The Hong Kong office of Mallesons Stephen Jaques acted for the lead arrangers of a HK$9 ($1.5) billion financing for the HTIL (Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited) group.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer acted for HTIL, the international business that was listed by the Hutchison Whampao group last year. It holds substantial telecommunications businesses in Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Israel, and has plans to expand into other markets.
Lead partner on the deal, Steven Christopher, said Mallesons had acted for a “roll call of top financial institutions” on the matter. He worked closely with ABN Amro, as the documentation bank, and Standard Chartered Bank, as facility agent and security trustee.
The other mandated lead arrangers were Calyon, HSBC, WestLB, Export Development Canada, Bayerische Landesbank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia), ING Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and United Overseas Bank.
The sheer size of HTIL, and the fact that it had been in existence for less than a year, gave the deal a unique twist, Christopher said. “Everyone was having to run very quickly to understand what they were lending to.”
Adding to the challenges was HTIL’s requirement for flexibility. This required a finance structure that was “robust” enough for the banks’ liking, but did not restrict the “dynamic management” of the company.
But the main source of pride at Mallesons, Christopher said, was that this deal was “one of a collection” that the firm was starting to do and showed that, for the banking and finance practice, “we are in the big league”.
Robert Milliner, the firm’s chief executive officer, said the deal built on the flow of other English and Hong Kong law cross-border financings handled by the firm last year, including the US$1.25 ($1.7) billion financing for the Nam Thuen 2 hydropower project in Laos and several LBO financings.
“It demonstrates that the firm is clearly establishing itself as one of a select group of law firms with the credibility to act on big ticket financings in Asia,” he said.
Christopher was supported by Aaron Borg and Michelle Luk on the deal.