Eversheds Sutherland advises on Springland privatisation financing

Eversheds Sutherland Hong Kong advised DBS Bank on the acquisition financing in connection with the HK$4.5 billion privatisation of Springland International Holdings Limited (“Springland”).

Springland operates a number of department stores and supermarkets in Mainland China, in particular in the Greater Yangtze River Delta region. It has branches across nearly ten cities in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. Springland listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2010 (HKSE: 1700).

The privatisation of Springland by the offeror, Octopus (China) Holdings Limited, was by way of a scheme of arrangement under section 86 of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands. DBS Asia Capital Limited was the financial adviser to Octopus (China) Holdings Limited. The scheme became effective in February 2020.

Lead partner, Kingsley Ong, commented: “We were delighted to work with DBS on this notable transaction and to help Octopus (China) Holdings Limited in its successful acquisition and privatisation. Our team worked to a demanding timetable and the successful close is a credit to everyone’s hard work and dedication”.

Stephen Mok, Senior Partner and Head of Corporate, Asia, added: “We are very grateful for this opportunity to advise DBS on this transaction. There are many reasons why privatisations take place. Some controlling shareholders may want to restructure and recapitalise their business with a view to re-listing later on. Some investors may see privatisations as good opportunities to take over undervalued listed companies. The current state of the stock markets present a valuable opportunity to go down this route. I expect to see more activities in this area as the sentiment of the financial markets continues to be hampered by the current pandemic.”

The Hong Kong team was led by partner Kingsley Ong, with Of Counsel Sin Joh Chuang and Simon Barrell, Associates Polly Chiu and Toby Wai, and trainee Hinny Leung.

An enhanced platform for international arbitration

Eversheds Sutherland has further strengthened its Litigation & Disputes practice with the appointment of Wesley Pang as Partner in the Arbitration team. Wesley joins the Hong Kong practice on 6 January 2020.

Wesley has broad experience in advising global corporate clients on major, cross-border disputes. He also acts for clients on investor-State cases, on both contentious and non-contentious issues.

He joins the Eversheds Sutherland practice from the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre where he was Managing Counsel . Wesley’s arrival comes at an important time; arbitration is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for clients in the energy and projects sectors and Asia’s share of these markets continues to grow, and increased activity is accompanied by demand for experienced disputes lawyers.

The arbitration market in Hong Kong is growing, and more generally across Asia. This sector-driven demand emanates in part by Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs) and other Chinese organisations. Disputes in the energy and construction sectors are also increasing, in part as a result of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. Wesley is well-placed to advise these and other Asia-based and multinational organisations that are active in the region and globally.

Stephen Kitts, Managing Partner Asia, commented:

“This is a strategic hire for Eversheds Sutherland. With Wesley’s arrival we can now offer our clients a full-service disputes offering, something very few other international practices in Hong Kong have achieved.”

“Wesley’s significant experience across a number of the global practice’s priority sectors, including energy, infrastructure and projects. His experience in advising on disputes in these sectors matches our transactional expertise, particularly in working with Chinese SOEs and corporates. Wesley is also a respected figure in the arbitration community, where he is a regular speaker at international conferences and seminars.”

Paul Worth, Co-Global Head of Litigation & Dispute Management, added:

“Clients expect the highest quality legal advisers. Wesley’s unique background combines experience on major arbitrations with a well-developed understanding of the arbitration market.”

“He joins the Hong Kong team on the same day as Mark Hughes, who joins from Slaughter and May. Their arrival is a very clear demonstration of our commitment to develop our Asia practice. This follows a number of other significant, strategic hires globally during the calendar year for 2019, as we build on our existing platform as the 7th largest disputes practice in the world.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/