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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 team of more than 80 Australian 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 and Finance and Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

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 and finance

Our global banking and finance practice is one of the best in the world. Located across 35 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 and 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.

Recent highlights

Recent assignments

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 and 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 and 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

Directory listings and client comments

  • Clifford Chance Australia named as 2016 alternative dispute resolution practice group of the year at the Australian ADR Awards hosted by the Australian Disputes Centre
  • "At Clifford Chance Australia, ‘response times are quick, business acumen is clear to see and Australian litigation experience is deep’."
    Legal 500 2016
  • "What I like is that it's a great local team with a global reach: they're strong in all the territories where I'm active".
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
  • "Well-regarded practice connected to a worldwide organisation and experienced in the management of high-value, high-profile mandates for market-leading multinationals" Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
  • "Representation of high-profile domestic and international clientele"
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
  • "Regularly instructed on large, cross-border mandates with proven strength"
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
  • "They provide a very good and detailed overview, good response times and a definite drive towards a solution."
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
  • "I'm impressed with their commercial approach and the quality of their work."
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2016