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Who Represents Who

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One of the ‘premier offshore law firms in Asia’, Maples and Calder’s Hong Kong office provides an ‘excellent level of service’ across a range of corporate and litigation mandates. The jewel in the firm’s crown, however, remains its investment funds practice, which contains a ‘very deep and well-rounded team in the fund formation space’. Anthony Webster heads the firm’s private equity practice in Asia and receives invaluable assistance from the ‘charismatic, articulate and efficient’ James Gaden, who specialises in private equity and hedge fund formation matters, and the ‘very strong dedicated and responsive’ Sharon Yap, who advises on the structuring, formation, launch and maintenance of funds for sponsors based in Asia. Head of corporate Greg Knowles recently acted as Cayman Islands counsel to a consortium led by Apex Technology on the $3.5bn acquisition of US printer manufacturer Lexmark International. As part of her broad-ranging financing prowess, Lorraine Pao regularly handles capital markets work including advising Foxconn (Far East) on its combined $1bn issuance of bonds under its $3.5bn medium-term note (MTN) programme guaranteed by Hon Hai Precision Industry. Head of finance Mark Western has a particular focus on aircraft financing and recently acted for AerGen on its $324.7m asset-backed loan securitisation of a portfolio of 19 narrow body aircraft by Harbour Aircraft Investments. On the litigation front, John Trehey, Aisling Dwyer and Mac Imrie are recommended.

Walkers provides ‘responsive, professional and commercial’ advice, which ‘effectively balances legal and business needs’ and is rooted in an ‘in-depth knowledge in the offshore jurisdictions that it practices in’. The firm’s expertise spans both transactional and litigation work and, as well as receiving direct client instructions, also regularly receives referral work from numerous high-profile international law firms. On the insolvency front, Fraser Hern has ‘great negotiating skills and is capable of bringing commercial and feasible solutions to the table in difficult situations’. ‘Responsive and pragmatic’ senior associate Joseph Speakman is also recommended across all areas of out-of-court and in-court turnaround, insolvency and restructuring. ‘Hardworking and high-level performers’ Timothy Haynes and Rowena Lawrence are also noted for their ‘very reliable and commercial advice’ on insolvency matters and more general offshore commercial litigation matters. In the investment fund space, Denise Wong provides a ‘responsive and cooperative service’ on private equity fund formation as well as private equity investment work and more general corporate transactions. Alongside Amelia Hall and Joanne Collett, Wong recently advised Uber on its $35bn merger with Didi Chuxing. Managing partner Andy Randall has vast financing expertise and recently acted as Cayman Islands counsel to the senior and mezzanine arrangers to facilitate the financing of MBK Partners and TPG’s $1.2bn acquisition of Wharf’s telecom unit. Arwel Lewis has an excellent reputation in private equity fund formation work as well as downstream investments. Paul Aherne is also well respected in the market, handling a range of banking and capital markets work including acquisition finance and fund finance. The firm’s ability to effectively service Chinese clients has also grown with the recent recruitment of counsel Regina Fan from Ernst & Young in February 2017 and Jenny Nip from Maples and Calder in January 2017.

One of the best full-service Cayman and BVI practices in Hong Kong’, Conyers Dill & Pearman excels at handling complex multi-jurisdictional mandates, particularly in relation to corporate finance and M&A matters. Recognised as an ‘undoubted leader in the market for equity capital markets work’, the firm continues to be involved in the majority of Hong Kong IPOs issued where a large number of Chinese companies list under offshore structures. Co-chairman of the firm David Lamb recently provided the Cayman law advice to Meitu on its $630m IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) and also advised Trina Solar on its $1.1bn privatisation. The ‘responsive and commercial’ Richard Hall ‘really knows his stuff’ on corporate finance matters and recently provided Cayman and BVI legal advice to GDS Holdings on its $192.5m IPO of American depositary shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The ‘very responsive’ Bernadette Chen is also very strong on corporate finance matters as well as corporate restructurings, and Vivien Fung provides ‘professional and responsive advice’ across the spectrum of corporate and commercial law. Under the leadership of the ‘very smart’ Nigel Meeson QC, the Hong Kong office also provides a ‘very strong litigation and insolvency service’, and benefits from a ‘sizeable multi-lingual team in Hong Kong that has substantial experience in high-value Hong Kong litigation and commercial dealings in Greater China’. Praised for his ‘great client management and general litigation strategy’, counsel Norman Hau provides ‘sensible and commercial advice’ across a range of commercial litigation with a particular focus on insolvency and shareholders disputes.

Harneys’ ten-partner team in Hong Kong provides a ‘responsive and hardworking service’ to clients, both on the transactional and litigation front. Paul Sephton has ‘done a good job of building the firm’s brand in the financing market’ as a result of some notable instructions since his arrival in March 2016 from Walkers. As well as his recent work for Deutsche Bank, where he provided the BVI and Cayman law advice on the financing for Intime International Holdings and Alibaba’s joint bid for the privatisation of Intime Retail (Group) Company, Sephton also advised Studio City Company on the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of two tranches of senior secured notes with a combined value of $1.2bn, as well as its HK$233m super senior revolving credit facility. The ‘responsive and knowledgeableMonica Chu and Ellie Crespie are also noted for their banking and finance expertise and were both recently promoted to partner. Led by Ian Mann, who ‘leaves no stone unturned in his quest for victory in disputes’, the firm’s litigation practice continues to go from strength to strength, and provides ‘tactical and practical solutions’ across a range of contentious commercial and insolvency work. The team has an unrivalled degree of expertise acting for former US-listed, Cayman Islands incorporated Chinese corporates in the defence of shareholder dissenter litigation in the wake of a take-private transaction. The ‘very personable and pragmaticChai Ridgers is an ‘up-and-coming partner’ and a key member of the litigation team, which was strengthened in May 2016 by the arrival of Joanne Verbiesen from Walkers Cayman. Managing partner of the Asia practice Jonathan Culshaw has vast experience in fund matters and large corporate transactions.

Appleby has significant traction in the region, particularly in relation to capital markets work, where it has a strong pedigree handling Hong Kong IPOs. The firm is also increasingly active in the banking and finance sector, where the ‘excellentFiona Chan is active across the spectrum of new money financings and restructurings including advising on bilateral and syndicated lending. On the litigation front, Eliot Simpson is the primary contact.

Now in its sixth year in Hong Kong, Mourant Ozannes’ 17-fee-earner office has successfully broadened the scope of its offering from its corporate and finance roots to also include a litigation/insolvency offering, following the relocation of Shaun Folpp from the Caribbean in late 2015. Able to ‘combine first-class knowledge with commercial acumen’, the firm is gaining increased traction in the market for its ‘technical strength in relation to BVI and Cayman laws’, as is evidenced by its growing number of direct client instructions, in addition to a steady flow of law firm referral work. Managing partner Paul Christopher continues to develop the office’s private equity expertise across the life-cycle of a transaction from the formation of a fund, through to the downstream investments (as well as the financing of those investments) and ultimate exit. Led on the corporate front by Christopher and on the financing side by the ‘very responsive and practicalSimon Lawrenson, the team recently advised CVC Capital Partners on its $1.1bn acquisition of Nirvana Asia – a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands – via a scheme of arrangement. The ‘technically strong, attentive and responsiveDanielle Roman is ‘very knowledgeable in the asset finance space’, and recently advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on a $65m commercial financing transaction for a portfolio of 14 CFM International CFM56-5B spare engines to Asia Aviation Capital. Claire Fulton rounds the team out at partner level and specialises in restructuring work and transactions in a distressed scenario. ‘Knowledgeable, efficient and responsive’ senior associate Paul Trewartha is recommended for securitisation and debt capital markets work.

Supported by representative offices in Shanghai and Tokyo, Ogier’s 26-strong Hong Kong office provides a ‘practical and responsive service’ regarding the offshore aspects of corporate, finance, litigation and private client matters. Headed by Nicholas Plowman, the investment funds practice continues to perform well in the market and has further bolstered its headcount following numerous recent lateral hires at an associate level. Plowman recently advised Vanhau Asset Management (a Hong Kong-based investment manager) on the launch of a new fund – notably this was one of the first hedge funds established under the new Cayman Islands Limited Liability Companies law. The ‘excellentNathan Powell heads the office’s corporate practice and recently acted as Cayman Islands and BVI counsel to Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China as one of the parties in a consortium for the $4.4bn acquisition of Dalian Wanda Commercial Property, a PRC company listed on the HKSE. On the finance front, the ‘very commercial and helpfulAnthony Oakeshas a great deal of experience in Asia Pacific and brings real value to bear in transactions where he is acting as offshore counsel’. Oakes has vast capital markets expertise and recently advised Lenovo Group on the Cayman law aspects of a novel $1bn issuance of perpetual securities in the form of cumulative preferred shares. The ‘responsive and approachableRay Ng provides ‘direct and on-point advice’ across a range of commercial disputes and insolvency matters, Lara Mardell departed to join Bircham Dyson Bell's London office; Wisdom Hon joined from Harneys in October 2017 and is now the contact for private wealth matters in Asia. Caroline Bormans heads the firm’s Luxembourg desk in Hong Kong and is particularly adept at servicing the growing demand for Luxembourg investment funds in Asia.

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