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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • James Bradley - Hunton & Williams
    • Albert Chandler - Chandler MHM Limited
    • Stephen Jaggs - Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd
    • Edward Koehler - Hunton & Williams
    • Wanwisar Nakarat - Linklaters
    • Christopher Osborne - Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited
    • Ratana Poonsombudlert - Chandler MHM Limited
    • Jessada Sawatdipong - Chandler MHM Limited
    • Sawanee Sethsathira - Baker McKenzie

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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The projects team at Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd is inextricably linked to the firm’s top-ranked finance practice, and, indeed, in many of the department’s largest energy and infrastructure mandates, the team will handle every stage of a project, from early financing through to the development process. With a strong roster of financial institution and lending clients, Stephen Jaggs and counsel Sarah Wilson have worked together on a host of regional energy projects and transformative transport infrastructure projects. The pair is currently acting alongside the firm’s Sydney office to advise Asian Development Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines (and its client, the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Government of the Philippines) on the bankability, financing and contractual structuring of the North-South Railway Project in the Philippines; this project would be the largest PPP project tendered by the Philippines and is one of the World Bank’s 15 key projects for ASEAN connectivity. The team also acts for project sponsors and has particular expertise in cross-border renewable energy projects throughout the ASEAN region. Jaggs and Wilson are lead counsel for both the lenders and the sponsors of a slew of hydro-power projects in Laos. Suparerk Auychai and Anchalee Limviriyalers handle corporate and capital markets work for project investors and joint ventures.

Baker McKenzie’s energy, chemical, mining and infrastructure and project finance department has ‘gained exceptional industry knowledge and expertise’ through longstanding relationships with lenders, project companies and government entities. Sawanee Sethsathira heads the practice group and assisted Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company with the establishment of a joint venture with PT Medco Power Sentral Sumatera for the development and operation of a 275MW gas-fired power plant in Indonesia. She is also involved in mandates in the conventional and renewable energy sectors, and is acting in relation to further developments to sections of the Bangkok public transport system. Vit Vatanayothin acted for B.Grimm Power, as sponsor, and Xenamnoy and Xekatam Hydropower Company, as project company, on the financing of the Xenamnoy 2 and Xekatam 1 power plants in Laos; as with any cross-border Laos-facing energy project, there were considerable hurdles concerning the size of the financing and issues of state concession, but this was also the first hydro-power project financing in Laos that was governed by Thai law. Theerapab Punyasakhon is particularly ‘knowledgeable’ in the project finance space, and Viroj Piyawattanametha is another key contact in the department. Additional clients include Tokyo Gas Company, and Siamgas and Petrochemicals.

Chandler MHM Limited has deep experience in the ASEAN and Thai project finance markets, and has been among the industry pioneers in the country’s nascent renewables sector. In just one example of the group’s extensive work in the renewables finance space, Jessada Sawatdipong advised TISCO Bank on the Thai aspects of the equity financing of the development of 19 solar rooftop projects in Thailand. The department’s cross-border projects work has necessitated knowledge of both Thai and wider, regional regulations. Indeed, in a matter that required extensive negotiations with the Lao PDR government, the team acted for a group of lenders on the cross-border refinancing of existing facilities for the Nam Ngum 2 hydro-power plant and further financing of the Nabong Substation, totalling $675m. Supasit Boonsanong handles a variety of corporate transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors, while Ratana Poonsombudlert was recently involved in the first cross-border energy project involving a Polish-Thai joint venture. Albert Chandler and Maria Makanas are additional contacts in the practice group. Of note, after a period of continual integration, the firm finalised its merger with Japanese firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto in 2017.

Hunton & Williams’ Bangkok-based projects team is ‘among the best in the region’. The department has made a name for itself through its sponsor-side instructions in electric power project development and financing, lender-side work on infrastructure projects and joint venture and M&A work in the energy and infrastructure space. Edward Koehler is a highly regarded draftsman with ‘extensive knowledge of equity issues’. He advised Banpu North American Corporation on its $112m acquisition of a stake of up to 33.4% in a shale gas operation in Pennsylvania, which represents the first major investment by a Thai company into the North American energy sector. On the development side, the team acted for GNPower Kauswagan as borrower and sponsor counsel on the development and financing of a coal-fired power facility and related transmission line in the Philippines. James Bradley is advising Leader Energy on the expansion of a 100MW coal-fired power plant in Cambodia, which is a jurisdiction with a particularly cumbersome regulatory regime. Chumbhot Plangtrakul is a highly recommended counsel with the department. Additional clients include Asian Development Bank and Energy Absolute Public Company.

Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners has particular strength advising public and private companies involved in major transport infrastructure projects and, having assisted the State Enterprise Policy Office in drafting the new PPP legislation, the projects team has intimate knowledge of a key project structure in a market ripe for infrastructure investment. In one of the department’s flagship matters, Weerawong Chittmittrapap is acting for BSR Joint Venture, which comprises BTS Group Holdings, Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holdings, on the construction and subsequent 30 year operation PPP agreement with Mass Rapid Transit Authority for two upcoming lines on the Bangkok public transit system. The practice’s PPP expertise extends to regulatory compliance and contentious work: Chittmittrapap advised Port Authority of Thailand on its rights and obligations under PPP contracts, and the litigation team represents clients caught in EPC and PPP contract disputes. In the energy space, Passawan Navanithikul advised GEP (Myanmar) on the $48m project financing for the first phase of its solar power plant in Minbu, Myanmar. The team also handles a litany of corporate and capital markets work for energy and construction companies.

With recognised experts in conventional energy, renewables and project financing, DFDL has built up a network of offices in nascent energy and infrastructure hubs like Laos, Myanmar and, of course, Thailand. Indeed, the department specialises in acting for Thai banks and investors seeking to expand into neighbouring countries. Its geographic reach extends even to Nepal, where practice head Audray Souche acted for International Finance Corporation in negotiations with the Government of Nepal regarding the development of a 100MW hydro-power project. She is also advising a consortium of lenders on the cross-border refinancing of a hydro-power project in Laos. Despite the country’s renewable energy initiatives, the firm has retained expertise in conventional energy through Angus Mitchell, who is involved in an extremely high-value, multijurisdictional energy asset transaction. David Doran is another contact.

Linklaters’ projects and banking team acts primarily for lender clients in connection with large-scale project financing throughout Southeast Asia, and further abroad, in places such as North America and Africa. Department head Wanwisar Nakarat specialises in project finance and has experience of the petrochemical, renewables, industrial and telecoms sectors. The team has particular strength in the wind energy sector and, in 2017, advised The Siam Commercial Bank on the THB3.1bn financing provided to Korat Wind Energy for the construction, development and operation of a Thai wind project. In an example of the group’s borrower-side work, the team advised a joint venture company, Chip Mong Insee Cement, on the $112m project financing for the development of a Cambodian cement plant. Additionally, the firm regularly undertakes corporate transactions and capital markets work for clients in the energy sector. For example, Wilailuk Okanurak is advising a Thai electricity producer on the acquisition of shares in a wind power generation company.

Working closely with the firm’s Singapore office, Norton Rose Fulbright has maintained a strong presence in the Thai and broader Southeast Asian energy and development space. Office head Somboon Kitiyansub worked alongside the Singapore team to advise Wind Energy Holdings as project sponsor on the development, construction and financing of a wind farm project in Thailand. In addition to project financing and project development, the team has experience in debt restructuring matters in the infrastructure and energy space. Indeed, Tassanai Kiratisountorn advised Trans-Thailand Malaysia (Thailand) on its $195m refinancing and subsequent $12m facility. The Bangkok team also had a hand in a multi-office effort to produce a prospectus report with the Global Infrastructure Hub to assist governments and infrastructure providers in creating a flow of viable PPP projects. Chormas Premsirinirund is an active senior associate in the department and has helped advise project companies and lenders in biomass and cogeneration projects in 2016-2017.

Covering everything from wind to solar to biomass, Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited has built a reputation as a standout player in Thailand’s renewables market and is able to advise on contentious and non-contentious energy-related matters. Department head Christopher Osborne is knowledgeable in the regulatory space and helped Symbior overcome some of the regulatory hurdles in forwarding its corporate social responsibility programme to provide electricity to remote areas of Thailand. The practice head is advising Synova on what will be Thailand’s first gasification waste-to-energy project, and in another market first, the team acted for Bang Pa In Waste Management on the development of the first Thai waste-to-energy project to exceed 10MW. The team is particularly experienced in wind projects and advised Gunkul Engineering on the THB6.1bn development of a wind farm, which required nearly last-minute advice regarding land rights, following a ruling by the Thai courts regarding the use of agricultural land for wind farm developments. Steven Burkill heads the dispute resolution department and handles project contract disputes and debt recovery.

The projects and energy team at Tilleke & Gibbins has experience in a variety of infrastructure projects and is particularly active advising on the corporate and tax aspects of project contracts in the conventional and renewable energy sectors. Cynthia Pornavalai assisted a Thai subsidiary of a Japanese energy equipment company in creating standard form contracts for its rooftop EPC business. In the project finance space, Pornavalai advised a Chinese lender on its THB1.5bn facility provided to a Thai-Chinese joint venture to finance a solid waste treatment plant in Bangkok. Santhapat Periera acted for China Development Bank in connection with the provision of a syndicate loan to a Thai port operator for further developments at Laem Chabang Port. Sirwan Puapondh has advised multiple clients on the tax aspects of large project contracts. David Duncan is also recommended.

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