Clifford Chance To Open Office In Seoul

Monday, July 9, 2012 - 09:41

Leading international law firm Clifford Chance is one of the first foreign law firms to obtain approval to open an office in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The country's Ministry of Justice approved the application on July 16. The firm's licence to practice is still subject to approval from the Korean Bar Association.
The new office will be led by Brian Cassidy, who has extensive international experience, including opening and managing a new office. Hyun Kim, head of the firm's Korean practice, will for the moment continue to be based in Hong Kong and travel throughout the region on behalf of Korean clients. He is applying for foreign registered lawyer status in the Republic of Korea and will transfer to Seoul upon approval.

Counsel Brian Cassidy has over 20 years' international experience working on projects across Asia Pacific, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He specialises in the energy sector with over 15 years' experience working on oil and gas, clean energy and mining matters, advising on operations, projects and  acquisitions and disposals globally. He also has a deep understanding of inbound and outbound investment.

Partner Hyun Kim specializes in capital markets and M&A, with extensive experience advising Asian and international  issuers on a wide range of securities offerings, including investment-grade and high-yield debt offerings, equity offerings with listings on various international exchanges, as well as cross-border joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. Hyun has a broad Korean client base, including multilateral development banks, financial institutions and multinational corporations.

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Clifford Chance has advised TAM S.A. on its combination with LAN Airlines to form LATAM Airlines Group S.A. The deal, which closed on June 22, took more than a year and a half to complete and required both Brazilian and Chilean regulatory approvals. The completed transaction results in the largest airline in South America with a fleet of 310 aircraft and one of the largest airlines in the world by market value.

Clifford Chance's representation of TAM S.A. was led by partners Anand Saha and Anthony Oldfield in São Paulo and Sarah Jones in New York, with support from associate Nari Na. The firm advised on U.S. securities and M&A aspects, as well as antitrust approvals in certain EU jurisdictions. 

With the formation of LATAM Airlines Group S.A., the airline industry welcomes a new international carrier with more than 51,000 employees initially servicing about 150 destinations in 22 countries, making it one of the world's premier airline groups for network connections. LATAM will also provide cargo service to about 169 destinations in 27 countries.

The Latin American practice of Clifford Chance is the only locally based international firm rated Tier One for Corporate/M&A work in Brazil by Chambers Latin America. Clifford Chance has advised on inbound and outbound legal matters in Latin America for more than 30 years and in 1998 became the first international firm to open an office in São Paulo.

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Clifford Chance has advised Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Company, Limited, (Yitai Coal) on its issuance of 161,465,100 H shares at US$5.54 (HK$43.00) each raising approximately US$861.2 million (HK$6.679 billion). China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited, BOCI Asia Limited, ICBC International Capital Limited, Merrill Lynch International, Merrill Lynch Far East, Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) Limited, UBS AG, Hong Kong Branch, BNP Paribas Capital (Asia Pacific) Limited, China Merchants Securities (HK) Co., Limited and Macquarie Capital Securities Limited acted as underwriters.

Clifford Chance has advised the issuers on all four of the H share listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to date this year including the first and second biggest IPOs, Haitong Securities Co. Ltd's US$1.77 billion IPO and Yitai Coal respectively. The firm also advised Huadian Fuxin Energy Corporation on its US$338 million IPO and China Aluminum International Engineering Corp Ltd (Chalieco) on its US$184 million IPO.

Tim Wang, who led on the deal along with Beijing partner Jean Yu, was supported by associates Ian Yang and Tianning Xiang. Shanghai partner Jean Thio and Crawford Brickley provided U.S. legal advice. They were supported by Hong Kong senior associates Rong Chen and Eli Gao, and Beijing associate Lindsay Gao.