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

WongPartnership

22 June 2017

The Singaporean firm was counsel to a Japanese trustee in a landmark recognition action before a Singapore court in 2016

Global heads of restructuring and insolvency Manoj Sandrasegara, Sean Yu Chou, Choon Yuen Hu
Partners in restructuring team 7
Restructuring lawyers in Who’s Who Legal 1
Active cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters 33
Total billable hours of the group: 5,100

History of the practice

WongPartnership began handling cross-border insolvencies with the Singapore-centred collapse of marine salvage company Pan-Electric Industries in 1985. Along with the rest of the firm, its insolvency team merged with Clifford Chance in the 1990s, dividing again in 2008 when the magic circle firm secured its own licence to practice in the city state.

Although the firm lost partner Nish Shetty in the split, WongPartnership has made up numbers, taking on several leading names, including current division head Manoj Sandrasegara from Drew & Napier in 2010.

Network

The firm’s seven-partner-strong insolvency practice operates from a single office in downtown Singapore.

Who uses it?

WongPartnership’s client base includes numerous oil and gas companies, such as Swiber, Technics Oil & Gas and EMAS Chiyoda Subsea, along with affiliates to Indonesia’s Bumi Resources. Rumbles in the shipping sphere have also given the firm a strong foothold in the sector, with Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean and Altus Shipping using it as counsel.

Historic track record

In the mid-1980s, WongPartnership navigated a three-day trading halt of the Singaporean and Malay stock exchanges triggered by the collapse the aforementioned Pan-Electric. That case brought about significant changes to regulations in the securities industry in Singapore.

Partners from the firm also completed work related to the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, namely on issues arising from the default of a series of structured financial notes called Minibond that the bank had issued in Hong Kong and Singapore. They represented Singaporean asset manager TT International through a US$400 million restructure, as well as a Singaporean arm of HSBC, and receivers in Minibond matters.

Recent events

As counsel to the Hong Kong branches of two major financiers, WongPartnership successfully argued against the imposition of a worldwide moratorium by Singaporean courts in the collapse of Chinese Industrial fishing company Pacific Andes Resources Development, in September. With a worldwide moratorium blocked, the group’s parent company dropped its plans for a Singaporean scheme of arrangement and moved to join other affiliates in a Chapter 11 action in the US.

The firm also acted as counsel to a Japanese trustee in the landmark case Opti-Medix Ltd (in liquidation), which saw the Singaporean Supreme Court agree to recognise the liquidation of BVI-incorporated medical companies, affirming for the first time that bankruptcy proceedings in a company’s centre of main interests, but outside its place of incorporation, can be recognised in the city-state.