Overview

Mayer Brown has one of the leading international asset finance practices, offering clients global coverage and experience across industries, asset classes and product lines. Our Asset Finance team acts for leading banks and financial institutions engaged in the financing of ships, aircraft, satellites, rolling stock, offshore oil and gas drilling rigs, airport, rail and port infrastructure, power generation and transmission, mining and construction equipment, telecommunications, manufacturing and processing equipment. We also act for project sponsors, airlines, shipping companies, managers, operators and other participants in the aviation, maritime, rail and automotive sectors, and have extensive experience in advising on the acquisition, employment, operation and disposal of assets and equipment used in these industries.

"A top reputation for aviation and ship finance work"—Legal 500 Asia.

Our asset finance team has experience across the full range of product lines including plain vanilla, debt, export credit-supported debt, off-balance sheet finance, limited recourse finance, domestic and cross-border leveraged leases and operating leases. We have also frequently advised clients in connection with the use of residual value products to support asset residual values in operating leasing and sale and leaseback transactions.

Experience

Aviation

  • Aircraft investment fund. We advised the equity investor, debt agent and lender (both for senior and subordinated debt) in the establishment of an aircraft investment fund that provides equity for a $1.2 billion aircraft warehouse facility. The fund is structured to provide short- to medium-term equity investments in a range of aircraft, leased to US and other international lessees. We also represent the agent in the individual financing of aircraft into the syndicated warehouse facility in which this aircraft fund is an equity participant.
  • Bankruptcy. We represented one of the largest aircraft lessors, Philip Morris Capital Corporation (PMCC), in the three major Chapter 11 airline bankruptcies (United, Delta and Northwest) as lead restructuring counsel. As part of the representation, we have packaged and sold PMCC’s interests in 19 aircraft to a hedge fund and recovered an unprecedented amount in the context of a bankruptcy. We also have assisted clients in relation to the judicial repossession of aircraft leased to bankrupt carriers in a number of jurisdictions.
  • Business aviation. We have one of the world's most active legal practices in business aviation and have advised manufacturers, lenders and purchasers of new and secondhand corporate jet aircraft on all aspects of this industry, from the sale and purchase of aircraft to their financing and operation, whether on a private use or charter basis. We have handled transactions involving business aircraft owned or operated in virtually all jurisdictions. We have advised on the provision of large business aircraft to the heads of state and governments of some of the most significant European jurisdictions.
  • Operating leases. We have advised airlines and lessors on the operating leasing of aircraft and aircraft engines in a great variety of emerging jurisdictions, including Russia, Georgia, Western and Eastern Africa and South America.
  • Sale & leaseback. We acted for one of the largest airlines in Hong Kong on the sale and leaseback financing of a fleet of seven Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. One aircraft was placed into a German KG (private investor) cross-border structure with a total value in excess of $150 million. Six aircraft were placed into a sale and leaseback structure with a total value of nearly $900 million.
  • Start-up of scheduled airline. We represented the equity investors in the start-up of the French business-only airline “L'Avion” and advised on all aspects of the airline's structure and operations, including its corporate structure, its initial equity funding, the operating lease and retrofitting of two Boeing 757-200 aircraft and the issuance of all required regulatory approvals by French and other European civil aviation authorities.
  • Warehouse facility. We represented Jackson Square Aviation (JSA), as servicer, in a $220 million aircraft warehousing facility from Norddeutche Landesbank Girozentrale for Cayman Warehouse Holdings II, Ltd., as borrower, JSA International Cayman Holdings Ltd., as borrower parent, and JSA International Holdings L.P., as guarantor.

Rail

  • Bangkok Sky Train. We advised a consortium of banks providing finance in respect of Bangkok's elevated light rail system—the Bangkok "Sky Train" Project.
  • Paris tramway system − RATP. We advised one of the bidding banks in connection with the tax lease financing of over 100 tramway sets for RATP, the operator of rail transport services in the Paris area.
  • Railcar investment fund. We represented the equity investor, underwriter, debt placement agent and lender, in the establishment of a new $245 million railcar investment fund that provides equity for a $1.19 billion railcar warehouse facility (TRIP Rail Leasing LLC) that finances US, Mexican and Canadian leased railcars. The fund includes both US and non-US investors, and is structured to allow equity investors to benefit from depreciation of the railcars and income from rents and periodic sales of railcars.
  • UK rail procurement. We advised Virgin Rail Group Limited in its pioneering approach to the largest UK rail procurement of the 20th Century—the renewal of rolling stock for the West Coast and CrossCountry passenger rail franchises. Mayer Brown's Train Service Agreement paved the way by providing the legal and contractual framework for the introduction of high speeds (140 mph) and advanced technology (tilting trains) to the UK's railways.
  • US railcar finance. We represented the agent in the extension of an existing $475 million revolving credit facility for Trinity Industries, Inc., one of North America's largest manufacturers of transportation products. Trinity Industries’ leasing subsidiary utilized the facility to finance the initial purchase of railcars from the company's manufacturing business, and then leased the railcars to a variety of end users.

Shipping

  • Asia container vessels. We advised ICBC Financial Leasing in its first cross-border vessel leasing transaction in respect of a 13,100 teu container vessel under construction by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. which, on delivery, will be subject to long-term time charter to COSCO Container Lines. Named Asset Finance Deal of the Year 2011 by Asia Legal Business.
  • Brazil offshore drill ships. We acted for the borrowers and sponsor, Odebrecht S.A., on the $1.4 billion limited recourse financing of two deep sea drilling vessels, Norbe VIII and Norbe IX, for operation off the coast of Brazil. The project won Project Finance International’s Americas Deal of the Year 2009 designation.
  • French army vessels. We are advising one of the bidders on one of the largest defense PPP (public-private partnership) procurements in Europe involving the provision of roll-on/roll-off vessels (RoRos) for the French army.
  • LNG Transport − Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. We acted for Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in a multiship contract with ExxonMobil for transportation of LNG from Papua New Guinea and Gordon Field in Australia. The project cost was around $230 million per vessel and the vessels will carry cargos for delivery to SinoPec and PetroChina. These would be the first LNG ships built by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and by ExxonMobil in China.

Energy

  • German power plant. We represented a major US industrial company and its German subsidiary in the synthetic lease of an electricity and steam cogeneration plant, to be constructed by the German subsidiary on behalf of, and leased from, the US branch of a Japanese bank, in a deal worth approximately €315 million (which also involved a guarantee by the company’s Swiss subsidiary and a number of other international banks).
  • US wind turbines. We represented MetLife in the acquisition and leveraged leaseback of approximately $300 million of wind turbines located in California. The transaction is structured so as to qualify for a section 1603 cash grant as well as bonus depreciation for property placed in service in 2010.
  • Latin America oil platform. We represented Petrobrás in connection with a sale/leaseback financing of an oil production platform.

Equipment

  • Container leasing. We represented CDB Leasing in the lease financing of four bulk carriers for charter to a German shipping company.
  • Container sale and leaseback. We advised Fortis Bank on the sale and leaseback financing of nearly 15,000 shipping containers, delivered in five tranches pursuant to a master equipment leasing facility. The lessor was the Singapore branch of a Belgian entity, the lessee was a Korean shipping line, and the container boxes were manufactured in five different locations.
  • Equipment finance start-up. We represented the senior lender on a warehouse loan to a start-up equipment finance company.
  • Manufacturing facilities. We advised an Australian insurance company on the provision of residual value insurance in connection with the sale and leaseback of manufacturing facilities operated by a large European company in five jurisdictions.
  • Program leasing. We represented a major international financial institution in connection with a program leasing arrangement in which our client arranges leveraged leases for a range of tangible assets and may provide residual value support and letters of credit as credit support.
  • Satellite financing. We acted for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat), Asia's first privately owned regional satellite operator, on all the financings of their satellites including AsiaSat 1 (1990), AsiaSat 2 (1995), AsiaSat 3 (1997), AsiaSat 3S (1999), AsiaSat 4(2003) and AsiaSat 5 (2009). AsiaSat 3 was the first satellite financing transaction on a project basis, which was secured on three satellites without any parent company guarantees.

Accolades

Chambers Asia Pacific 2019

Ranked Band 2 for Aviation: Finance

"They're absolutely responsive, proactive, pragmatic and commercial, and they provide the full service. You need the expert advice but you also need the support for them to go off and deliver on time. They all go the extra mile and they're absolute subject experts in what they do."

"They have strong commercial sense, providing both legal and commercial guidance"

"proactive and responsive," and “They can anticipate all parties' needs and constraints and are well aware of our expectations and policies."

Ranked Band 3 for Shipping: Finance

"They are excellent with leasing, solution-oriented, able to communicate effectively and great at managing their Chinese counterpart."

"their understanding of the shipping and ship finance business and understanding the needs of banks."

Ranked Band 1 for Aviation Finance (International Firms) –China

Ranked Band 2 for Shipping Finance (International Firms) –China

Chambers Asia Pacific 2018

  • Ranked Band 2 for Aviation: Finance
  • Ranked Band 3 for Shipping: Finance
  • Ranked Band 1 for Aviation Finance (International Firms) –China

Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018

  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance (Aviation Finance) – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance (Shipping Finance) – Hong Kong

The 2018 edition of Legal 500 Asia Pacific recognized Mayer Brown in 33 categories, including Asset Finance (including Aviation & Shipping Finance), Hong Kong, for the fourth consecutive year.

Chambers Asia Pacific 2017

  • Ranked Band 2 for Aviation: Finance
  • Ranked Band 1 for Aviation Finance (International Firms) – China

US News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2017 First-tier Ranking
National – Equipment Finance Law

Chambers Asia Pacific 2016
Ranked Band 1 for Aviation: Finance (International Firms) – China

"Very responsive and knowledgeable in this space, and very flexible and accommodating." (China)

"I like that they're commercial, their legal framework is very helpful and they're happy to share their knowledge." (China)

Ranked Band 1 for Shipping: Finance (International Firms) – China

"They are very efficient and the transactions are quick and smooth." (China)

"They are very good on client care - they always put in extra work to accommodate timelines and challenging ideas and structures." (China)

"The team takes commercial considerations into account to give us comprehensive advice." (China)

Ranked Band 2 for Aviation: Finance – Asia Pacific Region

"Very experienced in aircraft finance."(Asia Pacific Region)

"Our preferred counsel, especially for PRC aircraft financing." (Asia Pacific Region)

Ranked Band 2 for Shipping: Finance – Asia Pacific Region

"The firm is a go-to for shipping finance." (Asia Pacific Region)

"They are experts in ship finance; they are commercial and proactive to find solutions for their clients." (Asia Pacific Region) 

Chambers Global 2016
"They are very good on client care - they always put in extra work to accommodate timelines and challenging ideas and structures."

Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016

  • Ranked Tier 1 for Aviation finance – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 1 for Shipping finance – Hong Kong

Mayer Brown has ‘one of the leading aviation finance teams in Hong Kong with depth of quality from partner to associate’. (Hong Kong)

Legal 500  2015 

  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance: Aviation Finance – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 2 for Asset Finance: Shipping Finance – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 2 for Aviation Finance – France

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2015

  • Ranked Band 1 Aviation: Finance (International Firms) – China
  • Ranked Band 1 Shipping Finance (International Firms) – China
  • Ranked Band 2 Aviation: Finance – Asia-Pacific Region
  • Ranked Band 2 for Shipping: Finance – Asia Pacific Region

"It is a top-class firm. It has a dedicated team that is very knowledgeable on shipping finance and they understand what we need."

Asian-Mena Counsel 2015
Awarded In-House Community Firm of the Year for Aviation

China Law & Practice 2015
Awarded Shipping & Maritime Law Firm of the Year (International firms)

Seatrade Maritime Awards Asia 2015
Received Ship Finance Award

Chambers Global 2014
"They have a very strong global footprint."

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2014

  • Ranked Band 1 for Aviation: Finance (International Firms) – China
  • Ranked Band 1 for Shipping: Finance (International Firms) – China
  • Ranked Band 2 for Aviation: Finance – Asia Pacific Region
  • Ranked Band 2 for Shipping: Finance – Asia Pacific Region

“Mayer Brown is a major force in shipping finance matters throughout China and particularly in Hong Kong. Mayer Brown is especially notable for the representation of international ship owners and financiers with regard to matters involving LNG transportation vessels.”

Legal 500 2014

  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance: Aviation Finance – Hong Kong
  • Ranked Tier 1 for Asset Finance – Hong Kong