Asia legal news in brief


Biggest HK IPO in education

Skadden is advising China Education Group Holdings, a large-scale private higher education group in China, on its HK$3.225 billion (US$413 million) IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This is the largest IPO in the education sector to date in Hong Kong. Trading commenced on 15 December 2017.

The Skadden team includes partners Christopher Betts and Edward Lam; Asia-Pacific counsel Anthony Pang; associates Ryan Tou, Paul Mok, Wentao Yuan, Will Wang and Arthur Chan; and international legal project manager Xu Zheng.

Skadden in Japan bonds offering

Skadden represented JP Morgan, Barclays, Daiwa Capital Markets Europe and Goldman Sachs International as underwriters in a US$4.5 billion offering of government-guaranteed bonds by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation in three tranches: US$1.5 billion of 2.125% guaranteed bonds due 2020; US$1.5 billion of 2.375% guaranteed bonds due 2022; and US$1.5 billion of 2.750% guaranteed bonds due 2027.

The team includes in Tokyo, partner Kenji Taneda, Asia-Pacific counsel Ken Kiyota, and associates Yuko Ozaki, Tomoaki Kuragano and Timothy Morgan (corporate); and, in Palo Alto, partner Sean Shimamoto and associate Martin de Jong (tax).

Mayer advises on HK malls purchase

Mayer Brown JSM advised a consortium of firms led by Gaw Capital Partners on a bid to acquire a portfolio of 17 shopping malls in Hong Kong sold by Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT). The consortium agreed to purchase the properties for HK$23 billion (US$2.9 billion). The shopping malls are located in all corners of Kowloon and the New Territories, totalling approximately 2.2 million square feet of commercial space and 8,000 car parking spaces, with excellent links to the city’s underground MTR stations.

New office for HSF

Herbert Smith Freehills will open a new office in Sydney in 2018. The firm says it will transition part of its Sydney workforce to the new business hub, enabling the business to modernize the way its people work, connect and collaborate. The move also means a more sustainable occupancy cost for the firm in Australia.

Harneys sets up in Shanghai

Harneys has expanded its Asia operations with the launch of a Shanghai office. The law firm was granted a licence to offer international legal services by China’s Ministry of Justice earlier this year, which it believes makes it the first offshore law firm with a full service legal team on the ground in China.

The Shanghai team will work alongside Harneys’ three other Asia offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

Malaysia revises prospectus rules

The Securities Commission of Malaysia has released revised prospectus guidelines. From 1 March 2018, issuers will be required to include a prospectus summary at the front of any prospectus that provides a clear overview for investors. The guidelines also provide specific guidance for issuers and principal advisers on expectations of the commission in relation to compliance. The commission encourages issuers to adopt the revisions before the implementation date of 1 March.

Latham in Vietnam IEO

Vincom Retail, the largest retail property developer, owner and operator in Vietnam, has announced the completion of trading of approximately 415 million shares to raise the equivalent of more than US$740 million for existing shareholders, making it the country’s largest ever initial equity offering (IEO) on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.

HFW secures Indo tie-up

Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) has announced an association with Jakarta-based firm Rahayu & Partners. The firm now has more than 104 partners and fee earners across the region in offices including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Hastings works on HK IPO

Paul Hastings announced it had advised Morgan Stanley as the sole sponsor and global co-ordinator, and Morgan Stanley and CMB International as joint bookrunners and joint lead managers, in Bestway Global Holding’s US$149 million Hong Kong IPO. Bestway Global is a Shanghai-headquartered Chinese maker of outdoor leisure products.

The Paul Hastings team was led by Raymond Li, partner and chair of Greater China, and partners Zhaoyu Ren and Bonnie Yung, with support from associates Jason Wang, Gladys Tso and Qianyu Hu.

Norton’s Aussie combination

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and leading Australian firm Henry Davis York officially combined on 1 December 2017. The combined business is known as Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia.

Norton Rose global chief executive Peter Martyr said it had been a big year for the firm, with the completion of combinations in Canada (with Bull Housser), the US (with Chadbourne & Parke) and now Australia with HDY.

Myanmar adopts Companies Law

Myanmar’s national assembly passed the Myanmar Companies Law on 23 November, pending signing into law by the country’s president. Key areas of the law debated in recent weeks included whether small companies still required the use of an external auditor, or whether they could take an audit exemption. VDB Loi warned that the law was contingent upon the signature of the president, and there was therefore a possibility that further amendments to the law may take place.

PETOŠEVIĆ opens Central Asia office

PETOŠEVIĆ announced the opening of a new office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, taking the firm’s total office count to 16. The decision to open an office in Tashkent followed an increasing demand for services in the region, the firm said.