A key recent landmark for the banking team involved the firm's work for banks on jumbo financings, which backed OUE Baytown's bid for Fraser and Neave. OUE's bid for the Singapore real estate and food and beverage conglomerate, although ultimately trumped by that of Thailand's TCC Assets, was backed by $9.92 billion in facilities from Bank of America and Credit Suisse, as well as S$460 million ($364 million) in loans from CIMB Bank to part finance the equity portion of bid consideration.
Recently promoted partner Gautam Narasimhan – whose practice encompasses structured, leverage and project finance – acted on the equity financing, while veteran John Richards, whose expertise also spans restructurings and insolvencies, led on the bidco portion of the financing.
Jason Humphreys leads the firm's project finance practice, acting on major project developments and financings in the region. In Singapore, Humphreys spearheaded a team that acted for the banks on a $1.6 billion financing for the SP Cross Island Tunnel Trust.
Bubb's work is "excellent, first class, commercial and practical," says a client, who regards him as "a gifted all-rounder: good on the drafting and technical side but also able to lead meetings and negotiations and provide commercial advice".
The firm's project finance practice is particularly strong in oil and gas/LNG work. Partner Philip Thomson, who heads Ashurst's Asia energy practice, led a team which advised Concord Energy on the sale of a 50% interest in Fujairah Oil Terminal to Sinomart Kanton Holdings, and FOT on the limited recourse financing of its oil and petroleum products storage terminal in UAE. Thomson and Daniel Reinbott advised Perusahaan Gas Negara on an agreement with a consortium for the development of the Medan LNG (liquefied natural gas) floating storage and regasification facilities in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Singapore managing partner Carl Dunton lead's the firm's banking practice. Clients including major regional and international investment banks, as well as export credit agencies, multilateral agencies and corporates. Dunton's expertise extends to complex restructurings in the region.
Banking partner Andrew Brereton wins solid praise from clients. Brereton is "a highly accomplished lawyer possessing a good balance of technical ability and commercial acumen. He is someone you want on your side in difficult negotiations. Andrew understands how to work with in-house counsel and ensures that we are kept informed of all key issues in a deal," says a client.
Partner Ting Ting Tan "gets good mandates", says a project finance peer. Both Tan and capital markets partner Raymond Tong are praised as being "excellent". Tan's recent Indonesia highlights including acting for RBS as lead documentation bank and the syndicate of lenders for a $965 million loan for Pertamina, and Star Energy's staggered refinancing of its existing acquisition facility and project financings of the Kakap project. Her strong client base extends across the region, having also recently acted for China EXIM on its $1.2 billion loan to Huadian Bukit Asam Power, established by China Huadian Corporation and Bukit Asam (Persero) to build and operate a 1,241 MW mine mouth coal fired steam power plant in South Sumetare province.
The firm has taken a step to enhance its restructuring and insolvency practice by entering into a formal law alliance (FLA) with Singapore firm Cavenagh Law, which was established in late 2012. Although Clifford Chance has a QFLP license, litigation work is carved out of such licences.
The firm's highly regarded restructuring and insolvency practice features partners Nish Shetty, Paul Sandosham and Harpreet Singh Nehal. Shetty garners strong client praise. According to a client, Shetty "invariably clearly understands issues when they are first conveyed to him. He has the ability to understand the practicalities of business together with the legal implications of situations. This differentiates him from most of his peers". A significant landmark highlight for the team involved advising Drydocks World on the restructuring of $2.2 billion in syndicated debt, implemented with schemes of arrangement in Singapore and company voluntary arrangements in Dubai.
"Troy is our number one choice when looking to appoint a legal restructuring professional in Asia. He has a unique ability to assess and provide commercially practical legal advice across multiple jurisdictions," says another client.
The firm's dedicated restructuring group's cross-border matters include acting on the $500 million restructuring for Trident Microsystems across Asia – including Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, India, Taiwan, Korea and Japan – and the US and Europe.
Former DLA Piper Singapore managing partner and head of Asia project finance Martin David left the firm to head Ince & Co's Asia energy practice in May 2013.
In May 2013, the firm announced a strategic alliance with Indonesian firm Ivan Almaida Baely & Firmansyah, to further grow its specialist restructuring practice and build on the team's Indonesia offerings.
Whilst partner Michelle Chen left the firm to join Jones Day in late 2012, the banking practice has bolstered by the addition of asset finance specialist Rod Howell from Allens in February 2013. Howell was head of Allens' Asian finance team, and prior to that, Clifford Chance for 12 years, with experience in UK and US as well as the Asia Pacific region.
The firm works closely with its associated Jakarta office, Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung, where David Dawborn is presently seconded, for a combined leading market presence in the Indonesia projects and energy space. The firm is also active on Indonesian capital markets work.
Eying an increased role in Myanmar as the country opens up to international investment, the firm has placed a senior associate from its Singapore corporate team to support its Myanmar work. The firm's highlight Myanmar work includes advice to Australia's Woodside Energy on its first two oil and gas exploration deals in the country, and Eumerella Resources on an option arrangement for a mining exploration project.
Hong Kong and Australia-qualified senior associate Shaun Langhorne, who relocated from Hong Kong to Singapore in May 2012, heads the Singapore restructuring turnaround and insolvency team. Langhorne and partner Brian Scott advised Vitol Asia in the $1.1 billion suspension of debt payment obligation proceedings of petrochemical suppler Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama.
Singapore managing partner Stephen McWilliams led a team that advised the lenders on the $8.6 billion project financing for Australia Pacific LNG Project, also a high profile deal with multiple lenders and ECAs, which marked one of Australia's largest ever LNG export projects.
Banking partner Clarinda Tjia-Dharmadi acted for Pertamina on its $965 million loan which garnered more than 20 banks in syndication, closing in December 2012.
The team's projects and energy practice has been enhanced with relocation of three lawyers to the office – Christopher Bradley from Tokyo, where he was head of the banking and projects team – partner Miles Curley from Madrid and managing associate Mark Cooper from Hong Kong. Richard Ginks transferred back to the firm's London office.
The firm benefits from associated oil and gas and mining firm Widyawan & Partners in Indonesia and also has a close relationship with India's highly regarded Talwar Thakore & Associates.
The firms' project finance practice is highly regarded by peers and clients. Partner James Murray acted for KEXIM and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the $130 million financings of a 45MW hydroelectric power plant on the Wampu River in North Sumatra, Indonesia, which included both a direct KEMIX loan and a covered tranche guaranteed by KEXIM. The team saw Melissa Lewis promoted to special counsel in April 2013.
The firm's strong restructuring and insolvency practice involves work with established clients, drawing upon the strong corporate relationships that the firm has developed and leverages their top-end capital markets and other corporate work.
While counsel Damien Coles has relocated to the Hong Kong office, partner Joel Hogarth continues to co-ordinate the firm's highly regarded Indonesian practice, acting as consultant to its associated local firm Tumbuan & Partners as well as maintaining an office in Singapore.
Sanja Udovicic is also a key partner of the practice, which is supported by counsel Scott Baggett and senior associate Anna Chung. The firm has also recently added several associates and relocated lawyers to the Singapore office, bolstering its capacity on large-scale deals.
In a region, which has seen further growth in frontier jurisdictions, the team has strong relationships with multilateral development banks and export credit agencies. Recent projects the team has worked on span Malaysia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Nepal. One major matter on which the firm acted was the Foundation Wind I and II Power Projects in Pakistan. The firm acted for Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and a consortium of Pakistan financiers on that deal, which involved fully shariah compliant financing.
The team is representing state-owned Petronas on its high profile $20 billion RAPID (Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development) petrochemicals project in Malaysia, involving refinery, cracker, and multiple downstream joint venture projects.
McCormack and Udovicic also handle banking work for both financial institutions and sponsors, with a client base, which evidences its relationship with ECAs as well as commercial banks.
In early 2013, the firm's energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance practice team saw the departure of partner Ken Hawkes, who has since been based in New Zealand. However, In August the firm announced the relocation of partner Steve Payne from Beijing to Singapore to lead the practice, while David Gartside, previously of A&O, has joined as counsel. Payne, who has been with the firm for more than 15 years, has worked in Indonesia and he was based in Washington DC prior to moving to the firm's Beijing office in 2006.
Project finance partner Lian Yok Tan is acting on a number of deals in the region, including representing Feni Haltim as borrower and Antam (Persero) as sponsor on a $1.6 billion ferronickel project, one of the largest to be developed in the Eastern part of Indonesia.
Finance and capital markets specialist Jeremy Stoupas garners praise for being "very insightful", while senior associate Andy Ferris is singled out as a rising star who "gets the commercial issues" and provides services "over and above the course of duty". Aboud and Stoupas led the team, which advised the arrangers on the establishment of the Republic of Indonesia's $3 billion global medium term sukuk (Islamic bond) certificates program – the first such program established by the sovereign.
The firm has a well-recognised India practice comprising partners from a number of its offices, globally. Recent highlight deals include advising Citibank on GTL Infrastructure's consent solicitation and exchange offer of $300 million zero coupon convertible bonds, the issuance of $112 million zero coupon compulsorily convertible bonds and $208 million interest bearing convertible bonds. Singapore-based Rahul Guptan and Tom Bidwell acted on the deal, which closed in November 2012.
In an Indonesia highlight, Clinton and Ng represented Triputra Agro Persada on its allotment of shares and convertible bonds to subsidiaries of Northstar Equity Partners and the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore for $200 million.
Balasubramanian, recognised for his active India work, was hired by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2013, which recently re-opened its Singapore. The practice remains strong, however, with leading lawyer Dean Lockhart and counsel Robert Rosen and Phill Hall garnering strong client praise. "I know [Lockhart and Hall] very well and they're our firm of choice for EMTN/Reg S work in South East Asia. You want them involved in the more difficult transactions too, as their advice tends to be extremely sound," says a client. "Dean is one of the more commercial lawyers at English firms," while Phill is "responsive, knowledgeable and provides value-added advice," the client says.
In a region, which has seen a boom in debt capital markets, the team has been active on a number of high yield issuances for both banks and issuers in Indonesia. In Singapore, one highlight deal was its work for the initial lenders on a high yield $625 million offering by Global A&T Electronics (GATE), which was established by Texas Pacific Group and Affinity Equity Partners in connection with the LBO of UTAC in 2007.
In 2012, the team acted for the issuers in Bank Tabungan Negara (Persero) (BTN)'s global rights issue, Indonesia's largest rights issue of 2012, and MNC Sky Vision's $228 million IPO on IDX and Rule 144A/Reg S placement, Indonesia's largest IPO of 2012.
The team, which promoted Trevor Ingram to counsel in 2013, works closely with the firm's Hong Kong office, recently acting on big-ticket equity capital markets work for clients including India's Reliance Industries and Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Public Company.
One client says, "Won [Lee, based in Hong Kong] and Andy are high yield veterans so their experience is immensely valuable. Shearman also boast one of the best associate teams around as the quality is pretty consistently good."
Singapore office head Rajeev Duggal works closely with Hong Kong based head of Asia corporate practice Jonathan Stone on large-scale multi-jurisdictional deals in the region.
"I've worked with them fairly regularly over the last two years. They are on our short list of US firms that we use for US dollar Rule 144A and Reg S New York law-governed high yield bond work," says a client.
"Their lawyers are generally user friendly, good with disclosure issues, pragmatic on structuring issues and are equipped to get work done in short time frames without compromising quality," the client adds.
Duggal, Stone and Los Angeles-based partner Michael Beinus represented Credit Suisse Securities (India) as underwriter on a $175 million offering of equity shares by way of a qualified institutional placement with an offering under Rule 144A/Reg S by Jaiprakash Power Ventures, a developer and operator of hydroelectric, thermal and transmission power projects in India.
In a deal led by Stone, Duggal and London-based Danny Tricot, the firm acted for Deutsche Bank as dealer manager in the exchange offer of 3i Infotech's existing US dollar zero coupon foreign currency convertible bonds and Euro zero coupon foreign currency convertible bonds, both due in 2012, for $125 million of 5% convertible bonds due 2017, listed on the Singapore exchange.
The team acted for CIMB, Morgan Stanley and UBS as joint global coordinators and bookrunners and Standard Chartered Bank, Maybank and Mandiri as co-lead managers on the high profile secondary offering of 40% of Matahari Department store shares – the largest equity offering from Indonesia in five years.
Another landmark deal was the IPO of BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, which involved a domestic offering in Thailand and a Rule 144A/Reg S offering internationally. Proudian and Lim led the deal, acting for Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company (BTSC) and BTS Group Holdings as sponsor on the deal. BTSC is the operator of Thailand's first mass-transit line.
When it comes to project deals, Allen & Gledhill (A&G) is hard to beat in Singapore. This full-service firm receives rave and enthused reviews in relation to its projects work. “We also work with other international firms such as Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Norton Rose Fulbright and so on,” says a client. “If it wasn’t for the fact that some international banks prefer international firms, I don’t see a distinction between [those international firms and Allen & Gledhill]. The due diligence reports they produced for my recent projects as well as the dedication of the team on the job are better than those of the international firms I have worked with recently. I definitely would always want to work with Allen & Gledhill.”
Their energy, infrastructure and projects practice houses over 20 attorneys who have each and every one of them in-depth knowledge and experience in the industry sector. Project development in particular is a key segment for the firm, especially in relation to the transport industry. A&G offers expert working knowledge on all facts of the petrochemical, gas, energy, water and utilities industry sectors, while also covering public-private partnership (PPP) and public infrastructure projects. Though based in Singapore, A&G has seen a rapid expansion across Southeast Asia where they have a deep, substantial focus. They have a local reach in the ASEAN and are entrenched in the corporate and banking side of transactions with frequent government work. In Indonesia, the firm has formed an alliance with Ali Budiardjo Nugroho Reksodiputro (ABNR Law). They are associated with Rahmat Lim & Partners in Malaysia and Allen & Gledhill (Laos). Its newest development is opening a new office this year in the partially liberalised Myanmar, in Yangon. Partners Kelvin Wong and Tan Wee Meng are known for their outstanding corporate and commercial work in the energy, infrastructure and project development areas. Wong has been singled out for the highest standard of work he brings to his clients and has been highly rated across the full spectrum of attributes in his practice.
Kok Chee Wai comes highly recommended and leads the firm’s project finance team. “Availability and responsiveness are there,” says a major banking client. “The dedication to the projects and the way he leads his team is also a plus. His niche is definitely dealing with finance documents and project finance deals.” The client also continued to praise the partner’s work ethos: “The moment you know Chee Wai’s on [the deal] you know he can be reached at all times. He doesn’t allocate a junior and disappears as many partners would after they are appointed, and remains very much involved.” Partner Ho Chien Mien adds his expertise in non-contentious and dispute resolution to the overall repertoire. The disputes team at A&G has garnered much praise from clients over the years.
The team has recently acted on several cross-border disputes for a major power generation company, independent power producers, a Singapore government agency, contractors and an overseas multi-national commodity trading company. On the corporate side, the firm was counsel to Fincantieri Oil & Gas who was the offerer in a conditional sale and purchase agreement of a unit of South Korea’s STX Corp. The stake purchase and offer neared $1.1 billion and is the first major acquisition deal by Fincantieri in Asia, allowing the company to enter the ranks of one of the top five shipbuilders in the world. Project development remains the firm’s key strength. Most significant deals in 2013 include advising for Guocoland on constructional aspects of a $2.5 billion mixed-development project at Tanjong Pagar. In another construction related deal, the team acted for South Beach Consortium in the development of the $1.59 billion South Beach Project, which has both residential and commercial components within the project. Another highlight deal which closed in early 2013 saw Tuas Power subsidiary, TP Utilities, retaining A&G as project counsel in handling all facets of its development of a $1.5 billion integrated multi-utilities complex in Tembusu on Jurong Island in Indonesia.
A relatively small and new firm in Singapore, Law Asia are not to be underestimated when it comes to its oil and gas practice. Law Asia has built up a strong industry presence and only three years since its inception, the firm has won accolades in this area. In 2013, the firm has done energy and infrastructure work throughout Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Australia, mainly in relation to the oil and gas, industry and manufacturing sectors. Law Asia’s alliances with other firms allow them to expand their presence and networks across the region. Chairman and managing partner of Law Asia is Paul Supramaniam, who was formerly with Berwin Leighton Paisner, Latham & Watkins and Hogan Lovells in Asia, is a leading corporate M&A lawyer.
Paul Supramaniam and his team were involved with Coastal Energy Company entering into a Risk Service Contract with Malaysian oil company, Petronas, valued in excess of $1 billion. The firm was also lead counsel for Konecranes on its agreement with Indonesian state-owned terminal operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia III.
This Singaporean full-service firm has an expanding regional presence in Southeast Asia, dedicated to complex cross-border deals across the region. “Rajah & Tann’s superior position in Singapore and the broader South East Asian region is obvious and well deserved,” a client says. “The firm has a broad depth of talent, in various ranks, practice areas and jurisdictions.”
Rajah & Tann has associate firms in Indonesia and Malaysia with Assegaf Hamzah & Partners, and Christopher & Lee Ong respectively. They have in recent times formed several alliances, in Cambodia they lined up with Sok & Heng and in Vietnam with LCT Lawyers. Towards the end of March in 2013, the firm has launched Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar in Yangon, in addition to their existing Singapore, Bangkok, Laos and Shanghai offices. The firm is best known for its strong disputes and project finance practices.
The firm recently gained an extra boost with the addition of former Allens Singapore managing partner Marae Ciantar. Ciantar has joined Rajah & Tann as head of its energy and resources practice.
Partners Soh Lip San, Ng Kim Beng, Sim Chee Siong have robust reputations in the projects and energy areas. “Lip San is an outstanding lawyer and a trusted advisor,” says a client in the infrastructure sector. “He is a safe pair of hands whose counsel is sought often and valued by both our in house lawyers and executives alike.” A client in the investment business says: “A lawyer of the top order, one whose dedication to his work and his clients is exemplary.” Another client adds: “Both Lip San and Shannon demonstrate an excellent ability to understand the complexities associated with our particular business operations.” Shannon Yu Inn Tan is a partner covering international arbitration and construction matters.
Ng Kim Beng last year represented Kajima Corporation on several disputes matters pertaining to a range of construction projects. The significant factor lies in the MBFC and SGH disputes, which are estimated at $31 million and $5.1 million respectively. In M&A, partner Goh Kian Hwee and his team acted for United Engineers in the all-cash mandatory offers for shares and convertible bonds of WBL Corporation. On the financing side, partner Angela Lim has been working on an oil and natural resources related deal, whilst partner Terence Choo acted for a group of global and regional banks in the refinancing of Senoko Energy’s existing indebtedness, of which the deal is valued over $2 billion. Shemane Chan is a heavyweight in the energy and projects practice. She is currently working on several large project development matters in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
WongPartnership is one of Singapore’s most outstanding local law firms. It excels in practically every practice it provides. It comes as no surprise that its energy and infrastructure practices is of high quality. “WongPartnership is a firm which could provide very efficient legal support on cross border basis. I feel very comfortable working with them,” says a client from a large-scale power and infrastructure company.
The firm has presences in Beijing, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and in Malaysia through associate local firm Foong & Partners. WongPartnership has worked heavily on power, social infrastructure, transport, water and utilities projects. Christopher Chuah and Peng Cheng Tay are head and deputy head of the infrastructure, construction and engineering practice respectively. Tay is also head of PPP (public-private partnership) projects and integrated developments and is said to have “good knowledge of the industry and provides innovative solutions” by a long-time energy client. They are both joined by partners Ian De Vaz and Linda Low in the team.
Chuah is leading counsel in numerous landmark cases on construction law and arbitration disputes in both Singapore and the PRC. Tay is involved with the litigation and arbitration group and focuses on construction and engineering projects as well as civil and commercial, and property disputes. De Vaz handles contentious project and energy work, which includes PPP projects for social infrastructure and the development of large power infrastructure complexes. Low’s front-end work includes revision and advisory of construction contracts and project documents whether of offshore facilities and operations or infrastructure projects. She is also involved in construction-related and commercial disputes.
In an ongoing disputes matter pending in the High Court of Singapore, the team has acted for Boustead Singapore in relation to its operations in Libya. Civil unrest halted Boustead’s operations and forced the company to exit their project site in the country. Boustead is seeking a declaration of non-liability under its Facility Agreement. WongPartnership is handling the case which contractual and/or security documents are governed by English, Singapore and Libyan law.
A few significant deals on the corporate side, WongPartnership has advised Temasek in setting up an investment firm, Pavilion Energy, which focuses on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The team is also representing Asia New Energy regarding the voluntary conditional cash offer for acquiring all issued and paid-up ordinary shares in the capital of Asia Power Corporation.
On the financing side, the firm has acted for Standard Chartered Bank in the around $35.8 million project financing deal for wastewater treatment plans in the PRC. Project development has been an active area for the firm. In 2013, WongPartnership represented Changi Airport Group (Singapore) in the Project Jewel matter, a major infrastructure development for the Changi Airport as it involves the development, construction, lease and management of this mixed-use complex alongside its development of Terminal 4 and 5, and an additional runway. Another highlight deal is the near $1.6 billion cable tunnel project for the Singapore Power Group, which is a leading energy utility company in the Asia-Pacific. The firm has also acted for the Ministry of Health in Singapore on separate occasions in connection with the development of several hospitals and a laboratory.
Allen & Gledhill maintains a top position across a broad range of practice areas, continuing to garner praise from peers and clients. "One of the premier firms for corporate work" and "very good value", a client says.
The firm announced management changes in July 2012, which saw long-standing managing partner Lucien Wong step down from the position in August. Corporate partner Lee Kim Shin took over the position, while Wong has assumed the role of chairman and senior partner.
Wong has long been recognised as an outstanding banking and M&A lawyer, while Lee is also a highly respected corporate partner. "Kim Shin is, in my opinion, one of, if not the best, corporate M&A lawyers practising in Singapore today," says a client.
The firm's recent highlight M&A transactions include acting for Fraser and Neave and Asia Pacific Breweries on F&N's $4.5 billion disposal of its interests in APB and other assets to Heineken, and Heineken's subsequent $2 billion bid for APB, which delisted in February 2013.
M&A co-heads Andrew Lim and Lim Mei – regarded as "go to" persons for complex transactions, according to a client – led the team acting for F&N, while Chris Koh advised APB. Koh has also advised APB on its establishment of a joint venture with Alliance Brewery Company in Myanmar, which is planning on investing $60 million to build a new brewery in the country. The firm is making inroads into the frontier jurisdiction, with Minn Naing Oo joining as partner in June 2013 to lead and develop the firm's Myanmar practice.
Other regional highlights include acting for Melati Asia Holdings (owned by the Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund and CVC Capital Partners Asia III-managed funds) on its acquisition of the KFC and QSR Brands in Malaysia; Thailand's PTT Mining on its $960 million general offer for Sakari Resources and China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) on its $229 million acquisition of Beilun (Hong Kong) Investments. A&G is not only "strong in Singapore but also has an excellent network throughout Asia", says a client.
Banking partner Kok Chee Wai acted for DBS Bank and UOB on a $7.5 billion jumbo loan backing TCC's takeover of F&N. Kok 's expertise extends to project financing, and in 2012 advised SP PowerAssets on up to $1.29 billion financing for two cross-island tunnels to house electricity transmission cables in Singapore. The banking team, featuring key partners Kok and Mark Hudspeth, is "well-equipped to handle novel structures and offer innovative, yet practical, solutions," says a client.
The firm was mandated on several major listings. In 2013, it acted for Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust on its $1.33 billion's IPO on the Singapore Exchange. MGCCT owns a significant property portfolio spanning Hong Kong and China. In 2012, the firm advised IHH Healthcare on its $1.6 billion dual listing on the Malaysian and Singapore stock exchanges.
The firm also has a broad client base in debt capital markets work, advising corporates, trusts and financial institutions on bond offerings, medium term note programmes and other issuance. Edwin Tong, Andrew Chan and Andrew Yeo all draw praise from a client for their "professionalism and in-depth knowledge of insolvency law". The firm acted for the secured bank creditors on the high profile cross-border restructuring of Indonesia's Berlian Laju Tanker.
In a significant boost for its dispute resolution team, the firm hired five arbitration partners from Rajah & Tann in May – R&T former head of international arbitration Chong Yee Leong, Chong Boon Leong, Kamilah Kasim, Allen Choong and Chua Kee Loon.
The firm is appreciated for its depth and consistency of service, as well as its size. "Their lawyers are technically sound and this is displayed throughout the ranks from senior partner to associate level," says a client.
The practice is headed by finance partner Leon Low, previously of Shook Lin & Bok, and litigation partner Mark Tan, who joined from Rajah & Tann. It positions itself as a specialist financing firm and as an alternative to the larger Singapore firms and has built up an appreciative client base.
"The firm is well reputed for advising on shipping related matters and our experience was in line with that – their broad exposure on many shipping deals provides clear synergies," says a client.
Low has "strong trade finance knowledge" and "gives sound legal and commercial advice," says another client.
Peter Chean, Jin Ng and Jonathan Tan are partners in the firm's asset finance practice. Chean and Tan are praised for their responsiveness: "I find that they are good at answering questions and respond well to questions from people with different amounts of legal knowledge," says a client.
"The level of service from Asia Practice was excellent – advice provided was very relevant and specific to the area of financing (shipping) and Peter highlighted the pertinent legal and commercial issues the bank had to pay attention to as well as how these issues are customarily dealt with," says another client.
Recent key major deals include acting for JPMorgan Chase Bank on a $300 million facility covering standby letters of credit and import letters of credit to Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina, and acting for a club of nine banks led by ING and Société Générale on a security package for an uncommitted secured borrowing base of up to $500 million to the Trafigura Group.
Chien Herr Lee, previously of Watson, Farley & Williams, joined the firm as a banking and finance partner in July 2013.
The firm features country-focused practice groups, including an India practice group headed by Ng and featuring Pradeep K Singh as deputy head, and a Greater China practice group and Japan focus group headed by corporate finance co-head Tan Min-Li. Tan is "very detailed and professional", says a client.
In late 2012 and early 2013, partners Ong Wei Jin and Richard Tan left to join Harry Elias Partnership and RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, respectively. However, 2012 also saw Gerald Yee of Ince & Co's Shanghai representative office and Harry Elias Partnership's Douglas Koh join the firm. In June 2013, former member of parliament Ravindran Ramasamy joined as partner in its dispute resolution and corporate advisory practice.
In a highlight Myanmar transaction, the firm acted for Alliance Brewery Company in its joint venture with Asia Pacific Breweries, a subsidiary of Heineken, to build and operate a brewery in Myanmar. Heineken will have a controlling 57% stake in the joint venture, which plans to invest $60 million in the brewery. Heineken will also be responsible for management, providing brewing and technical expertise, procurement of ingredients and the brand licensing.
Partner Bill Jamieson is recognised for his expertise in investment funds work, recently representing Ocean Dial Investment Singapore on its acquisition of Ocean Dial Group (ODG) from Caledonia Investments. ODG's subsidiary manages two India focused investment funds and owns a Mumbai-based research business.
In the capital markets space, partners Beh and Gregory Chan recently acted for MacarthurCook Property Securities Fund, which has a primary listing on the Australian stock exchange and a secondary listing on the Singapore exchange, in relation to a non-renounceable rights issue.
In May 2013, Singapore's former deputy Prime Minister Shunmugam Jayakumar joined the firm as a consultant, to spearhead the firm's practices in international law, international trade and constitutional law. The firm's corporate and finance team was bolstered in February by the addition of former Allen & Gledhill and Straits Law Practice partner Steven Lo.
Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek co-head the firm's corporate restructuring and workout practice group. Clients say Nair is "an extraordinarily intelligent, creative and hard-working lawyer," Kwek's "ability to blend legal and commercial consideration together is greatly appreciated".
Nair led a team including Kwek on the firm's work for the worldwide debt restructuring for Indonesia shipping company Berlian Laju Tanker, with total debt estimated to be over $2 billion. The matter has involved court applications in Indonesia, Singapore and the United States, and a debt composition proposal was approved by the Indonesian courts and a majority of its creditors in March 2013
Kwek headed a team advising CVC Capital Partners on a restructuring of its investment in Matahari Department Stores, a leading department store chain listed on the Jakarta stock exchange. "Julian has the unique ability to look at a situation beyond legalities and advise us on the commercial implications and impact," says a client.
In a highlight M&A deal, the firm acted for a consortium led by Overseas Union Enterprise on a S$13.1 billion ($10 billion) bid for Singapore conglomerate Fraser & Neave. M&A co-heads Gary Pryke and Ralph Lim led the team's work on the matter.
The firm's banking team was also mandated by OUE on the jumbo financing backing the bid, showcasing the reach of the firm's trusted expertise. Whilst the OUE bid was not successful, the ensuing takeover has emerged as one of Southeast Asia's largest to date.
Sin Boon Ann, deputy managing director of the corporate and finance department and co-head of the capital markets practice, is praised by a client for being "a very strong corporate finance lawyer in all categories".
Whilst Singapore's equity capital markets have been patchy and dominated by trust offerings, one recent major corporate finance highlight for the firm's team was Hutchison Whampoa Europe Finance (12)'s listing on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading of a total of €2 billion of guaranteed notes for refinancing purposes. Director Farhana Siddiqui led the work on the deal, which involved acting as Singapore counsel and listing agent for the issuer.
"Drew & Napier consistently provides first-rate legal services on complex international matters," says a client. "Overall, Drew & Napier have a very good name and they have managed to retain it through their group of highly skilled lawyers," says another client.
Senior partner and leading lawyer Adrian Chan heads the firm's corporate group. Chan has particular expertise in corporate governance, and sits on the Corporate Governance and Regulations Committee of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.
Chan's key recent M&A matters include acting for Chinese gold-mining operator Gold Impact on its S$160 million ($126 million) reverse takeover of Singapore-listed Europtronic Group, and representing Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings in its $81 million acquisition of a majority stake in Meeyahta International Hotel, which holds the economic rights to a development project in downtown Yangon.
"Adrian is knowledgeable and very conversant with securities laws and regulations. He is lucid and concise in communicating his advice and prepared to take positions that are commercial in approach," says a client.
Louise Tan heads the firm's banking team, which handles a range of work, including structured financing, equipment purchase financing and export credit financing. In one key recent highlight, Tan acted for the Government of Singapore in a sovereign guarantee of up to $3.9 billion in relation to the payment of moneys owing by Clifford Capital relating to, among other things, debt instruments for the project financing of cross-border projects.
This heavyweight full-service Singapore firm – the largest by number of lawyers – is highly regarded across a range of practices and has been expanding its significant reach across the region.
In March 2013, it launched an office in Myanmar – Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar – an integrated firm with local firm NK Legal. In July, its alliance with new Malaysian firm Christopher & Lee Ong – the result of a three-way merger between Christopher Lee & Co, Lee Ong & Kandiah and Kamilah & Chong – was announced.
The R&T network of offices now also includes China, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia through regional offices and associated firms. It also announced a tie-up with Indonesian firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners in May 2013.
The firm is recognised for its outstanding restructuring and insolvency team. Managing partner of the firm, senior counsel Lee Eng Beng, keeps an active commercial litigation and arbitration practice and is regarded as an authority in the area. "Mr Lee is always two or three steps ahead of his opponents," says a client.
Kwan Kiat Sim heads the sizeable department, which also features key partner Patrick Ang. The firm has been acting for the liquidators of MF Global Singapore, part of the worldwide insolvency of the MF Global group, and involving the recovery of customers' proprietary funds of over $400 million and complex court proceedings spanning Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.
Other highlight matters include the firm's work for the liquidators of various Lehman Brothers entities; its role as Singapore counsel to lenders in the global restructuring of Danish shipping group Torm and its Singapore subsidiary; work for various bondholders of Berlian Laju Tanker; and for the creditors in the restructuring of companies in the Drydocks World group.
A key highlight for the team's M&A practice was its work acting for OCBC Bank and its insurance arm, Great Eastern Holdings, in the high profile S$3.8 billion ($2.9 billion) sale by the group and the Lee family of their minority stakes in Fraser and Neave and Asia Pacific Breweries to TCC Assets, an affiliate of Singapore-listed Thai Beverage. Senior partner Kian Hwee Goh and partner Serene Yeo led the team on the deal. Other major recent deals include its work for Gallant Venture on its takeover of IDX-listed Indomobil Sukses Internasional and acting for United Engineers on its mandatory offers for shares and convertible bonds of WBL Corporation.
Kim Huat Chia, who heads the firm's corporate and capital markets practice, is valued for being a rare lawyer bi-lingual in English & Chinese. "He has advised us on several China related cases (insolvency matters) and he has never failed us to-date," says a client.
The firm's capital markets work has featured a range of innovative landmark deals. In 2012, it acted for Religare Health Trust Trustee Manager and sponsor Fortis Healthcare on the listing of the Religare Health Trust on the main board of the Singapore exchange – a S$511 million offering which was notable for involving the first business trust comprising India healthcare assets, and the largest involving Indian assets – on the SGX-ST.
In the corporate finance space, the firm acted for the issue and GuocoLand as guarantor on a S$3 billion multicurrency medium term note and perpetual securities programme which completed in March 2013. Lead partner on the deal Angela Lim is a "true-blue" banking lawyer, says a peer.
In a region, which has featured strong bank liquidity, the firm's banking team acted for Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust on a syndicated loan of HK$12.15 billion ($1.5 billion) provided to finance its acquisition of a major retail mall in Hong Kong and Grade A office building in Beijing, China. The financing was timed concurrently with the trust's IPO, the largest real estate investment trust (REIT) IPO in Singapore to date.
Recent additions include corporate partner Mark Tan, who specialises in competition law and joined in May 2012 from Allen & Gledhill and Mariko Nakagawa, a key contact for the firm's Japan desk, who joined from Rajah & Tann in July 2013. Prior to that, the firm added three senior partners – Nicholas Chong, Ng Eng Leng and Chan Wan Hong – to its corporate finance practice in late 2011.
The firm recently added three partners to its already sizeable real estate practice – Joseph Chun and Gazalle Mok, both from Shook Lin & Bok in 2013 – and Ho Soo Lih from Colin Ng & Partners in 2012. With the recent hires, "R&D may have more lawyers doing banking work due to [its] involvement in real estate," says a peer.
Ng is acting for Parkway HK Holdings, a subsidiary of Malaysia-based IHH Healthcare, in its joint venture with a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed NWS Holdings, for the development, construction, management and operation of a hospital in Hong Kong with a total estimated project cost of HK$5 billion ($644 million).
Chong's capital markets work, in a year that featured some challenging market conditions, include acting for HSBC Institutional Trust Services as trustee of Dynasty REIT in its proposed $805 million equivalent listing in 2012. The deal did not proceed, but could have marked the largest Singapore IPO of the year.
Highlighting the diversity of the firm's client base, finance partner Lee Ho Wah acted for China Development Bank and Bank of China on a S$751 million ($592 million) syndicated loan which refinances existing debt under the China Minmetals Corporation group of companies. The firm also acted for Far East Hospitality Real Estate Trust on the unsecured facilities totalling S$725 million it obtained from DBS Bank, HSBC and OCBC.
M&A partner Valerie Ong is representing GMR Coal Resources on the high profile reverse takeover announced by United Fiber System, involving the around $1.82 billion acquisition of 97% of IDX-listed company Golden Energy Mines from Dian Swastatika Sentosa and GMR Coal Resources.
Part of a sizeable litigation and arbitration practice with particular focuses on construction, aviation, banking and finance and intellectual property partner Lawrence Teh is recognised for his restructuring and insolvency work, including particular expertise in the maritime sector.
Despite the departure of several corporate partners in the last few years, the firm retains key partners singled out by clients for praise.
Banking and finance partner Liew Kai Zee "is accessible, responsive and quick in providing advice. He is balanced in his views, sharp and mindful of the negotiation dynamics, definitely someone we can trust to get the work done," says one client.
Liew and Stanley Lim recently acted as Singapore counsel for various offshore clients, including Swedish chemicals company Perstorp Group and NXP Semiconductors on multi-jurisdictional financing and security matters. Marilyn See and Prakash Raja Segaran acted as Singapore counsel for Citicorp International as agent and trustee for the lenders and noteholders on refinancing of an existing facility to Global AT&T Electronics by way of $125 million in credit facilities and $625 million in high yield senior secured notes.
Partner Pok Eu Jin, whose practice spans banking and debt capital markets work, is praised by a client for his "very quick delivery" and "superb" understanding and approachability.
The firm has acted on several recent notable bond issuances. Pok acted for the Bank of New York Mellon in connection with Standard Chartered Bank's issue of a $163 million equivalent, inaugural offshore yuan-denominated bonds, listed in Singapore in May 2013. See acted as Singapore listing agent for Mongolian Mining Corporation in the listing of $600 million 8.875% guaranteed senior notes due 2017 on the Singapore exchange.
The firm acted for the independent financial advisers of parties involved some the region's major M&A deals. Partner David Chong acted for JPMorgan as adviser to Fraser and Neave, while Michelle Phang and Ho Ying Ming acted for UBS as adviser to Asia Pacific Breweries in relation to Heineken's offer for APB.
In one of the first deals materialising out of Myanmar since sanctions were lifted in early 2013, Chong acted for Ogilvy & Mather in the acquisition of shares in Today Advertising, a leading Myanmar advertising agency.
Although peers express concerns about the depth of the firm's M&A team, its partners garner client praise. Corporate partner Wong Gang, who has an active China practice, is "very professional, very accessible and is able to offer various perspectives which demonstrates his in-depth knowledge and understanding of law," says a client. Ho "is a rare find in the industry – an excellent balance of hardcore legal expertise and commercial sensibility," says another client. "He gets what we need as clients, and delivers it in a approachable package".
Senior counsel Sarjit Singh Gill heads the firm's restructuring and insolvency practice. Gill has extensive experience across a broad range of litigation and arbitration matters, and is appreciated for being "very accessible", He "has a straightforward style and gives well thought out advice," says a client.
In the restructuring and insolvency space, Gill led the team that advised the co-ordinating bank group on the Singapore law aspects of the proposed restructuring of Drydocks World, the ship-repair unit of Dubai World. The team has also advised HSBC and DBS Bank on Singapore law aspects of the proposed restructuring of Danish company Torm Shipping; in both cases, instructed by its previous joint law venture partner, Allen & Overy.
The corporate department was bolstered in 2013 with the addition of three new partners. In May, Daniel Yong and Lim Sin Teck joined from the then-Norton Rose and White & Case, respectively. In March, Lo Kim Seng joined the firm from joint law venture Duane Morris & Selvam.
In a significant move within the context of its expansion plans, in June 2013 the firm took on a team of lawyers, including two founding members, of construction, infrastructure and projects specialist firm, INCA Law, which has since ceased its operations, absorbed by the firm. Lynette Chew and Kelvin Aw joined the firm as directors, forming a construction-focused practice tying in with Richard Tan's highly regarded practice.
The firm's corporate team, headed by leading lawyer and senior director Lee Suet-Fern and featuring key partners Yap Lian Seng, Yap Wai Ming and Lean Min-tze, continues to draw accolades. "Stamford Law is one of the key players in terms of corporate law in Singapore," says a client.
The firm "advises on both local and international deals," says another client. "While its cost structure is competitive with other local law firms it can also hold its own on international deals with [international] firms, "the client says.
In a high profile saga noted not only for its landmark size but potential precedents set for future takeovers, Stamford acted for Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave on the sale of its interest in Asia Pacific Breweries to Heineken, and F&N's position as the target of a complex takeover battle.
Lean acted as lead partner on F&N's S$5.59 billion ($4.49 billion) sale of an around 40% interest in Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) to Heineken International, which was completed in November 2012 after a bidding war between Heineken and an entity related to Singapore-listed Thai Beverage Public Company (ThaiBev).
Yap and Lean led the Stamford team that acted for F&N, which was subject to competing bids by TCC Assets, an entity affiliated with ThaiBev, and OUE Baytown, which emerged as a competing bidder. The deal, which involved a break fee paid by OUE to F&N, is noted as potentially setting a precedent on the ability of target companies to seek a better offers. In addition, it involved a rare open auction process called by the Securities Industry Council Singapore and complex arrangements with Kirin, which was a shareholder of F&N. Stamford is "very conversant with the takeover code and its practical implications," says a client
Ng Joo Khin heads the firm's capital markets and corporate finance practice, which also features key partner Bernard Lui. The team acted on four IPOs in Singapore in 2012, in each case for the issuer – Indonesia's Bumitama Agri and Geo Energy Resources, Australia-based Civmec and pawnbroker Maxi-Cash Financial Services Corporation.
Lui has been a client favourite. "Very commercially savvy and one of the key advisers that I strategise early with," says a client. "Bernard possesses a rare commercial acumen, which, combined with his strong technical knowledge, is a potent combination. He is one of my key "go to" guys in non-vanilla situations where I require strong intellectual input and creative problem solving," says another client.
The firm's banking department saw the departures of partner Susan Kong and director Marilyn Goh, in December 2012 for QED. Law Corporation. Dual-qualified partner Yap Wai Ming, whose main areas of practice span project finance, equity and debt capital markets, is a client favourite. "Wai Ming is a great Singapore lawyer – dextrous, intelligent and easy going," says one client.
The firm's joint managing directors are Stefanie Thio, who heads the corporate department, and Shen Yi Thio, head of the firm's litigation and arbitration practice. "I find TSMP, in particular Stefanie and Shen Yi Thio, to be very responsive and commercial. They are efficient and knowledgeable," says a client. Stefanie "understands the legal issues and commercial context and provides tailored advice," says another client.
Stefanie Thio led the firm's work for Credit Suisse (Singapore) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the joint financial advisers to Overseas Union Enterprise in its jumbo bid for Fraser and Neave, as well as for Credit Suisse (Singapore) and Citigroup Global Markets Singapore as joint financial advisers to Heineken on its takeover of Asia Pacific Breweries.
Dayne Ho – who a client praises as "an excellent negotiator" – is a director of the firm's corporate department who was recently appointed co-head of the firm's equity practice and leads the firm's growing funds practice. In a recent highlight, Ho led the team acting as issuer's counsel on the listing of Halcyon Agri Corporation of the Catalist Board in Singapore.
Stefanie Thio and Ho are acting on a range of cross-border M&A deals for Singapore and offshore clients, involving acquisitions and investments in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Myanmar.
Senior executive director Tan Bee Lian, who heads the real estate and development practice, is appreciated for her "strong knowledge, integrity and responsiveness". Tan recently acted for Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation on the grant of $116 million in project development facilities for the "Jade Towers" condominium development.
Banking and finance head Jennifer Chia recently represented US-headquartered technology-based industrial growth company OM Group on a syndicated financing including a $200 million revolving credit facility and $450 million in term loans.
In the capital markets space, TSMP is Singapore counsel to the joint global co-ordinators in Overseas Union Enterprise's proposed hospitality REIT/business trust stapled security listing on the main board of the Singapore exchange, and Singapore counsel and listing agent for Goodman Australia's €5 billion medium term loan programme listed on the SGX-ST.
The firm's well-regarded restructuring and insolvency practice is headed by Ashok Kumar, who joined from Stamford Law in 2011. "Ashok is technically very good in restructuring work. He is always a valuable partner and adviser to my team," says a client.
Together with executive director Collin Seah, Kumar is advising Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co, a secured creditor and the largest bilateral lender, in the restructuring of Berlian Laju Tanker's $2 billion-plus debt. Kumar's work also includes: advising FTI Consulting as the receiver and manager of GSF Capital, acting for the principal shareholders of Hong Kong-listed Titan Petrochemical Group, advising liquidators Borrelli Walsh, of Dovechem Holdings (which owns subsidiaries in China, Indonesia and Singapore), acting for the liquidator of Dongfang Shipbuilding (Group) Company, and representing a majority creditor in the liquidation of Humpuss Sea Transport, a subsidiary of an Indonesian listed company.
"A law firm is only as good as its lawyers. TSMP is fortunate to have many good lawyers whom I have worked with and they are worth every invoice rendered," says a client.
In an increasingly competitive Singapore legal market, WongPartnership continues to draw praise from clients for its capability on complex, large-scale deals.
"WongPartnership is strong across the board and is very well connected internationally," says a client. "The partners and associates seem to fit well together – meaning that you get a whole team rather than having to rely on one individual," says another client.
The firm's corporate practice is a well-established strength. Its M&A lawyers are "competent and experienced, always mentioned in the same breath as Allen & Gledhill", says a client.
Head of the corporate group Ng Wai King took up the role of joint managing partner of the firm in April 2013, with previous sole managing partner and leading capital markets specialist Rachel Eng becoming joint managing partner along with Ng.
In the landmark contested M&A battle for Fraser and Neave, which involved many of Singapore's top financial and corporate firms, the firm had a key role, acted for Singapore-listed Thai Beverage Public Company (ThaiBev) and other parties, on several aspects of the complex deal, which emerged as Singapore's largest to date. The firm acted for ThaiBev on the acquisition of its initial S$2.8 billion ($2.2 billion) 22% stake in F&N; Kindest Place Group (KPG) its S$1 billion acquisition of a more than 8% stake in Asia Pacific Breweries; KPG in the S$1.2 billion acquisition by Heineken International of KPG's shares in APB; and TCC Assets on its mandatory general offer for F&N. ThaiBev and TCC Assets are controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, while KPG is a company owned by the son-in-law of Charoen. The acquisition of ThaiBev's initial 22% stake was made in July 2012 and the takeover was completed, after a protracted battle with OUE Baytown, in February 2013.
Five corporate partners – Ng, Andrew Ang, Annabelle Yip, Audrey Chng and Hsiao-Huey Teo – acted on the ThaiBev/TCC matters, along with competition and regulatory partner Ameera Ashraf.
Clients appreciate Ng and Ang's standout technical skills. Ng "is able to articulate difficult legal and technical issues in simple and easy to understand language", and Ang is "deeply grounded in securities laws and regulations and renders advice based on a commercial approach to mitigating legal risks", a client says.
The banking and finance practice, headed by Susan Wong, acted for TCC Assets on the multi-billion dollar financing backing its offer for F&N, as well as Kindest Place Groups, for the financing for its acquisition of shares in Asia Pacific Breweries. The group also acted for the syndicate of lenders, which provided property acquisition financing to Ascendas Hospitality Trust, which listed on the Singapore exchange in July 2012, and represented Cargill on the $1.25 billion refinancing it obtained from a syndicate of lenders in Asia.
In several highlight capital markets deals which also featured other top local and regional firms, WongPartnership acted for the joint global coordinators in Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust on its S$1.68 billion IPO, and as Singapore legal advisers to the joint global coordinators in the dual concurrent Singapore and Malaysia listings of IHH Healthcare. WongPartnership "were available 24/7 to see us through," says one client.
The firm's restructuring and insolvency practice features three joint heads – Chou Sean Yu, Manoj Pillay Sandrasegara and Mark Choy. Chou and Sandrasegara also practise in the firm's banking and financial disputes department, while Mark Choy is also part of the firm's corporate and M&A practice. A client says that Chou " admirably combines all the key traits a client looks for: approachability, responsiveness, resourcefulness and competence".
M&A head Chris Moore is praised for his "excellent technical skills". In addition, he is a "pragmatic deal lawyer who knows how to balance between keeping a transaction moving forward and holding the line when necessary," says one client.
Moore provided M&A advice to the lenders on the OUE/F&N bidco financing, which involved complex regulatory and commercial issues. Other key highlights include acting for Keppel Corporation's $250 million investment in Kris Energy, which involved assets in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, and on Tyco International's restructuring, which resulted in the separation of the group into three independent businesses. A&O's Singapore office led the Asia Pacific elements of the deal, involving 13 jurisdictions.
M&A head Keith McGuire led a team, which acted as lead international counsel for Aviva on the auction and sale of its 49% interest in two Malaysian entities – CIMB Aviva Assurance and CIMB Aviva Takaful – to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, which closed in April 2013.
The firm works closely on cross-border matters with associated Indonesia firm Oentoeng Suria & Partners, which in 2010 commenced its tie-up with the then Blake Dawson.
The complex, cross-border transaction involved a target group comprising more than 25 companies operating in over ten countries, requiring advice by lawyers in the corporate, oil and gas, construction, finance, litigation, capital markets and antitrust teams.
Corporate partner Simon Clinton leads the firm's corporate practice in Southeast Asia and heads the firm's sovereign wealth sector group. "Simon is a strong negotiator and provided good tactical advice," says one appreciative client. He was "very responsive despite his heavy workload", the client adds. Ng, who had carved out a reputation as a rising star, was promoted to partner in May 2013, while Sze-Shing Tan was promoted to counsel the same month.
Sheela Moorthy heads the corporate practice in Singapore, with a client base that includes Bregal Capital, Publicis Group Holdings and Mondelez International. Moorthy recently acted for Wipro on its $144 million purchase of LD Waxson's sales and manufacturing facilities in China and Malaysia, as well as marketing assets in China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
The firm's corporate department was bolstered in 2013 with the hires of Indonesia-focused special counsel Erwin Purba and Joywin Mathew, who joined as senior associate from White & Case.
Sweeney has been replaced by Michael Walter, the firm's Southeast Asia managing partner and previous global corporate head. Nicola Yeomans has stepped into the place of McDonald. Yeomans has a strong India client base, having acted for a number of clients on inbound M&A investment in Australia, Indonesia and Africa. In addition, TMT consultant Mark Robinson and investment funds specialist Stephen Newby relocated from London to Singapore.
The firm has captured work from a recent uptick in Malaysia M&A activity, including outbound deals, such as acting for Sime Darby on its $525 million joint venture with Ramsay Healthcare and Axiata on the merger of Hello Axiata and Latelz Company in Cambodia.
In Singapore, partner Simon Taskunas acted for Gemshine Investments on its S$519 million ($409 million) acquisition of Compass point mall in Sengkang, Singapore, which completed in November 2012.
Ex Allen & Overy partner Philip Lee has been building the firm's regional debt capital markets practice since joining the firm in early 2012.
Led by Sturrock, the team was bolstered in 2012 by the relocation of two partners from London. Rod Brown brings with him private equity expertise and English law capability, while Luke Grubb's experience includes advising on complex outsourcing, technology and licensing arrangements.
One highlight recent transaction involved acting for Vietnam's Masan Group on TPG Growth's $50 million investment in Hoa Muoi Gio Company. The investment follows TPG Growth's initial investment in 2009 and is its third investment in Vietnam.
A key recent highlight was the firm's work advising India's GMR Infrastructure on its sale a 70% stake in GMR Energy (Singapore) to a joint venture between First Pacific Company and Meralco PowerGen Corporation, on which Olier was the lead Singapore partner. The Singapore team represented Deutsche Bank, financial advisor to Kirin Holdings, which entered into complex contractual arrangements with a consortium that offered to acquire all of the shares in Singapore's Fraser and Neave. Since 2008, when it was awarded its QFLP (Qualifying Foreign Law Practice), the firm has had the ability to advise on Singapore law.