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Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw) regularly advises local and international clients on planning and implementing their acquisition and investment projects in the Philippines, providing expertise in establishing business enterprises and structuring foreign equity investments in nationalised industries. Andre Navato, Jr and Melissa Velarde recently acted as Philippine counsel to Dell, Inc. on the sale of its IT services subsidiary, Dell Services, to NTT Data. CVC Asia Pacific, Roper Technologies, and R&R Ice Cream are other clients.

Led by the ‘terrific’ Pearl Liu, the seven-partner corporate team at Quisumbing Torres is experienced in advising multinational companies executing mergers, acquisitions, dispositions of corporate assets and other types of reorganisation. Dennis Quintero advised Allianz SE on post-closing and operational matters on the completed acquisition of a controlling interest in a major Philippine commercial bank’s life insurance business. TechIron Resources, Korea Water Resources Corporation and Blue Bird Merchant Ventures are clients.

The corporate practice at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles advises on incorporations, investments, regulatory compliance, international joint ventures and strategic alliances. The department is led by Wilma Cua and Jose Mirasol.

Rocky Reyes leads the team at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, which counts MetroPac Movers, San Miguel Corporation and GIC Investments among its clients. Arlene Maneja and Franco Larcina recently acted for TPG Growth III on the PHP3bn acquisition of 40% of the issued and outstanding capital stock of One Network Bank through the purchase of common shares in the bank owned by BDO Unibank.

Noel Laman is the key M&A contact at Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose, which counts both domestic and international corporations among its clients.

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos advises on a range of commercial transactions, including joint ventures, capital restructurings, corporate acquisitions and privatisations of government-controlled corporations and assets. The firm also specialises in advising clients on the structuring, negotiation, documentation and closing of mergers and business combination transactions. Antonio Picazo and Gemma Santos are the key contacts.

Regina Jacinto-Barrientos, Maria Chavez and Virginia Viray lead the corporate and M&A practice at Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices, which has advised a number of notable clients, including Rizal Bank, China Banking Corporation, Vintage Engineering Public and Electric Generating Public. Monalisa Dimalanta acted for Therma Power, an Aboitiz Group subsidiary, on the $1.2bn acquisition of interests in GNPower.

At Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso, Ruelito Soriano is particularly active in M&A and provides extensive corporate expertise across a range of industries.

Manuel Manaligod, Jr leads the team at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia, with strong support from Aida Roxas-Rivera, Rosa Bagtas and Pancho Umali. The firm advises a range of notable local and international clients such as Aboitiz Equity Ventures, ABS-CBN Corporation, Sony Global Business Services and Unilever.

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)’s corporate and M&A practice is experienced in advising corporate clients on incorporation matters, governance and compliance issues, structuring, investments and enterprise formation. The firm is also particularly active in cross-border transactions and acts as counsel to local and international clients on a range of high-value matters. Recent highlights include advising HP Inc. on the $1bn acquisition of Samsung’s printer business, which included the transfer of assets and employees and due diligence on various contracts. Key partners within the department include Jaime Gatmaytan, Norma Patacsil, Mary Mundin and Albert Yu Chang.

Elmer Serrano heads the practice at Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano, which specialises in advising foreign companies on their direct investment into the Philippines. The firm has particular expertise in matters involving equity purchase and asset sale acquisitions, as well as regulatory compliance issues. Recent highlights include advising Posana Food Brands on their PHP15bn acquisition of Shakey’s Pizza and Project Pie chains.

The corporate and M&A practice at Platon Martinez Flores San Pedro & Leaño acts as counsel to a number of notable clients, including Coca Cola FEMSA Philippines, Siemens, Continental Global Business Services Manila, and G4S Holdings. Hector Martinez and Rachelle Santos are the key partners.

Cochingyan & Peralta Law Offices regularly acts for local and international clients on corporate governance and regulatory compliance issues, with particular expertise in M&A transactions. Jose Cochingyan III and Anthony Peralta are the key partners.

Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim’s practice advises clients from a wide range of industry sectors, and counts the Ayala group, Cemex Philippines and Philippine Phosphates Fertilizer Corporation among its roster of clients.

Poblador Bautista & Reyes advises clients on a range of matters relating to M&A including structure and nationalisation issues, regulatory compliance, and auditing. Alexander Poblador, Mario Bautista, Raymund Rodriguez and Marie Roque-Quintos are the key contacts.

The M&A team at Puno & Puno Law Offices specialises in advising companies in regulated industries and has experience in acting as counsel to sellers, buyers, minority investors, and joint venture partners. It also provides cross-practice expertise in a range of industry sectors and practice areas, including tax, energy, banking and finance, securities, environment, and construction.

Edgardo Balois is the key contact in Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako’s corporate practice, which handles general corporate matters, capital restructuring and join venture formation.

Key partners in the corporate and M&A practice at Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) include Raoul Angangco, Sylvette Tankiang and Franchette Acosta. The team has handled mergers and acquisitions of public and private companies across various industries, including real estate, energy, mining and natural resources, telecoms, as well as banking and finance. It is frequently instructed on corporate and commercial matters by the Ayala Group, including regulatory issues and transaction-specific work.

Angelo Advincula, Jorge Melo, Antero Caganda and Samantha Dy-van de Loo are the key partners in the corporate and M&A practice at Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula. Advincula recently advised Union Energy Corporation on a $6.7m investment into the development of a Philippine Hydro-Electric power project in the Pantabangan River.

Key figures at Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion & Lucila include Felipe Gozon, Magdangal Elma and M&A specialist Roberto Lucila. The firm handles the full range of corporate law and is experienced in advising clients on mergers and acquisitions, as well as other capital restructuring issues.

Maritime boutique Del Rosario & Del Rosario has a particularly strong corporate practice which is led by Joseph Rebano, who recently acted as counsel to Royal Caribbean Cruises in relation to the reorganisation and expansion of its Manila operations.

Gulapa Law Office handles local and international corporate and M&A work, with experience in matters involving contract review, joint ventures, share and asset acquisitions, capital restructuring, financial rehabilitation and corporate governance. Key clients include Ayala Land, APO-UGCE Joint Venture, Pivot Hawks Manila, and Duke Manufacturing. Aris Gulapa and Charms Haw are recommended.

Ortega Bacorro Odulio Calma & Carbonell advises clients on the formation, establishment and organisation of partnerships, joint ventures, domestic corporations, and also assists with commercial contracts, M&A transactions and regulatory compliance matters. The key partners in the practice are Renato Calma, Roane Lopez III and Virna Caringal-Divino.

JJ Disini and Rowena Disini lead the practice at Disini & Disini Law Office, which has experience in advising local and international clients on the full range of corporate law matters, with particular expertise in project finance and foreign investment. The firm has an extensive portfolio of clients, including UnionBank of the Philippines, Findel, Arcadis and Porperty24. The team also handles all investment agreements between Naspers and its subsidiary OLX and recently assisted with the buy-out of OLX Philippines’ founding shareholders.

JGLaw’s corporate law team is experienced in handling a range of matters, including M&A, corporate rehabilitation, foreign investment, regulatory compliance and joint ventures. Lory Anne Manuel-McMullin, Victoria Limkico and Benigno Par Jr are the partners to note.

Kapunan Garcia & Castillo Law Offices handles M&A, investment structuring, financing, public offerings, joint ventures, franchising, and corporate rehabilitation. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan is the key contact.

Rafael Morales at Morales & Justiniano has expertise in corporate law, including project finance, M&A and joint ventures.

Mosveldtt Law advises clients on all aspects of negotiated acquisitions, including taxable and tax-free mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, and leveraged buy-outs. The firm has acted for Ayala Education, and regularly works with multinational corporations, top-tier domestic companies and emerging-growth companies on the full spectrum of corporate transactions.

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Legal Developments in Philippines

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  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: “More Philippine Data Privacy Act: Are you Ready for Phase II?”

    Controllers and processors who have completed Phase I registration with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will now have to gear up for Phase II. Phase II involves providing the NPC certain information on the organization’s compliance with the Data Privacy Act (DPA).
  • Getting the Deal Through: Appeals 2017

    The Philippine chapter of Getting the Deal Through: Appeals 2017 was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Ramon G. Songco and associate Kathleen Kay A. de Guzman . The chapter provides key insight into the appellate stage of dispute resolution in the Philippines.
  • The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Patents 2018

    The Philippine chapter of the International Comparative Legal Guide to: Patents 2018 was contributed by SyCipLaw partners Enrique T. Manuel and Vida M. Panganiban-Alindogan . The chapter answers key questions on patent enforcement, patent amendment, licensing, patent term extension, patent prosecution and opposition, border control measures, and antitrust laws and inequitable conduct. It also gives an overview on current patent developments in the country.
  • IBA Taxes Committee: “Developments in Philippine Tax Laws and Regulations”

    The International Bar Association’s (IBA) Taxes Committee published its annual update on tax developments by jurisdiction for 2017. The 2017 update includes a Philippine report by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan entitled “Developments in Philippine Tax Laws and Regulations”. The Philippine report summarizes recent updates related to tax treaty relief, passed-on gross receipts tax, alternative modes of paying taxes, reduction of real property tax on independent power producers, and case law, as well as upcoming tax reform developments.
  • ALB: “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”

    The August 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB)  includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner  Arlene M. Maneja entitled, “Enforcement Update: Philippine Competition Act”. The article summarizes the administrative, civil and criminal penalties that apply to companies that have yet to comply with the Philippine Competition Act (PCA). The transitional clause of the PCA to enable parties to renegotiate agreements or restructure their businesses to comply with the law expired on August 7, 2017.
  • CPO: “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO)”

    Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Magazine, an online publication owned by Data Privacy Asia, featured an article by SyCipLaw partner Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez . Entitled “Philippines: To Be or Not To Be a Data Protection Officer (DPO) ”, the article discusses the qualifications and responsibilities of a DPO as outlined in the Philippine Data Privacy Act of 2012. It also outlines difficulties companies may experience in the appointment of a DPO.
  • ALB: “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines”

    The July 2017 issue of the Asian Legal Business (ALB) includes a Philippine regional update by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan and associate Jo Margarette W. Remollo entitled, “Guidelines on Related Party Transactions for Insurers in the Philippines ”. The article summarizes the Insurance Commission’s compliance guidelines on related party transactions, as set out in Insurance Circular Letter No. 2017-29. The Circular covers insurers, reinsurers, branch offices of foreign insurers, mutual benefit associations, pre-need companies, and health maintenance organizations and their intermediaries.
  • Philippines Chapter in The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5

    The Philippines section of The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review - Edition 5 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 .
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”

    The April issue of the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Hiyasmin H. Lapitan  entitled “Philippines: Acquiring insurance brokers”. The article discusses the new requirement by the Philippine Insurance Commission (IC) for advance approval to acquire a stake in a Philippine corporation that is licensed as an insurance broker or reinsurance broker. This requirement is noted in the IC’s circular letter number 2017-09 dated February 14, 2017, which prescribes guidelines on the documentation requirements for acquiring a domestic insurance or reinsurance broker.
  • SyCipLaw Tax Bulletin: Philippine BIR Rules on Proper Tax Treatment of Passed-on Gross Receipts Tax

    On June 13, 2016, the then Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 62-2016 purporting to clarify the proper tax treatment of percentage tax or gross receipts tax (GRT) due on transactions covered by Sections 1211 and 1222 of the Tax Code which are shifted through contractual stipulations to borrowers/customers/clients (“passed-on” GRT). Banks, non-bank financial intermediaries performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 121 while financing companies and other financial intermediaries not performing quasi-banking functions are subject to GRT under Section 122. The effectivity of this circular was suspended on July 1, 2016 by the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue. However, on November 15, 2016, the suspension was lifted by RMC No. 127-2016 rendering RMC No. 62-2016 effective immediately.

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