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Clifford Chance

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We help Australian and international clients make the most of business opportunities in domestic, Asia Pacific and international markets.

A practice that's built on solid experience

We formed our Australia practice to help clients make the most of domestic and regional opportunities; Australia has a mature economy, substantial natural resources and longstanding business links with Asia Pacific markets.

Our Sydney and Perth offices opened for business in May 2011 via a merger with two Australian firms with strong track records. The team has now grown to 16 partners and over 60 lawyers and advises clients on a wide range of matters and transactions; from cross-border M&A and complex financial and capital-markets transactions, through complex litigation and dispute resolution, to Australian antitrust and regulatory matters.

Local and regional know-how that delivers results

We advise corporates and financial institutions on domestic, inbound and outbound work. And because many Australian clients do business and invest across Asia Pacific, our lawyers have built close working relationships with colleagues in our seven other regional offices.

We combine on the ground knowledge – many of our partners have over 20 years’ Australian and regional experience – with the resources of our international network. Clients value this combination as it means we can quickly put together teams that manage complex, fast-moving transactions in Australia and beyond.

Recent examples that show the scope and scale of our work include: Sumitomo Corporation's joint US$1.015 billion purchase with Glencore Xstrata plc of a 50.1% interest in Australian coal assets from Rio Tinto plc; the antitrust aspects of Emirates' global partnership with Qantas in 2013; a consortium of 80 lenders on the Australian aspects of the US$17.34 billion refinancing of Glencore Xstrata; Apache Corporation in the successful defence of a prosecution relating to an explosion at Apache's gas processing plant in Western Australia; the US$12.5 billion financing facility for SABMiller's acquisition of Foster’s in 2011; and advising Securency when it faced Australia’s first foreign-bribery prosecution in 2012.

We value the praise we get from clients:

  • "They take time to understand the brief and work with the client to achieve the best outcome. It’s probably one of the best legal firms I have experience of in this space, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again or to recommend it to others."
    Chambers Asia: Energy & Natural Resources - Australia, 2013

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • Clifford Chance opens in Australia in 2011 by merging with a longstanding law firm in Perth and Sydney
  • The firm's first graduates join the Perth and Sydney offices in 2012 and associate numbers double in the Australian practices' first year as Clifford Chance
  • Leading antitrust partner Dave Poddar joins the firm in Sydney in 2013
  • Experienced finance partner Caroline Jury relocates from the firm's London office to Sydney in 2013
  • Energy, resources and utilities partner Paul Lingard joins the firm in Perth in April 2014
  • Philip Sealey, an experienced project finance adviser based in Perth, becomes the first lawyer elected to the firm's partnership from within the Australian practice in May 2014, bringing total partner numbers in Australia to 17

Recent assignments

Examples of work include advising:

  • Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) on the binding agreement to sell Shell's Australia downstream businesses (excluding Aviation) to Vitol for a total transaction value of approximately A$2.9 billion (US$2.6 billion).
  • Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) on its sale of 156.5 million shares in Woodside Petroleum Limited, representing a total estimated value to Shell of around US$5 billion (A$5.3 billion) on an after-tax basis. The sale, which represents 19.0% of Woodside's issued share capital, was effected through an underwritten sell-down to equity market investors and a selective share buy-back by Woodside.
  • multinational Rockwood Holdings Inc on its US$1 billion joint venture with China's Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group, that will give Rockwood a 49% ownership interest and Tianqi a 51% interest in Australia's Talison Lithium Ltd. The team was led from Perth and Frankfurt and included lawyers from Shanghai, Munich and Brussels, managing two transactions spanning four continents from instruction to announcement in just over one month
  • South Korea's Daelim Industrial, a leading engineering, construction and petrochemical company, on its purchase of interests in Millmerran Power Station and its associated coal mine in Queensland, Australia, from Japan's Marubeni Corporation
  • Sumitomo Corporation on its US$1 billion joint purchase with Glencore Xstrata plc of a 50.1 % interest in the Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia from Rio Tinto plc
  • Australia's Griffin Coal on the successful A$7.5 million settlement in 2013 of a claim by Perdaman Chemicals that originally sought compensation of A$3.5 billion 
  • MGPA (now BlackRock) on the establishment of its Australian business and on the acquisition and financing of commercial property in Sydney and Perth 
  • the Lowy Family Group on the A$663.7 million sale of its 7.1% interest in the ASX-listed Westfield Retail Trust, the most significant transaction in the Australian equity capital markets in 2013.
  • The Griffin Coal Mining Company on the renegotiation of its long-term coal supply agreements for the Bluewaters Power Stations, which enabled administrators to complete the sale of the power stations to a consortium of Sumitomo Corporation and Kansai Electric Power. The transaction took over two years to complete, and involved complex negotiations with the West Australian State Government, the Japanese purchasers, administrators and banks in both Australia and India.
     

Directory listings and client comments

  • "They take time to understand the brief and work with the client to achieve the best outcome. It's probably one of the best legal firms I have experience of in this space, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again or to recommend it to others."
    Chambers Asia Pacific: Australia, 2013 – Energy and Resources
  • "With offices in Sydney and Perth, this team continues to capitalise on its key strengths, which include cross-border capability and a robust energy and resources practice... Sources say: "The team was always there – full marks to them...They deliver quality legal work at a fair price"."
    Chambers Asia Pacific: Australia, 2013 – Corporate/M&A
  • "Clients benefit from this firm's extensive international network and resources, which enable the team to handle complex domestic and cross-border litigation with ease ... Diana Chang is a respected litigator with vast experience in the dispute resolution field."
    Chambers Asia Pacific: Australia, 2013 – Dispute Resolution