Watson Farley & Williams LLP > Singapore, Singapore > Firm Profile

Watson Farley & Williams LLP
88 Market Street #31-05 CapitaSpring
Singapore 048948
Singapore

Singapore > Asset finance: foreign firms Tier 2

Co-headed by Madeline Leong in Hong Kong and Charles Viggers in Singapore, Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s asset and structured finance department is best-known for its involvement in premium maritime and offshore finance mandates, but fields equally strong capabilities in transactions within the aviation sector. On the shipping front, the team has vast experience in handling sustainable finance initiatives, restructurings, work-outs, and wet and dry maritime financings. Co-head Viggers oversees finance matters in the aviation space; restructuring, insolvency and aircraft repossession are core areas of activity for the team, which is particularly well placed to guide clients in JOLCO deals, export credit agency backed financings and Chinese leasing structures. Lizzie Roe maintains a broad asset finance practice focused on the maritime segment; she possesses in-depth knowledge of JOLCO and JOL financing transactions. Former practice head Goh Mei Lin, one of Asia’s leading maritime and ship finance lawyers, sadly passed away in 2022.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘WFW seems to have more in-depth knowledge of structures and commercial decisions compared to other firms.’

‘The team can be well trusted to negotiate on behalf of the client.’

‘Lizzie Roe is client-centric and takes her time to align all parties within a transaction as well as taking the lead in any process.’

Key clients

Citibank N.A.C Bank

HSBC Bank

National Australia Bank Limited

ING Bank N.V.

Standard Chartered Bank

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited

Air France

KOTAM

Deutsche Bank

Credit Industriel et Commercial (CIC)

Work highlights

  • Advised Citibank and HSBC respectively on two separate ECA-backed JOLCOs (Japanese Operating Lease with Call Options) arranged for Seaspan Corporation.
  • Advised, among other creditor groups, the bondholders in relation to Virgin Atlantic Airways’ (VAA) landmark £1.2bn restructuring and recapitalisation plan which completed in early September 2020.
  • Acting for the lenders in the first ever sustainability-linked Japanese operating lease with a call option (JOLCO) financing of one A350 aircraft leased to Air France.

Singapore > Restructuring and insolvency: foreign firms Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a significant number of debtor and creditor clients, including those in the maritime, offshore oil and gas, and aviation sectors. The firm continues to work on a number of major restructurings in the aviation and shipping fields. Charles Viggers is head of the Singapore office and global co-head of aviation.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong; Charles Viggers

Key clients

ABN AMRO Bank

Nordic Aviation Capital group

Wilmington Trust (London)

DVB Bank

Precious Shipping Public Co

Bank of America

Citibank

National Australia Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance

Development Bank of Japan

Dorian LPG

DVB Bank SE Singapore Branch

Grindrod Shipping Holdings

ING Bank, Singapore Branch

MUFG Bank

Oversea- Chinese Banking Corporation

Reliance Industries

Woori Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised a Korean aircraft leasing company and two Korean banks on various aspects of the ongoing Garuda Indonesia restructuring.
  • Advising the lenders on the administration NMC Healthcare and more than 30 subsidiary companies, following a multi-billion dollar financial fraud scandal.
  • Advised a number of key strategic creditors of Virgin Atlantic Airways on the airline’s £1.2bn restructuring and recapitalisation plan.

Singapore > Shipping: foreign firms Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has maintained its strong presence in the shipping market, despite the tragic death of two partners in 2022, Mei Lin Goh and Mehraab Nazir. It remains at the forefront of ship finance, with a significant focus on the LNG sector in recent times, and continues to be noted for its JOLCO expertise. Andrew Nimmo is a leading figure in the LNG and the offshore market, while Singapore and Hong Kong-based Madeline Leong provides strong connections to Chinese lenders and lessors. The Singapore office boosted its standing in commodity and trade disputes with the hire of Sumeet Malhotra from Hill Dickinson LLP in 2021 and Kimarie Cheang from Incisive Law LLC in 2022.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong

Testimonials

‘Results orientated. Pulls out the stops when under pressure.’

‘Andrew Nimmo – approachable and sensible.’

‘The Singapore team led by Sumeet Malhotra is close-knit and hands-on. Great attention to the case and good initiative in following up on what needs to be done. Extremely pleasant to work with, and always helpful. Management of the cases entrusted to them is in good hands.’

‘I work with Sumeet Malhotra and his team members. It is obvious that they have a good team spirit and work cohesively. They are responsive, understand the issues in the case and work collaboratively with external counsel on what needs to be done.’

‘The team works efficiently under the leadership of the partner. Everyone has a role to play to achieve common goals to deliver the best service to the client. I can speak with anyone in the team, who are very professional at their levels, which is very helpful for time and cost saving to obtain interim updates or pass urgent information in case the partner is not available.’

‘The partner is able to give short (yet clear) feedback, based on a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is quick in validating initial feedback before working on the case in full which is extensive enough to set my expectations for various different scenarios as the case may end up with. He listens very well to clients’ desires on how we wish to manage post-resolution relationships with the dispute counterparty. The language he uses is friendly to commercial clients while other lawyers like to use fancy lawyers’ language. Always provides cost-effective alternatives where feasible.’

Key clients

Citibank N.A., London Branch

HSBC Bank

National Australia Bank

BW Group

Oka Tanker Pte Ltd

Antanium Resources Pte Ltd

ING Bank

OCBC Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Sapura Energy

BNP Paribas

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Berge Bulk

Work highlights

  • Advised Citibank and HSBC Bank on two separate ECA-backed JOLCOs arranged for Seaspan Corporation, the first time the ECAs involved have supported JOLCO structures in shipping.

Singapore > Banking and finance: foreign firms Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP works for lenders and borrowers throughout the Asia Pacific region. The firm has carved out a niche in asset finance, where it advises on matters involving the maritime, transport, natural resources and energy sectors. Madeline Leong, who is a reference in Hong Kong and mainland China for ship finance and maritime debt restructuring transactions, oversees the department. The group acts for a diverse client roster, which includes regional banks, investment funds, insurance companies and export credit agencies.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong

Other key lawyers:

Charles Viggers; Lizzie Roe

Key clients

Citibank N.A

HSBC Bank

National Australia Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

ING Bank

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Bank of America

Work highlights

  • Advised Citibank and HSBC respectively on two separate ECA-backed JOLCOs (Japanese Operating Lease with Call Options) arranged for Seaspan Corporation.
  • Acting for the lenders in the first ever sustainability-linked Japanese operating lease with a call option (JOLCO) financing of one A350 aircraft leased to Air France.
  • Acted for National Australia Bank Limited as agent in a USD$44m term loan facility to subsidiaries owned by CMB Financial Leasing to refinance the acquisition costs of 3 container ships which had been recently chartered to Conglomerate Maritime Limited, a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Cokmpany (MSC).

Singapore > Corporate and M&A: foreign firms Tier 1

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is especially accomplished in the field of corporate financing though also acts on an array of M&A, joint venture, commercial contract, LBO and workout matters, directing particular emphasis to the transport, energy, real estate, hotels and hospitality sectors.

South Korea > Shipping: foreign firms

Watson Farley & Williams LLP‘s shipping team has built a strong reputation in ship financing, projects, dispute resolution across Asia. It is particularly active on high profile Korea restructuring involving some of Korea’s best known shipping companies. Madeline Leong in Singapore is the lead partner for maritime financing and leasing transactions. Andrew Nimmo, also in Singapore, working on offshore oil and gas projects and related maritime and floating asset mandates, and Jonathan Silver in Hong Kong complete the group.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Bank of America, N.A.

Standard Chartered Bank

Woori Bank

Sinokor Maritime Co. Ltd

Citi Bank

Banco Santander, S.A.

HSBC

Work highlights

  • Advised Citibank and HSBC respectively on two separate ECA-backed JOLCOs (Japanese Operating Lease with Call Options) arranged for Seaspan Corporation (“Seaspan”). These pioneering transactions were developed simultaneously and are firsts of their kind, combining two tried and tested ship financing structures, ECA-backed loans and sale-leaseback arrangements under JOLCOs, and represent the first time the ECAs involved have supported JOLCO structures in shipping.

Dedicated to client care, industry focus and investment in our people
We are a sector specialist international law firm in the energy, transport and infrastructure sectors advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.

Our business exists to help our clients achieve their goals, partnering with them to meet the challenges they face today and will face tomorrow.

Our values rest on developing deep and long-lasting relationships externally and internally through respect, sharing, communication and integrity.

We strive for excellence in all that we do and view investment in our people as key to achieving our business goals and values.

Our teams are integrated across legal disciplines and offices delivering consistently high levels of service locally and in combination across borders.

History: Sector focus has been at the heart of our strategy since we opened for business in 1982.  Having started life as an asset finance boutique focussing on the maritime and aviation industries, our transport focus quickly expanded to other supply-chain led industries, most notably, renewable and conventional energy and infrastructure across these industries.

Through our offices around the world, we provide a full suite of services within our core sectors enabling us to deliver exceptional value to our clients.

Facts

  • Founded 1982
  • 175+ partners
  • 580+ lawyers
  • 18 offices

Senior Partner: George Paleokrassas
Managing Partner: Lindsey Keeble

Global Sector Heads:
Aviation: 
Jim Bell, Charles Viggers
Energy: Malte Jordan, Henry Stewart
Infrastructure: Florian Kutzbach and Jose Maria Anarte
Maritime: George Macheras, George Paleokrassas
Mining & Commodities: Jan Mellmann
Oil & Gas: Chris Kilburn

PhotoNamePositionProfile
Damian Adams photo Damian AdamsDamian has over 20 years of experience in structuring, negotiating, managing and…
Mei Lin Goh photo Mei Lin GohMei specialises in cross-border asset, project and structured finance transactions in the…
Ivy Liu photo Ivy LiuShe has significant expertise in advising investors, lenders and contractors on deal…
Mehraab Nazeer photo Mehraab NazeerMehraab specialises in complex cross-border finance transactions with a particular focus on…
Andrew Nimmo photo Andrew NimmoAndrew specialises in the offshore oil & gas and maritime sectors, where…
Charles Viggers photo Charles ViggersCharles’ practice focuses on the transport sector, with a special emphasis on…
: