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Thailand > Projects and energy > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Projects and energy
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • James Bradley - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
    • Stephen Jaggs - Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd
    • Edward Koehler - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
    • Wanwisar Nakarat - Linklaters
    • Christopher Osborne - Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited
    • Ratana Poonsombudlert - Chandler MHM Limited
    • Jessada Sawatdipong - Chandler MHM Limited
    • Sawanee Sethsathira - Baker McKenzie

Next Generation Partners

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The 'very professional’ projects lawyers at Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd provide 'very complete advice’ and are 'sensitive to the needs of their clients’. The firm has a leading project finance practice for large energy projects, and is also well versed in real estate, chemicals and rail developments. In addition, the team has a strong track record in corporate and capital markets transactions for companies in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Among a long list of project highlights, a cross-office team advised Total and Siemens on the development and financing of an LNG-to-power project in Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar, which included construction of a 1200MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant and a 450km transmission line to Yangon. Recommended banking and projects head Stephen Jaggs and recommended counsel Sarah Wilson took roles on the deal. Elsewhere, Suparerk Auychai and a team that included counsel Anchalee Limviriyalers advised BBL Asset Management as fund manager on the establishment of Buriram Sugar Group Power Plant Infrastructure Fund, which was the first biomass power plant fund to be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

Baker McKenzie has a keen insight into major energy projects, having worked for all key parties to a transaction, from developers to contractors to financiers. It is regularly entrusted by leading players in the Thai energy and power market to handle large projects in the country, while its international office network makes it a popular choice for cross-border projects, particularly in the ASEAN region. Practice head Sawanee Sethsathira and Viroj Piyawattanametha acted for the sponsor on the financing of a gas-fired power plant, which involved a joint secured loan consisting of a project finance loan and a loan of revolving working capital. In the renewables space, recent highlights include Theerapab Punyasakhon’s advice to Gulf Chana Green on the financing for the development and construction of a wood waste biomass power project. Infrastructure projects also feature, and the team's participation in PPP projects in Thailand stands it apart in the market. Project finance expert Vit Vatanayothin has developed a notable renewables practice. Permsak Krairiksh has strong experience in project finance and acquisitions and is also a contact for aviation finance and leasing. At the senior associate level, active members of the team include Napas Na Pombejra and Chavapol Akkaravoranun.

Chandler MHM Limited has a proven track record in the renewable energy space, having acted on solar, wind, biomass and hydro-power projects in Thailand and across Southeast Asia. Outside of the renewables space, it is sought out for its knowledge of oil and gas, petrochemical and mining projects. The firm is a popular choice for financial institutions, including some of Thailand's biggest banks, but it is also equipped to act on the sponsor and borrower sides of transactions. In recent work, Joseph Tisuthiwongse and a team that included associate Nopamon Thevit Intralib acted on the lender side of a syndicated financing project for a 650MW hydro-power project in the Bolikhamsai Province of Laos; the lenders were The Siam Commercial, Bangkok Bank, TISCO Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Thailand. In M&A, Jessada Sawatdipong and a team advised major renewable energy producer BCPG on the cross-border syndicated financing for its acquisition of geothermal assets in Indonesia. Senior partner Ratana Poonsombudlert is well known in energy and natural resources and has acted on the owner and lender side of various mining and oil and gas projects. Also of note are Albert Chandler, Supattra Sathapornnanon and Pranee Klinratana. Nuanporn Wechsuwanarux has rejoined the firm as counsel.

The 2018 merger that created Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP combined the extensive energy expertise of legacy firms Hunton & Williams and Andrew Kurth Kenyon. Its network of offices in Asia and the US, in addition to its relationships with foreign law firms in various jurisdictions, gives it an edge in cross-border transactions. The busy projects team in Bangkok includes Thai, Australian and US lawyers; together they continue to handle a range of traditional and alternative energy projects in Thailand and the region. Highlights included Edward Koehler and senior associate Bradley Alexander’s representation of the sponsors on the financing for the expansion of a supercritical coal-fired power plant in the Philippines. Elsewhere, counsel Richard Savage advised an oil and gas company on its concessions interests for the exploration and production of petroleum products, gas sales arrangements and various corporate and regulatory matters. The team also acts for local and international investors in their acquisitions in Asia; in recent work, a team advised Banpu Infinergy on its investment in New Resources Technology, a company specialising in the research, design and manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. The already sizeable team expanded at the partner level with the promotion of Chumbhot Plangtrakul to partner in 2018. James Bradley is an expert in electric power, energy and infrastructure projects.

Noted for its ‘broad knowledge’, ‘diligence’ and ‘commitment’, Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners has established itself as a go-to firm for PPPs in Thailand. The group has seen significant growth in recent years, and it expanded at the associate level in 2017 in response to the high level of demand from its clients, which include public and private sector companies. The Port Authority of Thailand is one of its key clients; the firm has been engaged by it to advise on 14 PPP projects. For the Department of Highways, it has been providing ongoing advice on a major motorway project; the team’s role includes drafting and revising the client's project agreements, negotiating with private entities and assisting on the drafting of bidding documents. Beyond infrastructure projects, the team has also handled numerous energy and telecoms projects in the country. On the lender side, the department has established relationships with some of Thailand’s biggest banks, as well as international financial institutions. The ‘highly influential’ Weerawong Chittmittrapap has ‘excellent cooperation, communication and negotiation skills’. Passawan Navanithikul is noted for her ‘effective and prompt responses’ and ‘service-minded approach’. Senior associate Jirapat Thammavaranucupt is also highly recommended. Nattaporn Pengkul is a key contact for project finance. Chinnavat Chinsangaram has left the firm to work at the Public Legal Aid Foundation.

Energy, mining and infrastructure has been a sweet spot for DFDL Legal & Tax since the opening of its first offices in the 1990s. Though it has expanded its services in the intervening years, the firm maintains a strong reputation in the energy space. From its Bangkok office, which was established in 2005, the team continues to handle a steady flow of instructions in Thai and regional energy projects. In particular, it has recently advised on a number of hydro-power projects in the region. One example is the firm's work, via an ethical wall structure, for both the sponsors and lenders in a 670MW hydro-power project in Laos; the intensive project saw involvement from key partners Audray Souche (who 'gives sound legal advice'), David Doran, Walter Heiser and Vinay Ahuja. The department's client base is kept purposefully broad, with instructions coming from local and international sponsors, developers, lenders and investors, giving the team a deep and comprehensive insight into the requirements of all relevant parties to a project. Energy-related M&A also features among the department's workload. English and Mandarin speaker Ivy Liu acts for Chinese clients in cross-border projects, with a specialism in hydro-power. Corporate lawyer Angus Mitchell has notable experience across the ASEAN region, primarily focusing on oil and gas and power projects.

Linklaters excels in project financing, where it draws on the strong expertise and reputation of its banking and finance lawyers in Thailand and across its office network. Given its deep relationships with international financial services clients, it is regularly instructed on the lender side of large transactions. It also has experience advising energy companies, as demonstrated by its advice to Thai Oil on its clean fuel project, which will see the expansion and upgrade of its refinery and petrochemical facility, which was the first major oil refinery in Thailand. Wilailuk Okanurak and Wanwisar Nakarat led the team – which included Singapore-based lawyers – to advise on EPC and other construction contracts, technology license agreements and tendering and procurement issues. Nakarat was also instructed by a Thai industrial gas solution provider to advise on a joint venture with a gas supplier in Myanmar for the development of industrial gas facilities in that country. The department has also carved out a reputation for renewable energy projects, particularly wind projects. Banking and real estate expert Pichitpon Eammongkolchai is another contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright has a proven track record acting for lenders in large energy and infrastructure projects. Globally, the firm stands out for its specialised infrastructure, mining and commodities group, which is active in multiple markets. In Thailand, the projects team is co-led by Bangkok office head Somboon Kitiyansub and ‘service-minded’ partner Tassanai Kiratisountorn, who has an impressive banking and project finance practice. The team often works with colleagues in Singapore on large, multi-jurisdictional transactions. The team also assists its Thai clients expanding their operations internationally. Senior associate Chormas Premsirinirund is ‘strong in drafting and coordinating tasks in multi-party transactions’.

Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Limited is among Thailand’s most preeminent law firms for renewable energy, a reputation it has established through its involvement in several market-leading projects. Equipped to handle the full life-cycle of a project, it advises on each stage, from environmental and regulatory site due diligence through to post-completion disputes. In fact, its contentious capabilities distinguish it in the market; Steven Burkill leads the dispute resolution practice and specialises in international litigation and London and Asia-based arbitration involving complex project disputes. The team continued to advise a multinational company on the development of a gasification waste-to-energy power plant; a Bangkok team led by practice head Christopher Osborne advised. Cross-border work is a mainstay, either handled solely by the Bangkok team or as part of a cross-office collaboration. In a project involving parties from Thailand, China and Spain, Osborne advised a Thai listed company on the development of its third wind farm, including advising on EPC contracts and operations and maintenance contracts. Senior associate Kulkanya Vorawanichar is another active member of the department.

Noted for its 'very short response times', the energy and infrastructure group at Tilleke & Gibbins provides 'appropriate and actionable advice'. Its international client base includes engineering, financial services and renewable energy companies. For a European company, a team led by Santhapat Periera provided advice on the acquisition of an EPC contract from the Thai subsidiary of a multinational group. Energy-sector M&A and litigation also features. The multi-lingual Cynthia Pornavalai is a key member of the team, as is consultant David Duncan, who has notable experience in IT infrastructure projects. David Beckstead has joined Chandler MHM Limited.

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