Richard Johnson

Richard has specialised in restructuring, corporate insolvency and work outs since 2003. He regularly provides advice in relation to these matters to directors, creditors, distressed investors and many of Australia’s leading insolvency practitioners.

Richard regularly provides advice to directors in relation to the insolvent trading ‘safe harbour’ regime and related restructuring/recapitalisation endeavours and he has had a number of high profile engagements in both the ASX-listed and large proprietary company contexts. His practice also encompasses directors’ duties, advice and litigation under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth), creditors’ rights and distressed acquisitions and disposals.

Richard also acts for a number of creditors and financial investors in connection with non-performing credits, distressed debt trades (both acquisition and sale) and the structuring and execution of loan-to-own strategies in both consensual and contested debt restructuring matters.

Richard also acts in relation to regulatory investigations and commercial litigation matters arising out of financial distress.

Richard has published a number of refereed papers in relation to debt restructuring issues. Richard has been named “Lawyer of the Year” for Insolvency and Reorganisation Law in Best LawyersTM Australia 2019 edition. He is also recognised in Best LawyersTM Australia for Restructuring and Insolvency and by Doyle’s guide in 2015 to 2020 variously as a ‘preeminent’ and ‘leading’ lawyer for this category. Richard has been recognised by Legal500TM as ‘a noteworthy name in the Perth market’ and has been awarded the Fellowship by the Australia Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association.

Experience

Richard’s recent experience includes:

  • Safe harbour (ASX-listed): Advised the directors of several ASX-listed resources operations in relation to their restructuring and recapitalisation endeavours under the protection of safe harbour. The restructuring plans entailed combinations of debt rescheduling, debt forgiveness, covenant waiver and secondary equity capital raising activities (including rights issues, accelerated rights issues and placements);
  • Leading insolvency practice: Advised the receivers and managers of an ASX-listed iron ore producer in relation to complex operational and intercreditor issues and the contested debt and equity restructure of the company by way of a deed of company arrangement that provided for a combination of debt rescheduling and conversion of debt to equity;
  • Distressed debt investor: Acted for shareholder proponent in connection with the voluntary administration and subsequent deed of company arrangement in respect of an ASX-listed miner. This matter involved the structuring of a deed of company arrangement and creditors’ trust designed to deliver equity control to the proponent, together with the successful defence of Federal Court litigation by an aggrieved rival bidder seeking to terminate the deed;
  • Safe harbour (large private company): Advised the directors of a large private company in relation to the restructuring and recapitalisation of that entity under the protection of safe harbour (by way of combination of standstill agreements, debt forgiveness, novation of liability and a cost-reduction and non-core asset sale programme);
  • Industrial/mining equipment lessor: Advised an ASX-listed entity in relation to a vesting and priority dispute under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) with the administrators of a distressed mining contractor and successfully resisted those claims in the Federal Court of Australia; and
  • National professional services firm: Advising the equity directors of a large professional services practice in relation to corporate control matters and the liquidation of the holding company within their corporate group (ie the liquidation being the result of an oppression action by a minority shareholder in the holding company). This matter entailed the provision of advice to the equity directors in relation to the insolvency process and the structuring, negotiation and execution of a transaction to see them regain control of the subsidiary entities and certain intercompany debts within the corporate group.

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