Allen & Overy’s team in Malaysia has five dedicated leads: Chris Moore and James Mythen advise on M&A transactions, Jason Humphreys focuses on projects, energy and infrastructure mandates, Aloysius Tan advises on capital markets and Islamic finance transactions and Sheila Ahuja handles dispute resolution. Working with major domestic firms, its portfolio spans government (and government-linked) entities, international banks and a multiplicity of corporates. One notable matter has been its advice to the Telenor Group on the largest ever telecoms merger in Malaysian history; the proposed merger of Digi.com Berhad and Celcom Axiata Berhad, two of the three telecoms operators in Malaysia.
Foreign firms in Malaysia
Allen & Overy
‘A good balance of legal advice with commercial practicalities. A responsive team.’
‘James Mythen’s practical legal advice is solution oriented.’
‘Jason Humphreys takes it to a whole new level. Very attentive and responsive and customises bespoke solutions.’
‘Top notch team for corporate M&A and project development work and consistently excellent throughout the offices and teams.’
‘Chris Moore keeps cool in all situations.’
Axiata Group Berhad
ACR Capital Holdings
Clifford Chance’s cross-practice team is jointly led by Valerie Kong and Johannes Juette, following the departure of practice head Raymond Tong to Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP in February 2021. Partnering with selected local firms, it has a track record in industries such as energy, private equity, real estate, healthcare and agriculture. In a recent highlight, it advised Harps Holding Bhd, a Malaysian disposable glove manufacturer, on its forthcoming listing, sought on the back of strong demand for its nitrile gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable members of the team include Tom England who specialises in complex financing transactions across a broad range of areas, including leveraged and acquisition finance; energy and resources financings. Nicholas Wong is experienced in advising sponsors, banks, export credit agencies, multilateral financial institutions and development banks on projects around the world in the oil and gas, energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors. Gareth Deiner specialises in debt capital markets and Daryl Liu advises clients on the formation of, and investment in, a wide variety of funds, including private equity funds, real estate funds, infrastructure funds, venture capital funds, and hedge funds.
‘The capital markets team in Singapore not only have relevant international and regional experience, but also a good understanding of the local (i.e. Malaysian) context.’
Berjaya Corporation Berhad (Berjaya)
PCC Oxyalkylates Malaysia Sdn Bhd
CLSA Securities Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad
Maybank Investment Berhad
CIMB Investment Bank Berhad
Credit Suisse Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
- Advised Harps Holding Bhd, a Malaysian disposable glove manufacturer, on its forthcoming listing, sought on the back of strong demand for its nitrile gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Advised Bank of America as coordinating bank for the arrangement of THB and USD denominated facilities for a bid acquisition by TCC Group for Tesco Thailand and Tesco Malaysia.
- Advised Citi, CIMB, Standard Chartered Bank and UBS as the arrangers and bookrunners on Axiata Group’s dual offering of $500m 10-year trust certificates and $1bn 30-year senior notes, each rated Baa2(s) by Moody’s and BBB+(s) by S&P.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is headed by managing partner for Malaysia, Peter Godwin, who is also head of disputes, Asia, while Glynn Cooper heads the corporate and projects work, Malaysia, and infrastructure, Asia. Adrian Cheng heads up the finance practice in Asia. Maintaining an office in Kuala Lumpur since 2017, the firm has grown the office from five to 15 lawyers and covers sectors such as infrastructure and energy funds, financial services, healthcare, aircraft finance and TMT. In particular, it regularly handles investment matters, joint venture disputes and international trade cases. Key clients are drawn from Malaysia’s pensions sector, domestic banking, government-linked entities and independent firms who rely on the team being able to advise on foreign laws through its global network of offices.
‘We like the collaboration between their international offices in which we have engaged with the KL office, and were allocated resources from other offices such as UK and Dubai that has acted as the main advisors for EPF. We have been working with HSF for almost 3 years and we have had a few knowledge sharing session as part of the value added services. ’
‘Being one of the few foreign law firms operating in Malaysia, HSF can be depended upon to give advice on foreign law within its network of offices. Also knowledgeable in the specialised areas of ports and terminals, and competition law.’
‘Glynn Cooper is an experienced practitioner with good knowledge of his areas of practice. Very commercially sound too.’
‘Glynn Cooper – highly reliable and quick to resolve a variety of issues.’
Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB)
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)
Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP)
MMC Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
YTL PowerVena Energy
British American Tobacco
Khazanah Nasional Berhad
- Advised Yinson of Malaysia in relation to the US$800m refinancing of one of its oil and gas floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels.
- Advised Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on the launch of its Shariah Private Equity (PE) Direct/Co-Investment Separate Managed Account (SMA) fund.
- Advised Goldman Sachs on its investment into Biocon Biologics through the subscription of optionally convertible debentures.
Linklaters is led by Amit Singh , Sophie Mathur and Philip Badge. Over a period of more than twenty years in Malaysia, the firm has worked with corporates, banks, commercial organisations as well as federal and state authorities. It handles a substantial amount of M&A work alongside its expertise in the financial sponsor space. Moreover, the team’s expertise in Islamic finance means it can advise on Sharia-compliant banking facilities. In a key highlight, it advised the Government of Malaysia on the issuance of its US$800m 10-year trust certificates. The issuance is the world’s first sovereign sustainability sukuk and the joint offering, with US$500m 30-year trust certificates, was the highest oversubscription rate ever achieved by the Government of Malaysia.
‘We work with the team on Islamic Finance transactions, and the team is highly capable and dynamic to be able to structure the deals in accordance challenging but necessary Shariah requirements. Responsive, and a great sounding board as well whenever needed. ’
‘Phill Hall – I find him to be always available when needed, which is key in transactions with tight timelines. He is always willing to share views on items that may not necessarily fall within his scope of work, but on which his views are invaluable due to experience of having been on numerous other deals. Never disappoints. ’
Credit Suisse AG
Standard Chartered Bank
Deutsche Trustees Malaysia Berhad
CIMB Investment Bank Bhd
- Advised Affin Hwang Investment Bank Berhad, CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, Credit Suisse Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited, as managers on Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad’s issue and placement of 306,507,000 new ordinary shares.
- Advised the Government of Malaysia on the issuance of its US$800m 10-year trust certificates.
- Advised Summa Equity, the Stockholm-headquartered private equity firm, on its first investment in Asia, a control buyout of Sengenics Corporation, a multinational functional proteomics company with business operations in Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Brunei and the UK.
DLA Piper’s Malaysian team strengths include sector expertise in insurance, education, energy, financial services and technology. The practice is led by M&A expert Heng Loong Cheong who also advises on complex corporate reorganisations and equity and debt capital markets transactions, with a focus on emerging markets. Vincent Seah is notable for his experience of pan-Asia mandates, acting for sponsors and developers on corporate and financing matters in the power industries.
Laureate Education, Inc.
Ditrolic Solar and China Huadian
- Advised Laureate Education on USD140m sale of INTI to HOPE Education Group.
- Represented Ditrolic Solar, a Malaysia-based solar clean energy company, and China Huadian on the acquisition, development and financing of a 70MWp solar power project in Bangladesh.
- Advised a global insurance broker on the Asia Pacific employment aspects of its global integration.
Advising on the international aspects of deals with Malaysian companies, K&L Gates regularly represents clients in aerospace, energy, healthcare, transportation and utilities. The team is led by managing partner David Tang and draws upon a network of talent from across Asia. Lian Yok Tan specialises in energy, infrastructure and resource mandates, and James Bradley advises on aviation matters, particularly corporate jets. Christopher Tan, head of the Singapore employment practice, and Sacha Cheong, a disputes and employment partner in Hong Kong, assist clients facing employment-related issues in Malaysia. Lai-Foong Chan and Ahmad Khalis regularly assist clients with banking and finance related matters. Dispute resolution is headed by Sreenivasan Narayanan who, with the support of Muralli Rajaram, advises on high-value litigation including areas of fraud and regulatory breaches.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great network of resources around the world’
‘James Bradley has an incredible work rate and is always proactive in getting advice to clients and even potential clients. He is always available and I have complete confidence in him and his advice.’
‘James Bradley is very good at mentoring his associates and giving them responsibility and client facing roles earlier in their career as compared to other firms. James is willing to provide fee flexibility to “win the business” and honors his commitments on the fees.’
Asmara International Limited
Citicorp International Limited
Judicial Managers of Ocean Tankers (Pte.) Ltd
Malaysia Aviation Group Berhad
- Instructed by the Judicial Managers of Ocean Tankers (Pte.) Ltd (OTPL), one of the entities that is involved in a corporate fraud case perpetrated by Lim Oon Kuin, a shareholder and directors of OTPL.
- Acted as international counsel for Cree Inc. in relation to the sale of its worldwide LED business to SMART Global Holdings Inc., in a deal valued at around US$300m.
- Advised Luye Pharm’s acquisition of the rights, in more than 51 international markets, to Seroquel and Seroquel XR, a schizophrenia and bipolar treatment, from from AstraZeneca, a British pharmaceutical company.
Latham & Watkins LLP advises domestic and international clients on a wide range of corporate and finance transactions in Malaysia. The firm handles capital markets work, M&A, private equity, bank finance, project development and specialises in Islamic finance structures. It has the expertise to both structure documents as well as negotiate the key terms of the full range of Islamic finance instruments. The team, based largely in Singapore, is led by Sharon Lau who has strong international corporate and equity capital markets practices; she is leading on a number of IPOs. Clients are drawn from industries such as healthcare, technology, renewable energy, oil and gas, telecoms and real estate.
Pengerang Energy Complex Sdn Bhd.
Agenda Pantas Sdn. Bhd.
Credit Suisse Securities (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
JPMorgan Securities (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
CLSA Securities Malaysia Sdn Bhd,
CIMB Investment Bank Berhad
Hong Leong Investment Bank Berhad
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
- Advised Malaysia’s Mr. DIY Trading Berhad on its Initial Public Offering of 941,490,000 Ordinary Shares listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad.
- Advised Tencent Holdings on its acquisition of Iflix Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia-based digital entertainment services company.
- Represented the underwriters in the IPO of Malaysian glove manufacturer Harps Holdings Bhd.
Project finance expert Stephen Begley heads the team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which specialises in energy and infrastructure. The group deals with disputes, investigations, compliance and, financial services, shipping and offshore matters. Key clients include Gas Malaysia Berhad and ING Bank N.V; it is advising on the development of the regulatory and contractual framework for third party access. It is hoped this work will pave the way for the liberalisation of the downstream gas market in Malaysia. The firm has also noted an uptick in renewable energy, in particular solar and energy storage deals as well as carbon mitigation projects.
Gas Malaysia Berhad
ING Bank N.V.
- Advised Gas Malaysia Berhad in developing the necessary framework for third party access to pave the way for the liberalisation of the downstream gas market in Malaysia.
- Advised ING Bank Singapore on its US$75m portfolio financing to Cleantech Solar SEA Pte Ltd to support the development of further solar rooftop projects, for business customers in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- Advised ING Bank N.V., the lenders, on the English law and Singapore law aspects of the US$65m limited recourse project financing facility to a subsidiary of Bumi Armada Berhad.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP‘s Malaysia group is led by managing partner Nick Edmondes, who handles corporate and project finance mandates. Partner Elias Moubarak focuses on conventional and Islamic finance structures, a core specialty of the firm, and partner Tom Reynolds’ work covers corporate transactions and cross-border commercial contracts. This is a multidisciplinary practice which supports Malaysian and non-Malaysian clients execute international investments, M&A and financing transactions across a range of sectors including real estate, private equity, hospitality, oil and gas, energy and infrastructure, utilising either conventional or Shari’ah compliant structures and financing.
‘I’ve been dealing with Elias Mubarak, Partner at Trowers and Hamlin (Malaysia office) and he is super helpful. He is always available for a chat and takes long calls – to discuss our legal problems and issues related to structures – without charging us a fee.’
Permodalan Nasional Berhad
Mizuho Bank Ltd, Labuan branch
Mizuho Bank (Malaysia) Berhad
Lembaga Tabung Haji, the Malaysian hajj pilgrim’s fund
Nakheel Oman Development Company SAOC
Maisarah Islamic Banking Services, Bank Dhofar
Thara Global Business LLC
GFH Financial Group BSC
Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation
First Energy Bank BSC(c)
- Advised PNB and certain members of its group on the £348,250,000 refinancing of PNB’s significant commercial real estate investments in Central London.
- Advised Malaysian pilgrimage fund, Lembaga Tabung Haji, and certain of its group companies, in relation to a £108,000,000 Murabaha financing by Standard Chartered Bank, London branch.
- Advised Mizuho Bank (Malaysia) Berhad on a US$100,000,000 Murabaha structured revolving trade financing made available to the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.
King & Spalding LLP specialises in LNG, oil, gas and power matters. It assists with structured project financing, the resolution of construction disputes and investment treaties. Based in Singapore, the key names to note are infrastructure expert Kelly Malone and international arbitration specialist Donny Low.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has a track record on a range of projects in the oil, gas and renewables sectors. Coordinated from Singapore by Ben Shorten and Daryl Chew, the team has successfully served clients such as The Government of Malaysia, Genting, Malakoff, Khazanah and Bumi Armada.
WongPartnership LLP ’s presence in Malaysia is through its association with Foong & Partners, a member firm of the Wong Partnership Group’s regional network. Foong & Partners focusses on commercial, capital markets and corporate finance work. Together, the firms have advised Malaysian companies and entrepreneurs in their transactions and disputes across Asia Pacific. Clients in Malaysia include government-linked enterprises, Malaysian banks and foreign investors. The Singapore-based team heads Sean Yu Chou , Andrew Ang and Gail Ong provide the full range of corporate M&A, banking and finance, equity capital markets and litigation and international arbitration expertise.
SMRT Corporation Ltd.
ASM Pacific Technology Limited
- Advised on the concession agreement for the operation of the RTS Link entered into by the Government of Malaysia and the Land Transport Authority of Singapore as Grantors and the RTS Link operating company
- Acted for one of the investors in the proposed joint venture between Wise Road and ASM Pacific Technology Limited.