The Legal 500




Myanmar’s focus on political and economic reform has seen it grow into an attractive South East Asian investment target in a range of sectors including telecoms, infrastructure, and energy and natural resources. Indicative of this fast-growing reputation, in March 2014 Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy awarded tenders to explore for oil and gas in 20 offshore blocks to international energy companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and Total.

The Foreign Investment Law of November 2012 eased the regulatory regime for firms keen to establish a foothold in the country. The international firms to take advantage of this include Stephenson Harwood, which entered into a formal association with established domestic player U Tin Yu & Associates, and Baker & McKenzie Yangon, which opened in February 2014, while Allen & Overy became the first Magic Circle firm to open a Yangon office in May the same year. The entry of Duane Morris LLP in September 2013 through a tie-up with Singapore-based Selvam LLC marked the first US firm to dip its toe into Myanmar. It has a presence in Yangon through Selvam & Partners.

With partner-level presence on the ground understandably small in what is still an emerging market, most firms continue to focus on running Myanmar desks from their main Asia Pacific offices: Mayer Brown JSM, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and Linklaters Singapore Pte. Ltd are several notable examples.

The granting of 15-year telecom licences to Norwegian telecoms player Telenor and Qatar-based Ooredoo to provide nationwide mobile communications services marked one of the largest investments in the country’s infrastructure, as well as a test of its telecoms and property laws. Allen & Overy LTD and VDB Loi were among the many firms which advised on pre and post-tender issues. Other major sources of work include the Ahlone natural gas fired project in Yangon, which is one of Myanmar’s largest private power projects and key to meeting its future energy demands. Mayer Brown JSM is advising project sponsors Toyo Thai Power Corporation and 8 Coins Capital in that matter.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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    On 6 December 2014, Council Regulation (EU) No 1290/2014 entered into force. This regulation is the latest in a series of regulations regarding "sectoral sanctions" against Russia.
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  • Review of the Constitutional Court Decision on the Cancellation of Article 42/1 (C) of Law No. 556

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    Especially after the drop in oil prices the companies that are in early stage of their investments have begun to get position aiming to turn into an advantageous investment and started to look to what extent the regulations allow them to transfer and grant their rights under Turkish Petroleum Law. This may be deemed also as an exit strategy for some from operational perspective as it parallels with the tendency around the world and has direct relation with oil prices. 
  • Contracting the Petroleum Operations under Turkish Petroleum Law: Scope and Limits of Liability on P

    As exception to liberty of contracting and unlike a number of other industries, Turkey's petroleum industry imposes certain obligations to petroleum right owners in contracting the conduct of the petroleum operations.  At the first glance this seems that it aims to strengthen the management of hazards by enhancing the safety however the liability imposed to petroleum right owners in case of contracting the operations still remains unclear in terms of limitation.
  • Liabilities of Primary Employer and Subcontractors in case of a Collusive Contract

    Growing economy and competitive environment in Turkey has been leading companies to seek more profitable ways to conduct their business. Therefore companies have chosen to engage in subcontracts for the purpose of reducing their costs. Yet, to serve such purpose, at some point companies have started utilizing subcontracts to limit employees' entitlements through collusive contracts. Labor Law numbered 4857 (the " Labor Law ") and Bylaw on Subcontractor dated September 27, 2008 (the " Bylaw ") regulate which services or works may be subcontracted and strictly prohibit collusive contracts. According to Article 2/7 of the Labor Law, a collusive subcontract is considered null and void. Such nullity of subcontract automatically results in primary employers being redefined as main and sole employers of employees assigned to subcontracted work. Consequently, primary employers are solely responsible for employees' rights arising from subcontracted works and technically, primary employers would not have the option to recourse to subcontractors in order to claim any compensation due to their sole responsibility.
  • Boundaries of the Turkish Competition Authority’s Investigative Powers

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    The acquisition of a minority shareholding may come under the Turkish Competition Authority's (" Authority ") scrutiny in two ways, mainly: 1) it may result in de facto or de jure sole or joint control, depending on the rights possessed by the minority shareholders and/or shareholding structures and past voting patterns; and 2) it may not result in control but in cross-shareholding structures amongst competitors in a concentrated market which may raise questions about coordinated effects. This article discusses the circumstances under which the abovementioned consequences may arise under Turkish competition law with references to the relevant legislation and the most noteworthy cases in this regard.

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