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Allen & Gledhill LLP represents the ‘gold standard’, is ‘in a class of its own’ and is ‘a mark above others’ across the banking and finance spectrum and especially in the real estate finance segment, where it is a dominant force in big-ticket deals. The firm has a fast-developing leveraged finance practice, most notably in deals linked to privatisations. It has an even balance of lender and borrower engagements, the latter emanating from a growing number of corporate and financial sponsor clients. Among recent work highlights, the firm advised The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and United Overseas Bank (UOB) on a S$2.83bn term loan facility to Wealthy Link to finance its acquisition of land located at Central Boulevard, Singapore. Mark Hudspeth and Kok Chee Wai jointly lead the banking and finance practice, which includes senior figures Yeo Wico and Eugene Ooi, real estate finance specialist Jafe Ng, and Lim Wei Ting on acquisition and takeover financings.

WongPartnership LLP has maintained an impressive practice, showing high levels of activity in a series of major refinancings, most notably in the property and REIT sector. Project finance and general financing are also key parts of the practice and the firm maintains a solid share of the syndicated loan market. The team delivers ‘high-quality work’, takes ‘pride in the documentation’ and shows ‘good attention to detail’, acting for all the major banks in Singapore and a number of Japanese and Malaysian banks. Clients also include a variety of Singapore corporates, real estate heavyweights and private equity houses. Work highlights included advising Dasin Retail Trust Management on a S$430m offshore term loan that was undertaken alongside the Dasin Retail Trust’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The department has a healthy degree of sector specialisation and experience with head of the financial services group Susan Wong having been active in this area for some 30 years. Alvin Chia, Felix Lee and Tan Li Wen are names to note. Christy Lim is ‘hands on’, ‘drives deals to smooth closure’ and has a ‘savvy mix of sharp legal skills and strong business acumen’.

Dentons Rodyk has a substantial banking team covering asset finance to project finance and syndicated loans. It is particularly prominent in real estate finance, thanks to a client base of numerous major and mid-sized developers. The firm is also on the panels of all the local banks and a range of regional and international banks; clients include Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), United Overseas Bank (UOB), DBS, HSBC, Maybank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. As Singapore counsel, it advised the bookrunners, arrangers, original lenders, and agent and security agent on a $1.5bn loan to CMA CGM, the global container shipping company, to partially finance its acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines. Doreen Sim and Lee Ho Wah head the practice that also includes senior figures Tan Joo Thye and Janice Ngeow.

Drew & Napier LLC remains a force in banking and finance, most notably in acquisition finance and project finance. The firm has experienced growth in infrastructure financings and a number of privatisation financings; it often represents the big four local banks, a number of Chinese and other Asian banks, and a range of international banks. In other work, it assisted Horizon Value Investments with a $90m refinancing; Horizon is a special purpose vehicle established to hold Havelock II, a commercial property owned and developed by the Guthrie group. Valerie Kwok is ‘very much on top of her files’, ‘very knowledgeable’, ‘provides excellent advice on difficult areas’ and heads the practice that includes Wang Shue Wen and newly promoted associate director Renu Menon. Senior associate Eugene Luah is ‘capable’ and ‘pays good attention to detail’. Corporate and finance partner Sandy Foo has joined Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has a fast-growing practice founded on a solid base of acquisition finance and syndicated loans; it is also a growing presence in real estate finance and pre-payment facilities. Moreover, the firm is at the forefront of fintech in the region and is widely recognised for its restructuring expertise. While having a large team of Singapore law practitioners, many within the department are also English qualified and have worked at international law firms. As a consequence, the department has a range of local, regional and European banking clients and is routinely engaged in cross-border acquisition financings; in this regard, the firm’s strong physical presence across South-East Asia is a key factor. Clients include CIMB Bank, UOB, OCBC, DBS Bank, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and HSBC; it advised DBS and UOB on the renewal of an asset-backed securitisation programme orginated by Diners Club (Singapore). Angela Lim heads the practice, which includes Regina Liew, trade finance expert Terence Choo, acquisition finance specialist Nicholas How and Lee Weilin in REIT financing. Norman Ho, a recent hire from Dentons Rodyk, provides further real estate finance expertise and Sandy Foo, a hire from Drew & Napier LLC, adds to the firm’s corporate finance capabilities.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP has an illustrious history in banking and finance with acquisition finance and cross-border finance at the forefront a practice that covers South-East Asia, India and China. The firm has a number of senior practitioners who previously worked at international law firms; the team advises on a range of Singapore and English law transactions. The lender-oriented practice acts for the three largest Singapore banks and a variety of foreign banks and other lenders. In a recent work example, it advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) on its $512m project financing of a $830m greenfield ammonia plant in Sulawesi, Indonesia. The ‘commercially savvyLiew Kai Zee heads the team, which includes the well-connected Stanley Lim, Pok Eu Jin and Prakash Raja Segaran.

As a firm, Asia Practice LLC is intensely specialised in banking and finance, covering a broad range of financial products including asset finance, leveraged finance, trade finance and straight corporate lending. The ‘responsive’ team ‘provides a prompt service’, and has experienced an uptick in fintech and alternative finance related transactions. It continues to advise a variety of local and international banks and acted for a banking syndicate, which included a major international bank in Singapore and a leading Singapore bank, in the restructuring of receivables purchase and trade facilities provided to one of the world’s largest traders and brokers in bunker fuels. The ‘very commercially minded’ Leon Low has a broad banking practice, Lee Chien Herr is also ‘very commercially minded’ and recommended for structured trade finance, ship finance and restructurings, while Jonathan Tan is ‘strong in local regulatory matters’ and asset finance, and Clarence Guo has a fine record in real estate finance.

Lee & Lee has a broad banking and finance practice led by Louise Tan, one of the most experienced banking and finance specialists in the market. The team continues to earn accolades for its standing in real estate finance especially and has a healthy client base of local, regional and international banks; these include CIMB Bank, DBS Bank, Malayan Banking, Mizuho Bank, OCBC and Standard Chartered.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC covers a broad product range and impresses with its advice in more esoteric areas such as Islamic finance and other financings linked to the capital markets. Clients include AusGroup, VTB Bank, Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore), Marco Polo Marine and VTB Bank; the team advised the latter on guaranteeing a $5.2bn loan by Intesa Sanpaolo to Glencore and Qatar Holding to finance a $12.2bn purchase of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft. Suet-Fern Lee, Sin Teck Lim and Wai Ming Yap are key partners.

Colin Ng & Partners LLP has a fine record in residential and commercial real estate financing; it is also increasingly active in private equity debt funding and internal compliance work for banks. Clients include a number of local and international banks as well as local and regional corporate borrowers. The firm advised HSBC Bank on a £29m term and revolving credit facilities agreement with TTGL, the public transport company with operations in Singapore and London. Quek Li Fei leads the team, which includes Bill Jamieson. Kenneth Szeto recently left for Withers KhattarWong.

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP is a largely borrower-driven practice, although it does represent a number of Korean banks in vanilla and syndicated loans. Much of the firm’s recent practice has centred on the offshore oil and gas industry with a series of refinancing and restructuring engagements. Moreover, the Singapore team is prominent in power sector project finance, particularly in Myanmar where the firm has an office. Leon Yee leads the practice.

KhattarWong LLP is known principally for its record in real estate finance, particularly in relation to acquisitions of hotels. Largely a lender-driven practice, the firm is on the panels of many of the key local banks and advises a number of the international banks that are present in Singapore. Pearl Lim and Carla Barker head the practice.

Legis Point LLC is widely recognised for its asset finance expertise, though its broader banking and finance practice has genuine credibility in mainstream lending and bank regulatory and compliance issues. Young Chee Foong is an experienced name with a following of international banks.

Loo & Partners LLP advises a range of foreign banks, including Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean lenders such as The Korea Development Bank, Cathay United Bank, Bank of Taiwan and Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank. The firm is active in syndicated loans, aircraft and ship finance, and project finance. It has also experienced growth in compliance and governance engagements. Loo Choon Chiaw is primarily focused on banking and finance with the remainder of his practice centred on corporate and M&A and capital markets.

Oon & Bazul LLP has a small and tight-knit team that is widely recognised for its connections to Indian banks, such as ICICI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank. While much of the firm’s work has recently centred on refinancings and restructurings, it typically operates a thriving commodities and trade finance practice, along with handling corporate loans and asset finance. Ting Chi Yen and recently promoted partner Faezah Omar are the key figures in the team.

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP has a broad banking and finance practice, with a strong emphasis on compliance, regulatory and governance, along with fintech corporate banking and structured finance. The firm is very much at the forefront of fintech and bitcoin technology, including structured finance products to support this burgeoning segment; Gerard Ng is a key name leading this initiative. The firm also advised Agricultural Bank of China on a $100m term loan facility provided by a local bank in Singapore. Kaylee Kwok heads the practice, which includes Nizam Ismail, Ow Kim Kit and senior partner Tan Chong Huat.

Straits Law Practice LLC is noted for its strong connections to many of India’s leading banks, especially in power sector financings (including solar power plants) and commodity trade finance. State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Union Bank of India are key clients. M Rajaram and Chan Lai Foong are the principal partners in the team.

TSMP Law Corporation is noted for its real estate finance expertise, though it has a rounded practice with a strong record in refinancings and financings involving capital markets issuances. The firm advises a mixture of local and international financial institutions, along with a range of corporate borrower clients. It continues to be active in real estate financings for Singapore corporates and REITs. Clients include Annaik, Low Keng Huat (Singapore), Vibrant Group, Asean Finance Corporation and UOB; the team assisted the latter with a $19m financing to Roxy-Pacific Holdings for the acquisition of a Maldivian tourist resort at Kudafunafaru, Noonu Atoll. Jennifer Chia leads the team.

Wong Tan & Molly Lim LLC has an impressive local, regional and international client base. It advised China Merchants Bank on a RMB600m syndicated loan to Yanlord Land and was Singapore counsel to Credit Suisse during the restructuring of $2.9bn and €500m term loans to the Boxer group of companies. Ong Beng Hong is ‘a very experienced lawyer’.

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