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Clifford Chance

People & Places

Australia

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 local team of more than 80 partners and lawyers are leaders in their fields. They bring decades of experience, expertise and specialist knowledge to businesses looking to expand or defend their interests in Australia and around the world.

Local and regional know-how that delivers results

We are passionate about our clients' businesses and are committed to using our knowledge of the law and the markets we operate in to offer global solutions, new ideas, a fresh perspective and, ultimately, competitive advantage.

We advise clients from all commercial and industrial sectors, financial institutions, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not for profit organisations on domestic, inbound and outbound work. With the ability to quickly put together teams that manage complex, fast-moving transactions in Australia and beyond, we seek to provide our clients with the highest quality advice and legal insight which combines our local knowledge with the breadth and depth of our global network. Our clients include many leading businesses, operating across a wide variety of markets, cultures and languages.

Across Australia, our core areas of focus are Corporate, Banking & Finance, Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Antitrust & Competition.

Corporate

Our corporate team (made up of our M&A, energy and resources and competition/antitrust teams) has built a client base that includes many of Australia and Asia Pacific's most innovative and successful companies. This has been achieved by understanding and working with clients on business-critical transactions and delivering the counsel required to help their strategic plans succeed. Our team is led by corporate partners based in Sydney and Perth, who each have significant experience and reputations in the Australian market. Their expertise includes: public company takeovers; private M&A; private equity; competition and antitrust matters; foreign investment (including FIRB approvals); capital markets, listings and regulatory requirements; restructurings; structured financing; and complex transaction-related dispute resolution, including Takeovers Panel proceedings and ASIC, ACCC and ASX reviews.

Our partners have many years' experience and deep relationships with clients across a broad range of sectors and markets with particular focus on: agriculture / food, infrastructure & projects, consumer goods & retail, privatisations, energy & resources (including mining and oil & gas), private equity, financial investors (including sovereign wealth funds), real estate, healthcare, and technology, media and telecommunications.

Banking & Finance

Our global banking and finance practice is one of the best in the world. Located across 32 major financial and commercial centres around the world, our banking and finance experts work seamlessly across national borders to deliver global expertise, local insight and the latest industry know how to our clients across a wide range of sectors. The depth and breadth of our experience and the firm’s track record of acting on many of the market's most ground breaking and innovative deals sets us apart from other law firms in Australia and means our clients benefit from access to the latest developments in financing from around the world.

With senior and highly respected practitioners in both Sydney and Perth, our Australian team offers comprehensive services to lenders, borrowers, advisors and other intermediaries including on: asset finance, infrastructure / project finance, commodities and trade finance, leveraged and acquisition finance, corporate lending, real estate finance, debt capital markets, regulatory and derivatives, direct lending by alternative capital providers, restructuring, insolvency and special situations, funds finance, and structured finance.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Our litigation and dispute resolution team specialise in complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation, international arbitration and regulatory investigations around the globe. We understand the issues and risks facing our clients in all our sectors, including the strategic issues raised by litigation and dispute resolution, complex transactions and exit strategies, managing risk, compliance and regulatory issues. Our team is one of Australia's leading litigation teams. Our senior and highly experienced experts in Sydney and Perth advise on a broad range of complex litigation and dispute matters and have handled many of the most complex corporate cases and arbitrations in recent years.

We are also widely regarded as having one of the best alternative dispute resolution (ADR) teams in Australia with our partners leading on many of the most significant ADR matters in Asia Pacific. The team was also named "ADR Practice Group of the Year" at the Australian Disputes Centre 2016 Australian ADR Awards which recognise the achievements of legal teams that focus on the provision of alternative dispute resolution strategies. Our team was awarded ADR Practice Group of the Year at the Australian Disputes Centre 2016 and 2017 Australian ADR Awards. In addition, Sam Luttrell, Partner in our Perth office, won International ADR Practitioner of the Year 2018 for the second year in a row and Nathan Eastwood won Young ADR Practitioner of the Year 2018.

We have extensive experience in managing complex cross-border disputes across the financial services, energy and resources sectors (including mining and oil & gas) and advise on a broad range of complex matters across all major dispute resolution disciplines including: anti-corruption, including FCPA, insolvency and restructuring, arbitration, including under trade and investment treaties, insurance and reinsurance, banking litigation, intellectual property, trademarks and licensing, business and white collar crime, joint ventures, class actions, major construction, contract disputes, product liability, corporate governance and compliance, professional negligence, employment, projects and construction disputes, export control and sanctions, tax, trust and probate disputes, financial services regulatory investigations, technology, and fraud.

Antitrust & Competition

Our leading global antitrust & competition practice offers clients concise, strategic and commercial advice on a broad range of local, regional and international competition matters.

Our Australia team has extensive transactional and contentious capabilities, alongside significant regulatory experience. We are focused on providing strategic and astute competition law advice to leading companies operating in Australia and across Asia-Pacific.

Recently, our local team has worked on some of the largest and most prominent cross-border antitrust & competition matters, and we are acting on some of the largest regulatory and litigation matters in the Australian market.

Our practice is supplemented by the capabilities of our regional and global network. Together, we advise on some of the most complex multi-jurisdictional transactions and high-profile cases, including advising on:

  • Mergers, joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Monopolisation and misuse of market power
  • Cartel investigations
  • Joint venture, cooperation and distribution agreements
  • Competition & antitrust litigation
  • Market investigations and sector inquiries
  • Consumer protection law
  • Access to infrastructure arrangements
  • Restraints of trade and non-compete

Our expertise
 

Solution-focused advice: Our lawyers are known for their innovative approach. They go further to achieve successful outcomes that are in the client's commercial interest. The most sensitive matters on which we advise are often successfully resolved away from the headlines.

Unique perspectives on competition policy: We are at the cutting edge of developments in competition law. Our Australian practice includes a team member who is a Non-Government Adviser to the International Competition Network, is a previous Chair of the Law Council of Australia (Competition & Consumer Committee) and is also a past Co-chair of the IBA Antitrust Committee. 

Sector expertise: We provide industry-focused insight and tailored advice in a wide range of sectors including, amongst others financial services, IT, telecommunications, consumer goods and retail, energy, pharmaceuticals and the aviation and other transport industries.

On top of market trends: As the market evolves, our team advises clients on how the developments will affect them and what to expect going forward. We are frequently invited to host events, speak at conferences and join panel discussions with the major regulators on competition law. Our recent involvement in Australia includes working with the Asia Pacific Loan Markets Association (APLMA), the Global Competition Review Conference and the Asian Antitrust Competition Conference.

Sharing our insights: Our Australian competition team is part of the Clifford Chance Asia-Pacific competition group. We have produced a number of client briefings and updates for our clients over the last 12 months available to view through our briefings library.

Recent highlights

Awards and citations

  • Clifford Chance – International Law Firm of the Year – IFLR Asia Pacific awards - 2019
  • Transport Deal of the Year – WestConnex – IJ Global Awards 2018
  • Debt and Equity linked Team of the Year - IFLR Awards 2018
  • Syndicated Corporate Loan Law Firm of the Year – APLMA Awards, 2018 and 2019
  • ADR Practice Group of the Year at the Australian Disputes Centre 2016 and 2017 Australian ADR Awards.

Corporate
 

  • US based NYSE-listed PVH Corp on it’s AU $270 million acquisition of Gazal Corporation Limited;
  • Pacific Equity Partners on its Australia and New Zealand joint venture with SCA;
  • Partners Group on its establishment of the $700 million Grassroots Renewable Energy Platform and 100% acquisition of the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm and Murra Warra Wind Farm;
  • The Carlyle Group on its A$1 billion acquisition of Accolade Wines;
  • Mantra Group on its AU$1.2 billion take-over by Accor Hotels;
  • US headquartered Mondelēz International on the sale of most of its grocery consumer goods business in Australia and New Zealand to Bega Cheese Limited for AU$460 million;
  • Biostime International Holdings Limited, a leading provider of baby care and nutrition products in China, on the acquisition and restructure of Australian nutrition company Swisse Wellness for AU$311 million;
  • Shanghai Ground Food Tech Company on its purchase of Western Australia based dairy group Brownes;
  • William Hill plc on the sale of their Australian wagering and gaming business (including the Centrebet and Sportingbet businesses) by way of a sales auction process to CrownBet;
  • Shell in relation to their AU$3.5 billion sale in Woodside via a block trade;
  • Canadian Solar's purchase of 51% stake in five of Photon Energy's solar projects (1 MW portfolio)  in Australia;
  • Global Infrastructure Partners on its $4.8 billion acquisition of Equis Energy;
  • HNA Group on its disposal of real estate investments including 1 York Street;
  • National Australia Bank on its disposal of its Asia Pacific private wealth business to OCBC

Banking & finance

  • Bain Capital Credit as second lien lender to Australian Technology Innovators Pty Ltd - the parent of conveyancing software companies InfoTrack and Leap Legal Software.
  • Goldman Sachs on a lend to the Guangzhou R&F Property Groupto finance the construction of three buildings to provide residential units and retail units on 1 Cordelia St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
  • three syndicates of Australian and international financiers to the Sydney Transport Partners consortium (led by Transurban and including AustralianSuper, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Abu Dhabi's Tawreed Investments) on its AU$9.3 billion acquisition from the New South Wales government for a 51% majority stake in WestConnex, the largest road infrastructure project currently underway in Australia
  • BNPP, DNB, HSBC, MUFG and SMBC on their bridge financing to Ramsay Health Care to acquire Europe-based Capio AB.
  • international fund manager Davidson Kempner on its super senior secured financing of the HNA Ecotech group, a Chinese owned international tech group (60+ co's across 15 jurisdictions).
  • Deutsche Bank as arranger and underwriter of a unitranche financing to Anchorage Capital.  We also represented Westpac, CBA, Bain Capital Credit, Challenger and Metrics as incoming syndicate lenders to the financing
  • GIC and Serenitas and Tasman Capital on the financing of their acquisition of National Lifestyle Villages from Navis Capital and Blackstone
  • China Jianyin Investment Limited, JIC Huawen Investment Limited and Tamar Alliance Capital (the Consortium) on the acquisition and related acquisition financing of a majority stake in Australia's leading vitamins and supplements business, Nature's Care Manufacture Pty Ltd, from the Wu Family.
  • the lenders in relation to the financing of the construction of the Tailem Bend Solar Farm in South Australia. We provided advice on both the finance documents and the project documents, demonstrating our 'full service' offering
  • Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank and UBS on the acquisition financing for EG Group's acquisition of the Woolworths petrol stations
  • the lenders to the new syndicated facility, Joint Lead Managers to the new AMTN Programme and the US Private Placement investors on the initial acquisition financing for the Endeavour Energy part-privatisation.
  • the lenders on the financing of the 189MWp Coleambally solar farm in New South Wales, Australia
  • advised a large syndicate of domestic and international banks and institutions on a market-leading transaction, the proposed financing to the Land Services Victoria consortium for their bid for the 40-year commercialisation of the Victoria land titles registry.
  • JP Morgan on its bridge financing to Sonic Healthcare to acquire Aurora Diagnostics

Litigation & dispute resolution

  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Deloitte Corporate Finance Pty Limited in defending claims arising from the collapse of construction conglomerate Hastie Group Limited
  • Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd & Kingsgate Capital Pty Ltd in an ongoing ad hoc arbitration against the Kingdom of Thailand under the Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Deloitte Corporate Finance Pty Limited in relation to four separate but related proceedings arising from the collapse of the Dick Smith group of companies, which proceedings are being case managed together in the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • an international resources company in respect of a cross-border regulatory investigation related to an impairment charge in respect of an African coal business, recorded in its financial statements for the 2012 financial year.
  • the Estate of the late Michael Wright and the residuary beneficiaries (including two of his daughters who now control the Wright iron ore mining dynasty in Western Australia), in proceedings brought by Mr Wright's youngest daughter for further and better provision from the Estate
  • New Century Limited (an ASX listed mining company and developer of innovative methods to reprocess tailings dams) in a multi-billion dollar dispute with Nyrstar (the world's second largest direct end user of zin concentrate).
  • one of the former directors of the Forge Group in an action brought in the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Commercial List). The Forge Group (now in liquidation) is suing its former directors for breach of director powers and duties during the acquisition of CTEC and consequent management of that asset which eventually (allegedly) led to the cash flow issues that resulted in the collapse of the Forge Group.
  • Tantalum International Ltd (TIL) and its parent Emerge Gaming Ltd (formerly Arrowhead Resources Ltd) in an ongoing ICSID arbitration against the Arab Republic of Egypt.
  • Cortec Mining Kenya and its UK shareholders in an ongoing investment dispute with the Republic of Kenya.
  • Churchill Mining Plc and its Australian subsidiary Planet Mining Pty Ltd in this long-running, high profile international arbitration against Indonesia.
  • S&P Global Inc (formerly McGraw Hill Financial Inc.) and related entities (together referred to as S&P) in multiple class actions commenced in the Federal Court of Australia since 2013, in relation to ratings assigned by S&P to various synthetic collateralised debt obligations (SCDOs).

Antitrust & competition

  • Glencore in its successful declaration of the world's largest coal export port the matter which made headlines in the Australian Financial Review and The Australian as well as the follow up arbitration litigation in the Australian Competition Tribunal in late 2018/2019;
  • Cristal in the US$1.6 billion merger with Tronox which is being opposed in the United States, but for which we obtained a clearance for Cristal in Australia
  • Oracle Corporation on the ACCC and FIRB aspects of its A$1.6 billion public company acquisition of the cloud-based enterprise business solutions provider, Aconex in Australia.
  • GE in the US$32 billion Baker Hughes merger;
  • the Mondelēz sale to Bega Cheese of Vegemite and associated consumer brands for A$460 million, which featured in newspaper reports in Australia and in the Financial Times;

Directory listings and clients comments

Client comments

  • "excellent knowledge of the law, applied in a very practical and commercial manner, good regulatory contacts and willingness to present our position forcefully but respectfully."
    Chambers and Partners - Australia: Competition/Antitrust 2019
  • "They are involved in many transactions around the world; global connectivity is very important and they have experience we can lean on. Also, their work throughout Asia is very strong."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Corporate/M&A 2019
  • "super knowledgeable, straightforward, responsible and with a very deep experience across financing transactions."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Project Finance 2019
  • "I have been particularly happy with their dispute resolution skill sets, especially their courtesy, patience and client reports, and would not use any other firm for this work."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Dispute Resolution 2019
  • "The partners are very well respected, so this has meant that reaching an agreement with lawyers representing the other side has been more straightforward. They were also able to provide a large amount of resources to support critical negotiations that were undertaken in a very compressed timeframe, which allowed us to take the upper hand."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Energy & Natural Resources 2019
  • "the best advisers we've ever dealt with: they've never let us down and provide good, pragmatic advice and impeccable turnaround."
    "I should have brought them on board at the very first discussion and they could have solved some issues from the start."
    Chambers and Partners 2017 – Corporate/ M&A
  • "They are immaculate in preparation and responsive to all developments in a complex and lengthy process, whether litigation, arbitration or settlement negotiations."
    "to pull together assistance from their global network and expertise on a single topic over multiple jurisdictions: this is a real asset."
    Chambers and Partners 2017 – Dispute Resolution
  • "They are thorough, responsive, commercial in their outlook and a pleasure to deal with."
    "The individuals were very responsive and understood what we were doing, we never felt like they were holding us back and the quality of the work is really good."
    Chambers and Partners 2017 – Energy & Natural Resources
  • "Clifford Chance's Perth office, led by Paul Vinci, offers outstanding service with respect to all manner of M&A transactions, regulated or private. Paul is our trusted advisor on M&A."
    "Clifford Chance is very commercial, while focussed on minimising risk appropriately. Its understanding of the market has been a real point of difference and highly regarded by us."
    IFLR1000 (2016) – Corporate/ M&A