A new addition to the GRR 100, Providence Law Asia helped BlackRock and Ares SSG place Singapore-listed TAKE Solutions into judicial management
|Global head of restructuring and insolvency||Abraham Vergis SC|
|Partners in restructuring team||3|
|Active cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters||9|
History of the practice
Providence Law Asia was founded in 2012 by senior counsel Abraham Vergis SC after more than 14 years at Drew & Napier’s Singapore office. The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice was bolstered by the hire of Nawaz Kamil three years later, who joined from Singapore firm Tito Isaac & Co in December 2016, becoming a director and head of restructuring & insolvency at Providence Law in January 2019. Kamil left the firm in May 2023, leaving Vergis to lead the practice alongside Kenny Lau, who also co-heads the firm's fraud and asset recovery group.
Another name to know is director Vanathi Ray, who re-joined Providence Law in 2022 after taking a few years out to volunteer with an international NGO.
The practice aims to offer independent, conflict-free Singapore counsel to clients, international and offshore law firms as well as insolvency professionals, and regularly advises on corporate insolvencies, personal bankruptcies and business restructuring solutions with a cross-border element.
Providence Law operates exclusively in Singapore.
Who uses it?
The firm’s practice works on all facets of restructuring transactions, with experience advising big-name investor groups such as BlackRock.
It has also worked with, and acted for, insolvency professionals Ernst & Young Singapore, Deloitte Singapore, FTI Consulting, Quantuma Singapore, Grant Thornton, Alvarez & Marsal, Borrelli Walsh, KordaMentha, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, K&L Gates, Walkers, DLA Piper, Kobre & Kim and JSA Law.
In addition to re-hiring Ray, Providence Law hired two new counsels, Wei Shing Ngo in May 2021 and Lyndon Choo the month after. Ngo joined from Rajah & Tann while Choo joined from Osborne Clarke’s Singaporean arm, OC Queen Street.
Top cases of the research period
Providence Law Asia acted for formerly Hong Kong-listed, Bermuda-registered company Agritrade Resources, part of the troubled commodities and energy group Agritrade. The company sought to restructure around US$450 million in debts through seeking protections under Singapore’s moratorium law, an application for provisional liquidation in Bermuda and for the light-touch provisional liquidation that was recognised in Hong Kong in August 2020. Its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was cancelled in January 2022 as the company had not resumed trading.
Vergis is advising the liquidators of eight subsidiaries of vessel-owning seaborne logistics group Xihe Capital. Three major shipping and trading groups owned by the Lim family, including Xihe, entered judicial management in 2020 after their founder, Lim Oon Kuin, revealed in court documents that he had hidden around S$800 million (US$564 million) in losses at one of the companies, Hin Leong. Providence Law is advising the liquidators in applications filed by the judicial managers of its parent, Xihe Holdings, to which the debtors in liquidation allegedly owe S$58 million (US$42 million) in trade payables, seeking to terminate the liquidations and convert the subsidiaries’ proceedings into judicial management proceedings.
Another team led by Vergis represented lenders BlackRock and Ares SSG in relation to their application to place Singapore-listed holding company TAKE Solutions into judicial management to restructure its debts. Providence succeeded in securing a judicial manager within a week of being engaged, and has been working with Allen & Overy and Indian firm JSA Law to prevent dissipations of the group’s assets in India and the US.
A Providence team also assisted the BVI liquidators of Singapore financial technology developer Six Capital Investments in recovery actions linked to debts of over US$143 million. The firm successfully obtained recognition of Six Capital’s BVI liquidation from a Singapore court under the UNCITRAL Model Law and has liaised with Hong Kong authorities to better understand the company’s financial affairs.
The firm picked up a mandate advising a subsidiary of the state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, which is seeking to release more than US$40 million in funds held by a liquidator in Singapore. The liquidator has struggled to release funds due to US sanctions imposed against Venezuela and PDVSA. Providence Law is also representing the company as it attempts to resist applications by creditors of Venezuela and PDVSA who are trying to enforce arbitration awards of more than US$1 billion in Singapore on the basis that the company is an extension of the state.
This profile was edited on 17 May 2023 to reflect Nawaz Kamil's departure.
- Providence Law Asia was established in 2012 by Senior Counsel, Abraham Vergis, and our Restructuring and Insolvency practice was started in 2015. We offer an independent conflict free counsel service to clients, international law firms and insolvency professionals both in Singapore and internationally. This allows us the unique opportunity to take on challenging roles in large cross-border and multi-party distressed situations.
- Our versatile and dynamic team is experienced in dealing with various corporate insolvency, personal bankruptcy, and business restructuring situations. In addition to representing both creditors (enforcement of security and court representation) and debtors (court applications for moratoriums, schemes of arrangement, advising and representing management), we also regularly act for and advise insolvency professionals as liquidators, judicial managers, financial advisors, restructuring officers, receivers, and private trustees, with a view towards the preservation and recovery of assets. We are confident that, with its independent boutique nature and strong counsel offering, it can service the needs of a growing restructuring industry in Singapore.
- Given the time sensitivity involved in corporate distressed situations, our practice also prides itself on a quick turnover period to address the needs of our clients. The firm has always believed in lean teams, efficient process and problem solving, which allows us to handle complex matters without bloated legal expenses. The firm is proud to have acted for and worked with fellow restructuring and insolvency professionals from Ernst & Young Singapore, Deloitte Singapore, FTI Consulting, Quantuma Singapore, Grant Thornton, Alvarez & Marsal, Borrelli Walsh, KordaMentha, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, K&L Gates, Walkers, DLA Piper, Kobre & Kim, JSA Advocates, and other prestigious international firms around the world.
- The firm has represented clients on contentious and non-contentious insolvencies and are equipped to deal with various aspects of business rescue, restructuring, and insolvency, including:
- Acted for Agritrade Resources Limited, an entity listed in Hong Kong stock exchange in various recovery actions in Singapore, India and Hong Kong, as well as in a global debt restructuring exercise of over S$450 million across the courts in Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore.
- Acting for court appointed Liquidators (from Ernst & Young Solutions LLP) of Griffin Real Estate with assets over S$100 million where Providence was lead counsel for recovery actions leading to recovery of over S$35 million. The liquidators were appointed after a longstanding minority oppression suit which was successfully argued by Davinder Singh, S.C.
- Acting for BlackRock and Ares SSG as lenders to the Singapore holding company of India’s Take Solutions group which reported revenue of around US$100 million in 2020/2021. Providence was successful in securing the court ordered appointment of an interim judicial manager from Borrelli Walsh within a week of being engaged. The urgency of the appointment was crucial to avoid a dissipation of the group’s crown jewels in India and the US. Providence is working closely with Allen & Overy and also with lawyers from JSA law.
- Acting for the BVI liquidators of Six Capital Investments Limited in various recovery actions with respect to a debt of over US$143 million and in seeking and obtaining recognition of the BVI winding up proceedings in Singapore under the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency.
In recent years, the firm and Abraham Vergis, SC have been conferred several R&I awards for their achievements including:
- Asia Law Profiles
- 2023 and 2022 – Recognised Firm for Restructuring and Insolvency
- Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific
- 2022, 2021 and 2018 – Ranked Firm for Restructuring and Insolvency
- 2018 – Abraham Vergis, SC recognised as Disputes Star in Bankruptcy & Insolvency, Commercial Disputes and International Arbitration
- 2021 – Second Runner Up for Boutique Firm of the Year
- 2022 – Ranked in the best 100 R&I firms worldwide
- 2022 and 2021 – Ranked for Other Notable Firms in Restructuring & Insolvency
- 2020, 2018 and 2017 - Recognised Firms for Restructuring & Insolvency