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Deals – 3 October

Deals – 3 October

Abbott Tout Solicitors acted on behalf of US-owned finance company CIT Group (Australia) Limited in the negotiation of a four-year, $800 million contract with Honda Motorcycles Marine and Power…

Abbott Tout Solicitors acted on behalf of US-owned finance company CIT Group (Australia) Limited in the negotiation of a four-year, $800 million contract with Honda Motorcycles Marine and Power Equipment to provide wholesale floor plan financing and retail financing. The deal is worth an estimated $120 million in annual wholesale financing and $80 million in retail financing to Honda’s 800 dealers across Australia, and their customers. Corporate services lawyer Michael Hodgson, who led the Abbott Tout team, said: “The deal showcases our client's advanced web-based finance system, involving finance options for consumers, online approvals, dealer finance and extensive dealer training.”

Jones Day is advising American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and US Airways in the sale of to IAC/Interactive Corp for US$685 million ($1.01 billion). is a travel website and an industry leader in ‘opaque’ travel, a service that enables online consumers to see and choose a specific fare or rate without knowing the brand of the supplier until after the item is purchased. was founded by Texas Pacific Group and a number of US airlines. Following the acquisition, Hotwire will remain a separate subsidiary and brand within IAC along with other IAC businesses including, and its affiliated brand The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2003, subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Blake Dawson Waldron recently advised Pasminco on the sale of both Broken Hill and Elura mines, seeing the resources company exit the last of its NSW mining operations. The lead and zinc Elura Mine, and its shiploader at Newcastle, was sold to Consolidated Broken Hill Limited (CBH), on Friday 12 September for a total of $22.2 million. The payments comprise: a $2.2 million payment, which was made on completion, a further $3.2 million payable nine months after completion, and up to $5 million in the form of price-linked payments, which will commence one year after completion and are payable during a period of up to four years.

CBH will also assume approximately $11.8 million in financial liabilities, including all clean up and rehabilitation in respect of the Elura Mine. Pasminco and CBH have executed concentrate supply agreements for supply of lead and zinc concentrate from the Elura Mine to Pasminco’s Hobart and Port Pirie smelters. The parties have also entered arrangements for supply of waste product from Pasminco’s Cockle Creek smelter to the Elura Mine to be used by CBH as fill at the mine. The sale is expected to have the effect of extending the life of the Elura Mine to 2012 or beyond. Pasminco sold its other NSW mine, the historic Broken Hill mine, to Perth-based Perilya Limited in 2002.

Lead partners on the Elura Mine and Newcastle shiploader transactions were Anne Mustow and Gail Owen. Team members included Andrea Featherstone, David Williamson, Doug Scobie, Jennifer Preston, Kate Mullins, Jock O’Shea and Jamii Quoc.

Baker & McKenzie recently acted as the English and New York legal advisers for the merger of China Southwest Airlines (CSWA) and CNAC-Zhejiang Airlines (ZJA) with Air China. The merger was a result of the State Council’s mandate to restructure the airline industry in China and marked the beginning of a new chapter for the country’s airline industry.

Baker & McKenzie’s offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chicago and Tokyo were involved in this first to finish business regrouping amongst the three Chinese aviation groups.

The transaction involved the transfer of 34 aircraft and related financings and leases from CSWA and ZJA to Air China. Other than the three airlines, other parties involved in the transaction included the PRC Ministry of Finance, US Eximbank, ECGD, Boeing, Airbus, a number of international and major PRC banks and leasing companies.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited and China Southern Airlines Company Limited are the big three airline groups in China. Air China now has a fleet of 129 aircraft and operates 395 routes, including 73 international and 322 domestic routes and offers 480 scheduled services on a daily basis. It has 31 domestic offices and 46 overseas offices. Air China ranks first among the Chinese airlines in terms of its total assets, total turnover volume and extensive domestic and international networks.

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