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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP’s team utilises its ‘deep industry knowledge’ to act for international buyers and sellers, ranging from fund managers to trade buyers. Duc Tran, who ‘provides good commercial advice’, and Massachusetts-qualified senior associate Tina LeDinh advised KKR, as local and international counsel, on a $250m investment. The pair also assisted Aviva with buying out an insurance joint venture with Vietinbank. Work in the fund space includes Tran advising a fund managed by VinaCapital on the sale of a hotel to Warburg Pincus. Other clients include leading international sovereign wealth funds.

Allens’ M&A portfolio includes top-level deals involving international businesses and fund buyers. Linh Bui, who also speaks Russian, Robert Fish and Ngoc Anh Tran advised Abbott Laboratories on its acquisition of Glomed Pharmaceutical, as well as assisting the client with increasing its stake in Domesco Medical Import-Export to a controlling one. Bui and Bill Magennis, who is based in Hanoi, handled Heineken Vietnam’s purchase of Carlsberg Vietnam. Other highlights include Fish advising Qantas on its injection of further capital into Jetstar Airways and Bui assisting cornerstone client Standard Chartered Private Equity with its investments in m-Service, an online payments company which had already received investment from Goldman Sachs, and N Kid.

Baker McKenzie advises leading international investors on major deals, including advice to some of the world’s largest companies on the Vietnamese aspects of global deals. Yee Chung Seck led a team advising Global Fashion Group on its sale of Zalora’s online fashion retail operations in Thailand and Vietnam. Seck also assisted LafargeHolcim with the sale of its 65% stake in its Vietnamese subsidiary to Siam City Cement for CHF867m. Tran Manh Hung and Chi Lieu Dang, who is based in Hanoi, advised Microsoft on the Vietnamese aspects of its sale of a feature phone business to a subsidiary of Foxconn, which included a Vietnamese manufacturing plant. Sell-side mandates include Fred Burke’s advice to Carlsberg and its Vietnamese subsidiary on the VND850bn sale of Carlsberg Vietnam to Heineken. Other clients include Sun Life and Norfolk Group.

Frasers Law Company’s team is noted for its ‘sophistication and awareness of relevant issues, and has a good sense of when to be aggressive and when to back off’’. Mark Fraserprepares comprehensive, commercial and helpful advice’; he has a track record advising international investors on agenda-setting transactions. Nguyen Thi Lang and Justin Gisz are also noted for handling key M&A deals. Senior associate Pham Thanh Mai is ‘responsive, provides relevant advice and is pleasant to deal with’.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer provides ‘a very good overall level of service – there are no other firms with this level of experience’, and has ‘a difficult-to-rival capacity to understand foreign investors’ expectations while setting up what is achievable in Vietnam’. The firm handles major cross-border deals, including buyer-side privatisation work. Tony Foster has ‘incomparable experience, and the ability to simplify the issues and propose straightforward solutions’. Foster advised Metro Group on the sale of its cash and carry business to a Thai company; Hanoi-based senior associate An Hoang Ha, who ‘has good experience and is responsive’, was also involved in this. Don Stokes, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, stands out for his ‘global expertise in major infrastructure projects and a knowledge of Asia’; he advised Viettel on its entry into the Myanmar telecoms market via a joint venture. The group also acts for leading investment funds; Foster advised Warburg Pincus on a joint venture with VinaCapital to create a platform for hotel investments.

Vilaf works with leading international firms on the Vietnamese elements of cross-border deals, acting on buy and sell sides. Vo Ha Duyen and Pham Si Hai Quynh are advising ANZ Bank on its scheduled departure from the Vietnamese retail banking market by way of the sale of its Vietnamese business to Shinhan Bank. Bui Ngoc Anh, who is based in Hanoi, and senior associate Tran Thuy Anh advised All Nippon Airways on its purchase of a minority stake in Vietnam Airlines. Dang Duong Anh assisted Shinsei Bank with its purchase of a 49% stake in Mcredit from Military Bank. Other clients include SCG Chemicals, which Duyen advised on buying out the other co-owners of the Long Son petrochemical project after a shareholder deadlock.

YKVN handles buy – and sell-side matters for local and foreign businesses, including advising on a notable volume of work for Vietnamese publicly-owned companies as well as assisting with the Vietnamese law elements of global deals. Vu Dzung and Le Thi Loc advised Central Group on the Vietnamese law aspects of a deal to purchase the Big C chain of retail stores from Casino Group for €920bn, and K Minh Dang, who is based in Singapore, and Phan Vinh Nhan are handling Shinhan Bank’s impending purchase of ANZ Bank’s Vietnamese retail banking operations. On the sell side, managing partner Truong Nhat Quang advised Masan Group and its subsidiary Masan Nutri-Science on a $250m equity investment by KKR.

Audier & Partners Vietnam L.L.C. handles a number of international transactions for various European clients. Nicolas Audier, Nicolas Picard, Bernadette Fahy and Etienne Laumonier advised Casino Group on its sale of Big C Vietnam to Central Group, and subsequently assisted the buyer with expanding its operations. The quartet also advised AccorHotels on corporate issues and franchising matters, as well as a restructuring. Other clients include the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, and the Centre Franco-Vietnamien de formation à la Gestion, which the team advised on the formation of the European Management University in Vietnam. Audier, legal advisor Truong Quang Dung and associate Antoine Logeay were involved in this matter.

DFDL is ‘very helpful, responsive and conscious of business realities’ and ‘the firm is fast in analysing complicated business issues and offering practical solutions’. Jérôme Buzenet and Tran Thi Vu Hanh advised Decathlon Vietnam on permitting and licensing for the launch of its ecommerce website. Buzenet also assisted Ironshore with its role as representations and indemnities insurer on the sale of a Vietnamese telecoms towers company to VinaCapital. Buzenet and Hoang Phong Anh in the Hanoi office also advised Qatar Petroleum’s Vietnamese subsidiary on the sale of its 25% stake in Long Son Petrochemicals Company. Other clients include Silver Heritage, which Buzenet and Huynh Dai Thang advised on due diligence on several Vietnamese subsidiaries prior to an IPO and listing of shares on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Duane Morris Vietnam LLC acts for various Asian and European companies on their entries to the Vietnamese market. Giles Cooper advised Ibibo Group on launching its redBus online bus ticketing service in Vietnam. Japanese-speaking and New York-qualified senior associate Manfred Otto, who heads the firm’s Japan practice in Vietnam, assisted a Japanese food service company with its planned entry into the Vietnamese country via franchise. German-qualified Vietnamese speaker Oliver Massmann is another key contact. Other highlights include handling business licensing matters, corporate restructurings, private equity buyouts and joint ventures.

Hogan Lovells International LLP handles a range of transactions, with a particular strength acting for private equity buyers. Jeff Olson and senior associate Eddie O’Shea advised N Kid Corporation on a $40m issuance of preferred equity to Standard Chartered Private Equity. Samantha Campbell assisted the International Finance Corporation with the purchase of convertible preference shares in TPBank. Other deals concern the energy, TMT, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods sectors.

LNT & Partners’ ‘above average’ team, led by Net Le, advised Saigon Co.op on a contemplated purchase of the Big C supermarket chain from Casino Group. Ngoc Hong Bui, Xuan Thuy Nguyen and Vinh Tran assisted Blue Communication Group with a restructuring to enable the purchase of a 50% stake in the company by CJ Group. Anh Tuan Nguyen, who is ‘a very good and responsive lawyer’, advised Tael Two Partners on the purchase of 20% of Thong Nhat Production and Investment. Other work handled includes cross-border deals concerning real estate, business services and logistics-sector M&A transactions.

Mayer Brown JSM’s team, led by David Harrison, has a significant practice advising foreign investment funds and development banks. Harrison, counsel Hai Thao Nguyen, who is a new hire from Allen & Overy LLP, and senior associate Orsolya Szotyory-Grove advised TPG Capital on a planned $150m acquisition of an educational institution. Harrison and Szotyory-Grove assisted FMO, Dragon Capital and Bio with the sale of a 20% stake in a Sri Lankan microfinance institution, and assisted the same clients with the sale of a similar entity in Cambodia. Other highlights include advising Swire on the creation of a $20m cold storage facility in Bac Ninh province.

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers is ‘a very professional firm that gives you straight answers all the time’, and is ‘very good and responsive – always happy to help in a professional but personal manner’. The firm handles the Vietnamese elements of global deals, as well as advising on inward investment matters for trade buyers from Japan, Greater China, the US and beyond in sectors including technology, pharmaceutical and manufacturing. Vu Thi Que’s ‘practical advice, responsiveness and high-level commitment is valued highly by clients’; she advised iflix on its entry into the Vietnamese video-on-demand market by way of a local joint venture. Australian-qualified foreign counsel Logan Leung, who is ‘a good listener who understands his clients needs and provides workable solutions’, and Tran Thi Phuong Thao advised Mapletree on the purchase of a logistics park project.

Russin & Vecchi, LLC is ‘very good: responsive, with strong industry knowledge’, and ‘compares well with other Vietnamese firms’. The firm has a strength in insurance-sector transactions but also handles matters regarding the manufacturing, healthcare and real estate sectors. Mai Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Huu Minh Nhut, who are based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City respectively, are ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’: Hang advised Post-Telecommunication Insurance on issuing new shares to sell to Dongbu Insurance, and handled Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance’s purchase of 20% of Petrolimex Insurance. Other highlights include Hang assisting TNT Express with purchasing a larger stake in its Vietnamese joint venture. Nguyen Huu Hoai and Sesto Vecchi are also names of note leading significant work.

ACS Legal is ‘a strong firm for M&A, which excels in transactions’, with a strong presence in consumer-facing sectors such as retail and leisure. English-qualified managing director Mark Oakley heads the practice, which handles matters concerning market entries, franchising, business licensing, restructuring and transactions. Senior associate Mai Anh Hoang is also noted, with Malaysia-qualified fellow senior associate Elaine Chew and Japan and California-qualified of counsel Ken Fukuda also key names.

At Asia Counsel Vietnam Law Company Limited, Christian Schaefer and Minh Duong have a track record working as local counsel alongside international firms in significant deals. Schaefer has considerable expertise handling German-related work.

Bizlink Lawyers has a track record advising international clients – including trade buyers and investment funds – on transactions. Do Trong Hai is a key contact.

DIMAC’s work includes advice to targets of leading international institutional investors, as well as acting for a range of other predominantly Vietnamese businesses. Pham Quoc Tuan and senior associate Nguyen Danh Cong advised Tekcom Corporation on its receipt of investment from a Singaporean fund. In the corporate governance space, Le Thanh Tung advised Nui Phao Mining Company on a boardroom dispute.

Boutique firm DN Legal, led by Dao Nguyen, handles transactions for national and international clients, including work for investment funds. Nguyen advised Wendelbo Interiors on increasing its investment in Vietnam, with other clients including warranties and indemnities insurers, and investment funds. Hotel management agreements are also an area of expertise.

EPLegal Limited advises companies seeking to enter the Vietnamese market, and those already present in Vietnam on joint venture matters. Nguyen Van Cuong assisted Global Electrical Technology with the purchase of a further 20% stake in a joint venture, and advised Interchem on entering the Vietnamese ethanol fuel market via a business co-operation contract. Tony Nguyen advised StreamCast Asia, a distributor of products including GoPro cameras, on distributing its products in Vietnam via an acquisition and a new company, and assisted Romanian generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Antibiotice with setting up a representative office.

Lexcomm Vietnam LLC handles buy – and sell-side M&A work for local and international clients. Nguyen Viet Ha and Pham Ba Linh advise a foreign buyer on a proposed purchase of a listed pharmaceutical company, while Luong Van Trung, who jointly heads the practice with Ha, assisted an investment fund managed by Maj Invest with the sale of a 27% stake in furniture manufacturer AA Corporation. Other clients include Daiwa Securities, which Ha and Linh are advising on the planned purchase of shares in Saigon Securities.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu HCMC Branch’s Vietnamese practice advises a number of leading Japanese clients on inward direct investments into Vietnam. Motohisa Nakagawa, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, advised Dentsu on forming a joint venture to enter the digital marketing sector, and, alongside Hanoi-based Satoshi Moriguchi, assisted Lifull with its 90% acquisition of an IT company from Vietnamese and foreign ownership.

Nishimura & Asahi advises a range of Japanese clients on their inbound investments into all sectors of the Vietnamese economy. Hiraku Oguchi, who leads the Vietnamese practice from Japan and Vietnam, and the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vu Le Bang advised Nichirei Foods on an investment in Lotus Food and Processing. Other work in the food industry includes Oguchi and Ha Hoang Loc advising Kato Sangyo on the purchase of a Vietnamese food wholesaler. Oguchi also advised JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy on the purchase of new shares in Petrolimex, taking an 8% stake. Other clients include Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Maeda Corporation.

Phuoc & PartnersNguyen Gia Huy Chuong advised VinGroup on its $102m purchase of the Maximax chain of supermarkets. Senior associates Hoang Quoc Nhat Trung and Nguyen Van Quynh are also noted.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Vietnam Company Limited’s team is led by Nasir Dao, who was previously with Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.. The group handles corporate structuring, business licensing and commercial contracts for well-known names in the electronics, consumer goods and pharmaceutical sectors. Senior lawyers Phan Thi Thuy Duong and Le Anh Tuan are also key contacts.

Tilleke & Gibbins’ workload covers transactions, business licensing and market entries for clients such as Fruit of the Loom. Franchising is also a core specialism, with clients in this space including Gap, Arcadia, Subway and Smoothie King. Senior attorneys-at-law Kien Trung Trinh and Vinh Quoc Nguyen are key contacts. Michael Lee and Jim Dao have left the firm.

Vision & Associates works with leading global firms to advise international investors on a range of acquisitions, including matters concerning competition law and warranties and indemnities insurance, alongside more traditional transactional mandates. Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac heads the practice, with other key partners including Luu Tien Ngoc, Le Quynh Anh and Ngo Trung Hieu.

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