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Tahirah Ara

Managing Partner, Singapore and Head of Asia

Personal Profile

Tahirah acts as lead counsel for her clients in cross border M&A transactions, joint ventures and financing transactions including acquisition financings, receivables backed financings, high yield syndicated loans and debt restructurings. She has been lead counsel to borrowers in some of the largest debt restructurings in South East Asia. Tahirah, based in Singapore, is qualified in England and Wales and Singapore and her practice has a particular focus on Indonesia.

Tahirah has been recognised for expertise in restructuring matters and commended for being ‘commercially minded in her approach’ and for her ‘extensive experience in the Indonesian market’ by The Legal 500. She has been identified by the Global Restructuring Review as one of the ‘Names to know in Indonesia’ and one of the most prominent women in its report on ‘Women in Restructuring 2019’. 

Tahirah is Co-Chair of the Indonesia network of IWIRC (International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation). She is an INSOL Fellow and a member of the INSOL Younger Members Committee.  Tahirah sits on the board of directors of the Turnaround Management Association in Southeast Asia.

Tahirah has been ranked as a Recommended Lawyer for Restructuring and Insolvency by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific since 2023.  She is also ranked in Chambers Asia Pacific for Restructuring/Insolvency, 2023-2024, and Banking & Finance (Indonesia expertise based abroad), 2023-2024.

Key Experience

  • Advised PT Bumi Resources Tbk. one of the largest coal exporters in the world in its successful US$4.5 billion debt restructuring. The matter included a PKPU court supervised restructuring in Indonesia and Chapter 15 recognition in the United States, culminating in exchange of US$4.5 billion of international loans and bonds for new senior loans and bonds, mandatory convertible bonds (MCBs) and contingent value rights (CVRs) as well as new equity. Led complex multilateral negotiations with key creditors and their counsels, including the China Development Bank (CDB), China Investment Corporation (CIC). Responsible for providing US and UK advice and coordinating teams of local counsel in Indonesia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Cayman Islands. This was one of the largest and most complex debt restructurings ever completed in SE Asia and was awarded "Finance Deal of the Year: Insolvency and Restructuring" at Asian Lawyer’s Asia Legal Awards 2018, "Debt Market Deal of the Year (Premium)" at the 2018 ALB SE Asian Law Awards.
  • Advising PT Apexindo Pratama Duta Tbk, a listed Indonesian offshore and onshore drilling contractor, on the implementation of a composition plan homologated by the commercial court in Jakarta, Indonesia for the restructuring of the company’s debts including a US$445 million syndicated loan and bank guarantee facility.
  • Advising PT Bakrie Sumatera Plantations Tbk., one of the oldest plantation companies in Indonesia which is listed on the Jakarta stock exchange, in the restructuring of its syndicated bank loan and equity linked notes.
  • Advised PT Visi Media Asia Tbk. a listed company in Indonesia that owns televisions stations ANTV and tvOne, on the restructuring of its loan. The restructuring involved a complex inter-creditor agreement.
  • Advised Long Haul Holdings Ltd. and PT Bakrie & Brothers Tbk (Bakrie Group) in March 2014 in the acquisition of a 29.2% interest in PT Bumi Resources Tbk from Asia Resource Minerals plc (formerly Bumi plc) (ARMS) for US$501 million in cash, and the disposal of the Bakrie Group’s entire 23.8% indirect interest in ARMS to Ravenwood Acquisition Company Limited. This was one of the most significant and complex transactions in recent times between the UK and Asia. This cross-border deal straddled legal and business issues in Singapore, Indonesia and England.
  • Advised a subsidiary of a public Indonesian company, on its acquisition of a 100% stake in a Singapore SPV (the target company) from a sovereign wealth fund that runs, through its Indonesian subsidiary, two data centres in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Career History

Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Partner, Withers LLP

Prior to that, Tahirah  practised at both Singapore and International law firms based in Singapore.

Articles and Publications

Insights into Indonesia: An interview with Tahirah Ara with the Asian Business Law Institute
Mishcon de Reya’s newly appointed Asia Managing Partner, Tahirah Ara, details the firm’s vision for the region
Tahirah Ara featured in Women in Restructuring 2019

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