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Sim Kwan Kiat

Head, Restructuring & Insolvency Practice
Partner, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Practice Area:

Restructuring & Insolvency

LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore
LLM, New York University
Advocate & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore
Attorney & Counsellor-at-law, State of New York

T +65 6232 0436
E kwan.kiat.sim@rajahtann.com

Kwan Kiat currently heads the firm’s Restructuring & Insolvency practice group, which is the largest dedicated legal practice in the country dealing with banking and financing disputes, corporate insolvencies, business advisory, workouts and debt restructurings, and enforcement of creditors' rights.

Kwan Kiat is cited and recognised in the field of restructuring and insolvency in Chambers Asia-Pacific (Band 1), Who’s Who Legal, Asia Pacific Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Asialaw Leading Lawyers, and Best Lawyers.

“I am deeply impressed with Sim Kwan Kiat. After working with him for a decade, Kwan Kiat continues as a leading restructuring lawyer who is technically sound, commercial minded, and provides practical insights in cross-border issues” - client testimonial from Legal 500 (2020)

Called to both the Singapore and New York bar, Kwan Kiat’s practice comprises domestic and cross-border disputes and advisory work. He has advised and acted for debtors, lenders and insolvency office holders in debt restructuring, liquidations, and receiverships of both local and foreign companies.

Experience 

Apart from regularly advising in the whole gamut of insolvency proceedings, from liquidation, receivership to judicial management and schemes of arrangement, many of the matters Kwan Kiat acted in had a strong cross-border element.

In addition, Kwan Kiat regularly acts for clients in a wide variety of commercial disputes, including banker-customer disputes and shareholder disputes. He is also active in arbitration, having advised and acted for clients in several multi-million dollar arbitration disputes.

A regular speaker at local and overseas seminars and conferences, Kwan Kiat also teaches Insolvency Law and is the Deputy Subject Coordinator for the Insolvency Law and Practice course for the Singapore Bar Examinations.

Notable Cases & Transactions include:
  • Acted for judicial managers of Hontop Energy Pte Ltd, a trader of oil and other commodities with debts of around US$700 million.
  • Acted for bank lenders in the insolvency and restructuring of the Ezra group of companies, with debts of around US$1 billion.
  • Acted for liquidators of Coastal Oil Singapore Pte Ltd, a key bunker trader in Singapore, with debts of around US$350 million.
  • Acted for lenders in the debt restructuring and judicial management of Mercator Lines (Singapore) Limited, an international dry bulk shipping company listed on the main board of the Singapore Exchange, with total debt exceeding US$155 million.
  • Acted for Ley Choon Group Holdings Limited (“LCG”), listed on the main board of the Singapore Exchange and its group of companies in its debt restructuring with total debt exceeding S$100 million. LCG is one of the largest underground utilities infrastructure company in Singapore, with key businesses in underground utilities infrastructure construction and maintenance, sewer pipeline rehabilitation, road and airfield construction and maintenance, as well as asphalt pre-mix production and construction waste recycling.
  • Advising and acting for Indonesian conglomerate Bumi Resources group, which has interest in more than 60 entities around the world, and owns the largest coal exporter in the world, and Bumi Resources’ Singapore subsidiaries, in the restructuring of debt of around US$4 billion.
  • Acted as Singapore counsel for the lenders in the global restructuring of Danish shipping giant Torm A/S with debt of close to US$2 billion (the deal was nominated for the IFLR Restructuring Deal of the Year (Europe) in 2013).
  • Acted as counsel for the liquidators of Beluga Chartering GmbH in obtaining rulings from the Singapore Court of Appeal on novel and significant issues relating to cross-border insolvency and the treatment of company assets where a company is wound up in more than one jurisdiction.
  • Acting for Singapore bank lenders in the restructuring of the Drydocks World group, which manages businesses and projects for the Dubai government and owns the largest shipyard in the Middle East.
  • Advising the bank lenders in relation to debt restructuring of First Ship Lease Trust, a public listed shipping trust with total debt of around US$480 million.
  • Advising on the restructuring of PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk, a leading worldwide seaborne liquid bulk cargo transportation specialist and the third largest chemical tanker operator in the world, which is listed on the Indonesian and Singapore Stock Exchanges.
  • Acting for bondholders and their Trustee in respect of bonds issued by Norwegian entities PetroMena ASA (bond amount approximately US$600m) and PetroProd Ltd (bond amount approximately US$335m), in disputes between the bondholders / Trustee and the bond issuers.
Judgments
  • BW Umuroa Pte Ltd v Tamarind Resources Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 71 (winding up and arbitration)
  • Re Swiber Holdings Ltd [2018] SGHC 180 (judicial management)
  • Kuntjoro Wibawa v Harianty Wibawa and others [2016] SGHC 109 (breach of trust)
  • Silica Investors Limited v Tomolugen Holdings Ltd and others [2014] 3 SLR 815 (High Court); [2016] 1 SLR 373 (Court of Appeal) (arbitration and minority oppression)
  • Liew Kai Lung Karl v Ching Chiat Kwong [2015] 3 SLR 1204 (High Court); Civil Appeal No. 77 of 2015 (Court of Appeal); [2016] SGHC 98 (statutory demand)
  • United Overseas Bank Ltd v Bombay Talkies (S) Pte Ltd [2015] SGHC 142 (statutory demand)
  • Beluga Chartering GmbH (in liquidation) v Beluga Projects (Singapore) Pte Ltd (in liquidation) & anor [2013] 2 SLR 1035 (High Court); [2014] 2 SLR 815 (Court of Appeal) (cross border insolvency)
  • Re International Formwork & Scaffolding Pte Ltd [2014] 1 SLR 205 (provisional liquidator’s lien)
  • Urs Meisterhans v GIP Pte Ltd [2011] 1 SLR 552 (derivative action)
  • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd v Asia Pacific Links Ltd and another (Abdul Rahman bin Maarip, third party) [2011] 1 SLR 906 (fraud and misrepresentation)
  • Otech Pakistan Pvt Ltd v Clough Engineering Ltd and Another [2007] 1 SLR(R) 989; [2006] 3 SLR(R) 1 (contract)
  • Petrosin Corporation Pte Ltd v Clough Engineering Ltd [2005] SGHC 170 (contract)
  • Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank AG v C K Tang Ltd [2004] SGHC 254 (contract)
Memberships/Directorships
  • Deputy Subject Coordinator of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education Part B Course, Insolvency Law Module
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy Of Law
  • Fellow, Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore
  • Associate Mediator on Insolvency Panel, Singapore Mediation Centre
  • National CLOUT Correspondent for Singapore, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
  • Member, INSOL International
Publications
  • Co-author of Singapore Chapter in Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency in Asia 2020 (Asian Business Law Institute, 2020)
  • Contributor to the Chapter on Insolvency Law in the Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review of Singapore Cases.
  • “Jurisdictional Basis of Synthetic Proceedings in Cross-border Insolvency” [2019] SAL Prac 10.
  • “Rethinking the Mandatory/Discretionary Legislation Distinction in WTO Jurisprudence” (2003) World Trade Review (Volume 2) 33
  • “More than a Brother’s Keeper: Liability of a Partner for Negligence of Another” (2000) 8 Tort Law Review 179
  • “One Company, Two Directors, and One Mother (in-law) of a Fiduciary Duty” (2000) Company and Securities Law Journal 224