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Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd’s corporate group is specialised in the most heavily regulated sectors in Thailand, including telecoms, aviation, insurance, and financial services. What perhaps makes the group unique, however, is its strength in both debt and equity capital markets. Spin-offs of various power companies and REITs have been active issuers in the Thai capital markets, and the team acted as underwriters counsel in connection with Banpu Power Public Company’s $389m IPO and listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). On the debt side, Anchalee Limviriyalers has specialised in Thai capital markets work for nearly 20 years and is particularly active in securitisation of consumer receivables. The wider corporate group works closely with the firm’s regional offices and even finds itself acting alongside its colleagues in the US, Canada and Europe. In one particularly standout matter, department head Suparerk Auychai advised Thai Union Group on its $575m acquisition of a 25% stake in Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants. After helping set up the firm’s Yangon office, senior associate Chris Burkett is now based in Bangkok and helped advise Ergo International on its acquisition of a 40% stake in Thaisri Insurance and assisted with the resulting joint venture. Nithi Laophulsuk joined the team from Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand).

At Baker McKenzie, ‘the response is almost instant, the advice is professional and reaches client-concerns, and the team has a variety of skills’. In the wider corporate arena, the team is especially active in the healthcare and natural resources sectors, while in the capital markets space, the group has maintained its strong presence. Peerapan Tungsuwan, who ‘consistently exceeds client expectations’, recently acted for Asahi Glass Co on its THB17.8bn offer to acquire, through a purchase of shares from a Euronext-listed chemical company, a majority stake in a Thailand-based global plastic and chemical product manufacturer. Additionally, Sawanee Sethsathira is advising Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding on a $300m joint venture with PT Medco Power Sentral Sumatera, for the purpose of building and operating a gas-fired power plant in Indonesia. The capital markets team is regularly acting for issuers, underwriters and government entities. In one particularly standout matter, Theppachol Kosol advised Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and other various policy offices on the establishment, listing and domestic as well as international offerings of Thailand Future Fund – the country’s flagship infrastructure fund in accordance with the government’s push for investment in infrastructure assets. Other key contacts in the corporate and capital markets team include Kitipong Urapeepatanapong, Viroj Piyawattanametha and Suriyong Tungsuwan.

Linklaters has ‘a strong reputation in and extensive experience of corporate and financial restructurings and M&A transactions’ and is among the most active firms in Thailand’s capital markets space. With a focus on acting for major corporates seeking to go offshore, the corporate group has seen increased activity in private equity work and the food and beverage industry, and also remains active in the insurance sector. Department head Wilailuk Okanurak advised Asean Industrial Growth Fund on its acquisition of 134 KFC restaurants from Yum! Brands. In the insurance sector, the team assisted CIMB Group with distribution arrangements for non-life insurance products in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The capital markets team has particular strength in equity-linked transactions and convertible bond transactions, and is also becoming increasingly active in the resurgent REIT space. Indeed, Pornpan Chayasuntorn was on a team that acted as underwriters counsel regarding the highly publicised IPO of investment units of the Thailand Future Fund. The group has also handled bond transactions for issuers and underwriters. In 2016, it advised KNM Group Berhad as issuer on the issuance of a THB2.78bn 3% Baht Bond, which was assigned an AAA rating. Pichitpon Eammongkolchai and Wanwisar Nakarat are other key contacts.

Clients of Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners consider its ‘working style and product to be on par with quality law firms in the US and UK’. Indeed, the firm is often acting with foreign firms including Latham & Watkins LLP, White & Case and Slaughter and May, especially in capital markets matters requiring foreign securities capabilities. On the equity side, Veeranuch Thammavaranucupt acted for WHA Corporation on the corporate restructuring and subsequent spinoff and IPO of WHA Utilities and power; the regulatory approvals needed for this deal were exacting, as this represented the first utility provider to be borne of a non-utility parent company. In the debt space, the team advised Bangkok Mass Transit System on its issuance of THB22bn in senior unsecured debentures in multiple tranches, for the purpose of financing the electrical and mechanical systems of new extensions to the Bangkok Sky Train (BST). Jointly led by Weerawong Chittmittrapap, the corporate team finalised a landmark M&A in 2016, having advised Berli Jucker Public Company on its THB204.3bn acquisition of a nearly 100% stake in Big C Supercenter, in a deal that is expected to alter the retail landscape in Thailand. Patcharaporn Pootranon and Chinnavat Chinsangaram are key contacts in the practice. The firm hired a team led by Khemajit Choomwattana from LS Horizon Limited while Peangpanor Boonklum left for an in-house role. Sawita Peetawan also left the firm, joining Hunton & Williams in November 2017.

Following the integration between Chandler & Thong-ek and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, the resultant Chandler MHM Limited will benefit from an increased focus on work emanating from Japan, whence comes the largest part of foreign investment into Thailand. Indeed, the corporate group now counts nearly 50% of its client base as Japanese investors, while the other half comprises primarily European and US investors. Jointly led by Ratana Poonsombudlert and Niwes Phancharoenworakul, the team has traditional strengths in the petrochemicals, energy and heavy industry sectors; these tend to be sectors that Japanese investors are especially interested in. The group also acts for Thai clients, and Supasit Boonsanong recently advised Bangchak Petroleum on an $11.7m investment into Spar International, a Dutch international retail/wholesale group. The team has undergone some personnel changes following the merger, having brought Satoshi Kawai and Seiji Akimoto from the Tokyo office to Bangkok, and having promoted Nirawan Parkpeeranun and Jutharat Anuktanakul to counsel and partner respectively in 2017.

Acting primarily for large, international clients, DLA Piper (Thailand) Limited’s corporate group is regularly involved in global-scale acquisitions, and is well known in the Thai market for its work in the telecoms, pharmaceuticals and insurance sectors. Department head Chanvitaya Suvarnapunya has extensive experience in domestic and international M&A and acted for Menzies Aviation in relation to the proposed acquisition of ASIG for $202m – this matter involved assets in four continents and the corporate team also handled the equity rights offering linked to the acquisition. The group regularly works alongside the firm’s top-ranked real estate practice; it is advising Henxing Property (Thailand) on a 100% share acquisition of NT Group Property, which required both corporate and property due diligence. Moreover, the team has acted for property funds and various tech and healthcare corporates in 2016-2017. Counsel Chadaporn Ruangtoowagoon and Timothy Tan, who splits his time between the firm’s Bangkok and Singapore offices, are recommended. Supreedee Nimitkul left the firm to join Kennedys newly opened office in 2017.

The team at Hunton & Williams is best known for its corporate transactional work in the telecoms, insurance and energy and infrastructure sectors. Led by Stephen John Bennett, it is particularly focused on cross-border transactions, acting for foreign investors coming into Thailand, as well as Southeast Asian companies looking to expand into China and Mongolia. Bennett recently advised Travelex Limited on its subscription of shares and joint investment with a Thai company in a new joint venture company incorporated in Thailand. Manida Zinmerman acted for the venture capital arm of Intouch Holdings on its acquisition of a stake in Wongnai, which represented the first series B financing of a start-up with Thai venture capital backing. Additional contacts include Chinawat Assavapokee, who acted for Total Gas and Power (Thailand) in connection with the sale of its 28% shareholding in Eastern Power and Electric Company, and Wongsakrit Khajangson, who handles both contentious and non-contentious work.

Siam Premier International Law Office Limited has been gaining recognition in the corporate and debt capital markets spaces throughout the Thai market, and is growing its team to accommodate its increased workflow in the aviation, real estate and insurance sectors. As an example of the group’s recent focus, Chatchavej Chitvarakorn acted for Bupa Health Insurance (Thailand) on its corporate structuring prior to its sale to Aetna. Another key contact, Bancha Wudhiprecha assisted PTT Global Chemical Public Company with the THB26.3bn restructuring of its petrochemical and refinery portfolio, whereby the client acquired shares in companies owned by its parent company. Additionally, senior consultant William Lehane has been active in the aviation sector and has also taken on a steady stream of high-profile private equity and funds-related work. On the capital markets side, Suttiphat Khamsirivatchara advised Krunqthai Card Public Company with nine debenture issuances in 2016, and has continued acting for the company in 2017. Linda Osathaworanan has experience in a range of corporate transactions, including foreign direct investment (FDI) and corporate finance, and Kulkanist Khamsirivatchara specialises in capital markets work and privatisation.

Tilleke & Gibbins adopts ‘a commercial and client-focused approach’, acting for an enviable corporate client base. It is increasingly active in Thai capital matters contradicting the idea that this is only a specialist IP firm. Indeed, the corporate group also handles general transactional deals, fund formation, regulatory advisory work and commercial licensing arrangements. Kobkit Thienpreecha recently assisted a German-listed electronics company with its acquisition of the Thai merchant portfolio of the banking subsidiary of a US financial group. In addition to the slew of cross-border M&A the team has acted on, Piyanuj Ratprasatporn and David Beckstead have advised on the establishment of foreign joint ventures while Nutavit Sirikan, among others, has been active in the financial regulatory space, including acting for asset managers such as Old Mutual Global Investors on the offering of foreign securities in Thailand. Charunun Sathitsuksomboon is known for ‘going far beyond client expectations’. Cynthia Pornavalai is another key contact.

The ‘very responsive’ corporate group at Blumenthal Richter & Sumet Ltd is ‘adept at anticipating issues in M&A projects and provides clients a clear view of the problems that may arise’. In addition to its M&A expertise, the team has extensive experience in FDI and corporate governance-related matters, regularly receiving referrals from household-name international law firms. In 2016-2017, practice head Andreas Richter acted for multiple German corporates in matters such as corporate restructurings, joint ventures in the automotive industry and share acquisitions. Ruengrit Pooprasert advised Verizon Communications on Thai employment matters following the client’s global acquisition of Yahoo. Commercial transactions head Siripen Kulworakulpitak, Stefan Riedl and Sumet Mingmongkolmitr are also key contacts.

Part of DFDL’s strength lies in its well-connected network of offices throughout the ASEAN region, through which the group is able to source inbound and outbound work. The team has dedicated tax experts and is increasingly active in the real estate, retail and IT sectors, though its traditional expertise is in the hospitality and energy sectors. In one cross-border matter, David Doran advised Express Food Group on the capital and ownership restructure of the client’s business throughout the region, which includes companies in six ASEAN countries. Rashane Leerabandhu heads the Thai corporate and commercial practice and acted for AirAsia Investment on the establishment of AirAsia Vietnam. Angus Mitchell has been involved in a number of cross-border share transactions in 2016-2017. Eatigo International, Metal Tiger and TIH Investment Management are other clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright has benefited from what has been characterised as a flurry of M&A activity in Thailand in 2016, and, working closely with its colleagues throughout the region, has seen increased intra-regional investment activity, particularly in the power, energy and retail sectors. The team is notably active in the renewable energy space, and Tassanai Kiratisountorn is acting alongside the Singapore office to advise on a clean exit for a renewable energy fund regarding its Southeast Asian renewable energy portfolio. Corporate group head Somboon Kitiyansub assisted NFC Fertilizer Public Company with the corporate restructuring necessary for relisting on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), after exiting its court-sanctioned rehabilitation plan. Of counsel Sarah Chen was involved in a cross-border regulatory matter concerning internet content delivery and also acted on a cross-border licensing matter in the telecoms industry. The team is also active in the insurance sector, and may see increased work in this area with the evolving Thai regulations surrounding that industry.

In the corporate space, R & T Asia (Thailand) Limited’s major strength lies in the regulatory sphere, and the team has recently been active in setting up new businesses, especially in the e-commerce sector. Managing partner Surasak Vajasit recently advised a state-owned entity on the legal implications of setting up a Thai-Chinese special purpose vehicle in the transport infrastructure space. The group also handles a steady stream of restructuring work and has experience in capital markets transactions. Indeed, Visitsak Arunsuratpakdee acted for Mudman on its THB1.1bn IPO and listing on the SET. Dussadee Rattanopas has acted for corporate clients in various divestment transactions, and Melisa Uremovic and Supawat Srirungruang have provided regulatory advice to clients in the e-commerce and telecoms industries. The department is rapidly expanding and has been recruiting lawyers from standout practices in the Bangkok market; most recently, this has included Piroon Saengpakdee from LS Horizon Limited.

Thanathip & Partners Legal Counsellors Limited acts for Thai companies and foreign joint ventures in M&A and various other corporate transactions, and has recently worked for clients spanning the energy and infrastructure, insurance, healthcare and real estate sectors. Chawaluck Sivayathorn Araneta specialises in capital markets and corporate finance, and advised Paolo Medic on its acquisition of Mayo Polyclinic Company (MYPC) by way of an entire business transfer and dissolution of MYPC for a cash consideration of roughly THB1.4bn. Araneta also acted for Principle Capital Public Company on its acquisition of the entire equity interest of VB Group for THB5.79bn. Thanathip Pichedvanichok specialises in the energy and infrastructure industries and has recently acted for clients such as Thai Oil Public Company and Pace Development Corporation.

Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited has been kept busy by a surge of outbound investment, in which the team has been acting for Thai corporates in transactional and regulatory matters. Inbound work has also kept pace, especially in the services and manufacturing sectors, where the group has been instructed by global corporates and increasingly involved in private equity work. Practice head Christopher Osborne regularly acts alongside the firm’s Singapore office and recently advised the shareholders of a Dot Property site on the sale of its Asia-wide business to Spanish company Mitula. Alan Polivnick has considerable experience in the aviation industry and is advising Small Planet Airlines on its endeavour to set up a Thai airline. Additional clients have included a household name food and beverage manufacturer, a global automotive business and international law firms. Kulkanya Vorawanichar is an active senior associate within the team.

Specialising in the financial services, healthcare and consumer goods sectors, Axis Consultants (Thailand) Limited has experience in M&A, disposals and joint venture arrangements, as well as corporate governance and regulatory compliance. Under the leadership of Peter Burke, the firm has built up a network of relationships with well-known US and UK law firms, from which it regularly receives referrals. Burke advised the private equity arm of Burda in a multi-jurisdictional equity investment into Priceza, a regional price comparison business. The practice head is also advising Federal Mogul on post-acquisition issues following its share acquisition of Parts Zone; this work has included potentially increasing the client’s shareholding position.

The corporate team at Bangkok International Associates comprises Thai, British, American and Australian lawyers, with deep ties to the Thai marketplace and experience across a range of industry sectors. In the past, the team has been particularly active advising foreign businesses on setting up operations, and on their ownership options pursuant to the Thai Foreign Business Act. The group is also capable of handling commercial contract work, as well as matters relating to labour law, taxation and corporate restructuring. Key contacts include Stephen Frost, Kasama Jirananda, Peter Church and Damrong Manosak.

Working for domestic and regional clients across a range of key industry sectors, Charin & Associates is quickly building a reputation as a firm to watch in the corporate, M&A and capital markets space. Practice head Charin Satchayan advised SET-listed Group Lease on the issuance of $130m in convertible debentures to J Trust Asia. He also acted alongside associate Benjaporn Puttinan on Group Lease’s multijurisdictional acquisition of shares in a leasing and financing business. A particular strength of the firm is in REIT-related work and it has, through Tananan Thammakiat, been involved in the establishment of a new REIT and the conversion of a property fund into a REIT.

LS Horizon Limited has expertise in public and private M&A across a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, insurance, real estate, manufacturing and energy. The group also handles capital markets transactions, especially those relating to real estate, and thus has experience in REIT-related transactions. Sunpasiri Sunpa-a-sa is the primary contact for corporate and commercial work, while Kru Sukcharoen focuses on M&A and capital markets work. Khemajit Choomwattana joined Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners and Piroon Saengpakdee left for R & T Asia (Thailand) Limited.

LawPlus Ltd. handles a huge variety of corporate transactions and commercial contracts for Thai corporates and well-known multinationals. The team acts for regional corporates, especially from Malaysia and Japan, as well as European clients, and has experience in board of investment (BOI) approvals and foreign business license arrangements. In 2016-2017, the department’s work has ranged from M&A and divestment transactions to corporate restructuring and joint venture arrangements. Kowit Somwaiya, Prasantaya Bantadtan and Khin Htwe Myint are some of the key contacts.

Lorenz & Partners Co., Ltd. is led by a team of German-born, Asia-qualified lawyers, who act primarily for European corporates in the engineering, manufacturing and trading sectors. The team is particularly specialised in the tax aspects of corporate and commercial transactions. Indeed, the department has recently setup Thai operations for German clients in the automotive and internet services industries – as these are strictly regulated sectors in Thailand, this work required substantial tax and corporate planning, as well as regulatory experience. Further, the team has experience in the corporate and tax aspects of energy and infrastructure projects in Thailand. Michael Lorenz and Till Morstadt are contacts in the Bangkok office.

Respondek & Fan Ltd’s Bangkok-based corporate department is specialised in advising European corporates on acquisitions of Thai businesses and creating strategies for clients seeking entry into the Thai marketplace. As an example, Andreas Respondek assisted Qiagen, a German-headquartered medical diagnostics company, with an entry strategy, which involved considerable work to avoid certain provisions of the Foreign Business Act. The team also acted for Weiss Technik on an asset acquisition of a Thai environmental company, Imtech; the team also handled subsequent employee transfers and licensing agreements related to the transaction. Other clients include The Vollmer Group and Falck Global Assistance.

ZICO Law is a relative new-comer in the Thai marketplace, but through its regional network and tech-sector specialism, the firm has gained some recognition, particularly for its inbound investment and private equity work. Threenuch Bunruangthaworn acted for a Singaporean private equity investor in connection with its $21.5m acquisition of a group of Thai companies, for the purpose of land development in Sukhumvit. Additionally, in 2016-2017, Bunruangthaworn advised clients from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand on setting up Thai businesses and various investments into the Thai market. The department also handles outbound work, and advised Bangkok Airways on its options for expanding its business into Vietnam, Malaysia and China.

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