Projects and energy: foreign firms in South Korea

Allen & Overy LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office

Allen & Overy LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office’s team of six dedicated practitioners in Seoul work for a range of sponsors and lenders on projects and project financings across the energy, infrastructure, mining and oil & gas sectors. The team excels in cross-border work, leveraging its global network of offices to assist clients on inbound and outbound transactions. Henry Sohn is qualified in the UK and Hong Kong and has a strong track record in advising Korean clients on complex financings. Sohn leads the team with Matthias Voss who is based in Seoul and Tokyo. Kyu Bang and ‘stand-out’ senior associate David Rho are also recommended for their cross-border expertise.

Practice head(s):

Henry Sohn; Matthias Voss

Other key lawyers:

Kyu Bang; David Rho

Testimonials

‘The team is always willing to help on a wide variety of tasks, often at short notice. They are very persistent in finding practical solutions to difficult issues. The advice given is consistently clear and on-point.’

‘Henry Sohn and David Rho are the stand-out partners and senior associate.’

 

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-sure)

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)

Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water)

Korea Development Bank (KDB)

Green Climate Fund

Samsung C&T

GS E&C

SK E&S

Hyundai E&C

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

Hanhwa E&C

Hyundai Engineering

POSCO

Samsung Life Insurance

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising SK E&S, the largest private LNG company in Korea as joint venture participant in the development of the Caldita-Barossa JV, relating to the development of the Caldita-Barossa gas field.
  • Acting as Lenders’ counsel in connection with the Rovuma LNG Project, (Area 4) located in Mozambique as a mega project for the development of the landside LNG facilities.
  • Advised Korea Water Resources Corporation, or K-water, the governmental agency for comprehensive water resource development, in respect of the construction, operation and financing of a MW280 hydro plant, 135 m high dam and a storage reservoir on the Nenskra river in Georgia.

Linklaters

Advising a mixture of Korean ECAs, banks, international sponsors and lenders, Linklaters’ energy and infrastructure team regularly works on major outbound energy transactions and project financings. In addition to its outbound activity, the team is also successful in supporting international investors on their Korean inbound investments, particularly in the renewables space. Another core area of focus for the firm is its quasi-government to government style transactions in the energy sector, involving ECA financing of major state-owned corporations. Managing partner Joo Hee Lee is a leader in the Korean renewable and project financing space. Lee works closely with James McLaren in Hong Kong on various matters involving Korean clients. In Paris, Stephen Le Vesconte is another key practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Joo Hee Lee

Testimonials

‘Very prompt response, practical advice for client’s urgent and important matters.’

‘Joo Hee Lee, Very prompt response, practical advice for client’s urgent and important matters.’

‘In-depth sector knowledge. Great willingness to dig into the minute details of industry practices. Strong drive to find solutions. Super high responsiveness of partners. ’

‘Linklaters Seoul office has talented and enthusiastic partners.’

‘It was very good to have timely responses and mutual spirit to dig in the details as a team. In addition, we had multiple sponsor group requesting different issues at the same time, Linklaters was always there to support us by joint forces from Seoul, London and Local.’

‘Joo Hee was a main contact to the sponsor group for the deal and she has been always with us all the time either phone, e-mail or SNS during the service. She always ask for the double check of the fact with smile before she investigates or analyzes the issues.’

‘Joo Hee’s perfect communication skills both in Korean and English, and her knowledge in Korean laws make Linklaters special comparing to other firms.’

Key clients

KEXIM (The Export-Import Bank of Korea)

K-SURE (Korea Trade Insurance Corporation)

KDB (Korea Development Bank)

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

DL Energy (formerly known as Daelim Energy)

Samsung C&T (Samsung C&T Corporation)

KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Corporation)

KOMIPO (Korea Midland Power Corporation)

KOSPO (Korean Southern Power Company)

KNOC (Korea National Oil Corporation)

KIND (Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation)

LG Chem (LG Chem Ltd.)

POSCO

GS Energy

Standard Chartered Bank (Seoul)

ING Bank (Seoul, London)

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (Seoul)

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (Seoul, Hong Kong, Paris)

BNP Paribas (Seoul, Singapore)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (Seoul, London)

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (Seoul)

Mizuho Bank Ltd. (Seoul)

Work highlights

  • Advising Vung Ang II Thermal Power Joint Stock Company on the 1200MW Vung Ang II Thermal Power Project in Vietnam.
  • Advising the ECAs and common lenders including K-SURE, EKF, UKEF, and Credendo on the “holdco” financing of the US$3.5bn Greater Changhua SE 605MW offshore wind project in Taiwan being developed by Ørsted.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Known for its expertise in multi-sourced project financings, Latham & Watkins LLP advises clients across the energy, infrastructure, mining, transport and telecoms sectors. Its client base includes major sponsors and lenders such as KEXIM, K-Sure and Hanwha Energy. Splitting his time between Singapore and Tokyo, Stephen McWilliams is head of the practice and has extensive experience in LNG, petrochemicals, renewables and infrastructure deals across Asia-Pacific. Joseph Bevash and Sungjin Kang are project finance experts based in Hong Kong and Seoul respectively.

Practice head(s):

Stephen McWilliams

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Bevash; Sungjin Kang 

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure)

Korea Midland Power Co., Ltd. (KOMIPO)

Daelim Industrial

Daelim Energy Co., Ltd.

Korea Southern Power Co., Ltd. (KOSPO)

Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC)

PT Pertamina (Persero)

Hanwha Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising PT Pertamina (Persero) on the upgrade and expansion of the Cilicap, Balongan, Plaju, Dumai and Balikpapan refineries in Indonesia.

Milbank

Under the leadership of David Gartside, Milbank’s project and infrastructure practice has longstanding relationships with some of the Korean market’s biggest players, including both of Korea’s export credit agencies, KEXIM and K-SURE. It also has expertise in several of the country’s key sectors, including telecoms and aviation, with particular strengths in aviation financing. Special counsel Brian Youn has a strong client base of financial institutions and is noted for his expertise in project financing.

Practice head(s):

David Gartside

Other key lawyers:

Brian Youn

Testimonials

‘Excellent commercial and strategic approach. ’

‘David Gartside is a true professional in project finance. Knows the Korean banks really well and acts commercially and practically with an excellent customer focus. ’

‘Milbank’s legal experts located in numerous countries enable legal collaboration to fulfill client’s need worldwide. It is significant that the clients are satisfied when they receive legal support from the local offices who would best know the local law. ’

‘Enthusiasm and willingness to support client is the key strength of Milbank. The legal experts intensely help client and stand by client. It leads strong trust with the client and strong relationship. ’

‘The Milbank team I have worekd with is capable of finding a solution to bottleneck issues. They proactively seek to understand the primary concern of each party and suggest options that can help to bring in flexibility to the table. Additionally, the team could deliver an efficient fee arrangement aligned with the interest of its client. This was particularly helpful when there was a delay in the deal timeline.’

‘Brian Yoon at Milbank Seoul has been very helpful. I find my clients happy with his proposals. His porsonality helps to develop a strong relationship with local clients, and he shows a good understanidng of clients’ needs. I enjoy working with him and his team.’

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-SURE)

DBS Bank Ltd

KDB Bank

Bangkok Bank

Bank Negara Indonesia

Asiana Airlines, Inc.

Bank Mandiri

Bank of China

Maybank

PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk

KEB Hana Bank

CIMB Bank

HSBC Bank plc

ANZ

Korean Air Lines

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders (including KEXIM) and K-SURE in connection with the financing of the 2,000MW Jawa 9+10 power project in Suralaya, Indonesia which is being developed by PT Indo Raya Tenaga, a special purpose project company.
  • Advised Asiana Airlines, Inc. in connection with Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd.’s proposed sale of an equity stake in Asiana for $2.2bn.
  • Advising KEXIM, HSBC Bank plc as the ECA Arranger and facility agent and the participating commercial banks, with respect to the $750m facilities for Reliance Industries Limited to be deployed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited for its landmark $30bn telecom project to expand India’s 4G wireless network

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP advises clients on the full range of project development work across a wide range of sectors, including oil & gas, transportation, thermal, nuclear and renewable. The team regularly represents Korean corporates and financial and government institutions in overseas transactions and has seen a continued increase in projects in emerging Asian economies and the Middle East region. Anna Chung heads up the Seoul office and has extensive experience in complex power, petrochemicals and infrastructure projects. Chung is supported by counsel Scott Baggett. The firm’s international network of offices allows the team to support clients globally; Ben Shorten and Bill McCormack are based in Singapore and have strong relationships with Asian-based lenders and sponsors such as K-Sure.

Practice head(s):

Anna Chung; Ben Shorten

Other key lawyers:

Scott Baggett; Bill McCormack

 

Testimonials

‘Shearman & Sterling has strong networks with other foreign and local law firms. I am willing to choose a global law firm that could make qualified consulting services under a difficult situation and limited time frame by using their business networks. And my answer would be Shearman & Sterling.’

‘Shearman & Sterling’s best point is their localization strategy. Although there are a few more global law firms in Korea, S&S has been providing legal services beyond their working hours. As for me, I could contact in the evening and night time as well, whenever I faced difficult situations.’

Key clients

The Export–Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure)

Korea Development Bank (KDB)

Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development (KIND)

Work highlights

  • Advising the Lenders in connection with its financing of the proposed 216MW Upper Trishuli-1 Hydropower Project to be located in the Central Development Region of Nepal.
  • Advising K-EXIM and other lenders in connection with the financing for Ghubrah III IWP and Barka V IWP in Oman.
  • Advising the project company on the EPC and the financing of the $5.4bn third national telecommunications project in the Philippines.

Baker McKenzie LLP, Foreign Legal Consultant Office

Specialising in energy and infrastructure projects, Baker McKenzie LLP, Foreign Legal Consultant Office’s team has particular expertise in the oil and power sectors. Country managing partner Won Lee leads the practice and has experience in cross-border M&A transactions as well as discharging social infrastructure development. Lee is supported by newly made partner Albert Chung who focuses on greenfield projects and Singapore-based Sun Kyun Lim who concentrates on LNG supply agreements. Jae-Hyon Ahn is a name to note, working on the development and financing of international energy and infrastructure projects. Winton Kim left the firm in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Won Lee

Testimonials

‘In addition to offering up their expertise, these professionals also help, advise, stimulate and counterbalance one another. By truly collaborating, a team of lawyers is able to address issues that none could tackle individually.’

Key clients

SK E&S Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Representing SK E&S Co. Ltd.in relation to its acquisition of ownership interests in the DLNG Project consisting of the Bayu-Undan natural gas fields, connecting gas pipelines and Darwin LNG liquefaction facilities from Santos Limited, following the Santos Limited’s acquisition of the northern Australia Natural gas businesses.
  • Representing SK E&S Co., Ltd. on its contemplated strategic partnership in the Asian markets with Plug Power, a NASDAQ listed hydrogen energy company in relation to the SK Group’s $1.5bn investment in Plug Power.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The global energy practice at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides Korean and international clients a full-service offering on energy and infrastructure matters. Practice head Ken Nam is an experienced energy specialist and focuses on cross-border energy, natural resources and infrastructure projects. Nam works closely with key members of the team in other jurisdictions, including global head of energy, Lewis McDonald; Asia head of energy, Hilary Lau; and Keith Gamble, London finance of counsel. In Seoul, Mike McClure is the key contact for handling contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Ken Nam

Testimonials

‘HSF team is excellent in that they advise clients in both legal analysis and practical strategy to address relevant issues.’

‘Ken Nam provided top quality legal service particularly in the area of project development with very deep commercial knowledge.’

Key clients

Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS)

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power

Samsung C&T Corporation

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)

KDB Infrastructure Investment Asset Management

POSCO Group

Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water)

Mirae Asset Group

Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC)

Australian Strategic Materials (ASM)

Work highlights

  • Advising KOGAS as a participant to the $11bn Coral FLNG Project and the $10bn Mamba LNG Project in Mozambique.
  • Advising K-Water and PT ADHI KARYA Tbk on their successful bid for the Karian Bulk Water Project, a PPP project for water treatment and transmission facility in Tangerang region in Indonesia.
  • Advised POSCO and POSCO International on its acquisition of 15% stake in ASX-listed Black Rock Mining for the development of the Mahenge Graphite Project in Tanzania.

White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office)

White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office)’s project development and finance practice is active in several transactions involving Korean investors, sponsors and lenders in Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe. Led by the ‘proactive and responsive’ Sarah Park, the practice has transformed, with work for Korean state-owned entities and investments increasing exponentially. Ji Hoon Hong is the key contact for project finance expertise.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Park

Other key lawyers:

Ji Hoon Hong

Testimonials

‘I think renowed international law firm’s capability levels are more or less similar. What makes a difference to the client would be, in the end, the performance and attitude of individuals. Satisfied with W&C which has extensive experiences and knowledge especially in the sector we were engaged in and believe their performance was certainly worthy for what we have paid.’

‘Sarah Park. She has excellently performed her work as the main lawyer and contact point in the Indonesian transation. Very proactive and responsive not to mention experienced and having expertise. successfully provided tailor-made advice by informing what we shall know and check.’

‘White & Case’s team provided the best legal service. Especially, they organised a great team which consisted of excellent lawyers with various expertise. Plus, their teamwork and collaboration were so great that they were effectively able to create an invincible synergy.’

‘They were very considerate. Whenever they prepared legal documents or legal solutions to us, they made every effort to carefully check out if their outcomes truly included everything we had requested.’

Key clients

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure)

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd.

Alpha Asset Management

Sprott Korea Investment

Hana Financial Investment

Korea Investment & Securities

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP)

Korea Development Bank

Korea Midland Power Co., Ltd. (KOMIPO)

Work highlights

  • Advised KEPCO on the acquisition and project financing of the Jawa 9 & 10 IPP in Indonesia.
  • Advised a consortium of Korean investors, consisting of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd., Alpha Asset Management, Sprott Korea Investment, Hana Financial Investment and Korea Investment & Securities, in connection with an acquisition of a 49.9% cash equity interest in a portfolio of four wind projects in the US totalling 852 MWs, located in Texas, Illinois and Nebraska.
  • Advised KOMIPO on the acquisition of a 100% equity interest in a solar project in South Texas, USA.