Legal news in brief


Fintech agreement

Regulators in Singapore and Indonesia have vowed to collaborate on financial technology to help foster innovation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore signed the agreement on fintech with the Financial Services Authority of the Republic of Indonesia, otherwise known as Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), during a recent summit of the two countries’ leaders.

21 firms in youth pledge

Twenty-one law firms in Singapore, including Drew & Napier and Tan Rajah & Cheah, have agreed to offer increased opportunities for young lawyers to represent their clients in court. The pledge was signed by managing partners of the participating firms at the Supreme Court, witnessed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Global Legal Post reported.

The Young Members Chapter, under the Singapore Academy of Law’s Professional Affairs Committee, has introduced the new scheme helping senior lawyers from the firms to identify and give their young colleagues an opportunity to advocate at all stages of a proceeding as lead counsel.

OYAK JV underway

Sullivan & Cromwell (Hong Kong) represented Taiwan Cement Corporation in its investment in Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu (OYAK) in an amount up to US$1.1 billion by way of forming a joint venture with OYAK, in which Taiwan Cement and OYAK will hold 40% and 60% interests, respectively. The S&C team on the transaction includes: Gwen Wong (Beijing partner), Lin Ching-yang (Hong Kong partner) and Alan Zhang Hongye (Hong Kong associate) all in corporate; and Juan Rodriguez (London partner) in antitrust.

2 hired for disputes

Withers strengthened its dispute resolution capabilities in Asia with the appointment of two commercial disputes specialists – Soo Khim Keoy in Hong Kong and Amarjit Kaur in Singapore. They form part of Withers’ ongoing strategic expansion to grow its dispute resolution practice in the region following the hiring of restructuring and insolvency partner Justin Yip by Withers KhattarWong in Singapore earlier this year.

Skadden in NIO IPO

Skadden advised NIO Inc, China’s leading developer of high-performance electric vehicles, on its US$1 billion IPO of American depositary shares and listing on the New York Stock Exchange. NIO will use the proceeds to invest in technology, infrastructure and research and development. Trading commenced on 12 September 2018. The Skadden team was led by Hong Kong partners Julie Gao and Will Cai, with associates Zachary Levine (Singapore), Shifeng Ni (Hong Kong) and Peter Pang (Shanghai).

Group buys China malls

Paul Hastings announced that it represented SCPG Holdings, China Vanke and Triwater Asset Management Holdings in the formation of an offshore consortium for the purpose of acquiring a large-scale Chinese real estate portfolio from CapitaLand Mall Asia, a wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand Limited, for RMB8.36 billion (US$1.33 billion). The portfolio comprises 20 shopping malls across 19 cities in China. The firm’s team was led by Hong Kong partner Paul Guan, and Beijing corporate partners Nan Li and Meka Meng.

Ashurst in PNG upgrade

Ashurst has moved to a new office at MRDC Haus, formerly Pacific Place, in downtown Port Moresby. As well as updated IT infrastructure, the firm says the new premises provide a more modern and flexible working environment to benefit its people and clients.

Honda dreams with GM Cruise

Japan’s Nishimura and Asahi supported Honda with its agreement will work jointly with GM Cruise and General Motors to fund and develop an autonomous vehicle that can be manufactured at high volume for global markets. Under the agreement, Honda will contribute approximately US$2 billion over 12 years to the initiative, which, together with a US$750 million equity investment in Cruise, brings its total commitment to the project to US$2.75 billion. The Nishimura & Asahi team advising Honda was led by partner Yuki Oi and counsel Toshihito Yasaki.

Corporate vet joins Latham

Latham & Watkins announced that Farhana Sharmeen joined the firm in Singapore as a corporate partner. A Singapore lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, her core practice areas are public and private mergers and acquisitions, privatizations and acquisition financing, particularly financing for public takeovers.

Japan team launches IPO

Skadden advised Nomura International, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets and Mizuho International as international underwriters’ counsel on World Co Ltd’s ¥48.4 billion (US$429 million) IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. World is a retailer and manufacturer of women’s and men’s clothing and lifestyle goods in Japan. The team was led by partner Kenji Taneda and included counsel Ken Kiyota and associate Yuko Ozaki.

Baker seals property deal

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow advised a private real estate fund managed by BlackRock on the acquisition of seven strata office units in Prudential Tower for about S$130 million (US$94 million) from consortium Epic Land, which is owned by Lian Beng Group, KSH Holdings, KOP and Centurion Global. Principal Wong Ai Ai led the firm’s team, supported by local principal Chan Luyi and associates David Yong and Anzhen Chng.

Laos looks at data rules

In August, to clarify the requirements under the E-Data Protection Law, the Laos Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (the regulating authority) issued the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Law on Electronic Data Protection. The guidelines provide greater clarity on the classification of electronic data, the compliance obligations of data managers, and rules associated with regulated data protection activities.

Simpson shuts shop in Seoul

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett will be the first foreign law firm to close its Seoul office by the end of the year, after six years in-country. A total of 28 foreign firms have set up in South Korea since it opened up its legal market in 2012. The firm has already relocated most of its South Korea practice back to Hong Kong.

Big IPO for Meituan

Skadden advised e-commerce service company Meituan Dianping on its US$4.2 billion IPO (before the underwriters’ exercise of an over-allotment option) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Trading in the shares commenced on 20 September 2018.

The Skadden team was led by Hong Kong partners Julie Gao and Christopher Betts, with of counsel Antony Dapiran, counsel Anthony Pang and Shu Du, associates Deni Li, Steven Lee and Guang Yang, legal manager Abril Kang, and legal project co-ordinator Cecilia Chen.

Myanmar tax guide published

DFDL Myanmar has published its 2018 Myanmar Tax Pocket Guide. While tax law can be notoriously difficult to decipher in emerging markets, DFDL offers this simplified guide to negotiating local tax practices in Myanmar, with a focus on corporate and personal income tax, withholding tax, commercial tax and other related taxes.