Foreign firms in Philippines

Allen & Overy

As one of the most prominent firms in the Philippines, Allen & Overy handles complex, market-leading matters in capital markets, banking and finance, and projects and energy. The firm has advised on a number of high-profile equity market transactions, notably advising AREIT, Inc. the Philippines’ first real estate investment trust, on its landmark initial public offering of shares listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. The firm also advised on the first blue loan granted to a global plastic resin manufacturer, which was also one of the first blue loans to be granted in the Asia Pacific. Matthew Hodgson leads the international arbitration practice. Alun Evans' practice focuses on M&A, joint ventures and restructurings. In debt and equity capital markets transactions, Alexander Stathopoulos is the name to note. Vicki Liu's expertise lies in the banking sector.

Testimonials

‘The A&O Team has been very responsive to the needs of both the Issuer and the banks. Oftentimes, they have been willing to accommodate many unexpected but urgent requests coming from the banks. They have been very reasonable in terms of our request for them to perform additional tasks such as financial printing.’

‘Gian Sambalido has been very available for calls or quick consultations, and gives sound legal advice that addresses our concerns on risks and due diligence related matters. Ingram Weber was hardworking and responsive, particularly in terms of constantly implementing changes to the prospectus and churning out revised versions as soon as possible.’

Key clients

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets

PLDT

BDO Unibank

BPI Capital

Monde Nissin Corporation

AREIT

Jollibee Foods Corporation

Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft

Work highlights

  • Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the sale of Philippine Tank Storage International Inc.
  • Advised an international financial institution, a regional development bank and DEG on a $300m blue loan financing for Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited.
  • Advised AREIT, Inc. on its landmark initial public offering of shares listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is known for ‘top notch‘ work in M&A and projects and energy in the Philippines. The firm advises clients on numerous high-profile transactions, notably Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines’ joint venture with Indorama Ventures in order to establish PETValue, which will be the largest, state-of-the-art, bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the Philippines. Led by Cameron Hassall, the firm also has a strong international arbitration practice,  evidenced through the team’s involvement in representing two instrumentalities of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in a $1bn dispute concerning the award of a national energy concession. Tom Lin and Johannes Juette are recommended for their in-depth knowledge in M&A and corporate finance, and their keen insights into market practice.

Practice head(s):

Paul Landless; Cameron Hassall

Other key lawyers:

Tom Lin; Johannes Juette

Testimonials

‘Clifford Chance is a highly reliable law firm. Their lawyers consistently deliver excellent results. The counsels have very good commercial sense and have a deep understanding of transactions. They can anticipate client’s needs and respond accordingly.’

‘The team was able to address the issues of the transaction, and raise only the relevant points for our consideration. This is important for purposes of trusting that the legal counsel can well represent and advocate for us in negotiations.’

‘They were very attentive, professional, and responsive to our requests and clarifications.’

‘I have been working with CC for over 20 years now and the quality of their service is always top notch. They know how to work with local counsel and their expectations from local counsel are clearly communicated from the start.’

‘Tom Lin and Johannes Juette are very knowledgeable in their practice areas and provide very keen insights on market practice which makes it easier for the clients to make decisions based on the advice provided.’

‘Cameron Hassall is an experienced advocate and knows how to zoom in on the important issues from the lens of the arbitrators. Very easy to work with and makes himself personally available.’

‘Tom Lin and Johannes Juette are very knowledgeable in their practice areas and provide very keen insights on market practice which makes it easier for the clients to make decisions based on the advice provided.’

Key clients

The Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines

Advantage Partners

Keppel Infrastructure Trust and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation

Partners Group

International Finance Corporation

Public Investment Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised International Finance Corporation, IFC Emerging Asia Fund, LP and Indigo Philippines LLC, an affiliate of private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC, on the private placement of $250m convertible bonds due 2027 by low-cost carrier Cebu Air, Inc. listed on the Philippines Stock Exchange.
  • Advised Partners Group, on behalf of its clients, on the joint establishment of a telecommunications infrastructure platform, Unity Digital Infrastructure, in partnership with Aboitiz InfraCapital of the Aboitiz Group.
  • Advised Keppel Infrastructure Trust and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation on the acquisition of Philippine Tank Storage International Holdings, which owns the largest petroleum products import storage facility in the Philippines, the Philippine Coastal Storage & Pipeline Corp.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP is one of the go-to firms in the Philippines for transactional work. In addition to advising AREIT, Inc. on its landmark initial public offering, the firm was engaged as counsel for Converge Information and Communications Technology Solutions on its IPO, the second-largest listing in Phillippine history. Dual qualified in New York and the Philippines, Benjamin Carale has extensive experience in international capital markets work, leading on many of the firm’s major transactions in the Philippines from the Hong Kong office. The firm also has a strong M&A practice, notably advising GIC Private Limited’s investment into AC Energy in a cross-border transaction. Mark Cooper left the firm in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Carale 

Other key lawyers:

Diana Dizon

Testimonials

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Key clients

BPI Capital Corporation

Cebu Air, Inc.

Citigroup

Converge Information and Communications Technology Solutions, Inc.

GIC Private Limited

HSBC

Megaworld Corporation

PLDT, Inc.

San Miguel Corporation

SMC Global Power Holdings, Co.

VLL International, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised BPI Capital Corporation as lead underwriter on the Reg S approximately $252m initial public offering by AREIT, Inc. of 47,864,000 primary shares and secondary offer by Ayala Land, Inc. of 409,019,000 common shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
  • Represented Cebu Air, Inc. in the $250m investment in the form of Convertible Bonds from the International Finance Corporation, the IFC Emerging Asia Fund, LP and Indigo Philippines LLC.
  • Advised GIC Private Limited on its proposed acquisition, through its affiliate Arran Investment Pte Ltd, of a 17.5% ownership stake in AC Energy Philippines for an aggregate consideration of approximately $420m.

Milbank

Milbank’s Philippines practice has a long-standing reputation as a leader in cross-border capital markets, M&A, and project financing transactions, using its ‘vast expertise’ to advise on several landmark deals. In a major highlight, the firm advised global coordinators on the initial public offering of Monde Nissan Corporation, the country’s largest IPO to date. Practice head, James Grandolfo has over 20 years of experience advising on M&A transactions in major jurisdictions in Asia. Desiree Woo is highlighted for her ‘experience in EPC contracts and project finance’. With expertise in project finance, James Murray is a go-to individual for the financing of power, oil and gas, mining, telecoms, and other infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

James Grandolfo; James Murray

Other key lawyers:

Desiree Woo; Cesareo Singzon

Testimonials

‘Their lawyers have a great deal of experience in Asia for capital markets, project finance and debt work.’

‘Desiree Woo has vast experience in EPC contracts and project finance and is very responsive to all our needs.’

‘Milbank has been our engaged counsel for more than a decade. Mibank has comprehensive and in-depth knowledge and understanding of our companies’ businesses as they have been involved since the inception of our power projects. We are treated by Milbank as a valuable client at all times. Each legal matter referred to them was handled with utmost care and professionalism. We highly recommend this firm.’

‘Everyone at Milbank is professional, very insightful and kind especially Desiree Woo and Cesarea Singzon. We appreciate that they are very reliable, prompt and open for quick calls and updates/discussions. The rapport and guidance were outstanding at all times. They diligently worked through all of our legal questions and have provided us with sound, clear and practical legal advice on various issues.’

Key clients

BPI Capital

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Citi

Credit Suisse

CLSA

Converge Information and Communications Technology Solutions

HSBC

J.P. Morgan

Metro Pacific Investments Corporation

UBS

Fast Logistics Corporation

Micro-D International

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

Globe Telecom

DDMP REIT

GNPower Kauswagan

GNPower Dinginin

Aboitiz Power

Power Partners

Asian Development Bank

Ayala’s AC Energy

DBS Bank Ltd.

Monde Nissin Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan as joint global coordinators on the Rule 144A/Reg S initial public offering of Monde Nissin Corporation on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
  • Advised Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation as issuer on its Regulation S issuance of $300m 6.50% non-cumulative subordinated Additional Tier 1 capital securities.
  • Advised Micro-D International and Novare Technologies on a minority/majority stake sale in both businesses, through an auction process.

Ashurst

Ashurst is noted for its experience in advising international corporate companies and financial institutions on outbound transactions and projects in the Philippines. Heads of team Dan Brown and Alex Guy are renowned for their expertise in energy, infrastructure, and projects. Joshua Cole is highly recommended for his work advising Tyme Group on establishing a joint venture with members of the JG group to apply for a local digital banking license in the Philippines.

Practice head(s):

Dan Brown; Alex Guy

Other key lawyers:

Richard Guit; Joshua Cole

Testimonials

The team was highly professional, highly pragmatic, listened well, and read the situation well.

Joshua Cole stands out.

Key clients

First Gen Corporation

The PPP Centre of the Philippines

The Department of Transportation of the Philippines

ANZ

Covanta Energy

Macquarie Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised the Tyme Group on establishing a joint venture with members of the JG Group to apply for a local digital bank license in the Philippines.
  • Advised edotco on its indirect acquisition of a majority equity interest in a Philippine joint venture company.

Gibson Dunn

Gibson Dunn is known in the Philippines for advisory work on major energy and infrastructure projects. The firm is notably advising SMC Mass Rail Transit 7, Inc. in the development, construction, and financing of a major rail transit system, the ‘MRT-7’. Practice head Patricia Tan Openshaw is recognised for her expertise in the Philippine market and her ability to ‘navigate the complexities of a difficult transaction’. Having joined the firm from Allen & Overy LLP  in August 2020, Connell O’Neill advises clients in the Philippines on corporate and commercial transactions with a particular focus on information, technology, media, and telecommunications sectors.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Tan Openshaw

Testimonials

Patricia Tan-Openshaw was extremely helpful in navigating through the complexities of a difficult transaction.’

Key clients

Manila Electric Company

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation

Meralco PowerGen Corporation

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

San Miguel Holdings

First Gen Corporation

AC Energy Holdings, Inc.

Republic of the Philippines

Ayala Corporation

First Pacific Company Limited

PLDT Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised SMC Mass Rail Transit 7, Inc. on the development, construction and financing of the integrated metro rail transit system, highway and intermodel transportation terminal project in Metro Manila.
  • Advised ACEIC on the divestment of 100% of its interests in GNPower Kauswagan Ltd. Co.
  • Advised PLDT, Inc. on a multi-year technology transformation project, transforming its business in an effort to improve user experience, cut operating costs and increase market share.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills is recognised in the Philippines as a major player in energy and infrastructure transactions as well as dispute resolution. The firm is a long-standing advisor to the Lopez group of companies which includes First Gen Corporation and Energy Development Corporation; the group is one of the largest conglomerates in the country. The firm is currently advising First Gen on the LNG import terminal project which is vital to the country’s energy security and a first of its kind. Key contact Toby Anderson is lead counsel on the project and continues to play a leading role on many significant projects in the Philippines. Tomas Furlong and Adrian Cheng are noted for their ‘excellent’ work.

Other key lawyers:

Irina Akentjeva; Daniel Ficyk ; Kok Jin Ong; Tomas Furlong

Testimonials

‘Both Tomas Furlong and Adrian Cheng are excellent at what they do, and we shall continue to engage HSF because we are in good hands with them.’

Key clients

BlueLeaf Energy (a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group)

Aboitiz Group

First Gen Corporation

First Gen Hydro Power Corporation

Bacman Geothermal Inc.

Nexif Energy

Energy Development Corporation

Asian Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising First Gen Corporation on its project to build and operate the first LNG import terminal in the Philippines.
  • Advising Blueleaf Energy, a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, on its partnership with SunAsia to develop 1.25GW of solar projects in the Philippines.
  • Advising First Gen Hydro Power Corporation on the development, engineering, procurement and construction of the 32-megawatt Bubunawan hydroelectric power plant.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP has a long-standing reputation in the Philippines for its strong disputes work. Wade Coriell heads the disputes practice and has acted as lead counsel on matters for a number of multinational companies including Chevron, Shell and San Miguel Holdings. Coriell was lead partner in the victory for San Miguel in its ICC arbitration against Padma Fund. The firm is equally experienced in cross-border energy M&A and project finance transactions, having advised Giga Ace on its procurement of a battery energy storage system from SAFT (Zhuhai) Energy Storage, which will provide energy services to the country’s national transmission grid. Simon Cowled specialises in cross-border energy M&A and project finance transactions. Kelly Malone co-heads the Global Power Team from Singapore.

Practice head(s):

Wade Coriell

Key clients

Bank of The Philippine Islands

Shell Philippines Exploration

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines

Chevron Overseas Finance GMBH

Giga Ace 4, Inc., a subsidiary of AC Energy

Cerberus Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Advised BPI on a $100m bridge loan financing for Del Monte Pacific, one of the largest Filipino food and beverage MNCs.
  • Represented Shell Philippines Exploration and National Grid Corporation in two of the most important arbitration matters in the Philippines to date.
  • Represented the NGCP in an UNCITRAL Rules arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre against two Philippine government-owned and controlled parties, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation and the National Transmission Corporation.

Linklaters

Linklaters is recognised in the Philippines for its expertise in project development transactions, project financings, and M&A deals in the energy and infrastructure sector. James McLaren is a longstanding advisor to ICTSI, a global port management company headquartered in Manila, and has been involved in complex projects such as the project financing of a novel Webb Dock container terminal. Philip Badge is known for his experience in complex cross-border structured finance transactions. Qualified in New York, England and Hong Kong, Amit Singh advises issuers and underwriters on the full range of debt and equity issues, including capital raisings, high-yield issues, liability management, and masala and green bonds.

Other key lawyers:

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Testimonials

‘Were able to make the documentation review process more efficient.’

‘The firm has an understanding of existing institutional arrangements which helps lighten workload for the client.’

Key clients

ICTSI

ADIA

Citibank

KEXIM

KSURE

JBIC

DBS Bank

China Light and Power

Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Investments

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia)

Republic of the Philippines

Work highlights

  • Advised ICTSI and Victoria International Container Terminal Limited on the approx. $144m expansion of Webb Dock container and empty container park and the necessary lender consent process.
  • Advised the arrangers, agent and security agent on the $260m secured financing to Hyperion Storage Holdings Corporation to fund the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Philippine Tank Storage International and its subsidiary, Philippine Coastal Storage & Pipeline Corporation.
  • Advising the Republic of the Philippines as its special United States counsel on the SEC registered offering and issuance of bonds under the Republic’s shelf registration statement.

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons MPillay is known in the Philippines for project finance as well as energy and infrastructure projects. The firm has advised on various PPPs including Mactan-Cebu Airport and the Manila LRT1 and LRT2. Co-head David Platt is a recognised expert in delivering bespoke project finance legal solutions in the Philippines; he acted for Manila North Tollways Corporation on the initial phase of the North Luzon Expressway rehabilitation and expansion project. Fellow co-head James Harris advised ADB and six onshore lenders in relation to the restructuring of existing project finance debt and equity of the Mactan-Cebu Airport. Harris also has extensive experience in renewable energy projects in the wind and solar space.

Practice head(s):

David Platt; James Harris

Other key lawyers:

Bernard Ang

Testimonials

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Key clients

International Finance Corporation

Asian Development Bank

TBEA Co.

Work highlights

  • Advised TBEA, Co. on the acquisition of 20% equity from a project company owning a 100MW solar project in the Philippines.
  • Representing and advising Asian Development Bank and other lenders in the proposed restructuring of the debt of the Borrower in respect of an international airport project based in the Philippines.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Focussing on project finance, M&A and capital markets, Shearman & Sterling LLP advises a wide range of major conglomerates such as Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific, as well as infrastructure giants such as Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. Anna Chung heads the Seoul office and is noted in the Philippines for her involvement in advising the DITO $5bn telecommunication project to construct 4G/5G -ready networks. David Clinch joined the firm in May 2021 from Herbert Smith Freehills, bringing with him his expertise in energy, natural resources and infrastructure projects and transactions. The firm has also worked alongside local counsel in some high-profile arbitration matters in the construction sector.

Practice head(s):

Ben Shorten; Sidharth Bhasin

Key clients

China Telecom Corporation

DITO Telecommunity Corporation

Frontier Tower Associates Philippines

Work highlights

  • Advised the owners of Frontier Tower Associated Philippines on its joint venture arrangements with KKR & Co., acting through its Asia Infrastructure fund.
  • Advising China Telecom Corporation on its joint venture with Udenna Corporation with respect to the joint venture’s telecommunications project in the Philippines. Also advising the project company on the EPC and the financing.
  • Advising DITO Telecommunity on the financing, engineering, procurement, construction and other consultancy arrangements in connection with the Philippine-wide 4G/5G-ready networks for a total project cost of around $5bn.

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Stephenson Harwood LLP‘s Philippines practice spans a wide variety of sectors including power, infrastructure, energy and resources, manufacturing, facilities management, mining, aviation and shipping. With Kevin Lee as a private wealth specialist, the firm also provides a plethora of traditional and non-traditional private wealth management capabilities. Saugata Mukherjee is an expert in asset finance and has worked on some of the most complex financing structures and aircraft orders in Asia. The firm’s TMT capabilities are equally strong, having advised the iflix group, a high-profile pan-Asian video-streaming service on its sale of assets to Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings.

Testimonials

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Key clients

iflix

Stella International Holdings

ENGIE

BNP Paribas

ASEAN Industrial Growth Fund

Cebu Pacific

Work highlights

  • Advising the iflix group on its sale of its assets to Chinese conglomerate, Tencent Holdings.
  • Advising Koru Partners on its Series A investment in Uploan.
  • Advising Stella International Holdings on the establishment of two new manufacturing facilities in two separate special economic zones in the Philippines.

White & Case Pte. Ltd.

Having expanded its Philippine practice in recent years, White & Case Pte. Ltd. now covers various sectors with a particular focus on infrastructure and power projects. Matthew Osborne is a specialist in this area with almost two decades of experience advising grantors, sponsors, JV participants and financiers in relation to the delivery of major power, infrastructure and construction projects, particularly in the energy, resources, utilities and transport sectors. The firm also has extensive experience advising Philippine conglomerates on outbound investments, as well as multinational companies and private equity firms on their inbound investments and cross-border activities involving the Philippines.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Osborne

Other key lawyers:

Audrey Lim

Testimonials

Blank

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Focusing on capital markets, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has been the designated underwriters’ counsel for offerings by the Republic of the Philippines since 2003 and has worked on billions of dollars in US SEC-registered offerings every year, as well as numerous innovative liability management transactions. The practice is lead by Robert Williams and Shuang Zhao from the Hong Kong office.

Practice head(s):

Shuang Zhao; Robert Williams

Other key lawyers:

Connie Chu

Key clients

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

HSBC

J.P. Morgan

UBS

Citigroup

Work highlights

  • Advised the joint bookrunners on a $2.75bn SEC-registered dual-tranche bond offering by the Republic of the Philippines.
  • Advised the joint bookrunners on a €2.1bn SEC-registered triple-tranche bond offering by the Republic of the Philippines.
  • Advised the managers on a $5bn notes offering by the Asian Development Bank, the largest single-tranche global medium-term note offering executed by the Asian Development Bank to date.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is particularly active in M&A, having recently advised Grab Holdings Inc. in its $40bn merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. The firm is often the first port-of-call for complex M&A deals and ECM transactions, especially with respect to de-SPAC mergers. Rajeev Duggal and Jonathan Stone head the Philippines desk from their offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, with Duggal recognised for his ‘excellent all-round knowledge of equity issues’. 

Practice head(s):

Rajeev Duggal; Jonathan Stone

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Cohn; Arthur Chan

Testimonials

‘I would readily endorse Jonathan Stone, Andrew Cohn, and Arthur Chan because they are thorough, well-versed in the nuances of M&A in the Asia-Pacific region, and attuned to the commercial needs of their clients.’

‘Good knowledge of the Philippine IPO process and relationships with local lawyers. Strong prospectus drafting skills.’

‘Rajeev Duggal – excellent all-round knowledge of equity issues in South-east Asia. Takes a commercial view of issues to solve any legal or regulatory issues.’

Key clients

Grab

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (the Philippines)

Citigroup

The AES Corporation

First Gen Corporation

CEMEX Holdings Philippines

Masinloc Power Partners

Manila Electric

Aboitiz Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Grab Holdings in its $40bn merger with Altimeter Growth Corp.