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Editorial

Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune focuses on energy and infrastructure projects and has notable strength in project finance. Takashi Akahane and Reiji Takahashi are highly regarded. Highlights for the practice included acting for Sonnedix in the project financing of a solar mega-plant project, and advising New Kansai International Airport Company on selecting a business operator for the operation of Kansai and Osaka international airports. Norifumi Takeuchi is recommended.

Key names at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto include Takahiro Kobayashi, who specialises in Japanese energy project financings, Masanori Sato, who is experienced in infrastructure and PPP, and Shigeki Okatani, who focuses on energy projects and PPP in the airport, toll road and water sectors. Kobayashi advised Mizuho Bank, BTMU and SMBC on the project financing of an LNG power plant. Other clients include SB Energy, Solar Frontier and Resona Group.

Shunpei Tanaka and Jiro Mikami (who is ‘a key player’ in project finance) lead Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu’s team. Rintaro Hirano led advice to Mizuho Bank and SMBC as mandated lead arrangers and the Private Finance Initiative Promotion Corporation of Japan as mezzanine lender in the project financing of the privatisation of Kansai and Osaka international airports. Takao Higuchi is well regarded.

Nishimura & Asahi acted for SMBC as lenders on the financing of a coal-fired IPP project in Sendai, and assisted Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation with a liability guarantee relating to the Yuzawa geothermal power project. Hiroshi Maeda heads the project finance practice; Tomohiro Sato and Takashi Saito are also recommended.

Atsumi & Sakai focuses primarily on project financing, and is experienced in the areas of renewable energy, LNG, petrochemicals, mining and infrastructure. Yutaka Sakai, who is recommended for solar projects, led advice to Photovolt Development partners regarding a photovoltaic power plant. PFI specialist Miho Niunoya assisted Mitsubishi Research Institute and Yokohama City on several PFI projects.

Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi is the name to note at TMI Associates, and Kiyomi Kikuchi and Haruo Narimoto have been active in this space. The team has experience in project financing, renewable energy (particularly onshore wind and geothermal matters), infrastructure, waste disposal and electricity.


International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy: international firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)
  3. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  4. Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)

  1. 1
    • Hirofumi Taba - Linklaters

Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1

The ‘top-class’ team at Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho is praised as being ‘one of the best in the region for project finance work’ with ‘deep industry knowledge, excellent adaptability and unmatched service levels’. Practice co-heads Matthias Voss and Scott Neilson are highly regarded by clients; Voss ‘impresses with his experience and quality, both of which are great assets’, and Neilson is, ‘without a doubt, a leader in the field’. Recent mandates include acting for Rabobank on a ¥3.5bn syndicated loan to Canadian Solar International Project 2 for the financing of eight solar projects. Counsel Kristian Bradshaw is ‘insightful, calm and reliable’, and senior associate Xue Wang is ‘always extremely dedicated’.

Ashurst’s ‘extremely responsive’ team provides ‘excellent industry insight’, which ‘places it among the top practices in the area’. Rupert Burrows leads the four-partner department, which includes the ‘genuinely brilliant’ Dominic Gregory and ‘rare talent’ Matthew Bubb; both joined from the firm’s Singapore office in 2015. Burrows and Gregory led advice to Caribbean Gas Chemical on the development and financing of a methanol plant and dimethyl ether production facility in Trinidad and Tobago. The team is also acting for Sumitomo as EPC contractor for an Indonesian coal-fired thermal expansion power plant. Matthew Rickards made partner in 2015.

Herbert Smith Freehills provides clients with ‘a triple-A-rated service’ and is a ‘true top-tier firm’. The team has substantial strength in oil and gas, particularly LNG projects, and is assisting Mitsubishi in the design, construction and operation of the proposed LNG Canada project in British Columbia. Other highlights included advising Mitsui & Co on its acquisition of a 15% stake in the Moatize coal mine in Mozambique. The ‘highly professional’ Andrew Blacoe leads the team, which also includes the ‘exceptionally kind’ Damien Roberts and ‘delightful’ senior associate Claire Jelbart.

Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise’s team ‘is highly knowledgeable about the industry, particularly project financing’, and acted for Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi as lender regarding the $5bn project debt refinancing of the Ichthys LNG Project in Australia. It also advised San Miguel Corporation as sponsors in the project financing of the Limay power project. Joseph Bevash is practice head, and Michael Yoshii is ‘extremely effective’.

Linklaters’ ‘team of solid professionals’ provides a ‘best-in-class service with unparalleled proactivity’ and is ‘totally committed to the cause’. Practice head John Maxwell ‘brings with him a wealth of experience and a deal-maker mindset that is both creative and focused’, and counsel Hirofumi Taba is ‘smart and quick’. The team advised Mitsui & Co, Tokyo Gas and the Kalla Group on the development and financing of an LNG terminal in Indonesia.

The ‘reliable and hardworking’ two-partner team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP includes the ‘speedy, flexible and committed’ Alexander Borisoff, and the well-regarded Aled Davies. Highlights included acting for the main sponsors (JBIC, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and others) on the $693m financing of a methanol and dimethyl ether production plant in Trinidad and Tobago. Other clients include BTMU, Inpex and Chubu Electric Power.

At Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi, global co-head of energy and project finance Michael Graffagna is experienced in infrastructure projects, and Dale Caldwell focuses on project finance and development transactions. Caldwell acted for Mitsui Gás e Energia do Brasil in its $500m acquisition of a 49% stake in Petrobras Gás. Further clients include Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Sumitomo.

White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)collaborates exceedingly well with clients’ and fields a team of ‘professional partners and knowledgeable associates’. Practice head Paul Harrison advised Canadian Solar on the financing of its portfolio of eight solar projects. Other key names include LNG expert Alexander Woody, Toshio Dokei and counsel Keisuke Imon, who joined from Clifford Chance Law Office. Hendrik Gordenker moved in-house.

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is ‘one of the best for cross-border transactions’, particularly in the oil and gas, LNG, electricity and solar sectors. The ‘fabulous’ Anne Hung heads the practice and recently acted for Chubu Electric Power in combining its power assets with those of Tokyo Electric Power. Ean Mac Pherson is recommended for mining and renewable energy transactions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringerexcels in complex deals’ and provides clients with ‘prompt and precise advice’. Practice head Mark Plenderleith specialises in project finance and was instructed by JBIC and a syndicate of commercial banks on the financing of a petrochemical plant. Other names include counsel Lukas Kratochvil, senior associate Gustav Runeland and counsel Tomoko Nakajima, who leads the renewables group.

John McClenahan leads King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho’s department, which was recently established following the arrival of a team from Ashurst. The team specialises in energy and infrastructure projects. South Korean specialist Rupert Lewi is advising Kogas on its involvement in the LNG Canada project. Mark Davies focuses on project financings.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘quick and experienced’ team is ‘knowledgeable in power projects, particularly in Asia and the Middle East’. The practice is also strong in project finance, and acted for ING Bank and SMBC on a $1.3bn loan to Tartaruga MV29 for a FPSO chartering service. Jeremy Gibb and the ‘thoughtful’ George Gibson lead the department. Adrian Joyce is also recommended.

Simon Barrett and the ‘excellent’ Anthony Raven jointly lead Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s team, which is advising Sumitomo Chemical on the operation of an integrated refining and petrochemicals complex. Other clients include GS Energy, Chiyoda and First Solar.

Shearman & Sterlingexcels in the nuclear sector’, according to clients. George Borovas is a key name in this respect, and heads up the firm’s global nuclear group. Etienne Gelencsér is recommended for renewable projects and financings and is assisting J-Power, Itochu and Adaro on the financing of an IPP.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is ‘a top firm in the oil and gas sector’ and practice head James Atkin ‘leads in the LNG space’. Atkin regularly advises on US-related matters.

Clifford Chance Law Office is recognised for its project finance strength in energy and infrastructure, and is acting for Vinci Airports in the concession of the Kansai and Osaka international airports. Other clients include JBIC and Korea Trade Insurance. Ross Howard is recommended, and Yusuke Abe made partner in 2016.

Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo’s practice head Joseph Kim has expertise in cross-border projects led from Japan or Korea, and is advising K-Exim, ADB, SMBC, Crédit Agricole and ING on the financing of a coal-fired power project.

At Jones Day, department head Kaoru Umino regularly acts for JBIC, and focuses on IPP projects and renewables. Eric Sedlak focuses on cross-border matters. Clients include Molycorp and Idemitsu Kosan.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has notable strength in the renewable sector; and was instructed by Setouchi Future Creations on its joint equity investment into the Setouchi Solar Project. It also acted for Eurus Energy in its acquisition of a minority stake in a wind project. Yoichi Katayama and Minako Wakabayashi lead the practice.

Richard Kramer leads Simmons & Simmons’ department, which focuses on transactions in the Middle East and Africa, particularly in the LNG, renewable and power sectors. Kramer is part of the team advising China Machinery Engineering on its investment into a Pakistani coal-fired power project. Sojitz and Mitsubishi are also clients.


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