Michael is a highly regarded lawyer specialising in banking, financial law, property development, construction finance, restructuring, and insolvency. His in-depth experience spans domestic and cross-border financings.
Michael acts for local and international banks, mezzanine lenders, other financial institutions, corporate borrowers, directors, and insolvency practitioners.
Highly experienced in construction/development financings and commercial property, he assists major trading banks with syndicated and bi-lateral transactions and many of the mezzanine funders and developers with construction projects and property investments. His clients include BNZ, ANZ, ASB, Westpac, and Kiwibank, as well as multinational developers such as Icon Developments, Hengyi, and Newcrest.
Recognised as a leading insolvency and restructuring lawyer by multiple legal directories, Michael advises on solvent and insolvent restructuring/workouts, selling distressed debt and security, security enforcement, and recovery strategies. He assists insolvency practitioners in their role as receivers, voluntary administrators, and liquidators and on all aspects of insolvency law, security, trading, and asset disposal. He has acted for various distressed debtors, including JUCY Rental Group in the restructure and sale of its distressed rental and hotel business following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael also advises directors (particularly on directors’ duties in a distressed context), unsecured creditors, and corporate borrowers on all aspects of financings, insolvency, and restructurings.
A dedicated lawyer, Michael has excellent technical skills and a strong commercial approach. Clients appreciate his timely advice and enjoy working with him. His expert knowledge is consistently praised. He has been described by one client as “experienced, pragmatic and reliable” and as a lawyer who “does excellent work” – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022. Another client rates his "insolvency and restructuring experience along with negotiation skills." Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020.
Michael has international experience, having worked at Mayer Brown and Hogan Lovells in London before joining the firm.
Advising on some of New Zealand’s most high profile and complex restructuring and insolvency matters. This includes Dick Smith’s voluntary administration and receivership (a cross-border insolvency transaction and New Zealand’s largest voluntary administration impacting on a diverse group of stakeholders), the Mainzeal Richina Group insolvency (a complex group liquidation involving 14 companies), the Crafer Farms receivership (involving New Zealand’s largest privately owned dairy farming operation and attracting substantial media attention), and the Hilton Queenstown development receivership (Kawarau Falls was a $1 billion, six hotel development in Queenstown and was one of largest property developments in New Zealand that ended up in receivership).
Advising JUCY Group and Calibre as receivers on JUCY Group’s post-Covid restructure, resulting in the pre-pack receivership sale of the business and assets of JUCY Group to Polar Capital – the most significant tourism business restructured as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting for the administrators of the Kurow-Duntroon Irrigation Company Limited (Administrators Appointed and In Receivership). The company had 70 shareholders party to the Scheme who were landowners located in the Kurow-Duntroon area. The Scheme upgraded its infrastructure and through that process a dispute occurred leading to an award, by way of adjudication, being made against the Company which resulted in the directors appointing administrators and inviting the major secured creditor to appoint receivers. Michael advised the administrators on all aspects of the voluntary administration including the creditors meeting, the watershed meeting, the proposed DOCA and the administrators’ report.
Acting for the receivers, BDO, on the receivership of Warkworth Holdings Limited (in receivership and liquidation). The main asset was a large plot of undeveloped residential land that was ultimately sold for $53 million. The matter was contentious with the mezzanine lender, shareholders and interested third parties threatening legal action against the receivers on their appointment and on the conduct of the receivership. Our advice helped the receivers sell the secured assets above market value and their appointers’ expectations. As a result, all secured and preferential creditors were paid in full, and no formal action was filed against the receivers.
Acting for all major New Zealand banks with specialist property finance teams.
Acting for a large multinational development group on funding and investing in various developments in New Zealand.
- Member, Institute of Financial Professionals New Zealand Inc (INFINZ)
- Member, Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand Inc (RITANZ)
- Member, Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA)
Achievements and recognition
- Recognised, Restructuring and Insolvency, Chambers Asia-Pacific
- Leading Individual, Restructuring and Insolvency, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
- Tier 1 team, Banking and Finance, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
- Tier 1 team, Restructuring and Insolvency, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
- Highly Regarded, Restructuring and Insolvency, Banking and Project Finance, IFLR1000
- Recognised, Insolvency and Reorganisation Law, Best Lawyers