Court of Appeal clarifies that the company is liable for liquidators’ fees unless petitioner is at fault or acted unfairly

In the decision of the Court of Appeal in AnAn Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd v VTB Bank (Public Joint Stock Company) [2020] 1 SLR 1158 (“VTB CA 2020”), the Court reversed the High Court’s decision to grant a winding up order sought by VTB Bank (Public Joint Stock Company) (“VTB”) against AnAn Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd (“AnAn”). It held that there was a prima facie dispute over the debt that formed the basis of VTB’s winding up application and that the dispute over the debt was to be resolved by arbitration. Following this decision, AnAn brought an application for VTB to bear AnAn’s former liquidators’ and the liquidators’ solicitors’ remuneration and expenses (the “Liquidators’ Fees”). The High Court dismissed AnAn’s application and AnAn appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Shobna Chandran, Jasmine Yong and Taufiq Suraidi acted for VTB and successfully resisted AnAn’s appeal. The Court agreed with VTB that it should not be liable for the Liquidators’ Fees because the winding up application was not patently unmeritorious from the outset and VTB had not engaged in any objectionable behaviour during the proceedings.