Clifford Chance

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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 Anti-trust & 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 33 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.

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 milestones

  • 2016: Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group of the Year (Australian Dispute Centre Awards)
  • 2016: Shipping & Maritime Law Firm of the Year (Legal Awards, Lawyer Monthly)

Australia


Corporate

 

  • Apache Corporation on its sale of interests in Australian and Canadian LNG projects to Woodside Petroleum for US$3.75 billion; on the sale of its Australian oil & gas business to a consortium of private equity funds managed by Macquarie Capital and Brookfield Asset Management for US$2.1 billion; and on the sale of its interest in the Yara Pilbara Ammonia plant to Yara International for US$391 million
  • Glencore on its successful application to the Australian Competition Tribunal for access to Newcastle Port shipping channels. This was the first access application and the largest access matter under Part IIIA of the Competition & Consumer Act in 2016
  • Royal Dutch 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)
  • Menulog Group Limited on the competitive auction sale process and its ultimate sale to JUST EAT, the UK-based online takeaway ordering company, for A$855 million
  • §  Sumitomo Corporation on its US$1 billion purchase with Glencore Xstrata plc of a 50.1% interest in the Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia, from Rio Tinto plc
  • BHP Billiton, providing ongoing contractual support to the supply division of its iron ore, nickel and copper business units; providing legal support across its Australian divisions and working with each supply division to imbed long term efficiencies through building capability using both legal and continuous improvement initiatives
  • Gateway Lifestyle on its A$500 million initial public offering underwritten by UBS AG and Macquarie Capital
  • GE on the Australian aspects of its US$17 billion acquisition of Alstom's energy assets
  • Emirates on its global partnership with Qantas and the associated authorisations and regulatory approvals processes
  • Vale on a memorandum of understanding with Fortescue Metals Group, to pursue long term opportunities in relation to the Chinese steel industry, through the formation of one or more joint ventures for the blending of selected volumes of iron ore, as well as providing a framework for potential investment by Vale in Fortescue through a minority acquisition of shares on market and/or investment in current or future mining assets)
  • Programmed Maintenance on its acquisition of SKILLED Group by court-approved scheme of arrangement
  • Senrigan Capital on its successful Takeovers Panel proceedings in relation to the US$2.3 billion subordinated capital note offering by Yancoal

Banking & finance
 

  • Apache Corporation on a number of banking and finance issues on the sale of its Australian oil & gas business to a consortium of private equity funds managed by Macquarie Capital and Brookfield Asset Management for US$2.1 billion
  • Biostime International, including its majority owned Australian subsidiary Swisse Wellness, in connection with its US$450 million senior debt facilities and its offering of US$400 million high yield notes
  • arrangers and financiers on the financing of a ARENA grant-supported solar PV and lithium battery project in Queensland
  • arrangers and financiers on the Australian aspects of a US$7.7 billion revolving credit facility for Glencore
  • BGC in relation to the debt restructure of Atlas Iron, named as the Australasian Lawyer‘s “Insolvency and Restructuring Deal of the Year for 2016”
  • arrangers and financiers in relation to the proposed financing of the acquisition of the BrisConnections owned AirportLink M7 toll road in Brisbane
  • OCP Asia (a Hong Kong based fund) on the arrangement of and subscription for a US$141 million Euroclear listed note issuance by Terracom Limited, an Australian listed coal miner with projects in Mongolia and Australia
  • an international investment bank in relation to the structured finance of the purchase of a major Australian and New Zealand consumer credit business
  • European and APAC lending syndicate on a multi-jurisdiction and multicurrency European bank financing for an Australian global healthcare provider
  • an international fund manager on the financing of its acquisition of an Australian real estate asset utilising non-Bank senior debt from Japan and subordinated debt from a German real estate fund

Litigation & dispute resolution
 

  • S&P Global Inc. (formerly McGraw-Hill Financial Inc.) and various subsidiaries in multiple class actions in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to ratings assigned to various synthetic collateralised debt obligations
  • Churchill Mining plc and Planet Mining Pty Ltd in an ongoing ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Indonesia relating to the expropriation of their interest in a coal mining project in Kalimantan, Indonesia
  • Saipem SA as part of a consortium with CPB Contractors on a complex claim (value is confidential) in relation to the Gorgon Jetty Project
  • Apache Corporation in multiple disputes with Woodside Energy Limited arising out of the sale Apache’s Wheatstone assets to Woodside
  • Lend Lease Primelife Limited and its officers and advisers in relation to various court proceedings arising from the receivership and liquidation of Australian Property Custodian Holdings Limited (APCH) as responsible entity of the Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust
  • Quadrant Energy Group on four separate proceedings against its joint venture partner Santos BOL and related entities in the Supreme Court of Western Australia
  • Cortec Mining Kenya Limited (and others) in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Kenya, the dispute arising out of the exploration of a rare earth mine and other measures taken by the Kenyan Government in alleged violation of the UK-Kenya bilateral investment treaty
  • a global investment bank on class action proceedings brought by investors in financial products underpinned by CDOs, regarding alleged misleading or deceptive representations contained in information memoranda
  • India's Lanco Infratech Ltd in successfully defending an alleged breach of contract claim worth US$3.5 billion, which eventually settled for A$7.5 million. The dispute concerned a coal agreement with Australia's Griffin Coal , acquired by Lanco in 2011
  • an Australian manufacturer and supplier in Australia’s first foreign bribery prosecution

Antitrust & competition

  • Advising General Electric Company (GE) on the competition aspects of the $32 billion GE and Baker Hughes merger which will create the world's second largest supplier of oilfield services.
  • Advised General Electric Company (GE) on the Australian competition aspects on the acquisition by GE's Thermal Power, Renewable Power and Grid Businesses of the Alstom Group. At US$13.9 billion this was one of the largest mergers in the Australian energy sector in 2015.
  • Advised General Electric Company (GE) on the Australian antitrust aspects of its US$1 billion acquisition of Thermo Fisher’s cell culture business in Australia.
  • Advised MBK Partners and TPG Capital on the landmark HK$9.5 billion acquisition of Wharf T&T from Wharf Holdings. Wharf T&T is Hong Kong’s largest purely enterprise-focused telecom service provider, with an extensive fibre optic network covering more than 90% of commercial customers in the region.
  • Advised Emirates on its partnership with Qantas and the associated authorisations and regulatory approvals processes on a global basis.
  • Advising Vale on a memorandum of understanding with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), the Australia-based iron ore mining company, to pursue long term opportunities in relation to the Chinese steel industry.
  • Advised Parmalat on the acquisition of Nestles Ski Yogurt Brands and Fonterras Tamar Valley Brand. The transaction was undertaken for Parmalat which is one of the largest dairy companies operating in Australia and was cleared by the ACCC within one month.
  • Advising Glencore on a number of matters, including its successful application to the Australian Competition Tribunal in relation to a declaration for access to the shipping channels of the Newcastle Port. This is the first application for access in respect of the shipping channels of the Newcastle Port and the largest access matter under Part IIIA of the Competition & Consumer Act in 2016.
  • Advised Temasek on its AU$5.7 billion interest in AS Watson, as well as its acquisition of remaining shares in Olam.
  • Advised the shareholders of Menulog Group on its proposed acquisition by Just Eat, the UK-based online takeaway ordering company for a total cash consideration of A$855 million (US$680 million).
  • Advised ICAP in its merger with Tullet Prebon in Australia and Singapore.

Directory listings and clients comments

Client comments

  • "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