Personal bankruptcy

Overview

If an individual can no longer meet his debt obligations, bankruptcy may be the only remaining option. It can help creditors looking to mitigate their exposure through asset realisation and the subsequent distribution of any surplus proceeds.

Here at PwC, we have extensive experience acting as Court-appointed Bankruptcy Trustees and giving pragmatic pre-bankruptcy advice.

Through helping clients investigate bankrupt individuals’ affairs, we have successfully uncovered hidden assets in Hong Kong and overseas, generating significant recoveries for creditors.

Working closely with stakeholders, we can draw up a plan to protect your rights as a creditor and achieve a financial recovery in a bankruptcy administration. 

 

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Potential issues

As a creditor:

  • a pre-bankruptcy assessment and asset search will help you locate the bankrupt’s assets globally and formulate appropriate recovery actions prior to your petition against the debtor
  • you want an advisor to investigate the bankrupt’s conduct under the Bankruptcy Ordinance in Hong Kong and to identify the causes of personal bankruptcy. Investigation may also reveal voidable transactions (e.g. sales of assets at an undervalue) and lead to potential asset recovery
  • you need a thorough investigation of the bankrupt individual to identify assets for potential recoveries so that all his assets are fully uncovered. 

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Support

We can:

  • help creditors achieve straightforward, practical solutions
  • carry out investigations into the bankrupt’s affairs
  • conduct forensic accounting examinations to identify any assets transferred to third parties which may be recovered
  • adopt an innovative approach, including the use of search warrants and injunctions, to identify, locate and preserve the value of the bankrupt’s assets
  • minimise costs, maximise recoveries and perform dividend distribution to creditors as soon as possible, through early interventions. 

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Our experience

Bankruptcy of Mr X

  • We acted as trustees of the property of bankrupt (who was highly uncooperative), involving more than HKD100 million of debt
  • Investigated the transfer of shareholdings and substantial amounts of cash to third parties prior to his bankruptcy
  • Worked closely with legal advisers to obtain a search and arrest warrant from the Hong Kong Court against the bankrupt, and recovered significant assets from his residential property
  • Obtained a private examination order, requiring him to attend Court and produce documents in respect of his assets in Hong Kong and mainland China, and other questionable transactions
  • Initiated legal proceedings to determine whether certain pre-existing property transfers constituted a transaction at undervalue with the intent to defraud creditors
  • Our work resulted in a substantial settlement with the bankrupt.

Realisation of assets in China

  • We acted as trustees over an individual with bank debts in excess of HKD40 million. The bankrupt’s main asset consisted of a minority stake in a Chinese electronic company, which was on the verge of bankruptcy
  • Conducted due diligence on the operation of the Chinese electronic company and performed a valuation on the shares
  • Liaised with the existing management in China to prepare an information memorandum for potential buyers
  • Worked closely with the legal advisor in China to obtain recognition for our appointment with the relevant China authorities
  • Successfully identified multiple bidders, negotiated the term sheets with existing shareholders, and completed the transaction within nine months of our appointment. 

Pre-bankruptcy advisory

  • We conducted a pre-bankruptcy analysis on a debtor located in Hong Kong on behalf of a US-based client
  • Conducted searches on the debtor’s assets in Hong Kong and mainland China, and identified a potential interest in a factory and hotel in China
  • Presented a summary of assets and proposals for recovery actions to the client, including enforcement.

 

 

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Contact us

Ted Osborn
Restructuring and insolvency Leader
Tel: +[852] 2289 2299
Email

Victor Jong
Partner
Tel: +[86] (21) 2323 3650
Email

Christopher So
Partner
Tel: +[852] 2289 2577
Email

Chris Chin
Director
Tel: +[852] 2289 2530
Email

Annette Lee
Director
Tel: +[852] 2289 2582
Email

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