Firms To Watch: Restructuring and insolvency

Charlton's team, led by Julia Charlton, has notable strength in cross-border restructuring matters.
Under the leadership of Wilson Yiu, Clinton Tsang and Rachel Chan, Kwok Yih & Chan acts for liquidators, provisional liquidators and bankruptcy trustees on the full gamut of company winding-up and bankruptcy matters.
Oldham, Li & Nie advises clients in the retail and manufacturing sectors on restructuring and liquidation matters.

Restructuring and insolvency in Hong Kong

Allen & Overy

The APAC restructuring and recovery group at Allen & Overy is an integrated team that utilises practitioners across jurisdictions to handle both contentious and non-contentious cross-border mandates. With broad Mandarin Chinese capability and its joint operation with Lang Yue Law Firm in Shanghai, the firm is well placed to handle PRC-related matters. Richard Woodworth has considerable experience in emerging market restructurings and works closely with the Singapore office. Ian Chapman acts for banks and bondholders on Asia-Pacific restructurings, with over 30 years’ experience; and Fai Hung Cheung is a name to note for insolvency litigation. Viola Jing, who was promoted to partner in May 2021, acts for banks and creditors on cross-border restructuring matters, with a focus on PRC work.

Other key lawyers:

Viola Jing

Testimonials

‘Able to mobilize resources and people quickly, and goes the extra mile to protect the interests of its clients’.

I have been very impressed with the ability of Richard and the A&O team’s ability to help drive outcomes in bank syndicates/large bank groups that often struggle to find alignment in direction. A&O also display high degree of flexibility in their approach to legal fees noting the challenges faced within multi lender scenarios.’

Key clients

China Development Bank

HSBC/ Hang Seng Bank

ICBC

PwC

Borrelli Walsh

Bank of China Hong Kong

Alvarez & Marsal

PAG

BNY Mellon

Grant Thornton

Work highlights

    Clifford Chance

    Clifford Chance combines transactional and contentious expertise to advise creditors, lenders, coordinating committees, private equity sponsors, insolvency practitioners and debtors on restructuring and insolvency matters. The team has significant experience in cross-border matters and often works closely with colleagues in other jurisdictions to handle cases across Asia-Pacific and beyond. Scott Bache and Donna Wacker co-head the team, with Bache focusing on corporate restructuring, distressed mergers and acquisitions and special situations investing; and Wacker handling contentious regulatory and contentious insolvency matters. Consultant Phoebe Lo is recommended for non-contentious work. Joanna Charter retired at the end of 2020.

    Practice head(s):

    Scott BacheDonna Wacker

    Other key lawyers:

    Phoebe Lo

    Testimonials

    ‘The Clifford Chance insolvency and restructuring team overall is excellent, providing timely and correct advice considering both the technical and commercial issues, while being very easy to deal with. ’

    ‘Scott Bache is both highly commercial and technically minded, and someone who you want on your team on a deal’.

    ‘Scott Bache is approachable and works very well under pressure, appreciates what the client needs and cuts through the issues to find a solution’.

    ‘Phoebe Lo is hard working and clever, and consistently provides high quality advice’.

    ‘Phoebe Lo is extremely responsive’.

    Key clients

    FTI Consulting

    HSBC

    Coutts

    Davidson Kempner

    Deutsche Bank

    King Street

    Carlyle Credit

    Asia Broadcast Satellite

    China Development Bank

    Work highlights

    • Advising the senior lenders to Trans Maldivian Airways Private Limited in connection with their exposures under an $305m senior facilities agreement.
    • Advising ABS Group, a global satellite operator, on its restructuring proposal.
    • Advised gategroup Holding AG and gategroup Guarantee Limited as restructuring counsel in connection with the restructuring of its financial indebtedness by way of a restructuring plan under Part 26A of the UK Companies Act 2006.

    Kirkland & Ellis

    With a large dedicated restructuring practice group spread across Hong Kong, London, Munich and the US, Kirkland & Ellis is well equipped to handle international high-profile restructurings and insolvency proceedings. It acts for companies, bondholders and banks on both contentious and non-contentious restructuring work, and is headed by the well-regarded Neil McDonald, who assists multinationals in financial distress. Kelly Naphtali is recommended for commercial and insolvency disputes and has considerable experience in litigation and international arbitration claims. Jacqueline Tang handles the restructuring of distressed companies in China and further afield. Wei Yang Lim was promoted to partner in June 2020, in August, Tarun Warriar left for an in-house role, and in September, Damien Coles also left the firm.

    Practice head(s):

    Neil McDonald

    Key clients

    An ad hoc committee of holders of $300m senior notes issued by Rock International Investment Inc.

    CAR Inc.

    Toys “R” Us, Inc.

    Committee of creditors of China Fishery Group Limited

    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 $546.9m Step Up Convertible Bonds due 2019 issued by Suzlon Energy Ltd.

    Affiliates of CarVal Investors, LP

    Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.

    Ad hoc Committee of lenders of Jindal Steel & Power (Australia) Limited

    Ad hoc committee of holders of guaranteed notes issued by Wise Source International Limited

    China Minsheng Investment Group Corp., Ltd.

    Work highlights

    • Advised on the successful Restructuring of $300m Senior Notes by Rock International Investment Inc. by Scheme of Arrangement in the BVI Recognized under Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code.
    • Representing Toys “R” Us, Inc. and certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, in their Chapter 11 cases pending before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division.
    • 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.

    Tanner De Witt

    Independent Hong Kong firm Tanner De Witt has a large and dedicated restructuring and insolvency team that handles matters with domestic and international dimensions. It is often instructed as lead counsel on contentious matters and also services large international law firms as local counsel. Ian De Witt and Robin Darton co-head the team of ‘well respected practitioners’, with De Witt recommended for commercial litigation, insolvency, fraud, asset-tracing and enforcement matters. Darton has considerable experience in debt restructurings and matters relating to financing and security transactions. ‘Excellent lawyerSunny Hathiramani acts for office holders and creditors in relation to contentious personal and corporate insolvency matters. Anthony Hill retired.

    Practice head(s):

    Ian De Witt; Robin Darton

    Other key lawyers:

    Sunny Hathiramani

    Testimonials

    ‘Tanner De Witt has a team of well respected practitioners in the Hong Kong insolvency space’.

    ‘Being a firm rooted in Hong Kong, they are very knowledgeable in the development of judicial thinking in the territory, and have been involved in some important cases shaping the law in the space’.

    ‘Quality is consistent across the firm and they seem less exposed to turnovers that can happen at international firms’.

    ‘Robin Darton is very commercial and extremely user friendly’.

    ‘Sunny Hathiramani is an excellent lawyer with a strong grasp on the key issues’.

    ‘Robin Darton has exceptional knowledge and experience is my first port of call when ever I need to run something by a lawyer. ’

    ‘One of the largest and most respected restructuring and insolvency teams in Hong Kong’.

    ‘They have exceptional experience to draw on and there are very few matters they have not dealt with before’.

    Key clients

    KPMG

    PwC

    Borrelli Walsh

    Grant Thornton

    Alvarez & Marsal

    China Cinda (HK) Asset Management

    RSM Nelson Wheeler (Hong Kong)

    FTI Consulting

    Duff & Phelps

    Deloitte (Cayman Islands & BVI)

    Ernst & Young (BVI)

    China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advising the Provisional Liquidators of Burwill Holdings Limited to assist them in the cross-border debt restructuring of Hong Kong-listed Burwill to rescue its business, including preparing Burwill’s scheme of arrangement and various restructuring documentation.
    • Advised CFG Investment S.A.C. on its highly publicised and hotly contested multi-billion-dollar allegations of fraud.
    • Acting for Pininfarina S.p.A on its winding-up petition presented against a subsidiary of a Hong Kong listed company.

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s Hong Kong team works very closely with counterparts in the US and Europe, to provide a truly international restructuring practice. It acts for groups of bondholders, distressed-debt investors, mezzanine lenders and other creditors, and has considerable experience in the real estate, technology, retail and energy sectors. Naomi Moore heads the practice and is the key name for distressed debt and restructuring transactions across Asia-Pacific; she has particular experience in insurance and reinsurance insolvency and restructuring.

    Practice head(s):

    Naomi Moore

    Other key lawyers:

    Jeremy Haywood

    Testimonials

    ‘The team is technically strong, with broad experience, and in particular with bonds and other structured products’.

    ‘Naomi Moore is responsive, hard working and commercially minded, with a highly collaborative approach’.

    Key clients

    Voluntary Administrators (and later, deed administrators) of Virgin Australia

    Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of New Cotai LLC

    Informal Steering Committee of Noteholders of Hyflux Limited

    Payless ShoeSource, Inc.

    Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders of Valaris plc

    Holders of various private placement notes issued by ED&F Man Treasury Management plc

    Work highlights

    • Advised the voluntary administrators (and later, deed administrators) of Australia’s second-largest airline, Virgin Australia, as special noteholder liaison counsel, liaising with noteholders under several issuances of notes with an aggregate value of approximately AUD$1.9bn, in connection with the company’s voluntary administration.
    • Represented an ad hoc committee of holders of Payment -in-Kind (PIK) notes issued by New Cotai, LLC and New Cotai Capital Corp. in its restructuring through chapter 11 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court.
    • Representing an informal steering committee of holders of S$265m Medium Term Notes issued by Hyflux Limited, an SGX listed, global environmental solutions company with more than S$2bn debt which was subject to s211B moratorium proceedings and recently placed into judicial management proceedings in Singapore.

    DLA Piper

    DLA Piper acts for global financial institutions and corporates on major cross-border restructuring mandates in Greater China and across Asia-Pacific. It has recently seen an uptick in instructions from funds in addition to its insolvency and bank-led restructuring assignments. The practice is well known in the market for distressed work, including formal insolvency, bank workouts, and bond/note restructurings. Head of practice Mark Fairbairn is well regarded for his expertise in restructuring and special situations. Carolyn Dong counts China-based financial institutions, state-owned enterprises and major corporates among her clientele.

    Practice head(s):

    Mark Fairbairn

    Other key lawyers:

    Carolyn Dong

    Testimonials

    DLA is a large organization with many partners across different specialisations. Being an international firm, DLA has been able to serve me and my clients well particularly for insolvency matters involving corporate issues and relating to the US capital market.’

    ‘Mark Fairbairn is definitely the lawyer to go to for difficult matters. His experience in the law and practice of insolvency and restructuring sets him far apart from his peers. He is also exceptionally proactive in thinking through challenges which we may come across in the next steps so that we are able to respond timely and appropriately.’

    The team has the most depth of experience and expertise in matters of insolvency and can be depended upon to come up with creative solutions.’

    ‘The team is highly proficient technically and always able to come up with novel legal solutions. Moreover, this team has very strong connections especially in China that facilitates seeking out parties for talks.’

    Key clients

    Alvarez & Marsal

    Luckin Coffee

    Yihua Group

    Clearwater Capital Partners

    CQS

    BFAM

    Deutsche Bank

    Jindal Steel

    SSG

    BlackRock Funds

    Monarch Alternative Capital

    China Development Bank

    Work highlights

    • Acted for Jindal Steel and Power, an Australian mining group with ultimate ownership by the Jindal family of India, on its c. $800m term loan refinancing to be implemented via an Australian scheme of arrangement, acting as English counsel on the financing documents and as Australian counsel on the scheme process.
    • Acting for the ad-hoc group of holders of 1.5% convertible senior notes due 2020 issued by GNC Holdings Inc in the Chapter 11 of GNC Holdings Inc and its sale to Harbin Pharmaceutical Holding Co., Ltd.
    • 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) in respect of their exposures involving borrowings in excess of $1.6bn.

    Hogan Lovells

    Hogan Lovells has ‘the ability to work seamlessly across regions, providing clients with a safe pair of hands when dealing with complex cross-border restructuring engagements’. Its large, global practice has considerable experience in creditor-side work and often acts for adhoc bondholder groups, creditor committees, agents, security agents and bond trustees. On the borrower side, it acts for distressed borrowers, shareholders, equity sponsors, directors and insolvency officeholders. Head of practice Jonathan Leitch advises funds and alternative capital providers in matters across Asia. Insolvency litigator Chris Dobby handles contentious insolvency matters and acts for court appointed liquidators.

    Practice head(s):

    Jonathan Leitch

    Other key lawyers:

    Chris Dobby

    Testimonials

    ‘Hogan Lovells has an outstanding team of experienced professionals globally, seamlessly working together to deliver an outstanding service’.

    ‘Many firms talk about their teams in different offices working together for their client’s best interests, Hogan Lovells is one of the very few that genuinely delivers on that claim.’

    ‘Chris Dobby combines extensive legal knowledge with an exceptional grasp of commercial realities rarely found in the legal world’.

    ‘Chris Dobby provides genuinely thoughtful, helpful and constructive advice that goes well beyond the mere legal issues at hand but extends to the surrounding issues of the matter and the related client decision making process’.

    ‘They are an excellent team, on top of everything and very well organised’.

    ‘I always look forward to working with them on engagements’.

    ‘Jonathan Leitch is a brilliant and outstanding lawyer and a point of reference whenever there is a highly complex restructuring matter’

    .’Jonathan’s technical ability, coupled with exceptional soft skills and commercial sense makes him a formidable legal advisor on any restructuring and you want him on your side’.

    Key clients

    Madison Pacific

    Ares SSG

    Borrelli Walsh

    Rabobank

    Oaktree Capital Management

    Argentem Creek Partners

    SC Lowy

    Work highlights

    • Advising an adhoc group of bondholders in relation to the restructuring of $500m 7.15% senior notes due 2021 issued by GCL New Energy.
    • Advising an adhoc group of bondholders in relation to the ongoing restructuring of US$ notes issued by a China based manufacturing business.
    • Advising Oaktree Capital Management in relation to the $1bn note issuance to Vedanta Resources.  

    Latham & Watkins LLP

    The restructuring and insolvency practice at Latham & Watkins LLP is led by Howard Lam, who acts for insolvency practitioners, bondholders, distressed funds, corporate issuers and bank lenders on mandates across China and Asia. Josef Athanas, who is based in Chicago and Hong Kong, has considerable experience in distressed situations, such as cross-border restructurings, and multinational insolvencies and workouts; his experience with US bankruptcies and insolvencies is valued by clients. The practice continues to advise both creditor and debtor clients on offshore debts borrowed or issued by Chinese corporates across a wide range of industries.

    Practice head(s):

    Howard Lam

    Other key lawyers:

    Josef Athanas

    Key clients

    Huachen Energy

    DongYing Fangyuan Nonferrous Metals Co,. Ltd. DongYing Lufang Metals Material Co., Ltd.

    Offshore Partners Pte. Ltd.

    PWC

    BFAM Partners

    The Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of USD Notes issued by Top Wise Excellence Enterprise Co. Ltd

    Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Hidili Industry International Development Limited

    Bank of China

    EY

    Hang Seng Bank

    China Orient Asset Management

    FTI Consulting

    Hong Kong Bank

    Work highlights

    • Continuing to advise Huachen Energy regarding its offshore $500m bond restructuring and ongoing negotiations with its creditors in connection with the restructuring of its parent company Wintime Group.
    • Advising the Hong Kong Issuer Dr.Peng Holding Hongkong Limited and the PRC Guarantor Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group on a proposed restructuring of the $422m 5.05% bonds due 1 June 2020, by way of a consent solicitation process.
    • Advising Dongying Fangyuan Group in relation to the restructuring of its onshore and offshore bank debts (totalling approximately $4bn).

    Linklaters

    Working closely with its Singapore office, the Hong Kong restructuring and insolvency team at Linklaters handles a broad range of cross-border restructuring deals in Asia. Its wide-ranging expertise includes restructuring and refinancing transactions, special situations, distressed debt and contentious matters. The team is co-headed by Singapore’s Andrew Payne and James Warboys, who, as well as providing debt restructuring advice, draws on expertise from colleagues in the firm’s corporate, capital markets, banking and dispute resolution practice to provide a holistic service. David Kidd has stepped down into a consultancy role.

    Practice head(s):

    Andrew Payne (Singapore); James Warboys

    Other key lawyers:

    David Kidd

    Key clients

    Deutsche Bank HSBC Goldman Sachs Tor Investment Genting Hong Kong Limited Bank of America, N.A. Standard Chartered Bank Jindal Steel & Power Limited; Jindal Steel & Power (Mauritius) Limited Jindal Steel & Power Limited; Jindal Steel and Power (Australia) Pty Ltd; Wollongong Coal Limited Arkkan Capital

    Work highlights

    • Advising Genting Hong Kong Limited, a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in connection with the proposed restructuring of its (and its wider group’ s) financial indebtedness and recapitalisation of its business.
    • Advised the lenders to MMI International Limited (a Singaporean headquartered prevision hard drive manufacturer) under a $520m term loan and $60m revolving credit agreement in respect of the restructuring of such facilities.
    • Advising HSBC (as agent) as well as the lenders under a senior facilities agreement in respect of the holistic restructuring of the indebtedness of the ABS group of companies.

    Mayer Brown

    Mayer Brown’s restructuring team is regionally integrated, with practitioners in Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, it is well placed to handle matters in the Chinese and South East Asian markets. The team leans on its international network in Europe and the US for support on cross-border mandates and handles corporate debt restructuring for creditors, issuers and other debtors. John Marsden heads the team and has considerable experience in large-scale restructurings and insolvencies. Tom Pugh left for offshore firm Walkers.

    Practice head(s):

    John Marsden

    Other key lawyers:

    Dirk Behnsen; Edwin Leung

    Testimonials

    ‘The team is commercial, practical, and responsive’.

    ‘Very good attention to detail and thorough’.

    ‘A stellar team with highly specialist advice and cost efficient prices’.

    ‘Quality legal advice minus the haughty lawyers’ proviso’s and reservations’.

    ‘Strong established practice with great connections to banks in HK’.

    ‘John Marsden has been around for a significant period so the team benefits from his extensive experience, know-how and expertise’.

    Key clients

    Huarong Asset Management

    China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited

    Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited

    China Development Bank

    Bain Capital

    PricewaterhouseCoopers

    KPMG

    Ernst & Young

    FTI Consulting

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank”)

    OCBC

    DHB

    CIMB

    KfW

    CACIB

    DNB

    RHB

    HNA Group

    Work highlights

    • Acted for listed debtor group, Huiyuan Juice, with our litigation team in successfully defending against the appointment of provisional liquidators, with a view to allowing a restructuring the group and its indebtedness rather than falling to liquidation on the petition of a creditor.
    • Advising Maybank, one of the primary bank creditors of the debtor group, on its negotiations with Pacific Andes and other creditors; and as to its security and enforcement options, with a view to recovering its loans through Chapter 11 cases in the U.S. and proceedings in Singapore, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands and most recently in connection with a proposed debt restructuring and sale at upper section of the capital structure, involving a recovery in exchange for the investor’s acquisition of a real estate portfolio.

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    Ropes & Gray LLP handles high-end restructuring and refinancing matters across Asia-Pacific, and is well regarded for its bondholder work. It has recently seen an uptick in contentious insolvency work and continues to advise on private situations for credit and special situations funds on various restructurings and work-outs. Practice head Daniel Anderson utilises his experience as a former in-house lawyer to bring an extra dimension of expertise to restructuring and special situations mandates. Kathleen Aka departed to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in October 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Daniel Anderson

    Other key lawyers:

    Jacqueline ChanMinna Zhang

    Testimonials

    ‘Very commercial’.

    Ropes & Gray has an excellent client base and is a top-notch firm. The team is led by Daniel Anderson on the non-contentious side. Daniel is a top-notch lawyer that produces a world-class product.’

    ‘Daniel is calm and collected and he really knows his stuff. One can sense that clients have absolute confidence in Daniel’s abilities.’

    ‘Minna Zhang is extremely competent.’

    Key clients

    The liquidators of LDK

    Bain Capital Credit Asia

    Goldman Sachs Asia

    Tor Investment Management

    Cosimo Borrelli

    Work highlights

    • Advised an ad hoc group of bondholders on the restructuring of foreign currency convertible bonds issued by Jaiprakash Power Ventures, an Indian power company.
    • Represented the liquidators of LDK Solar, the China-based manufacturer of multi-crystalline solar wafers used in solar cells in relation to various aspects of LDK Solar’s insolvency process, including creditor and employee claims, disputes and litigation (both in Asia and the US), asset sales and company claims.
    • Representing Cosimo Borrelli and Simon Ma of Borrelli Walsh in their capacity as receivers and managers of Smart Edge Limited, Cheng Mei Holdings Limited and Goal Eagle Limited (the Receivers) in relation to the recovery and repayment of HK$6.8 billion in aggregate principal amount of Floating Rate Senior Secured Notes issued by Smart Edge, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong listed Goldin Financial Holdings Limited.

    Stephenson Harwood

    Stephenson Harwood is well regarded for complex cross-border restructuring and insolvency work. In May 2020, head of practice Jamie Stranger was promoted to office managing partner for Greater China, and Alexander Tang and Eloise Matsui were both promoted to partner. Stranger acts for liquidators, receivers and bankruptcy trustees in formal insolvency proceedings. The team also acts for creditors, debtors and shareholders on corporate restructuring, debt restructuring and work-out arrangements. Tang and Matsui are both litigation partners, who focuses on insolvency and restructuring, and commercial litigation.

    Practice head(s):

    Jamie Stranger

    Testimonials

    ‘Very practical and commercial advice’.

    ‘Really efficient and smart team with wealth of knowledge in insolvency and restructuring matters’.

    ‘Alex Tang has a very practical and commercial approach, is very solid with the law, and  great with Chinese (including Mandarin) speaking clients’.

    ‘Eloise Matsui is very practical and pleasant to deal with’.

    ‘Focused, efficient, knowledgeable, practical and streamlined firm’.

    ‘Jamie Stranger, Eloise Matsui and Alex Tang are all excellent and represent the best qualities you could ask for in shrewd litigators’.

    Key clients

    PwC – CECEP PwC – Shanghai Huaxin Soc Gen – Project Sparrow Rabobank – Coastal FTI- Chen Te-Ming FTI –Liquidations of Coastal FTI – Bankruptcy of Yeung Safe Castle Xio Cayman FTI – Liquidators of Days group of companies GT – Imperial Entertainment Less Longmen (Less) Duff & Phelps – La Halle Finance & Risk Services Limited (Bermuda) – Liquidator of Noble Group Limited Grant Thornton – U A Cinema Circuit Limited

    Work highlights

    • Acting for the joint and several provisional liquidators of CECEP COSTIN New Materials Group Ltd (in provisional liquidation) on various aspects, including but not limited to debt restructuring including re-listing on the HKEX, and general advisory work.
    • Acted for the liquidators of Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) Limited and assisting in the sale of assets owned by the company and its subsidiaries.
    • Acted for Société Générale, who had provided banking facilities to a Singapore based marine bunkering business, which collapsed last year, in relation to a trade credit fraud.

    Baker McKenzie

    Baker McKenzie’s full-service restructuring and insolvency team is integrated across Greater China, with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, and is able to advise on local PRC law by virtue of its joint operation with Chinese law firm FenXun Partners. The practice is well versed in cross-border work and is active in financial restructuring, and insolvency and bankruptcy litigation. Kwun Yee Cheung heads the team handles advisory and litigation work, acting for insolvency practitioners, corporate clients and banks.

    Practice head(s):

    Kwun Yee Cheung

    Other key lawyers:

    Rachel Hui; Gary Seib

    Testimonials

    ‘Kwun Yee Cheung is an excellent lawyer, with deep knowledge of both the legal and commercial issues which arise in a restructuring’.

    ‘Kwun Yee Cheung is responsive and collaborative, and works extremely hard to deliver solutions to her clients’.

    ‘Rachel Hui is also one to watch, with excellent attention to detail and a friendly and proactive approach’.

    Key clients

    CWT International Limited (SEHK: 521) (“CWT”)

    Fergal Power of KPMG

    Fok Hei Yu and John Batchelor of FTI Consulting Ltd

    Guardian Trust Company (Asia) Limited

    The Official Receiver of Hong Kong and KPMG

    Samson Paper Holdings Limited

    Westinghouse Electric UK Holdings Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised the members of Deloitte (HK) in their capacity as soft-touch provisional liquidators of Samson Paper Holdings Limited (for restructuring purposes), in the urgent application for provisional liquidation in the face of demands and writs issued by 50+ banks.
    • Acting for members of KPMG as the liquidators in the ongoing liquidation of EganaGoldpfeil (Holdings) Ltd, which was first placed in provisional liquidation in 2008 and 2011.
    • Advising Fok Hei Yu and John Batchelor of FTI Consulting Ltd as the liquidators of General Nice Resources (Hong Kong) Ltd in all aspects of the liquidation across multiple jurisdictions.

    Eversheds Sutherland

    Eversheds Sutherland handles both contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters under the leadership of Kingsley Ong. Ong, who speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew, also leads the debt capital markets, derivatives, structured finance and securitisation practices in Asia. The team has extensive experience in insolvency workouts and in unwinding complex financial instruments. Alex Doughty relocated from the London office in July 2020, and Kingsley Ong departed to CMS in November 2021.

    Testimonials

    ‘The team is very knowledgeable and epitomises the versatility that the firm offers’.

    ‘It offers top quality advice across a variety of transactions’.

    ‘Very responsive and commercially minded’.

    Key clients

    Axis Bank Limited

    Bank J. Safra Sarasin

    CMB Wing Lung Bank Limited

    Ernst & Young (Hong Kong Liquidators of Manley Toys Limited)

    Gibson Innovations Limited

    Golden Pillars (H.K.) Limited

    Grant Thornton (as liquidators of Gibson Innovations)

    The Great European Carnival Limited

    Hempworks International Limited

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) and Syndicated Bank Group

    ICBC International

    KPMG (as liquidators of Lehman Brothers in Hong Kong, MF Global)

    Li & Fung

    Liberty Group

    MDME Limited

    Meritz Securities Co Ltd

    Southwest Securities (HK) Brokerage Limited

    Tewoo (H.K.) Limited and Tianjin Huawu Trade Co., Ltd. (PRC State Owned Enterprise Group)

    Xiwang Special Steel Company Limited (HK Stock code 1266.hk)

    Work highlights

    • Kingsley Ong acts as Hong Kong Law Expert Witness for the Hong Kong Liquidators, in a heavily contested US Chapter 15 recognition proceedings relating to Manley Toys.
    • Advised a leading HK-listed property development conglomerate on its successful HK$1.75bn debt restructuring.
    • Advised Gibson Innovations on its insolvency in 22 jurisdictions across 4 continents.

    White & Case

    White & Case is known in the market for financial restructuring, corporate restructuring, insolvency and related disputes. Its multilingual and multidisciplinary team works closely with counterparts in the US and Europe to advise on English, US and domestic cases. Melody Chan and Eugene Man head the team; with Man handling non-contentious work for banks and corporates; and Chan recommended for cross-border arbitration and litigation.

    Practice head(s):

    Melody ChanEugene Man

    Other key lawyers:

    Baldwin Cheng

    Key clients

    China Cinda (HK) Asset Management Co., Limited

    China CITIC International Bank Limited

    Ernst & Young

    CITIC Capital

    Work highlights

    • Advised China CITIC Bank International Limited and the syndicate banks in the amendment and extension exercise in relation to a mezzanine facility of $1bn to an Australian subsidiary of Tianqi Lithium Corporation, a Shenzhen-listed giant lithium miner.
    • Advised CITIC Capital on the financing for its $770m acquisition through its subsidiary Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co., Ltd. of substantially all of the assets of GNC Holdings Inc. pursuant to Section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
    • Representing China Cinda on the enforcement of transaction documents made under a loan financing to Hong Kong-based Linca Industry Holdings Company Limited (Linca).

    Ashurst

    After her promotion to the partnership in May 2021, Sophie Lyall now heads Ashurst’s Hong Kong restructuring and special situations team. The team advises insolvency practitioners, agents, trustees, and issuers and borrowers on distressed situations, both non-contentious and contentious. On the secondary debt and special situations lending side, the practice acts for financial institutions, distressed credit funds and other alternative capital providers.

    Practice head(s):

    Sophie Lyall

    Other key lawyers:

    James Leung

    Testimonials

    ‘Sophie Lyall was always on top of things, clear and practical in her approach and proactive in getting the task across the line’.

    ‘The HK team is extremely driven, they take the initiative to asses the needs of the client’.

    ‘Whilst not the biggest team in the market, they are very capable and exceptionally responsive’.

    ‘Very clear legal advice and turnaround time is excellent’.

    ‘Competitive fee levels among the international firms and whilst some competitors have lower rates, Ashurst deliver one of the best value for money services’.

    ‘Sophie Lyall is a relatively new partner leading the team. She delivers very good advice and is widely liked for her collaborative style.

    Sophie Lyall is a standout – technically very good, commercially minded, responsive and clever, she is a pleasure to work with.

    ‘James Leung has excellent attention to detail’.

    Key clients

    Vedanta Resources Limited

    China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group Co., Ltd

    MIE Holdings Corporation

    Madison Pacific Trust Limited

    HNA Group

    Grant Thornton

    Asia Debt Management Hong Kong Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised MIEH in relation to its complex and multi-jurisdictional debt restructuring involving multiple creditors who hold both private loan debt and publicly listed bonds.
    • Advised Vedanta Resources Limited and certain other of its group companies in relation to a $1bn subscription agreement between, among others, Oaktree Opportunities(Singapore) Holdings Pte. Ltd and/or its affiliates as Agent.
    • Advised China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group Co., Ltd. in the restructuring of its $2bn offshore bonds.

    Herbert Smith Freehills

    Herbert Smith Freehills is known for advising multinational companies in Greater China on insolvency, restructuring and liquidation, and also large-scale insolvency disputes in Hong Kong. Through its joint operation with Kewei Law Firm, it is able to provide local PRC advice to clients. Areas of expertise include informal workouts, debt restructuring, loan portfolio acquisitions and purchase of assets from distressed companies. Gareth Thomas and Alexander Aitken head the team.

    Practice head(s):

    Gareth ThomasAlexander Aitken

    Other key lawyers:

    Dominic Geiser; Peter Ng

    Key clients

    Bain & Company

    China Huarong International

    DBS Bank

    KPMG

    UBS

    Ultratech Cement Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advising a group of mezzanine lenders on restructuring their debt for a corporate borrower.
    • Advising a wealth and investment company, which had extended a secured financing to a hotel chain back in 2016, after the borrower group encountered financial difficulties and currently in negotiations with the lender for a restructuring of its financing.
    • Acting for DBS in defending an appeal against a first instance judgment.

    King & Wood Mallesons

    King & Wood Mallesons offers a full service restructuring and insolvency practice, handling both contentious and transactional matters. It acts for administrators, creditors, liquidators, receivers and scheme trustees and frequently handles cross-border reorganisations, workouts,restructuring and distressed M&A. Helena Huang, Barbara Chiu and Edmund Wan head the team.

    Key clients

    Tahoe Group Co., Ltd.

    CM International Capital Limited (“CMIC”) (a subsidiary of China Minsheng Investment Group Corp. Ltd)

    Veolia Energy Asia Pte. Ltd.

    H12 (HK) Limited

    Chow Wai Shing Daniel and Fok Hei Yu of FTI (Hong Kong) Consulting Limited, joint and several trustees in bankruptcy of Ding Yi (bankrupt)

    Bank of Communications Trustee Limited

    Bank of Jinzhou Co., Ltd.

    HNA Group

    Work highlights

    • Acting for H12 (HK) Limited, a subsidiary of a PRC hotel brands management group, in the winding up petition presented by the client’s former director and CEO for alleged outstanding salary, alleged outstanding expenses and alleged loan made to the client exceeding HK$7m.
    • Acting for FTI Consulting Limited as the trustees-in-bankruptcy in relation to a judgment debt of over $33.4m.
    • Advising the bankruptcy administrator of HNA Group and its affiliates in connection with the restructuring of their offshore assets and debts which involve jurisdictions such as the US, South America, Hong Kong, APAC, Australia and various tax havens.

    Gall

    Gall acts for a range of leading insolvency practitioners in Hong Kong and is well regarded for its contentious insolvency work. As well as handling domestic work, the firm receive instructions from overseas lawyers and practitioners in relation to cross-border cases. The team is headed by Nick Gall, Chris Wong and Evelyn Chan. In July 2020, Kajal Aswani joined from Robertsons and in January 2021, Matthew Durham joined from Simmons & Simmons and Andrea Randall left for RPC.

    Practice head(s):

    Nick GallChris WongEvelyn Chan.

    Testimonials

    ‘Gall is well known in the local market for being an independent litigation firm with experienced litigators capable of handling various types of most complex civil litigation. Partners are commercial and friendly.’

    ‘Evelyn Chan: hard working, “client come first” attitude and extremely user friendly. Chris Wong: Very well known in the market. Able to take client through difficult legal scenario with his exceptional legal skills and calm personality.

    Key clients

    Cellmark China Limited

    Joint Silver Limited

    Cyberworks Audio Visual Technology Limited

    Swing Media Technology Group Limited

    FDG Electric Vehicles

    Walter Junger

    Rare Earth Magnesium Technology Group Holdings Limited

    Century Sunshine Group Holdings Limited

    Khingan Resources Limited

    China Silver Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited

    Work highlights

    • Acted for the Liquidators and litigation funder of Cyberworks Audio Visual Technology Limited and obtained judgment against a MAEGL, a listed company on the HKEX and a former director of Cyberworks for fraudulent and dishonest breach of duties as de jure, de facto and/or shadow directors. The High Court conducted an unprecedented hearing via telephonic conference after the trial was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Advising the EY provisional liquidators of Rare Earth Magnesium Technology in seeking the recognition of the appointment and powers on a light touch basis.
    • Acted for Cellmark in a highly complex and complicated dispute, involving defending a claim by Deloitte being the liquidators of a subsidiary of a listed company in Hong Kong in excess of HK$2bn for conspiracy and diversion of certain company’s assets.

    Reed Smith Richards Butler

    Reed Smith Richards Butler acts for both debtors and creditors on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice has strong relationships with a number of Indian banks and often advises on cross-border restructurings and insolvencies. Asha Sharma and Chris Tang head the team.

    Practice head(s):

    Asha SharmaChris Tang

    Other key lawyers:

    Steve Tam

    Watson Farley & Williams

    With a strong focus on the aviation and maritime sectors, Watson Farley & Williams handles a range of restructuring and workout mandates. It acts for lenders, leasing houses, borrowers and corporates, and also handles the restructuring of debt and bond facilities. Madeline Leong heads the practice and in January 2021, Jackson Chow and senior consultant William Ho joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.

    Practice head(s):

    Madeline Leong

    Key clients

    BNP Paribas

    The Korea Development Bank

    DNB Bank Singapore and Oslo Branches

    Bank of America N.A.

    Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Piraeus (“RBS”)

    Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

    Export-Import Bank of China (“CEXIM”)

    Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited (“CA”)

    Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

    ICBC Leasing

    CSIC Leasing

    Credit Suisse

    AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd.

    Huarong International Financial Holdings Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised an enlarged working group of creditors comprising certain French banking groups(the “French Creditors”), ICBC Leasing and Standard Chartered Bank (together, the “Creditors”) on the shipping-related aspects of the debt restructuring of French shipowner Bourbon Maritime (“Bourbon”).
    • Advised ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd regarding the further debt restructuring of 10 bareboat charters owned by a leading shipping company.