Akin Gump has advised Newforest Limited (“Newforest”) in its US$109 million acquisition of 63 percent of the issued capital of Greenheart Group Limited (“Greenheart”, HKSE:0094), 40 percent of Greenheart Resources Holdings Limited and certain shareholder loans from Emerald Plantation Holdings Limited (EPHL) and its group of companies. The deal closed today, May 7, 2015.
Greenheart owns, grows and exports forestry assets, including timber and lumber products from forests in Suriname and New Zealand, for the growing wood deficit in China. The transactions were subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office of New Zealand, the independent shareholders of Greenheart and the Takeovers Executive of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.
At closing, the transactions triggered an obligation for Newforest to make a mandatory general offer to the shareholders of Greenheart in compliance with The Code on Takeovers and Mergers in Hong Kong.
Akin Gump Hong Kong corporate partner and head of the firm’s Asia practice Greg Puff, who is leading the team, commented, “We are delighted to have represented Newforest in this significant deal, in particular as it is a demonstration of Akin Gump’s strength in the Asian M&A market, showcasing our knowledge and experience in takeovers of Hong Kong listed companies, adding to our expertise in takeovers of companies listed in the United States for which Akin Gump is already well known.”
Newforest is a consortium led by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, a diversified, Hong Kong-based company engaged in the property development, hotel, casino, transportation, jewelry, port and telecommunications businesses. EPHL is a new company formed to receive substantially all of the assets, including its subsidiaries, of Sino-Forest Corporation following the implementation of the plan.
In addition to Greg Puff, the Akin Gump team that advised Newforest included partners William Rosoff (Beijing), Chen Li (Beijing), Zachary Wittenberg (Hong Kong/New York) and Matthew Puhar (Hong Kong). They were supported by a team of lawyers across the Hong Kong and Beijing offices.
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