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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Gledhill (Myanmar) Co., Ltd’s Lee Jun Yee was recently admitted to the directorship, and the practice was recently bolstered by the arrival of senior advisers U Nyan Naing Win, who previously acted as legal adviser to the president of Myanmar, and Saw Yu Min, who has substantial experience in acting for local and foreign clients on cross-border investments. Managing partner Minn Naing Oo is currently working alongside Oh Hsiu-Hau to advise EAC on its joint venture with Unilever for the manufacturing of home and personal care products, and SCCP Prince appointed the group to oversee its acquisition of MiCasa Hotel’s business in Myanmar. On the banking and finance front, Lee represented a group of banks in their $40.2m syndicated financing to OCK Yangon for the construction of telecoms towers for Telenor, while in capital markets Naing Oo assisted Myanmar Citizen’s Bank with its listing on the Yangon Stock Exchange.

One of the key names to note at ‘top-notch firmDFDL is practice head William Greenlee Jr., who represented Silk Road Fund in its acquisition of a minority stake in two Hong Kong holding companies in Myanmar. He is frequently supported by Bangkok-based M&A partner Nick Towle, who has substantial experience in advising clients on transactional issues and providing investment advice to local and foreign entities such as Asia Pacific Breweries and Vodafone. A major Asian bank recently engaged the firm to handle the drafting, reviewing and negotiating of security documents in connection with a loan facility. James Finch is also recommended.

Duane Morris & Selvam (Myanmar)’s corporate and M&A group recently welcomed special counsel Michael Chong from Taylor Wessing LLP and director Mark Wong from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP to its Singapore office, but saw Mark D’Alelio leave the firm and move to Bangkok. Founding and managing partner Krishna Ramachandra, who is also based in Singapore, advised Emirates Airlines on the legal aspects of the establishment of a legal entity in Myanmar and the tax issues arising from the start of its operations; Yangon-based senior associate Rory Lang supported him in acting for IHP on its acquisition of Rouse’s Myanmar subsidiary. The firm is also providing ongoing regulatory and foreign exchange advice to foreign entities operating in Myanmar, handles the setting up of joint ventures, and assisted with the cross-border acquisition of a leading local interior design and manufacturing company by a private equity client. Special counsel Babita Ambekar, who heads the firm’s Japan and India practice groups, is another name to note in the Singapore office.

Led by managing partner Khin Cho Kyi, Myanmar Legal Services Limited acts for local and international banks, energy and natural resources companies, and project owners and lenders in a wide array of matters. Senior associate Guillaume Stafford, who is currently on secondment at the firm from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, was part of the team advising Bangkok Bank on its first secured term loan to a Myanmar entity and related finance security arrangements. Nwe Nwe Kyaw Myint provides ongoing legal counsel to companies such as Myanmar Yang Tse Copper and Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper on all local law issues. The group is also active in the telecoms and energy infrastructure projects space, and Thaw Dar Sein was part of the team assisting Thong Thai Textile with its investment license application to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

At Baker McKenzie Yangon, Ross Taylor heads the corporate and M&A group while Matthew Hopkinson sits at the helm of the banking and finance team. Group Lease Holdings appointed the group to oversee its acquisition of BG Microfinance Myanmar from Commercial Credit and BG International, and Yangon managing partner Jo Daniels is supporting Taylor in his advice to a Japanese company with regards to the setting up of a joint venture and the acquisition of shares in the fertilizer industry. Other notable clients include the Asian Development Bank and the Italian-Thai Development Company.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has a strong track record in advising government ministries, and acted as lead adviser on the drafting of the new rules in the country’s investment law under the instruction of the MIC and International Finance Corporation. Chris Hughes, who ‘is always willing to go the extra mile to find answers for his clients’, holds enviable experience in emerging markets corporate transactions and jointly heads the team with Singapore-based international project finance transactions expert Nomita Nair. She teamed up with corporate partner Manoj Purush, who is currently tackling spin-off and restructuring issues with regards to a group of vendors’ tourism assets, to advise a bank on its joint venture agreement with a leading telecoms provider from the Singapore office. Another key name to note is ‘diligent, responsive and earnest’ senior associate Stefan Chapman, who supported Hughes in assisting a borrower with a syndicated loan agreement with foreign financial institutions for the rolling out of telecoms infrastructure. Named individuals are based in Yangon unless otherwise stated.

The ‘responsive and approachableKelvin Chia Yangon Ltd is ‘well-versed in local regulation and knows the business environment’. It handles the full spectrum of commercial and corporate work. Noted for being ‘creative in structuring deals’ as well as for his ‘technically sound work’, Singapore partner Pedro Jose Bernardo is a name to note along with Yangon office director Cheah Swee Gim, who ‘goes beyond what clients need’.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Yangon) Limited is a Japanese firm which entrusts its Myanmar work to Takeshi Mukawa, who focuses his practice on energy and infrastructure projects, and Kana Manabe, who is based in Yangon. The group recently advised AEON on the local regulatory obligations with regards to the setting up of a retail joint venture, and acted for Kirin Holdings Singapore in its acquisition of Mandalay Brewery. On the junior echelon of the team, associate Atsushi Inoue is especially active in M&A mandates and works alongside senior associate Thit Thit Aung, who is a local Burmese lawyer with experience in acting for foreign firms. Tony Grundy in Singapore is also a key contact, as is Win Naing, who joined from Lucy Wayne & Associates.

Chester Toh jointly heads the Myanmar practice at Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar Company Limited, which regularly handles government-related mandates, acting on behalf of Japanese investors, and regulatory matters. Clients also include Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Visa International. Head of the firm’s Japanese group Hiroyuki Ota was recently promoted to partner. Min Thein is a key name to note on the ground in Myanmar, and is acting as transactional and regulatory counsel to Viz Branz on its joint venture with Myanmar GR. Highlights included advising the International Finance Corporation on its financing to Awba, a local manufacturer and distributor of crop protection products, and Yangon managing partner U Nyein Kyaw assisting Shining Star International Holdings with its proposed acquisition of 100% equity in a Singapore company building telecoms towers in Myanmar. Lester Chua specialises in dispute resolution and arbitration work and is also a key contact alongside senior associate Alroy Chan. Unless otherwise stated, all individuals mentioned are based in Singapore.

Clients are ‘very satisfied’ with the services provided by Tilleke & Gibbins, where consultant Timothy Wales puts his experience in international arbitration to good use. The team recently advised Bangkok Polysack on regulatory and documentation issues in connection with the opening of its factory in Mandalay, and counselled a leading international media company with regards to the regulations involved in the opening of a subsidiary in Myanmar. The ‘very responsive’ Yuwadee Thean-Ngarm handled the incorporation of a 100% foreign-owned company and teamed up with the ‘very informative’ Nwe Oo to assist a logistics company with a joint venture agreement. Consultant Sher Hann Chua ‘has legal acumen’.

The ‘friendly’ lawyers at VDB Loi display ‘a thorough knowledge of the market’. Managing partner Jean Loi heads the Myanmar group with the ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ Edwin Vanderbruggen. Along with handling taxation, corporate and licensing work in the telecoms, energy and infrastructure spaces, the practice also acts in disputes. Vanderbruggen worked with regulators in Myanmar to allow Carlsberg to invest in the country’s distribution sector, and advised Korea Land and Housing Corporation on its joint venture with the Myanmar government for the development of an industrial complex. Jeffrey Martin heads the banking and finance sub-team and is also a key contact.

WongPartnership Myanmar Ltd.’s team is spread across the Singapore and Yangon offices and consists of six partners led by Rachel Eng from Singapore. The team has strong expertise in joint ventures, foreign investment, construction and infrastructure work for clients such as Shangri-La Yangon, Myanmar Golden Star Beverages and Pan-Pacific Hospitality. Suegene Ang, who is the firm’s representative in Yangon, and Goh Wanjing led the advice to Keppel Land with regards to the divestment of its interest in Wiseland Investment, which owns and operates the Sedona hotel in Mandalay, to Eden Hotels and Resorts. Senior associate Eva Tan plays a key supportive role in the practice and is currently working alongside Ang as transaction counsel in the high-value financing for the procurement and development of the commercial component of the Junction City project in Yangon. Other key contacts include real estate and property expert Tan Teck Howe, and Christopher Chuah, who heads the firm’s infrastructure, construction and engineering practice. Named individuals are based in Singapore unless otherwise stated.

Executive chairman Dr Maung Maung is the new head of ZICO Law’s Myanmar office. Consultant Chan May May and senior associate Geraldine Oh recently negotiated a joint venture, technical management and services agreement on behalf of Myanmar National Telecoms Holding Public Limited – a consortium of local entities in its joint-venture in Myanmar’s fourth telecoms company, Myanmar National Tele & Communications Company Limited which is 49% owned by foreign shareholders. Of counsel Samuel Britton is a key name to note. He provides ongoing advice to a mobile financial services company and is also assisting a client with the negotiation of a number of transactional documents for the development of a hotel project. Another significant work highlight is a cross-country project financing transaction in the energy and hospitality sector.

Audier & Partners Myanmar Co. Ltd’s Myanmar offering is made up of UK and French qualified lawyers led by Vietnam-based managing partner Nicolas Audier and supported by Bernadette Fahy and Etienne Laumonier in the Hanoi office. On the ground, Colin Picard de Gennes focuses on corporate, commercial and competition law while senior associate Phyo Min has specialist expertise in a range of property matters. Recent highlights include negotiating a joint venture investment in the broadcasting sector, establishing a marketing and communications company, and drafting and reviewing telecoms infrastructure contracts. Florence Grangerat, who recently assisted a geological company in the setting up of a 100% foreign-owned entity in Myanmar to service players in the oil and gas sector from Hanoi, and Maw Zin are other key contacts in Yangon.

Lucy Wayne & Associates, Ltd is a small international outfit focused solely on Myanmar. Spearheaded by corporate and projects specialist Lucy Wayne MBE, the group handles work relating to potential investments in Myanmar as well as issues related to taxation, foreign currency and environmental matters. Uber, Behn Meyer and Tetra Pak are clients. Win Naing recently departed for Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Yangon) Limited.

U Tin Yu & Associates has acted for clients in the energy, transport and retail sectors, providing day-to-day corporate advice, acting on joint ventures and handling insolvencies. The names to note in the Myanmar practice are founding and managing partner U Tin Yu, who specialises in civil and commercial litigation, U Ko Ko Gyi, who has experience in criminal cases, and Hnin Ei Ei Aung, who heads the corporate offering and advises on foreign investment and trade mark registration.

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