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Legal market overview
The market’s relatively stable banking system has continued to provide a diet of investment and cross-border transactions, although the deal flow was inconsistent in 2012.
The ‘Big Six’ full-service firms cornered most of the market’s upper-end deals, making it hard for smaller firms to keep up. That said, a number of new boutiques have been founded. These included Angerjärv & Krautmann, which emerged from the team at Hansa Law Offices and has carved a reputation for itself in tax and disputes, and the newly formed Alterna Law, which was founded in autumn 2012 by lawyers from Glikman & Partnerid.
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On 31st December 2010 amendments to the Law Obligations Act (hereinafter LOA) came into force in Estonia, introducing the regulation allowing claiming punitive and preventive damages. Though the new regulation allows exemplary damages to be awarded only in the event of non-proprietary damages, it nevertheless constitutes a general paradigm shift, allowing for a much broader protection of personal rights.
Until the adoption of Reorganisation Act Estonian legislation did not provide efficient regulation for companies which were in temporary financial difficulties, but could be “rescued” via certain turn-around proceedings to overcome the economically difficult period.
New Advertising Act has entered into force from 1st of November 2008. The main reason for drafting the new Act was the current situation in the advertising market – the legal regulation of the Advertising Act passed in 1997 needed to be modernized. Requirements for advertising goods and services, which are likely to cause controversy in the society, have been specified. Additional restrictions have been provided for advertising of alcohol products and financial services, while exemptions have been added to the advertising regulation of tobacco products and gambling. The efficiency of surveillance has been improved and additional measures have been taken. Consistency with the EU law is important in order to avoid discrimination of foreign manufacturers and service providers. Drafting a new act was expedient, whereas extensive amendments were to be made to the current legal regulation of advertising.
The Civil Chamber of the Estonian Supreme Court has thoroughly handled the topics of division of joint property, repeated some earlier principles and given the clear instruction in the proceeding of division of the joint property of spouses in the question of assessment of the value of the company.
The Estonian Supreme Court handled the taxation of the earnings of the physical persons through the application of the rule of economic interpretation (Taxation Act § 84) in its decision of 6 November 2008. In this case the Supreme Court gave the instructions which circumstances are important for establishing the existence of the objective of tax evasion. This is a significant decision in the cases of transfer of securities, where the tax authority has found that the substance and form of the transaction are not in compliance and in no doubt will have its impact to assessing the tax consequences of corporate restructurings.
Stamford Law advised Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd, a party in the Banyan Caverns Storage Services Pte Ltd ( BCSS ) consortium, in a successful joint venture bid to operate the Jurong Rock Caverns. The operatorship of South East Asia's first subterranean hydrocarbon storage facility will be for a period of 15 years and has a contractual value of about S$200 million.
Attorney and Partner Søren Stenderup Jensen has written an article about the Danish Government's new resource strategy "Denmark without waste" in the recent edition of ILO's newsletter on environmental law.- Plesner
Stamford Law successfully appealed in the Singapore Court of Appeal against a High Court judgment which held the main contractor solely liable in negligence for the collapse of a crane into a concealed manhole at a worksite in 2010, with the Court of Appeal apportioning 40% of liability in negligence to the subcontractor. The Court of Appeal's judgment clarified important issues of law pertaining to the legal responsibility for worksite safety, the relationship between the statutory framework of the Work Safety and Health Act (Cap 354A) and common law duties, and the applicable standard of care.
Stamford Law advised Tuaspring Pte. Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hyflux Ltd) in the S$720 million 18-year term loan facility to fund the development of Singapore's second and largest reverse osmosis desalination plant and integrated on-site power generation plant.
Stamford Law advised Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings Limited on its initial public offering and listing on the Catalist board of the SGX-ST. Based in Singapore, Kim Heng is an established integrated offshore and marine value chain services provider for the oil & gas industry. Based on the invitation price of S$0.25, Kim Heng is valued at S$177.5 million post-offering.
Stamford Law acted as Singapore counsel to Bain Capital Partners LLC in its US$501 million offer to buy all shares of Macromill Inc., a Japanese online market research company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange which has Yahoo Japan Corporation as its biggest shareholder. Under the terms of the offer, Bain Capital will buy up to 65.4 million shares at 786 yen per Macromill share. Bain Capital is a private investment firm based in Boston, USA with more than US$70 billion in assets. Ropes & Gray (Tokyo) and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto are advising Bain Capital and TMI Associates is advising Macromill.
As part of Stamford Law's corporate responsibility initiatives, lawyers are encouraged to take on pro bono legal representations on a case-by-case basis.
Stamford Law is pleased to announce that our market-leading corporate practice has been ranked 2 nd amongst Singapore firms by Mergermarket for M&A activity by value within Q1-Q4 2013 in the Southeast Asia region. The firm's practice has a sizeable lead of $1.81 billion over the next Singapore firm on the league table.
Stamford Law is advising AVIC International Kairong Limited on the share acquisition and the implementation of a general offer for 39,762,858 shares of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG which are listed on the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The offer values KHD at over EUR 320 million.
Stamford Law represented the Rickmers Trust Management Pte. Ltd., Trustee-Manager of Mainboard-listed Rickmers Maritime (a business trust), in the establishment of its S$300 million multicurrency medium term note programme. DBS Bank Ltd. and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation acted as joint arrangers and dealers of the programme.