White & Case has become the latest law firm to step up its energy and project finance efforts in Southeast Asia.

The firm has moved partner and project finance lawyer Steve Payne from Beijing to Singapore to lead the practice, and has hired ex-Allen & Overy lawyer David Gartside as counsel.

“There has been an upturn in cross-border project financing activity in Southeast Asia in recent years,” comments White & Case global project finance practice leader, Art Scavone.

The practice will focus on energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance.

“Energy and infrastructure projects are key to the development of Southeast Asia’s thriving economies,” says White & Case Asia regional section head, Barrye Wall. “Together, Steve and David bring deep experience in large-scale and complex project development and financing transactions across a range of industries and significantly enhance our capability to serve the diverse needs of our sponsor and lender clients in Southeast Asia.”

Payne has been with White & Case for more than 15 years advising sponsors and commercial, export credit and multilateral lenders on conventional and renewable power, oil and gas, petrochemical, telecommunication, and water and wastewater projects. He recently advised Saudi Aramco on its joint venture with the Dow Chemical Company to build the US$20bn chemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City.

Gartside’s expertise includes advising Japanese and Korean financial institutions, trading houses and contractors on joint overseas projects. He recently advised the lenders on the US$215mn financing for a ferrosilicon smelter plant located in Samalaju Industrial Park, Malaysia.