Leading firms in Laos
Based in Laos, the integrated legal and tax team at DFDL Legal & Tax advises both local and foreign investors and banks on the full range of relevant matters for both Lao and international clients, such as energy and mining, infrastructure, M&A, employment, banking and finance, as well as real estate and construction. Managing director Kristy Newby focuses primarily on M&A and project financing for both sponsors and lenders on cross-border power projects. Senesakoune Sihanouvong advises on legal due diligence and general corporate advisory matters, as well as the leading securities market advisor in the team. Gert Meersman joined as regional senior legal advisor from Glow Energy in November 2019, while Walter Heiser retired in January 2020.
‘DFDL, an integrated international standard law firm with in-depth knowledge of the Mekong Region, provides specialised and personalised advisory services to the international business community.’
‘Gert Meersman, Regional Senior Legal Adviser of DFDL Lao PDR/Thailand, has more than 20 years of professional experience and a deep understanding of the energy sector and the Southeast Asian markets.’
‘DFDL is perhaps the top law firm in Lao, which has long-time cooperation with us and keeps a tacit understanding with each other. It’s not easy for a foreign agency to understand the concerns of a Chinese state-owned enterprise such as ourselves, but fortunately, DFDL performs well in this aspect.‘
‘The attorneys in DFDL are all very familiar with not only regulations but also practices in Laos, which always provides its clients a professional and practical help when inquiry happens.’
ANZGBL, Lao Branch
Nam Che 1 Project Financing
Nam For Project Financing
Bank of China (HK)
- Assisted ANZ via regulatory advice and transaction assistance in the closure of its retail’s arm in March 2018 and transition to a branch (from a subsidiary) in 2019 and 2020.
- Served as Bangkok Bank Public Company Ltd’s Lao counsel for the project financing of the Nam Che 1 15MW run-of-river hydropower project.
- Served as Lao counsel for Siam Commercial Bank Public Company Ltd for the project financing of the Nam For 5MW run-of-river hydropower project.
The Laos-based team at Tilleke & Gibbins (Laos) advise both international and regional clients on inbound investment, as well as multinationals interested in market entry into hydropower, transport, and infrastructure. In recent years it has seen a marked increase in work on insurance and reinsurance placements on infrastructure projects. The team is particularly known for its enforcement of iIP claims regarding the global counterfeit market and in 2020 has introduced advice to businesses on legal updates and obligations related to COVID-19. Head of the Vientiane office, Dino Santaniello, works on dispute resolution, IP, and corporate and commercial matters; head of office in Bangkok Santhapat Periera focuses on matters involving banking, project finance, and infrastructure.
United Power of Asia
- Advised one of the world’s largest consumer banks on the regulatory framework for their planned market entry into Laos.
- Advised a panel of major global insurers on coverage arising from the collapse of a hydroelectric dam in 2018.
- Advising AIG Group as the lead reinsurer on a $870m reinsurance placement for a dam in Laos, and retained to review and advise on that placement annually.
VDB Loi advises on a wide range of matters, including concession projects, joint ventures, M&A, and security transactions. With particular experience in market entry and legal and tax due diligence, the team is also known for its work in banking and finance, as well as infrastructure work. In 2019, it was involved in significant cross-border M&A deals involving two hydropower projects. Based in Yangon, practice leader Edwin Vanderbruggen leads on project development, transactions and compliance, regulatory and tax practice, and energy and infrastructure projects. Tax advisor Daodeuane Duangdara is an expert in hydropower projects and was promoted to the position of partner in July 2019. Senior counsel Sornpheth Douangdy runs the general commercial practice.
Other key lawyers:
Banque Pour Le Commerce Extérieur Lao Public
Bureau Veritas Group
China Development Bank
Exim Bank China
Hazama Ando Corporation
Heineken Lao Brewery Co., Ltd
International Finance Corporation
KB Kolao Leasing Co., Ltd
Maruhan Japan Bank
Nam Theun 2 Power Company Ltd
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.
Mei Gung Holdings Co., Ltd
OHP Ventures Inc
- Assisted GCPG PCL with the $300m acquisition of two hydropower plants.
- Advised FMO PROPARCO, and FINNFUND on the $30m financing of an agroforestry company in the Lao PDR.
- Advised MARUHAN Japan Bank on the legal framework for provision of e-wallet and digital payment services by financial institutions in the Lao PDR.
McDonald Patafta & Associates Lawyers provides corporate and commercial advice to financial institutions and NGOs regarding international investment into Laos. The team works across a range of sectors such as banking and finance, energy and mining, and real estate, and is experienced in Lao registration, joint venture agreements, and Lao taxation matters for international companies. Overseeing the team from Singapore, managing partner Mike McDonald is a key contact, as is the Vientiane-based team leader Kaz Patafta. Furthermore, Khamkong Liemphrachanh leads the team in government relations.
Rajah & Tann (Laos)
Operating out of Vientiane, Rajah & Tann (Laos) has extensive experience in the establishment of foreign-Lao joint ventures, regulatory compliance, M&A, foreign direct investment, and project financing. The team has conducted key banking and finance-related work in industry sectors such as infrastructure, energy and power, and construction. Managing partner Hock Chye Lee advises on corporate, banking and finance, and real estate; director Brian Ng focuses on corporate law; Khanti Syackhaphom specialises in general corporate and commercial law and corporate transactions.
EDL-Generation Public Company
Guthrie GTS Pte Ltd
- Acted as local counsel to Oppenheimer& Co in the inaugural International Sovereign Bond issue by the Government of Lao PDR.
- Advised GTS Detico on the closure of the Mercure Hotel Vientiane.
ZICO Law is notable for its advice to local and international clients regarding requirements to market entry to Laos, regulatory compliance, and commercial matters. The team has specific sector expertise related to bio-ethanol production, key transportation projects, financial technology, aviation law, and telecommunications, and works closely with the regional office network to provide clients access to a range of local markets. Managing partner Aristotle David focuses on company establishment, investment structuring, project coordination, due diligence, real estate, IP, energy, mining, and international NGOs.
Other key lawyers:
Akhil Khumar Jha
Lim Hit Yee
Lao Insurance Association
University of California San Francisco
- Advised a concrete manufacturing company in providing services under a general retainer engagement, including drafting contracts, advising on joint venture matters, and investment structuring and legal compliance matters.
- Advised Japan Tobacco International on various regulatory compliance matters for tobacco products, company registration and licensing, labour compliance, visa and work permits, and drafting rules of work.
- Advised a leading finch company regarding investment entry legal compliance matters, company registration and licensing, review of contract, and tax compliance.