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Sim Kwan Kiat

Head, Restructuring & Insolvency Practice

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 has been cited and recognised in the field of restructuring and insolvency by international legal directories such as Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022 as a “Band 1” practitioner, and recommended as a “Global Leader” by Who’s Who Legal 2022. He has also been identified as a “Highly Regarded” and “Distinguished” practitioner by asialaw Profiles 2022, IFLR1000 2022, and  Benchmark Litigation 2021.

According to The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022, Kwan Kiat is “commercial minded, highly analytical and helpful. Besides strong technical knowledge, his ability to see through complex restructuring and understand the landscape among various stakeholders, serves as a cutting-edge tool for lenders.

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.
  • Advising bank lenders in the proposed restructuring and insolvency of Ezion Holdings, a Singapore listed oil & gas company.
  • 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.
  • Acting for major bank lenders in the restructuring of the Pacific Radiance group.
  • 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. LCG is one of the largest underground utilities infrastructure company in Singapore.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Re DSG Asia Holdings Pte Ltd [2021] SGHC 209 (scheme of arrangement)
  • Leow Quek Shiong v Rothstar Group Ltd [2021] SGHC 176 (avoidance of transaction at undervalue)
  • 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)
  • HG Metal Manufacturing Ltd v Gayathri Steels Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 284 (breach of contract)
  • 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)
Memberships/Directorships
  • Deputy Subject Coordinator of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education Part B Course, Insolvency Law Module
  • Vice-chairman, Insolvency Committee of 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
  • Consultation group expert for Guide on the Treatment of Insolvent Micro and Small Enterprises in Asia, May 2022, Asian Business Law Institute and International Insolvency Institute
  • Co-author, Singapore chapter of the Insolvency Global Practice Guide, Chambers and Partners (2020)
  • Co-author, Singapore Chapter in Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency in Asia, Asian Business Law Institute (2020)
  • Contributor to the Chapter on Insolvency Law in the Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review of Singapore Cases(ongoing).
  • “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