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, Asia Pacific Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Asialaw Leading Lawyers, and Best Lawyers (6th and 7th editions).
Called to both the Singapore and New York bar, Kwan Kiat’s practice comprises both disputes and advisory work. He has advised and acted for local and foreign banks and accounting firms in both domestic and cross-border disputes. He has also advised and acted for banks and accounting firms in various banking disputes, liquidations, receiverships and judicial management of both local and foreign companies.
Apart from regularly advising and acting for banks and accounting firms in Singapore 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 seminars and conferences, both local and overseas, on the law of banking, credit and security, insolvency and debt restructuring and recovery, Kwan Kiat also teaches Insolvency Law and is the Deputy Subject Coordinator for the Insolvency Law and Practice course for the Singapore Bar Examinations.
Recent notable transactions include:
- Acted for lenders in the debt restructuring and judicial management of Mercator Lines (Singapore) Limited (“MLS”), an international dry bulk shipping company listed on 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. Such disputes involve insolvency issues in Singapore and the US, and security rights over vessels and rigs in Singapore.
- Acting for bank lenders in the restructuring of Korea Line Corporation.
- Advising on the restructuring of the SK Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Korea.
- Kuntjoro Wibawa v Harianty Wibawa and others  SGHC 109 (breach of trust)
- Silica Investors Limited v Tomolugen Holdings Ltd and others  3 SLR 815 (High Court);  1 SLR 373 (Court of Appeal) (arbitration and minority oppression)
- Liew Kai Lung Karl v Ching Chiat Kwong  3 SLR 1204 (High Court); Civil Appeal No. 77 of 2015 (Court of Appeal);  SGHC 98 (statutory demand)
- United Overseas Bank Ltd v Bombay Talkies (S) Pte Ltd  SGHC 142 (statutory demand)
- Beluga Chartering GmbH (in liquidation) v Beluga Projects (Singapore) Pte Ltd (in liquidation) & anor  2 SLR 1035 (High Court);  2 SLR 815 (Court of Appeal) (cross border insolvency)
- Re International Formwork & Scaffolding Pte Ltd  1 SLR 205 (provisional liquidator’s lien)
- Urs Meisterhans v GIP Pte Ltd  1 SLR 552 (derivative action)
- Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd v Asia Pacific Links Ltd and another (Abdul Rahman bin Maarip, third party)  1 SLR 906 (fraud and misrepresentation)
- Otech Pakistan Pvt Ltd v Clough Engineering Ltd and Another  1 SLR(R) 989;  3 SLR(R) 1 (contract)
- Petrosin Corporation Pte Ltd v Clough Engineering Ltd  SGHC 170 (contract)
- Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank AG v C K Tang Ltd  SGHC 254 (contract)
- Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd v Easton Graham Rush and Another  2 SLR 14 (arbitration)
Memberships / Directorships
- Deputy Subject Coordinator of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education Part B Course, Insolvency Module
- Member, Law Society of Singapore
- Member, Singapore Academy Of Law
- Fellow, Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore
- Member, Insolvency Practitioners’ Guidelines Working Group, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
- Member, INSOL International
- Associate Mediator and Mediator on Insolvency Panel
- Contributor to the Chapter on Insolvency Law in the Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review of Singapore Cases.
- Co-author of the Chapter on “Judicial Management” in Law and Practice of Corporate Insolvency (LexisNexis, 2008)
- “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