Overview

Dirk Behnsen is a senior associate in the Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Insolvency practice in Mayer Brown's Hong Kong office. Before entering the legal profession, Dirk worked for a German bank in Bremen and Frankfurt. He then trained and worked in the London and Hong Kong offices of a US law firm and joined Mayer Brown in August 2016. 

Dirk specialises in restructuring and insolvency matters with a particular focus on representing key stakeholders throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including insolvency officeholders, creditors (financial institutions, bondholders and other private credit investors), corporate debtors, directors and others in a wide variety of complex cross-border matters both on the contentious and non-contentious side across a broad range of industry sectors. 

Dirk brings strong technical and commercial expertise to both front-end transactional and back-end insolvency matters, including distressed M&A transactions, acting for both private equity and trade purchasers as well as insolvency practitioners as sellers.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • German

Experience

Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Insolvency

  • Advised provisional liquidators of a Hong Kong listed company on the restructuring of the group and its manufacturing business in the PRC and a potential resumption of trading on the stock exchange.
  • Achieved the successful restructuring and resumption of trading of a Hong Kong listed company through parallel schemes of arrangement in Hong Kong and Bermuda following a capital injection by a PRC ‘white knight’ investor. 
  • Represented Indonesia’s largest listed coal mining company on a strategic investment, taking the lead on restructuring a US$1.9 billion debt of a sovereign wealth fund.
  • Restructured the debt of approximately HK$700 million owed by a Hong Kong company to various financial institutions via a scheme of arrangement.
  • Representing an Indonesian telecoms provider with respect to the restructuring of its US$380 million bonds.
  • Concluded a multi-bank workout of bilateral loans in excess of US$100 million advanced to a Hong Kong based undergarment manufacturer. 
  • Negotiated the repayment of over US$52 million owed by a distressed Brazilian conglomerate to the Hong Kong and Italian branches of a global financial institution.
  • Advised the liquidators of the Hong Kong subsidiary of an insolvent US investment bank on the adjudication of creditors’ claims. 
  • Represented a US alternative energy investment fund in its restructuring of its syndicated loan advanced to a series of solar energy projects in the Philippines.
  • Assisted with a high-profile restructuring of a Singapore/Hong Kong listed company and related winding-up proceedings brought in Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
  • Counsel to a financial institution in connection with the sale of a distressed loan position together with the disposal of a real estate asset /assisted living facility in the PRC.
  • Advisor to an international bank’s private equity arm on the restructuring and sale out of receivership of a real estate development in the PRC.
  • Advising on the restructuring of a real estate development investment by a financial institution, which involved companies onshore (PRC) as well as offshore (Hong Kong and Cayman Islands).
  • Advised the receivers appointed by a syndicate of lenders to a major Chinese conglomerate and successfully negotiated their early retirement in connection with a refinancing of the syndicated loan.
  • Advised the bond trustee of RMB 2.5 billion bonds issued by a PRC issuer on the occurrence of a change of control and put event and the issuer’s payment default.
  • Counsel to the bond and indenture trustees of US$160,000,000, US$260,000,000 and certain RMB-denominated USD settled convertible bonds in connection with the occurrence of a non-payment event of default and the contemplated restructuring of the issuer's outstanding debt via parallel schemes of arrangement.
  • Advised the bond trustee of US$150,000,000 guaranteed notes on the occurrence of certain events of default, acceleration of the notes and subsequent recovery of approximately US$142 million.
  • Advised on a complex standstill/forbearance arrangement between an Indonesian shipping company and two development agencies.  

Corporate and M&A 

  • Advised a private equity fund on the enforcement options available to it in connection with its investment of approximately US$43 million into a distressed Indian real estate project.
  • Advised a Vietnamese bank on the sale and purchase of the Vietnamese retail business put up for auction by an Australian bank.
  • Advised a leading Japanese trading company on its pre-IPO investment in an Indonesian company.
  • Represented a major Indonesian natural resources exploration and exploitation company, in a strategic investment deal valued at approximately US$1.35 billion that represents one of the largest M&A transactions in Indonesia in 2014. One phase of the transaction alone represents one of the largest ever acquisitions in terms of consideration paid for a stake in an Indonesian mining company.

Banking & Finance

  • Advised a Vietnamese conglomerate on the refinancing of a US$400 million syndicated term facility. 
  • Counsel to a special-situation investment fund with respect to a working capital facility to be advanced to a Hong Kong subsidiary of a Greek public company and to be secured by Hong Kong real estate assets. 
  • Advised Asia's leading securities and investment broker on a US$10 million bilateral facility to Vietnam's longest established independent asset manager.
  • Advised two Indonesian start-ups on multiple successful financing rounds of financing of several millions each leading to a significant uplift in the clients' post-money valuation. 
  • Advised a US bank on its acquisition and financing of non-performing loans in the PRC alongside a major private equity fund.

Funds

  • Advised a private equity firm on its successful fund-raising for a fund in excess of US$5.5 billion, making it one of largest secondaries fundraising globally at the time.
  • Advised a private equity fund on the acquisition of a portfolio of private equity-related investments. 
  • Advised sovereign wealth funds on their strategic investment in the management business of a private equity firm.
  • Advised the fund management team of a private equity firm on its client due diligence process and on the client's largest private equity fund raising to date.
  • Advised a client on the terms of a limited partnership agreement and private placement memorandum. 

Dispute Resolution

  •  Advised on the settlement of a dispute in connection with the estate of the late Mrs Nina Wang.

Education

University College London (University of London), Master of Laws, Specialisation in Finance, Banking & Commerce

Hanse Law School, Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg, Bachelor of Laws, European and Comparative Law

Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Professional Diploma in Insolvency

Admissions

  • England and Wales
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland (non-practising)