Mineral Commodities Trading

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1 Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Global Mineral Commodities Trading 5 Key Risk Factors

2 Commodity trading in a down-cycle Buyers beware! Depressed commodity prices. Buyers with questionable credit quality. Tax posturing. Governmental restrictions and requirements. Climate change. Trading companies are facing risks from many different directions. But they can mitigate these risks by anticipating and contracting around them. In this publication, we identify some of the most immediate risks likely to be faced by coal and mineral trading companies in the current commodities down-cycle, and recommend different ways to address them.

3 1 2 Risk protection From one direction, trading companies are facing depressed commodity prices that have resulted in a number of supply mines and other projects becoming marginal, leading to default by suppliers. From another direction, trading companies are seeing a decrease in the credit quality of buyers as well as the slowdown of growth in some emerging markets, both of which could result in a higher rate of default by buyers. Tax structuring : Conducting proper due diligence on your suppliers, logistics providers and buyers Ensuring adequate infrastructure exists or will be built to transport the commodity Protect yourself by Arranging for appropriate collateral and other risk mitigation, such as credit insurance Analyzing the market and regional stability Pricing credit risk into your trading contract There is an increasing trend for miners to establish captive trading arms in jurisdictions, such as Singapore, to avail themselves of tax savings. From a buyer s perspective though, dealing with a trading entity rather than the actual mine or project itself may give rise to additional credit concerns since the buyer is contracting with a pass-through entity rather than an entity with a substantial asset (i.e., the mining asset). On the other side of the tax coin, companies should be vigilant in how they calculate and document their transfer prices since many countries require companies to show that their related party transactions are priced similarly to unrelated party transactions. For buyers dealing with captive trading entities, consider insisting on a back-up guarantee from the supplying mine (to put you in the same credit position you would have been in had you not accommodated the seller s tax structuring arrangements). For mine owners, consider the jurisdictions that provide for favorable tax treatment and the accompanying issues. What is the jurisdiction s corporation tax rate, if any? Does the jurisdiction offer any special fiscal incentives to attract trading operations? What about its witholding tax rates on repatriating profits? How likely is it that tax authorities would challenge a transaction for breach of transfer pricing rules? Can you enter into an advance pricing agreement with tax authorities?

4 3 Governmental regulations In the current era of Resource Nationalism, countries continue to introduce measures to restrict exports of commodities, or at the very least, prioritize domestic markets. Moreover, the enforcement of anti-bribery laws and resource disclosure requirements is intensifying. Trading companies can seek to protect their contractual positions by ensuring that supply contracts explicitly deal with these changes of law, so as to avoid force majeure claims, claims for contract frustration or negative impacts on securing financing. While contractual protection may not mitigate the risk of supply defaults, it ensures that in a renegotiation of arrangements with suppliers, trading companies go into the negotiations with some leverage. Also, consider diversifying the geographic and commodity focus of the trading company in order to minimize regulatory risk. 4 Enforcement With more and more emerging markets coming onto the supply scene, it is important to understand how any rights of redress under the contract can be enforced. Some jurisdictions (e.g., a number of the African states) have not become signatories to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (the New York Convention), and accordingly there are challenges enforcing foreign arbitral awards in those jurisdictions. Moreover, if the jurisdiction is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, the Brussels regime or a similar treaty or convention providing for the recognition and enforcement of judgments from foreign countries, there could be challenges collecting on a judgment. For example, Indonesia does not recognize foreign judgments as having binding effect on Indonesian courts. Therefore, a judgment obtained by a coal buyer in the Singapore courts against an Indonesian coal miner would not be directly enforceable against that coal mine in Indonesia. Fully understand how arbitral awards and judgments will be enforced in different jurisdictions and seek to have the contract be governed by countries that enforce arbitral awards and judgments from other jurisdictions. Consider diversifying the jurisdictions in which deals are conducted to minimize enforcement risk. Consider whether or not your counterparty has assets held outside their home jurisdiction which could be made the subject of an attachment order following an offshore court judgment. And consider what rights you may have under relevant bilateral treaties.

5 5 Climate change Severe climate conditions adversely affecting mining and other resource operations are giving rise to increased instances of force majeure claims under trading contracts. Recent examples of floods causing production disruptions in Queensland and high seas causing difficulties in barging coal out of Kalimantan in Indonesia have caused the bargaining parties to revert to their contracts force majeure provisions. Draft a strong force majeure provision, especially for contracts with minimum guarantees on supply or purchase quantities. Consider whether the effect of the force majeure provision is to release the parties from the minimum guarantee over the affected period or merely to suspend the obligations. Ask whether the force majeure provision requires the seller to spread out the adverse effects of the force majeure event across all buyers or whether it allows the supplier to prioritize certain buyers over others. Consider whether the seller s supply obligation is mine-specific (in which case a force majeure claim will likely be easy for the seller to make) or quality-specific (in which case there may be other supplies of coal meeting the specification which the seller must try to secure). A seasoned and recognized global practice Baker & McKenzie is uniquely equipped to help you mitigate each of the risks mentioned above. Having advised on complex trading and mining transactions, we have the experience needed to structure the best contracts and diligence plans possible. As the most highly rated and recommended tax adviser among law firms, we are wellsuited to develop the most advantageous tax structuring for your deal. Having a presence in the world s major trading and mining markets gives us a ground-level view of governmental regulations and enforcement wrinkles that you need to keep top of mind. Finally, with an awardwinning climate change team known for its work on pioneering climate change deals, we are well-placed to identify risks the changing climate presents and to draft provisions to insulate you from them. Contacts Chin Chew Singapore Luke Devine Jakarta Ext Anne Hung Tokyo Stanley Jia Beijing Winton Kim Hong Kong John Mollard Melbourne Dennis Quintero Manila David Ryan Sydney

6 Baker & McKenzie has been global since inception. Being global is part of our DNA. Our difference is the way we think, work and behave we combine an instinctively global perspective with a genuinely multicultural approach, enabled by collaborative relationships and yielding practical, innovative advice. With more than 4,000 lawyers in over 40 countries, we have a deep understanding of the culture of business the world over and are able to bring the talent and experience needed to navigate complexity across practices and borders with ease Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Baker & McKenzie International is a Swiss Verein with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a partner means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an office means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as Attorney Advertising requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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