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Singapore > Restructuring and insolvency > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Restructuring and insolvency – Foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Restructuring and insolvency – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jacqueline Chan - Milbank
    • Troy Doyle - Gibson Dunn
    • Sandor Schick - Schick & Associates LLC
    • David Zemans - Milbank

Clifford Chance is highlighted for its 'very good industry knowledge and response times'. It provides an extensive regional coverage in combination with its global network of experts and is entrusted with large-scale and complex mandates by creditors, debtors, insolvency practitioners and private equity sponsors. It also has sector expertise in areas such as oil and gas, telecoms, construction and transport and shipping. The team is advising two groups of lenders on a large-scale restructuring in the energy arena. Other work includes acting for Deutsche Bank in Singapore High Court proceedings commenced by Goldilocks Investment Company, a shareholder of Noble Group, against Noble and others in which an injunction is sought to prevent the restructuring, the shifting of Noble’s centre of main interests to the UK, and to compel the disclosure of certain financial information. The client is also being assisted by the London and Hong Kong practices in this matter which involves some $3.4bn of debt. Andrew Brereton, who stands out for his 'commercial acumen', and Nish Shetty are the key contacts. Tom England, who was recently promoted to the partnership, is also a name to note.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee's expertise spans all aspects of cross-border restructuring and insolvency ranging from debt restructurings to turnarounds or enforcements. Shaun Langhorne and senior associate  Carol Hartopp are the key members of the team, which acts for clients including Grant Thornton, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank (Hong Kong branch) and Evolution Capital Partners. The group is advising an international bank on the settlement of a huge loan in the energy sector, which involves negotiations with the borrower group and other creditors and includes complex cross-border elements.  

The 'fantastic' team at Milbank has 'deep knowledge and capabilities in all areas and understands the business rationale for transactions and can identify latent or subtle issues'. Its clients include Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, ING Bank, K-Exim and Korea Development Bank and it attracts many of the most complex and high-profile local and international restructuring and insolvency mandates.  David Zemans heads the team and the highly experienced Jacqueline Chan  is, according to one client, 'by far the most active and respected bondholder lawyer in the market' and someone who has 'seen it all'.

The team at Allen & Overy advises on all aspects of restructuring and insolvency matters including US chapter 11 reorganisations, UK schemes of arrangement and debt-for-equity swaps. In addition to being able to draw on its global network, the group can also utilise the expertise of the firm's finance, corporate, real estate, tax and capital markets practices. Chris Bishop is 'very good on response times and commercial in his approach' and Gautam Narasimhan focuses on acting for debt funds and special situations teams on regional non-performing loans and workouts.

Ashurst LLP has an integrated service across Asia, Europe and the US and most recently has established a capability in mainland China. It handles insolvency, turnaround, restructuring and distressed investment work, acting for lenders, debtors, bondholders and insolvency practitioners. Damien Whitehead, who is based in Hong Kong, leads the Asia practice. Kate Allchurch and Jean Woo, who are key names in Singapore, handle banking transactions including leveraged finance, asset-backed lending and restructurings. Clients include China Development Bank, the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group and Credit Suisse. In recent work, it acted for a major resources sector client on the restructuring of certain debts owed to it, which were bundled up and restructured as a senior-secured loan.

The restructuring team at Gibson Dunn is led by the impressive Troy Doyle, who provides 'the gold standard on customer service to which other practices should aspire' and 'is commercial and strategic' in his approach. The group handles global mandates and has expertise in debt trading and areas such as the acquisition and disposal of distressed assets. Recent work includes advising a leading restructuring advisory firm on insolvency and restructuring options relating to $2.4bn of debt held by Jurong Aromatics. Jamie Thomas is also noted.

The restructuring and insolvency team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which is led by banking partner Robert Driver, is able to draw on the firm's global network together with its formal law alliance with Ascendant Legal LLC in Singapore to assist clients. It has particular experience in the shipping, energy, offshore and international trade sectors where it handles complex restructuring matters including workouts and rehabilitation processes and can call upon specialists in the corporate, banking and finance and dispute resolution teams. Of counsel Sue Ann Gan has a focus on the shipping sector and advises a range of clients on the restructuring of shipping debt.

Schick & Associates LLC specialises in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets work in addition to debt restructuring and also handles cross-border litigation and arbitration. Managing director Sandor Schick is a US-qualified attorney with many years based in Singapore and has acted for a range of Asia and US-based clients on large-scale debt restructurings.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a focus on restructurings, workouts and enforcement in the shipping and offshore oil and gas arenas, and a notable practice acting for lenders. Goh Mei Lin is leading a team that is advising an energy company on the potential restructuring of a number of projects involving several offshore oil and gas assets, and a related series of loan facilities made to various parts of a joint venture, a matter that runs to some billions of dollars. The team is also advising a shipping client on a court-ordered restructuring process. Simon Petch acts for banks, other lenders and shipping clients on a range of restructuring mandates.

White & Case Pte. Ltd.'s team is led by Guan Feng Chen, who has expertise in cross-border financing and corporate debt restructuring among other work. The team also handles insolvency and liability disputes, frequently working with its Hong Kong, mainland China and Japan offices. It advised Chiyoda Corporation on the restructuring of its investment in a joint venture company EMAS Chiyoda Subsea and it also acted for a client in the power industry in liquidation and enforcement actions against various companies based in China. John Shum, who has considerable experience in cross-border restructuring and financing work, is another core member of the team.

Restructuring and insolvency – Local firms

Index of tables

  1. Restructuring and insolvency – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Allen & Gledhill LLP is a popular choice for large-scale, cross-border restructuring and insolvency work. Highlights included acting for Jurong Town Corporation in the statutory transfer of bankruptcy actions and claims from the Housing Development Board to Jurong Town Corporation, in a matter that involved a series of High Court and State Court applications relating to more than 400 claims. It also represented the Chapter 11 Trustee for the China Fishery Group/CFG Peru Investments after a large number of the China Fishery Group companies filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US. Andrew Chan, who has wide-ranging expertise including handling one of the first sukuk defaults in Singapore, is a key name along with Edward Tiong. The latter acted for Gibson Innovations in the restructuring and insolvency of Gibson Brands, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with debts estimated at  $500m; as part of the restructuring, Gibson Brands agreed to a restructuring support agreement. Corina Song is also a noted practitioner. Edwin Tong SC is now Senior Minister of State for Law and Health.

Drew & Napier LLC's team is 'one of the best', according to clients, especially for more complex matters. Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek are 'outstanding in developing and implementing effective and creative strategies that have produced successful debt restructurings in circumstances that seemed hopeless at the start'. Blossom Hing was part of the team representing two Humpuss Group companies in the shipping sector that faced a claim of around $110m by the liquidators of a former Singaporean subsidiary of the Humpuss Group. The matter resulted in the Court of Appeal clarifying the rules on service out of the jurisdiction of court proceedings commenced in Singapore. In other work, Mohan Gopalan is part of the team that is handling a huge, cross-border restructuring in the resources sector.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP fields 'a strong team with good depth' that provides 'a superb standard of service' and is 'very business savvy'. The 'technically very strong and commercial' Sim Kwan Kiat heads the team, which also includes 'great strategic thinker' Mark Cheng (deputy head) and Patrick Ang, 'who is very well known in the market and is commercial and solution-oriented'. Other highly rated names in the team include Danny Ong and newly promoted partners Chew  Xiang  and Matthew Teo. Managing partner  Lee Eng Beng SC is also highly respected. The team has had a role in many of the major restructuring and insolvency cases and is advising three of the largest Singaporean banks on the restructuring and refinancing of Ezra Group companies and its subsidiary EOL, several of the companies filed for Chapter 11 protection in the US with debts in the region of $1.5bn.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP is 'unrivalled in terms of insolvency disputes'. The team has had a role in a number of significant cases, particularly in the energy and marine sectors and in Chapter 11 filings. Sarjit Singh Gill SC, who has many years of experience in domestic and cross border insolvencies and restructurings, heads the team. Debby Lim has, according to one client, 'a perfect record in achieving successful and often ground-breaking outcomes'. She acted for the liquidators of a Singapore shipping company that was part of an Indian conglomerate in filing an application in the High Court to void a lien over sub-freight under the Companies Act. The matter eventually went to the Court of Appeal for it to consider the interplay between shipping practice and insolvency law. David Chan is also noted for his skills in this area as well as his wider litigation and arbitration expertise.

Chou Sean YuMark Choy and Manoj Sandrasegara jointly head the team at WongPartnership LLP, which has 'an indepth knowledge of restructuring and insolvency law, good depth, and strong commercial and business acumen', and stands out for its 'cohesive' approach and for having 'a single point of contact coordinating internally'. Leading the team, Sandrasegara is 'responsive and extremely commercial and has good connections in the market'. Smitha Menon is 'technically very strong and responsive'. The group attracts high-profile and complex insolvency matters in the region involving consensual or court-driven restructurings combined with capital raisings and refinancings. It acted for EMAS Chiyoda Subsea and its subsidiaries on a $1.6bn cross-border debt restructuring, which was completed with S$90m of debtor-in-possession financing so that four of the key operating entities emerged as going concerns, saving about 400 jobs in the US and in Singapore.

BlackOak LLC is 'a go-to firm that does exceptional work and has a high-quality team, which is able to provide spot-on commercial advice on complex legal issues under time pressure'. Director Darius Tay 'is a lawyer that every client would want in their corner' and has 'impeccable knowledge and commercial awareness' and 'the solutions he provides are never cookie-cutter'. Senior associate Sean Lee is 'very smart, exceptionally hardworking and very pleasant to deal with'. Practice head Ashok Kumar has considerable experience. The team handles local and regional restructuring and insolvency and is regularly instructed in ground-breaking cases. In highlight work, it advised BLD Investments on the restructuring of 8.265% guaranteed equity-linked bonds and is also acting for Glencore Singapore on the restructuring of Jurong Aromatics Corporation.

Dentons Rodyk is singled out for 'its excellent knowledge of the courts and local procedure and laws'. Lek Siang Pheng, Herman Jeremiah and Foo Maw Shen, who stand out for their 'strategic' approach to litigation and drafting skills, handle a range of high-profile insolvencies and restructurings including acting for creditor banks on schemes of arrangement. Ajinderpal Singh is also noted. The team is representing a group of investors in a dispute with Opus Offshore, an insolvent Bermuda offshore oil and gas drilling company with wholly-owned subsidiaries incorporated in Singapore, concerning the failure to repay a loan facility; the matter involves multi-jurisdictional insolvency issues and competing winding-up petitions. It is also acting for a party and its related companies in the judicial management of Swiber Holdings and Swiber Offshore Construction.

Eversheds Harry Elias' well-regarded team includes Justin Chia, who advises liquidators, judicial managers, receivers and creditors on insolvencies, restructurings, winding up and schemes of arrangement. Chia was instructed by TT International  to act for a group of medium-term note holders, who were creditors of the company, following the sanction of the company’s scheme of arrangement. He also represented Standard Chartered Bank in court enforcement proceedings against borrowers under various loans and credit facilities extended by the bank including the winding up of companies.

Marina Chin and managing partner Eddee Ng are key names at Tan Kok Quan Partnership and Paul Seah is also noted for his expertise in advising accounting firms and financial institutions on insolvencies and large-scale judicial management cases. The team is acting for Foreguard in a cross-border dispute concerning an alleged deed of counter-guarantee signed between Foreguard, a former Singaporean subsidiary of the Siva Group, and Siva Industries and Holdings. It is also acting in a number of liquidation, winding up and insolvency cases.

Managing partner Thio Shen Yi SC leads the restructuring and insolvency team at TSMP Law Corporation, which advises creditors, debtors and insolvency professionals on corporate rescues, restructurings and the winding up of companies. The team acted for the White Knight investor group on the rescue financing of Marco Polo Marine, which had some S$400m of debt; the restructuring involved several schemes of arrangement and cross-border elements.

Withers KhattarWong LLP provides 'excellent client service, is highly responsive and committed and the firm’s rates are also reasonable'. Leading partner, Tahirah Ara is commended for being 'commercially minded in her approach' and for her 'extensive experience in the Indonesian market'. Special counsel Lawrence Altman is also singled out for 'thinking commercially and for being both legally and commercially insightful' and partner Justin Yip is also recommended - a client sees him 'as a rising star'. The team attracts considerable Indonesia-related work and acted for Bumi Resources on a complex debt restructuring deal which  included a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement in 2016 and a Chapter 15 proceeding in the US in 2017.

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