Global Restructuring Review - Cross-border restructuring and insolvency legal news, features and events

GRR 100 - 1st Edition

Bae Kim & Lee

22 June 2017

The Korean firm is currently counsel to shipping company STX Offshore in rehabilitation proceedings in Seoul

Global heads of restructuring and insolvency Sung Jun Hong, Hyun Wook Park, Jang Ho Lim

History of the practice

Bae Kim & Lee is one of South Korea’s oldest law firms – even though it was only founded in 1980. It was, according to its website, also one of the first Korean firms to set up a department specialising in bankruptcy.

The 1997 Asian financial crisis propelled it into the limelight as one of the leading Korean firms in this practice area, ensuring it had a role on all domestic bankruptcy-related cases whether for the debtors, creditors or related third parties.

Originally labelled the “bankruptcy and corporate reorganisation team”, later the “corporate rehabilitation team” on the back of changes in Korean bankruptcy law, Bae Kim & Lee’s practice is now known as “the bankruptcy and corporate restructuring team” to reflect the enactment of Korea’s Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act (now in its fifth edition, effective in 2016).

The 20-strong team includes both lawyers and certified public accountants, who work together to take a corporate business-led approach on legal matters relating to distress.

Network

Bae Kim & Lee has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Hong Kong and Yangon in Myanmar (opened in June 2016), but its bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers are all based in Seoul.

Who uses it?

The firm’s bankruptcy and restructuring clients are generally major Korean companies active in everything from shopping centres to food, media, telecoms and electronics.

The car industry in particular appears to have provided Bae Kim & Lee with a steady stream of work: key partner Hyun Wook Park has handled the corporate reorganisations of Samsung Motors and Kia Motors, while the corporate restructuring group also worked on the acquisition of distressed auto manufacturer SsangYong Motor by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra.

Daewoo’s motoring and logistics arms are also clients, as are manufacturing companies Keopyung Group (a tungsten tool manufacturer), Hanil Synthetic Fiber, stainless steel products manufacturer Sammi Corporation, and multiple Korean construction companies including Dongah Construction, Hanshin Engineering & Construction and Ilsung Construction.

Recent events

Bae Kim & Lee has recently been acting for Korean shipbuilder STX Offshore in rehabilitation proceedings in Seoul filed in May 2016. An English court recognised the case as foreign main proceedings that June, and a Texan court did the same in October, preventing the enforcement of arbitral awards worth US$40 million against the company.