Restructuring and insolvency: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP houses a 'strong market-leading team'. Edward Tiong  advises statutory boards, government-linked companies, banks, corporates and financial institutions on schemes of arrangements and compromise, liquidation and clawbacks. Andrew Chan and Alexander Lawrence Yeo are key names for contentious insolvency matters, and Kenneth Lim is noted for the restructuring of distressed companies in the shipping and oil and gas sectors. Chong Yee Leong heads the department alongside Tiong.

Practice head(s):

Edward Tiong, Chong Yee Leong

Testimonials

The team is all-rounded, able to tap into expertise within the team as well as across practices to provide a one-stop shop solution for all of the clients’ needs.’

‘Strong market-leading team.’

‘Edward Tiong is very familiar with the market and commercial in his approach.’

‘Kenneth Lim provides practical advice, taking into account the commercial reality and business needs.’

Work highlights

  • Advising several clients, including DBS Bank and SembCorp Industries, on the restructuring of Hyflux’s S$1.5bn debt.
  • Advising UOB on the proposed restructuring of Singapore mainboard-listed Ryobi Kiso Holdings and its subsidiaries under the new section 211B scheme of arrangement regime .
  • Acting for Nordea Bank as the largest creditor in the scheme of arrangement / moratorium proceedings of IM Skaugen SE, Re SMIPL and Re IMSPL in the Singapore High Court.
  • Acting for Gibson Innovations as part of the restructuring and insolvency of Gibson Brands Inc, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2018.
  • Advising various statutory boards, including LTA and PUB, and Indonesian mining company, PT Makmur on the restructuring and insolvency of Sembawang Engineers and Constructors and Punj Lloyd Pte Ltd.

Drew & Napier LLC

An 'established practice' with 'very competent professionals', Drew & Napier LLC is regularly involved in some of the largest restructuring exercises in Asia, including advising the board of directors of Ezra Holdings on the $1.56bn debt restructuring of the Ezra Group and advising Brightoil Petroleum on its $916m debt restructuring. Practice heads Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek lead 'a superb team that achieves excellent results in the most complicated cross-border restructurings'. Blossom Hing has extensive experience working with clients from Indonesia, China and Hong Kong; Chan Wei Meng and Mohan Gopalan are 'technically very knowledgeable'.

Practice head(s):

Sushil Nair, Julian Kwek

Testimonials

Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek lead a superb team that achieves excellent results in the most complicated cross-border restructurings – beyond what most practitioners in this area would think is possible.’

‘Drew & Napier is an established practice and is professionally run, staffed with very competent professionals that are well connected with the judicial system and the commercial world.’

‘Drew & Napier’s team is led by Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek – who bring creative and effective solutions to extremely complicated restructuring matters.’

‘Sushil Nair is very good with grasping the key issues and has the ability to communicate clearly to the different stakeholders.’

‘Chan Wei Meng and Mohan Gopalan are great and highly dependable counsel – technically very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

CapitaLand

CVC Partners

F J Benjamin Holdings Ltd

Nam Cheong Limited

Ezra Holdings Limited

EMAS Offshore Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Nam Cheong Limited and its subsidiaries on a $1.35bn debt restructuring, including $240m bonds issued and listed on the Singapore Exchange.
  • Advising Ezra Holdings on its $1.49bn cross-border debt restructuring involving parallel restructurings under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code and scheme of arrangement under Section 210 of the Singapore Companies Act.
  • Advising United Overseas Bank Limited as agent and lender on two syndicated loans to the subsidiaries of the Seacastle group.
  • Assisting TT International Ltd and its subsidiaries with a S$500m debt restructuring, including the debt obligations under an existing scheme of arrangement.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP acts for lenders and creditors, secured and unsecured, debtors, liquidators, judicial managers and receivers on the most significant insolvencies and restructurings deals. The practice has a strong track record in disputes, corporate insolvencies and rescues, workouts and debt restructurings, and the enforcement of creditors’ rights. Patrick Ang is 'very commercial and solution driven' with 'good connectivity to major local and international banks'. Danny Ong and Lee Eng Beng, SC are also of note. Sim Kwan Kiat chairs the practice.

Practice head(s):

Sim Kwan Kiat

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Ang; Danny Ong; Lee Eng Beng, SC

Testimonials

Rajah & Tann has a few key very experienced and commercial partners in its restructuring practice, and good connectivity in the region with its Asian set up.’

‘Patrick Ang is very commercial and solution driven, and has good connectivity with local and international banks.

Key clients

OCBC Bank

UOB Bank

Malayan Banking Berhad

Standard Chartered Bank

HSBC

Work highlights

  • Advising the joint and several Judicial Managers of Swiber Holdings and Swiber Offshore Construction on issues arising from the judicial management of the two companies.
  • Acting for DBS, OCBC, UOB and HSBC Trustees as the largest Singapore banks on the restructuring and refinancing of Ezra and EOL.
  • Acting for GATE and UTAC Group as its South-East Asian counsel in a dispute with holders of $1.1bn notes issued by its parent company, Global A&T Electronics, and the successful restructuring of these notes, and related chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Assisting with the first debt restructuring of a shipping business trust under s210 of the Companies Act involving Singapore-listed First Ship Lease Trusts.
  • Advising PSA Corporation on its rights and duties as the port authority in the context of the multi-jurisdictional insolvency case involving the collapse of the South Korean shipping container giant, Hanjin.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP is instructed by a wide range of stakeholders, including corporate debtors, lenders, debtor-in-possession financiers, turnaround professionals, creditors, investors and trustees to act on cross-border debt restructurings and related disputes. The team also advises buyers and sellers on distressed mergers and acquisitions, and assists issuers and investors with securities offerings arising out of consensual and court restructurings. Manoj Sandrasegara, Sean Yu Chou, Choon Yuen Hui and Smitha Menon.  

Practice head(s):

Manoj Sandrasegara

Key clients

DBS Trustee Limited

EMAS Chiyoda Subsea

EMAS Chiyoda Subsea

PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services

Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead counsel to mainboard-listed Hyflux Ltd on a group restructuring exercise.
  • Acted as Singapore counsel to Emas Chiyoda Subsea Limited and its subsidiaries on a $1.6bn cross-border debt restructuring exercise.
  • Acting for DBS Trustee Limited on a consent solicitation exercise of Ezion Holdings Limited and the refinancing bonds issued pursuant to the debt restructuring in the value of approximately $1.5bn.
  • Advising the ad hoc committee of holders of notes issued by Noble Group Limited on the restructuring of Noble.

BlackOak LLC

As one of the 'best specialist boutiques' in the corporate restructuring and insolvency arena, BlackOak LLC has a strong reputation and a successful track record in insolvency-related litigation and major local and regional restructuring exercises. The team has strong expertise in bond restructurings, having previously been involved in the BLD Investments Ltd, Blue Ocean Resource Ltd and Hyflux bond restructurings. Ashok Kumar is praised for his 'excellent grasp of the technical aspects of the insolvency regime' and regularly advises debtors, creditors, financial institutions and insolvency professional on contentious and non-contentious matters. Darius Tay and senior associate Sean Lee are also of note.

Practice head(s):

Ashok Kumar

Other key lawyers:

Darius Tay; Sean Lee

Testimonials

Ashok Kumar has a great sense of strategy, backed with an excellent grasp of the technical aspects of the insolvency regime’

‘BlackOak achieves outstanding and effective results on the back of very insightful strategy and direction. It is nimble and very commercial.’

‘Very strong in the Singapore Restructuring & Insolvency space. One of the only truly independent specialist boutiques in town.’

Key clients

AJ Capital Advisory

Argentem Creek Partners LLP

Arkkan Capital Management

Bank of Nova Scotia

Bank of China (Hong Kong)

Work highlights

  • Assisted I M Skaugen SE with the implementation of a restructuring for IMS and its subsidiaries through schemes of arrangement in Singapore.
  • Advised Bank of China (Hong Kong) as a creditor on various restructuring exercises concerning CW Group Holdings Limited and its group of companies, which applied for six-month moratorium in Singapore to pursue a debt restructuring exercise.
  • Acted for the ad hoc committee of noteholders on the restructuring of $325m, 11% guaranteed senior secured notes due 2012 issued by Blue Ocean Resource Pte Ltd.
  • Advised Lehman Brothers Holdings on the global dissolution of Lehman’s subsidiaries and related entities worldwide.
  • Assisted the liquidators of Trikomsel with obtaining the first commercially funded litigation in Singapore.

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP

At Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP, Ajinderpal Singh is the key contact for restructuring and insolvency work; he has a strong track record advising judicial managers, liquidators and receivers, as well as handling the preparation of schemes of arrangements between companies and their creditors. On the contentious front, Herman Jeremiah has acted in receiverships, judicial management and schemes of arrangement. Litigation partners Maw Shen Foo and Siang Pheng Lek jointly head the department with Jeremiah.

Practice head(s):

Herman Jeremiah, Maw Shen Foo, Siang Pheng Lek

Other key lawyers:

Ajinderpal Singh

Key clients

Caterpillar Financial Services Asia

CIMB Bank

CRRC Group

DBS

Global Maritime Group AS

Hong Leong Finance Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Perpetual (Asia) Limited, as trustee for the holders of Perpetual Securities, on the restructuring of the issuer, Hyflux.
  • Advised the steering committee, comprising of five Singapore and international banks, on various aspects of a consensual restructuring proposed by the borrower.
  • Acting for the liquidators of Sixcap Financials Pte Ltd on the winding up of the company.
  • Advised the secured creditors of Marco Polo Marine Ltd  on a debt restructuring and refinancing exercise involving  a series of schemes, which included its Indonesian-listed subsidiary PT Pelayaran Nasional Bina Buana Raya Tbk.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC expanded its restructuring and insolvency offering with the addition of Guan Feng Chen, former co-head of the Asia banking and restructuring practice at White & Case Pte. Ltd., in November 2018. In addition to advising on complex cross-border financings and private corporate debt restructurings, Chen also has a strong reputation in Indonesia, particularly for Indonesian financing and debt restructurings. Bernard Lui focuses on corporate finance and debt restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Guan Feng Chen

Other key lawyers:

Bernard Lui

Key clients

Goldilocks Investment Co. Ltd.

Ezion Holdings Ltd No

Marco Polo Marine Ltd.

ASL Marine Holdings Ltd.

Ausgroup Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Goldilocks Investment Co. Ltd., an investment fund backed by the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, on Noble Group Ltd.’s cross-border $3.5bn restructuring process.
  • Acted for Ezion Holdings Ltd. on securing approximately $2bn in restructuring and refinancing from its secured lenders and debt security holders.
  • Advised Marco Polo Marine Ltd. on securing and completing a restructuring of the S$260m total debt by way of a complex combination of scheme of arrangement, consent solicitation exercise, Indonesian court-supervised debt restructuring (PKPU) and settlement negotiations.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP's practice comprises of transactional, insolvency, restructuring and litigation lawyers, who 'provide a good level of service with a commercial approach'. The team advises a mix of local and international financial institutions and corporate clients on distressed mergers and acquisitions, divestment of assets, restructuring of debt and liability management issues, liquidations, bankruptcies, landmark receiverships, judicial management and schemes of arrangement. Key names in the sizeable team include Sarjit Singh Gill SC, Probin Dass, Debby Lim and head of practice, David Chan.  

Practice head(s):

David Chan

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defendants, Chee Yin Meh, One Organisation and Gateway Plus against the trustees of a bankrupt’s estate, who are seeking to recover approximately S$13.9m, which is the value of assets previously owned by the bankruptee which were subsequently transferred to the defendants.
  • Advising the facility agent and the syndicate lenders on their rights relating to a $300m revolving credit facility to Hyflux Ltd.
  • Acting for the liquidators of Humpuss Sea Transport to recover amounts under substantial intercompany loans with a major Indonesian shipping company and its subsidiary, and to set aside various transfers of shares and ships entered into with the subsidiary.
  • Advising a global commodities trading company on a scheme of arrangement with its trade creditors and financial institution creditors for debts amounting to a total sum of approximately $38m.

Eversheds Harry Elias

Eversheds Harry Elias has wide-ranging expertise in corporate restructuring and insolvency, regularly working with shareholders, liquidators, judicial managers, receivers and creditors to implement suitable solutions such as striking off companies, voluntary liquidation of companies and restructuring of subsidiaries, among others. The group, which is led by Justin Chia, is also know for handling the contentious aspects of debt restructuring, judicial management and scheme of arrangement cases.

Practice head(s):

Justin Chia

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank / Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited

DBS Bank Ltd

RHB Bank Berhad

Singapore Land Authority

DBS Trustee Ltd as Trustee of Mapletree Commercial Trust

Work highlights

  • Representing Ascendas REIT in its claims for over S$120m against Hyflux Group for the premature termination of long-term leases.
  • Acted for DBS Trustee Ltd as trustee of Mapletree Commercial Trust, the landlord of the premises in Mapletree Business City, on a s211B Companies Act application, made by Brightoil Petroleum for an interim moratorium to restructure its business and propose a scheme of arrangement.
  • Successfully represented two foreign companies in obtaining the sanction of the High Court for their respective schemes of arrangement under s210 of the Companies Act, and defended the appeal brought by the objecting creditor.

Tan Kok Quan Partnership

Tan Kok Quan Partnership focuses on contentious aspects that arise from the implementation of judicial management, schemes of arrangement, liquidation and complex cross-border restructuring and insolvencies, including related investigations. Eddee Ng and Paul Seah are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Eddee Ng

Other key lawyers:

Paul Seah

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Mizuho Bank

KFW IPEX-Bank

Bangkok Bank Public

Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore Branch)

Work highlights

  • Advising BNP Paribas, Mizuho Bank, KFWIPEX-Bank, Bangkok Bank Public, Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore Branch) and others, as the unsecured working group of bank lenders, that collectively hold in excess of S$800m of the unsecured debt of the Hyflux Group, on the proposed restructuring of Hyflux Ltd.

TSMP Law Corporation

Core areas of activity for TSMP Law Corporation include insolvency litigation, where it acts for companies in liquidation, schemes of arrangement and in bankruptcy and voluntary arrangements; creditor-debtor disputes; debt restructuring and workouts. The practice has bolstered its litigation and transactional bench strength with the recruitment of Adrian Tan and Pei Ching Ong from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC in 2018 and Felicia Tan from Incisive Law LLC in February 2019. Shen Yi Thio, SC  and Stefanie Yuen Thio are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Shen Yi Thio, SC, Stefanie Yuen Thio

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Tan; Pei Ching Ong; Felicia Tan

Testimonials

The team provides a pragmatic and commercial approach to problem solving, with the back up of a senior counsel the should matter need to be taken to court.

Shen Yi Thio is a senior counsel with significant experience in complex cases.’

Key clients

Mizuho Bank of Japan

New Target Investments Limited

JTC Corporation

Aavanti Industries

Work highlights

  • Advising Mizuho Bank of Japan, which is Hyflux’s second largest creditor and the largest non-secured creditor, on Hyflux’s restructuring.
  • Advising the creditors of Victoria Medical on pursuing various avenues to recover the fraudulently transferred shares of its subsidiary in Hong Kong.
  • Advising the liquidators of Pertamina Energy Services on assessing a variety of claims for and against Pertamina vis-à-vis third party debtors and/or creditors, including BP and Emirates National Oil Company, concerning various commodity contracts.
  • Assisting with a judicial management for Aavanti Industries, a company seeking to restructure its S$250m debt, through a s210 scheme of arrangement under the Companies Act.

Withers KhattarWong LLP

Tahirah Ara leads the debt restructuring group at Withers KhattarWong LLP, which fields 'a trusted team for good quality work and service' comprising of US, UK and Singapore-qualified banking, insolvency and dispute resolution lawyers. She has experience advising the borrowers on some of the largest debt restructurings in South-East Asia, particularly in Indonesia. Justin Yip handles corporate rescues and workouts, distressed and special situation transactions and related litigation.

Practice head(s):

Tahirah Ara

Other key lawyers:

Justin Yip

Testimonials

The firm is an established name and holds a trusted team for good quality work and service.’

‘Justin Yip is knowledgeable, dependable, committed and responsive.’