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Clifford Chance

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

  • Asia-Pacific Law Firm of the Year
    Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2020
  • International Law Firm of the Year
    IFLR Asia Pacific awards 2019
  • International Firm of the Year
    Asia Legal Awards 2019
  • Banking and Finance team of the Year
    Lawyers Weekly Australia Law Awards 2019
  • Transport Deal of the Year – WestConnex
    IJ Global Awards 2018
  • Debt and Equity linked Team of the Year
    IFLR Asia Pacific Awards 2018
  • Syndicated Corporate Loan Law Firm of the Year
    APLMA Awards 2018 and 2019
  • Syndicated Project Finance Law Firm of the Year
    APLMA Awards 2017, 2018 and 2019

Corporate 

 

  • Partners Group, on the M&A aspects and development and financing aspects on the Murra Warra wind farm project, one of the largest wind projects in Australia, and on its investment in the Bango Wind Farm, the third renewable wind farm investment in Australia under the landmark Grassroots Renewable Energy.
  • Tobi Pearce and Kayla Itsines, and The Bikini Body Training Company Pty Ltd on the Series A investment by US private equity firm Norwest Equity Partners into The Bikini Body Training Company.
  • PVH Corp., one of the world's largest fashion apparel companies, in connection with its acquisition of Gazal Corporation Limited, by way of scheme of arrangement.
  • Five V Capital on its acquisition of funds ratings agency and investment research house Zenith Investment Partners.
  • Pemba Capital Partners on the sale of secure ID and transaction cards company Placard to Swedish corporate ASSA ABLOY, for a headline purchase price of A$85 million.
  • TBG AG, through its portfolio company DTN, on the purchase of a majority stake in Weatherzone, a leading provider of weather information, from Australian media conglomerate Nine Entertainment for a headline purchase price of A$30 million representing an EV of A$40 million.

Banking & finance

  • A syndicate of international and domestic financiers, including ANZ, Bank of China, ING, National Australia Bank and Société Générale, to the Land Services WA Consortium on the financing and corporate aspects of the partial privatisation of Landgate, the Western Australian property and land data agency. This is the fourth privatisation of an asset of this kind in Australia (with previous privatisations being in respect of the New South Wales land titles registry, the South Australian land titles registry and Victorian land titles registry, all of which we also advised on).
  • The lenders, arrangers and joint lead managers (comprising around 10 banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Commonwealth Bank of Australia) on the $350 million multi-sourced refinancing of Endeavour Energy's initial acquisition financing, including the update and issuance under the MTN for Endeavour Energy, the refinancing of numerous debt facilities, an initial 'samurai' financing into the Japanese market, and the implementation of various bilateral facilities.
  • HSBC Bank plc, and the other Active Bookrunners, in the syndication of Glencore's refinancing of its Short-term Revolving Credit Facilities.
  • Macquarie Capital and Swancor Renewable Energy in their capacity as the initial sponsors, on Formosa II (376-MV), one of the largest offshore wind projects in Taiwan, including on the wind turbine construction and O&M packages with Siemens Gamesa, and the project financing package.
  • Three syndicates of financiers to the Sydney Transport Partners consortium (led by Transurban) on its A$9.3 billion acquisition from the New South Wales government of a majority stake in WestConnex, the largest road infrastructure project and biggest privatisation currently in Australia.

Litigation & dispute resolution

 

  • Deloitte, in relation to multiple proceedings arising from the collapse of the Dick Smith Group. This is complex, large-scale and high-profile litigation arising out of a major corporate collapse in Australia, involving at least 10 separate trial teams, cross-examination of approximately 30 lay witnesses and 16 expert witnesses, and a very large volume of documentary evidence. 
  • Deloitte, in defending claims arising from the collapse of Hastie Group Limited, which was an ASX-listed, multinational mechanical (HVAC), electrical, hydraulics, fire and refrigeration services provider to the building and infrastructure sectors. Hastie had operations in Australasia, the UK and Ireland, and the Middle East, with more than 7,000 employees based at over 110 locations. Hastie collapsed in 2012 with debts in excess of AU$1 billion.
  • We are acting for former and current Australian partners of Herbert Smith Freehills, in relation to their defence of multiple proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, arising out of the collapse of the Arrium Group.
  • Tantalum, in an ongoing dispute with the Arab Republic of Egypt at ICSID. The matter is the first ever claim under the Australia-Egypt Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • Cortec Mining Kenya and its UK shareholders, in an ongoing investment dispute with the Republic of Kenya at ICSID. The dispute arises out of the 2013 revocation of a mining licence granted to Cortec Mining Kenya (CMK) over Mrima Hill, near Mombasa.

Antitrust & competition

  • AMA Group in its purchase from SunCorp of Capital SMART Smash repair business and ACM Parts for A$440m in 2019, which involved two of the largest industry participants in the market.
  • Bunnings in relation to its acquisition of Adelaide Tools.
  • Glencore on a number of matters, including its successful application to the Australian Competition Tribunal and the subsequent appeal to the Federal Court, and ultimately in March 2018 the successful High Court case over access charges to the shipping channels of the Newcastle Port, the world's largest coal export port.

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
  • "I have found their work to be of a consistently high standard." Another notes: "I anticipated that they would do a great job and I wasn't disappointed."
    Chambers and Partners Australia: Competition/ Antitrust 2020
  • "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
  • "One interviewee particularly appreciates the team's "ability to get the best for their clients and get the deal across the line."
    "They worked hard and crafted novel solutions to the transactions we were exploring."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Corporate/M&A 2020
  • "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
  • "Few firms have the resources in strength and depth that Clifford Chance obviously has – fantastic people, available in all places."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Dispute Resolution 2020
  • "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
  • "super knowledgeable, straightforward, responsible and with a very deep experience across financing transactions."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Project Finance 2019
  • "They have really good market knowledge, the team is active in the flow of work from the market and they know our needs."
    Chambers and Partners – Australia: Project Finance 2020