Foreign firms in Philippines

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy 'has expert-level understanding of the key regulatory and investment issues in the Philippines'. It has 'participated in some of the largest and most complex inbound deals' and is also equipped to advise on significant outbound investments by Philippine corporations. From its offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, its lawyers advise on major corporate and M&A, finance and capital markets transactions involving the Philippines, and the firm also has a notable track record in international arbitration, including for Philippines-based clients. Alun Evans is 'a favourite among clients as he is able to anticipate issues that may arise in evolving deals'. In a transaction involving 11 jurisdictions, Evans and a team advised Pilmico International, a subsidiary of Philippine conglomerate the Aboitiz Group, on its $404m acquisition of a 75% stake in major agribusiness company Gold Coin. Jason Humphreys and New York and Philippine-qualified lawyer Giancarlo Sambalido also receive praise.

Practice head(s):

Alun Evans; Vicki Liu; Alexander Stathopoulos; Matthew Hodgson

Other key lawyers:

Giancarlo Sambalido; Jason Humphreys; Matthew Gearing QC; Connell O’Neill

Testimonials

Allen & Overy’s Philippine transaction experience is deep. This allows the firm to understand the client’s concerns and pick up on the peculiarities of the legal nuances‘.

Alun Evans brings to the transaction commercial experience. He anticipates clients’ concerns and has year on year built trust making him top of mind for continuing and new business‘.

Jason Humphreys remains busy with infrastructure, energy and telecoms initiatives in the Philippines. We collaborate regularly and his ability to connect opportunities for the clients have been appreciated‘.

The lawyers seem to always have an ear to the ground in terms of key developments and opportunities in the Philippines. They also have a keen sense of how these opportunities are situated in the region‘.

Giancarlo Sambalido was very easy to coordinate with and always on top of things. He and his team were able to work very efficiently and quickly‘.

The A&O team is very active in various fields in the Philippine market. Over the years, they have developed a deep familiarity with the Philippine legal environment as well as cultural nuances in the Philippines‘.

The team has expert-level understanding of the key regulatory and investment issues in the Philippines, and they make it a point to work with equally capable Philippine law firms to bring a well-staffed team for the transaction‘.

Alun Evans stands out for his portfolio of Philippine inbound and outbound deals. He provides clients with well-thought-out advice and his steady demeanour is very effective in negotiations‘.

Key clients

PLDT

Aboitiz / Pilmico

Jollibee Foods Corporation

BDO

Bank of China

QBE

Pernod Ricard

Work highlights

  • Advised Pilmico International, a food subsidiary of Philippine conglomerate the Aboitiz Group, on its $404m acquisition of a 75% stake in Gold Coin from the Swiss Zuellig family-backed Golden Springs Group.
  • Advised Pernod Ricard on its joint venture in the Philippines with its long-term distribution partner Premier Wines & Spirits, part of Cosco Capital, Inc.
  • Advised Standard Chartered Bank (as arranger) and the permanent underwriters on the update of RCBC’s $2bn MTN programme.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP excels in project finance and is often instructed in major energy and infrastructure projects taking place in the Philippines. Recently, this included representing Meralco PowerGen Corp as lead sponsor in the project financing for the development of the 1,200MW coal-fired power project in Atimonan, Quezon. The team - which is spread across Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo - also has strong capital markets and corporate and M&A practices, and acts for a diverse client base. In a major highlight, Michael Yoshii, Benjamin Carale and Stephen McWilliams advised San Miguel Corporation and its subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings on the acquisition of Singapore-based power generation company Masin-AES; the sale included two 315MW Masinloc coal-fired power plants, a 335MW Masinloc power turbine coal-fired power plant under construction and a 10MW Masinloc energy storage project.

Practice head(s):

Michael Yoshii; Benjamin Carale

Other key lawyers:

Stephen McWilliams; Richard Fleming; Diana Dizon

Key clients

San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc.

PLDT, Inc.

Security Bank Corporation

San Miguel Corporation

Vista Land & LifescapesInc.

PetronCorporation

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

MUFG Securities EMEA plc

Fullerton Healthcare Corporation Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Meralco PowerGen Corp.

San Miguel Corporation and SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.

Work highlights

  • Represented San Miguel Corporation and its subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. in the acquisition of Masin-AES.
  • Represented Meralco PowerGen Corp as lead sponsor in the project financing for the development of the 1,200 MW coal-fired power project in Atimonan, Quezon in the Philippines.
  • Advising Fullerton Healthcare Corporation, the leading provider of corporate healthcare solutions across Asia Pacific, in the acquisition of a 60% stake in Intellicare Group, a Philippines-based provider of managed healthcare services.

Linklaters

Linklaters stands out for its strength in capital markets, corporate and M&A and finance transactions. It was bolstered in 2018 with the arrival of Amit Singh and Michele Discepola to the Singapore office from Allen & Overy. Key names in the Hong Kong office include Patrick Sheil and James McLaren. In a significant highlight, Sheil and counsel Christian Felton (also in Hong Kong) acted as special US counsel to the Republic of the Philippines in the SEC-registered offering and issuance of global bonds under the Republic's shelf registration statement. Other clients include household name companies in the transport, entertainment and financial services industries.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Sheil; James McLaren

Key clients

ICTSI

ADIA

Standard Chartered Bank

Citibank

ANZ

Asia Development Bank

Republic of the Philippines

Work highlights

  • Advised the Republic of the Philippines on its $1.5bn issue of 3.750% global bonds due 2029.

Milbank

Milbank is regularly instructed in the most high-profile capital markets, corporate and finance deals that involve the Philippines, and it retains longstanding relationships with leading clients in the financial services, energy and power sectors. Recent highlights include advising GNPower Kauswagan on the EPC and other project development matters linked to the construction and development of its $1.2bn 4x135MW coal-fired power plant project; James Murray and recommended of counsel Desiree Woo led the advice. Counsel Paul Pery is US- and Philippines-qualified and is registered as a foreign lawyer in Hong Kong; he specialises in debt, equity and equity-linked capital markets deals. Highly experienced corporate and finance lawyer James Grandolfo co-heads the team with Murray.

Practice head(s):

James Grandolfo; James Murray

Other key lawyers:

Paul Pery; Desiree Woo; Melissa Lewis; Ari Singzon

Testimonials

The team is very responsive and knowledgeable‘.

Desiree Woo and Ari SIngzon have exceptional teamwork and are fast and accurate‘.

Key clients

Universal Entertainment Corporation

GNPower Kauswagan

GNPower Mariveles

GNPower Dinginin

AC Energy

Power Partners

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

UBS

Deutsche Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Credit Suisse

Mizuho Securities

Standard Chartered Bank

ICTSI

ADB

Work highlights

  • Acted as international counsel to Universal Entertainment Corporation in its $600m Rule 144A/Reg S high yield notes offering.
  • Advised GNPower Kauswagan in connection with the EPC and other project development matters linked to the construction and development of the $1.2 billion power project.
  • Represents the project company GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. and the sponsors in the $1.7 billion supercritical coal-fired power plant project in Bataan Province in the Philippines.

Clifford Chance

Recommended firm Clifford Chance provides English, Singapore law and US law advice to its clients in multi-jurisdictional transactions, with particular strength in corporate and M&A and finance. Its sector specialisms span energy and natural resources, private equity, real estate, financial institutions and telecoms, among others. In a significant transaction, Valerie Kong and a team advised Golden Springs Group on the sale of a majority stake in Gold Coin, a major animal feed manufacturer with operations in 11 countries, to Pilmico International. Singapore-based financial institutions and tech specialist Satbir Walia (who previously worked in the Hong Kong and New York offices) was promoted to partner in 2018. Andrew Gambarini retired from the firm.

Practice head(s):

Alex Lloyd

Other key lawyers:

Paul Landless; Satbir Walia; Johannes Juette; Ross Howard; Fergus Evans; Melissa Ng; Simon Briscoe; Valerie Kong

Key clients

Golden Springs Group Ltd

AC Energy

Metrobank Card Corporation

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP)

Mitsui & Co.

L Catterton Asia

Work highlights

  • Advised Golden Springs Group (controlled by Peter Zuellig) on its sale of a majority stake in Gold Coin, one of the largest animal feed manufacturers in Asia, to Pilmico International.
  • Acted for the Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP)-led consortium, which acquired Equis Energy’s renewable assets in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.
  • Acted for Metrobank Card Corporation as borrower’s counsel in its first (and successful) tap of the cross-border syndicated loan market by way of an up to $165m term loan facility.

Gibson Dunn

Leading Philippine conglomerates turn to Gibson Dunn for assistance in major projects in the country and in their outbound investments. The team also acts for foreign companies looking to invest in the Philippines. Highlights in 2018 included advising Meralco PowerGen Corporation on its bid for the 51% ownership interests of AES Corporation in the Masinloc Power assets, including a 630MW coal power plant in the Philippines. Practice head Patricia Tan Openshaw is based in Hong Kong and specialises in project development, finance and M&A transactions, particularly those involving significant energy and infrastructure assets.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Tan Openshaw

Other key lawyers:

Cristina Uy-Tioco; Adrian Chiang; Jiaxing Xu

Key clients

Manila Electric Company

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation

Meralco PowerGen Corporation

SMC Mass Rail Transit 7, Inc. (formerly Universal LRT Corporation (BVI) Limited)

San Miguel Holdings Corp.

First Gen Corporation

First NatGas Power Corporation

AC Energy Holdings, Inc.

Aboitiz Power Corp.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

Republic of the Philippines

Ayala Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Manila Electric Company in connection with its winning bid for the concession for the management and operation of, and investments in, in the Electricity Company of Ghana.
  • Is advising SMC Mass Rail Transit 7, Inc. in the development, construction and financing of the integrated metro rail transit system, highway and intermodal transportation terminal project in Metro Manila.
  • Advised Meralco PowerGen Corporation in its bid for the 51% ownership interests of AES Corporation.

Herbert Smith Freehills

The Philippines focus group at Herbert Smith Freehills comprises projects, M&A, finance and dispute resolution lawyers based across the Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore offices. Its ability to handle high-stakes international arbitration is a distinguishing feature. In the projects and infrastructure space, the team acts for key players in their energy and power projects in the Philippines. In one highlight, Sydney-based partner Toby Anderson advised First Gen Hydro Power Corporation in relation to the development, engineering, procurement and construction of the 23MW Bubunawan hydroelectric power plant. David Clinch is another key practitioner; his experience spans project development, project finance, acquisitions and joint ventures in the oil and gas, power, mining, chemical, refining and infrastructure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Toby Anderson

Other key lawyers:

David Clinch; Alexander Aitken; Simon Chapman; Austin Sweeney; Daniel Waldek; Antony Crockett

Key clients

Aboitiz Equity Ventures

AC Energy

Chevron

San Miguel Holdings Corporation

First Philippine Electric Corporation

Prime Meridian PowerGen Corporation

First Corporation

Energy Development Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised First Gen Hydro Power Corporation on the 23MW Bubunawan hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon.
  • Advised Deutsche Bank AG Tokyo Branch on an up to $1.2bn financing to the Key Safety Systems group (now re-branded Joyson Safety Systems) to fund the acquisition of substantially all of the global assets of Takata Corporation.
  • Advised Air Asia on several aviation finance matters, including the sale and leaseback of seven aircraft with Aergo Capital as purchaser/lessor.

King & Spalding LLP

Highly regarded for international arbitration, King & Spalding LLP has handled some of the largest Philippines-related disputes, including investor state and commercial disputes. On the non-contentious side, the team is equipped to advise on large-scale transactions and projects. This side of the practice was bolstered with the arrival of corporate and M&A and private equity expert Lee Taylor from Clifford Chance in 2018. This was followed by the arrival of Andrew Brereton from the same firm in 2019; Brereton specialises in acquisition, trade and structured financing and restructuring. Leading companies in the energy, mining and natural resources sectors turn to the team. In a cross-office effort, Wade Coriell and others are acting for Shell in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of the Philippines concerning the allocation of petroleum revenues under a petroleum services contract.

Practice head(s):

Wade Coriell; Simon Cowled

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Malone; Richard Nelson; Lee Taylor; Jun Bautista; Andrew Brereton

Testimonials

King & Spalding’s obvious strength is arbitration. We find their response to be focused, on-time and sensitive to the client’s needs and plans. The teams formed for cases we referred to them had a balanced core, were energetic and had competence on the technical issues‘.

We work closely with Wade Coriel; the approaches he prescribed for the pleadings and presentation materials were logical and exhaustive, and he was methodical at the hearings‘.

Key clients

The AES Corporation

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

SN Aboitiz Power – Magat, Inc.

Aboitiz Power Corporation

SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet, Inc.

Equis Funds Group

Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd.

Gunvor Group

San Miguel Holdings Corporation

Philex Mining Corporation

Shell

Work highlights

  • Advised The AES Corporation on the auction sale of its majority holding in its business in the Philippines to SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. for $1.05bn.
  • Represents oil major Shell in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of the Philippines. The dispute relates to the allocation of petroleum revenues earned by the oil majors under a petroleum services contract with the state.
  • The firm advised on, reviewed and updated the Coal Supply Agreements of the three coal subsidiaries of Aboitiz Power Corporation: Therma Luzon, Therma Visayas, Therma South.

Pinsent Masons

The 'experienced lawyers' at Pinsent Masons have impressive expertise in renewable energy and infrastructure projects, including PPPs. The team was further strengthened by the hire of James Harris from Jones Day in 2019; Harris is an expert in greenfield and brownfield projects in Southeast Asia. David Platt is noted for his 'hands-on and practical' approach. He and senior associate Priya Dalal advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) as transaction adviser to Bases Conversion and Development Agency of the Philippines on the EPC and O&M concessions for the Clark International Airport expansion project. John Yeap co-heads the practice with Platt and is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Yeap; David Platt

Other key lawyers:

Bernard Ang; Isabelle Chan; Priya Dalal

Testimonials

The team has experienced lawyers who have worked in the Philippines since 2011. The team has senior lawyers like David Platt and John Yeap who have substantial Philippines experience‘.

David Platt is very hands-on and practical. He has a very good understanding of the Philippines market since he has advised on many PPP projects in the Philippines‘.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Work highlights

  • Advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) as transaction adviser to Bases Conversion and Development Agency of the Philippines on the Clark International Airport expansion project.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP's project finance practice enjoys global renown, and it is active in infrastructure and power projects in the Philippines as elsewhere. Its strong relationships with project sponsors (including major conglomerates), multilateral development banks and export credit agencies ensure an active workflow. In 2018, the team continued to provide advice to Ayala Corp, Metro Pacific and Macquarie on the development and financing of the Light Rail Transit 1 Cavite Extension project. Anna Chung and Bill McCormack are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Anna Chung; Bill McCormack

Key clients

Ayala Corporation

Metro Pacific

Macquarie Capital

International Finance Corporation

Asia Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the sponsors on the development and financing of the Light Rail Transit 1 Cavite Extension project (LRT 1 project).

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP draws on over two decades of experience in Southeast Asia, including in the Philippines, where it advises on project financing, M&A and capital markets deals. Recently, it has been particularly active in large-scale, multi-jurisdictional M&A, acting on both the buyer and seller side. In one example, a cross-office team including Jonathan Stone in Hong Kong and Rajeev Duggal in Singapore advised Equis Funds Group on the $5bn sale of Equis Energy (Singapore), including its operations in the Philippines, to Global Infrastructure Partners and co-investors. In internal developments, banking and finance expert John Hartley joined as of counsel from Gibson Dunn in December 2018.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Stone; Rajeev Duggal

Other key lawyers:

John Hartley

Key clients

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (the Philippines)

Citigroup, Inc.

The AES Corporation

First Gen Corporation

CEMEX Holdings Philippines, Inc.

Masinloc Power Partners

Manila Electric

Work highlights

  • Advised Equis Funds Group on the $5bn sale of Equis Energy (Singapore) to Global Infrastructure Partners and others.
  • RepresentedFirst Gen Corporationand its wholly owned subsidiary Red Vulcan Holdings Corp.in Philippines Renewable Energy Holding Corp.’s tender offer to acquire up to 32 percent of Energy Development Corp., a subsidiary of First Gen Corporation, for $1.3bn.
  • Represented Citigroup Inc. in the sale of the customer portfolio of its merchant acquiring business in 11 Asia Pacific markets, including the Philippines, to Wirecard AG.

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Major financial institutions, private equity funds and multinational corporations turn to Stephenson Harwood LLP in investments and finance transactions involving the Philippines. Transport finance is a particular strength. The team has expanded considerably through several recent hires; this includes the hire of Gregory Xu, who joined from Clifford Chance in 2018 and was promoted to partner in 2019, and the arrival of Martin Brown and John Simpson (and others), who joined from Ince in 2018 and 2019, respectively. George Cyriac  is another key contact; he advised AIGF, a Singapore-headquartered private equity fund, on its investment in Philippines-based co-working and flexible workspace provider KMC Solutions. Tom Platts heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Tom Platts

Other key lawyers:

George Cyriac; Gregory Xu; Erik Wallace; Martin Brown; John Simpson

Key clients

Cebu Pacific

Stella International Holdings

ENGIE

Audiowav Media, Inc.

Winson Oil Trading

Venturra Capital Fund I LP

iflix

BNP Paribas

Work highlights

  • Advised AIGF, a Singapore headquartered private equity fund on its investment in KMC Solutions
  • Advised Stella International Holdings on the establishment of two new manufacturing facilities in two separate special economic zones in the Philippines.
  • Advised GDF Suez Energy, through Cofely Philippines, on its joint venture with Filinvest Land Inc./Cyberzone Properties Inc. and all related aspects of its large district cooling system at Northgate Cyberzone in Manila.

White & Case Pte. Ltd.

White & Case Pte. Ltd. has renewed its focus on the Philippines, where it has been active for several decades. It significantly expanded its projects and energy practice with several hires in 2017, and also maintains active banking, capital markets and corporate practices. Its clients include multinational corporations and Philippine conglomerates, and it has recently increased its client base with several new clients. In recent work, a multi-office team including Fergus Smith in Singapore advised Asian Development Bank as project advisor on Philippines National Oil Company’s proposed development of an LNG-to-power project in the Philippines, involving LNG regasification and various power projects.

Practice head(s):

Fergus Smith

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Osborne; Brendan Quinn; Carolyn Lamm

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Philippine National Oil Company

Aboitiz Equity Ventures / Aboitiz Power

Equis Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Asian Development Bank on the proposed development of an LNG to power project in the Philippines involving LNG regasification.
  • Advised Mizuho Bank, Ltd. in a $200m syndicated term loan facility granted to FP Treasury (2018) Limited guaranteed by First Pacific Company Limited.
  • Represents an international developer on the development and financing of a solar project in the Philippines.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's Hong Kong and New York-based lawyers advise Philippine and non-Philippine clients on capital markets, M&A and other corporate and financing transactions. In particular, it is often instructed by leading banks as underwriters in bond and notes offerings. As a recent example, Shuang Zhao and a team advised Bank of China, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Standard Chartered Bank and UBS in a $1.5bn SEC-registered bond offering by The Republic of the Philippines. Counsel Robert Williams is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams

Other key lawyers:

Shuang Zhao; Jeffrey Karpf; Elizabeth Chang

Key clients

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

HSBC

J.P. Morgan

UBS

Work highlights

  • Represented the underwriters in a $1.5bn SEC-registered global bond offering by The Republic of the Philippines.
  • Represented the underwriters in a $750m green bond offering by the Asian Development Bank.
  • Represented Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Mizuho Securities and RBC as underwriters in a notes offering by The Asian Development Bank of $3.5bn 2.625% notes due 2024.

Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee

At Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee, lawyers from across the Asia Pacific, Europe and US offices collaborate on Philippines-related transactions, focusing primarily on infrastructure and PPP projects and M&A deals. It is often sought out by development finance institutions and export credit agencies for advice in significant projects. Corporate M&A and private equity expert Mark Cooper is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Mark Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Alex Wong