Bangkok Mid Year Conference 2015

Our 3rd ATTA Mid-Year Conference was  held in Bangkok on 12 June 2015 and was a great opportunity for our members and others interested in transformation and turnaround in Southeast Asia to get together.

Below is a summary of the Conference agenda.

Case Study: Magic Carpet Ride
Peter Taylor (Smythe Partners)

Challenges and solutions for funding business transformations and turnarounds in Asia
Damien Coles  (Kirkland & Ellis)
Ben Harris (OCP Asia (Hong Kong) Ltd)
David Naphtali (Madison Pacific Trust Ltd)
Mani Joseph (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Creative approaches for extracting value from obsolete, excess and distressed assets
George Kelakos, Supanit Chaiyawat, Francis Yau
(Hilco Global)

Case Study: The Privatisation of New Kabul Bank, Afghanistan Update
Janet Geddes (Muirfield Consultants Company Ltd)

Litigation Funding

Rupert Purser (Turnaround Asia, in conjunction with Burford Capital)

More information on the speakers can be found in the Speakers Bio Pack.


**  3rd Mid Year ATTA Conference 2015 - Bangkok  **

ATTA Chairman, Russell Brown, Managing Partner of LehmanBrown, welcomed everyone to the Conference.  Russell thanked Hilco Global for their sponsorship of the pre-Conference cocktail party and also outlined the history of ATTA.  He also informed members and guests that ATTA is close to signing a reciprocal membership agreement with the Institute for Turnaround in UK and Europe.

Peter Taylor, Partner, Smythe Partners presented the first case study of the day.  The company in question is the Thai manufacturing subsidiary of an Australian family-owned company where issues included inappropriate capitalisation (too many fixed assets, not enough cash), poor succession management in the owning family and dishonest management in the subsidiary.  After much time and effort, Peter has finally got the Thai entity to break-even point and a sale may now be possible.

Damien Coles, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP then moderated a most interesting panel discussion on alternative and special situations funding for turnaround cases.  Panel members were Ben Harris, Managing Director, OCP Asia (Hong Kong) Ltd, David Naphtali, Managing Director, Madison Pacific Trust Ltd and Mani Joseph, Director, Global Credit & Special Sitations, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Topics covered included a review of the Special Situations market in Asia, where capital is currently available and how to get it, as well as the challenges of lending into distressed opportunities and how lenders seek to mitigate those.

George Kelakos, Head of Business Development Asia, Hilco Global, led the final session of the morning.  George introduced his colleagues, Supanit Chaiyawat, President & CEO, Hilco Global Asia Ltd (Thailand) and Francis Yau, President & CEO, Hilco Global Greater China Ltd (Hong Kong) and together they discussed the various ways in which unwanted assets, including scrap, can be monetised to provide a very useful source of cash in turnaround situations. Entire buildings can be reduced to scrap and monetised. Francis also entertained delegates with details of some of the more unusual assets found in Customs in Hong Kong and which he has had to find ways to deal with.

Janet Geddes, Director, Muirfield Consultants, took up the reins after lunch and gave an update from her 2013 presentation on her work in New Kabul Bank in Afghanistan. Janet outlined the mismatch between pre-assignment financial and operational information as opposed to the reality on the ground.  She also discussed ways in which the bank, in spite of severe constraints on its operations, has now been able to reduce operating losses very substantially.  This has been done increasing fees for key services such as payroll distribution whilst also introducing a wide range of new retail banking services.  Janet then gave a short insight into daily life for foreign advisors in Kabul.         

Rupert Purser, Director, Turnaround Asia (in conjunction with Burford Capital), introduced the topic of Litigation Funding.  Rupert explained that via an agreement with one of the specialist litigation funders it may be possible to unlock the often substantial value of unresolved litigation claims. This can be a solution for the lack of working capital in turnaround cases, enabling the conservation of cash for operations whilst still being able to pursue litigation and/or arbitration cases.  Rupert also reviewed difficulties in certain jurisdictions (e.g. the problem of maintenance & champerty in Hong Kong), including ways in which these might be overcome.

Special thanks to George Kelakos, Janet Geddes and Peter Taylor for their invaluable input and support in coordinating the Conference.

ATTA gratefully acknowledge the support of Hilco Global in the sponsorship of the Conference Cocktail Reception.


Pre-Conference Cocktails


The night before the Conference, Cocktails were held at Axis & Spin, an excellent bar located on the top two floors of the Continent Hotel. This was generously sponsored by Hilco Global.  Delegates and speakers were able to get to know each other whilst enjoying wonderful evening views over central Bangkok together with the excellent food and beverages served by Axis & Spin.



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