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Clifford Chance

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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.

The team has 17 partners and over 70 lawyers advising clients on a wide range of matters and transactions; from cross-border M&A and complex financial and capital-markets transactions, through complex litigation and dispute resolution, to Australian antitrust and regulatory matters.

Local and regional know-how that delivers results

We advise corporates and financial institutions on domestic, inbound and outbound work. And because many Australian clients do business and invest across Asia Pacific, our lawyers have built close working relationships with colleagues in our seven other regional offices.

We combine on the ground knowledge – many of our partners have over 20 years’ Australian and regional experience – with the resources of our international network. Clients value this combination as it means we can quickly put together teams that manage complex, fast-moving transactions in Australia and beyond.

Recent examples that show the scope and scale of our work include: Sumitomo Corporation's joint US$1.015 billion purchase with Glencore Xstrata plc of a 50.1% interest in Australian coal assets from Rio Tinto plc; the binding agreement to sell Shell’s Australian downstream businesses (excluding Aviation) to Vitol for approximately A$2.9 billion, Apache Corporation in the successful defence of a prosecution relating to an explosion at Apache's gas processing plant in Western Australia; the largest International Centre of Court for Settlement of International Disputes (ICSID) claim in history by a Singapore company against mineral resources expropriation by the Papua New Guinea Government and the $2.75 billion sale of LNG projects in Australia and Canada by Apache.

We value the praise we get from clients:

  • a responsive team with good commercial perspective
    Chambers Asia: Corporate 2015

Recent highlights

Recent assignments

Examples of work include advising:

  • Churchill Mining plc and Planet Mining Pty Ltd in an ongoing consolidated ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Indonesia concerning the East Kutai Coal Project in Kalimantan, the investors’ claims being brought under the UK-Indonesia and Australia-Indonesia BITs respectively (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and ARB/12/40)
  • PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd in an ICSID arbitration against the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the dispute relating to the cancellation of the investor's majority shareholding in the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/33)
  • Cortec (Pty) Ltd, Stirling Capital Ltd and Cortec Mining Kenya Ltd in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Kenya, the dispute arising out of the revocation of a license for a rare earth mine and other measures taken by the host State in alleged violation of the UK-Kenya BIT (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/29)
  • an Australian palm oil company in a SIAC arbitration against a Malaysian EPC Contractor, the dispute relating to the contractor’s attempts to call on a guaranteeApache Corporation on the sale of its interests in the Australian and Canadian LNG projects to Woodside Petroleum Limited for a purchase price of US$2.75 billion.
  • Royal Dutch Shell plc (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).
  • Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) on its sale of 156.5 million shares in Woodside Petroleum Limited, representing a total estimated value to Shell of around US$5 billion (A$5.3 billion) on an after-tax basis. The sale, which represents 19.0% of Woodside's issued share capital, was effected through an underwritten sell-down to equity market investors and a selective share buy-back by Woodside.
  • multinational Rockwood Holdings Inc on its US$1 billion joint venture with China's Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group, that will give Rockwood a 49% ownership interest and Tianqi a 51% interest in Australia's Talison Lithium Ltd. The team was led from Perth and Frankfurt and included lawyers from Shanghai, Munich and Brussels, managing two transactions spanning four continents from instruction to announcement in just over one month
  • South Korea's Daelim Industrial, a leading engineering, construction and petrochemical company, on its purchase of interests in Millmerran Power Station and its associated coal mine in Queensland, Australia, from Japan's Marubeni Corporation
  • Sumitomo Corporation on its US$1 billion joint purchase with Glencore Xstrata plc of a 50.1 % interest in the Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia from Rio Tinto plc
  • Australia's Griffin Coal on the successful A$7.5 million settlement in 2013 of a claim by Perdaman Chemicals that originally sought compensation of A$3.5 billion 
  • MGPA (now BlackRock) on the establishment of its Australian business and on the acquisition and financing of commercial property in Sydney and Perth 
  • the Lowy Family Group on the A$663.7 million sale of its 7.1% interest in the ASX-listed Westfield Retail Trust, the most significant transaction in the Australian equity capital markets in 2013.
  • The Griffin Coal Mining Company on the renegotiation of its long-term coal supply agreements for the Bluewaters Power Stations, which enabled administrators to complete the sale of the power stations to a consortium of Sumitomo Corporation and Kansai Electric Power. The transaction took over two years to complete, and involved complex negotiations with the West Australian State Government, the Japanese purchasers, administrators and banks in both Australia and India.

Directory listings and client comments

  • "A responsive team with a good commercial perspective."
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2015 - Corporate/M&A
  • "Good partners doing a good job, with the advantages of international links and integration." "Good Western Australian credentials."
    Chambers Asia Pacific 2015 - Energy & Natural Resources
  • Hard-working, diligent, insightful and loyal to customers,”
    IFLR 1000 Asia Pacific 2015 – Competition Australia