Asia deals roundup: China bank deals and airline JV

UK firms Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Ashurst, along with leading Chinese firms King & Wood Mallesons, Jun He, Commerce & Finance and Grandall were among the advisers on a raft of Chinese corporate deals in the past week.

Minsheng, China’s largest non-state-owned bank, has raised $1.44bn (£906m) through issuing and placing 1.65 billion new H-shares in Hong Kong. Clifford Chance and Grandall, which advised the bank’s Hong Kong IPO in 2009, have once again provided legal advice to their long-term client. Clifford Chance’s Beijing partner Tim Wang led the firm’s team in the transaction, while Grandall fielded Beijing partner Zhang Lixin.

“Minsheng is China’s largest non-state-owned bank and has a complex shareholding structure. The transaction involved many challenges. Following the completion of this share sale, more listed Chinese banks will follow suit to raise funds,” said Wang.

Lead placing agents UBS and Haitong Securities were advised by Freshfields’ partners Calvin Lai and Richard Wang and Beijing-based Deheng Law Offices.

In the same week, Freshfields completed another bank deal – China Development Bank Capital Corporation’s HK$768m (£62.2m) public takeover of New Capital International investment, an investment company listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Beijing partner Richard Wang led the team.

King & Wood Mallesons acted as the PRC counsel for CDB Capital, while Jun He represented New Capital. Upon completion of the deal, CDB Capital will hold an equivalent of a 66.16% equity stake in New Capital.

CDB Capital was established as the only investment arm of China Development Bank Corporation and it currently manages capital investments of approximately RMB100bn (£10bn). It intends to use New Capital as an overseas investment  platform.

The Freshfields team also advised CDB Capital on its strategic alliance with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR), which was announced last November.

Also in Hong Kong, Australia’s airline Qantas has entered into an equal joint venture with China Eastern Airlines to set up a Hong Kong-based low-cost carrier – Jetstar Hong Kong.

Qantas Group is a longstanding client of Ashurst Australia (formerly Blake Dawson). The JV project is the firm’s first major mandate for Qantas since its combination with Blake Dawson on 1 March 2012.

The team from Ashurst’s Hong Kong office is led by corporate partner Robert Ogilvy Watson, and is working closely with the Qantas in-house legal team led by general counsel Brett Johnson and the company’s project leader Jane O’Connor.

Baker & McKenzie’s Beijing partner Jackie Lo and Commerce & Finance’s Beijing partner Chen Wei are advising China Eastern Airlines.

Subject to regulatory approval, Jetstar Hong Kong will commence services in 2013 with a fleet of three Airbus A320s, growing to 18 A320s by 2015.

US firm Paul Hastings, meanwhile, has advised Far East Horizon, the financial leasing unit of Sinochem Corp, on its $371m share placement in Hong Kong. The firm advised the same client on its $757m Hong Kong IPO in March 2011 and its issuance of preference shares to strategic investors KKR, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and CICC in 2009.

The Paul Hastings team was led by partners Raymond Li and Chris Betts. UBS was the sole placing agent in the deal and was advised by Freshfields.