Projects and energy: foreign firms in China

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's China projects and energy team comprises over 20 lawyers working across the firm's Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. Key specialisms for the team include project and acquisition financing, commercial and corporate law, M&A, and joint ventures. Clients also benefit from complementary expertise in capital markets, regulatory law, antitrust, disputes and arbitration. The team assists with the full range of sectors, such as power, energy, refineries and petrochemicals, oil and gas, mining, roads and other public infrastructure, and it regularly supports Chinese corporations and banks with outbound projects. It also advises on inbound transactions and enjoys close links to the key Chinese state-owned energy and projects companies, investors and banks. Highlights include advising China CITIC Bank, as global coordinator and mandated lead arranger, on a $2.5bn senior loan facility to a subsidiary of Tianqi Lithium for the acquisition of a 23.77% stake in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile. In Beijing, Yvonne Ho has a speciality in advising Chinese lenders and sponsors on outbound transactions, Ling Li is a highly rated energy lawyer, and counsel Benjamin Crawford is a corporate lawyer who specialises in the energy and renewable sector. Over in Shanghai, Matthew Bisley handles a large amount of project and infrastructure finance work on behalf of Chinese and international lenders, corporations and export credit agencies.

Practice head(s):

Ling Li; Yvonne Ho

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Bisley; Benjamin Crawford

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Bank of China

China Datang Overseas

New Development Bank

China National Petroleum Corporation

China Three Gorges International

China Gezhouba Group

China CITIC Bank

Silk Road Fund

State Grid Corporation of China

China Harbour Engineering Company

China Machinery Engineering Corporation

United Overseas Bank

New Development Bank

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of China (Luxembourg branch) on providing a loan facility to China Three Gorges and Guoxin International Investment for the acquisition of Peru’s Chaglla power plant.
  • Acted as lenders’ counsel in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique.
  • Acted for Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and The Export-Import Bank of China in  a financing to fund the construction of an airport highway in Bangladesh.

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP's team across China and Hong Kong is consistently involved in several large-scale projects and infrastructure financings and investments. The firm's project finance specialists have experience of advising lenders, sponsors, export credit agencies and development banks across a wide range of industries. In recent work, it advised The Export-Import Bank of China on the $1.26bn financing for the development of two power plant projects in Indonesia. Jiahua Ni is based in both the Beijing and the Shanghai offices, and advises on significant outbound financings for major Chinese banks in Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa; Timothy Democratis in Beijing specialises in advising borrowers and lenders on their cross-border transactions involving China; and Maggie Lo, who divides her time between the Hong Kong and Beijing offices, has broad experience advising on project finance, acquisition finance, receivables finance, pre-IPO finance, and corporate loan transactions. Growth in the team included Hong Kong and Beijing-based Vicky Ma, who is a core member of the firm's worldwide projects group, being promoted to the partnership in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Wong; Jiahua Ni

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Democratis; Maggie Lo; Vicky Ma

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of China

China Construction Bank

China Development Bank

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Acted for China Construction Bank, as underwriting and mandated lead arranger, in a $840m financing for Zijin Mining Group’s proposed acquisition of Nevsun Resources.
  • Advised China Development Bank on a $400m loan to Karara Mining for an iron ore project in Australia.
  • Advised Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on a proposed term loan facility to Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation for the construction of hydroelectric power station-related transmission lines.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is widely respected for its assistance to companies, sponsors, banks and public bodies on all aspects of major projects in sectors such as oil and gas, mining, power, nuclear, renewables, water and waste, rail, airports, and ports and roads. Clients benefit from working with the team throughout the lifecycle of a project, from positioning to win a bid, project structuring, financing, development and construction through to disputes; and the Greater China projects team was recently extensively involved in greenfield power development projects. It has also been particularly active in respect of the initial wave of Belt and Road investments for Chinese investors and funders. The team advised Chinese energy company ENN Ecological Holdings on its proposed acquisition from Japan's Toshiba of the rights to a 20-year liquefaction tolling agreement with Texas-based Freeport LNG. Monica Sun leads the energy practice in China from Beijing, where Ellen Zhang is highly rated for outbound infrastructure and Belt & Road projects, energy, natural resources and transportation specialist Calvin Ho was recently made partner, and James Zhang is the senior associate to note. Hilary Lau, who divides his time between the Hong Kong and Beijing offices, heads the energy practice in Asia.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Lau; Monica Sun; Ellen Zhang

Other key lawyers:

Calvin Ho; James Zhang

Testimonials

The team is highly energetic and efficient‘.

Key clients

CNOOC Gas and Power Group

The Export-Import Bank of China

China Harbour Engineering Company

NORINCO International

China Road and Bridge Corporation

China State Construction Engineering

Beijing Urban Construction Group

Cheniere Energy

Work highlights

  • Acted for CRCC International Group in a high-speed rail project in Thailand, which links three airports.
  • Advised China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Company on an investment in Arctic 2 LNG.
  • Acted for The Export-Import Bank of China in its loan to the Hungarian Government for the upgrade of the Belgrade-Budapest railway.  

Linklaters

Linklaters' team of project finance specialists in China is led by Beijing's Xiaohui Ji, who stands out for her strong relationships with key Chinese financiers. It is highly involved in Belt and Road deals, including assisting multinational clients with all aspects of cross-border investment, from secured loans, project financing to corporate structuring and acquisitions, and management of risk and disputes. The practice also stands out for its renewable energy expertise. In recent work, the team acted for a syndicate of banks, with ICBC as the mandated lead arranger, in the project financing of a coal-fired power plant in India. Managing associate Jianbin Wang's experience includes project finance in the power, mining and infrastructure sectors, export credits and corporate lending.

Practice head(s):

Xiaohui Ji

Other key lawyers:

Jianbin Wang

Key clients

China Light and Power

China Southern Grid

Hong Kong ElectricNo

KOMIPO

Ørsted

State Grid Corporation of China

BP

CNOOC

Dow Chemical

ENI

PETRONAS

POSCO

Rosneft

Sakhalin Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised China Development Bank and HBL on the project financing for a hydropower station in Pakistan.
  • Advised the lenders, including Export-Import Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China, in the project financing of a petrochemical complex.
  • Advised BBI Group Pty, together with Allens, on an independent iron ore infrastructure system in Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is regularly retained by multinational corporations, as well as major Chinese sponsors and lenders, in relation to cross-border deals, and the practice's clients benefit from the firm's global network, which includes over 50 offices. The team acted for China Development Bank, as English and lead counsel, in a $300m dual-tranche facility to Pakistan's United Bank, which was in relation to the first indigenous coal-fired, super-critical power plant in Pakistan. Beijing-based Tom Luckock is head of projects and specialises in projects in the power, infrastructure and water sectors, and Paul Wee Ei Don is highly rated for outbound financing projects; he has advised major financial institutions and corporations on project financing, export credit financing and leveraged acquisition financing, with a particular focus on the mining and metals, oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Tom Luckock

Other key lawyers:

Paul Wee Ei Don 

Key clients

China Development Bank

GCL New Energy Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised China Development Bank, as English, Hong Kong and lead counsel, on a dual-currency facility for Ecuador’s Ministry of Economy and Finance to finance energy projects.
  • Acted for GCL New Energy Holdings in its subscription for shares in a Hong Kong company that owns a greenfield solar project in Guinea.

Ashurst

Ashurst handles a diverse range of project financing transactions; the team has a strong flow of cross-border, complex, headline energy and infrastructure projects, cross-border project acquisitions and high-speed rail projects around the world; it is particularly experienced in transportation, power, natural resources and leisure projects. Recent work involved high-value projects in China, UAE, Zambia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Singapore. Chin Chuan Chen, who splits his time between Beijing and Singapore, heads the project finance practice in Greater China, and counsel Emma Zhang focuses on banking and project finance work in the power, resources and infrastructure sectors. Senior associate Zhibin Fan is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Chin Chuan Chen

Other key lawyers:

Emma Zhang; Zhibin Fan

Testimonials

The professional and meticulous team is very experienced in project finance transactions‘.

‘The team fights from the perspective of the clients‘.

Key clients

Agricultural Bank of China

Bank of China

China CITIC Bank

China Construction Bank

China Development Bank

China Merchants Bank

China Minsheng Bank

Deutsche Bank

Export-Import Bank of China

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised China Development Bank on its approximately $4.5bn 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.
  • Advised Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and The Export-Import Bank of China on an approximately $1.5bn term loan facility to Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation for the construction of a hydropower project in Zambia.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Known for its energy and natural resources sector expertise, Baker Botts L.L.P. stands out for its upstream, midstream and downstream project expertise around the region. The practice advises on project developments, financing and M&A; oil, gas and LNG supply and pipeline transport arrangements and infrastructure; and power generation and transmission projects, including those associated with LNG terminals. It has also developed an area of specialism in the new area of floating LNG projects. The Hong Kong-based team includes Michael Arruda, whose practice centres on the acquisition, operation, and sale of oil and gas interests around the world on behalf of clients based in Asia, as well as the inbound acquisition, expansion and operation of energy assets in Asia by overseas clients. Russell Wilkinson and Joanne Du are also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Jason Bennett

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Baker McKenzie FenXun's team comprises transactional lawyers who are experienced in development work, joint ventures, M&A and finance, as well as private finance initiatives and PPP investments, international and local tax structuring, capital markets, climate change issues, energy trading and dispute resolution. It advises on cross-border transactions across a wide range of industry sectors, including roads, ports, airports, rail, water and wastewater facilities, and telecoms infrastructure. Beijing-based Bee Chun Boo has acted in matters involving the oil and gas, mining, power, aviation and manufacturing sectors; chief representative of the Beijing office Stanley Jia's experience covers a range of foreign direct investment projects in China; and Simon Leung works across the Hong Kong and Beijing offices. In Hong Kong, Barry Cheng is particularly focused on project-related financing and structured financing in the PRC.

Practice head(s):

Bee Chun Boo; Simon Leung

Other key lawyers:

Stanley Jia; Barry Cheng

Key clients

CITIC Metal

PowerChina Resources

IDG Energy Investment

CIC Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised CITIC Metal on its approximately $556m acquisition of a 19.5 per cent stake in Canadian mining company, Ivanhoe Mines.
  • Advised a joint venture on the development of an industrial development zone and the setting up of a new automotive manufacturing plant in Indonesia.
  • Advised PowerChina Australia on the construction, development, operation and maintenance arrangements for the Cattle Hill Wind Farm project in Tasmania.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown's practice regularly works with lenders and equity investors on projects involving gas-fired, coal-fired, alternative and renewable energy, infrastructure and manufacturing facilities. It has also assisted with projects involving technology, healthcare, real estate and logistic assets. Hallam Chow, who was hired from White & Case in 2018,  is the firm's China head of projects; his practice primarily involves acquisition, project and structured finance, energy and infrastructure joint ventures, and asset-based finance, including aircraft, equipment and facility leasing. Senior associate Boya Shen has acted for lenders, sponsors and investment funds in power, energy, manufacturing facilities and other infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Hallam Chow

Other key lawyers:

Boya Shen

Testimonials

Enthusiastic and responsive‘.

Hallam Chow and Boya Shen fully understand the concerns and demands of investors‘.

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

China Africa Infrastructure Fund

China Development Bank

China National Petroleum Corporation

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation

CNOOC Group

Power China International Group

Silk Road Fund

Sinohydro Corporation

Sinopec Century Bright Capital Investment

Work highlights

  • Advised Asian Development Bank on a $100m loan facility for China Everbright International to finance the design, construction, operation and maintenance of waste-to-energy projects in Vietnam.
  • Advised China Power International Holding and Hub Power Company on the development and financing of a $2.2bn coal-fired power project and coal importation facility in Pakistan.
  • Acted for Asian Development Bank in a $200m financing for China Water Affairs Group to improve waste water management and increase people’s access to clean and reliable water supplies in the PRC.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP's recent Asia energy and natural resources work included advising on project developments, acquisitions, joint venture investments, divestments, distribution agreements, and dispute resolution. Clients particularly benefit from the firm's China offices' integration with global resources in Asia Pacific, CIS, Middle East, Europe and America. Xiao Yong, who works across the Beijing and Hong Kong offices, assists clients with cross-border transactions, with a focus on the energy and natural resources, mining and metals, and oil and gas sectors. The practice experienced the departure of energy specialist Nicholas Song for Asian co-working space provider, JustCo.

Practice head(s):

Xiao Yong

Key clients

TerraPower

Norinco International

Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production

Sinopec Chemical Commercial Holding Company

Sinopec Overseas Investment Holding

Lone Star Fund

Silk Road Fund

China National Petroleum Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lone Star Fund in its indirect acquisition of unconventional coal bed methane blocks in China.
  • Assisted TerraPower with the negotiation of technology licence and technical services agreements, which related to a travelling wave reactor technology project development in China.
  • Advised Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation on its proposed divestment of significant oil assets in Argentina.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is experienced in acting for major Chinese clients on their outbound investments, particularly their outbound matters involving China's One Belt, One Road initiative. The practice is also well known for its track record in emerging markets. The Hong Kong-based team includes China energy head Carolyn Dong  and finance, projects and restructuring head Matthias Schemuth. On the mainland, senior associate Simin Yu in Shanghai has a particular focus on greenfield project development, construction, financing and M&A activities.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Dong; Matthias Schemuth

Other key lawyers:

Simin Yu

Testimonials

Carolyn Dong is efficient and always focused on clients’ needs‘.

The team has strong synergy, especially on multi-jurisdictional and cross-border collaborative operations‘.

Key clients

ENN Ecological Holdings

Arctic Green EnergyBarito Pacific

Indonesia Power

CCA Green

DBS

ING

DZ Bank

ANZ

Kerogen

ChemOne

Sky Solar Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised China Energy Investment, a state-owned coal mining enterprise, on the tendering, development, financing, construction, management and operation of a power plant in Indonesia.
  • Advised Barito Pacific and Indonesia Power, as sponsors, on the development and financing of a coal-fired power station in Indonesia.
  • Acted for ChemOne, as sponsor, in the Pengerang Energy Complex in Malaysia, which involved shareholder issues and shareholder funding arrangements.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

An integral part of the firm's wider Asia power and energy team, Hogan Lovells International LLP's infrastructure, energy, resources, and projects practice is experienced in advising on China outbound investments into Africa, Latin America and Asia, and it enjoys strong client relationships with both Chinese policy banks and commercial banks. Chair of the firm's Greater China practice Jun Wei frequently plays key roles in cross-border financings and infrastructure development projects; Michael Zou is an experienced counsel.

Practice head(s):

Jun Wei; Andrew McGinty; Michael Zou

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP's integrated model allows the team to draw on expertise and resources across different practice areas, offices and regions, including acquisition and leveraged finance, project development and finance, and environment, land and resources. The practice is actively involved in matters that are driven by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. Hong Kong-based global co-chair of the firm’s oil and gas industry group, David Blumental, advises Asia-based and international clients on cross-border energy and natural resource transactions.

Practice head(s):

David Blumental

Key clients

Bharat PetroResources

CNOOC

Energy Transfer LP

Guohua Energy Investment Co

Harbin Electric International Co

Indian Oil Corporation

Jindi Union Holding Group Co

NICE Solar Energy

Oil India

Riverstone Holding

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co

Tianqi Lithium Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Guohua Energy Investment Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Energy Investment Group, on the acquisition of interests in four operating wind power facilities in Greece.
  • Acted for Tianqi Lithium Corporation on the financing for the acquisition of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile.
  • Advised Indian Oil Corporation on the acquisition from Shell of an upstream oil and gas asset in Oman.

Milbank

Milbank's 'professional attitude best serves its clients'. The team consistently leads advice to sponsors on high-profile, infrastructure and energy projects taking place across the Asia Pacific region; it also acts for large, China-based financial institutions in a range of financings and investments outside China. The 'very impressive' Beijing-based Shepard Liu is a regular adviser to lenders, export credit agencies and sponsors on large-scale energy, natural resources, power and infrastructure projects globally. Guannan Wang is an experienced associate.

Practice head(s):

Shepard Liu

Other key lawyers:

Guannan Wang

Testimonials

Shepard Liu is capable of resolving complex, legal and commercial issues and understands clients’ needs‘,

Key clients

GNPower Kauswagan

CEXIM

ICBC

Work highlights

  • Advised GNPower Kauswagan on an energy performance contract with China’s Shanghai Electric Power Construction Company, which related to the construction and development of a power plant.

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons stands out for its infrastructure sector experience; the practice fields project experts in relation to airports, ports, rail, roads, bridges and tunnels, power, and water and waste management. In addition to its work with China, Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the team is also active in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Mark Hu in Beijing and Shanghai-based Amanda Yao are the principal contacts within the China team which saw the arrival of finance partner Kanyi Lui who joined from Jones Day in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Yao; Mark Hu

Other key lawyers:

Kanyi Lui

Key clients

Shanghai Electric

Work highlights

  • Advised a Chinese state-owned enterprise on an investment in a coal-fired power project in Pakistan.
  • Advised a private Chinese corporation on an investment in and development of an airport in Central Africa.
  • Acted for a Chinese state-owned enterprise in an investment into a major infrastructure development project in Russia.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP's clients appreciate the firm's strong relationships with several of China’s state-owned enterprises and financial institutions. The practice was recently active in advising large Chinese institutions on investments and lending deals that involve the UK, US, Russia, Brazil, Kenya, Iraq, Pakistan, Honduras, UAE, Mongolia and Panama. Sean Wang heads the firm's project development and finance practice in China.

Practice head(s):

Sean Wang

Key clients

China National Petroleum Company International

Poly-GCL Petroleum Company

Silk Road Fund

Shanghai Electric Power Generational Group

Three Gorges Group

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

China Development Bank

Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised Silk Road Fund, a sovereign wealth fund set up to foster China’s Belt and Road initiative, on its lending to Uzbekistan’s national oil company to develop oil and gas assets.
  • Advised Poly-GCL Petroleum Company on developing a $4bn LNG project in Africa.
  • Advised Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Standard Bank and Africa Development Bank on the proposed financing of a coal-fired power plant in Kenya.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's energy, infrastructure and project finance group is experienced in outbound project financing and investments; it also comprises energy and mining sector-related corporate finance and M&A expertise. Executive partner of the Beijing Office, David Li focuses primarily on China inbound and outbound financing deals, and his experience includes single and multi-sourced infrastructure and project development financings in emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America. Growth in the team included the hiring in Beijing of partner Grace Fan-Delatour, who advises clients in the oil and gas and mining and metals sectors, from K&L Gates.

Other key lawyers:

David Li; Grace Fan-Delatour

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland's experience spans the entire spectrum of traditional and new energy, which includes nuclear and thermal power, renewable energy, and upstream oil and gas developments. Beijing-based Jay Ze, who heads the China corporate group as well as the Greater China team, combines transactional expertise with experience in the energy and natural resources sector.

Practice head(s):

Jay Ze

Testimonials

Jay Ze is outstanding. He understands the needs of the clients, and co-operates well with both Chinese and foreign lawyers‘.

Key clients

China-LAC Cooperation Fund

Risen Energy

China Nuclear Power Engineering

China National Petroleum Corporation

China Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised CGN Energy International Holdings on its acquisition of three renewable energy plants in Brazil from Enel Green Power Brasil Participações.
  • Acted as lead counsel to China-LAC Cooperation Fund in its investment in brownfield transmission lines in Brazil.
  • Advised China’s Risen Energy on the formation of a joint venture with a large renewable power generating company in India to manufacturer solar photovoltaic components.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.'s projects experience extends across a variety of sectors, including oil and gas, infrastructure, utilities, power, mining and natural resources, telecoms, construction and manufacturing. In Beijing, Guo Min heads the Beijing office, which also includes counsel Xi Chen, who is regularly involved in cross-border M&A, energy and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

David Boitout; Fan Jiannian; Guo Min

Other key lawyers:

Xi Chen

Key clients

Aluminum Corporation of China

ENGIE

Framatome

International Finance Corporation

Total

Vallourec

Work highlights

  • Advised Aluminum Corporation of China on negotiations with the government of Guinea, which surrounded an amended investment framework for a large mining project.
  • Advised Total Raffinage Chimie on the sale of its polystyrene business in China to Ineos Styrolution, a global styrenics supplier.
  • Advised Chalco Hong Kong on an integrated bauxite-alumina mining project in Guinea.