‘Domestic M&As are expected to be even more widely utilised’
Janice Lin of Tsar & Tsai provides an expert’s view on changes impacting Taiwan’s legal market particularly in relation to the renewable energy sector
As the recognised lawyer, what do you consider to be the greatest achievements of your career?
The greatest achievement of my career to date is being a prominent and leading lawyer in the field of M&A and project financing in the development of the Taiwan renewable energy, with the focus on the offshore windfarm projects in Taiwan over the recent years.
I led an energy team at our firm to assist leading global developers, ECAs, and international/domestic financial funders in the development of ground-breaking, first-of-its-kind Formosa 1 offshore wind farm projects in Taiwan. Following Formosa 1, I led the Tsar and Tsai energy team to continue our representation in all the offshore wind projects thereafter, includingFormosa 2, CFXD, and wpd’s Yunlin Offshore Wind Farm, which is the biggest single project financing deal that has ever been accomplished in the Asia-Pacific region.
I also led the energy team advising the ECAs and lenders in the project financing for a consortium of world-leading investors to acquire a total of 50% ownership of the Greater Changhua 1 Offshore Wind Farm (605 MW). The consortium of investors was formed by CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) and Taiwanese private equity fund Cathay PE. The financing group comprised of 15 Taiwanese and international financial institutions, two Taiwanese insurance companies, and five international ECAs. The transaction documents were signed and announced on December 29 2020. The transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals by the authorities in Taiwan.
The efforts of my works and contributions throughout this area have been recognised by numerous international rankings and awards including: ‘Leading Partner of Tsar and Tsai for Formosa 1 Offshore Wind Project Financing: Deals of the Year 2018 by Asian-mena Counsel’, ‘IJGlobal Awards 2018 - APAC Offshore Wind Deal of the Year (Formosa 1)’, ‘Leading partner of Tsar & Tsai Law Firm for Yunlin Offshore Wind Power. Awarded: IJ Global Asia Pacific Offshore Wind Deal of the year 2019’.
What advice would you give to lawyers in junior positions to encourage them to work towards success?
I would suggest having their upmost dedication to their work products as demonstrated in the quality of work results delivered. Enthusiasm is always a plus, and those junior lawyers that succeed and thrive up the ladder are those who treat each assignment seriously and diligently, and it helps to establish one’s credibility and reputation within the firm and in the legal society as well.
What does your firm do to nurture and promote talent?
Our firm prides ourselves in providing young promising lawyers to join and participate in international legal societies, organisations, events, forums, seminars, etc., and even to serve leading positions and roles in such opportunities.
If you could introduce one policy across the entire legal profession what would it be?
The policy I would introduce is to generally allow a flexible working style, such as working from home arrangements, during the time of the pandemic, so as to create a more safe and considerate working environment for lawyers during this hard time, as well as to take a step closer to creating the ideal work-life balance.
Are there any initiatives in the firm to help your clients deal with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic?
We helped our clients by providing more flexible payment terms. We also collaborated with our clients to weather the storm by discussing an acceptable budget, as well as put in place a more effective budget control mechanism to achieve the most cost-effective work results for our clients.
What trends from 2021 do you see continuing into 2022 and beyond in your field of expertise?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some renewable energy project construction is delayed. In this regard, the Bureau of Energy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs has extended the deadline to adopt the applicable purchase rate upon completion of construction for solar energy industry.
In addition, certain localisation requirements may need foreign technical experts’ assistance. Those experts are not able to enter Taiwan in the current pandemic situation, which may also postpone the project timeline.
Given the current conditions in your country what would you consider to be the market outlook over the coming year?
The renewable energy sector will continue to have substantial progress and development given the policy encouragement and focus stressed by the incumbent government. Also, domestic M&As are expected to be even more widely utilised and engaged in view of the current local market condition.
What kind of work do you expect will keep you busy over the next 12 months?
Renewal energy project financing deals and related M&A projects.
Are there any upcoming regulatory changes or initiatives that investors should be aware of?
The Taiwan government recently introduced Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under the Renewable Energy Development Act (RED Act). Any user, whose chartered capacity on electricity consumption agreements exceeds certain threshold, is obliged to install or provide space to install renewable energy power generation facilities or storage facilities with certain installed capacity, or purchase a certain amount of electricity generated from renewable energy and renewable energy certificate, or pay monetary substitution to the authority for the purpose of the development of renewable energy, according to Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of RED Act.
According to the Regulation of Requirements for Users Having Chartered Capacity Exceeding Certain Threshold to Install Renewable Energy Generation Facilities promulgated by the Bureau of Energy of Ministry of Economic Affairs (BOE/MOEA) on December 31 2020 (the Regulation), any user, whose chartered capacity on electricity consumption agreements exceeds 5000KW, will be subject to the RPO under Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of RED Act (Obliged Entity). Every Obliged Entity may meet its RPO target according to the requirements under this regulation.
The Regulation is effective from January 1 2021. We expect such regulatory changes will increase and further liberalise the market trading of the renewable energy, and markets for the corporate PPA.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception others have about your market?
The biggest misconception is that foreign investors think there are still many regulatory limitations on foreign investments in Taiwan, such as that it is a must to form a joint venture with a local entity/person, or a must to have a local director or partner in the invested business. This is no longer true.
What is the one thing you think the IFLR’s international audience should know about how to successfully do business in your market?
With only a handful of industries that entirely bans foreign investments (such as manufacturing of military weapons, public bus services, radio broadcasting and broadcast TV), all of the industries in Taiwan are open (with minimum restrictions and conditions) for foreign (non-PRC) investors to take part in.
Tsar & Tsai Law Firm
T: +886 2 6638 6999
Janice Lin is a partner with Tsar & Tsai Law Firm. Her expertise includes joint ventures, M&A, loan and project financing, foreign investment and capital market.
Janice has advised on a wide variety of financing and cross-border joint venture, and M&A transactions, in energy, high tech, manufacturing, retailing, banking and finance, and securities industries. She has represented international companies, private equity funds, and strategic investors in their investment, M&A in Taiwan.
Janice is the leading partner of Tsar & Tsai in the energy practice, including assisting a leading global developer of offshore wind farms in its investment in the groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind Formosa I offshore wind farm project in Taiwan. She is frequently praised by international clients for her practical advice, and ability to effectively communicate with local regulatory authorities on the new type of transaction or financing structure.