Next Generation Partners: Aviation Finance

Next Generation Partners: Shipping Finance

Asset finance (including aviation and shipping finance) in Hong Kong

Baker McKenzie

Through its partnership with FenXun Partners, Baker McKenzie is able to provide PRC legal advice, which seamlessly complements its Hong Kong and English law capabilities on a range of domestic and international matters. The practice focuses on aviation finance and leasing in relation to commercial and private aircraft, engines, flight simulators and other equipment. It also handles corporate and commercial transactions in the sector. Practice head Andrew Lockhart counts airlines, aircraft manufacturers and financial institutions among his clients. He handles finance, banking regulatory and other advisory matters. Allen NG is recommended for banking and finance matters, including bilateral and syndicated loan transactions.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lockhart

Other key lawyers:

Allen NG; Jane Wang

Testimonials

‘They are very professional and experienced.’

‘When our team come up with any questions/comments, the Baker team is of reach immediately to provide advice from legal perspective.’

‘We think that the team is reliable as our external counsel.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable, in particular, on the aviation and finance side.’

‘Andrew Lockhart and Allen Ng are very knowledgeable in their areas.’

‘They are the best lawyers and very responsive to their clients.’

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has been embedded in the aviation industry for over 30 years, and its asset finance group is well-versed in high-profile and complex cross-border transactions. Paul Greenwell leads the teams in Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo from his base in Hong Kong, providing advice to PRC and international lessors operating both in Greater China and internationally. The team also acts for financial institutions, new leasing companies, capital providers and other investors. Greenwell focuses on asset and structured finance in the aviation industry, and has considerable experience of the Chinese and Japanese markets. Consultant Hetty Lam handles general financing and asset financing, with a focus on aviation.

Practice head(s):

Paul Greenwell

Testimonials

‘In the field of aviation leasing businesses, they have a very strong team in terms of number and ability, and they have offices in major jurisdictions around the world.’

‘Paul Greenwell has extensive experience in aircraft leasing transactions, and he is familiar with the impact of the latest legislation in various jurisdictions on the aircraft leasing business.’

Their HK, Singapore and London offices work seamlessly together to provide solutions to their clients.’

Partner: Paul Greenwell. Paul is reliable and detail-oriented. Associate: Jeffrey Ip. Jeffrey is very responsive and his work quality is consistently high.’

Key clients

Aergo Capital Limited

Air Lease Corporation

Aircastle Limited

AMCK Aviation

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

BOC Aviation

Castlelake L.P.

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation

CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC / China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Clover Aviation Capital Company Limited

CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

GE Capital Aviation Services Limited

Goshawk Aviation Limited

Jackson Square Aviation

Merx Aviation Finance

Nordic Aviation Capital

SMBC Aviation Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised various major international operating lessors, creditors and financial institutions on contingency planning and strategic advice in relation to their exposure to a number of HNA group airlines (including their rights and remedies under the PRC bankruptcy reorganisation process) as well as advising them on the complex lease amendments that follow after the HNA group emerges from the bankruptcy reorganisation process.
  • Acted as English law counsel and local counsel in Japan to a large group of lessors based in various jurisdictions around the world (including AMCK, Aircastle, Avolon, DAE, GECAS, Goshawk and Macquarie) in connection with the restructuring of the leasing arrangements for various aircraft on lease to Japanese airlines (including Skymark Airlines, Solaseed, Peach Aviation, ANA, Star Flyer and Japan Airlines) as a result of Norway ratifying the “Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” (Convention to Implement Measures to Prevent BEPS).
  • Advised various major international operating lessors, creditors and financial institutions on contingency planning and strategic advice in relation to their exposure as a result of the cessation of business of Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP significantly bolstered its Asia Pacific aviation practice in March 2021, with the arrival of Stuart Miller from Mayer Brown. The Hong Kong group operates as part of the wider Asia Pacific team, which has offices in Shanghai, Singapore and Australia. Key clients include airlines, lessors, banks and financial institutions, owners and investors, which it advises on finance, leasing, and sale and purchase transactions globally. Miller handles both commercial and corporate aircraft financing. Peter Coles heads the team alongside Miller and is recommended for commercial and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Miller ; Peter Coles

Testimonials

‘The firm has begun recruiting top talent from other firms in Hong Kong and is on its way to becoming a powerhouse in the Hong Kong marketplace.’  

‘Stuart Miller is one of the firm’s high-profile lateral hires and his approach to transaction management is unique, client-friendly and cost effective.’

‘Stuart Miller has all parties agree, at the outset, on a transaction process plan and holds each party to its deadlines in the plan.’

‘The team are excellent at working collaboratively across teams – this means that the clients are getting the best service, with advice being offered by the right partners.’

‘They are experts in aviation, both cross financing and when things get contentious – it really is a full aviation service offering.’

‘Stuart Miller is a leading aviation lawyer in Asia – he has a quiet confidence about him, and lets his expertise speak for itself.’

‘Stuart Miller is calm under the most pressured deals, level-headed and technically excellent – someone you want in your corner.’

CMS

CMS‘ team handles offshore ship, aircraft and aircraft engine financing and leasing. In addition, it advises clients on the purchase, sale and leasing of ships, as well as the financing of offshore-related vessels, including LNG carriers and floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units. Practice head Tim Elliott, who splits his time between London and Hong Kong, has over 20 years of experience in the sector and is recommended for debt and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Tim Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Katherine Huang

Testimonials

‘Although its Hong Kong ship business team was newly established around 2020, the business staff have rich experience in ship financing and can flexibly use Mandarin, Cantonese, English and other languages to communicate with customers.’

‘In terms of timeliness and efficiency, I can quickly get answers customer emails, calls, etc. 24 hours a day.’

‘On the whole, the professional quality of the team is good.’

‘Tim Elliott has many years of experience in ship financing laws, and is familiar with legal texts and has sufficient experience in document negotiation.’

Key clients

Bumi Armda Berhad

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited

Chong Hing Bank Ltd

GasLog Limited

GasLog Partners

GE Energy Financial Services

Hammonia Reederi GmbH

ICBC Leasing

Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising CCB Financial Leasing on the $42m sale and leaseback financing of an LNG carrier chartered to Hong Kong-incorporated SPVs of a joint venture between VPower Group International Holdings Limited and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation for the delivery of LNG in Myanmar.
  • Advising CCB Financial Leasing on the $27m sale and leaseback financing of a floating storage unit (which was converted from a LNG during negotiation of the transaction) chartered to Hong Kong-incorporated SPVs of a joint venture between VPower Group International Holdings Limited and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation for the delivery of an LNG-to-power project in Myanmar.
  • Advising a financial leasing company on a RMB200m sale and leaseback financing of an accommodation vessel chartered to the BVI-incorporated charterer.

HFW

HFW continues to stand out in complex multijurisdictional deals and restructurings in an increasingly challenging market. The practice benefits from having practitioners who are English, Hong Kong and PRC-qualified. Key clients include international and Chinese leasing companies, and financial institutions, for whom it advises on leasing, repossessions and COVID-19-related matters, such as disputes. It also has a niche expertise in the China Tianjin DFTP Free Trade Zone, a Chinese aircraft leasing hub. Justin Sun and Patrick Cheung co-head the team.

Practice head(s):

Justin Sun; Patrick Cheung

Other key lawyers:

Henry Fung; Tony WongWhitney Chan

Testimonials

‘When dealing with cross-border transaction projects involving multiple jurisdictions, it can fully mobilise the team strength in each region.’

‘The firm maintains good relationships with local high-quality law firms in various jurisdictions.’

‘The cooperative relationship is very conducive to the provision of high-quality legal services in all dimensions.’

‘Justin Sun has extensive experience in aviation financing and civil aviation transportation and is familiar with the corporate culture and characteristics of Asia-Pacific clients.’

Key clients

AVIC International Leasing Co Ltd

ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited

CCB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Bank of Communications Leasing Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised AVIC on sale and lease back of multiple aircraft with Turkish Airlines (including A350, Boeing Dreamliner B787, A321NEO).
  • Advised ICBCIL/BoComm on the Portfolio Financing of 7 aircraft with Bank of Communications Hong Kong Branch.
  • Acted for ICBCIL/Citilink on the acquisition of three A320 aircraft and operating lease to Garuda via its French subsidiary.

Ince

Noted for its rich history in the maritime sector, Ince acts for large businesses and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a range of financing matters, disputes, transactions and projects. Its team has considerable experience of advising major Chinese enterprises on cross-border projects, and counts lessors, banks, airlines, aircraft purchasers and aircraft managers among its clientele. The team is jointly led by David Beaves, Gary Wong, Janice Lee and Tonny Lee. Wong is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and England and Wales, and is recommended for project finance, asset finance, secured lending and restructuring work. Janice Lee handles aviation and ship finance mandates, with a focus on sale and lease back transactions. Managing associate Lorraine Mok is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Lorraine Mok

Key clients

SPDB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised SPDB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (“SPDBFL”) on the purchase of one (1) Airbus A320-200 aircraft from AMCK Aviation. The aircraft was on lease with Juneyao Airlines Co., Ltd., a PRC airline based in Shanghai.

King & Wood Mallesons

The aviation finance team at King & Wood Mallesons sits within the firm’s wider banking and finance offering, and benefits from the firm’s large presence in the PRC. Despite market uncertainties, the practice continues to advise on a large number of cross-border aviation finance matters, covering the full lifecycle of deals. It acts for financial institutions, lessors, lessees, operators and end-users in both the commercial and private aviation sectors. Key areas of focus for the practice include leasing and finance, commercial, regulatory, trade and tax matters. Ashley Wong leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Wong

Other key lawyers:

Katherine Ke; Adam Smart

Testimonials

‘King & Wood Mallesons’ asset finance practice in HK has a proven track record.’

‘The team provides integrated and full-service capability across offices and practice areas which is particularly important given the market uncertainties and challenges due to the pandemic.’

‘The team is exceptionally strong in cross-border aviation trading, leasing and financing matters, as well as other aviation long term maintenance and bespoke commercial arrangements.’

‘The team is diversified, consisting of members from different backgrounds (including HK, UK and the PRC).’

‘I like working with them as they cherish long term relationships and are flexible and accommodating.’

‘Ashley Wong has the rare combination of all-round aviation experience, acute commercial sense and superb legal expertise which is particularly useful for resolving unusual issues and closing challenging deals at difficult times.’

‘Ashley Wong is client service oriented and great to work with.’

‘Katherine Ke is extremely commercial and has a deep understanding of the industry.’

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown handles both shipping and aviation finance and has a longstanding reputation in the region. It services major airlines, shipping companies and financiers. Richard Stock, who has almost 30 years of experience in the aviation industry, advises lessors and lessees on secured debt financings. His expertise includes operating lease, finance lease and tax-driven lease products. In the shipping arena, the practice covers both transactional and contentious work, with financing, restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency, and regulatory matters representing key areas of focus. Maggie Cheung and Conor Warde are names to note for shipping matters. Cheung has strong links to leading international and PRC-based financial institutions. Warde is recommended for international transactional, corporate, regulatory and policy matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Stock (aviation); Maggie Cheung  (shipping); Conor Warde (shipping)

Other key lawyers:

Bill Amos ; Evelyn Lok ; Dora Ying

Testimonials

‘Conor Ward is very professional and the team is very efficient.’

Very professional and dedicated team. Available days and nights whatever the time zone to deliver a transaction. Very detailed and comprehensive quotation. They know to stick to the initial cap. Documentation is above the standards.’

Richard Stock and Evelyn Lok have worked for many years with our team. They know exactly how we work. We save lots of time by working with them. We have built a high level of trust over time. They pay lots of attention to the details and they have a very effective team behind to manage the transaction.’

Mayer Brown’s aviation leasing team is exceptional. They bring a deep knowledge of both the legal and business perspectives and have a wealth of experience. We could not have successfully completed our transactions without them.’

Richard knows all of the players and was an invaluable asset for us.’

Key clients

Cathay Pacific / Cathay Dragon

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited

Oriental Fleet International Company Limited

China Minsheng Banking Corporation Limited

Minsheng Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Cathay Pacific when it entered into a sale-and-leaseback transaction with BOC Aviation Limited, which involved six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
  • Acting for various airlines on resolving lease return disputes.
  • Acted for five SPVs of Oriental Fleet International Company Limited on the sale and leaseback of five container vessels with SPVs of Danaos Corporation.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP‘s practice has a niche focus on private aviation finance. It has been well-positioned during the COVID-19-pandemic, given the drop in commercial aviation deals and rise in private and corporately financed aircraft. The team is able to offer US and English law expertise in high-profile, cross-border transactions, repossessions and restructuring matters. The team is now led by London-based Graham Tyler  following the departure of former practice head Paul Jebely who joined Withers in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Graham Tyler

Other key lawyers:

Luca Denora

Testimonials

‘The firm’s Hong Kong aviation team has been involved in multiple high-value aircraft sale and purchase transactions.’

‘The team at Pillsbury Asia has exceptional turnaround time and engagement which is key in a business like aviation.’

‘They have the ability to provide coverage in Asia and Europe and provide timely responses to the US and Asia whenever needed.’

‘Legally they’re extremely tough negotiators and vigorously protect the client’s interests.’

‘They meet all standards for their work and excel at delivering results.’

‘Great to collaborate with and fun people.’

Key clients

Absa Bank Limited

Comair South Africa

Development Bank of Japan

Deutsche Bank

FPG

Investec

iStrings Aviation Capital

JA Mitsui Leasing

Mizuho Leasing

Nedbank

NTT Finance

ORIX Aviation

Aergo Capital

Showa Leasing

Tokyo Century Corporation

Tokyo Star Bank

Wings Capital Partners LLC

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead transaction counsel to Deutsche Bank AG as financier and seller on the sale of the airframe of one Boeing 777-300ER that was leased to Jet Airways until the airline ceased its operations and filed for bankruptcy.
  • Acting as US counsel to the business recovery professionals of Comair Limited, a South African airline, in its chapter 15 case and South African business rescue proceedings.
  • Acted as counsel for Absa Bank, as lead arranger and lender for the first pre-delivery and delivery financing for TAAG Angolan Airlines to acquire a fleet of six Dash 8-400 aircraft from de Havilland Canada after Longview Aviation Capital acquired it from Bombardier.

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith Richards Butler handles a broad range of shipping work, including litigation, corporate finance, M&A and shipping finance. On the finance side, areas of expertise for the team include secured and unsecured syndicated and bilateral ship finance, lease financing, construction and shipyard financings, and export credit-supported financing. The practice draws one the strength of the firm’s global network, which spans Europe, the US and Asia Pacific. Peter Lee acts for Chinese ship owners and PRC leasing companies on shipping transactions and financings. He co-heads the practice with Lianjun Li. Associate Belinda Lee is recommended for advice on the sale and purchase of vessels.

Practice head(s):

Peter Lee; Lianjun Li

Other key lawyers:

Belinda Lee; Tat Pan; Chris Tang

Testimonials

‘Peter Lee and Tat Pan are very professional.’

‘They are very familiar with the shipping business and have strict control over contract details and risk points.’

‘The team has rich experience in serving shipping companies in the field of ship financing, and can provide a good example of how to conduct legal negotiations with lending banks from the perspective of the financing party.’

‘They have a relatively in-depth understanding and experience of the entire ship trading and ship leasing industry, which also enables them to provide integrated service solutions for all aspects of ship transactions.’

‘Tat Pan attaches great importance to timely communication with customers, and is also able to deeply participate in all aspects of the project.’

‘Tat Pan is able to patiently answer questions raised by customers.’

‘The team has shown a high level of professionalism in both the legal advice it provides and the legal documents it prepares, which is impressive.’

Stephenson Harwood

Active in both shipping and aviation finance, Stephenson Harwood’s practice acts for financiers and borrowers across Asia, with a strong presence in Greater China. Notwithstanding challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has remained busy with the financing of commercial aircraft and corporate jets. On the shipping side, the firm continues to use innovative financing structures for large and major finance leasing companies in China and Europe. The practice is jointly led by Simon Wong, Hongkai Zhou and Elton Chan. Wong is the key name for aviation matters and often handles cross-border leasing transactions. Zhou and Chan are key names for shipping finance. Zhou acts for banks, leasing companies and ship owners, while Chan handling leasing and structured finance matters.

Other key lawyers:

Louis Ng

Testimonials

‘A strong team who we have had a good history of working together with.’

‘Elton Chan is a strong lawyer and understands (and tries to understand) the issues from all sides which is important in finding solutions to difficult negotiations/issues.’

‘Elton Chan and his team are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Long-term and good cooperation.’

‘Stephenson Harwood provides stable and high-quality legal services.’

‘It not only provides high-quality professional advice from a legal perspective, but also creatively assists clients in solving the problems in transaction advancement from a commercial level.’

‘An in-depth understanding of legal issues and business needs.’

‘The team’s response efficiency and work quality are always excellent.’

Key clients

ICBC Aviation Leasing

The Export-Import Bank of China

CIBL Leasing

China Development Bank

JIC Leasing

CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for ICBC Aviation Leasing on a sale and lease back transaction with Asiana Airlines involving five Airbus A350-900 aircraft and five Airbus A321 neo aircraft.
  • Advised CMB Financial Leasing to strike a leasing deal for five 15,000 TEU containerships that the French carrier CMA CGM is ordering in China from China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

Tiang & Partners

Independent Hong Kong firm Tiang & Partners works in collaboration with the PwC global network and is well known in the asset finance space for handling aviation finance work. It acts for western financiers investing in China and for Chinese clients on outbound transactions. Areas of focus for the practice include the sale and purchase, financing and leasing of aircraft, engines and other equipment, and also and dispute resolution. The team is headed by Michelle Taylor and Tejaswi Nimmagadda who is qualified in Hong Kong, England and Wales, New York and New South Wales.

Other key lawyers:

Nai Kwok; Charissa Chu

Key clients

National Australia Bank Limited

Minsheng Financial Leasing

SkyCo International Financial Leasing

China Export Import Bank

Comsys Financial Leasing

CIB Financial Leasing

China Everbright Bank

China Development Bank

Haitong UTC Financial Leasing

Korean Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising National Australia Bank Limited on its aircraft financing portfolio, including a number of debt purchases and pre-payment of existing transactions.
  • Assisting The Export-Import Bank of China (C-EXIM) with the English law and Hong Kong law documentary and advice aspects of several C-EXIM’s aircraft financing transactions
  • Assisting Skyco Financial Leasing with the refinancing of multiple aircrafts on lease to European carriers.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams recently bolstered its aviation finance practice by hiring Jackson Chow and senior consultant William Ho from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in January 2021. Chow and Ho have a wealth of experience in the aviation finance and leasing market, and have recently been acting on a number of large restructuring deals; they act for a number of clients in Greater China. The culturally-diverse team is led by shipping finance expert Madeline Leong, who is qualified to practise in Hong Kong, England & Wales and Australia. She has over 30 years of experience in the sector and specialises in debt restructuring and enforcement work. Christoforos Bisbikos handles ship lease and debt finance. Counsel Valerie Lee advises banks and financial institutions on debt restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong

Testimonials

‘Very commercial.’

‘Flexible, commercial and real industry veterans.’

‘The team is very experienced in aviation and financing work in China.’

‘William Ho and Jackson Chow always give practical solutions to complex legal issues.’

‘They have deep insights in solving issues with typical PRC clients while adopting international standards used in aviation legal practice.’

‘As a partner, Jackson Chow has been deeply involved in the aviation market for many years and he has accumulated a lot of experience in serving Chinese customers’ cross-border businesses.’

‘Familiar with the leasing industry for many years, the team understands the needs of customers.’

‘The team has provided high-quality and efficient assistance to our many aircraft financing projects.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

DNB Bank Singapore and Oslo Branches

Bank of America N.A.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Export-Import Bank of China (“CEXIM”)

Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited (“CA”)

Credit Suisse

Citibank N.A.

China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing (“CMBFL”)

China Merchants Commerce Financial Leasing Co., Ltd (“CMCFL”)

ICBC Financial Leasing

Pacific Basin Shipping Limited and PB Vessels Holding Limited

Kris Energy

CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC (“CDBALF”)

The Export Import Bank of China

CALC

AVIC Leasing

Work highlights

  • Advised China Taiping Life Insurance (Hong Kong) Company Limited on the combined sale and leaseback and debt financing of one widebody aircraft involving Singapore Airlines.
  • Advising AVIC Leasing on the restructure of an existing security package consisting of five vessels with an additional three collateral vessels as securities, along with other securities over the five vessels.
  • Advised ICBC Leasing on the sale-and-leaseback transaction with Star Bulk Carriers Corporation(“Star Bulk”) in respect of three bulk carriers.