Asset finance: foreign firms in Singapore

Clifford Chance

Best known for its experience in aviation finance, the multi-jurisdictional practice at Clifford Chance is particularly skilled in multi-aircraft purchases,  ECA transactions, operating lease transactions and cross-border and domestic debt financing, including limited recourse and structured transactions. With capabilities in English, New York, Japanese, Singapore and Hong Kong law, the practice is a firm favourite with banks, export credit agencies, leasing companies and manufacturers throughout Asia. Key partners include chair of the firm's Asia-wide asset finance group Simon Briscoe, Fergus EvansKate Sherrard and Gervais Green, who focuses on the shipping sector, with an emphasis on project financing in the offshore oil and gas and shipping sectors for LNG vessels. Senior associate Daniel König is of note for aircraft finance and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Simon Briscoe, Fergus Evans, Gervais Green; Kate Sherrard

Other key lawyers:

Daniel König

Work highlights

  • Advised a bank on a Japanese operating lease with call option for the financing and leasing of two new Airbus A321ceo aircraft for VietJet.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's diverse shipping and aviation financing and leasing practice advises shipowners, lessors, offshore oilfield service providers and government agencies on all aspects of shipping and aircraft transactions. Keith Sandilands advises airlines, finance and operating lessors, banks and equity providers on all aspects of domestic and cross border sales, finance and leasing for aircraft, equipment and ships. Ben Rose is involved in major finance transactions in the shipping and oil and gas industries; recently working on the $1.2bn financing and delivery of the world’s first converted floating liquefied natural gas production vessel Hilli Episeyo. Robert Driver is another key name for commercial shipping matters.

Practice head(s):

Keith Sandilands, Ben Rose

Other key lawyers:

Robert Driver

Testimonials

‘NRF Singapore Aviation team provides the all-round, specialist legal service needed by today’s aviation industry. This team’s strength is bolstered by their aviation disputes group, which advises on all aspects of aviation industry disputes including delivery disputes, lease defaults and repossessions, risk management and contractual and insurance issues. The team demonstrates expertise in both domestic and cross-border matters.’

Key clients

Aircastle

BNP Paribas

CCB Financial Leasing

Deutsche Bank

Investec Bank

Malaysia Airlines

Royal Brunei Airways Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Advised the lessor, Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., an indirect subsidiary of shipping conglomerate CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company, on the $1.2bn financing and delivery of the world’s first converted floating liquefied natural gas production vessel Hilli Episeyo, under a sale-and-leaseback agreement between the client and Golar Hill Corporation as the bareboat charterer.
  • Acted for Société Générale as lenders on the bridge financing provided to a subsidiary of Bumi Armada Berhad of Malaysia, for the acquisition/conversion and operation of an LNG Vessel into a LNG floating storage unit for the Malta LNG-to-power project.
  • Assisted the lenders, ING Bank N.V, with the project financing provided to a subsidiary of Yinson Holdings Berhad of Malaysia for a floating production, storage and offloading unit to be sub-chartered to JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration (Malaysia) for use at the Layang offshore oil and gas development in Malaysia.
  • Advised NordLB as the lenders on the part-financing of 24 vessels acquired by 24 Liberian SPVs, wholly owned by Silver Maritime Pte. Ltd. (ultimately, the charterer of all vessels).
  • Assisted the lenders, Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, with a $25m corporate loan facility to Korea Shipping Corporation.

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Stephenson Harwood LLP significantly strengthened its capabilities in cross-border ship finance and offshore maritime transactions with several key hires from Ince, including shipping expert Martin Brown, who joined in November 2018, and maritime disputes specialist John Simpson, who joined in 2019, along with four associates experienced in shipping, aviation finance and international trade. The team has broad-ranging expertise in aviation finance, including US and European ECA-backed financings, commercial debt financings and derivatives. Saugata Mukherjee's expertise in aviation finance includes secured lending structures, portfolio acquisitions, pre-delivery payment financings and operating leases. Shipping practice head Gregg Johnston is supported by Martin Green and Iain Young. Counsel Michelle Runagall-Orlić is a key name for cross-border aviation financing, acquisition and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Saugata Mukherjee, Gregg Johnston

Other key lawyers:

Iain Young

Testimonials

‘We enjoy working with SH Legal for our ship finance transactions. The team has high level of professionalism, in-depth knowledge on ship finance and is able to provide us practical advice from shipping law perspective.’

Key clients

AirAsia Group Berhad

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

PT Lion Mentari (Lion Air)

Deucalion Limited

DVB Bank SE, Singapore Branch

Work highlights

  • Advised AirAsia Group Berhad, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Asia Aviation Capital Limited, on the sale of AACL’s entire equity interest in Merah Aviation Asset Holding Limited in a deal valued at $768m.
  • Advised Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, on the prepayment and sale of 21 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.
  • Advising BW Group, a global maritime group involved in shipping, floating gas infrastructure and deepwater oil and gas production on a $180m post-delivery facility and a $150m term loan.
  • Advised KfW-IPEX Bank on a $72m loan agreement to Quantum Pacific Shipping for the purchase and installation of scrubbers. The innovative deal is the first scrubber financing that has been backed by a GIEK guarantee, the facility will be used to acquire and install exhaust gas cleaning scrubbers from Clean Marine.
  • Advising MUFG Bank, Ltd on a first-of-its-kind scheme of arrangement in relation to a business trust in Singapore.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP has a significant presence across Asia, particularly in Indonesia, China, Japan and Vietnam where its team has extensive experience in aircraft and engine finance and leasing. The practice also advises on export credit, JOLCOs, debt and equity capital markets and complex leasing structures, in addition to key issues affecting the aviation sector. Simon Spells is the main practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Simon Spells

Key clients

Asia Aviation Capital Pte. Ltd.

ST Aerospace Engineering Pte. Ltd.

Chugoku Bank

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Chugoku Bank on the financing of the purchase of one aircraft for Keishin Kaiun Co., Ltd. The aircraft was on lease to AirAsia through a multi-tiered lease structure and the leasing platform/structure was transferred across as part of the sale.
  • Advising SBM Bank (Mauritius) on the financing of one Bombardier Challenger 350 aircraft owned by a trust structure and registered in San Marino.

HFW Singapore LLP

HFW Singapore LLP has particular strengths in shipping and aviation-related work, with a notable focus on major lessors. Its multi-jurisdictional team has specialist knowledge of lessor portfolio and warehouse financings, aircraft portfolio acquisitions and lease structuring. David Brotherton is noted for his deep knowledge of Chinese free-trade zone structures and experience in leading aircraft leasing and financing deals in China. Siri Wennevik advises banks and export credit agencies on their shipping and offshore loans; she is also highly experienced in asset, project and cross-border finance, and working with Scandinavian clients. Shipping expert John Forrester has acted for the shipping industry's leading banks and export credit agencies including Citibank, BNP Paribas, Kexim (Korea), Eksportkreditt Norge/Giek (Norway) and Cexim (China). He also acts for shipowners, operators, shipbuilders, private equity houses and other investors on various shipping and offshore-related transactions.

Practice head(s):

John Forrester, David Brotherton

Other key lawyers:

Siri Wennevik

Testimonials

‘The team has excellent knowledge of the market. Availability is / resources are excellent. Very well capable of managing timelines and is pro-active. All members in the team are in the known of outstanding matters.’

‘The team are easily approachable and very pleasant to deal with. They have an excellent depth of knowledge on matters of ship finance and are always extremely responsive on any query raised.’

Key clients

d’Amico Tankers D.A.C., an operating subsidiary of d’Amico International Shipping (DIS)

City of Athens Pte. Ltd and Eco Nine Pte. Ltd

Avation PLC

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

Tasik Subsea

Work highlights

  • Advised d’Amico Tankers D.A.C. on the sale-and-leaseback of m.v. “Cielo di Houston”, a 75,000dwt newbuilding LR1 product tanker vessel, in the client’s first-ever use of a Japanese operating lease with call-option structure.  
  • Acted for the City of Athens Pte. Ltd and Eco Nine Pte. Ltd. on two term-loan facilities from ABN Amro Bank N.V., Singapore Branch to finance the acquisition of two MR2 product tankers under construction at Hyundai Vinashin.
  • Assisted Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co. with JOLCO financing of one Airbus A321 aircraft on lease to a Vietnamese airline.
  • Advised Tasik Subsea on the senior-secured financing of an offshore vessel, using a purchase option under a sale-and-leaseback structure.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee's finance team has substantial experience advising  on a wide range of aviation financings including pre-delivery payment financings, export credit-supported financings, tax-based structures and securitisations. The team has expertise in domestic and cross-border acquisitions and disposals of aircraft, aviation assets and aircraft loan and lease portfolios. Matthew Leigh acts for banks, financial institutions, lessors and operators on big-ticket cross-border aviation transactions.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Leigh

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank / Pembroke Capital

Investec Bank plc

Citibank N.A.

Deutsche Bank AG

BNP Paribas

The Korea Development Bank

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is an attractive choice for big -ticket maritime asset financing, particularly in the oil and gas sectors. Mehraab Nazir has expertise covering asset finance - both on the maritime (ships, offshore assets, containers) and aviation side, acting for airlines, operators and leasing companies on JOLCOs and other structured transactions - and project finance. Simon Petch advises shipowners and banks/financiers on all aspects of financing and security structures, ship construction and conversion contracts, ship sale and purchase, operational and charter contracts. Office head Goh Mei Lin acts for financial institutions, export credit agencies, lessors, lessees and operators on all shipping matters. Aviation partners Siva Subramaniam and Samuel Kolehmainen left for Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in August 2018.

Practice head(s):

Goh Mei Lin

Other key lawyers:

Simon Petch

Testimonials

Mehraab Nazir: Outstanding product knowledge, strong communication skills, solution driven, highly efficient, pro-active, always available.’

‘Mehraab Nazir has a supreme expertise in JOLCO financings and is a very commercial and pragmatic lawyer who always ensures that transactions are completed within the timescales required by clients.’

 

Key clients

Credit Suisse

Golar LNG Limited

Sapura Energy Berhad

U-Ming

Deutsche Bank SE

DVB Merchant Bank (Asia)

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of America, N.A. as facility agent and security agent on behalf of a syndicate of lenders in respect of loan facilities aggregating up to US$418 for various LNG carriers under long-term contracts of affreightment with Kogas.
  • Advising BNP Paribas on a loan facility of up to $40m to finance the purchase and installation of scrubbers on the fleet of vessels owned by Quantum Pacific Shipping and managed by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP handles cross-border aircraft finance and leasing transactions for many of the region's airlines, aircraft lessors and financial institutions, such as AirAsia Group, Standard Chartered Bank, CCB Bank (Asia), Asia Aviation Capital. Leo Fattorini leads the Asia-Pacific aviation finance practice; his aircraft finance and leasing experience includes portfolio purchases and sales, purchases/sales and leasebacks, lessor and lessee debt finance, tax leasing, engine leasing and purchase agreements.

Practice head(s):

Leo Fattorini

Testimonials

The team is responsive and provides solid and professional advice to complicated transactions.’

‘Leo Fattorini is an accessible partner and keenly aware of the commercial nature of the clients’ deals and nature of the business‘.

Key clients

CALC Leasing (Hong Kong)

AirAsia Group / AirAsia X Group

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited

Nok Airlines Public Company Limited (Thailand)

Pembroke / Standard Chartered Bank

ST Aerospace Resources Pte Ltd (Singapore)

CMB Leasing (China)

Work highlights

  • Advised AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad on the lease restructurings of over 40 aircraft on lease to 17 different lessors due to changes in the Labuan regulations.
  • Advising CALC on its acquisition from SMBC of one Boeing 737 aircraft on lease to Aeroflot, subleased to Pobeda.
  • Acted for CALC, as lessor and borrower on, secured debt financing with Cathay United Bank of one A320-200 aircraft on lease to SaudiGulf Airlines.
  • Advising ST Aerospace Resources (as lessor and borrower) on its acquisition from AerDragon of one Airbus A320 aircraft on lease to Bangkok Airways and secured senior debt financing with DVB Bank and junior loans.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's asset finance practice continues to go from strength-to-strength with the hire of Siva Subramaniam and Samuel Kolehmainen, formally aviation partners at Watson Farley & Williams LLP and senior associate Amanda Teoh from Clifford Chance. The practice advises on the full spectrum of aviation finance, ranging from operating leases to complex structured financings; Japanese operating lease transactions to asset-based securitisation transactions; acquisitions of and/or investments in aircraft leasing companies and aircraft portfolios, and a wide range of regulatory and asset repossession matters.

Practice head(s):

Siva Subramaniam, Samuel Kolehmainen

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Teoh

Testimonials

Samuel Kolehmainen is a very commercial and pragmatic lawyer. He is hardworking and able. Siva Subramaniam, who leads the team, has an in-depth knowledge of the aviation sector and acts for a wide range of industry players. He is very commercial and has an in-depth understanding of aircraft leasing and financing.’

Key clients

Singapore Airlines Group

DBJ

AirAsia Berhad

Avation plc

CA-CIB

Natixis

Work highlights

  • Acted as English, New York and French counsel to Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and The Korea Development Bank, the lenders on the commercial financing of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft to Skyco International Financial Leasing, the aircraft operating leasing company associated with Guangdong Airport Authority in China.
  • Acted for Singapore Airlines on two commercial financings totalling approximately $2bn by two syndicates of banks comprising Citibank, Commerzbank, Development Bank of Singapore and MUFG Bank, who also acted as agent and security agent.
  • Advised Scoot Tigerair Pte on a transaction involving a term loan extended to Scoot, and secured against four B787 aircraft.
  • Advised MUFG Bank and Bank of America on the Japanese operating lease with call option financing for Bank of Communications Financial Leasing for five Airbus A320NEO aircraft operated by Volaris.

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC combines multi-jurisdictional expertise through its network of offices across Asia with significant Singapore law capabilities to advise financial institutions, leasing companies and airlines on aircraft operating finance and leasing transactions. James Bradley handles all aspects of financing, leasing and restructuring concerning aircraft, engines and corporate jets. Recently promoted partner Kamil Ahmed is also of note for aviation finance; he is also experienced in JOLs, JOLCOs, operating leases, finance/capital leases, sales and leasebacks, owner trusts, and portfolio sales.

Practice head(s):

James Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Kamil Ahmed

Key clients

Jeju Air

Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company

Bamboo Airways

Tokyo Century Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Finance & Leasing Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Jeju Air on its purchase of up to 50 737 MAX 8 aircraft (including the ten optional aircraft) in the value of $5.9bn.
  • Advised Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company on its $12.7bn purchase of up to 80 737 MAX 10s and 20 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
  • A multi-jurisdictional team advised JP Lease Products & Services Co. and Stratos Aircraft Management on a first-of-its-kind JOL AIR 2019-1 aircraft lease asset-backed security transaction in which JP Lease acquired 15 aircraft with an aggregate value of $683m from GE Capital Aviation Services and Pembroke Capital Aircraft, among others, involving eleven lessees in ten countries across three continents.

Milbank

Milbank is an attractive choice for low-cost carriers across the Asia-Pacific region including AirAsia, Lion Group and VietJet. Its team also advises on innovative big-ticket transactions in the aviation industry; recent examples include advising ICBC Financial Leasing on its credit support of Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank's French tax lease and related financing to Türk Hava Yollari (Turkish Airlines) for one Boeing 777-F aircraft. Practice head Ng Paul has a strong track record acting for lenders, operating and finance lessors, borrowers, lessees and arrangers on a wide range of aviation and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ng

Key clients

AirAsia Berhad

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Financial Leasing

Bank of China Aviation

AirAsia X

VietJet Aviation

Work highlights

  • Advised AirAsia Berhad on an agreement to sell its aircraft leasing operations to BBAM Limited Partnership, one of the world’s largest dedicated managers of investments in commercial jet aircraft.
  • Advised AirAsia X on its restructuring of leases with the majority of its lessors including Macquarie, Stellwagen, CMIG, KDAC, Aviator and others in connection with recent regulatory changes in Malaysia’s special economic area, Labuan.
  • Advised Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Financial Leasing on its credit support of Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank’s French tax lease and related financing to Türk Hava Yollari (Turkish Airlines) for one Boeing 777-F aircraft, in a complex transaction effected via a French tax lease, combined with commercial debt financing.
  • Acted as international counsel to PAL, the holding company of Philippine Airlines and PAL Express on the sale of a circa ten per cent stake in PAL to ANA.