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Allen & Gledhill (Myanmar) Co., Ltd fields ‘well-trained local lawyers’ led by Minn Naing Oo, who is among a handful of Myanmar-born, internationally trained lawyers and who is praised for his ‘good contacts in various government departments’. He advises Union Overseas Bank on financial services regulation. Key figures at associate level include Ayush JhunJhunwala and Boon Lerk Ong, who splits his time between Singapore and Myanmar and is noted for his ability to navigate issues involving unclear local regulations.

According to some, DFDL features ‘the best lawyers in Myanmar’ with ‘a good mix of international experience and local knowledge’. William Greenlee Jr. advised International Finance Corporation on a $7m loan to a local bank. In another highlight, the ‘very knowledgeable, thorough and prompt’ Nicholas Towle advised Digicel on a $60m murabaha Islamic finance facility. The ‘practical’ James Finch is also recommended.

Duane Morris & Selvam (Myanmar)’s work covers finance arrangements, international investments and capital markets transactions, among other matters. In an illustration of its track record in capital markets deals, Mark D’Alelio, who joined from DFDL, acted alongside Singapore-based Jamie Benson for First Myanmar Investment regarding its IPO on the Yangon Stock Exchange. Krishna Ramachandra, who divides his time between Yangon and Singapore, is also a key contact. Other clients include Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

Myanmar Legal Services Limited acts for international clients in a range of corporate and commercial matters, includes telecoms licensing, market entry and financing deals. Managing director Khin Cho Kyi has ‘a good working relationship with the Myanmar Investment Commission and Directorate of Investment and Company Administration’, and acted alongside Myanmar legal consultant Nwe Nwe Kyaw Myint (who is noted for her ability to navigate her way around administrative disputes) for Bumrungrad, a Thai healthcare provider, on its entry into the Myanmar market.

VDB Loi handles a range of corporate work, including finance arrangements and M&A deals, with a notable strength in public procurement matters. Name partners Edwin Vanderbruggen and Jean Loi advised National Energy Puma Aviation on the bidding process for its part-privatisation in the form of a joint venture with Puma Energy.

Baker McKenzie Yangon is ‘always up to date on new developments and delivers very good response times’. Ross Taylor (who is praised for his ‘understanding of the structure of the client’s business’) advises American and Singaporean businesses on acquisitions in Myanmar. The practice’s other work relates to financial regulation, joint ventures and sanctions. Ola Nicolai Borge and senior associate U Than Maung joined the firm from Grant Thornton and Kelvin Chia Yangon Ltd respectively, while Chris Hughes is now at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP opened its Yangon office in 2016, bringing on board Chris Hughes from Baker McKenzie Yangon and swiftly developing a reputation for ‘practical and helpful advice, and the ability to navigate the complexities of projects in a frontier market’. The firm handles real estate matters, joint ventures and capital markets transactions, with a particular strength in the telecoms sector. Singapore-based Manoj Purush is ‘level-headed, practical and dependable’.

Kelvin Chia Yangon Ltd’s ‘high-performance practice’ handles the full gamut of commercial work, including financing, investments and financial regulation. Foreign consulting attorney Pedro Jose Bernardo advised Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings on its IPO on the Yangon Stock Exchange, and senior partner Cheah Swee Gim advised a Myanmar company on an $18.5m investment into a fertiliser facility by a Japanese company.

At Lucy Wayne & Associates, Ltd, name partner Lucy Wayne MBE advises Associated British Foods on, among other matters, intellectual property enforcement, while U Win Naing’s work includes equity capital markets matters.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Yangon) Limited advises a range of high-profile Japanese clients on their entry into the Myanmar market. Takeshi Mukawa and Singapore-based senior of counsel Tony Grundy advised Kirin Holdings on its purchase of a 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery, which was Myanmar’s largest-ever M&A deal to date. The two also assisted Japan Exchange Group with the establishment of the Yangon Stock Exchange and on ongoing operational issues.

Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar Company Limited’s ‘very strong team’ particularly stands out for its M&A expertise in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) space. Chester Toh (who ‘combines an international investor outlook with Myanmar law expertise’) advised Fraser and Neave on the sale of its controlling stake in Myanmar Brewery. Clients also rate senior associate Alroy Chan for his ‘energetic and useful support’.

Tilleke & Gibbins’ work includes country entries, employment law, intellectual property and real estate matters. Attorney-at-law Nwe Oo advised a key oil industry player on employment law issues related to a proposed acquisition. In intellectual property, Oo and country director Yuwadee Thean-ngarm advised a confectionary producer on an alleged infringement. Other clients include Pfizer, Red Bull and Amazon.

WongPartnership Myanmar Ltd. advises on property developments and capital markets transactions, with a number of clients linked to the firm’s Singapore homeland. Goh Wanjing and associate Nelson Cung advised Macondray Holdings on a $70m joint venture with another Singaporean business to create a hospital. Other clients include Myanmar Golden Star Beverages and Kimberly-Clark.

ZICOlaw (Myanmar) Ltdprovides sound, professional and timely advice’ on finance projects, joint ventures and real estate investment. Country managing partner Samuel Britton is ‘attentive, knowledgeable and patient’, while senior associate Lee Eng Yeow also takes a leading role in key mandates.

Audier & Partners Myanmar Co. Ltdprovides knowledge and advice just as good as that from larger firms, and the team also adopts a more personal approach’. Etienne Laumonier and country representative Florence Grangerat are key contacts on the ground in Yangon, and regularly handle joint ventures and M&A.

Polastri Wint & Partners Legal & Tax Advisors has a track record spanning a range of corporate and tax matters. Name partner Alessio Polastri heads the practice, which includes Wint Thandar Oo and Karina Peng.

U Tin Yu & Associates handles insolvencies, joint venture disputes and day-to-day corporate advice. U Tin Yu and Hnin Ei Ei Aung advised United Beauty Palace on the expansion of its personal care product business. Other clients include real estate, energy, retail and transport companies. The firm’s formal alliance with Stephenson Harwood LLP ended in June 2016.

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