Restructuring and insolvency: foreign firms in Singapore

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is the pre-eminent firm for regional restructuring and insolvency work, aided by its network of Asian offices and global capabilities in banking and insolvency proceedings. Shaun Langhorne's arrival from Hogan Lovells has bolstered the firm's roster of major bank lenders and expertise in loan enforcements and credit defaults. Nish Shetty represents creditors and distressed companies in connection with restructurings, liquidations, and bond defaults. Banking partners Thomas England and Andrew Hutchins are also of note.

Work highlights

  • Advising Hyflux Ltd, a Singapore water treatment company, and its subsidiaries in high profile financial reorganisation exercise under the supervision of the Singapore High Court.
  • Advising the Bank as Trustee of a US$500 million Islamic Bond, in relation to the default and on-going judicial management proceedings (supervised by the Singapore High Court) of the obligor under the Islamic Bond.
  • Acting for the client in defending an application by Petrolimex Singapore Pte Ltd (wholly owned subsidiary of Vietnam National Petroleum Group) for an injunction restraining the client from filing a winding-up application against Petrolimex.

Gibson Dunn

Troy Doyle leads the impressive team at Gibson Dunn, where he is highlighted for his 'unrivalled ability to consistently dominate the restructuring process and achieve results in bet-the-company restructuring situations'. The top team is active on major debtor and creditor-led restructuring and workouts, distressed investing, debt trading, and other groundbreaking mandates around the region.  Jamie Thomas is particularly recommended for restructuring in the offshore energy and shipping sector, and is praised for his 'excellent tactical mind, high level of client commitment and an impressive ability to grasp complicated, nuanced matters very quickly'.

Practice head(s):

Troy Doyle

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Thomas

Testimonials

‘Troy Doyle leads a team which is designed for company-side mandates, and they have dominated the restructuring market in this area. They work collaboratively with clients, are technically outstanding, and most importantly, solution-oriented.’

‘Troy Doyle has the unrivalled ability to consistently dominate the restructuring process and achieve results in bet-the-company restructuring situations’

‘The Gibson restructuring team is well versed in insolvency and restructuring law, not just for their country of location but for surrounding AsiaPac countries. This enables quick and intelligent decisions to be made, particularly on cross border matters’

‘Global and cross-border team. Involved in a groundbreaking super-priority rescue financing in Singapore. Troy Doyle is their stand-out partner. Very strategic and commercial, always able to think on his feet, and able to think up of creative restructuring solutions.’

‘I’ve worked with Jamie Thomas, the Partner, for the last 9 years. One particular trait that is very rare in legal counsel is that Jamie provides advice to Finance Parties in terms that are understandable, but most importantly, practical. The speed at which he reverts is also not to be underestimated, particularly in urgent situations.’

‘Troy Doyle and his team are the leaders in the market, being strategic and technically excellent while consistently delivering commercial and creative results under pressure.’

‘Troy Doyle continually surpasses expectations and achieves results; he is without peer in the restructuring market. He is the gold standard to which other restructuring partners should aspire to.’

‘Jamie has a great team and delivers above the quality of his peers.’

‘Jamie has always displayed an excellent tactical mind, a high level of client commitment, and an impressive ability to grasp complicated, nuanced matters very quickly. Our deals are very bespoke and unique and Jamie always grasps complex restructuring, energy, and finance-related matters effortlessly. He also works well under extreme time pressures and will work day and night to get a deal closed on time. I think he should be highly ranked in this category as he is one of the best offshore restructuring lawyers we have seen and we enjoy working with him.’

Key clients

AJ Capital Advisory

MAXpower Group Pte Ltd

SM Investments Pte Ltd (a consortium by the Salim Group and Medco Group)

Design Studio Group Ltd

Duniatex Group

Japanese Bank for International Cooperation

Work highlights

  • Advising Duniatex Group, the leading textile manufacturer in Indonesia, in relation to its US$2.2 billion restructuring.
  • Advised SM Investments on a SG$530m restructuring proposal for the Hyflux group in relation to its SG$3.5 billion of creditor claims.
  • Advising the Singapore Issuer of SG$215 million of bonds relating to Trikomsel, the Indonesian mobile telecommunications distributor, on liquidation and restructuring options.

Milbank

Milbank is a top firm for the largest Singapore and pan-regional restructurings, with strong activity on both the debtor and the bondholder side. The team is led by David Zemans, who is a go-to advisor for creditors and corporates in distress on multi-jurisdictional restructurings, and is well regarded for its visibility in refinancings and restructurings in the energy sector. Jacqueline Chan often acts for noteholders with regard to restructurings, as well as banks and debtors.

Practice head(s):

David H Zemans

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Chan

Key clients

PT Lestari Banten Energi

Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP

Work highlights

  • Advised PT Lestari Banten Energi in connection with an investment grade project bond to refinance existing debt.
  • Advised Davidson Kempner Asia Limited in connection with its investment in medium-term bonds.

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy's team comprises of English, US, and Singapore law banking and finance lawyers who have extensive experience advising banks and credit providers on a range of rescue financings in the distressed debt market across the region. Chris Bishop and Gautam Narasimhan are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Gautam Narasimhan; Chris Bishop

Key clients

Apollo Global Management, LLC

SMBC

Bank of China Limited, Singapore Branch

BNS Asia Limited

DBS Bank Ltd

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited

Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch

Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited

Suzlon Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Apollo Management Singapore Pte. Ltd. (acting on behalf of the Apollo Hybrid Value Fund) (Apollo) in relation to a $295 million refinancing package for Goodhope Asia Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries. This transaction marks Apollo’s first transaction completed in Indonesia.
  • Advised the lender group and facility agent on the complex workout and potential sale process for Pure Circle.
  • Advised Suzlon Energy Limited as the issuer on the restructuring and consent solicitation relating to its $546,916,000 million step-up convertible bonds due 2019.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP advises on the full spectrum of issues arising from corporate distress, distressed investing, and formal insolvencies, often acting for lenders, alongside good Indonesian and Chinese law capabilities. Jean Woo has a strong following among financial institutions and increasing, among corporate clients on finance and restructuring transactions.

Practice head(s):

Jean Woo

Testimonials

‘Good all-round strength within the firm. The firm has a strong tradition of excellence.’

‘Jean Woo is committed to her clients. Commercially savvy and a good sense of humour which is often required.’

‘Very responsive and particular experience in Oil & Gas and commodity trading’

‘Jean Woo understands the banking and trade finance sectors which helps materially in a restructuring scenario.’

Key clients

Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)

Bank of China

China Development Bank

Credit Suisse

DBS

Deutsche Bank

Bank Mandiri

Nomura

Société Générale

Maybank

UBS

BNP Paribas

PTT Trading

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee is 'extremely commercial and has some outstanding lawyers who are able to give clear, commercial and precise legal advice'. The team draws upon its Singapore and international capabilities to advise on debt restructurings, distressed M&A, non-performing loan portfolio sales, alongside representation in local courts handling insolvency procedures and enforcement litigation. Senior associate Carol Hartopp Hall is the main contact in Singapore, following the departure of Shaun Langhorne to Clifford Chance in mid-2020. Jonathan Leitch heads the practice from the Hong Kong office.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Leitch

Other key lawyers:

Carol Hartopp Hall

Testimonials

‘HLL is extremely commercial and has some outstanding lawyers who are able to give clear, commercial, and precise legal advice to the bank. HLL can be more expensive than both local and some of the other international firms, but the advice that we get usually justifies the incremental costs.’

‘HLL compares very favourably. It has good coverage/footprint across other jurisdictions and an extremely solid restructuring and insolvency practice here in SG and abroad. One of the main benefits HLL has vs the other international firms is that it has an insolvency/restructuring partnership presence here in SG, which most other firms run out of HK. That advantage has now been lost given Shaun’s departure to CC.’

‘Carol Hartopp is hands down one of the best R&I associates in the market with a great understanding of what international banks are looking for. She asks the right questions, focuses on the right issues, and is not afraid to pull out all the stops to get us the right outcome.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

Madison Pacific Trust Limited

Major International Bank as Facility Agent and Security Agent together with 18 lenders

Work highlights

  • Advising senior unsecured bank lenders who formed an unsecured working group (UWG) in the high profile SG$3.5bn restructuring of the Hyflux group.
  • Advising a syndicate of lenders, comprising Indian banks, international banks, and funds in relation to multiple defaults under a US$470 million facility granted to a Singapore subsidiary of a large Indian conglomerate.
  • Advising (1) a major international bank as Agent and Security Agent, and (2) 18 out of 22 of the lending syndicate in relation to US$400m of secured claims in an Indonesian court led restructuring (PKPU) of an agro-industrial conglomerate company.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is active in all areas of financial restructurings and insolvencies in matters ranging from the largest multi-jurisdictional cases to regional and domestic businesses. It is well placed to advise on banking, corporate and contentious matters in cooperation with its wider network of offices and departments, as well as advocacy in local courts through its formal law alliance with Ascendent Legal. Office head Yu-En Ong, shipping lawyer Sue Ann Gan and litigator Kei-Jin Chew comprise the team.

Practice head(s):

Yu-En Ong; Robert Driver

Other key lawyers:

Sue Ann Gan; Kei Jin Chew

Key clients

DBS Trustees

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Work highlights

  • Represented DBS Trustees as trustee to the S$139,464,848 in aggregate principal amount of senior secured zero coupon notes due 2024 issued by KrisEnergy Ltd. DBS Trustee is a creditor in the suit which is currently before the High Court.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Goh Mei Lin heads the restructuring practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP, whose 'expertise is deep-seated and long-established' in the areas of maritime, offshore oil and gas, and aviation. The firm advises banks and borrowers on the restructuring of debt, bond, and leasing facilities in its sectors of focus. Lin has a strong following among Korean and East Asian clients.  

Practice head(s):

Goh Mei Lin

Testimonials

‘WFW is very knowledgeable of the shipping industry generally and Korean developments specifically (including, Korean insolvency matters). Their expertise is deep-seated and long-established.’

‘Mei Lin Goh is particularly good to work with. Among all English lawyers based in HK or Singapore, she is probably the most knowledgeable of the Korean market. She frequently visits Korea to meet law firms, banks, and shipping companies. In addition to her unparalleled expertise in English law as a ship financing lawyer, her expertise in rehabilitation matters is a special asset, as demonstrated by her representation of numerous leading banks in the rehabilitation cases in respect of Korean shipping companies. ‘

Key clients

Société Générale

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi

DVB Bank SE

ING Bank N.V.

Korea Development Bank

Korea Exim Bank

Nord LB

Precious Shipping Public Company Limited

Sabah International Petroleum FP SDN. BH

Bank of America, N.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising a South Korean financial institution, as arranger for several Korean debt and equity financiers on the restructuring of an existing US$70m debt and equity financing of one A330 aircraft and in relation to the subsequent lease remarketing of the aircraft from Singapore Airlines to a reputable international airliner.
  • Advising major banking client in relation to numerous facilities whereby the counterparties had recently filed for bankruptcy protection with the Singapore court due to the collapse in oil prices as a result of covid-19.
  • Advising lenders in relation to the de-merger of its debtor, a South Korean shipping company undergoing a debt crisis.

White & Case Pte. Ltd.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. represents a mix of clients from the corporate, finance, and oil and gas sectors in debt restructuring, liquidation, scheme of arrangement, and enforcement mandates. Alexander McMyn is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Alexander McMyn

Key clients

Utico FZC

Work highlights

  • Representation of Utico FZC, the UAE’s leading private water and power utility provider, in the approximately S$2.7 billion restructuring of the Hyflux group, a Singapore listed water and power conglomerate – one of the largest Singapore restructurings currently