Complex uranium company restructure succeeds with KWM’s guidance

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A global firm showcased its national and regional capabilities as it helped in the complex restructure of a Western Australia-based uranium producer.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) advised Paladin Energy and its administrator, KPMG, on the company’s balance sheet restructure. KWM provided English law, Hong Kong law, and Australian law advice. It also coordinated local counsel in Canada, Namibia, Malawi, and Singapore.

The seven-month administration closed with a US$700m debt-for-equity swap via a deed-of-company arrangement and a court-approved s444GA share transfer, the global firm said.

There were multiple attempts at a solvent balance sheet structure, KWM said. The process was additionally complicated by the multi-jurisdictional assets of the company, its dual listing on the ASX and on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the multiple stakeholders involved.

Paladin has assets in Australia, Canada, Malawi and Namibia. China National Nuclear, French nuclear agency EDF, Deutsche Bank AG, South Africa’s Nedbank, and holders of Paladin’s two tranches of Singapore-listed convertible bonds were also involved as creditors and partners. Paladin itself had some 26,500 shareholders.

Tim Klineberg, KWM’s national head of restructuring and insolvency, said that the firm was involved prior to and during the administration of the company.

“The restructure relieves debt pressures facing the company, largely brought about by the slump in uranium prices,” he said.

The firm advised on all aspects of the restructure as international counsel to proactively respond to rapidly changing circumstances, said Paul Schroder, M&A partner.

The firm fielded a large, multi-disciplinary team across Australia. This included Klineberg and Schroder, who were supported by partners Philip Harvey and Nathan Collins. Also assisting in the transaction were Hong Kong counsel Ian Hardee; senior associates Gavin Rakoczy, David Jewkes, and Carone Huang; and solicitors Peixin Truong, Tom Kibble, and Karen Chen.

Tim Klineberg

Paul Schroder


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