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Editorial

‚ÄėTop foreign firm in the Philippines‚Äô¬†Allen & Overy¬†is particularly strong in capital markets, corporate work and M&A, banking and finance, projects and energy, and international arbitration. A recent highlight included acting for the Manila branch of an international bank in a cross-border, multi-party transaction to help finance the acquisition of a company developing a high-value logistics hub in the Philippines. Other clients include PLDT and Smart Communications, Jollibee Foods, Union Bank, Asian Development Bank and Metro Pacific Tollways.¬†Alexander Stathopoulos¬†heads the team; he is supported by¬†Alun Evans, who is ‚Äėextremely well connected, well attuned¬†to cultural nuances, fair in negotiations and creative in providing means to address a client‚Äôs requirements‚Äô.¬†Giancarlo Sambalido¬†and¬†Vicki Liu¬†are also recommended.

The ‚Äėreliable, prompt, easy to work with and very knowledgeable‚Äô team at¬†DLA Piper¬†specialises in energy and infrastructure projects including PPPs, design and construction projects. The firm is acting for the Department of Transportation and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in relation to the competitive public bidding process and preparation and negotiation of concession agreements for the Panglao airport, a matter worth around $1.68bn. Other clients include Aboitiz Equity Ventures, SM Prime Holdings and DMCI Holdings. The team is co-headed by the ‚Äėvery proactive and open-minded‚Äô¬†Alex Guy¬†and Dan Brown.¬†Jos√© de Ponte¬†is ‚Äėproactive, knowledgeable and easy to work with‚Äô; Stephen Webb is also recommended. Alyson Eather¬†was promoted to partner.¬†Simon Huxley¬†and¬†Michael Horn¬†left the firm.

Jones Day focuses on projects and energy, corporate work and M&A, finance, and capital markets in the Philippines. The firm recently advised Crescent Point Group on the purchase of a $50m secured convertible instrument to be issued by LBC Express Holdings. Another highlight included advising Ayala on its subsidiary Integrated Micro-Electronics' acquisition of an 80% interest in STI Enterprises. The team is led by native Filipino Maria Pedersen, who specialises in projects and infrastructure. Senior associate Michael Ackman is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP focuses on the corporate and finance sectors in the Philippines, including capital markets, M&A and projects and energy. Recent highlights included advising a subsidiary of San Miguel on its $1.9b acquisition of Masin-AES. Another highlight included advising HSBC, ANZ, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UBS on Petron's $500m senior perpetual capital securities issuance. A further highlight included advising Meralco PowerGen on the $2.7bn financing of the Atimonan One Energy Power Project. Native Filipino Benjamin Carale heads the team and is supported by Michael Yoshii who specialises in projects, infrastructure and energy work.

Linklaters focuses on specialist projects, energy and infrastructure, development transactions, project financings and M&A. James McLaren and Patrick Sheil head the team. Niranjan Arasaratnam joined as partner from Allen & Overy. Parthiv Rishi and Laure De Panafieu were both promoted to partner. Clients include Republic of the Philippines, ANZ Bank, Credit Suisse Securities, Standard Chartered Bank and Asia Development Bank.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy is particularly focused on the areas of corporate and M&A, capital markets and project finance. A recent highlight included acting for Deutsche Bank, HSBC and J.P. Morgan as joint lead managers on the issuance of $400m guaranteed undated notes by AYC Finance. Another highlight included acting for Seaoil Philippines in relation to its strategic partnership with Caltex Australia Petroleum, which saw Caltex purchase a 20% equity interest in the company, valued at around $100m. Other clients include BDO Capital, BDO Unibank, Credit Suisse, Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse. James Grandolfo heads the team; he is supported by of counsel Desiree Woo and counsel Paul Pery.

Ashurst advises international companies and financial institutions mainly in the infrastructure, energy and natural resources sectors in relation to project development and financing, M&A, and dispute resolution. The firm continues to advise First Gen on the development of its Batangas LNG regasification project. It also continues to advise the PPP Centre of the Philippines and the Department of Transportation of the Philippines on the $1.6b regeneration of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. Other clients include the Asian Development Bank, Sojtiz and JBIC. Matthew Bubb heads the team with support from Andrew Digges, Daniel Reinbott and Rob Palmer. Alfred Ng joined as partner from Shearman & Sterling. Anna Hermelin made partner.

Clifford Chance concentrates on the key areas of corporate and M&A, capital markets, asset finance, litigation and dispute resolution. It is adept at advising on inward and outward investment relating to the Philippines and also has links with local government departments, regulatory bodies and the local financial community. The firm continued to advise Navis Capital on the merger of its portfolio asset, the Celebrity Fitness chain with the Fitness First chain in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia in a deal worth $495m. Andrew Gambarini heads the team supported by Paul Landless, Satbir Walia and Alexander Lloyd.

Gibson Dunn advises clients in the finance, M&A, energy and infrastructure sectors. The firm continues to advise Meralco PowerGen on its $1bn-plus bid for the 51% ownership interests of AES in the Masinloc Power assets, including a 630-MW coal power plant. Another highlight included advising Universal LRT on the development, construction and financing of the integrated metro rail transit system known as MRT-7. Patricia Tan Openshaw heads the team with support from of counsel Cristina Uy-Tioco.

The ‚Äėvery efficient‚Äô¬†Herbert Smith Freehills¬†provides ‚Äėgood turnaround times‚Äô and ‚Äėpresents to clients the practical consequences of legal developments‚Äô. Key areas of focus include finance, disputes, arbitration, projects, infrastructure and energy. A recent highlight included advising Caltex Australia and its subsidiary Ampol Management Services on the acquisition of a 20% interest in Seaoil Philippines. Another highlight includes advising an energy company on the development, engineering, procurement and construction of a hydroelectric power plant.¬†Alexander Aitken¬†heads the team.¬†Jun Bautista¬†left the firm for¬†King & Spalding LLP.

King & Spalding LLP has a particular focus on the energy, power and natural resources sectors and also deals with the transport sector. Key practice areas include dispute resolution, corporate and M&A, and projects and energy. The firm is seeing an increase in international arbitration on the commercial side. A recent highlight includes acting for AES on the $2.4bn auction sale of the majority holding in its business in the Philippines. Other clients include Aboitiz Power. Kelly Malone, Simon Cowled and Wade Coriell head the team, supported by Richard Nelson and Mona Katigbak. Lee Taylor joined as partner from Clifford Chance and Jun Bautista joined as counsel from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Pinsent Masons advises on infrastructure projects, PPPs and project finance transactions. The firm recently acted for Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation in relation to the tender and negotiation for the $433m engineering, procurement and construction contract of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway. Other clients include International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank. Project finance specialist John Yeap heads the team with support from David Platt and Ian Laing.

Shearman & Sterling LLP focuses on project finance, capital markets, and corporate and M&A transactions. The firm continues to act for Ayala, Metro Pacific and Macquarie in relation to the Light Rail Transit 1 Cavite Extension project (LRT 1 project), a deal that closed in 2016 valued at $1.4b. It is also acting for Ayala, Metro Pacific Investments, RATP Development and Transdev Group in relation to concession arrangements and maintenance and technical service arrangements around the LRT2 project. Bill McCormack heads the team, supported by Anthony Patten and Anna Chung who was promoted to partner.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a particular focus on corporate and M&A, private equity and capital markets. Areas of expertise include international joint ventures, restructurings, development transactions, IPP projects and project financing. The firm is acting for Equis Funds Group in relation to its sale of Equis Energy to Global Infrastructure Partners in a deal worth $5bn. Other clients include Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Citigroup, AES, First Gen and CEMEX Holdings Philippines. Jonathan Stone heads the team with strong support from Rajeev Duggal.

Stephenson Harwood LLP¬†provides ‚Äėgood response time, excellent business acumen and strength-in-depth of team‚Äô. Areas of expertise include power, infrastructure, energy and natural resources, manufacturing, facilities management, mining, aviation and shipping finance. Clients include Cebu Pacific, Stella International Holdings and ENGIE. Tom Platts¬†heads the team. Paige Crewson has left the firm to become general counsel at Bloom Holding.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. provides advice in the projects and energy, banking and finance, corporate and M&A and dispute resolution practice areas in the Philippines. In 2017 the firm acquired ten partners from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to focus on projects and energy in the Asia-Pacific region. Fergus Smith heads the team with support from Matthew Osborne, Brendan Quinn and Washington-based arbitration specialist Carolyn Lamm. The firm recently advised Deutsche Bank Securities, UBS Securities and Morgan Stanley as underwriters in connection with the US-registered primary sale of ordinary shares and American depositary shares of Melco Resorts & Entertainment in a deal worth around $1.16b. It is also acting for Asian Development Bank as a project adviser to Philippines National Oil’s proposed development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-to-power project involving LNG regasification.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong) advises foreign and domestic clients on capital markets, M&A, corporate and financing transactions, privatisations, project finance and restructuring. It recently represented the underwriters and dealer-managers in a $2b SEC-registered notes offering and concurrent tender offer for 14 series of bonds by the Republic of the Philippines. Clients include Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and HSBC. Robert Williams heads the team, supported by associate Connie Chu.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advises on energy and construction matters. Previous experience includes advising the Asian Development Bank, Credit Guarantee & Investment Facility and Bank of the Philippines Islands on the refinancing of the Tiwi-MakBan power plants. Don Stokes heads the team.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee advises clients on PPPs, infrastructure projects, M&A, banking, finance, capital markets and dispute resolution. Particularly active sectors include power, energy, airports, roads, and water. The firm recently advised Philippines Renewable Energy Holdings on its acquisition of a $1.3bn minority stake in Energy Development. Other clients include Asian Development Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. Mark Cooper and Alex Wong head the team with support from Joseph Kim.

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