Allen & Overy and Linklaters lead on Baosteel dim sum bond

Allen & Overy (A&O), Linklaters, Jingtian & Gongcheng and Fangda Partners have acted in Shanghai-based state-owned steel manufacturer Baosteel Group’s recent issuance of RMB3.6bn (£363m) offshore renminbi bonds in Hong Kong.

Baosteel obtained approval for the issuance from the National Development and Reform Commission in October this year and is the first mainland Chinese company to issue offshore dim sum bonds. Until recently, only Chinese banks, the offshore-incorporated subsidiaries of Chinese companies, red-chip companies and foreign companies have done such deals.

The A&O team representing the issuer in the deal was headed by Hong Kong partner Walter Son and Shanghai partner Ji Zou. Beijing-based Jingtian & Gongcheng acted as the PRC counsel to the issuer with Shanghai partner Lu Chen and Beijing partners Bai Wei and Zhang Xusheng leading the team.

“Baosteel’s issuance is the first direct issuance of offshore RMB bonds by a Chinese corporation. It sets a precedent for more Chinese state-owned entities to tap into the offshore RMB market,” said Son at A&O. “But such companies’ issuances are subject to regulatory approvals in China.”

The bonds carried fixed rates of interest and were issued in three tranches in the aggregate principal amount of RMB3.6bn with maturities of two, three and five years. The three tranches were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

Deutsche Bank and HSBC were the joint global coordinators for the issuance. They, along with China Merchant Securities, DBS, ICBC International Capital Limited and Standard Chartered Bank, were also joint bookrunners. Linklaters, led by Hong Kong partner William Liu, and Shanghai firm Fangda Partners, led by Jonathan Zhou, acted for the joint book runners and lead managers in the transaction.

Both A&O and Linklaters have advised on a long list of offshore RMB bond transactions since the market’s inauguration. The offshore RMB bond market has provided new business opportunities for international firms in Hong Kong (7 November 2011).

“We’re seeing a wider range of issuers from a growing number of jurisdictions interested in raising funds through offshore RMB bonds. It’s been an exciting new product for our global network, not only for the China offices but also the Singapore, London and Paris offices. We hope the market will be even more active in 2012,” said Son.