Leading firms in Laos

DFDL Legal & Tax

DFDL Legal & Tax's Lao practice group is plugged into the firm's wider regional network, and working alongside its colleagues in jurisdictions such as Thailand, the team is regularly involved in the largest project developments and cross-border corporate transactions in Lao PDR. The Vientiane team has strengths in key industry sectors such as energy, mining and infrastructure, and more generally has extensive experience advising on cross-border investment and M&A, and a litany of domestic regulatory matters. Lao practice head Kristy Newby focuses on inbound investment and M&A and also heads the firm's regional mining practice. Project finance expert Walter Heiser has particular experience in the Lao hydropower market, where he has acted for project sponsors and lenders. Also recommended is Senesakoune Sihanouvong, who specialises in Lao tax advice.

Practice head(s):

Kristy Newby

Key clients

Nam Theun 1

MMG Ltd

VimpelCom

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd

ANZ Bank (Lao) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised the Sponsors and Project Company on the local law aspects of the development of the 650MW Nam Theun 1 hydropower project.
  • Acted as Lao PDR transaction counsel to MMG Laos Holdings Limited in the sale of equity interest in MMG to Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Co. Limited for $275m.
  • Acted as Lao counsel to VimpelCom in relation to the sale of a 78% equity stake in the client to the Government of Lao PDR.
  • Served as Lao PDR counsel to Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited in relation to its acquisition of the bank’s Vientiane branch as part of a reorganisation of the Bank of China Limited.

Tilleke & Gibbins (Laos)

Leveraging the firm-wide expertise in media, technology, and infrastructure, Tilleke & Gibbins (Laos) handles cross-border corporate and investment transactions, financing arrangements, and project development matters, and also advises on market entry regulations, IP and data protection, and a variety of commercial deals. The practice group also has strengths in the financial services sector, where it has advised multinational investment banks and lenders, and was recently involved in a standout matter in the insurance industry. Dino Santaniello heads the firm's Lao office, and speaks fluent English, Lao, Thai, and French, making him well-suited to doing business in Lao PDR. Another contact for Lao-facing work is Santhapat Periera, who divides time between the firm's Vientiane and Bangkok offices, and maintains a broad corporate and commercial practice. Also of note, the Vientiane team was recently strengthened by the arrival of Somphou Keomounmany, a corporate and commercial lawyer with over 20 years of experience as a legal adviser in Lao PDR.

Key clients

Amazon Technologies Inc.

Bayer

CBS Television

Koch Companies

Nintendo

Onyx Hospitality

Revlon

San Miguel Brewery

Siam Kubota

Western Digital

Work highlights

  • Advised the lead reinsurer on a $870m reinsurance placement for a dam in Laos.
  • Assisted a Thai client with a $30m acquisition of agricultural operations in Laos.
  • Acted for a Thai public company in the acquisition of 30% of share in an investment vehicle for a water treatment plant project in Laos.
  • Provided a netting opinion for a multinational US bank.
  • Advising a Lao-Japanese JV on the development of an international airport in Laos.

VDB Loi

VDB Loi has developed particular strengths in power and infrastructure project financing and development, and international banking and finance transactions. The team has relationships with prominent international law firm, through which it is often involved in high-value cross-border financing transactions. Yangon-based Edwin Vanderbruggen focuses on project development and regulatory matters, as well as international taxation, and oversees the Lao team. Senior counsel Sornpheth Douangdy leads the the general commercial practice in the Lao office. Leveraging a strong general corporate practice and a market-leading Lao tax expert, Daodeuane Duangdara, the firm is also an attractive choice for international and regional corporates seeking to enter the Lao market, or expand their operations therein.

Other key lawyers:

Daodeuane Duangdara

Key clients

Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public

Maruhan Japan Bank

KB Kolao Leasing Co., Ltd.

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.

ISUZU Motors Asia Ltd

Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company

Creed Group

Work highlights

  • Acted as local counsel to FMO, PROPARCO, and FINNFUND on the financing of a plywood factory construction project undertaken by a socially-committed agroforestry products company.
  • Acted for IFC in the financing of a state-of-the-art apartment complex in Lao PDR.
  • Acted as local counsel for an Asian DFI in relation to a secured term loan facility to a Lao commercial bank.
  • Acting as lead counsel for a Lao public entity in the restructuring of its shareholding interests in respect of a Lao-Vietnam joint venture investment.
  • Advised an Asian telecom giant on telecommunications sector market entry.

McDonald Patafta & Associates Lawyers

McDonald Patafta & Associates Lawyers advises on a range of general corporate and commercial matters, domestic tax, and project development. In particular the team has experience taking companies through the whole suite of requirements for Lao registration and operation, and is fully capable of handling any required financings, corporate transactions and capital markets listings, joint venture agreements and commercial contracts, and Lao taxation matters. In addition, the team has acted for lenders and government clients in large power and infrastructure projects. Mike McDonald oversees the team from Singapore, Kaz Patafta heads the on-the-ground Lao team, and Khamkong Liemphrachanh leads the government relations practice.

Practice head(s):

Mike McDonald; Kaz Patafta

Rajah & Tann (Laos)

Rajah & Tann (Laos) has a sizeable on-the-ground team in Vientiane, with broad business law experience in areas including power and energy, infrastructure, and financial institutions. Headed by real estate, banking and corporate lawyer Hock Chye Lee, the team is currently involved in two major power projects in Lao PDR. Other key figures include director Brian Ng, who specialises in private equity transactions, M&A and cross-border financing, and Khanti Syackhaphom, who has experience in general corporate and business law. Several of the team's more junior members also have experience in general commercial and corporate law, while Soulath Keosihoune has been involved in debt recovery mandates and banking disputes.

Practice head(s):

Hock Chye Lee

Other key lawyers:

Brian Ng; Khanti Syackhaphom

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of China

Nam Mang 1 Power Company Limited

Thai Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Limited

Xelanong 1 Hydropower Co., Ltd.

EDL-Generation Public Company

Work highlights

  • Advising EDL-Generation Public Company on a loan facility to be provided by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for the expansion of the national grid in accordance with the development plan of the Government of Lao PDR.
  • Advising the client on concession agreement and project financing in relation to a BOT project for the development of Xelanong 1 Hydropower Plant to supply power to the national grid.

ZICO Law

The Vientiane team at ZICO Law focuses on advising regional and multinational corporates on market entry requirements, Lao regulatory compliance, and general business issues including commercial contracts, employment matters and corporate transactions. Headed by Aristotle David, the practice group works closely with the firm's office network throughout Indochina, through which it is able to provide clients with access to dedicated experts in securities, tax, foreign investments, banking, land and construction, IP, and dispute resolution. Of late, the team has been particularly active in the areas of manufacturing, professional services, and project development.

Practice head(s):

Aristotle David

Other key lawyers:

Cess Principe

Testimonials

The team is professional, helpful and courteous. They are good as teams from other international legal firms.

The team made efforts to keep client updated of the latest developments through emails, phone call or mobile text on their own initiative.

Key clients

Scoot Tigerair Pte. Ltd

Lao Fiber Optic Communication Network

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

Work highlights

  • Advising Scoot Tigerair, a regional low-cost airline, on key legal matters related to its company registration and operations in Laos.
  • Advising Lao Fiber Optic Communication Network on a joint venture investment and various licensing and legal compliance matters.
  • Advising Link Capital Laos, a Lao wood processing company, on various matters including a company license amendment, legal issues related to its company registration and operations in Laos, a review of the Rules of Work, and contract drafting.
  • Advising Burapha Agro-Forestry, a plantation and wood products manufacturing company, on Lao compliance issues.
  • Advising Arragon Resources on its investment structuring and assisting with securing the company registration of its retail trade operations.