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The economic growth and foreign investment enjoyed by the Philippines, one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, continued into 2015. The infrastructure sector has seen significant investment, with major national expressways and light rail transit systems now underway – though activity in projects and real estate slowed ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Domestic banks were remarkably liquid, reducing the need for foreign banks to finance large projects; borrowers have been less dependent on capital markets for funding.
Several sectors were notably active: although Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles is still the premier tax firm, numerous other tax practices were busy throughout the year, with clients looking to navigate the country’s 30% corporate income tax rate and relatively aggressive attitude towards tax collection; the resources market, including but not limited to renewable energy, has also been busy; and there has been no shortage of BPO activity in the Philippines.
The larger domestic firms – most notably Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan – continue to provide strong service across various practice areas.
Although foreign firms are not allowed to establish themselves in the Philippines, some have associated or member firms based in Manila offices; for example Quisumbing Torres is Baker & McKenzie’s correspondent firm in the Philippines.
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SyCipLaw acted as local counsel to DBS Bank Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank, the structuring banks in the US$400 million Project Financing of a new 300MW coal-fired power plant in Limay, Bataan of SMC Consolidated Power Corp. The lenders to the project financing, in addition to the structuring banks were Bank of Commerce, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., Maybank International (Labuan Branch), Maybank Philippines, Inc., Siemens Bank GMBH (London Branch), INTESA San Paolo S.p.a. (Hong Kong Branch). The project financing was recognized as Best Power Deal in the Asia-Pacific Region in the 2015 IJ Global Awards.
ExportWise magazine has published the “First 5 Calls” series on the Philippines. Published by Export Development Canada (EDC) for Canadian exporters and investors, ExportWise’s “First 5 Calls” series seeks to provide practical, on-the-ground advice from five market experts who each address a particular aspect of doing business in a certain country, such as legal and regulatory, market entry and distribution, customs, human resources, etc.
The April 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “New foreign investment rules.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Marietta A. Tibayan .
The second edition of The Public-Private Partnership Law Review has been published. Each jurisdiction chapter contains information on general framework, bidding and award procedure, contract, finance, recent decisions, and outlook. The Philippine chapter was contributed by the SyCipLaw Partners Marievic G. Ramos-Añonuevo and Arlene M. Maneja .
The March 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “New securities regulations.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Melyjane G. Bertillo-Ancheta .
The May 2016 issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) included an international briefing article entitled “PPPs and the election ban.” The article was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Aaron Roi B. Riturban .
The Philippines section of The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review 4th Edition contains information on commencing disputes, including national and local taxes; courts and tribunals; penalties and remedies; tax claims, including recovering overpaid taxes, challenging administrative decisions, and claimants; costs; alternative dispute resolution; anti-avoidance; double taxation treaties; areas of focus; and outlook and conclusions. The section was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Carina C. Laforteza with support from associate Mark Xavier D. Oyales .
The ALB SE Asia Law Awards 2016 shortlist has been published. SyCipLaw is shortlisted for law firm of the year awards in arbitration, banking and financial services, commercial litigation, construction and real estate, energy and resources, and intellectual property. Six of the firm's transactions are also shortlisted for deal of the year awards.
SyCipLaw acted as Philippine counsel for the dealers, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in a back-to-back tender offer of perpetual securities and issuance of new perpetual securities.
On February 12, 2016, the recently constituted Philippine Competition Commission (“PCC”), which was created under the Philippine Competition Act (Republic Act 10667 or the “PCA”), issued Memorandum Circular No. 16-001, Series of 2016 (the “Transitory Rules”), which provides for the transitory rules and guidelines relating to mergers and acquisitions that were, or are to be, executed or otherwise implemented after the effectivity of the PCA on August 8, 2015 but before the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations (the “PCA IRR”). Given the special nature of transactions effected through the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Transitory Rules will not cover such transactions and will be covered by a separate issuance by the PCC.
A testator who makes a gift during his lifetime may give rise to tax advantages. However, any gifts need to be taken into account when calculating the compulsory portion.
Montenegrin media outlets have recently reported that the initial phase of the tender for the pre-qualification procedure in awarding the concession for the Kotor-Lovćen-Cetinje cableway – announced on 3 August in the Official Gazette of Montenegro – will be open to interested parties until 5 October this year. The president of the Tender Commission, Daliborka Pejović, pointed out that seven potential concessionaires have so far shown great interest for submitting the required documentation in the pre-qualification stage.
Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to have advised on the recent public procurement case in which our client – the seller – provided the City of Belgrade with five new electric buses for the city's public transport system. The team that led the client throughout the process was represented by Marjan Poljak, Partner, and Ana Stanković, Senior Associate.
Recent news reports from Bosnia tell us that the BiH government, represented by the federal prime minister for economic issues and investments, Suvad Osmanagić, paid a visit to Bihać with Ludovico Camozzi, the president and owner of Camozzi – an Italian company that produces industrial automation machinery.
Ever since Serbia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU (‘SAA’) entered into force in September 2013, Serbian media have paid significant attention to the country’s obligations concerning the acquisition of agricultural land by foreigners. The fear of one part of the public appears to be that, due to the application of the SAA, large portions of Serbian agricultural land will be sold out to foreigners.
This article was initially featured in CEE Legal Matters, June 2016 edition.
Claims arising from a D&O (Directors & Officers) insurance policy can be ceded to the employer. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, in its ruling of April 13, 2016 (Az.: IV ZR 304/13).
According to latest media reports, the governments of Serbia and Bulgaria have agreed on the formulation of a new memorandum for the task of building a gas pipeline between the two countries, during a recent meeting of the group for gas connections in Central and South East Europe that was held in Budapest.
An interesting news update has recently come up in the media, as the Serbian roads company "Putevi Srbije", and the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure – together with the representatives of the relevant institutions in Romania – announced that a contract on implementing a cross border project of building the Belgrade-Timisoara highway is due to be signed in the next two weeks.
Media reports are letting us know that the "Serbia - A Strategic Crossroads between Western and Eastern Europe," conference was held in Paris on 15 September, where the French companies were presented with the political and economic environment in Serbia, as well as with the ensuing investment opportunities and the possibility of financing economic projects.