Linklaters, Clifford Chance win dim sum bond roles

Linklaters and Clifford Chance have completed the RMB3bn (£300m) offshore bonds issuance of Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) in Hong Kong.

The issuer is a state-owned agricultural policy bank. It is the first offshore RMB bonds issuance in 2012 and the first listing of RMB bonds issued by a mainland financial institution on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Linklaters, led by Hong Kong partner William Liu, advised the issuer. Clifford Chance acted for the underwriters, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Standard Chartered Bank, putting forward Hong Kong partner Connie Heng.

The issuer also enlisted King & Wood as its PRC legal counsel, with the firm’s Shanghai partner Zhao Xiaohong being the lead partner. The underwriters sought out Jun He for PRC advice.

At the end of 2011, Linklaters’ William Liu also acted in Shanghai-based state-owned steel manufacturer Baosteel Group’s issuance of Rmb3.6bn (£363m) offshore RMB bonds in Hong Kong (13 December 2011). Baosteel’s issuance is the first direct issuance of offshore RMB bonds by a Chinese corporation.

The ADBC deal sets another precedent for more Chinese state-owned entities to tap into the offshore RMB market. But such companies’ issuances are subject to regulatory approvals from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

 “The NDRC has approved other PRC institutions to issue RMB bonds in Hong Kong which will help to maintain the momentum of the dim sum bond market,” said Connie Heng of Clifford Chance.