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Editorial

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Who Represents Who

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Baker McKenzie’s ‘wonderful’ team is led by Edmond Chan, and includes ‘very professional, prompt and commercially minded lawyers’, who are ‘outstanding for complex Chinese deals’. Shiu-man Wan, May Lau and Rico Chan are the names to note and have collective strengths in real estate M&A transactions, hotel investments and PRC-based property developments. The firm recently advised ARA Asset Management on the acquisition of a retail and office complex in Shanghai, and assisted Yuexiu Property, an investment and property holding company, with the public issuance of corporate bonds by a subsidiary of Yuexiu Property to PRC-based investors. Other clients include Link REIT, Prosperity Real Estate Investment Trust, New Century Real Estate Investment Trust and Jones Lang LaSalle.

The lead real estate partner at Clifford Chance is Clara Tang, who specialises in real estate development and financing, property management and leasing, M&A and joint ventures and project conveyancing. Other key names include Matthias Feldmann, Amy Ho and Dauwood Malik, who have collective strengths in developments and investments, particularly when advising PRC-based multinationals. Recent highlights include acting as international counsel to Chelsfield Asia, a real estate company and asset manager, on the establishment of its first pan-Asian real estate fund. In other work, Feldmann acted for Grosvenor during the formation of its investment club with Amcorp for the purpose of redevelopment and development projects in Hong Kong. Ho advised the same client on the disposal of some of its Beijing-based properties to Honray Capital.

The team at Deacons is ‘beyond compare’; it is ‘extremely detail-oriented, diligent and knowledgeable, especially in relation to conveyancing matters’. Practice head Lilian Chiangis extremely smart and resourceful, and is willing to go the extra mile to help clients resolve problems’, and Karen Chan is ‘very meticulous in drafting agreements’. Chiang is leading the advice to Zung Fu Land Investment on the HK$1.1bn sale of numerous floors of the Zung Fu Industrial Building, Central Hong Kong which includes issues such as unauthorised structures, insurance, lease back arrangements, title issues and fire safety installation requirements. The team is also advising an international law firm on titles and tenancies relating to the HK$10bn share sale and purchase of 108 Gloucester Road, Central Hong Kong.

Providing ‘sound advice and value for money’, Mayer Brown JSM’s team is praised for its ‘good business acumen and industry knowledge’. Keith Cheung leads the practice, and is supported by Eugene Wong, who was promoted to the partnership in January 2017, Peter Ho, Robert Lynn, Fun Kuen Au, Alan Yip and Ricky Yiu. In addition, senior associate Allan Ma recently joined from Ropes & Gray LLP. Cheung led the advice to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and a group of banks including Bank of China, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered regarding HK$6bn loan facilities to Ventures Smart to finance the joint development of LOHAS Park Package Seven, Hong Kong. Other clients include Swire Properties, SEA Holdings, New World Development, CSI Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties.

DLA Piper’s Asia real estate practice is led by Susheela Rivers, who exhibits a ‘good combination of solid legal experience and keen business sense’. Her Hong Kong team includes Wayne Ma, who led the advice to Carlyle Asia on the sale of Central Plaza office tower in Shanghai to V Capital, the private equity arm of Chinese real estate developer Vanke. Supported by Ma and senior associate Janice Yau Garton, Rivers led the advice to China Orient regarding a resort acquisition and development in the Maldives through a leasehold structure, including entering into a BVI joint venture arrangement with a local Maldives entity. Other clients include Sino-Ocean Group, Gaw Capital, The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Pradera.

King & Wood Mallesons is known for its Greater China coverage; the Hong Kong and Beijing teams work closely together and combine strengths in funds management, wholesale property funds and REITs, property sales and leasing, and construction-related disputes. Hayden Flinn and Siu Ngor Chow are the key contacts following Raymond Wong’s departure to Seyfarth Shaw LLP. The team recently assisted Long Ping Property Development (the vendor) and United Best (the developer) with the pre-sale of residential units in The Spectra Development in Hong Kong, and also advised Asian View Development on the pre-sale of residential units in the New Territories.

Providing ‘quick turnaround times and great advice’, Paul Hastings LLP’s team includes David Blumenfeld, who is ‘a market-leading property finance lawyer for China-related matters’, and ‘expert’ Paul Guan, who is recommended for his PRC-bound deal experience. The duo recently advised Starwood Capital on the establishment of a China-based hotel joint venture with Shimao Property Holdings, a Chinese property developer and operator. They also assisted China Life with the $1.65bn acquisition of 1285 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. Vivian Lam advised Sino-Ocean Land on its partnership with US-based real estate and technology firm Delos to advance health and wellness in Chinese building environments.

The team at Ropes & Gray LLP is led by Ed Sheremeta, who has extensive knowledge and experience of pan-Asian REITs. The team recently advised a Hong Kong-based private equity fund on its exit from a joint venture with a China-based real estate developer, and also assisted a global investment firm with its proposed investment into a portfolio of logistics facilities in South Korea. Former senior associate Kit Mak joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as counsel and Allan Ma joined Mayer Brown JSM.

At Woo Kwan Lee & Lo, Dora Chan, Vivian Ho, and Ma Ho Fai are the key names to note, with strengths in handling commercial and residential real estate acquisitions. Recent highlights include assisting a developer with the acquisition of an entire industrial building in Aberdeen by way of tender; advising a company on the HK$103m sale of certain office units in Wan Chai; handling the HK$217m sale of a mixed-use building in Central, and assisting a company with the acquisition of an entire floor in a new industrial build in Sha Tin, Hong Kong.

Andrew MacGeoch joined Berwin Leighton Paisner (HK) LLP from Mayer Brown JSM in May 2017 as head of real estate and infrastructure, bringing expertise in infrastructure developments and mixed-use projects; he acts for developers, institutional investors, governments and statutory corporations.

Owen Chan heads up Hogan Lovells’ practice, which is known for its expertise in Hong Kong-based acquisitions for PRC-based investors and developers. Chan recently advised a global private equity fund on a $32m offshore loan facility and RMB300m onshore loan facility for a commercial property investment in the PRC. Construction partner Timothy Hill is assisting Metta Resources with claims relating to the construction of a Buddhist monastery in a long-running HK$335m dispute.

Christine Kim leads Jones Day’s department, which is known for its focus on private equity real estate transactions, including pre-IPO investments, venture and growth capital investments, recapitalisations, exits, fund formations, private placements and mezzanine financings. Recent highlights include advising a syndicate of investors on the acquisition of a high-end luxury hotel, advising a Singaporean joint venture on acquiring a real estate asset in Shanghai, which included FCPA and anti-corruption advice, and advising a global fund on its investment into an Australian logistics and industrial real estate management and development fund to acquire and develop high-end logistics properties in Australia. Proprium Capital Partners, Far East Global, Ivanhoe Cambridge and Gaw Capital are all clients. Associate Lulu Zhang is also recommended.

Peter Brien and Dennis Li are the key contacts at Slaughter and May. Brien recently led the advice to MTR regarding the pre-sale of units at Cullinan West, a new development above Nam Cheong Station, and advised the same client on its position as legal owner of the IFC mall above Hong Kong Station. The team also acted for an Asian real estate investment group on entering a joint venture development project with a Hong Kong-based developer.

Stephenson Harwood’s practice provides ‘good, sensible, practical advice and value for money’. Department head Ian Devereux has expertise in real estate transactions for private clients, as well acting for developers, investors, landlords and tenants in commercial, industrial and residential development matters. The team assisted Henry Brothers Enterprises with the HK$1bn sale of four properties in Hong Kong (including residential and commercial buildings) by way of both private treaty and public tender. It also assisted a company belonging to a Chinese medicine group with the disposal of the entire issued share capital of two commercial properties in Hong Kong. Associate Jovanne Zee is another name to note.

At White & Case, key contacts Baldwin Cheng and Eugene Man are ‘very well respected within the industry’, and have expertise in advising developers, owners, private and institutional investors, investment funds, lenders and underwriters on a variety of pan-Asian real estate transactions. Recent highlights include advising China Cinda Asset Management and PAG as investors on the private placement of $100m senior secured notes placed by China Logistics Property Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed PRC logistics facility developer. The team also advised the lenders to finance subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Group in their acquisition of shares in Greentown China Holdings.

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