A firm at the forefront of Singapore’s emergence as a centre for restructuring has supplied its newest senior minister of state for law
History of the practice
Established well over a century ago, Allen & Gledhill prides itself on being one of Singapore's oldest firms. Its 12-member insolvency division, fused with the firm's international arbitration and litigation practices, is a key player on the city-state's restructuring scene, with decades of experience in cross-border cases spanning the ASEAN region.
The practice is now co-headed by Andrew Yeo and Chong Yee Leong, who took over after the firm’s previous head, Edwin Tong SC, joined Singapore’s government as Senior Minister of State for Law in 2018. Other prominent partners are Andrew Chan and Edward Tiong.
Allen & Gledhill partners are also long-standing and active members of various insolvency institutions, including the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore, the Law Society’s insolvency committee and the Turnaround Management Association of Singapore.
Allen & Gledhill's restructuring partners practise from the firm's office in Singapore.
The firm has an association with Malaysian firm Rahmat Lim & Partners, which launched in 2010 and whose litigation department tackles Malaysian restructuring matters.
Who uses it?
The firm's books show a spread across several industries, with a fairly even split between creditor and debtor-side work. Clients in the energy sector include Singapore's Berau Coal Energy and its subsidiary, Berau Capital Resources, as well as offshore oil and gas company Ezra Holdings.
The firm has also risen to the challenge of managing pressures in the shipping industry, guiding the liquidators to Singaporean shipping companies Parakou and Glory Wealth, and the financiers to Indonesia's Berlian Laju, through various stages of insolvency proceedings and several instances of knock-on litigation.
Historic track record
Alongside Berau and Ezra, some of the firm's most significant cases include acting on the cross-border collapse of Eastman Kodak Company, and as counsel to the financial adviser of Singaporean asset manager TT International. In the aftermath of Barings Bank’s collapse in the 1990s Chong acted for the judicial managers, inspectors and liquidators of Singaporean entity Barings Futures. More recently Chan acted on the first known sukuk default in Singapore during the judicial management of Swiber Holdings.
Allen & Gledhill won a victory for the receivers and managers of Jurong Aromatics, whom it has represented since September 2015 in the restructuring of US$2.5 billion worth of debt. The Singapore High Court ruled that creditors Glencore and BP could not withhold US$56 million in payments as an insolvency set-off for debts the company had incurred pre-receivership. The court also made clear that the appointment of receivers did not constitute ceding of control by senior lenders.
The firm won a ruling that cheered litigation funders in Singapore, in its representation of bankrupt businessman Fan Kow Hin’s estate, which sought sanction for a litigation funding arrangement. The court allowed the arrangement, rejecting arguments that Singapore’s recent legalisation of the practice for international arbitration had impliedly barred it for other areas.
New instructions include the controversial restructuring of water treatment company Hyflux, where the firm is representing the syndicated bank lenders and also a potential investor in a critical asset sale, and Singapore’s UOB bank in the restructuring of engineering group Ryobi Kiso. It represented Finnish bank Nordea in the restructuring of Norwegian gas carrier IM Skaugen as it sought a moratorium in Singapore.
It is representing Singapore bank DBS in its attempts to enforce a security against Vietnam-based assets of Triyards Group, part of the Ezra Group that is subject to Chapter 11 proceedings in the United States.
The firm is advising a number of statutory boards and an Indonesian creditor over the liquidations of SEC and PLPL, two subsidiaries of Indian construction company Punj Lloyd.
It continues its involvement with the US$950 million Berau Group restructuring, in which it acts for noteholders objecting to a proposed scheme of arrangement..
It is also acting for the liquidator of shipping company Parakou: having last year obtained a ruling that the company’s directors breached their fiduciary duties, it is now applying for an order that the directors provide documents to allow the liquidator to make an informed decision on its choice of remedies.
The firm represented the Bank of Baroda and Standard Chartered in proceedings relating to the insolvency of Singaporean food distributor Pars Ram, winning a dispute with another bank creditor, DBS, in March 2018 over how to distribute a commingled pepper stock that had been pledged to each bank as security. The firm successfully convinced the Singaporean court to support a rolling charge method over DBS' favoured pari passu process.
Allen & Gledhill is an award-winning, full-service South East Asian commercial law firm, which provides legal services to a wide range of premier clients, including local and multinational corporations and financial institutions.
Established in 1902, the firm is consistently ranked as one of the market leaders in Singapore and South East Asia, having been involved in a number of challenging, complex and significant deals, many of which are first of its kind.
The firm’s reputation for high-quality advice is regularly affirmed by the strong rankings in leading publications, and by the various awards and accolades it has received from independent commentators and clients.
With a growing network of associate firms and offices, Allen & Gledhill is well placed to advise clients on their business interests in Singapore and beyond, in particular, on matters involving South East Asia and the wider Asia region. With its offices in Singapore and Myanmar; its associate firm, Rahmat Lim & Partners in Malaysia; and its alliance firm, Soemadipradja & Taher in Indonesia, the Allen & Gledhill network has over 550 lawyers in the region, making it one of the largest law firms in South East Asia.
Our restructuring and insolvency practice
We are a top-tier restructuring and insolvency practice. We assist clients on complex domestic and cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters, including banking and financial markets, corporate and commercial, hospitality, manufacturing, maritime and aviation, real estate, structured finance, and tax and fraud.
Our unique offering is that our practice comprises lawyers from a range of areas including disputes; mergers and acquisitions; banking and corporate; and other practices. Our work seamlessly integrates the specialist expertise of other top-tier practices of our firm, including structured finance, banking, financial markets, real estate, tax, fraud investigations, shipping, and construction.
The depth and breadth of our capabilities, and our ability to draw on cross-discipline know-how, enable us to anticipate issues, think laterally and provide quick and coordinated responses arising from any insolvency issues. Our clients are therefore assured of seamless access to premium legal services in all practice areas which are relevant to a successful work out or restructuring.
Our extensive experience and fully integrated structure enable us to be at the forefront of landmark complex restructurings in Singapore and the region, such as those relating to Berau Group, Borders Group, China Fishery Group, Eastman Kodak Company, Ezra Holdings, Falcon Energy Group, Gibson Guitars, Jurong Aromatics Corporation, Marco Polo Group, Otto Marine, Parakou Shipping, PT Berlian Laju Tanker, Sembawang Engineers and Contractors Pte Ltd, Swiber, Swissco, To The New Ventures Pte Ltd and TT International Ltd.
Awards and industry recognition: firm-wide
- Chambers Asia-Pacific (2019):
- Highest number of band-one rankings (14 practice areas) among Singapore law firms
- Largest number of leading lawyers among Singapore law firms (54 ranked lawyers and 21 band-one individuals)
- IFLR1000 (2019):
- Tier-one rankings across all Singapore practice areas covered, namely, banking and finance; capital markets; corporate and M&A; project development; and restructuring and insolvency
- Highest number of leading individuals among Singapore law firms (23 partners)
- The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2019): Highest number of tier-one rankings (15 practices) among Singapore law firms
- Chambers Asia-Pacific (2018): Singapore National Law Firm of the Year
- IFLR Asia Awards (2018):
- Most Innovative National Firm of the Year: Singapore (Allen & Gledhill has won this award 17 times since 2000)
- Regional Law Firm of the Year (Allen & Gledhill has won this award for the third time)
- Most Innovative National Firm of the Year: Myanmar (the first time Allen & Gledhill has won the country law firm award for Myanmar)
- Who’s Who Legal Awards (2018): Singapore Firm of the Year for 12 times since 2006
Awards and industry recognition: restructuring and insolvency
- Chambers Asia-Pacific (2019): band one
- IFLR1000 (2019): tier one
- The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2019): tier one
- Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific (2018) tier one