Hall Of Fame

Firms To Watch: Banking and finance: local firms

LAB PARTNERS’s client roster includes financial institutions and corporate borrowers, advising on acquisitions, structured and project finance matters. The practice is jointly led by Young-Hee Jo and senior foreign attorney Alex Lee.

Banking and finance: local firms in South Korea

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang’s sizeable market-leading banking team is chaired by senior partner Kye-Sung Chung, a well-respected advisor to foreign and domestic financial institution clients on commercial and investment banking issues. Housing a number of specialist; Ick-Ryol Huh, Young Kyun Cho, Young Min Kim and Ie Hwan Yoo, are experts in project and acquisition financing, particularly in infrastructure, petrochemicals, aircraft and ship financing. Elsewhere, Sang Jin Ahn is sought after by Japanese clients, and Hi Sun Yoon, by private equity funds and export credit agencies. Seon-Jee Lee continues to be active in structured finance, block-chain, NFTs, and virtual assets.

Practice head(s):

Kye Sung Chung

Other key lawyers:

Ick-Ryol Huh; Young Min Kim; Young Kyun Cho; Sang Jin Ahn; Seon-Jee Lee; Hi Sun Yoon; Ie Hwan Yoo

Testimonials

‘Kim & Chang is the best law firm with the most competent and expansive team in the Korean legal market supported by its long-standing history and experience and expertise in the market. Their expertise in the ship financing area is unparalleled, as they certainly have been the market pioneer with the highest standard and most reliable service.’

‘Thanks to Kim & Chang’s negotiation skills, we made the deal closing smoothly within the deadline. They always make an effort to provide the clients with the best service even long after the deal closing. And as the leading firm in ship financing market in Korea, the quality of their service is much worthier than their legal fees.’

‘Mr. Hi-sun Yoo, who is, undoubtedly, one of the top class lawyers in ship financing sector in Korea is the main contact for me. He has a lot of experience, not only on the overall of the ship financing, but in marine casualties.’

‘Unrivalled skills and experience and shipping and port finance across several jurisdictions. As they have overseas networks including foreign law firms, they could provide various options regarding financing issues to the clients.’

‘Hi Sun Yoon is a stand-out partner. He has extensive experience in banking and finance and has a broad network. He is recognized as a leading lawyer in the market and provides comprehensive opinions with practical solutions to clients. He is friendly and easy to contact and respond quickly to queries.’

‘All individuals from Kim & Chang whom I have worked with have high standard of responsibility. Their documentation is conducted prudently and the output is satisfactory. Also their legal advice is of high quality which I could comfortably rely on for any type of ship financing projects.’

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”)

Work highlights

  • Advised lender, Samsung Asset Management, on review of investment-related matters based on Korean law, review of due diligence materials, and confirmation, negotiation and review of issues related to the project documents and finance documents.
  • Borrower’s counsel to Centroid PE in the overall financing, equivalent to US $1 billion from certain Korean financial institutions, in order to finance the acquisition of 100% interest in Taylor Made Golf.
  • Acted for foreign aircraft owners and lessors in (i) negotiating the voluntary return of leased aircraft, (ii) assisting with the termination of aircraft leases, the repossession of the leased aircraft and the deregistration of the aircraft from the Korean civil aircraft registry, and (iii) participating in the rehabilitation proceedings of a low-cost carrier in Korea.

Lee & Ko

‘Efficient and effective in providing top-class, quality advice’,  Lee & Ko is one of Korea’s most visible firms for all manner of Korean and international financing transactions, particularly those with a US component. Yeo Kyoon Yoon is the go-to figure for acquisition and real estate finance, while practice head Woo Young Jung supports shipping companies and financial institutions on the acquisition of new buildings and second-hand ships, cross-border leases, fund schemes and other structured financings. Myoung Chul Kwak is another authority in acquisition, project finance and structured finance. Other specialists include H.K. Helen Sohn, an aircraft financing lawyer; shipping finance partner Yunjeong Seo, and for energy and infrastructure finance, Hyunsu Kim.

Practice head(s):

Woo Young Jung

Other key lawyers:

Myoung Chul Kwak; Yeo Kyoon Yoon; Helen Sohn; Yunjeong Seo; Hyunsu Kim

Testimonials

‘Lee&Ko’s team was efficient and effective in providing top-class, quality advice, in terms of understanding the deal structure, market expertise and quick turnaround time. Collaboration as one team was also outstanding, as was the strength of the team.’

‘The individual whom I worked with was outstanding and reliable and pleasant to be partner with. The level of dedication as deal team partner was greatly appreciated together despite of changes made to the deal terms and hard negotiation with our counter-party. Also knowledge and experience with finance market and understanding of tight timeline as well as quality work was greatly differentiated from others.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

KEB Hana Bank

Kookmin Bank

Korean Air Co., Ltd.

Korea Development Bank

Korea Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Samsung Securities Co., Ltd.

Shinhan Bank

Societe Generale

Work highlights

  • Advised Kookmin Bank on financing for the acquisition of SK E&S by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., L.P
  • Advised a syndicate of senior lenders on a project involving financing for Tongyeong Eco Power LNG Combined Cycle Power Plant and LNG Terminal Project.
  • Advised a syndicate of lenders on financing for the acquisition of 100% of equity interests in Green Tech Chemical Co., Ltd. and Deokyang Co., Ltd. by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

Offering full-service banking capabilities, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC is instructed by leading Korean and regional banks, asset managers, private equity firms and export credit agencies. The firm is recognised for its sponsor-side offering, as well as its bench strength in project, asset and ship finance and expertise in the natural resources sector. Key figures in this area include Ho Jin Kim, Taeki Lee, and Ho Jin Kim for infrastructure finance. Department head Eui Jong Chung and Young-Joon Cho‘s practice covers all facets of financing and associate Miro Kang is recommended for overseas alternative investment and corporate finance.

Practice head(s):

Hee-Gang Shin; Eui Jong Chung

Other key lawyers:

Ho Jin Kim; Taeki Lee; Ho Jin Kim; Young-Joon Cho; Miro Kang

Testimonials

‘When it comes to quality of service, Bae, Kim & Lee are one of the best in Korea. Very satisfied with the quality of legal advice, efficiency of service and overall support from the group.’

We were proactively supported by the team throughout the whole deal process. The team actively participated in the negotiation with the counterparty as well as in the discussion with our HQ legal advising practical solutions to the issues.’

‘Mr. Sung-tae Park showed outstanding leadership to negotiate the sales terms with the counterparty. The counterparty rejected to provide the documents requested by our lender and Sung-tae Park directly dealt with the legal counsel of the counterparty and came up with a compromise satisfying both parties.’

‘The Partners are great to deal with, understand the task and respond in a commercially integrated way – providing what is needed to proceed with risk assessments and decision-making. They understand the needs and scope in question and do not over-service.’

‘Hee-Gang Shin is very responsive and pleasant to deal with – his support on various matters and queries is very much appreciated.’

Key clients

Affinity Equity Partners

CapitaLand Investment Management

Hana Financial Investment

KB Securities

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation

NH Investment & Securities

Shinyoung Securities

The Carlyle Group

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

Work highlights

  • Advised The Export-Import Bank of Korea and Korea Trade Insurance Corporation on project financing of the construction of 200MW combined thermal power plant in Dededo, Guam.
  • Advised The Korea Development Bank on providing green loan to SK E&S for the acquisition of stake in Plug Power, a US hydrogen company.
  • Korean counsel to KB Securities, Hana Financial Investment, NH Investment & Securities, for the project financing for the development of INSPIRE Entertainment Resort in the Incheon Free Economic Zone which will be the first integrated resort outside of the U.S. developed by MGE Group, and the largest of its kind in North East Asia.

Shin & Kim

Shin & Kim is a dominant force in acquisition financing, with the group involved in some of the largest financing transactions, for example, the KRW3 trillion extended to SK Hynix for its acquisition of Intel’s SSD business and Dalian NAND Flash Manufacturing Facility in China. Hyunju Helen Pak is a leading cross-border acquisition and investment financing partner and Sang-Hyun Lee is the lead for infrastructure and renewable energy financing projects. Kyung Hwa Moon is recommended for real estate acquisition finance and structured finance transactions and Yun Seok Jang and Ho-Seog Hwang are the practice heads.

Practice head(s):

Ho-Seog Hwang; Yun Seok Jang

Other key lawyers:

Sang-Hyun Lee; Hyunju Helen Pak; Kyung Hwa Moon

Testimonials

‘Ms. Park Hyunju, is a real star at the practice. She makes the client feel comfortable and confident. A safe pair of hands.’

‘Kyunghwa Moon is one of the best lawyers I have seen in asset management space. There are many finance lawyers in Korea but not many investment management lawyers who understand the law and business all together. Her strength is active listening and succinct/on point advice.’

‘The team, headed by Kyunghwa Moon, has a solid knowledge and experience in asset management. The team’s responsiveness, practical advice and communication is greatly appreciated.’ 

Key clients

SK Hynix

Woori Bank

IMM Private Equity

STIC Investments Inc.

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (“K-sure”)

The Korea Export-Import Bank (“Kexim”)

SK E&S

Work highlights

  • Advised Kookmin Bank, Hana Financial Investments Co., Ltd. and Shinyoung Securities Co., Ltd, as lenders for acquisition financing to fund Centroid’s acquisition of 100% of the shares in TaylorMade. Provided support on all aspects of the transaction including drafting and negotiation of all financing documents.
  • Counsel to lenders, Korea Investment Securities Co., Ltd., Shinhan Bank, in its financing to financing for IMM PE’s acquisition of Hansaem, Co., Ltd.  IMM is one of the largest domestic private equity firms.
  • Advised Tiger Alternative Korean Investment & Securities Ltd on the  financing for the recapitalization of Anchor Equity Partners’ investment in Kakao Bank.

Yulchon

Yulchon has a strong focus on capital markets, structured products, asset-backed securitization and finance-linked derivatives for hedging purposes, acting for an extensive portfolio of lenders and corporate borrowers. Combining the corporate and finance departments, senior foreign lawyers Christopher JoonTae Cho and Sung Keun Park are involved in the majority of the practice’s top asset, acquisition and real estate finance mandates. Si Mok Kim’s practice leans towards financial laws and regulations while Young Su Shin and Sung Wook Eun co-head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Young Su Shin; Sung Wook Eun

Other key lawyers:

Christopher JoonTae Cho; Si Mok Kim; Sung Keun Park

Key clients

kakaopay

Naver Financial Corp.

National Pension Service

Multi Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.

Shinhan Investment Corp.

Korea Development Bank (KDB)

Glenwood Private Equity

K-SURE

Citi Bank

DBS Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to the borrower in connection with the financing for the acquisition of certain shares in Hyundai Glovis.  
  • Advised KB Securities Co., Ltd. in the investment in a senior secured term loan back by U.S. listed shares and other securities of a U.S. midstream company.
  • Advised a lender group (inclusive of KEB Hana Bank) to extend a syndicate term loan facility to J&Tech Co., Ltd. in connection with its Dangjin-Songsan Waste Treatment Plant Construction Project.

Jipyong

Jipyong is known for its depth of experience in private equity and hedge funds, and its support to banks in transactional work, often involving cross-border aspects in the real estate and project finance in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Yully Kang leads the team and focuses on asset-backed securitisations, project financings and asset financings.

Practice head(s):

Yully Kang

Key clients

SK Inc.

DB Financial Investment Co., Ltd.

Le Soleil Ltd.

Korea Development Bank

Daegu Bank

Kookmin Bank

Woori Bank

Hi Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised SK Inc., the holding and IT services company for the SK Group, on the W2 trillion financing and purchase through REITs (SK REITs and Clean Energy REITs) of the SK Group’s headquarters building (Seorin Building) and 116 SK Gas stations nation-wide.
  • Represented DB Financial in the W210 billion financing of Mega Wise Chungna’s Incheon Wonchang-dong Logistics Center development project.
  • Advised on all aspects from structuring to close of the project financing advanced by a lenders syndicate including the Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea., and KDB Infrastructure Investments Asset Management, for 35 power generation affiliates of Le Soleil to repay the existing PF facility and raise additional funding for operating expenses and related matters.

Yoon & Yang LLC

Continuing to rapidly develop its bench strength across the full spread of banking and finance work, Yoon & Yang LLC recruited partners Chongsu Seo (from Shin & Kim) and Chang Hun Han (from the Financial Supervisory Service), who will grow the financial regulatory-related offering. Soonghee Lee and Young Ho Kang are the standout figures for banking and securities regulations, while Bo Hyun Lee is active in real estate finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Young Ho Kang

Other key lawyers:

Chang Hun Han; Chongsu Seo; Bo Hyun Lee; Soonghee Lee

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Shinhan Bank,

Woori Bank

KEB Hana Bank

KB Securities

Hanwha Investment & Securities

NH Investment Securities

Kiwoom Securities

Work highlights

  • Korean counsel to The Counsel to Export-Import Bank of Korea in connection with the update of the Global Medium Term Note Programme which provides for the issuance of up to US$ 27.5 billion in aggregate principal amount of global medium term notes.
  • Advised Hyundai Department Store in connection with the issuance of the U.S Dollar Bonds guaranteed by MUFG Bank and for qualified institutional investors in Japan.