New A&M branch sells help to troubled firms

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New A&M branch sells help to troubled firms


Jay Kim

The New York-based professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) opened an office in Seoul yesterday offering turnaround help to Korean companies having liquidity or other problems.

“Typically, A&M gets the call [from companies that are in distress] because we’re unique and we’re different,” said Oliver Stratton, managing director and co-head of Asia operations for A&M. “We can go into situations not just from a financial perspective but with an operator’s perspective of how to fix a business. And we often do that under intense pressure.”

A&M already has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai, India. Jay Kim, who has more than 20 years of experience working for private equity and consulting firms, was picked as managing director of A&M Korea.

“We can very quickly figure out what needs to be done to keep a company going and buy time so that one can turn around the business,” Stratton told reporters yesterday, while refusing to name existing or potential clients.

Kim was also at the press conference, which was held in central Seoul, along with James Dubow, A&M’s Hong Kong-based managing director and co-head for Asia operations, and Keith Williamson, also a managing director.

Why open a Korean office at this particular moment?

“There is an increasing number of requests from our global clients who have either investments in Korea or businesses in Korea,” Stratton said, “and they have identified what we do and the kinds of services we provide as something that they cannot find in the local market. So there is an opportunity.”

Services offered by A&M, according to Dubow, include turnaround and restructuring work, which is the core identity of the company.

“We’ve gone through a transition since 2000 to really add a whole new service to help companies through their life cycles and in many areas of their businesses,” Dubow said.

Due diligence services are available to help investors, including private equity firms, understand businesses “both in terms of what is there now and what can be there potentially in the future,” Dubow said.

“Korea is particularly sensitive to external changes,” Kim said, “and any slowdown in growth based on its export-driven economy.

“Leveraging A&M’s global experience across a range of industry sectors, I’m confident that we can bring practical turnaround management and performance improvement solutions to Korean clients,” he said.

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