AREAS OF PRACTICE
Bernard focuses on corporate, commercial, banking and property practice areas with experience in mergers & acquisitions, stock exchange listings, public offerings, capital markets, corporate finance, structured finance, securities and mutual funds legislations, corporate and retail banking transactions, property development, insurance and corporate and debt restructuring schemes.
Bernard has been cited and recognised as a leading lawyer in Brunei by Asialaw, in Band I in Chambers & Partners and as a market leading lawyer in IFLR1000.
Prior to joining the Firm in 2003, he practiced law in Kuala Lumpur and was the principal counsel in a number of successfully completed major corporate and debt restructuring workouts in Malaysia where he acted for Special Administrators appointed by Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad (the Malaysian National Debt Restructuring Agency), investment banks and listed companies on debt restructuring, schemes of arrangements, equity and debt issuance, public listings, securities laws compliance and assets securitisation. Significant workouts include: –
- Idris Hydraulic (Malaysia) Berhad’s debt and corporate restructuring exercise involving debt reconstruction and settlement in the amount of approximately RM857,000,000-00 with, inter alia, 12 banks and credit and finance companies;
- Austral Amalgamated Berhad’s debt reconstruction and settlement of approximately RM805,000,000-00 of debt and transfer of its listing status to Furqan Business Organisation Berhad;
- Time Engineering Berhad’s successfully restructured repayment obligations of US Dollar 250,000,000-00 mortgage bonds working in association with JP Morgan Inc and a group foreign syndicated institutional holder;
Woo Hing Brothers (Malaya) Bhd’s corporate restructuring exercise involving the acquisition of the entire equity for RM1,560,000-00 and the purchase of 10 asset companies valued at RM256,000,000-00 via a combination of equity and debt securities.
In Brunei, Bernard has advised on a wide range of corporate, commercial, securities and financial transactions. Bernard handles the firm’s international clients and advises them on their investments into Brunei and as well as their joint ventures with local partners. These include matters pertaining licensing, corporate registration and administration, banking and employment. Bernard has been involved in a number of significant transactions and projects in Brunei including acting for:
- the Brunei Economic Development Board on a number of its major projects and initiatives involving inter alia:
– the setting up of the Sungai Liang Industrial Park consisting of approximately 271 hectares of land to locate up to 4 petrochemical plants;
– the establishment of the Sungai Liang Authority via the Sungai Liang Authority Order 2007 working in conjunction with foreign solicitors;
– the cooperation and project agreements with the Brunei Methanol Company Sdn Bhd for the proposed setting up of a methanol industrial plant in Sungai Liang and the marine export facility; and
– the setting up of the first Brunei SME ICT Incubation Centre (iCentre).
- two banking institutions, one in respect of its sale and the other in respect of its disposal, of banking assets and security in Brunei;
- the Islamic Development Bank Berhad in its B$400,000,000-00 merger transaction with Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam;
- a local joint venture liquefied natural gas company and its co-adviser in its Brunei $100,000,000-00 issue of Islamic Sukuk (bonds);
- Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Berhad on its acquisition and transfer of the business and assets in Brunei Darussalam of Aviva Insurance Berhad and its setting up and licensing registration with the authorities;
- Clients in tender and negotiations for ICT contracts with the Brunei Government and their technical partners in a number of transactions including (i) the e-Government Public Key Infrastructure System (EG PKI) Project with the DTSS, Ministry of Finance, (ii) the Industry and Trade Management System (ITMS) Project with Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, (iii) the Gerbang Bahasa System (Library) Project, with the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka Brunei, Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports and Web Portal Application System Project for the Brunei Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports;
- a leading banking institution on its multi-million dollar procurement of banking solution and systems software and services from multiple vendors and service providers.
- Telekom Brunei Berhad on its joint venture with a leading foreign IT software and service provider to set a contact centre in Brunei.
- Telekom Brunei Berhad on the commissioning of its broadband fibre optic network infrastructure project.
- a foreign company on the accession documents and guarantee by its subsidiary in relation to a multi- million dollar restructured syndicated loan and bond facilities.
- a leading listed Singapore entity on its consortium agreement with a local major private corporate group to undertake an EPC Project for a waste management system in Brunei.
- Soy & World International on its joint venture with a local Brunei company to undertake manufacturing and marketing of soy related products in Brunei and regionally.
- Advised one of the world’s major integrated oil and gas services and solutions provider on its investment and joint venture with a local partner to develop business in Brunei.
Bernard is a Commissioner for Oaths.