The Maples Group has expanded its Irish legal services offering in Asia with the launch of a new Irish asset finance practice in Singapore. 

The new Irish practice has been established to support aviation clients who increasingly require multi-jurisdictional and time zone sensitive legal advice on the ground in Asia. 

This is the Group’s fifth international location offering Irish legal advice with Irish lawyers based in its Cayman Islands, Ireland, London, Hong Kong and Singapore offices.

James Kinsley (below), partner, based in Singapore, will lead a team that include Mandarin and Japanese speakers, with a service offering that will target clients and intermediary law firms with aviation finance transactions requiring cross-jurisdictional legal expertise.

The offering is a part of a long-term strategy to expand the Maples Group’s Irish asset finance practice and follows Kinsley’s secondment to the Group’s Irish office where he worked alongside the Irish aviation team. 

The Irish asset finance practice, led by partner, Donna Ager (below), is one of the largest specialist asset finance legal teams in the market with lawyers based in Ireland, London and Singapore. 

The team specialises in tax-efficient lease and debt structures, establishment and ongoing management of leasing and investment fund platforms in the transportation space, equity and debt capital markets products, as well as asset and whole business acquisitions and disposals with clients benefitting from the combined knowledge and experience of lawyers across multiple groups and offices in the Maples Group network. 

Commenting on the new offering, Donna said, “Over the past few years, there has been an increasing demand from our clients for specialist Irish legal capacity on the ground in Asia, particularly in the aviation sector. 

“Through discussions with our clients and partners, we decided that despite the challenges that Covid-19 have presented to the aviation sector, it was the right time for us to expand our asset finance offering in Singapore. 

“Our team are already busy advising clients on financing arrangements including strategic acquisitions and investments in the sector.”

Michael Gagie, head of the Asia finance practice and regional managing partner, Asia, said: “This is an exciting development for the Maples Group. Our enhanced offering demonstrates the Group’s commitment to our Asia-based clients and intermediaries and underscores our collaborative approach to advising clients. Hong Kong and Singapore are international hubs for cross-border finance and banking transactions and we anticipate that our Irish expertise and capabilities will continue to be in high demand across the Asia region.” 

Ireland managing partner, Nicholas Butcher said: “This is an important development for our Irish and Asia practices and demonstrates the strong economic ties and connections between the two regions. This further expands our global Irish network and offers international clients access to Irish legal advice in multiple time zones suitable to their needs.”

Outside of Asia, the Maples Group’s Irish footprint in the aviation space was expanded with the launch of its Irish owner trustee services for aircraft assets in November 2020.

In 2020, the Maples Group’s Asia-based Irish asset finance team advised Ortus Aircraft Leasing Fund II, a $300m aviation fund, on one of the industry’s most innovative transactions, which was awarded Asia-Pacific Deal of the Year by the Airfinance Journal.