News in Brief


Honda plugs into Cruise

Nishimura & Asahi has advised Honda Motor on its agreement with General Motors and its subsidiary, Cruise, to fund and develop an autonomous vehicle for global deployment at high volume. Honda will contribute 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 US$2.75 billion. The team was led by partner Yuki Oi and counsel Toshihito Yasaki.

Lee & Ko wins antitrust case

Lee & Ko represented Hyundai in an investigation by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) following an allegation that Hyundai used a joint developed program with an autonomous mobility robot provider, Potenit, without consent. Lee & Ko argued that Hyundai had the right to use the program, since it is owned by both companies, and Hyundai’s contribution was significant, resulting in a non-guilty verdict from the KFTC.

StarHub’s debt issuance

WongPartnership acted as counsel to the sole lead manager and bookrunner, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), in the pricing of the Singapore telecoms company StarHub’s notes worth S$200 million (US$151.4 million) due 2031 at 2.48%, under its S$2 billion multi-currency debt issuance programme. Partner Trevor Chuan led the firm’s team.

Paul Hastings in equity sale

Paul Hastings has advised Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed COSCO Shipping Development on its sale of 35.22% equity interests in its investment management subsidiary, COSCO Shipping Leasing, for RMB1.8 billion (US$278 million) to the China State-owned Enterprises Mixed Ownership Reform Fund.

Equity lawyer joins Davis Polk

Davis Polk hired capital markets specialist Jason Xu as a corporate partner in Beijing. He joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he spent 14 years working in its Hong Kong and London offices, before more recently posting to Beijing as deputy head of equity capital markets (ECM) in China.

Atsumi sets up New York office

Atsumi & Sakai has opened an office in New York that will be led by a managing partner Bonnie Dixon, with the assistance of a vice managing partner Rikiya Okuhara. Hiroo Atsumi, a managing partner of the Tokyo office, said that an expansion to New York was a natural move for the first Japanese law firm to establish a joint partnership with non-Japanese lawyers.

New chair at NZ firm

Andrew Petersen, a real estate partner at Auckland-based Bell Gully, has been appointed as the firm’s new chair. Petersen has more than 20 years’ experience in New Zealand and the UK. He succeeded partner Anna Buchly, who will resume full-time practice in the firm’s corporate team.

ZBA, Linklaters in PFC bond issue

Indian firm ZBA advised an Indian financial institution, Power Finance Corporation, in raising US$500 million through a foreign currency bond issue. Linklaters Singapore advised the three joint lead managers to the issue. The issue was priced on 21 January and carries a coupon of 3.35% per annum. The bonds were issued on 29 January.

ACCRALAW assists offering

ACCRALAW acted as counsel to the joint lead managers, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank, in connection with the issuance by UnionBank of the Philippines of PHP9 billion (US$184.9 million) in denominated fixed rate bonds via a dual tranche offering. The three-year tranche carries a fixed coupon rate of 2.750% while the 5.25-year tranche carries an interest rate of 3.375%.

IDX board amends rules

The board of directors of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) recently issued a decree to amend IDX Rule No. I-E on Obligation of Information Submission. Assegaf Hamzah & Partners reported that the new rule requires all information submitted to IDX to be made in Indonesian and English, except for information submitted by small-scale and medium-scale issuers. The new rule also tightens the period for reporting.

Malaysia tweaks digital guide

On 1 February 2021, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department issued an updated guide on digital services by foreign service provider (FSP). As reported by KPMG, the guide replaced an earlier version dated 1 August 2020, and incorporated recent changes to service tax legislation, as well as provided additional clarity.

Thai firm hires M&A lawyer

The Capital Law Office has hired Patcharaporn Pootranon as a new partner in the capital markets practice in Bangkok. She joined from Weerawong Chinnavat & Partners, and advises on equity offerings and listings as well as corporate restructuring, M&A and securities regulations.

New Vietnam work rules

The government of Vietnam issued Decree 152, which outlines key changes on the recruitment of foreign and Vietnamese employees working in Vietnam, which took effect on 15 February 2021. Under the new decree, a foreigner can only be exempt from the work permit requirement if his or her capital contribution in the company is at least VND3 billion (US$130,400), as reported by DFDL.