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Insolvency and Securities Enforcement

When businesses face financial obstacles (either as a creditor or a debtor), it is important that they comprehensively consider financial interests. Among other things, this may be achieved by considering which businesses they trade with, is it possible to take further and better security, what terms are offered and by seeking to minimise bad or uncertain debt. Similarly, when a company faces a rising debt scenario, it is important to employ strategies to manage financial distress and minimise any impact upon both operations and creditors. HWL Ebsworth’s Restructuring and Insolvency practice is an extremely important part of our business, enabling us to service our clients at each and every stage of the economic cycle.

HWL Ebsworth has built a strong reputation as a leading corporate restructuring and insolvency advisory firm in Australia. In recent years, the group has continued to grow and is a truly national practice with dedicated specialists in all jurisdictions across Australia. We are proud to offer one of Australia’s most highly regarded and geographically diverse restructuring and insolvency teams in Australia, including a dedicated PPSA specialist. This allows us to offer both capability and experience in all types of restructuring and insolvency – whether it is secured or unsecured and from retail matters, through to SME and large institutional exposures.

Being able to offer full coverage across an entire network allows us to provide unrivalled value to clients, whether in an advisory capacity in order to avoid distress or ultimately delivering a greater return to stakeholders when managing a distressed situation.

HWL Ebsworth is a close advisor to 3 of the 4 major Australian banks and has close relationships with both local and international insolvency practitioners. We also act for directors and various financiers and other investors, in relation to both formal and informal restructures and strategic acquisitions.

The team has acted on many of the industry’s landmark cases, are heavily involved in industry bodies and offer regular thought leadership to industry participants and clients.

EXPERIENCE
  • Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) v. Clive Palmer: Continues to represent the General Purpose Liquidators of Queensland Nickel.  Among other things, we have successfully represented the General Purpose Liquidators of Queensland Nickel in a High Court proceedings heard before the Full Bench of the High Court.   The High Court unanimously dismissed Mr Palmer’s writ to set aside summonses for his public examination on constitutional grounds;
  • Acquisition of Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast: We have acted together with our commercial and property teams within HWL Ebsworth for the consortium acquiring the Sheraton Mirage for approximately $140 million.  This included, amongst other things, applying to the Supreme Court for urgent injunctions and orders for specific performance as against the seller and other contractual disputes  (as against other parties);
  • Koko Black administration: We represented Deloitte as the administrators and then liquidators of the national Koko Black franchise including on the negotiation of PPSA issues and Court proceedings to obtain freezing orders in relation to a former employee;
  • Animal Supplies Group administration: We continue to represent Deloitte as then administrators and now liquidators of the Animal Supplies Group. This has included, amongst other things, completing a sale of the business to Pet Barn Pty Ltd in a short time frame which assisted in preserving significant value for creditors, resolved significant and numerous PPSA disputes as well as realising and resolving numerous significant preference claims for the benefits of creditors;
  • Black Swan Dips: We represented the founding Director of this iconic brand on a highly publicised matter that included the appointment of Court Appointed Receivers, negotiations for the orderly sale of company assets through the receivers, and dealings with major stockists (including IGA);
  • CFC Group: We are acting for the defendants in a complex insolvent trading and unfair preference claim amounting to $15m. The matter involves issues concerning the extent to which companies can be a de facto director, the circumstances in which a company will be a holding company and the extent to which the “peak indebtedness rule” does, or should continue to, apply in Australia;
  • Pluton Resources Limited: We have acted for the receivers and managers in relation to the restructure of the iron ore producer – Pluton Resources Limited; and
  • Western Desert Resources Ltd (in liquidation): Acting for the Administrators then liquidators of the high profile insolvency of listed iron ore miner WDR in northern Australia.