Allen & Overy Ltd operates out of Yangon and fields a team of experts across Singapore, Thailand and Hong-Kong focusing on inbound work. The group handles a steady stream of impressive matters across commercial arbitration and international projects, and is jointly headed by Simon Makinson in Tokyo and managing partner of the Thailand office Stephens Jaggs. The core team comprises M&A partner James Mythen in Singapore, and Sarah Wilson and Chris Burkett in Thailand. On the arbitration front, Sheila Ahuja is the key contact, with expertise in energy and infrastructure disputes. The team also advises on sanctions work which has increased in the past year.
Foreign desks in Myanmar
Allen & Overy Ltd
Simon Makinson, Stephen Jaggs
Other key lawyers:
James Mythen; Sarah Wilson; Chris Burkett; Sheila Ahuja; Josh Htet
‘Expertise on project finance and market knowledge / application in Myanmar; commercial, sensible approach; great on management of local counsel and local law issues; positive approach to work and clients’
‘Stephen Jaggs and Josh Htet work very well together as a team and are effective in allowing clients to work towards deadlines. Great understanding of legal issues and market positions.’
‘Given the lengthy credentials and the technical projects that A&O has advised in Myanmar, they are likely one of the best-placed international firms to advise on Myanmar matters from an international perspective. Their team is technical, approachable, and business-oriented. With the office in Yangon, A&O is up to date about on-ground developments, which enhances their international practice for matters related to Myanmar.’
‘A&O is the only foreign law firm with a foreign desk that actually has a permanent office in Yangon and expert Myanmar lawyers. It’s more knowledgeable and better equipped to advise on Myanmar matters than other international law firms which claim to practice local law.’
Mayer Brown has a track record handling high-profile power projects in Myanmar and is singled out for its expertise advising on the full lifecycle of energy assets. Jointly managed from Singapore by Benjamin Thompson and Nathan Dodd, the group advises across solar, natural gas, and hydropower projects, and project financing matters under Burmese Law. Counsel Matthew Chow handles inbound transactional work in the construction sector. The group also leverages its Tokyo office for cross-border work.
Other key lawyers:
‘Expertise on project finance and market knowledge / application in Myanmar; commercial sensible approach; great on management of local counsel and local law issues; positive fun approach to work and clients’
‘Ben Thompson works very well with his team and is effective in allowing clients to work towards deadlines. Great understanding of legal issues and market positions.’
Électricité de France SA (EDF)
Shwe Taung Group
National Infrastructure Holdings
Ayeyar Hinthar Holdings
- Advised on the The Shweli-3 671MW hydropower project which will be Myanmar’s largest hydropower project to be financed by international sponsors on a project financing basis. Though the project financing is still in its early stages, the lender mix is expected to include JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) and MLAs (multilateral lending agency) such as ADB. Once JBIC’s involvement is confirmed, this will be the first IPP it will have financed in Myanmar.
- Advising the lenders to Sembcorp, a leading energy, water and marine group, in regards to Sembcorp’s mandate to develop and operate the Myingyan 225MW gas-fired Independent Power Project (IPP).
- International legal counsel to the project sponsors, the Kansai Electric Power Co., which as part of a consortium with Austria-based Andritz Hydro and High Tech Construction Trust Co., is developing the 66MW hydropower project at Deedoke on the Myitnge River in the Mandalay Region in Myanmar.
Norton Rose Fulbright retains its sector strength across the financing and infrastructure space and leads its Myanmar work from its Singapore office, led by Yu-En Ong . The group advises on inbound investments, transactional mandates, and project finance matters, as well as advising government bodies. Janelene Chen advises on domestic and international financings for both borrowers and lenders, and is recommended for cross-border structured transactions.
Other key lawyers:
United Overseas Bank Limited
Asian Development Bank
- Advised United Overseas Bank Limited in relation to the preparation of cross-border for umbrella facilities to be provided by United Overseas Bank Limited to a Singapore company and its affiliates in the Southeast Asia region for the purposes offinancing the pre-export and post-shipment rubber trade.
- Advised FMO and a syndicate of European Development Finance Institutions on the $234,170,000 financing in Myanmar to Irrawaddy Towers AssetHolding Pte. Ltd. and Irrawaddy Green Towers Company Limited (IGT) for theconstruction of more than 3000 telecom towers infrastructure across Myanmar.
Based between Thailand and Singapore, DLA Piper’s practice is known for handling large-scale and often complex energy and infrastructure projects and financing work for an international client base. The group is led by Singapore-based Vincent Seah, who is active in power projects in Myanmar and is supported by Samata Masagee in Bangkok, who handles cross-border corporate mandates and acquisition work. Renewable energy continues to be a sector strength for the team.
Other key lawyers:
Shikoku Electric Power Company
Chukoku Electric Power Company
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has an international roster of clients across the energy, and telecoms area and operates out of its Singapore office. The practice has strength in inbound M&A matters, project development work, and transactional mandates in Myanmar, as well as advising clients on corporate litigation. Key contacts in the group include finance lawyer and regional head of the practice in Asia Adrian Cheng and Alastair Henderson on the projects side. Former head of the energy practice David Clinch has left the firm to join the Singapore office of Shearman & Sterling LLP.
Stephenson Harwood LLP acts on landmark transactions across the Asia-pacific region on real estate, energy and natural resources, and the mining sectors. Based between Singapore and Yangon, the group receives a steady stream of mandates on market entry matters in Myanmar and regularly development work in the insurance market. Tom Platts is a key name and holds a number of blue-chip corporates and banks as clients.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is ‘excellent’ according to clients and advises across the energy, financial services and hotels sector to Burmese and international clients. Housed in Singapore, the practice is led by Tien Gui Koh and advises on sanctions, anti-bribery work, and compliance matters, as well as market entry in Myanmar. Other contacts include senior associate Tun Zaw Mra, who is the name for real estate and telecoms related transactions, and corporate partner Dominic Gregory.
Other key lawyers:
‘They know the market and have good contacts within the business and the legal communities in the country. They are aware of the challenges of doing business in the country and flexible with their approach.’
‘Tun is a strong corporate lawyer with excellent technical skills and is commercially minded. As one of a handful of English qualified lawyers with Myanmar language skills, cultural background and experience, he’s a real asset. On top of his capability and efficiency, he is very pragmatic and is always open to exploring practical solutions with us, often going above and beyond.’
‘Myanmar Team did an excellent job for clients, especially in tough times that Myanmar has gone through now with the coup and covid-19 impact. The legal know-how and expertise judgement calls are essential when in times of need.’
‘Tun Zaw Mra, born and bred in Myanmar but educated in UK and rich experience in Singapore and Asia.’
First Myanmar Public Investment Public Company Limited
Yoma Strategic Holdings
Dentons Rodyk advises clients across a variety of sectors including on capital markets regulations as governed by Myanmar law, compliance matters, and commercial property matters. Managed by Ling Yi Quek, who is based between Myanmar and Singapore, the group also advises on market entry into Myanmar.
Ling Yi Quek
‘In the very challenging market of Myanmar we had struggled in past to find a legal firm that offered consistent and reliable service. In Dentons we have found a trustworthy legal advisor that offers valuable legal advice in the context of our market.’
‘Ling Yi Quek has been the cornerstone of our relationship with Dentons. She has been a pleasure to work with as the point person on a range of legal matters.’
‘The practice has very strong capabilities and understands the local context whilst also providing international standard advice.’
‘Ling Yi Quek is a very strong legal practitioner and understands both legal and commercial requirements of clients.’
UAB Bank Limited
Tier One Entertainment
KBZ Stirling Coleman Securities Company Limited
Sanda Hotel Company Limited
Krisland Company Limited
F&N Foods Pte Ltd
Abercrombie & Kent International Limited
WSP Sverige AB
Golden Concept Eood
M. Interiors Design Company Limited
Linklaters advises South East Asian clients, particularly Chinese and Thai clients on large power plant project financings. Practice head Wanwisar Nakarat in Bangkok is active in the banking space and advises on transactional matters in Myanmar. TMT sector work is led by partner Niranjan Arasaratnam out of Singapore; he has been active in the Asia Pacific region for over two decades.
Other key lawyers:
‘Linklaters Singapore perennially produces solid legal representation for financiers across Asia. Their expertise in Myanmar helps investors and lenders mitigate their risk in what can be a somewhat challenging jurisdiction at times.’
‘Availability throughout transaction to discuss issues and solution oriented in solving problems.’
Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited
PTT Global Chemical
Bangkok Industrial Gas Co., Ltd.
True Corporation Plc.
Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited
Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications
Solution Creation Company Limited
Ratchaburi Generating Holding Plc.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has a track record advising international clients on transactional energy and project development matters in Myanmar, particularly LNG sector work and hydropower plants. David Clinch has bolstered the energy team at the firm after joining from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and handles project financing and acquisition work across emerging markets. The group has a presence in Seoul and Singapore, and advises lenders on sponsors on large power projects. Head of the Asia group Ben Shorten is a key name as is Bill McCormack . Anna Chung heads the Seoul office.
International Finance Corporation
Investcorp Asia Financial Services Pte. Ltd.
- Advising the lenders in connection with the development and financing of the greenfield run-of-river 60 MW Deedoke hydropower project located on the Myitnge River in Myanmar.
- Advised Investcorp in connection with its acquisition of a majority interest in Viz Branz Holdings Pte. Ltd. (Viz Branz) from Pluto Rising Pte. Ltd.