Banking and finance: local firms in South Korea

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang's varied client roster in the banking and finance space comprises domestic and foreign commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, private equity funds and asset management firms. Besides a steady flow of transaction work, the group also handles fund formation, restructuring, litigation and alternative dispute mandates. Ie Hwan Yoo and Young Min Kim have expertise in acquisition financing and aircraft financing respectively. Hi Sun Yoon is the name to note for shipping financing work in addition to aircraft financing work. Senior foreign attorney Hoin Lee, who specialises in structured finance work, is also recommended. Key contact Kye Sung Chung is team head.

Practice head(s):

Kye Sung Chung

Key clients

Hahn & Company

MBK Partners

Samsung C&T Corporation

GS Energy Co., Ltd.

Woori Bank

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (“K-sure”)

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (“KEXIM”)

H-Line Shipping Co., Ltd.

The Korea Development Bank (“KDB”)

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised The Korea Development Bank, the mandated lead arranger, and KIAMCO and Multi Asset AMC with respect to their project financing of Samcheok Thermal Power Plant.
  • Advised Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) on the purchase of 20 new shipbuilding ultra large containers from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (7 vessels), Samsung Heavy Industries (5 vessels) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (8 vessels).
  • Advised Korea Development Bank on  the second refinancing of Guri-Pocheon Expressway PPP Project.
  • Advised Korea Development Bank on a refinancing in relation to 7 Pure Car Truck Carriers chartered by Eukor Car Carriers up to USD $246m.
  • Represented Hanon Systems to facilitate its KRW900bn financing for the acquisition of Fluid Pressure & Controls business of Magna International.

Lee & Ko

Lee & Ko's practice encompasses the full gamut of banking and finance work including project finance, acquisition finance, structured finance, securitisation, trade finance and derivatives transactions. The firm has both major Korean banks and multinational financial institutions on its enviable client list. Woo Young Jung, who leads the practice, has a strong historical record of handling matters related to ship financing, securitization and banking regulation. Yeo Kyoon Yoon and Myoung Chul Kwak are some other key practitioners. Yoon was involved in some of the firm's most recent and significant acquisition financing highlights while Kwak is noted for his expertise in leveraged finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Woo Young Jung

Other key lawyers:

Yeo Kyoon Yoon; Myoung Chul Kwak

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank

JPMorgan Chase Bank

KEB Hana Bank

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Korean Air

Korea Development Bank

Woori Bank

Shinhan Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Kookmin Bank and Korea Development Bank for the KRW 4,750 bn financing for the Gang-neung Ahn-in Coal Thermal Power Plant Project
  • Represented KB Securities , Shinhan Bank,  Shinhan Investment Corp, Korea Investment & Securities and Mirae Asset Daewoo for the KRW 1,950 bn financing for acquisition of ADT Caps by the consortium of SK Telecom and Macquarie.
  • Represented Kookmin Bank and Korea Development Bank for the KRW 1,370 bn financing for Gwangmyeong-Seoul Expressway Public-Private Partnership Project.
  • Represented NH Investment & Securities, Samsung Securities Co, Shinhan Bank, Shinhan Investment Corp and other financial institutions as lenders for the KRW 1 bn financing for Hahn & Company’s acquisition of SK Shipping Co.
  • Represented Korea Investment Securities Co as mandated lead arranger for the KRW 1,100 bn financing for Woongjin Thinkbig’s acquisition of Coway.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC often acts for private equity funds as borrowers on financing mandates. More recently, the group has been handling a greater number of acquisition financing mandates in which it represents the lender. Other observable growth areas include aviation financing and real estate project financing. Advising Korean sponsors on financing the exportation of nuclear or hydropower to foreign jurisdictions is a niche hallmark of the practice. Team head Eui Jong Chung has an enviable track record, having previously advised the Korean government in relation to the Korea-EU free trade agreement. Hee Gang Shin is the name to note for project financing. Also strongly recommended is Ho Jin Kim.

Practice head(s):

Eui Jong Chung

Other key lawyers:

Hee Gang Shin; Ho Jin Kim

Key clients

KB Financial Group

Shinhan Financial Group

Hana Financial Group

Woori Financial Group

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (“ICBC”)

JP MORGAN CHASE

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Citigroup

BNP Paribas

Morgan Stanley

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial

UBS

Work highlights

  • Acted as Korean counsel for the National Pension Service on a project for the acquisition of a medical office building located in Houston, Texas.
  • Acted as Korean counsel for Shinhan on its role as original lender on a senior loan facility to Cambrian Rail Partnership.
  • Conducted a legal review of a facility agreement between Shinhan Bank as facility agent and African Export-Import Bank as a borrower.
  • Advised Korean investors including a fund established by Shinhan Alternative Investment Management in connection with their providing a construction loan of approximately US$344m for the construction of TSX Broadway Hotel located in Broadway, New York.
  • Advised Hana Alternative US Power No. 2 and Hana Alternative US Power No. 3 in connection with its purchase of notes of US$130m to finance the gas power project in Texas, USA.

Shin & Kim

Chang Bok Hur and Woong-Soon Song are key contacts at Shin & Kim. While the firm is capable of handling a range of mandates across the practice area, acquisition financing remains a core strength. In such matters, the team often represents leading Korean commercial banks and export agencies, which comprise much of its client base in this space. Elsewhere, it is also instructed by multinational private equity firms and asset managers. Project financing is another major focus area. Hyunju Helen Pak  maintains her reputation as one of the leading cross-border finance lawyers in Korea, having advised on many outbound financing and investment transactions into jurisdictions such as Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Practice head(s):

Chang Bok Hur; Woong-Soon Song

Other key lawyers:

Hyunju Helen Pak

Key clients

National Pension Service of Korea

The Korea Development Bank

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (“K-sure”)

The Korea Export-Import Bank (“Kexim”)

Woori Bank

KEB Hana Bank

KKR Asia Limited

Well to Sea Investment

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

ORIX Corporation

Korea Investment Corporation

Anchor Equity Partners Korea

Macquarie Korea Asset Management

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Refinancing of existing acquisition financing for Daesung Industrial Gases Co.
  • Represented the lenders in connection with IMM Private Equity’s debt financing for acquisition of 100% of the outstanding shares of Linde Korea.
  • Represented both Anchor Equity Partners and the lenders in connection with Anchor’s refinancing of its existing acquisition loan for its acquisition of Geo Young Corporation.
  • Acting as lender’s counsel for Woori Bank on the South Western Sea Wind Power Phase 1 Project Financing.
  • Acted as a transaction counsel in connection with Well to Sea Private Equity’s  financing for its acquisition of Junjin Heavy Industry and WTS’s subsequent sale of Susan Heavy Industries, a subsidiary of Junjin.

Jipyong

Project financing has traditionally been a core strength for the finance department at Jipyong. Acquisition financing is another key focus area, as are aircraft financing and ship financing; the latter two have seen significant recent growth. An increase in the number of mandates involving cutting-edge technologies (such as fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency) is also evident. Seung Hyeon Lee has particular expertise in loan finance agreements for projects; Lee heads up the practice together with Seong-Jin Bae. Also of note is Yully Kang, who's broad practice comprises structured finance, project finance, asset finance and asset-backed securitization work.

Practice head(s):

Seung Hyeon Lee; Seong Jin Bae

Other key lawyers:

Yully Kang

Key clients

SK Holdings

SK South Asia Investment Pte. Ltd

Korea Development Bank

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank)

Kookmin Bank

Nonghyup Bank

KEB Hana Bank

Woori Bank

BNK Bank

Hyundai E&C

Mastern Investment Management Co., Ltd.

NongHyup REITs Management Co., Ltd. (“NH REITs”)

Lenders and the agent including Hanwha Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Lending financial institutions including Kyobo Life Insurance Inc.

Woori Bank Co., Ltd.

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

A group of lenders including Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

Hanwha Investment & Securities Co., Ltd., et al.

SK Innovation

Khan Bio Co., Ltd.

Meritz Securities Co. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised NongHyup REITs Management on the establishment of NH CR-REIT No. 1, financing for the purchase of Cheongnam Building in Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul and the subsequent purchase of the Building through the Investment Trust.
  • Jipyong advised SK Holdings on the sale of its equity interests in SK Securities, and subsequent separation of its affiliates.
  • Assisted SK South Asia Investment New investment in Masan Group, a listed company in Vietnam, via paid-in capital increase through a special purpose vehicle and the execution of a shareholders’ agreement related thereto.
  • Advised Korea Development Bank on a KRW 174 billion project financing for refinancing of Yeongyang wind power plant and ESS project.
  • Advised the lending financial institutions (including Kyobo Life Insurance) on a mortgage loan involving a REIT established by KORAMCO for the purchase of Samsung C&T office building in Seocho-dong.

Yoon & Yang LLC

Key additions to the banking and finance practice at Yoon & Yang LLC include former deputy president of Woori Bank Geun Sun Son  (April 2019) and former standing commissioner of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) Seung Tae Lim   (November 2018). The firm has a strong reputation for advising both domestic and foreign clients on complex regulatory matters, especially on disputes with bodies such as the FSC and the Financial Supervisory Service. Young Ho Kang is noted for his regulatory expertise. The group also made significant headway in the banking and finance transaction space by handling a number of loan deals, project financing and real estate financing matters. Soonghee Lee is practice head. Dong Seon Kim has a burgeoning project financing practice.

Practice head(s):

Songhee Lee

Other key lawyers:

Young Ho Kang; Dong Seon Kim

Key clients

Shinhan Bank

Woori Bank

KEB Hana Bank

Korea Development Bank

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation

NH Investment & Securities

Korea Investment & Securities

Mirae Asset Daewoo

Samsung Securities

Work highlights

  • Representing Meritz Securities and BNK Securities on an overseas NPL transaction; namely, the acquisition of project finance loans arising from a hotel construction/development project in France.
  • Assisted Shinhan Financial Group with its acquisition of Prudential Vietnam Finance Company.
  • Assisted KB Kookmin Card with its acquisition of Tomato Specialized Bank in Cambodia.
  • Assisted Korea Asset Management Corporation with government-led NPL transactions.
  • Assisted the Industrial Bank of Korea, Mirae Asset and Daewoo Securtities with a project finance transaction regarding Seoul City’s Suyu-dong real estate development project.

Yulchon

The ability to advise banks as both lenders and borrowers on a broad range of transactions distinguishes the corporate and finance practice group at Yulchon. Mandates related to structured finance, finance-linked derivatives, asset-backed securitization, real estate finance, acquisition finance, asset finance and project finance all fall within the remit of the team. Fund management work is another key piece of the practice. Senior foreign attorney Sung Keun Park plays a key role in nearly all of the group's work in this space. Also recommended are joint practice heads Hee Woong Yoon, Doil Son, Young Su Shin and Seung Wook Eun.

Practice head(s):

Hee Woong Yoon; Doil Son; Young Su Shin; Sung Wook Eun

Other key lawyers:

Sung Keun Park

Key clients

TPG Global, LLC

JR Asset Management Co., Ltd.

KB Securities

KTB Securities

Shinhan Bank

Kookmin Bank

Hana Bank

Hana Financial Investment Co. Ltd.

Bogofund Asset Management

Deutsche Bank

Citibank

Standard Chartered Bank

ING Bank

Woongjin Thinkbig Co., Ltd.

Daelim Industrial

Work highlights

  • Advised TPG in connection with obtaining from Korean commercial banks the financing of TPG’s potential acquisition of assets of Linde Korea.
  • Advised Shinhan AIM on its project to purchase senior secured notes issued by Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners III, L.P. and Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners Offshore Fund.
  • Advised the Purchaser in connection with the financing of its acquisition of shares of an Austrian company, which owed T-Center, a commercial building in Vienna.
  • Advised Daelim Industrial and the lenders in connection with the refinancing of a KRW 520 bn senior loan extended to a project financing vehicle established by Daelim Industrial.
  • Acted for Hyundai Merchant Marine on the refinancing of certain vessels which are on charter to KOGAS.