US-headquartered White & Case has appointed five new partners in Asia Pacific, across its M&A and project finance practices.
The appointments form part of 46 lawyer promotions announced across 10 of the firm’s practices in 15 locations: in the US, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and APAC. Each becomes effective from January next year.
The APAC appointments include those of Tzi-Yang Seow and Ilan Wong as partners within the M&A practice in Hong Kong; Stephen Carlton and Hilary Cure as Project Development and Finance partners in Melbourne; and Shino Asayama as M&A partner in Tokyo.
Regional section head of APAC Corporate and M&A at the firm, Jonathan Olier, spoke to FinanceAsia about some of the trends he is seeing across Asian deal activity, that the newly appointed partners will work to address.
“Private equity remains an engine for M&A, and recent blockbuster fundraising by various global sponsors has resulted in ample dry powder for investments in APAC,” Olier said.
However, he noted an overall slowdown in M&A activity in the region and globally, following record deal volume in 2021. Economic headwinds and Covid-19-related policies have shifted deal-making away from China and towards other jurisdictions, such as India and Australia, he explained.
“The technology, media & telecommunications (TMT) sector has been one of the most active for M&A, with activity remaining high in Southeast Asia, India and South Korea. There has also been a shift in the region to investments in the renewable sector, which has been a major driver of activity in Japan,” Olier said.
Recent notable work involving the North Asian team, includes that of Hong Kong-based Wong, who advised alternative investment firm, PAG, on the establishment of its $675 million Asia Loan Fund, and its $1.4 billion Asia Special Situations Fund II.
Meanwhile, Melbourne-based Cure’s experience includes advising the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority in relation to the A$11 billion ($7 billion) Melbourne Metro Rail Project.
On trends observed by the Australian team in the project finance space, Joanne Draper, regional section head for APAC Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance and Disputes, highlighted “considerable” investment in onshore wind and solar, and battery projects.
Indeed, Australia’s offshore wind sector has attracted significant international interest following a new regulatory framework for offshore energy, which came into effect in June 2022.
“Australia is still attractive to international investors looking to finance long-term infrastructure assets…. These investments offer a combination of greenfield development and secondary market activity,” she told FA.
As of 2021, White & Case had 643 partners globally, a spokesperson said. The latest appointments form part of the practice’s annual promotions, she added.
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