Navigating Crisis – Considerations for Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds

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Globally, private equity (“PE”) and venture capital (“VC”) funds ended April 2020 with a record $2.6 trillion in unspent capital at their disposal. With cash readily available, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic presents ample opportunities for well-managed PE and VC sponsors to capitalize on these trying economic circumstances. At the same time, the economic damage wrought by the pandemic presents significant challenges to sponsors and their portfolio companies. This article discusses some of the ongoing opportunities and challenges PE and VC sponsors face, with a focus on three broad categories: (i) considerations for existing portfolio companies, (ii) the impact on transaction execution and terms for new portfolio investments, and (iii) fund-level considerations.

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COVID-19 Updates for Singapore Employers: Cost Reduction, Mandatory Notifications, and Government Support from the Fortitude Budget

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Following the end of the circuit breaker period on 1 June 2020, Singapore is implementing a gradual resumption of business. During this period, employers are likely to continue to have concerns over cost-saving and business continuity measures and the government support available to them.

 

Since our previous article, there have been a number of updates and advisories from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) providing additional guidance to employers during the circuit breaker period and beyond. Shortly before the end of the circuit breaker period, the Singapore government had also presented the Fortitude Budget on 26 May 2020, which includes, among other things, additional support for employers.

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Reopening the Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Employers Need to Know

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Singapore’s circuit breaker period came to an end on 2 June 2020 with the government introducing a three-phased approach for transitioning into a “new normal” and resuming economic activities safely.

With certain businesses reopening, the government is encouraging continued vigilance through a mix of statutory obligations as well as guidelines from the various government ministries. In terms of statutory obligations, the updated COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 includes specific obligations for employers, among others, to institute safe practices in the workplace. In terms of guidelines, the Ministry of Manpower has issued certain Safe Management Measures for general workplace settings and sector-specific guidelines for specific workplace settings.

This article aims to educate and provide guidance to employers operating post-circuit breaker on the requirements which may be relevant to them.

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Alternative Arrangements for Companies’ General Meetings

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We had previously written about the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and its provisions for the Minister for Law to prescribe alternative arrangements for, among others, the holding of general meetings.

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Companies, Variable Capital Companies, Business Trusts, Unit Trusts and Debenture Holders) Order 2020 (Order) was published in the Gazette on 13 April (and subsequently amended on 14 April 2020 and on 24 April 2020) and is deemed to come into effect on 27 March 2020.

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COVID-19 Pandemic: Relief Measures for Businesses in Myanmar

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Myanmar’s economy and businesses have seen a significant slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To curb with this slowdown, the Myanmar government has come out with various measures that are intended to provide relief to the affected businesses. The various relief measures implemented across the government ministries are as follows:

Financial Relief for Priority Sectors

The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (“MOPFI”) issued Notification No. 1/2020 on 18 March 2020 stating that businesses in the cut, make and pack sector, hotels, tourism companies, and small and medium enterprises (“Priority Sectors”) are entitled to the following reliefs:

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Validity of Electronic Signatures in Myanmar

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The COVID-19 pandemic impacts all aspects of our daily lives. Government authorities around the world have imposed various measures to reduce physical contact among people, including travel bans and movement restrictions (i.e., stay-at-home orders). Nevertheless, business transactions can still be performed by electronic means, including electronic communication/transmission and execution by e-signature. Reflecting changing needs, Myanmar also allows electronic signature documents to be exhibited as evidence in its courts and recognizes the legal validity of electronic signatures inserted onto commercial documents. Still, questions remain about the validity of electronic signatures for important transactions.

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COVID-19 Updates for Singapore Employers: Safe Distancing, Cost Reduction and Government Support

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This article was originally published on 3 April 2020 and last updated on 27 April.

As of 27 April 2020, Singapore has reported more than 13,000 cases and 12 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of new cases in the local communities have started to level off, many of the new cases are unlinked, pointing to a larger, as-yet undetected reservoir of cases in Singapore. As such, there is the continued need to be vigilant in enforcing social distancing and isolation measures.

Even as countries all over the world begin increasing such preventative health measures, the pandemic is also devastating the global economy, including Singapore. During times of economic downturn and uncertainty, controlling fixed costs such as labour becomes even more pressing for companies. Businesses in almost every sector have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are looking to cut costs during this period of crisis. While every business faces unique considerations, the following guidance aims to clarify issues relating to safe distancing practices at the workplace, cost-saving and business continuity measures, and the available government support during this health and economic crisis for Singaporean businesses.

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Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (“SOP Act”): Supplementary Rules for Electronic Adjudication Lodgment

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Introduction

On 15 April 2020, the Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”) enacted Supplementary Rules for Electronic Adjudication Lodgment to provide for:

  1. the electronic lodgment of documents;
  2. telegraphic transfer of fees;
  3. electronic service of documents; and
  4. adjudication conferences.

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Loan Obligations: Relief Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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On 31 March 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced a package of targeted relief measures that was rolled out together with the Association of Banks in Singapore, the Life Insurance Association, the General Insurance Association and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore to provide temporary relief for individuals and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing liquidity problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this collapsing world economy, these measures could be a lifeline to stave off bankruptcy and winding-up actions.

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COVID-19 – Equity Fundraising Options for Listed Companies in Asia

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With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to overwhelm economies, a number of listed companies globally have already recapitalized through equity fundraising in the capital markets. New equity has helped these companies shore up their balance sheets and obtain liquidity. This Alert discusses equity fundraising options for listed companies in Asia and complements our prior Alert that discussed options for Asian companies to manage their outstanding bond liabilities. Continue reading COVID-19 – Equity Fundraising Options for Listed Companies in Asia