Restructuring and insolvency: local firms in Singapore
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.
Edward Tiong, Chong Yee Leong
‘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.’
- 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.
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'.
Sushil Nair, Julian Kwek
‘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.’
F J Benjamin Holdings Ltd
Nam Cheong Limited
Ezra Holdings Limited
EMAS Offshore Limited
- 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 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.
Sim Kwan Kiat
‘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.‘
Malayan Banking Berhad
Standard Chartered Bank
- 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 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.
DBS Trustee Limited
EMAS Chiyoda Subsea
EMAS Chiyoda Subsea
PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services
Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory
- 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.
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.
‘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.’
AJ Capital Advisory
Argentem Creek Partners LLP
Arkkan Capital Management
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bank of China (Hong Kong)
- 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.
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.
Herman Jeremiah, Maw Shen Foo, Siang Pheng Lek
Other key lawyers:
Caterpillar Financial Services Asia
Global Maritime Group AS
Hong Leong Finance Limited
- 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 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.
Guan Feng Chen
Other key lawyers:
Goldilocks Investment Co. Ltd.
Ezion Holdings Ltd No
Marco Polo Marine Ltd.
ASL Marine Holdings Ltd.
- 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'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.
- 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.
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
- 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 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.
Other key lawyers:
Bangkok Bank Public
Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore Branch)
- 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.
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.
Shen Yi Thio, SC, Stefanie Yuen Thio
‘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.’
Mizuho Bank of Japan
New Target Investments Limited
- 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.
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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’