Kathleen Aka is a partner in the Hong Kong office. She has extensive experience in relation to both contentious and non-contentious insolvency-related matters, having acted for senior secured and subordinated lenders, noteholders and trustees, distressed investment funds, insolvency practitioners, distressed corporations, trade creditors, and various other stakeholders.
Kathleen advises on a broad range of issues, from determining solvency through to options for effecting the complete financial and operational restructuring of distressed corporate groups. Her experience includes advising clients in relation to distressed M&A, secondary debt trading, financial and operational restructuring, loan portfolio sales, formal insolvency appointments, and informal workouts.
Kathleen works with her clients to develop and execute offensive or defensive strategies, as appropriate, to achieve optimal outcomes in distressed and special situations. Kathleen’s industry experience covers banking and financial services, insurance and reinsurance, health, infrastructure, energy, mining and agriculture, shipping and transportation, retail, and property.
- Advising the Joint Official Liquidators of LDK Solar Co. Limited.
- Advised an ad hoc group of noteholders on the restructuring of notes issued by LDK Solar. Named 2015 “Finance Deal of the Year for Restructuring & Insolvency” by The Asian Lawyer.
- Advised Kaisa Group, a Hong Kong-listed real estate company operating in China, on the restructuring of over US$3 billion in offshore liabilities. Named “Restructuring Deal of the Year” for 2017 at the IFLR Asia Awards.
- Advised PT Berlian Laju Tanker, Indonesia’s largest oil and gas shipping firm, in connection with its US$1.85 billion second-round consensual restructuring. Named “Restructuring Deal of the Year” for 2016 at the IFLR Asia Awards.
- Advised a group of bondholders on the restructuring of foreign currency convertible bonds issued by Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited.
Transactions completed prior to joining Ropes & Gray:
- Advised the Fitness First group on its global financial and operational restructuring, including the restructuring of A$910 million secured facilities through a debt for equity swap, the disposal of non-performing clubs, and a recapitalization of the restructured group.
- Advised a member of the TPG-led consortium on the restructuring of Alinta Energy's A$2.6 billion debt facility through creditors' schemes of arrangement, effecting a debt for equity swap and the transfer of the restructured group to a new lender-controlled entity.
- While on secondment, advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its capacity as an adviser and syndicated lender in the successful TPG/Carlyle sponsored A$2.7 billion LBO of Healthscope, Australia's second biggest private hospital operator.
- Advised the liquidators of Australian investment bank, Babcock & Brown Limited (In Liq), in relation to their investigations and examinations into the collapse of the parent entity of the Babcock & Brown Group.
- Advised the liquidators of Lehman Brothers Australia Limited (In Liq) in relation to the claims made by and against the company.
- Advised the agent for the secured lenders, and subsequently the receivers and managers, of Redbank Project and Redbank Construction.
- Advised the foreign representative of a Korean shipping company in Australia’s first application for recognition of a foreign main proceeding under the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth) (UNCITRAL Model Law).
- Advised a bondholder in relation to the voluntary administration and receivership of the Connector Motorways Group, which owned and operated the Lane Cove Tunnel, a major public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure project in Australia.
- Advised the trustee for debenture holders, and subsequently the receivers and managers, of lease finance company, Elderslie Finance Corporation Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (In Liq), which collapsed in July 2008 with debts of A$400 million, including negotiating and documenting the informal workout of a complex securitization structure involving numerous financiers.
- Advised liquidators, voluntary administrators, and receivers and managers in relation to a number of high profile Australian insolvency proceedings, including MF Global, HIH Insurance Limited, and New Cap Reinsurance Limited.
- Advised the trustee of the sovereign wealth fund of the Republic of Nauru, the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, in relation to commercial disputes in Australia.
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2020)
- Profiled, “40 Under 40,” Asian Legal Business (October 2019)
- Co-author, Hong Kong chapter for “Acquisition Finance 2019,” Lexology Getting the Deal Through (May 15, 2019)
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Finance, Kaplan, 2011
- Certificate (Australian Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association), Insolvency Education Program, 2009
- Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law, 2007
- LLB, University of New England, 2006
- BCom, University of New England, 2006
Admissions / Qualifications
- Australia, New South Wales, 2007
- Hong Kong, Solicitor, 2016
- High Court of Australia
- Australia, Supreme Court of New South Wales
- Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Next Generation Partner in Restructuring & Insolvency (2020-2021)
- Asian Legal Business “40 Under 40” (2019)
- IFLR1000: Rising Star (2021)