works with most of the active IPs in town and is a rising star.’
Cellmark China Limited
Hammer Capital Private Investments
Joint Silver Limited
Cyberworks Audio Visual Technology Limited
Swing Media Technology Group Limited
Generic Enterprises Limited
Green Elite Limited
- Continuing to represent Cellmark in a long-running dispute which involves defending a HK$2bn + claim by Deloitte as liquidators of a subsidiary of a Hong Kong-listed company for conspiracy and diversion of certain company’s assets.
- Appointed by Hammer to pursue claims against ICBCA and the Receivers with a view to seeking maximum recovery in respect of valuable properties as a second mortgagee, and commence a Court action in this regard.
- Appointed by Brightoil in relation to a dispute against BAL, which presented a winding up petition against Brightoil in Hong Kong.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills' multi-disciplinary approach, which draws from the expertise of finance, litigation, and corporate practitioners who have a substantial emphasis on distressed/insolvency work, ensures that is able to provide a fluid and integrated service to a fairly balanced array of stakeholders, including IPs, banks, debtors, and funds. Gareth Thomas' 'vast experience in Asia as a litigator gives him a strategic edge', and alongside Dominic Geiser, he co-heads the firm's contentious restructuring and insolvency practice. Finance partner Alexander Aitken has more of a restructuring bent to his practice and regularly handles work for Chinese banks and asset management companies as creditors in distressed situations throughout the region, including those with an Indian nexus.
‘The team provides concise, cost-effective, and practical advice.’
‘They have a strong bench of litigators, so are well placed in a contentious restructuring to provide strategic input and fearless advocacy where needed.’
‘Gareth Thomas’ vast experience in Asia as a litigator gives him a strategic edge and clients like his user-friendly approach.’
‘Dominic Geiser is quickly making his mark in the field of contentious insolvency and restructuring matters.’
‘Philip Lis has a measured approach and is very responsive to queries raised.’
China Development Bank
China Huarong International
China Shanshui Cement Group Limited
- Advising Speedcast on the Hong Kong aspects of their high profile cross border restructuring and recapitalisation.
- Advising Brightoil on liquidators’ litigation and high- profile Hong Kong court disputes work whilst its Listco parent was in an insolvency proceeding.
- Successfully defending DBS in a Hong Kong High Court action brought by the liquidators of a Chinese exporter of household goods from China to the US.
King & Wood Mallesons
Often working closely with the firm's strong mainland China practice and also benefiting from access to substantial resources throughout the firm's global network, King & Wood Mallesons' Hong Kong team is well-equipped to advise creditors, investors, and debtors on pan-Asian mandates, as well as global matters involving an Asian nexus. Employing a multi-disciplinary approach that utilises the expertise of lawyers with substantial distressed transactional and disputes expertise, the scope of the work runs the gamut from restructuring and distressed M&A matters, through to formal insolvency procedures. Splitting her time between Hong Kong and Beijing, US and Hong Kong-qualified partner Helena Huang leverages her broader corporate and private equity transactional expertise to provide a strong service on distressed M&A work, as well as restructuring matters for private equity portfolio companies. Barbara Chiu and Edmund Wan co-head the team alongside Huang and both have more of a contentious flavour to their insolvency practices.
‘The team provides a meticulous, timely, and comprehensive service.’
Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.
CMIG International Capital Limited
Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings Limited
Joint and several liquidators of Tian Jian Hua Xia Medical Group (HK) Limited (in liquidation)
- Acting for Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings Limited, in resisting an attempt by a creditor to wind- up the triple-listed (A shares, B shares and H shares), PRC incorporated company in Hong Kong.
- Acted for a PRC policy financial institution in complicated recovery action of loans advanced (over RMB3.5bn) to a PRC subsidiary of a Bermuda company.
- Advising Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Co on the appointment of equitable receivers in BVI and subsequent recognition order in Hong Kong to enforce against a guarantor’s shareholding in a BVI company which in turn holds substantial assets in Hong Kong.
Boutique litigation firm Lipman Karas has a superb reputation for handling contentious insolvency matters. 'A tenacious litigator and an astute tactician', Jason Karas is a pivotal member of the team and has an 'exceptional ability to run large cross-border cases'.
‘Jason Karas is a tenacious litigator and an astute tactician, and has an exceptional ability to run large cross-border cases.’
Led by the 'very well-connected' Ludwig Ng , the 'knowledgeable' team at independent Hong Kong firm ONC Lawyers has an excellent reputation among IPs across a range of contentious insolvency matters, including in relation to asset recovery and actions against former directors/officers.
‘Ludwig Ng is knowledgeable and well-connected.’
Titan Petrochemicals Group Limited
Barlow Investments Limited
- Advising Titan Petrochemicals Group as a creditor in relation to the winding-up of China Ocean Industry Group Limited, a Bermuda incorporated, Hong Kong- listed company.
Focused almost exclusively on restructuring work within the aviation sector, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP continues to pick up a significant and growing amount of mandates from banks and lessors in distressed situations on the commercial airline front, as well as for owners in the private jet space. Praised for his 'ability to think-outside-the-box', Eugene Yeung has galvanised the team since his arrival from Eversheds Sutherland in 2018 and along with overarching asset finance team head Paul Jebely, benefits from the ability to advise on US law, therefore adding a degree of flexibility and optionality to clients in the sector regarding Chapter 11 protection.
‘The team provides flexible and practical solutions.’
‘The team is responsive, customer-focused, and liaises extremely well with all stakeholders. The quality of work is first class and I would recommend them to any aircraft lessor.’
‘Eugene Yeung is able to think outside-of-the-box.’
Wings Capital Partners
Zhongzhi Enterprise Group
- Represented Investec Bank in the restructuring of a secured financing transaction over a portfolio of 15 helicopters involving six different jurisdictions.
- Advising Investec Bank Limited and Investec Bank Plc in several restructurings concerning a large-scale portfolio aircraft financing transaction.
- Represented Wings Capital Partners as lead transaction counsel in respect of the repossession, recovery and re-leasing of a Boeing Model 737-800 aircraft to MIAT Mongolian Airlines, originally on lease to Jet Airways, and financed by a syndicate of six major banks.
Reed Smith Richards Butler
Co-headed by Asha Sharma and Chris Tang , for contentious and non-contentious work, respectively, Reed Smith Richards Butler has a strong reputation among financial institutions, investors and debtors, and is regularly engaged in formal insolvencies and restructurings throughout Asia Pacific. Benefiting from insolvency knowledge, commercial litigation prowess, as well as financial services regulatory expertise, Sharma is particularly effective on behalf of banks seeking recourse against debtors. The firm's strong heritage in the shipping sector also informs a significant amount of the work handled by the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘The lawyers are able to find cost-saving ways to resolve issues and this is very important when in-house lawyers are facing tight budgets.’
‘They are also very talented litigators, who are willing to take action in order to protect the interest and position of their clients.’
‘Asha Sharma provides practical, effective, and cost-saving advice.’
Watson Farley & Williams
Benefiting from strong sector knowledge and ties with many of the highest-profile banks and lessors in the market, Watson Farley & Williams handles a significant amount of creditor-side work on Asia-based maritime restructurings and insolvencies. Madeline Leong has vast experience in the market and handles a large volume of work for banks on both the new money and restructuring front. Counsel Valerie Lee is also a key member of the team and has niche expertise handling restructurings involving Asian ECAs.
The Korea Development Bank
DNB Bank Singapore and Oslo Branches
Bank of America N.A.
Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Piraeus
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Export-Import Bank of China
Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited
Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale
Restructuring and insolvency work accounts for a significant proportion of independent Hong Kong firm Wilkinson & Grist's full-service offering, with most of the instructions flowing from office-holders in formal insolvency procedures. Keith Ho and Lawrence Chan co-head the team and are noted, in particular, for their contentious insolvency expertise.
Other key lawyers:
RSM Hong Kong
RSM Corporate Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited
Grant Thornton Recovery & Reorganisation Limited
Dragon International Investment Limited
Alvarez & Marsal Asia Limited
Ernest & Young Transactions Limited
- Advised RSM Hong Kong on various aspects relating to the provisional liquidation of the Hsin Chong group of companies.
- Advised RSM Corporate Advisory on various aspects relating to the sale of shares held by HK Guoxin Investment Group Limited in China Graphene Group Limited.
- Advised RSM Corporate Advisory as liquidators of UP Energy Development Group.