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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy has experienced significant growth in equity financing and margin loans. The historically lender-oriented practice has a significant record in Indonesia, where it has a sizeable and strong banking team and is present through the Ginting & Reksodiputro in association with Allen & Overy alliance. India – where it is especially prominent in private equity financings – is another key market, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam. Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are cornerstone clients, as are a number of commercial banks and private equity funds. The team advised Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Rakyat Indonesia on financing the $2.6bn acquisition of PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara by a sponsor consortium. The β€˜high-quality’ and β€˜commercial team’ features β€˜class act’ John Richards who is β€˜quick to grasp and understand the issues’; he is β€˜accessible’, β€˜commercial’, β€˜commands clients’ respect’ and has a close association with Credit Suisse. Gautam Narasimhan is β€˜building a name for himself’ in acquisition and leveraged finance in Indonesia and India. Project finance specialist Jason Humphreys is another key name. Kayal Sachi is now at Mayer Brown JSM.

Clifford Chance has a substantial banking and finance practice with particular prominence in acquisition and leveraged finance driven by private equity sponsors and strategic buyers; the team is more weighted to lenders than borrowers. The department is also prominent in distressed situations, workouts and restructurings, structured lending and large syndications for big-name corporates. It advised an investor consortium on the financing arrangements for its acquisition of Chevron’s geothermal operations in Indonesia and the Philippines, and acted for the lenders in a $2.6bn revolving credit facility and term facility agreement for COFCO Agri. Andrew Gambarini is β€˜very experienced and commercial’, while Andrew Brereton β€˜knows his product very well’ and is β€˜hands-on’. Andrew Hutchins completes an especially experienced senior bench, while counsel Thomas England is also recommended.

In addition to its focus on the Singapore market, Linklaters has a longstanding emphasis on India matters and now has an equally strong practice in Indonesia. The team is β€˜top class’ in sponsor-driven leveraged finance, corporate acquisition finance, structured corporate financings and general lending (including margin finance), which accounts for the bulk of the Singapore practice. The office remains very much bank focused, including clients such as Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank; however, it also has a growing number of credit fund and borrower clients, including financial sponsors and Indonesian corporates. It advised Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on its refinancing and recapitalisation of S$2.1bn facilities for the acquisition of Asia Square Tower 1, a commercial development in Singapore’s Marina Bay. Philip Badge is β€˜the market leader’, a β€˜no-nonsense and excellent operator’, who β€˜really knows his beans’ and has β€˜decades of experience’. Christopher Bradley is recommended for Indonesia deals and Charles McConnell has been promoted to counsel.

Ashurst LLP has developed especially strong connections to Chinese financial institutions and banks, thanks in part to the presence of project finance specialist Chin Chuan Chen. The firm has worked on a series of headline project finance transactions in Indonesia for Chinese lenders. Moreover, it has a broader general banking and finance practice for international banks such as Goldman Sachs and a number of local and regional banks. Structured finance and derivatives, and trade and commodities finance are also key components of the practice. A team led by Kate Allchurch, who is β€˜a very experienced banking lawyer’, advised a syndicate of lenders, led by ANZ, Standard Chartered and ING, on an unsecured syndicated loan to the Development Bank of the Philippines in anticipation of the bank’s merger with the Land Bank of the Philippines. Andrew Digges led the team that acted for the senior lenders during the financing of the 1 MTPA first phase of the $895m Well Harvest Winning Alumina Refinery Project in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Edwin Yow is recommended for structured products and derivatives, and newly promoted partner Jean Woo is an emerging name in trade and commodities finance, who is praised for her β€˜stellar service’, β€˜technical skills’, β€˜industry knowledge’ and β€˜pragmatic solutions’.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow is praised for its β€˜quality of output’, β€˜minimal turnaround times’, β€˜very deep bench’ and β€˜very competitive pricing’. The Singapore team benefits from the strength of the firm’s multi-jurisdictional presence in South-East Asia and beyond, and clients include Maybank, Siam Commercial Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, CIMB Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and China Export-Import Bank; it advised the latter on the $1.55bn financing of a 2x660MW coal-fired power plant at Port Qasim in Pakistan. James Huang heads the Asia Pacific banking and finance department, while fellow senior figure Emmanuel Hadjidakis is β€˜a seasoned professional’, β€˜very hands-on’, β€˜creative’, β€˜commercial’ and β€˜responsive’. Kah Chin Chu is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee continues to develop its standing in the restructuring and distressed arena, particularly in the commodities sector and most notably in India and Indonesia. It is commended by clients for structured corporate and acquisition finance work and has a β€˜small team of excellent professionals generating consistently high-quality output’. It maintains an impressive lender client base, which includes DBS Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered, UBS and Wells Fargo. The firm also advised PT Pertamina, the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company, on a €1bn bank guarantee facility to support its buyout offer for Etablissements Maurel et Prom, the French Euronext-listed oil operator. Alexander McMyn is now primarily focused on mainstream banking deals, following the hire of Matthew Leigh from Norton Rose Fulbright to spearhead the asset finance practice in Singapore. McMyn is β€˜very keen and responsive’, β€˜user-friendly’, β€˜cuts through irrelevant points’ and β€˜achieves excellent outcomes through consensus building’. Senior associate Charles Clayton-Payne is a β€˜rising star’, who is β€˜intelligent, creative and very commercial’.

Latham & Watkins LLP has a significant presence in Singapore with a substantial team of finance specialists. The firm consistently impresses in acquisition and leveraged finance, syndicated lending and project finance. It advised International Sports Capital HK on a $80m term loan facility to support its acquisition of a majority stake in Inter FC. It also assisted GITI Tire with a $400m term loan facility to refinance its existing debt. Timothy Hia is a key name, as is Stephen McWilliams, who is recommended for project finance.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP houses versatile partners providing deep industry experience and substantial financial expertise, principally in acquisition finance and project finance. The team is routinely engaged in high-value and complex financings, most notably in Indonesia; for example, it advised a joint venture between PT AP Investment and PT Medco Energi Internasional on its acquisition and related financing of a controlling stake in PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara from Newmoning Mining Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation; the financing comprised of senior debt provided by the three largest state-owned banks in Indonesia, mezzanine debt from a variety of offshore lenders, vendor financings and sponsor equity. It also assisted the mandated lead arrangers with the financing of Star Energy’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of certain geothermal assets in West Java from Chevron. Moreover, the firm is making an impression in leveraged finance and special situations-linked financings. The team includes David Zemans, Jacqueline Chan and infrastructure and project finance expert James Murray.

Norton Rose Fulbright operates a broad banking and finance practice, with notable strengths in telecoms, oil and gas, power and commodity financings. The largely lender-driven department has an especially impressive record in Indonesia, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The firm’s 2017 global merger with Chadbourne & Parke has helped it to cement relationships with multilateral lending agencies in particular; key clients in Singapore include Standard Chartered, IFC, Asian Development Bank (ADB), DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon. It advised ADB on five separate loans to five different borrowers for the Mytrah wind and solar power development project in India, and assisted Standard Chartered with a $1.2bn syndicated limited recourse project financing of the Armada Olombendo, a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, located offshore Angola. Yu-En Ong heads the Singapore practice, with Nick Merritt and Stephen Begley providing leading expertise in project finance.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. is primarily known for acquisition finance and for its lender-side client relationships with the likes of Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered and ABN Amro. More recently it has developed its borrower-side engagements with a variety of corporate and private equity clients. It is also active in workouts, restructurings and debtor-in-possession financing packages. Guan Feng Chen is a leader on Singapore and Indonesia deals, while John Shum is more focused on North Asia deals with Chinese banks and Chinese corporates. He led the team that advised Qingdao Haier, the China-based white goods company, on the $3.3bn term loan facility provided by China Development Bank to finance its $5.4bn acquisition of General Electric’s appliance business. David Barwise is recommended for structured finance.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is widely recognised for its work in energy and projects, particularly in Indonesia and Myanmar; natural resources and TMT (including telecoms tower financings) are also key sectors. The firm remains active in acquisition financings and has a growing practice in energy sector restructurings. It is close to a range of local and regional banks based in Singapore and Indonesia and has a growing number of borrower clients. It advised the lenders on the restructuring and extension of an existing revolving credit facility to KrisEnergy, and assisted Newmont Mining Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation with the financing aspects of the $1.3bn sale of interests in the Batu Hijau Mine project in Indonesia. Adrian Cheng β€˜dominates reserve-based lending in the oil and gas sector’, and Katie Gray has an excellent record in energy, mining and resources.

Jones Day has a borrower-oriented practice with a strong record in acquisition finance, structured finance, trade finance, project finance and restructuring. Much of the practice centres on India, Indonesia and Singapore, while growth in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are key features of the department’s work. Clients include Chevron, China Development Bank, Crescent Point Group, L-Catterton Asian, China Resources Power and Vibrant Energy. The team is β€˜responsive, intelligent and practical’ and is β€˜the best at understanding the client’s goals and moving efficiently towards achieving them’. Recent arrival Bruce Schulberg (from Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee) has brought a greater volume of project and trade finance engagements, especially from Chinese banks. James Harris, another recent senior lateral hire, who made the same move as Schulberg, is a much-celebrated project finance specialist and has connected effectively with Karthik Kumar, a leader in renewables project finance in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Head of the department, Sushma Jobanputra is β€˜excellent’, β€˜knowledgeable, personable and efficient’, and recently advised L-Catterton Asia and Crescent Point on a $126m leveraged financing for the acquisition of a Chinese apparel chain and represented Micron Technologies and its subsidiary Micron Semicondictor Asia on a $750m receivables financing. Associate Vinay Kurien is β€˜extremely responsive’ and β€˜drives the deal to completion in a timely manner’.

Simmons & Simmons JWS is primarily known for structured trade and commodity finance, though has a much broader offering across a variety of finance segments such as energy finance and funds finance. The firm acts for a range of international bulge-bracket investment banks, local and regional banks, and a series of major global traders. Highlight transactions include advising Deutsche Bank and ING Bank as the mandated lead arrangers and syndicate lenders on a $385m structured pre-delivery financing facility to Dongying Fangyuan and Dongying Lufang, two leading copper producers in China. Dan Marjanovic, Matthew Cox and Calvin Tan comprise a formidable senior bench.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice is principally in the asset finance field, though with seven partners dedicated to banking and finance it has a broad suite of expertise and an extensive client base. The firm advised SapuraKencana on the restructuring of its group-wide debt facilities, including its new multi-currency financing facilities. Goh Mei Lin leads the practice, which includes Mehraab Nazir, Siva Subramaniam and Andrew Nimmo.

Gibson Dunn is recommended for energy and project financings with eminent and experienced Singapore partner Brad Roach at the fore. Clients include PT Medco Energi Internasional, Repsol, Jadestone Energy, PT Saka Energi Indonesia and Pertamina. The firm advised PT Medco Energi on the financing of its acquisition of a 40% participating interest in South Natuna Sea Block B and acted for JBIC, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in the restructuring of a $326m project finance loan to PT Indonesia Chemical Alumina for the construction of the $450m Tayan Chemical Grade Alumina project. Saptak Santra and Jamie Thomas provide further senior-level expertise.

Mayer Brown JSM reinforced its presence in the banking and finance segment with the hire of Angelia Chia and Ben Sandstad, both returning to private practice from senior positions at major banks. Both are recognised specialists in trade finance, structured finance and goverance issues, and join an existing team that is noted for project finance. In this context, Nathan Dodd and Benjamin Thompson are β€˜very good in frontier markets’, especially Myanmar, and are β€˜well liked by multilateral lenders’. Thompson recently advised the Asian Development Bank and IFC on financings to Ooredoo Myanmar for the expansion of its telecoms network in Myanmar.

Morrison & Foerster (Singapore) LLP hired former Clifford Chance counsel Yemi TΓ©pΓ© as a partner and to launch its Singapore banking and finance department. The practice is largely centred on acquisition and leveraged finance and has broad Asia Pacific coverage with the β€˜methodical’ and β€˜very responsive’ TΓ©pΓ© having previously completed a lengthy stint in Tokyo before relocating to Singapore in 2012. The team is already frequently working with a range of Japanese banks, Chinese banks and funds, US private equity credit funds, and a range of corporate and private equity borrowers. It advised The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ on acquisition facilities for two strategic acquisitions by Siam City Cement Public Company, Thailand’s second largest cement producer, including a 99% stake in Holcim, the Sri Lankan cement manufacturer. The team is β€˜high quality’ with β€˜a lot of transactional experience and knowledge’.

Sidley Austin LLP’s growing team has a prominent record in acquisition finance and structured debt; it has also made an impression in specialised debt and alternative lending. Clients include Goldman Sachs (Asia), Aboitiz Power, Tai United Holdings and China Merchants Bank; the team advised the latter on a HK$27bn senior secured facility to fund the privatisation of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties. David Gartside joined from White & Case Pte. Ltd. in 2016, while Jeremy Chase is noted at counsel level.

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