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Projects and energy – Foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Young Joon Kim - Milbank
    • Stephen Le Vesconte - Linklaters
    • Matthias Voss - Allen & Overy LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Joo Hee Lee - Linklaters
    • Ken Nam - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • Brian Youn - Milbank

Allen & Overy LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office advises financial institutions, multilateral agencies, sponsors and construction firms on outbound transactions and investments in the most prominent international energy and infrastructure projects. The practice is noted for its strength in cross-border Korean outbound projects and its close ties with domestic export credit agencies. Practice co-head Matthias Voss acted for a group of lenders, as international and Vietnamese counsel on the $5bn financing of the Nghi Son Refinery Project in Vietnam. Co-head Jean Lee and Voss are also advising export credit agencies and lenders in relation to the development of a floating liquified natural gas facility in Mozambique. Henry Sohn has relocated to the Seoul office from London.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a strong offering, particularly within the renewable energy sector and projects in emerging markets. Significant cases include advising KOGAS on its interest in the Area 4 Rovuma Basin LNG development in Mozambique, including an onshore LNG liquefaction project, offshore Coral FLNG Project and related upstream and downstream projects. McDonald and Dongho Lee lead the team and have ‘very good client management and communication skills’. Senior associate Ken Nam is active in numerous significant cases and is a key member of the team. Elsewhere, Tokyo-based head of corporate practice Lewis McDonald continues to assist Samsung C&T in relation to sub-contracting and management of the Roy Hill iron ore mine.

Linklaters is well known for advising Korean export credit agencies, sponsors and international lenders on high-profile projects, including oil and gas exploration in the Middle East and on a $10n financing Coral FLNG project in Mozambique. Managing partner Stephen Le Vesconte is a respected figure in the outbound transactions space; he and recently promoted partner Joo Hee Lee are assisting KEXIM in a proposed $9bn framework lending arrangement with 12 Iranian commercial banks to fund development projects in partnership with Korean developers. The team is also advising a Korean consortium on its bid for the development and project financing of the Kerawalapitiya power plant in Sri Lanka.

Latham & Watkins LLP's recently opened its Seoul office attracts international blue-chip financial sector clients who regularly instruct the ‘exceptional and client-focused’ team on project development and financial transactions.  Wonsuk (Steve) Kang has joined the practice from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In recent highlights, co-heads Joseph Bevash and Sungjin Kang are advising a group of Korean lenders in connection with the Duqm Refinery Project in Oman. Bevash and Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi are working on project development and financing on the Cirebon 2 Power Project, an expansion of the Cirebon fired power plant in Indonesia.

Milbank's practice head Young Joon Kim is regularly instructed by leading Korean blue-chip clients on the most significant energy and infrastructure projects and transactional mandates. In a recent key case, a cross-border team advised a group of senior lenders on their $1.7bn financial commitment in the expansion of the Cirebon coal-fired power plant in West Java, Indonesia. Senior associate Brian Youn is also highly experienced in assisting financial institutions, investors and sponsors in project finance matters.

Drawing on its network of offices from London, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, the team at Norton Rose Fulbright acts for leading corporates, as well as international lenders, on project development and financing mandates. John Kim is widely experienced in transactions, M&A and investment structuring in the oil and gas and engineering space. Singapore-based Nick Merritt is the firm's global head of infrastructure, mining and commodities. London-based Charles Whitney primary works with multilateral financing institutions and export credit agencies on complex multi-sourced project financing. George Gibson, based in Tokyo, is another project finance specialist of note.

Shearman & Sterling has confirmed it will open an office in Seoul by the end of 2018. The team’s cross-border practice stands out for its key strength in transactional and project finance matters. Key contacts include John Inglis and Bill McCormack, as well as the Singapore-based Anna Chung and Ben Shorten who collectively are highly knowledgeable and experienced in advising financial institutions and sponsors on transactions in the power, renewable energy, and oil and gas space across multiple jurisdictions. The team is acting as international counsel for several export credit agencies on the development and financing of the Balkhash coal-fired thermal power plant in Kazakhstan. It is also advising a consortium in relation to a Jawa 1 power plant in West Java, Indonesia.

White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office) has a strong focus on transactional matters and is regularly called upon by blue-chip corporations and financial institutions to lend its expertise in the project finance space. Arthur Scavone, global practice head, is a highly experienced project finance specialist; he is representing KEXIM as well as other lenders in relation to the ongoing construction of the Kelar power plant in Chile. Saul Daniel and Mark Castillo-Bernaus are also names to note.

The team at Baker McKenzie LLP, Foreign Legal Consultant Office is experienced in advising Korean companies on international transactions and investments in the energy, power and infrastructure space. Won Lee’s advises Korean clients on investments and acquisitions in developed jurisdictions and emerging markets. Foreign attorney Winton Kim is also experienced in investment and joint ventures, particularly in the energy, telecoms and social infrastructure sectors.

King & Spalding's Rupert Lewi is advising Korean Gas Corporation on its participation and joint ventures in a proposed LNG project in Canada. Managing partner John McClenahan recently assisted Posco Daewoo on the negotiation of FEED and contracts for construction of a sub-sea expansion project for the Shwe Gas Project in Myanmar. The Tokyo-based practice has been strengthened with the recruitment of project finance partner Ryuichi Kaga, the former head of PPP at the Asian Development Bank.

Projects and energy – Local firms

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC draws on its combined expertise within M&A, project financing and construction to advice sponsors and investors on significant domestic and international infrastructure projects. In contentious matters, practice head Joonki Yi successfully overturned an earlier government decision opposing the construction of a coal-fired power plant and obtained approval for POS Power to continue with the power generation project as planned. In outbound transactions, the team acted as lead counsel for Hanaro in relation it’s a mezzanine loan to finance a biomass project in the UK. Seungkyo Lee is particularly active in overseas investment; he is also a key counsel advising Korea Electric Power Corporation against two of Korea’s largest construction companies in an LCIA arbitration.

Kim & Chang’s ‘quality and client-focused’ team advises sponsors, state-owned entities, engineering firms and lenders on significant, high-value energy and infrastructure projects. The practice also has strong capabilities in project finance; it recently advised the Korean lenders, including the Export-Import Bank of Korea, on a $5.3bn in joint financing of the construction of a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) processing facility in Mozambique. Energy and outbound transactions specialist Chang-hee Shin is working with Ick Ryol Huh to assist Korea East-West Power in its investment in a coal-fired power plant in Indonesia. Young Kyun Cho represented Goseong Green Power in the biggest domestic IPP business valued at $3.8bn. Dong-Seok (Johan) Oh is prominent in outbound transactions and litigations in the energy space, and is regularly assisted by Claire (Mi-Jin) Kim in project finance matters. Practice co-heads Huh and Yon Kyun Oh are praised for their ‘depth knowledge, experience and good contacts in the sector’.

Lee & Ko's expertise spans the full spectrum of projects and energy work, with notable expertise in project financing, outbound transactions and litigation. The full-service practice is co-headed by Dong Eun Kim, who is highly experienced in transactions in the construction and energy space, and Tom Shim. Supported by a cross-disciplinary team, Shim and In Soo Kim advised Samsung Life Insurance on its investment in the Gaziantep Integrated Health Campus. In another prominent mandate, Hun Ko assisted Seoul Beltway and its sponsors in executing the amended concession agreement and negotiating with new lenders for a facility agreement totalling $2.4bn. In inbound transactional work, Kwang Yul Kim and Dae Hong Kim are assisting GS Retail Consortium in all matters connected to the development of a multi-purpose complex. Hyunsu Kim is also recommended for infrastructure, PPP and project finance matters. Charles Peterson, former head of international energy at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, joined the group in March 2018.

Shin & Kim continues to be at the forefront of the alternative energy industry while also advising blue-chip corporate clients in domestic and international projects. Highlights include Hyunju Helen Pak and Sang-Hyun Lee acting for the National Pension Service as part of a consortium which acquired full ownership of Helix Holdings, and several Korean lenders in relation to financing the construction of a suspension bridge in Turkey. In investment in renewable energy projects, Michael Chang and Lee advised Korea Electric Power on the acquisition of a solar power facility located in California. In other inbound transactions, Seung-Gyu Yang and Lee lead on project finance for Daesan Green Energy's fuel cell power systems project, as well as advise K Securities, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance and Kyobo Life Insurance on the Younggwang wind farms project financing.

Yulchon’s cross-departmental practice is active in project development mandates including energy, infrastructure, real estate, and PPP/BOT. Raymond M. Kang leads the group and his experience covers domestic and international greenfield and brownfield projects as well as transactions relating to power plants. Regulatory expert Bong Hee Han is recommended for work in the energy space. Highlights for the team include advising Lotte Group in connection to a real estate development in Vietnam, and Hyundai City Corporation on the development of its Taean Enterprise City project.

Jipyong’s practice advises on strategic regulatory matters, M&A and real estate, outbound investment in mining operations, renewable energy and traditional power generation projects. Hee Suk Chai's expertise in private equity funds and PPP arrangements saw him advise the Korea Development Bank and other investors on a $130m investment through a Korean private equity fund on the Hainan Haikou International Airport Expansion Project in China. In another foreign direct investment, Han Seok Myung acted for a corporate partnership comprising of Woori, KEPCO and Sprott Global Private Equity Fund in the acquisition of three solar power generation facilities in California.

Yoon & Yang LLC's Sung-Jin Kim is an M&A and capital markets expert for clients in the projects and energy space; he recently advised POSCO Energy on the preparation of a contract for the issuance of redeemable convertible preferred shares designed to improve its financial structure. Team head Soong-Ki Yi is assisting Korea Water Resources Corporation and its subsidiary, JSC Nenskra Hydro, on several matters relating to a hydropower development project in Georgia.

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Dinner with GC -
Korea 2018

  • China and Hong Kong GC Powerlist

    In May, The Legal 500 and GC Magazine added another country to the list of destinations for their exclusive Dinner with GC series, as South Korea’s elite in-house counsel came together at Mugunghwa in Seoul, for a closed-door discussion on the realities of the role.

    Dinner with GC - Korea 2018

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Legal Developments in South Korea

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    On July 25, 2019, the Ministry of Economy and Finance publicly released the 2019 draft Tax Revision Bill (the “Draft Bill”). The Draft Bill is expected to be sent to the National Assembly on September 3, 2019 for deliberation and adoption.
  • Russian Court’s Judgment Recognized for Enforcement in Korea

    Recently, based on the premise that requirements for “mutual guarantee” or “reciprocity” in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments can be allowed between Russia and Korea, a District Court of Korea rendered its decision which allowed a judgment concluded by a Russian court to be enforceable in Korea (see Changwon District Court, Decision 2018Gahap51099 held on January 17, 2019).
  • Korean National Assembly Passes “Blind Hiring” Bill to Reform Hiring Culture

    Recently, the National Assembly of Korea passed legislative amendments to the Fair Recruitment Procedure Act (“FRPA ”) as part of the reform efforts to address the country’s recruitment culture. The latest amendment – dubbed the “blind hiring” bill – expands the FRPA to prohibit any type of recruitment irregularities (e.g., improper solicitation, coercion, pressure) and, more importantly, bars employers from asking jobseekers to provide any information unrelated to the position and the applicant’s merit. The amended FRPA will go into effect starting July 17, 2019.
  • Korean Financial Supervisory Service Mandating Disclosure of Transaction Documents When Filing Repor

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  • Korean Supreme Court Confirms Licensee’s Standing to Challenge Patent Validity

    On February 21, 2019, the Supreme Court of Korea issued an en banc decision overruling its prior precedents on the issue of whether a licensee who is continuing to make royalty payments under an existing license agreement nevertheless has standing to challenge the validity of the licensed patent. In short, the Korean Supreme Court held that absent special circumstance, a patent licensee is an “interested party” eligible for challenging the validity of a licensed patent, despite the lack of any threat or potential threat posed by the patent holder against the licensee’s right to use the patented invention. (Supreme Court En Banc Decision No. 2017Hu2819).
  • Amendments to the KFTC Merger Review Guidelines

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC ”) recently amended its Guidelines for Merger Review (the ”Guidelines ”), which took effect from February 27, 2019. The Guidelines now provide for particular issues relating to “innovation markets” and “big data” that will be considered during the KFTC’s review of mergers within R&D-intensive (i.e. innovative) industries.

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