Banking and finance: foreign firms in China

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is 'one of the best bank-side legal counsels for Greater China transactions'. The practice fields an experienced bench of over 30 Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing-based lawyers, who act in traditional lending products such as secured and unsecured bilateral and syndicated lending, acquisition financing, real estate financing and project financing, as well as more complex and innovative structured transactions, equity-backed financings and fund financings. Yvonne Ho in Beijing regularly advises international and PRC banks and corporations on cross-border financing transactions; and Shanghai's Matthew Bisley recently led advice to Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) on a syndicated loan facility, which was provided to Ascent Real Estate Investors, Partners Group and Beijing Zhaotai (as sponsors) to finance the acquisition of Beijing's Zhongguancun Dinghao Electronics Plaza.

Practice head(s):

Yvonne Ho

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Bisley

Testimonials

It is one of the few firms that has a dedicated banking team in the PRC that can deal with cross-border financing deals, not just from a local PRC perspective but also from an international viewpoint.

The team is very responsible, has in-depth understanding of sponsor- driven acquisition financing, and is able to deliver comprehensive legal advice in a timely manner.

Matthew Bisley is always a first-choice legal counsel because of his experience and strong negotiation skills.

Yvonne Ho has impressive experience in PRC-related financing matters.

Key clients

Bank of China

ICBC International

HSBC

Deutsche Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Credit Suisse

Greater Bay Area Homeland Investment

United Overseas Bank

China CITIC Bank

Citibank

Work highlights

  • Advised China CITIC Bank, as global coordinator and mandated lead arranger, on a $2.5bn senior loan facility to a Tianqi Lithium subsidiary for the acquisition of an approximately 24% stake in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile.
  • Advised Credit Suisse (Singapore Branch), as sole coordinator, mandated lead arranger and bookrunner, on  a €1.5bn bridge loan facility to Unic Shine Capital (Hong Kong).
  • Advised Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), as mandated lead arranger, bookrunner and bank syndicate, on syndicated loan facilities made available to Baoxin Auto Finance I and Grand Baoxin Auto Group.

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP is widely respected for its advice to international and domestic investment banks, private equity sponsors, funds, borrowers and corporations on complex cross-border financing transactions, and has the ability to advise on Hong Kong, English, Australian and US law-governed transactions. In recent matters, the practice advised Bank of China and HSBC on the financing for the acquisition by a group consortium, led by CITIC Capital Holdings and Caixin Global, of Euromoney Institutional Investor's Global Marketing Intelligence Division. Cross-border corporate, leveraged and acquisition financing expert Timothy Democratis and Jiahua Ni, who specialises in PRC-related cross-border financings, are the principal mainland China contacts. In Hong Kong, Anthony Wang advises arrangers and lenders on acquisition financing and syndicated loans in Asia; Dauwood Malik is noted for debt, infrastructure, real estate development and investment financing; Matthew Truman specialises in acquisition finance, syndicated lending and restructuring transactions; Edith Leung recently advised on a syndicated green term loan for REC Group; and Vicky Ma is focused on global energy and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Wang

Key clients

Ping An Bank

Bank of China

HSBC

Navis Capital

CVC

Goldman Sachs

Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments

China CITIC Bank International

China Construction Bank

Credit Agricole

Work highlights

  • Advised Ping An Bank, Tianjin Pilot Free Trade Zone Branch and China CITIC Bank Corporation (Shanghai Branch), as arrangers, on the financing for the acquisition from Pearson of Wall Street English by CITIC Capital and Baring Private Equity Asia’s affiliated private equity funds (as sponsors).
  • Advised Navis Capital on the refinancing of the acquisition of AsiaInspection and Testing Holdings, a provider of inspection services for Western consumer goods brands.
  • Advised CVC on the financing of the acquisition of Munchy Foods, a snack manufacturer in Malaysia.

Linklaters

Linklaters' China banking team is experienced in acting for arranging banks, credit enhancers, funds and corporations on a wide range of industrial and financial sectors. It stands out for its assistance to arrangers on private equity-backed LBOs, particularly in relation to China-related acquisitions, while in structured lending matters, the practice is able to call on the expertise of the firm's corporate, capital markets and regulatory divisions. Highlights included advising the lead arrangers and lenders on the €211m financing for the acquisition of outstanding Esaote shares, an Italian biomedical equipment manufacturer, by a consortium of seven Chinese investors. Beijing's Xiaohui Ji is a project finance expert and Wendy Zhang is an experienced managing associate; Frank Cui is a key name in Hong Kong.

Practice head(s):

Xiaohui Ji

Other key lawyers:

Wendy Zhang; Frank Cui

Key clients

ANZ

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of China

BNP Paribas

Cathay United Bank

China Construction Bank

China Development Bank

Citi

Credit Suisse

CTBC Bank

Deutsche Bank

HSBC

Morgan Stanley

Natixis

Nomura

Oaktree

Standard Chartered

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank

Taishin International Bank

UBS

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bank of China (Hong Kong), as arranger, agent and original lender, on $100m refinancing facilities that it provided to China Auto Rental.
  • Acted for China Development Bank on its proposed term loan facility to Ren-Redes Energéticas Nacionais.
  • Advised Bank of China and China Development Bank on a Sinosure-backed credit facility for the Republic of Cameroon.

Ashurst

Ashurst acts for leading international and regional financial institutions, alternative credit providers, multinational corporate borrowers, issuers and government agencies on cross-border, multi-jurisdictional international project financing, real estate finance, margin loans, structured lending, fund financing and acquisition financing deals across the Asian region. Greater China project finance head Chin Chuan Chen splits his time between Singapore and Beijing, Beijing managing partner Patrick Phua has extensive expertise in China's derivatives and structured products market, and counsel Emma Zhang and senior associate Zhibin Fan are also experienced advisers. Nigel PridmoreEric Tan and Daniel Lau are highly regarded names in Hong Kong.

Practice head(s):

Jamie Ng; Nigel Pridmore

Testimonials

The team fights hard for its clients.’

Key clients

ANZ

Agricultural Bank of China

Banco Santander

Bank of China

Bank of Communications

China Construction Bank

China Development Bank

Citibank

CICC Hong Kong Finance (Cayman)

CMB International Finance

Credit Suisse

HSBC

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Mizuho Bank

The Export-Import Bank of China

UBS

Work highlights

  • Advised China Development Bank on its $4.5bn-plus financing for the Indonesian Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project.
  • Advised Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank on its $4bn-plus financing for a coal-fired thermal power plant in Bangladesh.
  • Acted for ICBC and CEXIM in an approximately $2bn term loan facility to Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation to finance the construction of a hydropower project in Zambia.

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Baker McKenzie FenXun acts for commercial and investment banks, dealers and financial intermediaries, private equity and mutual funds, and insurance companies, as well as corporate users of credit and financial products, governments and governmental agencies. The practice's experience includes acquisition and trade finance, project financing, structured finance, syndicated loans, regulatory compliance and restructuring, along with aircraft and asset finance and financial services regulation. Allen Ng, who divides time between Shanghai and Hong Kong, advises on aircraft leasing and financing deals, Simon Leung is based in the Beijing and Hong Kong offices, and Grace Li is an experienced special counsel in Shanghai. In Hong Kong,  Andrew Lockhart is an asset and structured finance expert; Sally Hung's practice includes structured finance, project loans and debt restructuring; and consultant Barry Cheng acts on project finance and banking for lenders and borrowers.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lockhart; Barry Cheng

Other key lawyers:

Allen Ng; Simon Leung; Grace Li; Sally Hung

Testimonials

The team has excellent knowledge of banking and finance; it supports clients not only on the legal side but also in commercial and administrative matters‘.

Allen Ng provides very good legal and commercial advice, and is always there for his clients‘.

Key clients

Tencent Holdings

United Overseas Bank

Excel Partners China Fund

Natixis

Crédit Agricole

Mizuho Bank

Bank of China

ICBC

Work highlights

  • Acted for United Overseas Bank (and other offshore syndicate members) on an onshore / offshore refinancing to fund an offshore acquisition by Brave Point.
  • Assisted Excel Partners China Fund (Excel) with a $175m secured term loan facility granted by a consortium of five international banks (led by Deutsche Bank as mandated lead arranger) to three Barbados subsidiaries of Excel.
  • Acted for Tencent Holdings on the application for a virtual banking license, which was approved by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright regularly acts for international and major Chinese banks as well as a large number of international and local Chinese sponsors, borrowers and corporations. The practice's scope of work covers project financing, acquisition finance, export credit financing, asset finance, and real estate financing and sovereign lending; it also has particular sector expertise in power, oil and gas, infrastructure, mining and commodities, transport, and financial institutions. In recent years, Beijing's Paul Wee Ei Don has advised on large Chinese outbound financings involving countries from Australia and Angola to the Ukraine and Venezuela. Former partner Fei Kwok left for Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):

Paul Wee Ei Don

Key clients

China Development Bank

ICBC

Standard Chartered

Work highlights

  • Acted for China Development Bank, as English and lead counsel, on a $300m power plant-related facility to Pakistan’s United Bank.
  • Advised China Development Bank on a dual-currency facility to the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Ecuador.
  • Advised CMBC Capital Holdings on financing the acquisition by Sunrise Fund of an indirect 25% interest in Techpool Bio-Pharma.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP is well known for its assistance on large banking and finance deals that emanate from Asia, including leveraged acquisition financings, real estate finance, project financing and asset finance. The team also acts for credit funds and hedge funds, as well as securities houses, on debt, equity-linked and equity investments in Asia and around the world. David Li is a highly rated Beijing contact and Shanghai's Frank Shu is a senior legal consultant. In Hong Kong, Eric Berg is the head of the firm’s Asia Pacific region, Eugene Man leads the Asia Pacific banking and restructuring practices, and Baldwin Cheng is well known for advising both Chinese and global banks on major pan-Asian financings.

Practice head(s):

Eric Berg; Eugene Man

Other key lawyers:

David Li; Frank Shu; Baldwin Cheng 

Testimonials

Commercial, responsive and focused on getting the deal done‘.

No unnecessary grandstanding, just solid, clear commercial advice designed to manage the transactions as smoothly as possible‘.

The team is always very well managed and appropriately resourced‘.

‘David Li and associate June Chun deliver top-notch work product and are available and responsive. They do everything necessary to ensure we get past the finish line‘.

Key clients

China CITIC Bank International

CTBC Bank

Gaw Capital Partners

China Everbright Bank

Morgan Stanley

RRJ Capital

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

I Squared Capital

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised China CITIC Bank International on a $1bn mezzanine syndicated term loan to Tianqi Lithium Australia Investments 2 Pty for the acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile.
  • Advised RRJ Capital on the financing for its acquisition of gategroup Holding from HNA Aviation (Hong Kong) Air Catering Holding.
  • Advised ICBC, as bridge lender, on the €846m loan to Jin Jiang International Holdings for the acquisition of Radisson Group from HNA Hotel Group.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's Hong Kong-based team acts for a wide range of borrower, lender and alternative capital provider clients. Recent work includes advising Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, the third-largest bank by market capitalisation in Australia, on a $300m syndicated term and revolving facility that was provided to China Water Affairs for the development, construction and purchase of water integrated projects in the PRC. Matthias Schemuth heads the Asia finance, projects and restructuring group, which also fields Paul LeeCarolyn Dong and of counsel Tom Van Hoof.

Practice head(s):

Matthias Schemuth

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lee; Carolyn Dong; Tom Van Hoof

Key clients

Coöperatieve Rabobank

DBS Bank

Pierfront Capital Fund Management

Deutsche Bank

GAW Capital

HSBC

PT Digital Synergy Technology

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Sinopharm Holding (China) Finance Leasing

Haitong International Securities

Qumei Home Furnishings Group

Bank of China

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

DZ Bank

Bank of Communications

Hang Seng Bank

China Ping An Insurance Overseas

OPIC

Sky Solar

Work highlights

  • Assisted Germany’s DZ Bank with a number of lending facilities for major projects across Asia.
  • Acted for DBS Bank, UOB and ING, in a $820m financing to PT Huawei Tech Investment, which related to a telecoms network expansion project in Indonesia.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Greater China finance group is well known for its strong relationships with Chinese banks. The group advises on commercial bank lending, debt capital markets, project finance, off-balance sheet financing techniques and asset-based finance; it has particular expertise in complex structured financings, real estate finance and trade finance. The Hong Kong-based group is led by Alexander Aitken, which includes senior associate Ellen Mao.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Aitken

Other key lawyers:

Ellen Mao

Testimonials

The team has a lot of experience and is good at problem solving in a commercial manner‘.

It provides fast responses and excellent support to clients‘.

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

JP Morgan

BNP Paribas

ANZ

Citibank

China Huarong International

China Construction Bank International

Industrial Bank

China Development Bank

ICICI

Agricultural Bank of China

ICBC

Credit Agricole

China Minsheng Banking Corporation

Bank of China

Bank of Baroda

Work highlights

  • Advised S F Holding, which provides integrated express logistics services, as borrower of a high-value facility for the acquisition of the entire shareholding in DHL Supply Chain (Hong Kong) and DHL Logistics (Beijing).
  • Advised a syndicate of lenders, with Mizuho Bank (Hong Kong Branch) acting as facility agent, on a HK$350m revolving credit and term loan facility for Leo Paper Group Finance.
  • Advised UltraTech Cement (as the successful bidder for the purchase of the Binani Cement group’s debt) on a debt restructuring.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP's scope of work covers structured, leveraged, acquisition, real estate, asset and pre-IPO financings. Experienced in project financing, Jun Wei is the key Beijing contact, while Owen Chan in Hong Kong leads the Hong Kong and mainland China-based international banking and finance lawyers. Shantay Cong is an experienced senior associate working across the Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, and Louise Leung in Hong Kong was recently made partner.

Practice head(s):

Owen Chan

Other key lawyers:

Jun Wei; Shantay Cong; Louise Leung

Key clients

HSBC

Kirkland & Ellis

Focused on the debtor side, Kirkland & Ellis' practice advises private equity sponsors, credit funds and strategic corporate investors, with the team covering all key financing products across the Asia Pacific region. David Irvine heads up the Hong Kong-based Asia debt finance practice and has extensive experience in major cross-border, leveraged and acquisition financing transactions. Other names to note are Jacqueline Zheng and Daniel AbercrombyKaren Ho was made partner.

Practice head(s):

David Irvine

Testimonials

Commercially minded‘.

Key clients

Noble Group

Blackstone

FountainVest Partners

Advent International and AI Dream 3 (Cayman)

Bain Capital

Apax Partners

Pure International Holdings (BVI)

Hillhouse Capital Management and Hillhouse Fund IV

Work highlights

  • Advised Noble Group, a global commodities trader, on its financial restructuring.
  • Acted for Blackstone in its $400m subscription of H shares convertible bonds in Hong Kong-listed YiChang HEC ChangJiang Pharmaceutical.
  • Advised FountainVest Partners, as a member of an investor consortium, on the financing aspects of a voluntary public tender offer for Amer Sports’ shares.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP acts for both lenders and borrowers in major banking and finance deals, including syndicated lending, complex acquisition financings, leveraged lending and leveraged recapitalisation transactions, as well as structured note and private placement deals. In Hong Kong, Gary Hamp is a former co-chair of the firm's global banking practice and Howard Lam chairs the Hong Kong finance department; Manas Chandrashekar was recently elected partner.

Practice head(s):

Gary Hamp; Howard Lam

Other key lawyers:

Manas Chandrashekar

Key clients

Tianqi Lithium Australia Investments 1 Pty

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Lodgis Hospitality Holdings Pte

Vailog Hong Kong DC17

Warburg Pincus

E Sun Commercial Bank

BNP Paribas

HSBC

Citibank

TPG

Goldman Sachs

Carlyle Asia

Barings Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Advised Tianqi Lithium Industries on the term loan facilities for its acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Sociedad Quimica y Minera.
  • Acted for a syndicate of lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, in the €4bn recourse and non-recourse financing for the acquisition of Finland’s Amer Sports by a consortium.
  • Advised TPG on the senior and mezzanine financing for the acquisition of Healthscope’s Quest Laboratories Pte and Gribbles Pathology.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown advises lenders and borrowers on financings involving leveraged matters, acquisitions, bi-lateral and syndicated loans, real estate, funds, structured products, aviation and shipping, projects and trade finance. Hallam Chow joined the Beijing office in 2018 from White & Case LLP as head of projects (China) and has worked with Chinese and international lenders and borrowers on major outbound and inbound transactions in the technology, energy, oil and gas, healthcare, real estate and logistic assets sectors. Boya Shen is the mainland senior associate to note, and in Hong Kong, Richard Stock heads the firm's asset finance team.

Practice head(s):

Richard Stock

Other key lawyers:

Hallam Chow; Boya Shen

Key clients

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia)

Hang Seng Bank

China construction Bank

Bank of Communication

China Merchants Bank

China Minsheng Banking

China Development Bank

China Everbright Bank

Ping An Bank

DBS Bank

China CITIC Bank

Paul Hastings LLP

With a client roster more weighted towards the borrower side, Paul Hastings LLP's Hong Kong-based banking and finance team covers commercial lending, private equity, loan workouts, refinancing and acquisition financing, and related issues. James MaVivian Lam and Brett King are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

James Ma; Vivian Lam; Brett King

Key clients

China Orient Summit Capital

Sino-Ocean Land Holdings

Nomura

Bank of Taiwan

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank

Cathay United Bank

CTBC Bank

ICBC International Capital

Horizons Ventures

Ever Bliss International

Joy Orient Investments

China Everbright

The Carlyle Group

Baha Mar Resorts

Ping An

China Baowu Group

Shanghai Electric

Work highlights

  • Advised COSCO SHIPPING Holdings on a loan facility to finance the voluntary general cash offer for the issued shares of Orient Overseas (International), which was made by the wholly-owned subsidiaries of COSCO SHIPPING Holdings and Shanghai International Port (Group).

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP's Hong Kong team is well known for its assistance to private equity sponsors with their financings across the Asia Pacific region. Daniel Anderson is a highly regarded banking and finance lawyer who is also noted for his restructuring and insolvency experience; Jackie Kahng and senior associate Lucy Wu joined in 2018 from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Kahng; Daniel Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Wu 

Testimonials

Strong industry knowledge in banking and financing matters‘.

The team is good at problem solving in a commercial manner‘.

Jackie Kahng is personable, knowledgeable and highly experienced, as well as responsive, thorough and thoughtful‘.

Key clients

KKR

TPG Capital

Bain Capital

MBK Partners

Baring Private Equity Asia

Alibaba

Work highlights

  • Acted for KKR in the financing for its acquisition, together with IGIS Asset Management and the National Pension Service of Korea, of a mixed-use real estate project in Seoul.
  • Advised TPG Capital on the financing arrangements for its joint venture with China Lodging Group, a  multi-brand hotel group in China.
  • Acted for US-based, Bain Capital (Bain), the global multi-asset alternative investment firm, in the financing for the Bain-led acquisition of Toshiba’s semiconductor business.

Stephenson Harwood

In addition to Stephenson Harwood's advice to banks and other financial institutions on the lender side, the practice is regularly instructed in borrower matters. Representative work includes bilateral loan transactions and general banking matters. The Hong Kong-based team's principal contacts are Mark Reed and Stephanie Wong; King-Tak Fung is also a key adviser.

Practice head(s):

Mark Reed

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Wong; King-Tak Fung

Key clients

Bank of China (Hong Kong)

China Construction Bank (Hong Kong Branch)

FundPark

Metro Holdings

TNG (Asia)

Work highlights

  • Assisted China Construction Bank with developing its suite of standard factoring and risk participation documents.
  • Assisted Bank of China (Hong Kong) with developing the standard documentation for its supply chain financing business.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons' Beijing-based Yongmei Cai specialises in banking, cross-border finance, derivatives, debt capital markets and financial regulatory work. In recent years, she has focused on cross-border structured trade and commodities finance transactions for international finance institutions.

Other key lawyers:

Yongmei Cai

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's Hong Kong-based practice fields experts in leveraged and acquisition finance; the team also assists companies and private equity clients with structuring real estate financings, corporate working capital facilities and fund-level facilities. Makiko Harunari, who was promoted to partner in 2019, serves as the firm’s Asia banking and credit practice head.

Practice head(s):

Makiko Harunari

Key clients

Ant Financial

The Blackstone Group

Calsonic Kansei

Goodpack

Hitachi Koki

KKR & Co

Pioneer DJ

Work highlights

  • Acted for Calsonic Kansei in the financing surrounding its acquisition from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of automotive components business, Magneti Marelli.
  • Advised Blackstone on the financing for its acquisition of AYUMI Pharmaceutical.
  • Advised PHC Holdings on the financing for its acquisition of the anatomical pathology business of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well regarded for its borrower-side practice; the team's scope of work includes the financing of PRC going-private acquisition deals as well as other acquisition transactions. John Hartley, who joined from Gibson Dunn, and Jonathan Stone are the key practitioners. Clive Rough retired from the practice.

Practice head(s):

John Hartley

Key clients

Renren

Key Safety Systems

Xiaomi

TAL Education Group

HOPU Fund

Baidu

Work highlights

  • Acted for the buyer group in the financing for the going-private acquisition of JA Solar Holdings.  
  • Advised TAL Education Group on a $600m syndicated term and revolving loan agreement with Deutsche Bank (Singapore Branch), as co-ordinating mandated lead arranger and bookrunner.
  • Acted for the HOPU-ARM Innovation Fund on its drawdown revolving credit facility.