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Driven by its high-end technology manufacturing prowess, Taiwan’s GDP continues to expand, with the Taiwan Statistics Bureau projecting a 3.28% growth rate for 2015. Mainland China remains Taiwan’s main trading partner (two-fifths of the island’s exports go to the mainland) and there has been an improvement in cross-straits economic relations – championed by incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou, partly through the signing of a number of business pacts between the two countries.
These relatively benign market conditions continue to benefit the major transactional law firms in the region, with strategic M&A being fairly active.
Lee and Li is the largest local law firm by far, and is the undoubted market leader as a result of its strength and depth across the full spectrum of practice areas. Various other firms – including Tsar & Tsai Law Firm, Formosan Brothers Attorneys at Law and Formosa Transnational – have highly credible offerings across multiple practice areas and provide stiff opposition in select areas.
Several international law firms are also present in the country, including Baker & McKenzie, which has a robust presence in all practice areas. On a smaller scale, Jones Day has had a significant presence in the country since its establishment in 1990 and is particularly accomplished at representing international clients in cross-border mandates.
In addition to the country’s significant biotechnology and medical research industries, Taiwan has also established itself as one of the world’s leading exporters of high-end electronic components and products. Consequently, intellectual property matters generate a significant volume of work in the jurisdiction. Much of this is trade mark and patent filing and prosecution, which is undertaken by law firms and patent and trade mark firms, the most significant of these being Saint Island Group, TIPLO Attorneys-at-Law and Top Team International Patent & Trademark Office.
Firms in the spotlight
TSAR & TSAI LAW FIRM
Tsar & Tsai Law Firm is a Taiwan-based partnership engaged in the provision of legal services relating to all aspects of international and domestic business transactions, as well as dispute resolution and litigation. The firm was founded in 1965 by Ruchin Tsar and Paul C Tsai, and has grown to over 50 attorneys admitted to practice in various jurisdictions. It is one of the largest law firms in Taiwan and its team of 120 employees includes translators, paralegals and accountants.
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Following completion of the acquisition of the Lake Region Medical groupe by Greatbatch, Inc. and the renaming of Lake Region Medical into INTEGER, Greatbatch contributed in multiple capital increases own shares to Swiss-based P Medical Holding AG/INTEGER (Switzerland) GmbH, which were swapped against shares in the Irish-based Lake Region Medical Holdings Limited. The transaction was completed by a down-stream merger of P Medical Holding AG into its subsidiary INTEGER (Switzerland) GmbH.
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.
The Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs and State Administration of Taxation of China jointly issued a circular (“Joint Circular ”) relating to the taxation policy on the cross-border e-commerce retailing imports, with effect as from April 8, 2016.
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.
SyCipLaw acted as Philippine counsel to a syndicate of Philippine banks (composed of BDO Unibank, Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company and Philippine National Bank) and Asian Development Bank for the financing of the rehabilitation and development of the Mactan Cebu International Airport that was awarded by the DOTC and the MCIAA under the private-public partnership program of the government to the consortium between Megawide Construction Corporation and GMR Infrastructure. The financing is composed of (1) Php20 Billion (approx. US$446,773,200) commitment of the Philippines syndicate banks and (2) US$75 Million commitment of ADB.
On February 16, 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. 16-002, Series of 2016 (the “PSE 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 through the Philippine Stock Exchange (“PSE”) and after the effectivity of the PCA on August 8, 2015 but before the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations (the “PCA IRR”).
SyCipLaw contributed the Philippine Chapter of the 2016: Insurance Regulation in Asia Pacific – Ten things to know about 20 countries published by Norton Rose. The 2016 edition of the summary guide provides an overview and practical checklist of ten common regulatory issues for insurance companies. The Philippine chapter was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan.
In the recent case of Pyrrho Investments Limited and another v MWB Property Limited and others  EWHC 256 (Ch), the High Court of England and Wales approved the use of predictive coding software in electronic discovery.
SyCipLaw Partners Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez and Franco Aristotle G. Larcina, with support from Senior Associate Ruben P. Acebedo II, participated in the World Bank Group’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2016: Comparing regulatory good practices. The report examines regulations that impact private enterprise in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. The report aims to promote smart regulations that ensure safety and quality control, as well as efficient regulatory processes, that support thriving agribusinesses.
Hospitality and food service industry company Mövenpick invests in Chinese wine wholesaler Cheers by acquiring a strategic stake. Cheers has 30 branch offices in the greater Beijing area and currently generates annual revenues of roughly three million Swiss francs. Mövenpick is a Swiss group of companies with global presence. Its core competency lies in the hospitality business, with a focus on gastronomy, hotels, wine and premium branded products.
Pitmans has advised Premier Marinas Limited on its acquisition of Noss Marina, which is just outside Dartmouth, from the Administrators Duff & Phelps.
Following last year’s autumn statement, HMRC has now published draft legislation which introduces the proposed new apprenticeship levy. The levy will have effect from 6 April 2017.
The Department of Justice has issued a practice direction in connection with the new insolvency express trials pilot.
Many businesses will be liable for increased business rates following last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Woolway (Valuation Officer) v Mazars LLP.
Pitmans LLP has acted on behalf of its longstanding client, Westcoast (Holdings) Limited on its acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Limited.
The management team were backed by Maven Capital Partners with PNC providing debt facilities.
Pitmans today announced that Oliver Kelly (corporate) and Matt Heyworth (private client) will become partners as of 1 May 2016.
SOUTHAMPTON -- LV=, represented by Pitmans LLP, have won a case involving a fraudulent household insurance claim worth almost £50,000.
VEGAS LEX Manager of Life sciences projects Maria Borzova has discussed recent legislative initiatives relating to the compulsory licensing of medicines in her presentation at the first meeting of Pharm Salon.
In cases involving M&A transactions, a detailed evaluation of the economic risks and opportunities as well as the associated legal issues is indispensable.