Watson Farley & Williams > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Firm Profile

Watson Farley & Williams
UNITS 1703-1707
ONE PACIFIC PLACE, 88 QUEENSWAY
HONG KONG
Hong Kong

Hong Kong > Asset finance (including aviation and shipping finance)

Watson Farley & Williams recently bolstered its aviation finance practice by hiring Jackson Chow and senior consultant William Ho from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in January 2021. Chow and Ho have a wealth of experience in the aviation finance and leasing market, and have recently been acting on a number of large restructuring deals; they act for a number of clients in Greater China. The culturally-diverse team is led by shipping finance expert Madeline Leong, who is qualified to practise in Hong Kong, England & Wales and Australia. She has over 30 years of experience in the sector and specialises in debt restructuring and enforcement work. Christoforos Bisbikos handles ship lease and debt finance. Counsel Valerie Lee advises banks and financial institutions on debt restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Very commercial.’

‘Flexible, commercial and real industry veterans.’

‘The team is very experienced in aviation and financing work in China.’

‘William Ho and Jackson Chow always give practical solutions to complex legal issues.’

‘They have deep insights in solving issues with typical PRC clients while adopting international standards used in aviation legal practice.’

‘As a partner, Jackson Chow has been deeply involved in the aviation market for many years and he has accumulated a lot of experience in serving Chinese customers’ cross-border businesses.’

‘Familiar with the leasing industry for many years, the team understands the needs of customers.’

‘The team has provided high-quality and efficient assistance to our many aircraft financing projects.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

DNB Bank Singapore and Oslo Branches

Bank of America N.A.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Export-Import Bank of China (“CEXIM”)

Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited (“CA”)

Credit Suisse

Citibank N.A.

China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing (“CMBFL”)

China Merchants Commerce Financial Leasing Co., Ltd (“CMCFL”)

ICBC Financial Leasing

Pacific Basin Shipping Limited and PB Vessels Holding Limited

Kris Energy

CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC (“CDBALF”)

The Export Import Bank of China

CALC

AVIC Leasing

Work highlights

  • Advised China Taiping Life Insurance (Hong Kong) Company Limited on the combined sale and leaseback and debt financing of one widebody aircraft involving Singapore Airlines.
  • Advising AVIC Leasing on the restructure of an existing security package consisting of five vessels with an additional three collateral vessels as securities, along with other securities over the five vessels.
  • Advised ICBC Leasing on the sale-and-leaseback transaction with Star Bulk Carriers Corporation(“Star Bulk”) in respect of three bulk carriers.

Hong Kong > Projects and energy Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams‘ Hong Kong office forms an integral part of the firm’s projects and infrastructure offering in Asia, which excels in advising stakeholders throughout the life cycle of renewables and conventional power projects. Much of the work in the space has a nexus to Vietnam where it is well-placed to advise by virtue of a strong offering in situ in Hanoi. Splitting her time between the firm’s Hanoi and Hong Kong office, team head Linh Doan has an excellent reputation for handling Asia power and renewables projects.

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Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Toyo Ink Group Berhad

Ministry of Industry and Trade

Asian Development Bank

Citibank

JAKS Pacific Power Limited

DK Consultants Co., Ltd

Vietnam Electricity (EVN)

Work highlights

  • Advising DK Consultants Co., Ltd on the Hai Lang LNG to Power project.
  • Advising a large syndicate of international and Taiwanese commercial banks, life insurance companies and cover providers on the project financing of the Changfang and Xidao Taiwanese offshore wind projects.
  • Advising the MOIT on the BOT contract for the 750MW Dung Quat II gas fired combined cycle power plant.

Hong Kong > Restructuring and insolvency Tier 5

With a strong focus on the aviation and maritime sectors, Watson Farley & Williams handles a range of restructuring and workout mandates. It acts for lenders, leasing houses, borrowers and corporates, and also handles the restructuring of debt and bond facilities. Madeline Leong heads the practice and in January 2021, Jackson Chow and senior consultant William Ho joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

BNP Paribas

The Korea Development Bank

DNB Bank Singapore and Oslo Branches

Bank of America N.A.

Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Piraeus (“RBS”)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Export-Import Bank of China (“CEXIM”)

Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited (“CA”)

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

ICBC Leasing

CSIC Leasing

Credit Suisse

AVIC International Leasing Co., Ltd.

Huarong International Financial Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised an enlarged working group of creditors comprising certain French banking groups(the “French Creditors”), ICBC Leasing and Standard Chartered Bank (together, the “Creditors”) on the shipping-related aspects of the debt restructuring of French shipowner Bourbon Maritime (“Bourbon”).
  • Advised ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd regarding the further debt restructuring of 10 bareboat charters owned by a leading shipping company.

China > Banking and finance: foreign firms Tier 5

In addition to Watson Farley & Williams‘ renowned maritime sector credentials, the Hong Kong-based practice is active in related sectors such as offshore oil and gas, LNG, container boxes, ports and logistics, and cruise and ferries. Heading the Asia assets and structured finance group, Madeline Leong focuses on debt restructuring, work-out and enforcement matters (covering ECA and structured financings); and Christoforos Bisbikos excels in high-profile ship financings. Aviation expert Jackson Chow was hired from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

China Merchants Commerce Leasing Co

AVIC Leasing

ICBC Financial Leasing

Billion Sunny Development

Standard Chartered Bank

CDB Aviation Lease Finance

BW Group

CMB Financial Leasing Co

SCB Sinokor

CSSC Ciner

Work highlights

  • Advised China Taiping Life Insurance (Hong Kong) Company (as mezzanine lender) on a combined sale and leaseback and debt aircraft financing involving Singapore Airlines.

Germany > Corporate and M&A > M&A: mid-sized deals (sub-€500m) Tier 5

In addition to project M&A transactions, Watson Farley & Williams LLP increasingly advises on companies transactions and focuses on the energy, shipping, transport and infrastructure sectors. In December 2020, the newly-opened Düsseldorf office expanded the advisory capacities in the energy sector, among others. Since Torsten Rosenboom moved to Hogan Lovells International LLP in January 2022, Marcus Bechtel solely heads the practice. He is particularly experienced in transactional advice to private equity investors. Christoph Naumann joined Hogan Lovells International LLP in December 2021.

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Testimonials

‘Uniquely broad and deep knowledge of renewable energies and excellent negotiation and transaction support.’

‘Marcus Bechtel: Outstanding negotiator, convincing in argumentation and careful in approach with a unique wealth of experience in the field of renewable energies.’

‘Quickly pragmatic in terms of the client as well as keeping an eye on the other side.’

Key clients

Deutsche Börse AG

Acarda Group

EWE ERNEUERBARE ENERGIEN GmbH

EWE AG

Naxicap Germany GmbH

GP JOULE IPP Assets GmbH

GP JOULE Holding GmbH & Co. KG

TUI Cruises GmbH

Tradebe Port Services S.L.

Elektrizitätswerk der Stadt Zürich (EWZ)

Storengy

Work highlights

  • Advising Deutsche Börse AG on the sale of Regulatory Services GmbH to MarketAxess.  
  • Advising EWE AG on the sale of its offshore subsidiary to VINCI.
  • Advised TUIC on the financing and implementation of the $1.3 billion takeover of HL Cruises.

South Korea > Shipping: foreign firms

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s shipping team advises on matters including financing, projects, dispute resolution and corporate law. It has also developed particular expertise in advising on high profile restructurings involving some of Korea’s major shipping companies, such as Korea Lines, SK Shipping and Pan Ocean. Singapore-based Mei Lin Goh co-leads the team with Hong Kong-based Madeline Leong; Goh has extensive experience in shipping finance. Other key practitioners include Christoforos Bisbikos in Hong Kong, who has ship lease and debt financing expertise.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Responsiveness and professionalism of the team.

‘Deep experience and sharing of practical and workable solutions.’

Key clients

Bank of America, N.A.

Standard Chartered Bank

Woori Bank

Bank of Nova Scotia

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, Singapore Branch

Korea Development Bank

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

Societé Generalé

Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch

Mizuho Bank

Dedicated to client care, industry focus and investment in our people
We are an international law firm advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.  We have a strong sector focus, combining our technical excellence with deep industry knowledge across energy, transport and real estate.

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 focusing on the maritime and aviation industries, our transport focus quickly expanded to other supply-chain led industries, most notably, renewable and conventional energy and real estate and associate 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
  • 170+ partners
  • 550+ lawyers
  • 17 offices

Senior Partner: George Paleokrassas
Managing Partner: Lindsey Keeble

Global Sector Heads:
Aviation: Jim Bell, Charles Viggers
Energy: Malte Jordan, Henry Stewart
Maritime: George Macheras, George Paleokrassas
Mining & Commodities: Jan Mellmann
Oil & Gas: Chris Kilburn
Real Estate: Felicity Jones

PhotoNamePositionProfile
Christoforos Bisbikos photo Christoforos BisbikosChristoforos focusses on all types of cross-border asset and project financings (in…
Marcus Gordon photo Marcus GordonMarcus has represented many shipping companies, oil companies (including oil majors), aviation…
Valerie Lee photo Valerie LeeSenior Registered Foreign Lawyer
Madeline Leong photo Madeline LeongMadeline Leong joined Watson Farley & Williams in 2004 as a consultant…
Rosa Ng  photo Rosa Ng Partner
Khin Voong photo Khin VoongKhin has extensive experience in a wide range of lending transactions including…
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