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Although the banking group at Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd is integrated with the projects department, it has expertise in more than just project finance. Indeed, the team regularly finds itself involved in some of the country’s largest corporate transactions and is also working to forward the peer-to-peer lending space in Thailand. In one large recent matter, Stephen Jaggs and counsel Anchalee Limviriyalers advised a consortium of Thai lenders on a THB20.1bn bridge loan facility for Thai Union Group’s acquisition of a 25% stake in Red Lobster; subsequently, the team acted for a group of Thai and international lenders regarding the THB12.5bn long term facility to Thai Union Group for the refinancing of the initial bridge loan. The banking group primarily acts for lenders, but Jaggs and counsel Sarah Wilson acted for Phonesack Group and Electricity Generating Public Company Limited as project sponsors to the $1.2bn Nam Theun 1 hydro-power project in Laos. The Lao government’s original share in the 600MW project would be held for the first time by a publicly listed company, meaning a lot of scrutiny on the project’s bankability. Suparerk Auychai heads the department. Nithi Laophulsuk, who has over 20 years of transactional and regulatory experience, joined the team from Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) in 2017.

Baker McKenzie is ‘excellent in every aspect: from client services to technical knowledge of the relevant issues’. Working alongside the office’s other top-ranked departments, the banking team often acts in the largest corporate, capital markets and development and construction transactions in Thailand. It is noted for its ‘close relationships with the US Securities and Exchange Commission’ as well as its knowledge of Thailand’s regulatory framework. The ‘accessible and commercially reasonable’ Chaveewan Likhitwattanachai has extensive experience in acquisition finance, and advised Kasikornbank and Mizuho Bank Nederland on the $680m financing provided to CPF Netherlands for a share acquisition of Stesha. Komkrit Kietduriyakul heads the structured finance sub-group and recently acted for United Overseas Bank (Thai) on the $48m financing provided to Siamgas and Petrochemicals for the acquisition of a Labuan company, a Burmese company and a Singaporean company. Kietduriyakul and the highly recommended Benja Supannakul also advise multiple global investment banks on various Thai regulatory issues. The team is instructed by all the usual suspects in the domestic lender market, such as The Siam Commercial Bank and Bangkok Bank, but also acts for international lenders including Bank of China, and borrowers such as B.Grimm Power. Sawanee Sethsathira heads the project finance group, while Thinawat Bukhamana heads the broader banking and finance department.

Linklaters’ banking team fields ‘specialist partners with expertise in a variety of specific areas’. From acquisition finance, to project finance and structured finance, the department acts for some of the more well-known clients in the domestic and international marketplaces. Managing partner Pichitpon Eammongkolchai advised Bain Capital Asia on a THB1.3bn secured financing to Everland, which represented the global investor’s first financing deal in Thailand. He was also instructed by TMB Bank to review and revise security documentation to reflect the new Thai Business Security Act. As borrower’s counsel, the ‘responsive’ Wanwisar Nakarat acted for Siam City Cement and Siam City Concrete in relation to the dual-currency (THB and USD) acquisition facilities worth $400m for the purchase of a 98.95% stake in Holcim (Lanka). In the project finance space, Nakarat advised The Siam Commercial Bank as lender and lead arranger for the THB3.1bn financing made to Korat Wind Energy for a wind-energy project in Thailand. Wilailuk Okanurak and managing associate Soammaras Ratanavanich are also key contacts in the practice group. The department is regularly instructed by domestic Thai, regional and international lending clients, and also acts for lenders such as Big C Supercenter.

Through its long-standing presence in the Thai marketplace, Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners is regularly instructed by borrower-side clients in what are among the largest corporate transactions in Thailand. However, the team is also instructed by banks, and Veeranuch Thammavaranucupt acted for Credit Suisse on the $500m financing to Wide Broad Cast to finance the subscription of shares in the rights offering of True Corporation Public Company. On the borrower’s side, Thammavaranucupt acted alongside Passawan Navanithikul to advise the majority shareholder of Jasmine International (JAS) in relation to the provision of THB43.56bn in credit facilities from The Siam Commercial Bank for the purchase of up to 100% shares and warrants in JAS. Similarly, Navanithikul acted for Berli Jucker (BJC) on the €3.2bn bridge facilities provided by a consortium of international lenders and the THB88bn facilities for tender offer for a 58.56% stake in Big C Supercenter; this transaction marks the largest-ever acquisition financing in Thailand. The team is also involved in project finance transactions and Nattaporn Pengkul assisted GEP (Myanmar) with the $48m financing of the first phase of its 220MWdc solar power plant in Minbu, Myanmar. Chinnavat Chinsangaram is another key contact in the practice.

Chandler MHM Limited’s banking team has certainly enjoyed the fruits of the firm’s recently finalised integration with Japanese-giant Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, having made a number lateral hires and having promoted three new partners in the banking team since May 2017. The department continues to see a flow of acquisition finance mandates and is often instructed on the bank-side of large project financing deals, but following the merger, the team has been increasingly engaged by Japanese investment funds. Jessada Sawatdipong advised a group of Thai banks on the $675m refinancing and guarantee facilities for the Nam Ngum 2 hydro-power plant in Laos, and the financing of an upgrade of the Nabong Substation. Similarly, senior counsel Albert Chandler and Supattra Sathapornnanon acted for Krung Thai Bank and Export-Import Bank of Thailand on the financing of a 220MW solar plant in Myanmar. In 2017, Susumu Hanawa, Foifa Tharaphan and Jutharat Anuktanakul were all promoted to partner, while Masatake Yone joined the Bangkok team from the Tokyo office following the merger.

With experience in a range of industry sectors, Hunton & Williams’ banking and finance department has been particularly active in project development financing and refinancing transactions, acting for Thai and regional lenders. Department co-head Stephen John Bennett assisted International Finance Corporation with its divestment from a number of solar projects, involving multiple sale transactions to SPCG Public Company. On the lender’s side, department co-head Manida Zinmerman advised a syndicate of Thai lenders in the THB2bn financing for Iconsiam regarding a number of advertising media transactions with Krungthep Thanakom Company. Zinmerman also acted for Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation with respect to taking a security of over 893 million shares in a Thai listed company. Another key contact, Chinawat Assavapokee, recently advised a number of banks, including Export-Import Bank of Thailand, regarding the release and discharge of a lender from a previous transaction, in addition to the de-registration of that lender as a mortgagee. TMB Bank and Kasikornbank are among the department’s most active clients.

Siam Premier International Law Office Limited’s banking team has extensive experience in a range of financing transactions and regulatory compliance. Nithi Soomswasdi recently assisted The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and various bank customers residing in Thailand with the issuance of numerous series of unsecured Yen-denominated bonds, which were offered to Japanese investors and totalled the equivalent of around $100m; showcasing the team’s regulatory expertise. Indeed, Kanokon Worachanyawong and Chatchavej Chitvarakorn regularly advise clients such as Bank of America (Bangkok), Merrill Lynch Securities (Thailand) and Bank of Singapore on the regulatory framework surrounding structured products and foreign securities offerings. Through its work with the firm’s strong real estate practice, the banking team has developed experience in construction finance transactions, and Linda Osathaworanan and Torsakul Cunvong helped advise Mitsui Fudosan Residential Company on the credit facility and security agreements for the construction of a condominium in several joint ventures with Ananda Development. Suttiphat Khamsirivatchara is another contact in the department.

With instructions from borrowers and a variety of lending institutions, DFDL’s banking practice is involved in project finance and real estate finance transactions throughout the ASEAN region, which is heavily supported by the firm’s presence in nascent regional markets such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. In one of the group’s standout matters in 2016, Nipaporn Supha-Utchaichan and Phattharaporn Phetphong advised Ping An Bank on a $400m receivables financing structure for a riverside residential development; this was the first such single-bank financed structure in Thailand by a Chinese bank. Rashane Leerabandhu is assisting venture capital fund TIH Investment Management with its investment into Money Table, a peer-to-peer lending start-up. Similarly, Vinay Ahuja advised Eatigo International on a $10m series B investment from TripAdvisor. Audray Souche is a contact in the firm’s projects team and has experience in project finance matters.

The banking department at DLA Piper (Thailand) Limited has acted for lenders and borrowers in a range of financing and refinancing transactions in the context of project finance, trade finance and M&A. Additionally, the team has extensive experience in leveraged and acquisition finance and corporate lending, and is particularly active in the energy, renewables, petrochemicals and commodities industries. Timothy Tan heads the practice and splits his time between the firm’s Bangkok and Singapore offices. On the borrower’s side, Tan acted for PT MNC Sky Vision on its $170m syndicated refinancing facility arranged by a variety of investor and lender institutions. In the project finance space, the team advised Asian Investment Fund as lender and arranger on a $20m financing for a waste-to-energy project in Thailand. In 2016-2017, Tan’s team was also involved in real estate finance and trade finance, in addition to working on a litany of acquisition and working capital facilities. The department’s lender-side clients include Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Ascend Capital and TOR Investment.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s banking and finance group is especially active in the infrastructure, energy and retail sectors. In the energy and infrastructure space, the team has been increasingly engaged by Chinese and Japanese investors seeking to take advantage of Thailand’s aggressive push for infrastructure development. Working alongside the firm’s Singapore office, Tassanai Kiratisountorn acted for Trans Thai-Malaysia (Thailand), a joint venture between Petronas and PTT, on the refinancing of a $195m facility provided by a group of Chinese, Japanese and Thai banks, and the provision of an additional $12m facility. The team also advised Frasers Centrepoint Limited (FCL) on the $140m facility for the acquisition of shares in Golden Land Property Development. In a separate matter, the dual Bangkok-Singapore banking group advised FCL on its THB5bn facility agreement with Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to fund the acquisition of shares in Ticon Industrial Connection. Key contacts also include Somboon Kitiyansub and Chormas Premsirinirund, a senior associate who focuses on project finance.

The team at R & T Asia (Thailand) Limited has experience in bank-side and borrower-side matters across a variety of sectors, from project finance to acquisition finance. Since 2015, the firm has been investing heavily in its Bangkok office, and on the banking and finance front, this growth recently included the lateral hire of Piroon Saengpakdee, a partner with over 25 years of experience, who joined from LS Horizon Limited. Saroj Jongsaritwang and Parama Saovabha have recently acted for lenders and borrowers in a number of financing transactions. Firm managing partner Surasak Vajasit is another contact in the practice group. Notable clients have included Man Lik 1 Power Company, in addition to a litany of lenders, such as DBS Bank, HSBC and Krung Thai Bank.

With capabilities in both the transactional and regulatory spaces, Tilleke & Gibbins has been growing its presence in the Thai banking market. The department has seen increased activity from Chinese lenders and has found itself involved in the private banking and equity markets, where the team is acting for global investment banks. Joint practice head Santhapat Periera has been particularly active in the manufacturing and projects sectors, and regularly assists bank clients with debt consolidation. He was also involved in a multitude of acquisition finance and refinancing facility arrangements over the reporting period. In the project finance space, practice co-head Cynthia Pornavalai advised the Thai branch of a major Chinese state-owned bank in relation to its THB1.5bn facility agreement with a Thai-Chinese joint venture regarding a solid waste treatment plant in Bangkok. China Development Bank, Goldman Sachs, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Visa International are other notable clients.

LS Horizon Limited acts for domestic and international financial institutions, as well as borrower clients, particularly in the areas of project finance, corporate finance and consumer finance. Headed by Chaipat Kamchadduskorn, the team is particularly strong in project finance, ranging from energy and infrastructure projects to real estate developments. It also handles corporate restructuring and has experience in various regulatory compliance issues. Clients have included lenders such as Kasikornbank, TMB Bank and The Siam Commercial Bank, as well as borrowers like Banpu Power and Bangkok Expressway Public Company. Piroon Saengpakdee left the firm for R & T Asia (Thailand) Limited.

Thanathip & Partners Legal Counsellors Limited is gaining recognition in Bangkok for its high-value borrower-side work. Department head Arunee Mahathorn recently advised AIF Toll Road Holdings (Thailand) on a THB1.7bn term loan facility from two Japanese banks, which will be used to refinance the client’s secured loans from Thanachart Bank. In one particularly standout transaction, the practice head worked alongside Thanathip Pichedvanichok to advise Pace Development Corporation (Pace) on a new investment from Apollo and Goldman Sachs through an equity injection in and senior secured debt financing of two of Pace’s subsidiaries; the total investment amounted to THB8.4bn.

Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited provides banking advice to its clients primarily in the context of larger projects in the renewables space and also has experience working alongside the broader finance department in the firm’s Singapore office. Christopher Osborne heads the corporate and projects department out of the Bangkok office and has handled a number of financing transactions in 2016. Indeed, Osborne advised Greenovation on a multi-currency loan facility comprising THB4.5bn and $82m for the financing of a wind project in Thailand. Nicharee Pudphetkaew is an active associate in the department and was on a team that advised The Cabin Chiang Mai on a loan facility granted by Lombard Capital, which represented one of the first commercial loans by an institutional investor to the Thai rehabilitation sector.

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