Restructuring and insolvency: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP utilises the firm's disputes, corporate, and finance expertise to offer a full-service restructuring and insolvency representation for creditors, debtors, and liquidators. The practice also advises potential investors in distressed situations and is active on the most high-profile restructurings in the shipping industry, most notable for the Hyflux Group, and in the offshore energy sector. Practice head Chong Yee Leong and deputy head Edward Tiong are top advisors for corporate restructuring and local litigation. Andrew Chan often represents creditors and trustees in insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Chong Yee Leong

Other key lawyers:

Edward Tiong; Andrew Chan

Work highlights

  • Advising several lenders and creditors on S$750 million restructuring of Hyflux debt deal – Restructuring of the TuasOne Project.
  • Advising on the restructuring of approximately US$2.5 billion worth of project financing of the Jurong Aromatics Project.
  • Acting for the Noteholders involving an application to the Singapore High Court by Empire Capital Resources Pte Ltd for a scheme in relation to guarantees it had provided on the notes issued by Berau Capital Resources Pte Ltd and PT Berau Coal Energy, Tbk.

Drew & Napier LLC

The sizeable outstanding group at Drew & Napier LLC 'consistently achieves excellent results for its clients in the context of complex cross-border restructuring matters' and is differentiated for its 'client perspective' and 'understanding of how to make a deal done'. The team has a solid reputation acting for debtors, creditors and liquidators, and creditors in complex contentious and non-contentious restructurings and insolvency cases, with several involving a cross-border element. Co-heads Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek are 'creative lawyers and excellent leaders of their strong team'; Blossom Hing and Chan Wei Meng 'are pragmatic, engaging and very experienced'. Mohan Gopalan is also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sushil Nair (Co-head); Julian Kwek (Co-head)

Testimonials

‘Client perspective is what makes this practice unique. The team that works with us at Drew & Napier is well versed with the law but always keeps their legal expertise in the background. Instead, what we keep receiving are business solutions with a sound legal judgement already instilled in them. Business solutions that show a true understanding of what we, as clients, want to achieve.’

‘Blossom Hing and Chan Wei Meng are the primary partners that work with us. They are pragmatic, engaging, and very experienced in the areas of laws where they practice. They are both very responsive to our needs and the team that they direct is efficient and meticulous.’

‘The Drew & Napier team is very experienced in restructuring and insolvency matters in Singapore. Blossom Hing is the stand-out lawyer on that team.’

‘Blossom Hing “owns” the matters that she handles and provides top quality and very commercial advice. Her years of experience are fully brought to bear on all the restructuring and insolvency matters that Blossom advises on.’

‘Good respectable name, good relationships with stakeholders which helps when working through difficult issues. Deep knowledge and experience in restructuring with a team lead by Sushil. I feel confident that whilst their relationship with other stakeholders is good, they still ensure priority is with us their clients.’

‘High-quality work and very quick turn around time. Mitchell Yeo has been an outstanding associate, clearly lifting above his weight class. Sushil leads and manages the team very well and Wei Meng is very detailed and covers all angles. Great team overall.’

‘They are very knowledgeable in terms of legal perspective. Not only they understand the legal aspect, they understand how to make a deal done.’

‘Drew & Napier’s Restructuring and Insolvency team consistently achieves excellent results for its clients in the context of complex cross-border restructuring matters.’

‘Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek are both extremely hard-working, intelligent and creative lawyers and excellent leaders of their strong team.’

Key clients

CapitaLand

CVC Partners

F J Benjamin Holdings Ltd

Nam Cheong Limited

Ezra Holdings Limited

EMAS Offshore Limited

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Singapore)

PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk

PT Bumi Resources Tbk

United Overseas Bank Limited

Pacific Andes Resources Development Limited

Reignwood International (Group) Limited

Oceanus Group Limited

TT International Limited

FTI Consulting (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Public Utilities Board of Singapore

Brightoil Petroleum (S’pore) Pte. Ltd.

Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited

National Environment Agency of Singapore

Thakral Brothers (Private) Limited

Kyen Resources Pte Ltd

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co., Ltd

PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Ernst & Young LLP

Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising the Public Utilities Board of the Republic of Singapore (“PUB”) on the ongoing debt restructuring of Hyflux Ltd and its subsidiaries, including Tuaspring Pte Ltd (“Tuaspring”).
  • Advising Ezion Holdings Limited in its US$1.6 billion debt restructuring in connection with an investment of US$170 million by Yinson Holdings Berhad
  • Acting for several entities related to Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd, in relation to Agritrade International (Pte) Ltd’s (“AIPL”) US$1.3 billion restructuring

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

The top-tier restructuring group at Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP 'are commercial, responsive, and very effective' with a stellar track record acting on the largest and most complex mandates in Singapore and the region. The practice is particularly dominant in offshore, shipping, and energy sectors, and is currently working on the $1.2bn restructuring of Ezion Holdings involving multiple Asia-Pacific jurisdictions. 'Leading restructuring lawyer' Sim Kwan Kiat heads the department and is assisted by litigators Lee Eng Beng SC, Patrick AngDanny Ong, and Mark Cheng.

Other key lawyers:

Lee Eng Beng; Patrick Ang; Danny Ong

Testimonials

‘I’m deeply impressed with Sim Kwan Kiat. After working with him for a decade, Kwan Kiat continues as a leading restructuring lawyer who is technically sound, commercial-minded, and provides practical insights in cross-border issues.’

‘They are commercial, responsive, and very effective.’

‘Rajah & Tann is one of the largest law firms in Singapore yet the services are delivered with flexibility. They provide a wide range of services covering various industries with strong resources. Their regional presence is another huge advantage when it comes to regional work.’

‘The partners and teams in Rajah & Tann provide advice to suit your needs. They are flexible, resourceful, and responsive to meet the clients’ requests. This is particularly so for the restructuring and insolvency team, Sim Kwan Kiat, Chua Beng Chye, Raelene Pereira, Cherie Tan, and their entire team.’

Key clients

Hin Leong Group – Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd, Ocean Tankers Pte Ltd

Hyflux Group

H&C S Holdings Pte Ltd

Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) Limited

Agritrade International Pte Ltd

Hanjin Group

Hontop Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Ryobi Kiso Holdings Ltd and its subsidiary, Ryobi Kiso (S) Pte Ltd

Jurong Aromatics Corp Pte Ltd

Ezra Group

Ezion Holdings Limited

Swiber Holdings Limited and Swiber Offshore Construction Pte Ltd

Tendcare Medical Group Holdings Pte Ltd

Swissco Group

Nam Cheong Limited

Coastal Oil Singapore Pte Ltd

Miclyn Express Offshore Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (one of Asia’s biggest oil traders) and Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd (one of the world’s largest tanker fleet operators) in a high profile US$4 billion debt restructuring exercise involving more than 23 creditors from multiple jurisdictions, and which garnered close attention from government authorities.
  • Acting for Maybank, the largest single secured creditor, in the S$3.5 billion restructuring of beleaguered water treatment firm, Hyflux Group.
  • Successfully represented steel producer, H&C S Holdings Pte Ltd, to apply for enhanced moratorium under section 211B of Singapore’s Companies Act 2017.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP's 'technically sound and commercial' team is a visible name in the restructuring and insolvency sector throughout Asia, and is able to draw upon its wider expertise from its disputes and corporate departments to advise on contentious matters and distressed transactions. The team is noted for acting for debtors in out of court restructurings and advising the holders of distressed investments. Manoj Sandrasegara is currently advising Pacific International Lines on the restructuring of the approximately $3.3bn in aggregate of debts and liabilities of the shipping group via a consensual debt re-profiling exercise with its creditors in Singapore. Smitha Menon is noted for corporate and debt restructurings, liquidations, schemes of arrangement, and receiverships. Head of special situations Mark Choy and banking partner Sean Yu Chou comprise the other key figures.

Other key lawyers:

Sean Yu Chou

Testimonials

‘Technically sound and commercial in their approach towards issues. The team is easy to work with, and deep bench strength.’

‘The team is able to offer good quality and commercially sound advice. I think it is important not to only tell us what the law is but offer solutions to the problem at hand. The team was able to first understand the issue at hand and look into solutions that are appropriate and acceptable to the Management of our company.’

‘We have worked with the team for the past year, and it is reassuring to us that when matters become tricky, they are always there to help us.’

Key clients

Pacific International Lines (Private) Limited

Hyflux Ltd.

Keppel Corporation Limited, Keppel Oil & Gas Pte Ltd

Wirecard Singapore

KKR

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Limited

DBS Bank Ltd

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch

PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services

PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong

Ernst & Young Global Limited

Madison Pacific Trust

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

White & Case LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Ad Hoc Committee of noteholders of Noble Group in relation to the $3.5 billion financial restructuring of Noble, a Hong Kong based commodities trader listed on the SGX.
  • Acting for HSBC which is the largest creditor and prospective rescue financier of DSG Projects Singapore Pte Ltd (“DSGP”) in its group restructuring involving several jurisdictions and liabilities in excess of S$53 million.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Mainboard-listed Hyflux Ltd., in a group restructuring exercise involving at least S$3 billion of debt.

BlackOak LLC

BlackOak LLC is Singapore's first dedicated distress and special situations practice and comprises of 'leading individuals who go the extra mile in delivering not just a solution, but a well-thought-out strategy'. The boutique firm is experienced in representing a gamut of stakeholders including insolvency professionals, debtors, and creditors on all restructuring and insolvency exercises. The practice strengthened its insolvency litigation offering with the addition of director Debby Lim from Shook Lin & Bok LLP. Ashok KumarDarius Tay, and Sean Lee are the other key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Ashok Kumar

Other key lawyers:

Debby Lim; Darius Tay; Sean Lee

Testimonials

‘BlackOak is a unique blend of commercial sensibility and legal competence. The practice comprises carefully curated leading individuals who go the extra mile in delivering not just a solution, but a well-thought-out strategy for a client’s legal needs.’

‘I have had the privilege of working with Debby, who combines commercial nous with a finely tuned sense of how courts will consider restructuring and insolvency issues. She appears regularly in the courts and has a good rapport with the judges, and delivers on-the-point and well reasonable submissions for her clients.’

Key clients

AJCapital Advisory

Argentem Creek Partners LLP

Argentum Law FZ LLC

Arkkan Capital Management Ltd

Bank of Nova Scotia

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd

BFAM Partners (Hong Kong) Ltd

Bilcare Research AG; Bilcare Research Singapore Pte Ltd

BLD Investments Pte Ltd; PT Bakrieland

Committee of Bondholders of Miclyn Express Offshore Pte Ltd

Committee of Noteholders of Blue Ocean Resources Pte Ltd

Dover Capital Management

Ernst and Young Solutions LLP

Everstone Capital Asia Pte Ltd

FTI Consulting

Fubon Bank (Hong Kong)

Fujita Corporation Singapore Pte Ltd

Grant Thornton Singapore Pte Ltd

Informal Steering Committee of Medium-Term Noteholders of Hyflux Group

Taurus One Pte Ltd (f.k.a. Janio Technologies Private Limited)

Kirkland & Ellis

Kong Hoo (Private) Limited

KordaMentha Pte Ltd

Kreuz Subsea Group

KRyS Global

K&L Gates LLP

KPMG Hong Kong

Linklaters (Singapore) Pte Ltd; Linklaters LLP (Hong Kong)

Luminor Capital Pte Ltd

Omni Bridgeway (previously known as IMF Be

Work highlights

  • Advised TransAsia and its related companies on the cross-border restructuring of Agritrade International Pte Ltd, Agritrade Resources Limited and their related companies.
  • Represented the Duniatex Group and Mr Sumitro in local proceedings for the recognition of PKPU orders against the Duniatex Group and Mr Sumitro in Indonesia.
  • Advised the client on aspects of the restructuring of Nixon Investments Pte Ltd relating to Singapore law, including the effectiveness and validity of the security package.

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP has a strong track record in insolvency litigation, often with an international element, owing to its extensive network to provide cross-border expertise in restructuring and insolvency matters. The practice is led by Herman Jeremiah, an experienced litigator, alongside Lek Siang Pheng, Foo Maw Shen, and deputy managing partner Siang Pheng Lek. The practice has a strong following among receivers and liquidators and is focused on advising clients on schemes of arrangement and judicial management as well as debt recovery matters.

Key clients

Caterpillar Financial Services Asia

CIMB Bank

CRRC Group

DBS

Global Maritime Group AS

Hong Leong Finance Limited

L&M Foundation Specialist Pte Ltd

Pacific Radiance Ltd

Perpetual (Asia) Limited

Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing

Work highlights

  • Advising Perpetual (Asia) Limited, the Trustee for the holders of the Perpetual Securities in the restructuring of the Issuer / Debtor Company, Hyflux Ltd.
  • Advised and represented Hong Leong Finance Limited (“HLF”) in respect of an action based on a vessel mortgage and deed of guarantee against Triyards Holdings Ltd and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Triyards Marine Services Pte Ltd.
  • Acting for issuer/borrower Pacific Radiance Ltd in its bonds and debt restructuring, including undertaking multiple consent solicitations to extend the final maturity date of, and waive defaults under, the company’s listed S$100 million 4.30% notes due 2019 comprised in Series 001 (ISIN: SG6SF2000004) (Notes).

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC's full-service Singapore office has a breadth of expertise in Singapore and English governed restructuring and insolvency law, ranging from complex corporate debt restructurings to contentious issues arising out of distressed situations such as liquidations, corporate insolvencies, and Judicial Management. Practice head Guan Feng Chen has more than 20 years' experience in corporate debt restructurings, which is complemented by Wendy Tan's extensive courtroom experience in insolvency litigation. Bernard Lui and Sin Teck Lim are also of note for debt restructuring work.

Practice head(s):

Wendy Tan; Guan Feng Chen

Other key lawyers:

Bernard Lui; Sin Teck Lim

Key clients

Ezion Holdings Ltd.

ASL Marine Holdings Ltd.

Alpha Energy Holdings Ltd.

UGP Ltd.

Cosco Group – Sinfeng Marine Services Pte. Ltd.

Shanghai Shipyard Co. Ltd.

TAP Venture Fund I Pte Ltd. (under Judicial management)

CH Offshore Ltd

PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Formation Group Fund I, LP Formation Group (Cayman) Fund I, LP

Work highlights

  • Advising PetroChina International, on issues arising out of the insolvency of Hin Leong Trading, one of Asia’s largest fuel traders and bunker suppliers, and its shipping arm, Ocean Tankers Pte Ltd which operates a fleet of FSU and tankers.
  • Advising Aqua Munda in connection with the S$2.8 billion debt restructuring of Hyflux Limited and its subsidiaries.
  • Advising UGP Ltd., an affiliate of the Hatten Group, in ongoing scheme-of-arrangement proceedings of Asiatravel.com Holdings Ltd. and AT Reservation Network Pte. Ltd. Acted for UGP at all stages leading up to and including the hearing of the scheme companies’ successful super-priority application, which is the first of its kind under Singapore’s revamped Companies Act.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Focusing on insolvency litigation, Shook Lin & Bok LLP's team is comprised of litigators working alongside India and China qualified lawyers to provide additional cross-border expertise in debt restructuring and contentious matters. It also frequently works in tandem with its corporate and banking team to advise on distressed M&A, divestment of assets, restructuring of debt and liability management issues, liquidations, bankruptcies, and landmark receiverships. Sarjit Singh Gill SC and David Chan are the key figures.

Practice head(s):

Sarjit Singh Gill; David Chan

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of the largest creditors in the judicial management of Swiber Holdings Ltd and Swiber Offshore Construction Pte Ltd.
  • Advising the facility agent and the syndicate lenders on their rights in respect of a US$300 million revolving credit facility to Hyflux Ltd.
  • Acting for and advising Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Ltd in respect of insolvency proceedings relating to KrisEnergy Ltd.

Harry Elias Partnership

Justin Chia at Harry Elias Partnership acts for liquidators, judicial managers, creditors, companies, and shareholders on corporate and individual restructuring and insolvency exercises. The practice is also noted for representing clients in the construction, real estate, and banking sectors in litigation at all levels of court.

Practice head(s):

Justin Chia

Key clients

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC Singapore Branch

PT. Eastern Asia Engineering, PT. Jesindo Artha Abadi

Vantage Shipbrokers Pte Ltd

KordaMentha Pte Ltd

Standard Chartered Bank / Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited

DBS Bank Ltd

RHB Bank Berhad

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ascendas REIT Trust in its claims for over SGD 107 million against the Hyflux Group, for its premature termination of long-term leases over two buildings. Also advising Ascendas REIT in relation to the current restructuring of the Hyflux Group.
  • Represented First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC Singapore Branch, in its claim for over $20 million against the Agritrade International (Pte) Ltd for trade (import / export) financing.
  • Acting for DBS Trustee Ltd as Trustee of Mapletree Commercial Trust as the landlord of the premises occupied by BOPS for an interim moratorium under Section 211B Companies Act to restructure its business and propose a scheme of arrangement.

Tan Kok Quan Partnership

Tan Kok Quan Partnership's restructuring group is led by Eddee Ng who frequently represents insolvency practitioners, including liquidators and bankruptcy trustees, as well as creditors and distressed companies, in insolvency proceedings. He is also experienced in the implementation of judicial management, schemes of arrangement, and cross-border debt restructuring. Paul Seah is the other lead partner.

Practice head(s):

Eddee Ng

Other key lawyers:

Paul Seah

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Mizuho Bank

KFW IPEX-Bank

Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited

Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore Branch)

Work highlights

  • Representing a working group of bank lenders comprising approximately S$900 million of the unsecured debt of Hyflux Limited, in the ongoing restructuring of the Hyflux Group.
  • Acting for a Singapore listed company Koon Holding Ltd and its subsidiary, Koon Construction and Transport Co in a restructuring of the Koon group of companies, involving two proposed scheme of arrangements involving 400 over creditors.

TSMP Law Corporation

Focusing largely on insolvency litigation and creditor-debtor disputes, TSMP Law Corporation is led by Shen Yi Thio, SC, an all-round disputes specialist with a good level of experience in contentious restructuring and insolvency. The firm is also able to advise on debt restructuring and workouts and co-ordinate multi-jurisdictional restructuring work.

Key clients

Mizuho Bank of Japan

Agritrade International (Pte) Ltd (“AIPL”)

Hontop Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd

New Target Investments Limited

Pertamina Energy Services Pte Ltd (In Members’ Voluntary Liquidation) (“Pertamina”)

JTC Corporation

Creditors of Victoria Medical

Work highlights

  • Advising Mizuho Bank of Japan, Hyflux’s second largest creditor and the largest non-secured creditor, in Hyflux’s S$3bn restructuring.
  • Advising and acting for the trading arm of China Wanda Group on its debt restructuring of debts exceeding US$500 million.
  • Acting for one of the major individual players in Noble, in relation to investigations into the troubled commodities trading company, advising him on his potential criminal and civil liabilities in relation to the investigation.

Withers KhattarWong LLP

Justin Yip leads the restructuring offering at Withers KhattarWong LLP, which also undertakes a significant amount of work in Indonesia and is well regarded for representing large Indonesian corporate borrowers on complex debt restructurings. Yip is the lead partner for corporate rescues, distressed and special situation transactions, and contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Justin Yip

Testimonials

‘Responsive, commercial-minded, and technically sound.’

‘Justin Yip – Friendly, approachable, and provide advice taking into consideration the practical aspect.’

Key clients

PT Apexindo Pratama Duta Tbk

PT Bakrie Sumatera Plantations Tbk

PT Bakrie Telecom Tbk

PT Bumi Resources Tbk

Top Capital Securities Pte Ltd

United Overseas Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Top Capital Securities Pte Ltd in one of the first judicial managements ordered in Singapore in respect of a foreign-incorporated company by successfully placing its debtor 8Telecom International Co. Ltd. under judicial management in November 2019 despite opposition from the company which sought to stay the judicial management proceedings in lieu of arbitration.
  • Acting for United Overseas Bank Limited against a major construction company which is a controlling shareholder of Swee Hong Limited in relation to loan facilities which include funding and security in respect of the new Lornie Highway project.
  • Successfully assisted an opportunistic private investment fund which acquired a non-performing loan of a hospitality company, in the distressed sale of the borrower’s main hospitality real estate asset.