Dewey lands largest Chinese IPO of the year despite HK exit

Despite its withdrawal from Hong Kong last month, US firm Dewey Ballantine has won instructions on the biggest initial public offering (IPO) of 2003 in China

As revealed by The Lawyer (27 January), the firm took the decision to close its Hong Kong office in January, and a number of US firms have struggled in the region because of a lack of UK and local law capability.

Dewey has since been brought in to advise Sinotrans, China's largest freight forwarding company, on certain US law aspects of its $300m (£182.8m) IPO.

But it was two UK firms that scooped the lead roles on the largest flotation and the first state-owned enterprise in China to be listed in 2003.

A team from Richards Butler, led by corporate partner Delpha Ho, is advising Sinotrans on its listing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, after taking part in a secret bid process involving at least six of the leading international firms in the region. Beijing's Haiwen & Partners is providing Chinese law advice.

Freshfields Bruckhaus De-ringer, assisted by Beijing's King & Wood, is advising underwriters BOC Inter-national Holdings and Credit Suisse First Boston Hong Kong.

The offering closed on 7 February and the listing is expected to take place on 13 February.

Four overseas logistics companies have been lined up to take a strategic stake in Sinotrans in order to boost the offer price.

UPS, the world's largest parcel delivery company, and DHL, the regional market leader for express services, have agreed to buy shares worth $35m (£21.3m) and $65m (£39.6m) respectively.

Excel, the UK-based logistics provider, has also agreed to $35m worth of shares, while Japanese logistics company Nissan Corp has also signed up to buy shares worth $1m (£609,000).