Offshore Firm of the Year
Harneys wins its first Offshore Firm of the Year title in 2016 for consistent and impressive growth around the world while retaining a significant presence in its headquarters in the BVI.
In the past two years Harneys has launched three new offices in Bermuda, Shanghai and Tokyo. The former was through a merger with local firm Hurrion & Associates, announced in September last year, while Harneys’ Asian launches gave it representative bases in two jurisdictions which many of its rivals are absent from.
In Shanghai, Harneys picked up Ogier’s Shanghai managing director Kristy Calvert to lead its new operation.
The firm has been one of the biggest hirers in the offshore market for the last few years and 2015 was no exception. Recruitment included a funds team led by Appleby’s former global funds head Ian Gobin in Cayman.
While expanding rapidly Harneys has also managed to maintain high double-digit turnover growth. It said its Hong Kong revenue had nearly doubled and Cayman and London litigation revenues had more than doubled in the past two years.
Key mandates in 2015 included advising Nasdaq-listed supply chain services and solutions provider UTi Worldwide on its $1.35bn acquisition by DSV for a cash consideration by way of statutory merger pursuant to the BVI’s merger code.
Second place: Ogier
Ogier highlighted its work as Cayman counsel to Garuda Indonesia on its $500m sukuk, an offering done without any government or financial institution guarantee, making it the first Asia-Pacific national flag carrier to successfully issue a USD benchmark bond on a standalone basis since Qantas Airways’ USD bond offering in April 2006.
The work was led out of the firm’s Hong Kong office. The Garuda offering was structured as a Wakala Sukuk based on Rights to Travel using an orphan-based Cayman SPV.
This is the first non-sovereign USD sukuk out of Indonesia – paving the way for other Indonesian SOEs and corporates to tap this market.
The deal is an example of substantial growth in Ogier’s Islamic practice, as well as across the finance practice.
Third place: Carey Olsen
Working alongside UK counsel Allen & Overy, a cross-practice team from Carey Olsen helped steer through last year’s acquisition of Friends Life Group by Aviva for £5.6bn. The deal impressed judges.
Friends Life was a Guernsey company and its acquisition involved the highest value scheme of arrangement ever to go before the Royal Court of Guernsey. Carey Olsen’s involvement in a series of major schemes of arrangement since the tool was introduced into Guernsey law in 2008 meant that it was able to leverage that expertise to steer the Friends Life acquisition through the courts.
The deal helped Carey Olsen to another strong year of double-digit income growth and came as part of a busy year strategically for the firm. Having opened in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 2013, last year saw it establish a BVI litigation team and open in Singapore.
Third place: Carey Olsen
Conyers Dill & Pearman
Maples and Calder