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Editorial

Praised for its 'quick turnaround times and good strength in depth', Allen & Overy's practice provides 'deep, clear advice'; it is strong in a range of areas, though counts Islamic finance as an area of growing expertise. Jason Humphreys, Alexander Stathopoulos and Jeremy Stoupas are noted for their industry knowledge and 'extremely practical' counsel; 'able negotiator' Humphreys acted for Vopak, Petronas and Dialog Group as sponsors on the $17bn Pengerang Integrated Complex project. Other clients include Maybank Investment Bank, CIMB Islamic Bank and Khazanah Nasional. James Mythen, Sheila Ahuja and Scott Lovell made partner in May 2018.

The practice at Clifford Chance is led by capital markets specialist Raymond Tong and M&A expert Valerie Kong; Tong advised Lotte Chemical Titan Holdings on its RM3.7bn IPO, the country's largest flotation in five years, and Kong and Melissa Ng acted for Navis Capital on the $495m joint venture between its Celebrity Fitness business and Oaktree Capital's Fitness First business to create Evolution Wellness. Other clients include Maybank Investment Bank, CIMB Investment Bank, Press Metal and Toyota Tsusho (Malaysia).

One of only two international firms with an office in Malaysia, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP fields 'a deep bench' of lawyers who are 'particularly strong on matters with cross-border elements'; the team is 'particularly impressive in its dedication to meeting tight, often unreasonable deadlines'. Clients include Malaysia Airlines, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan Diperbadankan, edotco Group and the Tokyo branch of Deutsche Bank. 'Highly responsive, technically excellent' and 'immaculately well-prepared' energy and infrastructure expert Glynn Cooper 'combines an eye for detail with strategic considerations', and 'blends international market practice with local knowledge'. Managing partner Peter Godwin and the Hong Kong-based May Tai provide 'timely, practical advice'; Singapore-based energy expert David Clinch is noted for his 'attention to detail' and his 'ability to cut through the fog'.

Norton Rose Fulbright's practice is well known for its strength in energy-related banking and finance matters. Stephen Begley assisted a nine-lender consortium with their multibillion-dollar financing of a local project. Sheela Moorthy advised a corporation on the listing of two subsidiaries on the Bursa Malaysia. Ben Smith, who heads the practice jointly with Begley, handled some high-value energy-sector work.

Counsel Robert Williams heads the practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which is known chiefly for its strength in capital markets; it also handles corporate finance and M&A, competition and high-level regulatory work. Williams assisted Shuang Zhao in acting for underwriter banks including CIMB, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and Maybank on Lotte Chemical Titan Holding's RM3.8bn IPO. The department also counts Genting Group and Petronas as clients.

Based across Hong Kong and Singapore, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's 'personable' department is especially strong in the financial institutions and energy sectors, and is noted for its 'short turnaround times, good strength in depth, clear, profound advice' and 'deep industry knowledge'. The 'very hands-on, responsive' Stephen Revell is 'extremely practical' and has 'good industry knowledge'; he is also 'very resourceful in connecting lawyers across Asia'. Rohan Kaul is a 'diligent, articulate' senior associate. Revell heads the group jointly with fellow M&A expert Simon Weller; Andrew Heathcote and Don Stokes are the finance experts to note. The practice's clients include Tenaga Nasional, CIMB and Columbia Asia Healthcare.

Based across Hong Kong and Singapore, K&L Gates' practice has been expanding significantly: James Bradley joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in December 2017, aviation and finance specialist Kamil Ahmed arrived two months later from Clifford Chance, and M&A and corporate expert Mark Tan made partner in April 2018. Lian Yok Tan and the London-based Matthew Smith acted for MRT, operator of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit, on the construction and financing of its Line 3. Nicholas Hanna advised Keresa Plantations on its $70m investment in US chemical production company EE-Terrabon Biofuels. 'Easily reachable, very hands-on' securities and M&A expert Choo Lye Tan 'promptly addresses questions and clarifies uncertainties'.

Regularly seen in high-value oil and gas arbitration, and also experienced in transactional project work, King & Spalding LLP's team is led by managing partner Kelly Malone and energy and infrastructure expert Mona Katigbak. They advised Sarawak Energy and the Sarawak state government on the multibillion-dollar Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) project. Donny Low is recommended for international arbitration.

Especially strong in large corporate and finance transactions, including Islamic finance, the 'top-notch' team at Latham & Watkins LLP is 'always on its toes to respond to queries and concerns'. Praised for its 'extensive industry knowledge', it is led by corporate finance expert Sharon Lau, who acted for CIMB Investment Bank and J.P. Morgan as placement agents on Khazanah's sale of its shares in CIMB Group Holdings. Along with Michael Sturrock, she also advised a food retail company on its proposed IPO on the Bursa Malaysia. Corporate expert Marcus Lee made partner in 2018; finance expert Timothy Hia is another name to note.

Jointly headed by capital markets expert Hyung Ahn, corporate partner Sophie Mathur and financing specialist Philip Badge, the team at Linklaters is frequently seen on high-value cross-border mandates. Jonathan Horan acted for the lead managers on Khazanah Nasional's $321m issuance of exchangeable trust certificates. Mathur and Parthiv Rishi advised Affinity Equity Partners (S) on its purchase of INTI International University & Colleges. The London-based Matthew Middleditch acted for the Singapore branch of Standard Chartered on its 15-year bancassurance agreement with Allianz to distribute the latter's general insurance products in five Asian countries, including Malaysia. Kevin Wong retired in the summer of 2017.

Shearman & Sterling LLP splits its Malaysia practice between its Singapore and Hong Kong offices, and is well known for its strength in large projects, though it also handles corporate and capital markets work. Bill McCormack acted for Petronas on the development of its $28bn RAPID project; alongside Sidharth Bhasin and Anthony Patten, he advised the petrochemicals giant on an $8bn investment by Saudi Aramco. McCormack also assisted OM Holdings with the restructuring of a 330MW ferrosilicon smelter project in Sarawak. Project development and finance expert Anna Chung made partner in November 2017. Financing expert Ben Shorten heads the department.

The 'very good, responsive' team at DLA Piper performs 'very well'; as well as being experienced in corporate and capital markets work, it handles financial services and has a niche strength in insurance M&A. 'Thorough, knowledgeable' group head Heng Loong Cheong is 'a good negotiator' and 'excellent at coordinating teams across jurisdictions'; he advised Laureate Education on its $180m sale of INTI International University & Colleges to Affinity Equity Partners. Salcon, SP Setia, UEM Sunrise and Magna Prima are representative clients.

One of only two foreign firms with an office in Malaysia, Trowers & Hamlins LLP welcomed corporate expert Tom Reynolds from the firm's Bahrain office in January 2018, when he was also made up to partner. Inbound investment specialist Nicholas Edmondes, who is well versed in handling Islamic finance transactions, heads the team. Clients include Malaysia Airports Holding, Burel Consulting, Malaysia Resources and Malakoff International.

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