Securityholders’ Rights – In a Restructuring Exercise
公司推行重组计划 – 证券持有者的权利

Date: January 28, 2019

Recently there has been a series of restructuring of companies running into serious financial difficulties and unable to meet their payment obligations. In this situation, investors of various classes do not fully appreciate their rights and implications resulting from the reorganisation.

Securityholders should be aware that their contractual rights can be varied through a scheme of arrangement under the Companies Act.

A reorganisation process can take place out of court (referred to as a “consensual restructuring”) or under the court’s supervision.

A court-supervised reorganisation process will frequently result in a scheme of arrangement being
proposed, usually by the company, to stakeholders (including securityholders) to consider, and if thought fit, approve. The scheme is essentially the deal that is being offered to stakeholders in replacement of rights they are asked to give up and can take any form. The scheme will become binding on all stakeholders if two things happen:

  • the requisite majorities of each class of stakeholders approving the scheme that is proposed (before the Court allows the company to hold such a meeting, the classes of the stakeholders and the scheme terms will be reviewed by the Court); and
  • the Court sanctioning the scheme.

During a court-supervised reorganisation process, a temporary stay (moratorium) may also be granted by the Court, restraining securityholders (via their representatives, if any) or any other party from commencing any enforcement action against the company. This is done before a scheme is proposed or permission is sought from the Court to hold a meeting for the creditors to consider the scheme. The moratorium ensures that until the scheme is proposed, no one stakeholder can steal a march on others through enforcement actions against the company and its assets.

When the company puts forth a scheme of arrangement, stakeholders should compare their position under the scheme of arrangement against the likely scenario if there is no scheme. In most instances, the likely alternative scenario would be enforcement by various creditors scrambling to seize assets and thereafter, liquidation.

As such, when making an assessment of any proposed scheme of arrangement, and the variation to
their existing rights thereunder, holders of securities should consider (a) the status of their securities
and (b) the ranking of their claims in a liquidation or enforcement scenario.

Below is a general outline of the status, rights and ranking of claims of securityholders in a liquidation scenario.

What are the characteristics of my securities?

Secured and unsecured obligations

  • Secured securityholders may enforce their rights against specific assets over which they have been
    granted security.
  • Unsecured securities will not have recourse to any specific assets.

Junior (or subordinated) and senior (or unsubordinated) obligations

  • Generally, subordination is the process by which a party is placed in a lower priority for the collection of its debt than another party.
  • This ranking of claims is contractually agreed under the terms and conditions of the securities.
    • The party to whom another creditor is subordinated has a “senior obligation”, whereas the subordinated party is commonly said to have a “junior obligation”.
      – For example, notes are usually senior obligations ranking in priority of payment to perpetual ecurities and preference shares (each, a junior obligation). In turn, notes may rank equally to or be subordinated to other obligations that the company may have, such as bank debt.
    • The terms and conditions of different securities may provide that they rank equally among themselves.
      – For example, while preference shareholders are generally subordinated to perpetual securityholders, perpetual securityholders can contractually agree to rank equally with preference shareholders. This means that if there are $100 of assets left for distribution to the perpetual securityholders and the preference shareholders, that $100 is to be divided in accordance to how many lots each holder has regardless of whether the holder is of preference shares or perpetual securities.
  • Senior obligations rank equally among themselves and all other present and future unsubordinated obligations of the company.
  • Senior obligations rank in priority to the subordinated (or junior) obligations of the company.


What rights do securities grant the securityholder in a liquidation scenario?

Secured and unsecured obligations

  • In a liquidation scenario, secured securityholders will have prior claims to the assets that constitute their collateral and such assets will be assigned to them. Unsecured securityholders will participate on an equal basis with all other holders of unsecured debt in the remaining assets of the company.
  • Secured securityholders are free to enforce their rights against the assets that constitute their
    collateral in a liquidation.

    • Proceeds from the secured assets will be applied towards full settlement of the secured obligations. Any surplus will be applied toward the unsecured obligations.
    • If the secured assets are not sufficient to fully discharge the secured obligations, the portion
      of the secured claim remaining unsatisfied will then be unsecured and paid out of the common pool of assets (if any) available to all unsecured creditors.

Junior and senior obligations

  • In a liquidation scenario, the rights-of-payment of holders of senior securities (principal plus accrued and unpaid interests, distributions or dividends) will rank ahead of the junior or subordinated securities and ordinary shareholders.
  • Similarly, the rights-of-payment of holders of subordinated obligations will, in a liquidation scenario, be:
    • subordinated to the prior payment in full of all claims of senior securityholders
    • equal to the company’s equally-ranked subordinated obligations
      – By way of illustration, should perpetual securityholders contractually agree to rank equally with preference shareholders at all times and in liquidation, the rights of payment of the perpetual securityholders will be the same as the rights-of-payment of the preference shareholders. In the event of a shortfall of funds, perpetual securityholders may lose all or some of their investments or will not receive a full return of the principal amount or any unpaid amounts due under the perpetual securities similar to equally ranked preference shareholders.
  • in priority to the lower-ranked subordinated obligations and ordinary shareholders

Where do ordinary shareholders stand in a restructuring exercise?

  • In a liquidation scenario, the assets remaining after payment of all obligations (including notes,
    perpetual securities and preference shares) will be distributed among the shareholders in proportion to the number of shares held.
  • If a scheme of arrangement involves the issuance of shares, transfer of major assets or dilution of
    shares as part of the restructuring, ordinary shareholders are likely to be involved in the process since their approval would be required for the company to implement such aspects of the restructuring.





  • 拟议的安排计划,获得每个资产类别所需的大多数利益相关者的同意(这在法院允
  • 法院批准该安排计划







  • 有抵押的证券持有者,能执行自己的权益,索取得到担保的特定资产。
  • 无抵押证券持有者无法索取任何特定资产。


  • 一般上,从属关系是排位顺序的程序,指一方在收取债务时,优先顺序低于另一方
  • 索偿顺序根据证券合同中所定下的条款和条件。
  • 当一个债权人高于另一个债权人时,前者拥有 “高级债权”,而后者通常被称为“初级债权”。
    – 例如,票据通常是高级债权,同永久证券和优先股(各属初级债权)相比,能先索偿。然而,票据若同公司的其他债务,如银行债务相比,可能只是平级或次等。
  • 不同证券的条款和条件,可能规定它们之间排名相同。
    – 例如,虽然优先股股东通常从属于永久证券持有者,但永久证券持有者可以在合同中同意与优先股股东拥有平等的排名。这意味着,如果有100元的资产留给永久证券持有者和优先股股东,那么,无论持有者拥有的是优先股还是永久证券,100元将根据每个持有者手头上拥有多少股权进行分配。
  • 高级债权在同侪和公司之间,不管是现在还是未来的非次级债权中,排名平等。
  • 高级债权在索偿时优先于公司的次级(或初级)债权。



  • 当公司清盘时,有抵押的证券持有者将能优先对构成其抵押品的资产提出申索。这
  • 在公司清盘时,有抵押的证券持有者能自由地对构成抵押品的资产执行其申索的权利。
  • 售卖抵押资产的收益,将先用来全额偿还有抵押债权人。任何剩余部分将用来支付给无抵押债权人。
  • 如果抵押资产不能抵消所有债务、全额清偿抵押债权,剩余的索偿额将成为无抵押债权,并从所有无抵押债权人可分摊的共同资产(如有)中支付。


  • 在公司清盘时,高级证券持有者(本金加应计和未付利息,派息或股息)的支付权
  • 同样的,在清盘时,次级债务持有人的支付权利将是:
  • 从属于高级证券持有者,因此只有完全清还了所有高级证券持有者的索偿后才排到
  • 等同于公司同等级别的次级债权
    – 举个例子,如果永久证券持有者在合同中同意在任何时候和在清盘时,与优先股股东拥有平等的排名,永久证券持有者的索偿权利,将与优先股股东的索偿权利相同。假设出现资金短缺,永久证券持有者和排名相同的优先股股东一样,可能会失去全部或部分投资,或者无法获得全额本金或任何未付清的回报金额。
  • 比排名较低的次级债权和普通股股东先索偿



  • 在公司清盘时,公司在支付了所有债权人(包括票据,永久证券和优先股)的索偿
  • 如果公司在进行重组时,安排计划涉及发行股票、转移主要资产或稀释股权,普通股