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Eversheds Sutherland expands leading tech practice

Eversheds Sutherland announced today that Frankie Tam has joined the Hong Kong-based Asia technology team, led by Rhys McWhirter.

Frankie, who joins the practice as Of Counsel, will advise clients on technology issues, including large-scale technology outsourcing, fintech and data privacy issues. She also acts for clients on ‘regtech’, a relatively new field, based around technology solutions that support regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliances. These purpose built platforms feature complex screening and monitoring tools, many of which are based on blockchain technology, making the solutions affordable, efficient and scalable.

Frankie is well known in the Hong Kong market for her efforts to promote Hong Kong as a ‘centre of excellence’ for financial services technology. She is a member of the ‘Vetting Committee’ of the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission General Support Programme. The committee advises the Hong Kong Government on funding submissions for projects that foster the local innovation and technology culture. She is also a co-founder and Vice President of the ‘Hong Kong Internet Finance Association’, and a member of the ‘Core Committee for Payments’ of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Qualified in Hong Kong, New York and England and Wales, Frankie has worked in Hong Kong, London and Shanghai. She brings this international perspective to the Hong Kong practice at a time when the team is advising global and regional banks, financial service providers, airlines and travel organisations on their digitisation strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this task both more complicated and more urgent. Since the pandemic began, shortly after Chinese New Year, organisations have been introducing digital solutions in tandem with new work practices. In some cases the ‘proof of concept’ stage was scaled up and became an ‘all enterprise proof-of-concept’. Testing that would ordinarily require months was conducted on the front lines as the end users deployed the new technology. This increased digitisation ensured that business critical objectives including customer service delivery, remote and flexible working, team management and brand recognition were maintained.

Rhys McWhirter commented: “We are very excited to have Frankie join our team. She is a highly qualified lawyer who combines strong technical skills with an understanding of how technology must be made to work for clients. Her involvement with organisations in the fintech and regtech space will give our clients insights into the legal, ethical and commercial implications of new tech, including smart contracts, AI, machine learning, automation and big data’.”

Stephen Kitts, Managing Partner, Asia added: “I join with Rhys in welcoming Frankie to the Hong Kong practice. Under Rhys’ leadership the team has become the ‘go to’ practice for advice on the latest developments in the tech sector, in particular their impact at both the strategic and commercial levels. For example, he is working with three of the eight new virtual banks in Hong Kong, to advise on all aspects of their technology strategy and implementation. A remarkable achievement. Frankie is joining a team that truly is at the ‘top of its game’.”

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.

Norton Rose advises consortium of banks on $500m bond issuance

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a US$500 million bond issuance by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC.

The notes are due February 2025 and were issued off Emirates NBD Bank PJSC’s $12,500,000,000 Euro Medium Term Note Programme, which was updated in July 2019 and on which Norton Rose Fulbright also advised.

The Dubai-based Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by head of debt capital markets for the Middle East, Gregory Man, with assistance from senior associate, Ganna Vlasenko.

Gregory Man commented: “We are proud to have been involved in this transaction. This deal builds on Norton Rose Fulbright’s track record of advising on notable bond transactions in the region and once again provided us with the opportunity to represent many of our leading financial institutions clients.”

About Norton Rose Fulbright

We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3,700 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognised for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through our global risk advisory group, we leverage our industry experience with our knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide our clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg.

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Dentons Hong Kong awarded Pro Bono Law Firm Award

Dentons Hong Kong has received the Bronze Law Firm Award from the Law Society Pro Bono and Community Work Recognition Programme 2019. This programme aims at promoting and encouraging Hong Kong legal practitioners serving pro bono and community work.

Hong Kong Partner Julianne Doe was also recognised for her outstanding dedication to pro bono and community service, by being the recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award and the Individual Gold Award at the same programme.

Commenting on this achievement, Julianne, who is also Chair, Dentons’ WomenLEAD for Hong Kong, said: “These awards reflect our ongoing commitment to volunteering pro bono/community service, demonstrating creation of social value in our community and in line with our professionals’ global commitment to apply our legal and business skills, passionate commitment and boundless energy to helping others. Not only do we get involved personally, we create a platform for young people to do so by participating in university initiatives which allow law students to come into our office and be inspired by the pro bono work we do.”

“The Hong Kong office is extremely delighted to receive these recognitions and I would like to thank Julianne for passionately leading the pro bono efforts of Dentons Hong Kong for many years,” said Keith Brandt, Hong Kong office managing partner.

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/

HFW boosts fast-growing transactional offering

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing transactional offering with the hire of senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung.

Wing specialises in capital markets, including initial public offerings, as well as M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He joins HFW’s Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord, where he was Hong Kong Managing Partner.

Wing’s arrival continues HFW’s significant expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. HFW launched a transactional practice in China earlier this year and has now added 19 transactional partners across its international network since 2018, including lateral hires in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Monaco, Paris and Singapore.

Patrick Yeung, Hong Kong Office Head, HFW:

“This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service. I am thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Wing advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A. He also has significant experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance, having acted on major investigations and other proceedings by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Wing Cheung, Partner, HFW:

“I am very excited to be joining HFW. It’s been really noticeable over the past few years that HFW is building a strong global corporate and finance practice to complement its leading reputation for disputes and sector-related work. I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue that growth, and working with the HFW transactional teams in Greater China and across the firm’s extensive international network.”

HFW has operated in Greater China for more than 40 years, having been one of the first international law firms to open an office in the country, in 1978.

The firm now has almost 80 lawyers in Greater China, including 21 partners, and is a market leader in aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, shipping, commercial litigation and corporate.

HFW also recently brought in a market-leading team to launch in Monaco – one of 11 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

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