Singapore

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Law Society of Singapore

Competition authority: Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS)

Financial regulator: Monetary Authority of Singapore

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, M&A, Project finance, Project DevelopmentRestructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

As one of the world’s financial centres, Singapore is home to some of the most business-friendly regulations in the world and is ranked at the top of the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. Its strong government is ranked fifth in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index and the city-state has enjoyed a triple-A rated economy for years. 

Despite some restrictions, the legal market is open to foreign players. Since 2008, global law firms have been able to apply for Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licences (QFLPs) and can employ Singapore admitted lawyers to practice Singapore law in corporate and commercial areas. This development initially allowed six international law firms to practice in the country. 

Four among the six were UK based firms, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright, largely because the legal system in Singapore is rooted in English law and the country has strong ties with the UK as a commonwealth country.

Other law firms that followed suit included Linklaters, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Sidley Austin, Jones Day, DLA Piper, Ashurst and Berwin Leighton Paisner. Others like US firm Morgan Lewis adopted strategies such as joint law ventures and foreign law alliances. It soon merged with local outfit Stamford Law Corporation to form Morgan Lewis Stamford.

The overcrowded legal market has traditionally also included the four largest domestic firms: Allen & Gledhill, Drew & Napier, Rajah & Tann and WongPartnership, as well as other key local players such as Colin Ng & Partners, Shook Lin & Bok and TSMP Law Corporation. 

The market is very competitive not only among the major international law firms opening offices in the city-state, but among the ‘Big Four’ domestic law firms that are expanding across the region and competing with each other and western law firms for new clients in emerging markets.

To further consolidate its position as a legal hub in the region, the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) and Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) both opened in 2014 to expand the range of dispute resolution services available and attract more high-value disputes.

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
Allen & Gledhill

Being one of the “big four” Singapore domestic law firms, Allen & Gledhill is active both in Singapore and beyond. The firm has a Malaysian associated firm and a Myanmar office and also works in the Indonesian and Vietnamese markets. The firm is also expanding its offering by setting up two new practice groups – fintech and public policy to meet increasing demands.

Banking and finance is the firm’s flagship practice. Its advice covers Islamic, structured and acquisition finance. It is the go-to firm for the major local Singaporean banks, DBS in particular.

On the equity capital market side, highlight deals include acting for BOC Aviation on its Hong Kong IPO. The firm is strong in the REITs space where it advised DBS, Goldman Sachs and HSBC on the $723 million equity fund raising by Mapletree Commercial Trust. On the debt side, the firm was involved in bond deals such as acting for Astrea III in its $510 million asset-backed bond issue.

As to M&A, the firm has been advising on the sell side in the logistics, healthcare and consumer sectors during the research period, clients include KKR and Blackstone. Landmark transactions includes advising Singtel on its purchase of a 21% stake in Intouch Holdings and a 7.39% stake in Bharti Telecom.

In the project development area, the number of local Singaporean projects are limited but the firm is active on the key projects such as the TuasOne waste-to-energy plant, the SMRT Buses and SBST Transit agreements.

Lastly on the restructuring and insolvency side, the firm was involved in Swiber’s restructuring process representing the sukuk holders; the team also acted for DNB Bank in the restructuring of EMAS Chiyoda Subsea. Allen & Gledhill also has a recognised shipping team handling relevant offshore maritime matters.

Key clients include Overse-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), DBS, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Bank of China, and Astro Group.

Client feedback

“Partners are available to speak round the clock and at odd hours, and as issuer counsel, they even oversee other law firms' work product and go beyond their scope of work so as to ensure that client/issuer is protected. Partners are deeply involved in day to day running and on top of issues and details - this is very rare in most other law firms as the work is delegated and largely run by senior associates or junior partners.” – M&A

“Highly conversant of the Singapore regulations and takes an active role in the development of the securities industry practices” – Capital markets

“We engaged the law firm for legal advice on debt capital markets transactions. Their key strengths are institutional knowledge, bench strength, accessibility and commercial understanding.” – Capital markets

Yeo Boon Kiat

“Very attentive and provides practical advice on energy matters.”

Chua Bor Jern

“Committed and hardworking. Responsive and is able to provide sound advice.”

Leonard Ching

“Leonard is technically astute, pragmatic and always accessible. I have no hesitation in recommending him.”

Rhys Goh

“He is dedicated and has deep knowledge of capital markets work.”

Jafe Ng

“Pays attention to details. Able to understand the bank's concerns, provides good legal advice and responsive.”

“Responsive, pays attention to details and provides good legal advice, able to react quickly.”

“Dedicated with a strong dose of knowledge and expertise.”

Lim Mei

“Very good, reliable and responsive.”

Tan Tze Gay 

“Very experienced and responsive to customer's requirements.”

Allen & Overy

The Singapore office is the South East Asia hub for Allen & Overy, the finance practice offers Singapore, English and Australian law advice. Banks form the firm’s key client base.

Highlights for the banking practice include advising Bank of Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Rakyat Indonesia as lenders on the acquisition of Newmont Nusa Tenggara; and acting for an international investment bank on a $500 million structured share backed loan secured over shares listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange.

In the capital markets, highlights include advising the underwriters on the Government of Malaysia’s Rule 144A $1billion 10-year sukuk and $500 million 30-year sukuk; and acting for the underwriters on a $500 million rights issue by Noble Group.

High profile projects deals include acting as legal counsel to the sponsors – Vopak, Petronas, and Dialog Group, of a $2 billion deepwater oil terminal project in Malaysia. 

Staffing changes include the departure of restructuring and insolvency partner Kayal Sachi.

Other key clients of the firm include ADB, OPIC, KEXIM, JBIC and Total.

Client feedback

“A&O has unsurpassed expertise in finance and banking law, responsive partners, and a deep bench of talented associates.” – Financial restructuring

“Well versed and very experienced. Price can be an issue.” – M&A

“Responsiveness, collaborative working relationship, relevant advise, advice involves commercial concerns and it is testimony to them that they understand their clients and can predict the next steps in any transaction.” – Project development

“Good market knowledge and able to assist in structuring especially for stapled financing.” – Islamic finance, Refinancing

“They are very knowledgeable and innovative in drafting and structuring. However, because they are very busy, the partners are not usually hands on and at times the delivery of work is delayed. Notwithstanding this, the senior associates are competent.” – Project finance, Islamic finance, Refinancing

Alun Evans

“Alun is responsive and quick, reassuring and very attentive. He is quick to bring relevant market information to the table.”

Brendan Hannigan

“Brendan is a very good M&A lawyer. He works hard and gets into the detail (more so than a lot of partners).”

Jason Humphreys

“Jason Humphreys is the dealmaker and can get people on and back to the table to not only close but create transactions. His industry experience across several markets is invaluable.”

“Very detailed advice. Able to provide solutions. Not easily contactable and at the higher end in terms of fees.”

“A competent lawyer and very knowledgeable.”

Barry Irwin

“Very high deal and country knowledge. Excellent service and communication.”

“Solid experience across a broad range of legal areas, will get the right people involved and resolve issues, sound legal and practical knowledge and recommendations.”

Chris Moore

“M&A partner is very hands on, very detailed. We had a transaction that involved 21 hour days for over a week. It was an epic performance and incredible endurance. He was backed up by a solid associate pool.”

Gautam Narasimhan

“Gautam is hard working, responsive, very knowledgeable, and has great commercial sense.”

John Richards

“Very technical and commercial at same time. Always delivers.”

Ashurst

Ashurst in Singapore is best known for its projects and project finance work and is focused on the energy and infrastructure sector. It also works on banking, M&A, restructuring and insolvency and capital markets work.

In the capital markets the firm has a team of specialist US qualified lawyers who advised a consortium of banks in relation to Indian clean energy company Greenko’s bond issue and also advised Studio City on its notes offering. As well as general capital markets work in Singapore and the surrounding region, it offered advice to DBS Bank on the drafting and negotiation of the bank’s template Schedule to the Global Master Securities Lending Agreement (GMSLA) for use with counterparty banks, with the resulting documentation policies expected to become the industry standard.

Ashurst provided examples of its energy-sector M&A work on a confidential basis, it can be said that it has been active on deals in Indonesia, Japan, Australia and a number of African countries. The team also worked on bancassurance deals.

In project development the firm is active in the energy, natural resources and transport sectors across numerous jurisdictions. Notable work includes advising MyHSR (Malaysia) and LTA (Singapore) on a PPP to create a strategic rail link and advising Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim on a powership development. The firm also advised Thailand’s national oil company, PTT Trading, on an oil-backed contract with Ecuador’s state-run oil company Petro Ecuador. In project finance a clear highlight saw the firm act on the financing of five Central Asia-China natural gas pipeline projects.

The restructuring and insolvency team has a dedicated bankruptcy capacity in Jakarta and in-house practices in South Asia, Beijing and a number of Australian cities.

The firm hired M&A partners Tracy Whiriskey and Simon Brown during the research period along with project finance partner Jon Ornolfsson.

Client feedback

Ashurst have excellent coverage of structured finance matters within South East Asia especially in Indonesia with Kate Allchurch heading up the team in that area. Ashurst also have very good expertise in the high yield bond space with Anna-Marie Slot providing the expertise.” – Banking and finance, Capital markets

“Have a reputation for being lean and efficient and reasonable with fees.” - Corporate

"Ashurst has a sizeable network in the region, lawyers in the network are dependable and responsive. In particular, partners at Ashurst are more hands-on as compared to other larger ‘magic circle’ outfits.” – Banking and finance

Kate Allchurch

“Very good technically and provides excellent commercial and practical advice. Great ability to navigate through complex issues and identify risks. She is always very hands-on in every transaction.”

“Kate is sharp and a very good lawyer, also commercial.”

Simon Brown

“Good technical legal and commercial skill set, practical.”

Jean Woo 

"Responsive, dependable and commercial - Jean clearly understands her clients' commercial requirements and is able to push the deal forward in the right direction. Jean's practice is more focused on trade and structured finance, and her expertise may at times be too specialised on general banking transactions.”

Asia Practice

Asia Practice specialises in a range of financing arrangements, with vessel finance and real estate finance as particular areas of focus. The firm is also active in work related to secondary debt trading and stored value facilities. Jonathan Tan—the firm’s managing director—takes a transactional lead in most of the firm’s banking matters.

Highlights in the research period include advising a syndicate in $110 million receivables purchase and trade facilities provided to significant bunker fuels traders and brokers; acting on the refinancing of a premium hotel in London’s Square Mile; and advising on the acquisition of an island in Maldives in relation to the construction of a luxury resort.

In 2016, Asia Practice ended its joint law venture (JLV) with Watson Farley & Williams after five years of collaboration.

Client feedback

“The firm is responsive to my requests and queries.  The partners have strength in project finance, structured trade finance and local regulatory matters.  The partners are strong technically and are able to provide sound and commercial legal advice to move matters forward.” – Project Finance

“The law firm provides prompt, efficient, value added legal services.  The lawyers, Jonathan Tan and Loh Zhi Jun, are knowledgeable and able to provide practical solutions for most of our day to day issues.” – Banking

“It’s reliable, efficient, with a good sense of pragmatism.” – Banking

“The firm understands clients’ commercial needs, and has an excellent work ethic. It puts customers’ needs first instead of just simply winning projects.” – Capital markets

Chien Herr Lee

“He is strong in vessel financing and structured trade finance.”

“He is reliable, quick, pragmatic, and bills fairly.”

“He is professional, has knowledge in this area, is willing to find a solution, and is focused on problems.”

Zhi Jun Loh

“Zhi Jun is reliable and dependable and responsible in daily work management.  He is also very approachable and down to earth.”

Leon Low

“Leon worked on a project financing deal for us. He is commercially minded and has sound legal knowledge.”

Jonathan Tan

“Jonathan has in-depth knowledge of the local regulatory environment and provides prompt and practical solutions for most of our day to day corporate banking needs. He is always friendly and approachable and always keen to help us.” 

 

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

The Singapore office of Baker McKenzie is primarily made up of Singapore nationals and qualified lawyers. The projects and infrastructure practice has acted for the most active sponsors in the South East Asia region, with a recent focus on Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Interesting cross border banking and finance mandates include advising the Export-Import Bank of China on a $1.55 billion financing of a coal power plant located at Port Qasim in Pakistan; and acting for the lead arrangers and the syndicated lenders in a $700 million syndicated term loan facility provided to the Sri Lanka Government. In the project space, the firm also advised the project company and sponsor in respect of the financing of a 400MW gas and fuel oil fired combined-cycle power station in Bangladesh.

The capital markets team in Singapore comprises US and UK qualified lawyers. Last year it advised as English legal counsel for Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust and Perpetual (Asia) on the trust’s debut $733.7 million multicurrency debt issuance programme.

Staffing changes include the departure of capital markets partner Jih-Shian Yeo.

Key clients include Keppel Infrastructure, DBS, Semcorp, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank,

Client feedback

“Top quality practice. High quality output, commercial and very responsive.” – Refinancing

“Overall satisfactory, professional and responsive work performance for a transaction structure with close to no precedent in the region. Some room for improvement in terms of oil and gas industry knowledge as it would have further streamlined the preparation of the legal documentation.” Project finance, refinancing

“Excellent in terms of practical and professional knowledge and expertise of each lawyer with easy access and friendliness.” - M&A

“The firm has an integrated service in Singapore and Indonesia, which is seldom seen in the market. The individual partner we are working with are highly specialised, accessible and commercially orientated. Very good working relationship.” – Project finance

Martin David

“Very reputable, knowledgeable and Client orientated lawyer with a very good industry knowledge and very commercially minded.”

Emmanuel Hadjidakis

“One of the strongest lender side counsels for Indonesian loans.”

Dawn Ho

“Responsive, accessible, hands-on, good communication”

Dawn Ho and James Huang

“These two lead partners were always available during the transaction. Dawn was particularly hands-on with excellent turn-around time. Strong capacity to engage effectively and get the messages across with the borrower.”

James Huang

“Professional and possesses a high level of competence in legal advisory”

Ai Ai Wong 

“Excellent in terms of practical and professional knowledge and expertise, as well as team leadership, with easy access and impressive friendliness.”

Bird & Bird ATMD

Bird & Bird ATMD is best known in Singapore for its capital markets, M&A and projects work.

The firm demonstrated both local and cross-jurisdictional capital markets capabilities, during the research period notably on work related to China and Hong Kong. High profile deals included Lantrovision’s delisting from the Singapore exchange and Anacle Systems’s proposed listing on the Growth Enterprise Market of the HKSE.

In M&A the firm acted on Dow Chemical Pacific’s proposed restructuring exercise and merger with E I du Pont de Nemours and Company. It also worked on THB Auto Electronics’s mandatory offer for Singapore-listed automotive electrical and electronics distribution system manufacturer China Auto Electronics. The firm has a particular depth of experience in the engineering and technology sector.

In project development the firm has been active in the energy sector and has represented all three regulators (Energy Market Authority, National Environment Agency, Building & Construction Authority). Other clients include Asia Green Capital, Baywa Solar, Enerfin and Juwi Renewable Energy. It also advised Tigris Water Fund on the financing and development of water treatment projects in China, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Client feedback

“Marcus Chow and his team have been highly responsive and incredibly helpful on our corporate matters since we commenced our relationship with the firm 2.5 years ago. Their advice has been solid, and we've always felt as though they're dependable and we're in good hands.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Marcus Chow

“Highly knowledgeable, responsive, strong eye for detail and with a pragmatic commercial perspective.”

“Responsive to client needs.”

Sandra Seah 

"Managing partner Sandra Seah is the main reason we work with Two Birds. She is well networked into the energy efficiency industry in Singapore. Structures agreements simply and concisely.”

BlackOak

BlackOak is a boutique firm dedicated to corporate restructuring and insolvency. It was founded in April 2016 by Ashok Kumar and Darius Tay who both left TSMP Law Corporation.

The firm undertook a broad spectrum of work during the research period showing depth in the shipping, energy and oil and gas sectors and also on the reorganisations of bonds. It is able to undertake work involving cross-jurisdictional situations and assisted with a number of novel situations under Singaporean law.

The firm counts PwC as a repeat client, assisting them in their capacity as provisional liquidators of Mongolian Mining and in their capacity as liquidators of Power Solar System. It has also been working with Glencore on the restructuring of Jurong Aromatics since mid-2015 and also worked with Swiber and Swiber Offshore Construction during a lengthy and ongoing process.

Client feedback

“BlackOak are independent and fearless in taking on institutions in Singapore others may baulk at. Ashok leads the team and has built the team up over the last 12 months. BlackOak are innovative and forward thinking in their approach to current issues such as litigation funding in Singapore.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Very knowledgeable about the insolvency and restructuring regime in Singapore. Responsive and deliver quality work in a timely manner. Constructive feedback available to clients based on different scenarios and able to recommend clients different courses of action." – Restructuring and insolvency

“BlackOak is the leading independent law firm for Singapore legal advice in Singapore.  Their partners provide common sense, realistic and commercial advice quickly and when it counts.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Ashok Kumar

“Ashok is commercially minded and is responsive to client needs. He needs to build the bench strength so he can be challenged internally on complex issues.”

“He can always step into the shoes of clients and propose feasible solutions, with consideration of costs, benefits and the clients' budget.”

Darius Tay 

“Passionate about the law, Darius's attention to detail and commercial mind sets him apart from his peers.”

Clifford Chance

Like many international law firms, Singapore is the hub for Clifford Chance for work in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The general sector focus of the Singapore office is in energy and natural resources, consumer goods, banking and insurance.

Clifford Chance has a dedicated regulatory and derivatives lawyers in its banking team which was busy with a high volume of acquisition financing in the past twelve months.

Headline deals last year include, acting as the sole advisor to KrisEnergy in relation to the restructuring of the company’s entire capital structure.

In a high profile cross-border energy and acquisition finance deal, Clifford Chance advised the consortium comprising Star Energy, AC Energy and Electricity Generating on its acquisition of Chevron’s geothermal assets in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Key clients include, ADB, Natixis, Macquarie Infrastructure, Credit Suisse, KKR and Nomura.

Client feedback

“Clifford Chance is one of the top two firms in Asia. We use them extensively across the region. They are unsurpassed in banking and finance law. They consistently deliver expert advice and execution with good value for money.” – Investment funds

“Clifford Chance's team on a recent complex structured loan transaction - Andrew Brereton, Thomas England and Yiting Xu - was one of the best legal teams I have worked with. They helped us navigate the complexities of the transaction, were highly responsive, produced excellent drafting and managed a diverse group of lenders very well.” – Financial restructuring

“Overall expectation is met for a firm such as Clifford Chance and the team I’ve worked with have a pro-business mind-set.” – Project development

“Excellent, one of the top go to firms in Singapore. Practical with an in-depth knowledge of issues in the market.” – M&A

“Clifford Chance's Singapore banking and finance team offers class-leading legal services and commitment to getting the deal done. They are always on top of complex issues and have creative solutions to get everyone across the deal line. The issue with this firm is that they are expensive and sometimes seem out of touch with what peer firms are offering in terms of pricing.” – Refinancing

“Clifford Chance has a very good M&A practice in Southeast Asia. The team has strong partners with significant experience as well as adequate bench strength.” – M&A

“They are very willing to go the extra mile to ensure that tight deadlines are met. Their drafting is good (as expected), they were very responsive throughout and the overall coordination of the transactions was handled very well.” – Asset finance

Andrew Brereton

“Andrew is excellent. One of the top banking and finance lawyers in the Singapore. Excellent legal know with a practical application.”

“Andrew Brereton is perhaps the best English-qualified banking and finance lawyer in Asia.”

Matthew Buchanan and Paul Sandosham

“I work with Matthew Buchanan and Paul Sandosham. The advice both partners provide is strategic, practical and considers the client’s business aspect when giving advice. They are very responsible too.”

Thomas England

“Thomas is a highly effective lawyer who is technically outstanding and commercially sound, and is able to command the respect of those at the deal table.”

Andrew Gambarini

“Very commercial and easy to work with. Sees the bigger picture to get the client across the line.”

Melissa Ng

“Melissa is very good. She is accessible, responsive and has broad knowledge of the issues that are often confronted in Southeast Asian M&A.”

Colin Ng & Partners

Colin Ng & Partners offers banking, capital markets, M&A and restructuring and insolvency services. It is a member of the networks Interlaw and International Referral.

The firm provides banking and finance services across a range of sectors though all work is confidential.

The capital markets team acted on listings, delistings and amendments to company documents with a particular focus on notes listings. It counts United Overseas Bank and Bank of New York Mellon as repeat clients.

In M&A the firm focuses on domestic work including advising New Horizon on the MBO of real estate consultancy DTZ Debenham Tie Leung and advising the founder of Expat Insurance regarding its sale to MSH International, a French insurance broker owned by Siaci Saint Honore.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice works closely with its other practice groups. During the research period the firm advised Technics Oil and Gas and its subsidiary Technics Offshore Engineering on their entry into judicial management.

Client feedback

“Highly professional and efficient.” – M&A

“Excellent understanding of commercial implications. Quick to respond and address concerns.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“CNP's strengths are the accessibility of its lawyers and the reasonableness of the fees.” – Capital markets

“CNP delivers high quality work for good value. Ken Chia and Joshua Khng were patient managing five different clients on the same file.” – M&A

"They are able to provide legal advice clearly and provide various options to consider. In the course of their work they have shown patience, accommodating the client's busy schedule and responsive in our many queries yet not yielding on legal principles." – M&A

Lisa Theng

“Excellent and reliable.”

Ken Chia

“Ken is very hands-on with the matters assigned and most importantly always approachable.” 

“Overall pleasant experience working with Ken who understood my needs and ensured that I was adequately protected legally.”

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson is active in banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, project finance and restructuring and insolvency. 

In banking and finance the firm advised China Huadian Engineering on the financing of its acquisition of a majority interest in a Vietnamese coal power project. Repeat clients included Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and DBS Bank.

In capital markets standout deals included advising Perpetual (Asia), trustee of Frasers Logistics & Industrial, on an IPO and on new revolving credit facilities.

In M&A the firm advised Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina (Persero) on its petrochemical refinery joint venture with Russian oil company Rosneft.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised Global Maritime and ex directors of Marine Contracting on the voluntary liquidation of Marine Contracting and related disputes; and advised OSEC Shipyard on an application for judicial management.

Client feedback

"The firm is staffed by competent partners, the majority of whom take a hands on approach - this provides clients with value for money. Having merged with Dentons, the Singapore team is now able to tap into a wider knowledge pool which has many benefits especially when doing a cross-border transaction.” - Regulatory

"Great team to work with and extremely knowledgeable. Easy to deal with for all matters." – M&A

“A firm with an international reputation and the depth of partners that we can utilise for transactions.” – M&A

Nicholas Chong

“An experienced practitioner who has broad knowledge of the market and is easy to deal with and understands our position.”

Lee Ho Wah

“Most of our work was done by Lee Ho Wah. Nothing escapes Ho Wah's eye - he identifies all the risks and issues involved, and worked with us and our clients towards a solution. He is definitely the lawyer that you want on your team.”

Junming Tong 

“Excellent communicator who is easy both to deal with and approachable for any subject matter. He has extensive knowledge in his practice area.”

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is active across all financial and corporate areas but is best known for its work in the capital markets.

In banking much of the firm’s work came from the financial sector and to a lesser extent the telecommunications sector. Its standout work for the year was advice given to Indonesian-listed MNC Sky Vision on a syndicated refinancing facility.

In the capital markets, highlight transactions for the year included work on Serba Dinamik’s IPO on the Bursa Malaysia and the restructuring of Trikomsel Oke’s senior fixed rate notes.

In M&A the firm picked up a number of matters in the TMT sector. Highlight deals include Qualcomm’s mobile communication and Internet of Things joint venture with TDK, and NTT Data’s acquisition of Dell’s IT business.

The firm demonstrated depth in project finance work in the renewable energy sector, with key transactions including advising Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) in relation to financing Sindicatum’s development of the Clark Solar Power Plant in the Philippines.

The firm also strengthened its restructuring and special situations team with the addition of partner Andrew Payne, who initially joined DLA Piper's Hong Kong office from Clearwater Capital Partners in December 2016 before moving to the firm's Singapore office in September 2017. 

Client feedback

“Highly professional, responsive and efficient.” – Capital markets

Myles Hankin 

“Quietly efficient highly respected professional.”

Drew & Napier

Drew & Napier is best known for its disputes and restructuring and insolvency capacity, debt restructuring, maritime restructuring and banking litigation in particular. The firm was busy with cross-border refinancing deals and project financing work last year. The firm has Indonesia and China desks.

High profile deals the firm worked on during research period include, advising PARD, a company listed on SGX and is part of the Pacific Andes group, on a $430 million debt restructuring as part of the global debt restructuring of the Pacific Andes group.

In the M&A space, the firm acted for Manhattan Resources in the company’s planned acquisition of Singxin Resources for $733.8 million and acted on Temasek and Belford Investment’s privatisation offer for SMRT, the second largest public transport company and the main rail operator in Singapore. In a Singapore-Indonesia deal, the team acted as lead transaction counsel to CVC Capital Partners in its acquisition of a 15% interest in Siloam International Hospitals from Siloam, Indonesia’s largest private national healthcare group.

The firm suffered some disruptive partner moves during the research period, the departure of M&A and capital markets veteran Sandy Foo to Rajah & Tann in particular. In addition, the capital markets group lost Su Jen Jen and Yap Siew Ling, while the M&A department lost Ralph Lim to OC Queen Street and Farhana Siddiqui to Withers.

Key clients include United Overseas Bank, DBS, Bank of China, CIMB, ING Bank, PwC, CVC Partners, OSIM International, China Mining International, Mitsui & Co and Raffles Venture Partner.

Client feedback

“D&N has been a very knowledgeable, professional and progressive law firm - so much so that we retain D&N not only for our corporate, legal and investment work but also highly recommend D&N to our network of businesses.” – Restructuring and insolvency, M&A

“Over the years, Drew & Napier has provided us with first class legal services. We have tried several international law firms operating out of Singapore but have not found one as good as Drew & Napier”  – Banking and finance

“Very responsive and quick to deliver. Always ready to attend to questions and a pleasure to deal with. Solution oriented and practical in approach. Extremely reliable in terms of the research that is done to back up advice.” Banking and finance

“Drew & Napier consistently delivers excellent results in extraordinarily complex international debt restructuring matters.” – Financial restructuring

Julian Kwek

“He had impressed us on his extensive legal knowledge about Singapore law as well as a good grasp of the legal environment in Indonesia. His strongest point is his uncanny ability to look beyond just the legal perspective and also provided excellent advice on the commercial implications.”

“Julian has always been very responsive and able to provide excellent advice and suggestions on not just legal issues but also the commercial implications arising”

Steven Lo

“Personable and able to deliver practical advice expediently. Quiet confidence blended with a sense of knowing what is important and what is negotiable.”

Sushil Nair and Julian Kwek

“Both are extremely intelligent, hard-working and creative lawyers.”

Valerie Kwok 

“Valerie is very knowledgeable and experienced. Able to dissect difficult areas and render good advice.”

Duane Morris & Selvam

Duane Morris & Selvam Singapore is structured as a joint law venture, allowing it to advise on both domestic and foreign law. The Singapore office acts as the firm’s Asian hub, with some practice areas including dedicated country desks for India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Sri Lanka.

In banking and finance though much of the work disclosed to us was on a confidential basis it can be said that the firm’s clients include investment firms and private individuals, working in particular on debt facilities and restructurings.

In the capital markets the firm advised First Myanmar Investment on its IPO on the newly established Yangon Stock Exchange. The firm counts the Government of India/the President of India as a repeat client.

The firm’s projects team works closely with its counterparts elsewhere in Asia in particular Myanmar and Vietnam. It advised Sembcorp Utilities on its work in Myanmar to build a 225MW gas power plant, with the PPA from the deal expected to become a model for future projects in the country. It also disclosed work relating to projects in India and China.

Director Mark Wong joined from Rajah & Tann Singapore in January 2017, bringing his expertise to the corporate, banking and finance and energy and infrastructure practice areas. Corporate special counsel Michael Chong joined from RHT Taylor Wessing in December 2016. Associate Director Sarita Misir left the corporate practice area in January 2017.

Client feedback

"The firm was very responsive and understanding of my needs. They had a strong background in M&A and a clear knowledge of the industry. The team was very well prepared, meticulous, very articulate and picked things up quickly. What separated this firm from the others I considered was the personal touch that they brought to the deal and that was predominantly down to Mr Ramachandra." – M&A

Krishna Ramachandra 

"Mr Ramachandra spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that I understood the deal and was comfortable with the outcome. Even months after completion he took the time to meet me to ensure that I was still happy with the outcome which I truly appreciated. What separated this firm from the others I considered was the personal touch that they brought to the deal and that was predominantly down to Mr Ramachandra.”

Equity Law

Equity Law is best known for its work in the capital markets and M&A areas.

In the capital markets the firm advised on the listing of automotive service provider Zheng Li Holdings on the HKSE; advised on the issue of convertible senior notes by Catalist-listed Kitchen Culture Holdings; and worked on a note redemption exercise for Mainboard-listed Dyna-Mac.

In M&A the firm advised MTQ on the sale of its Australian subsidiary MTQ Engine Systems (Aust) and helped EuroSports Global with the acquisition of Ultimate Drive and Driven By Adrenaline.

Client feedback

“Responsive, proactive, comprehensive advice, always deliver.” – M&A

Billy Lau 

“Always deliver, responsive, comprehensive advice.”

Eversheds Harry Elias

Eversheds Sutherland and Harry Elias Partnership merged to become Eversheds Harry Elias on June 1 2017. The combined firm comprises more than 170 staff including 29 partners and a presence in Singapore and Brunei. It offers Malaysian services through a relationship with Koh Dipendra Jeremiah Law (KDJLaw). 

The firm’s M&A practice advised Advanced Holdings on its proposed acquisition of Agricore Global and also advised Singapore Medical on its acquisition of Astra Women’s Specialist clinics.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee is recognised for its M&A and restructuring and insolvency work. The firm has been active in the private equity space and in mid-market oil and gas deals. The restructuring and insolvency team primarily works for the bank in restructuring deals.

In banking and finance highlights include advising a syndicate of lenders in relation to a $1.5 billion syndicated revolving credit facility to BOC Aviation Capital.

On the M&A side, the firm advised JD.com, a leading online retailer in Asia, on forming a joint venture in Indonesia; the team also assisted Conergy Asia & ME (Conergy), the world’s largest downstream solar photovoltaic developer, to establish a Singapore joint entity with Astronergy as well as Conergy’s US joint venture agreement with Astronergy.

In the restructuring and insolvency space, the Singapore team advised ANZ on Ezra Holdings’ various defaulted financings involving the company’s Singapore and Vietnam subsidiaries. 

Staffing changes include the departure of a team of five energy lawyers that included Julien Reidy, Bruce Schulberg and Alex Cull to Jones Day.

Key clients include ANZ and Standard Chartered Bank.

Client feedback

“Strong technical background; has the ability to create bespoke solutions; able to provide deliverables on time; able to manage commercial factors as well as legal aspects.” – Capital markets

“Excellent, very good quality lawyers with a practical application of the law.” – M&A

“Leading structured corporate loans practice. Very commercial and detail oriented. Expertise at the partner and senior associate levels.” – Banking and finance

“The restructuring and insolvency team led by Shaun Langhorne is gaining a reputation in the market, particularly on the creditor side. The team is well supported by their global capabilities, in particular US and UK, in the field of restructuring and insolvency, and has the ability to provide seamless service in cross-border matters as a result. The team is responsive, knowledgeable and one of the very few specialist teams in the field of restructuring and insolvency in Singapore amongst the international firms.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Mark Cooper

“Excellent. One of the top PE lawyers in Singapore with an excellent understanding of the market and an in-depth knowledge of the law.”

Andrew Ferris

“Possess strong communication skills across from senior to junior levels. He has a strong technical and commercial background and he is able to operate within a tight timeframe.”

Shaun Langhorne

“He came from a litigation background. His team is quite solid and is able to deal with all sorts of situations.”

“Commercially minded, technically sound, calm under pressure and in difficult situations, which is an invaluable trait in distressed situations.”

Alexander McMyn 

“Smart and highly competent. Considered one of the leading legal practitioners for Asian structured corporate lending.”

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins’ Singaporean team is regularly involved in project finance transactions across South East Asia, where the Singapore office serves as a hub. The firm is noted for high-end project financing deals often acting for lenders and sponsors, and worked on 57 financings at an aggregate of over $62 billion in the past year.

The Singaporean team was particularly active in projects in Indonesia and Philippines. Highlights include advising ICE Canyon and Credit Suisse in the $3 billion debt restructuring of Bumi Resources, which is one of the largest on-going Asia restructurings; advising SKK Migas in the $3.75 billion project financing for the Tangguh LNG Plant third expansion; and acting for Persero in the $25 billion upgrade and expansion of the Cilicap, Balongan, Plaju, Dumai and Balikpapan refineries in Indonesia, which are progressing through a joint venture with Saudi Aramco, Sinopec and JX Nippon Oil.   

Key clients of the firm include BNP Paribas, OCBC, Persero, United Overseas Bank, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Roy Hill Holdings, Stats ChipPAC, Warburg Pincus Asia, SKK Migas, and Asian Development Bank.  

 

Linklaters

The energy team of Linklater’s Singapore office works on the development, financing and restructuring of projects across the Southeast Asian region. The regional construction team is also based in Singapore overseeing energy and infrastructure project finance market in Asia.

The firm has been focused on work in the energy and infrastructure sectors during the research period advising sponsors and project developers on refinancing, M&A and project development issues. Including advising BP-led sponsors on the Tangguh LNG 3 Expansion Project, once of the largest projects in Indonesia; and advising Glencore Singapore and BP Singapore on the restructuring of Jurong Aromatics Refinery in Singapore. 

Key clients include JBIC, BP, DBS, Societe Generale, Mitsui & Co and PTT.

Mayer Brown JSM

Mayer Brown JSM in Singapore has strength in banking, project finance and M&A.

In M&A standout work includes advising Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) and Dragon Capital Group on their sale of a 67% stake in PRASAC Microfinance Institution and advising CITIC Telecom on its acquisition of a stake in Acclivis from DeClout.

The firm’s project development work was primarily focused on investments in the energy sector. It worked in a number of jurisdictions across the region, advising the IFC on financing for an ammonia project in Indonesia and advising a banking syndicate on funding for Sembcorp’s Myingyan gas-fired power project.

Client feedback

"They navigated us through the process well in which both commercial banks and agencies were involved to bridge the different perspectives of the lender groups to form a coherent flow of structuring elements of the finance documents.” – Project finance

Benjamin Thompson 

“Apart from the usual qualities to be a sound PF lawyer, he provided various options to consider for lenders to form a view on commercially important issues. His advice was quite relevant for projects in frontier countries such as Myanmar. His response was prompt with easy access.”

Morgan Lewis Stamford

Morgan Lewis Stamford is the merger entity formed between the global law firm Morgan Lewis Bockius and the domestic law firm Stamford Law, the latter was founded by the ex-managing partner Lee Suet Fern. The firm has a strong M&A practice.

For the banking team a clear highlight was work for China Minzhong Food on the financing of the acquisition of the company by Marvellous Glory Holdings.

In M&A the firm advised SK Holdings in its $535.9 million acquisition of 51% in LG Siltron from LG Corp.

Staffing changes included the departure of partner Lian Seng Yap from the capital markets and M&A team who left the firm in October 2016. 

Key clients include SK Energy International, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Ant Financial Services Group. 

Morrison & Foerster

Morrison & Foerster has historical strengths in M&A and work in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

In M&A the firm was particularly active in the real estate sector during the research period and the firm is putting a focus on work in the financial technology sector. Outstanding work includes advising telecommunication firm Axiata on its acquisition of Nepali mobile operator Ncell.

New partner Yemi Tépé has joined the M&A practice area from Clifford Chance, bringing finance expertise.

Client feedback

“Excellent, responsive, well experienced and considered.” – M&A

 “The firm is very professional, quick to respond and highly attuned to the commercial sensitivities of the deals as well as our business. They also provide very useful advice that is not just legal in nature but also helpful to the business considerations of the transaction.” – M&A

“Morrison & Foerster are reliable, provide top quality advice and are in tune with our commercial needs.” – M&A

“MoFo assisted us in our direct investment in a company in the TMT industry in Singapore.  We are generally happy with their services as the lead partner and associate in that transaction were responsive, efficient, experienced and well organised. They knew our requests well and were able to flag up the key issues together with their recommendations and helped us close the deal within an extremely tight timetable.” – M&A

Lip Kian Ang

“Lip Kian is an all-rounded lawyer who appreciates the commercial considerations behind the legal issues in a deal and tailors his advice accordingly. He is also very responsive and is timely on delivery of the work product. His technical knowledge is on par with his seniority and will no doubt advance as his experience grows.”

Jake Robson

“Consistently good.”

Maria Steeples

“Maria Steeples is very commercial.”

“Maria is extremely diligent, thorough, responsive and commercial.”

“She is commercial and flexible.”

Shirin Tang

“Shirin is proactive, responsive, experienced and efficient. She is detail-oriented and has good commercial sense.”

Yemi Tépé 

“Yemi Tépé was instrumental in advising on legal matters in relation to the acquisition financing. She went beyond the scope of her duties and highlighted even the commercial aspects of financing that lenders should be aware of. Most importantly, Yemi offered a balanced perspective where the acquisition documents were not "lender-friendly" nor "borrower-friendly".”

Oon & Bazul

Oon & Bazul has a traditional strength in banking and finance and also offers services in M&A and restructuring and insolvency. The fast-growing firm has offices in Singapore and Malaysia.

While the firm has a number of recognisable clients, all details of the work disclosed to us were given on a confidential basis. 

The firm has hired two new partners during the research period. Lam Shiao Ning joined the corporate finance and M&A practice area from Drew & Napier and Chenthil Kumarasingam joined the dispute resolution, banking and finance and white collar crime practice areas from Quahe Woo & Palmer.

QED Law Corporation

QED Law Corporation is focused on banking and M&A work.

In banking the firm has acted for the likes of Ascott Residence Trust and its trustee DBS. 

In M&A the firm worked on Sedgefield’s acquisition of Pan-United’s tug and barge business. It also advised Kajima Development Vietnam on its collaboration with Indochina Land Development to create a real estate joint venture. 

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Rajah & Tann has been expanding its footprint in the South East Asia region aggressively with the most recent tie up being with C&G Law, a local Philippines law firm, in January 2017. The restructuring and insolvency department has a dedicated shipping team which adds capacity in relation to oil and gas restructuring and insolvency matters. The firm also has a dedicated team focused on the fintech sector in ASEAN.

In the capital markets the firm acted for Top Glove Corporation on the company’s $1.38 billion secondary listing on the SGX.

In M&A the firm advised OSIM International on its privatisation exercise which was one of the largest by a SGX-ST listed company.

In the restructuring and insolvency space, the firm advised the Port of Singapore Authority on the $5.37 billion debt default by Hanjin Shipping, the South Korean shipping container giant.

The firm made a number of significant staffing changes during the research period. Most significant is the appointment of the reputable capital markets and M&A specialist Sandy Foo from Drew & Napier. Additionally, the firm scooped up another capital markets partner Favian Tan from WongPartnership as well as a team of five real estate partners from Dentons Rodyk & Davidson, namely Norman Ho, Ching Chou, Cindy Quek, Shijie Tan, and Gazalle Mok. The firm also lost Kian Hwee Goh and Serene Yeo in 2017.

Key clients include DBS Bank, BNP Paribas, Sinochem International, Citibank, GIC, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC.

Client feedback

“Excellent law firm with a good depth of lawyers to assist on restructuring.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Excellent professional staff quality and services, strong track record and highly experienced, well resourced. Strong Indonesian practice. Could strengthen its international affiliation for cross border transactions.” – M&A

“Excellent quality of professional staff and service. Strong track record, experience and local network. Good breadth of legal disciplines and services. Well-resourced with capacity to handle the work load. The firm has a strong Indonesian practice. Yet, working styles and quality across different partners can be somewhat uneven.” – Capital markets

“Rajah & Tann’s local restructuring and insolvency practice is on top of everyone else.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Cheng Yoke Ping

“Yoke Ping is extremely sharp and possesses a keen sense of analysis. She has great commercial acumen.”

Lawrence Tan

“He is highly meticulous and thorough in his work.”

“Excellent technical knowledge, quality of work, diligence and personality.” 

“Highly competent and thorough in his work as well as reliable.”

Reed Smith

Reed Smith in Singapore focuses on banking and M&A. The global firm opened its Singapore office in 2012 and has since grown to 20 lawyers. In July 2016 the firm announced an alliance with Singaporean legal firm Resource Law to enhance its ability to work on multi-jurisdictional issues with a Singaporean aspect.

In response to client demand the firm’s banking and financing team has developed specialist expertise in ship financing and trade and commodity financing (such as derivatives and prepayment financing), suited to major commodities players and big-name banks.

The firm is putting a greater focus on M&A and energy and natural resources deals.

Client feedback

“Reed Smith Singapore, particularly Matt Gorman, provide advice which is devoid of legalese, is to the point and more than timely. They always get right onto it, and get it right.” – M&A

“We very happy that the firm assigned a team of specialists with extensive knowledge in trade finance, particularly since we are embarking on a new project. They provide legal advice as well as practical insight based on their experience in previous deals. We have since engaged them for two other projects and are satisfied with the outcome.” - Corporate

“Professional, timely, flexible approach to work.” – Private equity

Matthew Gorman

“Pragmatic corporate lawyer and no fluff. I would use him if I owned a business doing work in Singapore.”

“Efficient, professional and responsive.”

Jessica Kenworthy 

“She does her work well as a lead lawyer despite having a team based in three different jurisdictions. She is able to coordinate and stay on top of issues.”

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing offers banking and finance, capital markets and M&A services.

The firm offers a range of services to banks and financial technology firms in banking including advising EFG Bank on the transfer of Singaporean property loans and mortgages from BSI Singapore.

In the capital markets a stand-out transaction for the year was a secondary offering of shares and warrants by AsiaTravel.com.

In M&A one highlight saw the firm act for Aptuit as it exited its early-stage investment in pharma company Laurus Labs, which was listed on two Indian stock exchanges.

New partner Gerallt Wyn Owen joined the banking and finance practice from Withers during the research period.

Client feedback

“Fast turnaround in addressing issues and provision of sound practical legal advice in a timely manner." – Corporate

Kim Kit Ow

“Experienced lawyer with broad knowledge across practice areas. However, needs more specific experience in the fund space and acting for trustees.”

Ch’ng Li-Ling

"Experienced and customer focused. Sometimes overstretched with too many jobs.”

Gerard Ng 

“Excellent turnaround time. Very responsive and fast in providing answers. Sound banking and stock broking industry knowledge. Sound legal knowledge and able to provide timely and practical solutions.”

RPC Premier Law

In Singapore, RPC offers services through RPC Premier Law, a joint law venture with Premier Law. RPC is part of the TerraLex network and includes in-house insurance specialists such as accountants and actuaries.

In M&A during the research period the firm advised an anonymous client on its minority shareholding in publicly-listed Indonesian company Asuransi Bina Dana Arta as Mapfre acquired 31% of the company to gain a majority shareholding and access the Indonesian market. 

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice has a particular focus on Indonesia linked work. During the research period it advised Raiffeisen Bank International a complex recovery situation following a default on a credit facility. 

Partner Jeremy Cunningham joined the corporate practice area from Mayer Brown JSM during the research period. 

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is best known for banking and finance and project development work.

The firm has an impressive track record in precedent setting projects transactions in emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. The firm is particularly strong in the energy, oil and gas and LNG projects.

Highlight projects include work for Petronas in respect of the $28 billion RAPID (Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development) project in Malaysia; and work for ENGIE, Marubeni and Pertamina on the Jawa Bali 3 IPP in Indonesia.

Key clients include ANZ, HSBC, ING, Emirates, Genting, BNP Paribus, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Greenko Energy and UBS.

Client feedback

“The Singapore team is excellent for project finance work” – Project finance

Bill McCormack

“Excellent.”

Jean-Louis Neves Mandelli 

“The up and coming star lawyer.”

Shook Lin & Bok

Shook Lin & Bok has one of the oldest insolvency practices in Singapore which also explains the firm’s strength on debt restructuring where the team primarily acts for the local banks. The firm has been particularly active on acquisition finance including investments from China.

In project finance a deal highlight saw the firm act as Singapore counsel to the IFC in relation to the latter’s $830 million greenfield ammonia plant in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

On the capital market side, the team has more experience acting for issuers, including advising ISDN Holdings in its listing on the HKSE. The firm also acted for DBS Trustee in EC World REIT’s listing and the company’s IPO on the SGX.

In the M&A space, the firm acted for NTT Data in respect of the acquisition of the Perot Systems business from Dell. The team also acted for Mitsui & Co in its purchase of an additional stake in Paiton Energy, Asia’s first-ever IPP, as part of Engie’s $1.5 billion global disposition of its 40.5% stake in Paiton.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm was also involved in the judicial management of Swiber Holdings and Swiber Offshore Construction, advising one of the largest creditors.

Key clients include DBS, United Overseas Bank, Overseas Chinese banking Corporation, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, HKBC, Bank of India and ICICI Bank.

Client feedback

“Excellent, responsive and informed.” –Restructuring and insolvency

“Commercially savvy and able to offer creative options on issues. Value for money, though a smaller team compared to the bigger law firms.” – M&A

“Excellent, consistently provide quality, well considered advice. Responsive and client focused.” – M&A

“Shook Lin & Bok provides wide coverage of legal services as required by insolvency practitioners. Through their extensive network worldwide, Shook Lin & Bok enables prompt access to legal sources/information in other jurisdictions effortlessly.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“The team is always accessible and turns around with excellent advice on issues in a timely manner.” – Restructuring and insolvency

David Chan

“Sharp, attentive to details, and offers concise advice that is easy to understand and evaluate.”

David Chong

“Excellent, responsive and always delivers quality advice.”

Debby Lim

“She offers comprehensive legal advice with sound technical knowledge, a trustworthy working partner.”

Ho Ying Ming

“He is very commercially savvy and able to offer creative solutions for points of contention. Good negotiation skills.”

Michelle Phang

 “Excellent, she is responsive and she makes sure that I am well informed.”

Sidley Austin

Sidley Austin’s Singapore team last year had worked on a number of M&A deals for several confidential world leading private equity managers and Singapore fund managers on their investment and divestment within the South East Asian region. The firm is also known for its Asia-Pacific investment fund practice

An interesting mandate saw Sidley Austin advising Thailand’s Boon Rawd Brewery’s on the $1.1 billion acquisition of a 25% interest in Masan Consumer Holdings, a Vietnamese company and a 33% interest in Mason Brewery.

On the investment fund side, Sidney Austin has been advising BlackRock Singapore on its registration of the iShares MSCI India Index ETF listed on the SGX, it was the world’s first ETF outside of India to access the Indian equity market.

Key clients include BlackRock, Medco Energi Internasional, Aboitiz Power Corporation, F&H Fund Management and EQT Partners Singapore.

Charlie Wilson 

“Excellent!”

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons is active in banking, capital markets and projects work.

Its banking and finance offering includes trade and commodity finance with expertise in the law of Singapore, England and Indonesia. 

It counts a number of international and regional banks amongst its clients, with long-term clients including OCBC, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom Singapore offers services in banking, capital markets, M&A and project development.

The firm’s South East Asia corporate finance practice is based in its Singapore office, providing a full capital markets offering to businesses based in the region and international banking groups.

During the research period the firm advised Bumi Serpong Damai in connection with a notes issue on the Singapore Stock Exchange by its subsidiary Global Prime Capital; and helped Azure Power Global (India) to list on the NYSE which took place alongside a private placement. It also demonstrated significant work with an Indonesian element and gave examples from the Philippine Stock Exchange and the HKSE. Long-term clients include Macquarie, Indosat and Temasek while new wins included Prodia Widyahusada and Celltrion.

The firm’s M&A advice for the Asia region is provided by its Asia corporate team, which is based primarily in Singapore and Hong Kong. During the research period the firm represented Broadcom on its acquisition by Avago Technologies and assisted Citigroup on its sale sake of a 20% stake in China Guangfa Bank to China Life Insurance. 

Long-term clients included Citigroup, Temasek and Indosat. New wins included Tessa Therapeutics and AIA.

Straits Law Practice

Straits Law Practice focuses on banking and finance and M&A matters.

The firm’s banking and financing team counts State Bank of India, ICICI, Société Générale, Bank of Nova Scotia, Eng Lee Engineering and Wai Fong Construction amongst its many long-term clients.

In M&A the firm advised Texchem-Pack on its buy-out by controlling shareholder Texchem Resources and subsequent delisting from the Singapore exchange. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advises banks, liquidators, shareholders and individual directors on restructuring and insolvency situations, with the examples disclosed to us showing a particular focus on contentious situations. Its headline deals include advice given to State Bank of India, Indian Bank, ICICI Bank and UCO Bank.

TSMP Law Corporation

TSMP Law Corporation is a Singaporean firm that offers banking and finance, capital markets and M&A services and has a particular strength in restructuring and insolvency work.

In banking and finance during the research period, the firm demonstrated a depth of work in the real estate sector, both advising on the financing of real estate transactions and assisting with ongoing financing requirements. It counts INEOS Singapore as a repeat client, assisting the firm with its financing and refinancing requirements.

The firm’s capital markets practice has a significant strength in IPOs and Catalist-listed companies with some private placements and Main Board work. Its headline transactions include work on Main Board-listed construction company Yongnam’s rights issue.

The firm displays a depth of M&A work relating to takeovers of publicly listed companies as well as involvement in private placements and joint ventures. A stand-out deal was CMA CGM’s buyout of Neptune Orient Lines, in which the firm assisted Neptune Orient Lines’ financial advisor Maybank Kim Eng Securities.

The firm takes on a breadth of restructuring and insolvency work including in-depth litigation work. During the research period it offered advice relating to the commodities sector on a number of occasions, with notable clients including DBS and Bank of America.

Restructuring and insolvency partner Ashok Kumar departed for BlackOak during the research period.

Client feedback

"Competent and responsive team that delivers practical advice to clients.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“The lawyers are very responsive, knowledgeable and experienced. The fees quoted are very reasonable and compared to some law firms. The weakness of the practice is that they are more a regional player and do not have many alliance offices overseas.” – Banking and finance

"Well versed with Singapore laws and practices, good client orientation, advice based on a good balance of commercial consideration and legal assertiveness." – Restructuring and insolvency

“Very strong M&A house in Singapore.” – M&A

“A responsive, hungry, reliable local firm.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Jennifer Chia

“She is very detailed, responsive and knowledgeable.”

Alexander Pang

“Alexander is a new generation bankruptcy lawyer, across the latest developments, friendly, responsive.”

“Competent, eager, knowledgeable and delivers practical advice.”

Stefanie Thio 

“Highly regarded senior partner - very knowledgeable, responsive, and fights for her clients.”

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams offers banking and finance, capital markets, M&A and project development advice.

The firm’s banking and financing offering has a strong focus on maritime and aviation financing. It also occasionally advises on financing in other sectors. It exhibits a depth in cross-border work and a significant portfolio of work in English law as well as capabilities in Islamic financing.

The firm’s M&A work shows a strong focus on the maritime and oil and gas sectors, with a strong cross-border element across its portfolio. It advised Andalas Energy and Power on an arrangement with Indonesian national oil company Pertamina to develop certain Indonesian oil and gas assets through a reverse takeover

In restructuring and insolvency the firm undertook significant maritime and aviation work and a high proportion of cross-border work. The firm advised oil and gas exploration and production company Matra Petroleum on a scheme of arrangement to incorporate a new Swedish holding company and facilitate a stock exchange listing in Sweden.

Samuel Kolehmainen joined as partner from Clifford Chance in October 2016, bringing with him expertise in aviation finance.

From 2011 to 2016, the firm operated through a joint law venture with Asia Practice which was known as Watson Farley & Williams Asia Practice.  In September 2016, the firms mutually agreed to end the joint venture. This meant that the Asia Practice partners ceased to be tied to Watson Farley & Williams.

Client feedback

"Goh Mei Lin is fantastic.  She and her team provide excellent support on very tight timeframes. The advice given is always very practical, and takes into account the concerns raised by various stakeholders within the client organisation.” – Asset finance

"Responsive, knowledgeable, keenly aware of market trends and proactive in pushing deals forward across the line. The firm is a clear leader in asset finance, and the de facto firm of choice for our asset finance team. The firm handles a high volume of high profile/quality asset finance deals and are often able to provide dependable market insights and identify trends. The firm's strength is also its weakness - its focus on asset finance means they will often be overlooked for other types of legal work.” – Asset finance

“Very detailed analysis provided, at a decent fee.” – Restructuring and insolvency

"Deep knowledge of the transportation finance sector (shipping) and highly experienced. Proactive and provide quality advice when needed. Good balance between legal theories and pragmatic approach." – Banking and finance

Shawn Er

“Shawn is dependable, knowledgeable, and is used to (and at ease) working on demanding and challenging transactions. He is often at the forefront of asset finance developments in the Chinese market and advising on cutting edge transactions.

Mei Lin Goh

“Mei is a safe pair of hands who provides good, practical advice. She always finds the time to get back to you in a timely manner no matter how busy she is.”

Aaron Kok 

“Aaron Kok provides commercially sound advice, being responsive to my business requirements.”

WongPartnership

Now 25 years old, WongPartnership is recognised for its banking and finance practice. The team acts on offshore and onshore financing often involving the PRC market, and the local team works closely with the Myanmar partners. In addition to the China and Myanmar regional office, the firm is also active in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East.

In banking a deal highlight saw the firm act for the syndicate of banks in the $1.175 billion financing provided to South Beach Consortium. The firm also acted for Hyflux and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in the TuasOne’s $479 million project financing.

In the capital markets the firm acted for DBS Trustee and DBS as issuing and payment agent on KrisEnergy’s debt issue last year..

In the M&A space, the firm was active on private equity work during the research period. A notable deal saw WongPartnership acting for EFG bank in the acquisition of BSI Bank Singapore’s private banking businesses; and acting for SMRT in the sale of its rail assets to the Land Transport Authority of Singapore.

The firm lost capital markets partner Favian Tan to Rajah & Tann last year and hired Beng Lee Tan as a banking and finance partner from HSBC in May 2016.

Key clients include GMG Global, Temasek Holdings, KKR, Tata Communications International, SGX, Nomura, PAG Asia Capital, Hyflux, OCBC, DBS, UOB, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and HSBC.

Client feedback

“Highly professional, competent and responsive service.” – Investment funds

“Mei Yen Tan and her team are excellent. We have worked very closely with them this year on one of the most contentious matters in the region. Mei Yen and the team were responsive and added real value in trying times. They have an excellent knowledge of not only local law, but also how it interacts with other jurisdictions. This is vital in complex, cross-border matters.” – Banking and finance

“The personnel involved in the transactions understood the commercial sensitivities and needs of all parties and were able to tailor bespoke solutions. They were responsive and able to turn around within tight deadlines. They also established strong rapport with the counterparty which helped during the protracted negotiations.” – M&A, project development

“WongPartnership has provided an excellent service over the years in many different financings and most recently a restructuring matter involving Singapore. It provides timely commercial advice and is able to assemble multi-disciplinary expertise very quickly.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Very detailed, responsive and provides practical and commercial advice.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“It tends to bring a multi-disciplinary team but allowing the restructuring and insolvency partner to hold overall control, it is a more integrated structure.” – Restructuring and insolvency

 

Mark Choy

“He demonstrates superior commercial understanding and able to formulate solutions without being constrained by legal technicalities. He keeps the big picture in mind. He understands the counterparty's perspectives and negotiating strategy and adjusts accordingly. He manages the team so that each member has a clear role.”

Ng Wai King

“A lawyer with great technical skills who can also view issues from the commercial perspectives proposing solutions that would make sense both from legal and commercial point of view.”

“Top corporate lawyer, in depth understanding of corporate M&A law and regulations and commercial when needed to be.”

Mei Yen Tan

“Very responsive and highly meticulous to detail. Offers practical and commercial advice in litigious situations. A person you would like to have on your team.”

“Mei Yen has been excellent. She and her team worked incredibly hard. Her strengths include her knowledge of cross-border issues, her responsiveness and her commercial awareness. She was an essential part of the broader, global team we assembled to protect the interests of our clients across multiple jurisdictions.”

Chan Sing Yee 

“Very commercial. Goes the extra mile for clients.”