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Interview with new Singapore partner Gervais Green

28 June 2016

Interview with new Singapore partner Gervais Green

Interview with new Singapore partner Gervais Green

What impact do you think the current economic climate (China slowdown, falling commodities prices, lack of conventional bank financing) having on the maritime and offshore sectors in Asia Pacific? Have you seen any slowdown in activity?

It is widely known that both the shipping and offshore sectors have been under stress for some time now. The factors listed, together with an oversupply of most vessel types, are largely responsible. The end result we are seeing is increasing numbers of companies/contractors under stress, with reducing revenue and vessels out of contract. This is leading in turn to widespread debt and contract restructuring/defaults and increasing numbers of insolvencies (both voluntary and involuntary). As a consequence of this, we see fewer new projects, projects being delayed/postponed or cancelled and reduced traditional funding appetite from commercial lenders and some investors.

How are market participants responding to the current economic slowdown?

Companies are cutting costs, delaying/cancelling projects, laying up/selling assets, refinancing debt and seeking new investors/equity.

With challenge comes opportunity: what do you see as the greatest opportunities in the maritime and offshore space (in terms of project types and geographies)?

The current market conditions provide opportunity for consolidation and M&A, new investment from both industry and institutional investors and innovative financing products. In terms of projects, we see considerable opportunity in the gas to power sector and ongoing floating production and floating LNG projects.

How long have you lived in Singapore and what do you like most about the country?

I've lived in Singapore for 16 years. From a personal/family perspective, Singapore is an excellent city to live and raise a family, and the airport is a major hub for travel and it is a very cosmopolitan society. From a professional perspective, I am fortunate that Singapore has become a major centre for both the shipping and offshore oil and gas sectors and is therefore a great place to be physically located.

Why did you join Clifford Chance?

Joining Clifford Chance was an opportunity to further develop and strengthen the firm's marine and offshore offering, not only in terms of financing but also in the corporate, projects, disputes and regulatory areas.

What led you to a career in Maritime Finance? What is the most rewarding moment in your career so far?

Choosing to study shipping and international law at university and deciding at an early stage in my career that I would be a non-contentious lawyer and not a litigator. The most rewarding moment was being able to build a business from zero to a team of 14 lawyers and help develop the careers of other lawyers. I hope to be able to do something similar at Clifford Chance.