Julian Kwek

Co-Head, Corporate Restructuring & Workouts
Co-Head, Indonesia Group


  • LL.B. (Hons), University of Wales College of Cardiff (1994)
  • Barrister-at-Law, The Middle Temple (1995)
  • Advocate & Solicitor of Singapore (1996)

Julian co-heads Drew & Napier's Indonesia Group and Corporate Restructuring & Workouts Practice. He focuses on cross-border mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, debt workouts, and corporate restructuring. Julian has been consistently ranked as a leading individual in his field for many years by leading legal publications.

In Indonesia, Julian advises foreign investors and Indonesian groups divesting equity or entering into joint ventures with foreign investors. He also advises high net-worth individuals and families in Indonesia particularly after the Tax Amnesty in Indonesia and the adoption of Automatic Exchange of Information pursuant to Common Reporting Standard.

Julian has been covering Indonesia since 2000, and he has been involved in many mining projects in Indonesia. On average, Julian makes about 15 to 20 trips a year to Indonesia.

On the debt workouts and corporate restructuring front, Julian and his team have advised on most of the largest workouts in Indonesia and also on most of the defaults involving PRC companies listed in Singapore.

Over many years, Julian has developed close working relationships with several State-Owned Enterprises (“SOE”) in the People’s Republic of China. He has advised many PRC SOE and PRC private enterprises over the last 20 years and some of them on a retainer basis.

Julian speaks and writes Mandarin and is conversant in Bahasa Indonesia.

Julian’s practice is focused on corporate finance work with an emphasis on cross-border mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, debt work-outs and corporate restructurings. Julian’s recent transactional experience includes:

  • Advised Resources Prima Group Ltd, a Catalist listed company on issues relating to its coal concession held through PT Rinjani Kartanegara and the subsequent potential RTO of another coal concession and another nickel concession.
  • Advised CVC on the restructuring of its investment, through Asia Color Company Limited, in PT Matahari Department Store Tbk (Matahari) with PT Multipolar Tbk and PT Matahari Pacific, and the subsequent public offering of a 40% stake in Matahari that raised approximately US$1.36 billion.
  • Advised Metro Holdings Limited in its S$200 million joint venture with PT. Trans Corpora in the development, marketing and sales of five 32-storey residential towers in Bekasi, Jakarta Indonesia; as well as its S$150 million joint venture with PT. Trans Corpora in the development, marketing and sales of various residential towers in Bintaro, Jakarta Indonesia.
  • Advised on the US$14 billion debt workout and corporate restructuring of the Asia Pulp & Paper group of companies (“APP Group”). The APP Group is one of the largest pulp and paper manufacturers in the world. Its primary operating companies are based in China and Indonesia, and it has more than 250 subsidiaries worldwide. The APP Group’s debt securities are registered primarily with the New York SEC and its equity securities are quoted on the Singapore, Jakarta, and Surabaya exchanges.
  • Advised PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk, an Indonesian company listed on both the Singapore and Jakarta Stock Exchanges in its US$2.6 billion restructuring exercise. This deal has been awarded Asian-MENA Counsel: Deals of the Year – Honourable Mention and IFLR Asia Awards 2016: Restructuring Deal of the Year.

Asia Pacific Legal 500
Restructuring & Insolvency 2020 – Recommended Lawyer for 5 consecutive years
Projects and Energy 2020 – Recommended Lawyer for 2 consecutive years
Corporate/M&A 2019 – Recommended Lawyer for 2 consecutive years

Clients described Julian as “absolutely first-class”, “committed and professional” with the “uncanny ability to look beyond the legal aspects and provide invaluable advice on commercial implications.”

Julian Kwek is “outstanding in developing and implementing effective and creative strategies that have produced successful debt restructurings in circumstances that seemed hopeless at the start”.

Chambers Asia-Pacific
Restructuring/Insolvency 2021 – Leading lawyer for 11 consecutive years

"He is not only able to offer legal advice but also assists with the commercial implications. He also has extensive experience and knowledge about Indonesian legal issues."

"He can always come up with an outside-the-box solution to address those risks and concerns that the clients might have."

"He impressed us with his work ethic and his extensive knowledge of Indonesia."

"He is a deal maker, with a China and Indonesia focus."

A client notes his "uncanny ability to look beyond just the legal side of things and can point out the commercial implications of a particular course of action."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide
Private Wealth Law 2020 Indonesia (Expertise based abroad) – Leading Individual for 4 consecutive years

Kwek's practice is broad-ranging, and includes private equity, cross-border M&A and joint venture matters. He works with both Indonesian clients and wealthy inward investors.

Kwek helps high net worth families and individuals on private client matters, including restructuring, estate and trusts matters, reorganising offshore holding structures and businesses.

He also assists with immigration and citizenship applications, as well as advising on tax efficiency and complying with the Common Reporting Standard.

IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms
Restructuring & Insolvency 2020 – Highly regarded for 3 consecutive years

Previously Leading Lawyer for 6 consecutive years from 2012 to 2017

A client praised Julian for being “intelligent, creative and hard-working”.  He “expertly [leads his] clients through complex cross-border debt restructuring matters.”

“Julian has a tremendous depth of understanding and knowledge of the Indonesian market which we are operating from. This knowledge had been most useful when assisting us to make major divestment decisions. He is able to think outside of the box and highlight to us, apart from legal issues, the commercial implications.“

A client commended Julian as an “excellent” lawyer in all respects. He is also “responsive to client needs.”

Julian is regarded as “extremely intelligent”, “hard-working” and “creative”.

“Julian has always been very responsive and able to provide excellent advice and suggestions on not just legal issues but also the commercial implications arising,” according to a client’s feedback.

Another adds, “He had impressed us on his extensive legal knowledge about Singapore law as well as a good grasp of the legal environment in Indonesia. His strongest point is his uncanny ability to look beyond just the legal perspective and also provided excellent advice on the commercial implications.”

I deal a lot with Julian Kwek and his team. I am very impressed with Julian's commitment and professionalism. The team is not there only to provide legal advice, but more importantly they can always come out with an outside the box solution to address those risks and concerns that the clients might have,” says a client.

Who’s Who Legal
Restructuring & Insolvency 2020 – Leading lawyer for 3 consecutive years

Julian Kwek is described as “hard-working” and “extremely intelligent”; he is lauded by peers for his “inventiveness when dealing with extraordinarily complex multinational debt restructurings”.

Asialaw Leading Lawyers
Restructuring and Insolvency 2021 – Elite Practitioner for 2 consecutive years, previously Market-leading Lawyer for 2 consecutive years
Corporate/M&A 2019 – Market-leading Lawyer

“In addition to his extensive knowledge of the Indonesian legal and working environment, Julian has the uncanny ability to provide advice and suggestions on the commercial aspect and implications of a situation.”

“Very knowledgeable and commercial-minded.”

“Technical skill coupled with commercial acumen.”

Asialaw Client Service Excellence
Recognised as one of the highest rated lawyers to work with in the field of Restructuring & Insolvency based on client feedback in 2020

Best Lawyers International: Singapore
Insolvency and Reorganisation Law 2021 – Endorsed individual for 10 consecutive years

Asia Business Law Journal
Identified as one of Singapore’s Top 100 lawyers 2019

  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Member, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
  • Honorary Secretary, Workforce Advancement Federation