Chambers Global (2018)
Banking & Finance - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Angela Lim - Band 2, Lee Weilin - Other Noted Practitioner, Ng Sey Ming - Band 4, Regina Liew - Band 1 (Banking & Finance: Regulatory), Sandy Foo - Band 4, Terence Choo - Band 4
Angela Lim is dual-qualified in Singapore and England & Wales, and is commended for her depth of experience on cross-border financing. Her practice covers acquisition financing, project financing and debt restructuring, among other areas.
Terence Choo is recognised by commentators as an established practitioner with sound financing expertise. His practice has a focus on trade and real estate financing, and he is also regularly instructed on debt restructuring work.
Sandy Foo has a good track record on transactional mandates spanning banking and finance, capital markets and M&A. On the finance side, she is best known for her experience on project finance and acquisition finance.
Ng Sey Ming is acknowledged by peers for his activity arranging financing facilities across the region, including project, real estate and acquisition financing. Of late he has been especially active advising Indonesian banks and borrowers.
Regina Liew is praised for her regulatory knowledge, a source explaining that she is "highly experienced in the Singapore market and has her finger on the pulse of financial institutions and regulators." She handles advisory, transactional and enforcement matters for various financial institutions.
Capital Markets - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Chia Kim Huat - Eminent Practitioner, Danny Lim - Band 3, Evelyn Wee - Band 3
What the team is known for
Offering expertise across both debt and equity capital markets, the team is recognised for being involved in many complex transactions in the market. Highly regarded for advising on IPOs and listings, as well as rights offering and hybrid issuances. A network of offices across ASEAN and beyond adds to the team's ability to handle cross-border work in jurisdictions such as Vietnam, Japan and Myanmar. The team harbours particular proficiency in Indonesia-related work.
Danny Lim is well regarded for his assured handling of Singapore IPOs, with additional experience advising on exchangeable bonds. "I do recommend Danny, he's excellent," says a peer. He advised Sinochem International on its issuance of USD90 million exchangeable bonds to China-Africa Development Fund.
Evelyn Wee is the head of the firm's capital markets practice group and frequently advises corporate clients on equity transactions. "She's excellent, I like working with her," remarks one client. She advised Malaysian rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove on its secondary listing by way of introduction on the Singapore Exchange.
Chia Kim Huat has a strong track record of advising Chinese companies regarding their listings in Singapore. In one example, he acted for China Jinjiang Environment Holdings on its IPO and listing on the Singapore Exchange.
Corporate/M&A: Domestic - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Chester Toh (Ranked in Corporate/M&A (Foreign Expertise) – Myanmar), Lawrence Tan - Other Noted Practitioner, Sandy Foo - Band 4
Foreign desks – The firm has an established Indonesia desk, representing leading multinationals and domestic entities in complex M&A. It recently assisted Marvellous Glory with the proposed USD786 million acquisition of the shares in China Minzhong Food Corporation, which was majority-held by Indonesian company PT Indofood Sukses Makmur. The group also provides Indonesia law advice through its associate firm, Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. Cheng Yoke Ping is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia and is a key contact for the firm's Indonesia corporate practice.
Sandy Foo is a well-respected lawyer whom interviewees describe as being "knowledgeable on the local regulations," with a "commercial approach to things that makes her advice user-friendly." Her past work includes privatisations, competing takeover bids and share acquisitions.
Chester Toh is recognised for his high levels of activity and broad range of work in the Myanmar market. He is popular with clients, one explaining: "He's great to work with, very informal and able to advise you on the customs and practices in Myanmar, as well as the law. He offers more than just the basic legal stuff, he gives a comprehensive look at things." He represented Myanma Awba Group as transactional and regulatory counsel regarding a USD10 million convertible facility from IFC.
Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap SC - Band 4, Paul Tan - Band 3, Tan Chuan Thye SC - Band 2
Tan Chuan Thye's broad practice encompasses the full spectrum of commercial arbitrations. He is particularly experienced in insolvency-related proceedings. An interviewee says he is "very quick to grasp the nuances of the case" and appreciates that he is "very clear in his thinking." Sources also praise his "no nonsense" and "efficient" approach to managing cases.
Department head Andre Yeap has over 25 years of experience advising on international arbitrations in the Asia-Pacific region. He is equally well versed in commercial arbitrations and investment treaty cases.
Paul Tan is frequently mandated to advise on high-value commercial and investor-state arbitrations as well as arbitration-related court proceedings. Peers describe him as "a rising star" on the Singapore arbitration scene. Client praise his "ability to think tactically" and "anticipate the moves of the opposing party." He is also hailed by sources as "very smart" and "great for bouncing ideas off."
Dispute Resolution: Litigation - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap SC - Band 3, Danny Ong - Up and Coming, Francis Xavier SC - Band 2, Lee Eng Beng SC - Band 1, Paul Tan - Band 4, Tan Chuan Thye SC - Other Noted Practitioners
Managing partner Lee Eng Beng SC remains a leading disputes practitioner in the Singapore market. He is particularly well versed in banking disputes, debt enforcement and insolvency litigation. "He is really outstanding," a market source reports, while another describes him as "very able and intelligent." He acted for International Healthway Corporation in a dispute related to the use of credit facilities in contravention of Section 76 of the Companies Act.
Andre Yeap SC's expertise spans the full scope of commercial litigation, including banking, securities and shareholder disputes as well as fraud and contentious estate matters. He regularly acts on cross-border mandates and is also well placed to handle international arbitration. Of late, he advised PB Tankers on a dispute with Rotary Engineering in which the client sought to transfer liability for delays and structural defects in 24 tanks that had been built by Rotary Engineering then leased to Shell and TOTSA.
The "excellent" Francis Xavier SC provides clients with expert advice on a broad range of commercial litigation matters in sectors including banking and real estate. Lately this has included acting for the majority shareholders of the Samwoh Group against claims brought by minority shareholders seeking an order to buy out their shares, valued at approximately SGD300 million.
Danny Ong regularly assists clients with fraud matters and asset recovery as part of his wider commercial litigation practice. He advised the liquidators of BSI Bank on potential claims involving the alleged laundering and dissipation of USD700 million belonging to Malaysian state-owned company 1MDB. Sources describe him as "very client and service-oriented."
Paul Tan joins the rankings this year on the back of strong market feedback and work. He has an active commercial litigation and arbitration practice, and is regarded as a "rising star" with a bright future ahead. One client explains: "Paul's main strength lies in his ability to think tactically in terms of legal procedure and anticipate the moves of the opposing party." Another interviewee notes that he "went the extra mile," praising his ability to provide quick responses.
Projects & Energy - Band 1
Ranked Lawyer: Shemane Chan - Band 2
What the team is known for
Well known for its comprehensive regional network, with an established presence in Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia. Highly sought after for its expertise in power and oil and gas matters and strong experience on PPP infrastructure projects. Noted for its focus on the construction and development aspects of projects, with additional expertise regarding project finance.
Shemane Chan handles the whole gamut of project development and front-end construction work, having advised on a number of major infrastructure and energy projects in Singapore. She is praised by one client for her "ability to change the mindset of customers" as well as her "understanding of our business model, what we want and how we want to negotiate."
Shipping: Domestic - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: (Shipping: Domestic: Finance) Chua Choon King - Band 2, (Shipping: Domestic: Litigation) Ian Teo - Band 2, Jainil Bhandari - Band 3, also ranked in Shipping (Foreign Expertise) - Malaysia, Kendall Tan - Band 3, Leong Kah Wah - Band 1, Toh Kian Sing - Band 1, Winston Kwek - Band 2
Toh Kian Sing SC possesses a wealth of expertise in contentious and non-contentious disputes in both dry and wet shipping matters. Clients recognise him for being "a leading authority in maritime law." He acted for PSA on the insolvency of Hanjin Shipping and the arrest of the 'Hanjin Rome' in the port of Singapore.
Leong Kah Wah acts as counsel in maritime and trade arbitrations before both ad hoc and institutional tribunals. Known predominantly for wet work, he represents owners, clubs and hull underwriters from both Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region. He represented the owners of 'Silvia Ambition' in a vessel arrest case before the Singapore Court of Appeal.
Chua Choon King handles both wet and dry shipping matters, and has experience in dealing with sales and purchases, finance leases and loan transactions for a variety of Singaporean and international banks. He is also active in solvent restructuring and port and terminal contracts for clients.
Winston Kwek works closely with both domestic and international financial institutions on insolvency, restructuring and mortgage enforcement cases. A recent work highlight includes advising the judicial managers of Swiber Holdings and Swiber Offshore Construction surrounding the issues of the management of the two companies, whose assets collectively totalled more than USD1.6 billion.
Ian Teo commands respect in the maritime sphere due to his strong reputation for trade and dry shipping work. His clients include shipbuilders and regional offshore players, which he represents in contract and regulatory litigation and arbitration proceedings.
Jainil Bhandari is dual-qualified in Singapore and Malaysia where he advises on a range of shipping and trade disputes, offshore construction projects and transportation and commodity contracts. He successfully negotiated with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency on behalf of ASL Offshore & Marine for the release of its vessel 'ASL Courageous.'
Kendall Tan is praised for being "unbelievably responsive" to a whole host of shipping-related issues, including providing advice on shipping arrests and settlement rates and acting as lead counsel on high-value disputes. Another client affirms: "He is absolutely reliable and can be trusted not to let anything slip when managing a case." He acted for the owners of 'APL Denver' in a casualty case after a collision with 'Wan Hai 301.'
Asia Pacific Region: Arbitration (International) - Band 3
What the team is known for
Leading Singapore firm, highlighted for its specialist arbitration practice and impressive regional range, extending to the Middle East, including especially notable coverage of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and demonstrating a rising profile in Philippines-related matters. Further noted for handling investor-state, construction and energy cases and regularly instructed in matters involving the operations of Chinese companies in other Asian jurisdictions.
The practice is notable for the praise it receives, not only from Singapore-based referees, but also from clients across the region. One such interviewee observes: "We would rely on them for cross-border disputes, especially international arbitration. They take a practical and thorough approach in their work." Another reports: "They were always available when needed, I should say 24/7. Despite the different time zones, we could always catch up and move things forward smoothly."
Continued to represent the Republic of the Philippines in an ICC-arbitrated dispute with multinational oil and gas companies Chevron and Shell arising from the claim by the latter parties that under the terms of the contract governing their oil and gas exploration operations in the country, the Republic is liable to pay their income tax obligations of over USD15 billion.
Andre Yeap SC is the firm's head of international arbitration.
Indonesia: Corporate & Finance (International Firms) (Desk based Abroad) - Band 4
What the team is known for
Leverages its network of offices across the Asia-Pacific region to advise on a significant volume of cross-border mandates. Provides Indonesia law advice through its associate firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. Expertise covers banking and finance, dispute resolution, M&A and projects. Cheng Yoke Ping is a key contact for the practice.
South-East Asia: International Trade/WTO (Asia Pacific Region) - Band 1
What the team is known for
Offers in-depth expertise in trade matters concerning South-East Asian countries. Excels in a range of areas, including anti-dumping, export controls, safeguards and the structuring of trade flows, as well as handling customs regulatory compliance for international companies operating across a number of sectors, with particular expertise in the hi-tech, healthcare and agrifood spaces. Has attained a strong reputation for its handling of Thailand-related matters.
One client notes the firm's regional strength: "I received great support from them, and their offices across South-East Asia," while another interviewee declares: "If there is a firm to recommend in South-East Asia, it is always Rajah & Tann."
Advised T Star Global on tariff reductions, import permits and import taxes in connection with the importation of its products into Malaysia from China.
Defended Philip Morris's Thailand subsidiary in a dispute with the Thai Customs Department and the Board of Appeal over the valuation of imports from Indonesia, dating back to 2002. The case is valued at THB460 million.
Kala Anandarajah, of the firm's Singapore office, is the key contact for this practice.