GRR 100 2020

Allen & Gledhill

Allen & Gledhill

Professional notice

The Singaporean firm is acting for syndicated lenders in the controversial Hyflux restructuring

Global heads of restructuring and insolvencyChong Yee Leong
Partners in restructuring team12
Restructuring lawyers in Who’s Who Legal2

History of the practice

Established well over a century ago, Allen & Gledhill prides itself on being one of Singapore’s oldest firms. The 12-member insolvency division, integrated within 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 Association of South East Asian Nations region.

The practice is currently headed by Chong Yee Leong, who alongside Andrew Yeo took over from Edwin Tong SC when he joined Singapore’s government as Senior Minister of State for Law in 2018. (Yeo is now co-head of the litigation and dispute resolution department). Other prominent partners include Andrew Chan and Edward Tiong, who is deputy head of the practice.

Allen & Gledhill partners are also longstanding 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.

Network

The firm is based in Singapore. It also has an association with Malaysian firm Rahmat Lim & Partners, which launched in 2010 and whose litigation department tackles Malaysian restructuring matters.

Who uses it?

Allen & Gledhill’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 of Singaporean shipping companies Parakou and Glory Wealth, and the financiers of Indonesia’s Berlian Laju, through various stages of insolvency proceedings and several instances of knock-on litigation.

Historic track record

Alongside the significant Berau and Ezra restructurings, the firm acted on the cross-border collapse of Eastman Kodak Company and was 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, Allen & Gledhill secured a victory for the receivers and managers of petrochemical plant operator Jurong Aromatics in the restructuring of US$2.5 billion worth of debt. In 2017, 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 that the company had incurred pre-receivership. The court also made clear that the appointment of receivers did not constitute a ceding of control by senior lenders.

The firm won a ruling that cheered third-party funders in Singapore on behalf of bankrupt businessman Fan Kow Hin’s estate, which sought sanction of 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.

It also acted for Noble Group, a Bermuda-incorporated commodities trader formerly listed in Singapore, on a US$3.5 billion restructuring in 2018. It defended the company against shareholder actions and claims relating to forum mandatory laws, which threatened to derail the restructuring. The company carried out parallel schemes in England and Bermuda, alongside a Chapter 15 filing, before completing its restructuring through a Bermudian provisional liquidation.

Recent events

During the research period, the firm has continued to act for noteholders objecting to a proposed scheme of arrangement in the US$950 million Berau Group restructuring.

It is also providing ongoing representation to the syndicated bank lenders on the controversial restructuring of water treatment company Hyflux. The long-running US$2 billion restructuring has proved difficult to complete, due to the collapse of an initial deal with Indonesian white knight investor SM Investments and uncertainty as to whether it has the support of enough creditors.

Chan acted on the first known sukuk default in Singapore during the judicial management of offshore oil and gas services group Swiber Holdings. Creditors approved a scheme of arrangement for the company in May 2019. 

The firm is also advising the Chapter 11 trustee for CFG Peru, a Singaporean subsidiary of Peruvian fishing business China Fishery Group.

It is representing creditors of Singaporean oil company Coastal Oil, including banks DBS and HBSC. The company is in liquidation in Singapore and legal action is underway in Hong Kong in order to investigate its financial affairs.

The firm is acting for Singaporean marine services company PACC Offshore Services Holdings in the liquidation of its joint venture POSH Terasea. In addition to the Singapore proceedings, the case includes debt recovery proceedings in the Netherlands.

Elsewhere, 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 also advising several statutory boards and an Indonesian creditor on the liquidations of SEC and PLPL, two subsidiaries of Indian construction company Punj Lloyd.

Allen & Gledhill

Allen & Gledhill is an award-winning full-service South-east Asian 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 the 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. The Firm is consistently ranked band one in the highest number of practice areas, and has the highest number of lawyers recognised as leading individuals. Over the years, the Firm has also been named ‘Regional Law Firm of the Year’ and ‘SE Asia Law Firm of the Year’ by many prominent legal publishers.

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 Asian 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 600 lawyers in the region, making it one of the largest law firms in South-east Asia.

Our Restructuring & 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 our 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 enables 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 Hin Leong, Hyflux, Brightoil Group, Berau 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, Borders Group, Sembawang Engineers and Contractors Pte Ltd

Awards and Industry Recognition: Firm-wide

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020:
    • Highest number of Band 1 rankings (16 practice areas) among Singapore law firms
    • Largest number of Leading Lawyers among Singapore law firms (54 ranked lawyers)
  • IFLR1000 2019:
    • Tier 1 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 (22 Partners)
  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020: Highest number of Tier 1 rankings (17 practices) among Singapore law firms
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific awards 2020: Singapore Corporate & Finance Domestic Law Advisers
  • IFLR Asia Awards 2019:
    • Most Innovative National Firm of the Year (Singapore). Allen & Gledhill has won this award 18 times since 2000
    • Regional Law Firm of the Year. Allen & Gledhill has won this award for the fourth time
  • Who’s Who Legal Awards 2018: Singapore Firm of the Year for 12 times since 2006

Awards and Industry Recognition: Restructuring & Insolvency

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020:
    • Band 1
  • IFLR1000 2020:
    • Tier 1
  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020
    • Tier 1
  • Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2019
    • Tier 1

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