Freehills recently acted for Challenger Financial Services Group in its $187 million acquisition of the principal finance business of Zurich Capital Markets, which included Interstar Securities (one of Australia’s largest independent wholesale mortgage financiers), a high yield fixed interest and loan portfolio and 84,500 hectares of forestry assets.The Freehills team was lead by partners John Nestel, Leon Pasternak and Barry Barker.
Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong office has advised the joint lead managers Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, on the US$300 ($425) million five-year fixed rate bonds issued by ICICI Bank, the first offshore bond issuance by an Indian company in more than six years. The bonds were issued on October 22, 2003.
The bonds are rated BB by Standard & Poor’s and Baa3 by Moody’s and are listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
This international bond issuance showed the flexibility of ICICI Bank to tap into the international debt capital markets. ICICI Bank plans to use the issue proceeds to meet the financing requirements of its borrowers.
The Allen & Overy Hong Kong-based team advising the joint lead managers comprised partner and head of Allen & Overy’s international capital markets group in Asia, Andrew Harrow, senior associate James Grandolfo and associate Linda Liu.
Partner and head of Allen & Overy’s international capital markets group in Asia, Andrew Harrow, commented, “In the current market, ICICI Bank’s Indian bond issue, the first international bond issued from India in just over six years, was impressive and the enthusiastic response from investors suggests the vast potential for Indian issuers to access the international debt capital markets. As the debt markets in India have undergone considerable change in the last few years, we foresee a growing demand for such bond issues in the years to come. We are particularly pleased to advise on this transaction as it continues our string of recent high-profile bond deals in the region.”