Banking and finance in Vietnam

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has an extensive banking and finance offering, with its practice in Vietnam forming a key part of the wider international network of offices. It fields a nine-lawyer team in Ho Chi Minh City, whose wide-ranging expertise includes syndicated and bilateral loans, restructurings, aircraft leasing, project finance transactions and non-performing loans, among other areas. Managing partner Adam Moncrieff has an outstanding track record handling the financing aspects of the largest and most complex projects in Vietnam. He jointly leads the team with Duc Tran, who has a strong profile among global financial institutions and Vietnamese corporates. Tran's recent work included syndicated loan and project finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Adam Moncrieff; Duc Tran

Other key lawyers:

Thuy Huynh

Testimonials

‘We have worked with A&O and A&O Vietnam for a long time and we are always happy with their service. They are knowledgeable, client-oriented, responsive and always provide prompt assistance.’

‘Duc Tran, Partner of A&O Vietnam. He is a seasoned lawyer and knowledgeable in local laws. He is a precious legal partner to our business.’

A&O team has strong experience in this sector and always provides well-rounded advice and solutions in a timely manner.

Very commercial, great understanding of the technical issues and commercial world. It’s not easy to find good lawyers in Vietnam and they are ones that I will always use.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

Standard Chartered Bank

BNP Paribas

Malayan Banking Berhad

Gaw Capital Partners

LBBW

Asian Development Bank

Siam Commercial Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the arrangers in respect of the $300m facility for Vinpearl Joint Stock Company, a major hotel and resorts brand in Vietnam.
  • Advised the mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners on a $400m syndicated loan for Vingroup, one of Vietnam’s largest conglomerates.
  • Advised BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) and a global financial institution as arrangers on a $350m loan to Masan Group Corporation.

Allens

In a key development at AllensGiles Cooper joined from Duane Morris Vietnam LLC in March 2021 to head up the practice, following the retirement of Bill Magennis. Cooper, who has two decades of experience, predominantly advises on project finance mandates, where he acts for commercial and private banks, mutual funds and investment firms. Melissa Keane relocated to the firm’s Melbourne office.

Practice head(s):

Giles Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Robert Fish

Key clients

United Overseas Bank

Kasikorn Public Bank

BIM Renewable Energy

Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited

Vung Ang II Thermal Power JSC (CLP and Mitsubishi)

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on the financing by Thailand’s Stark Corporation of the acquisition ofVietnam-based Thinh Phat Cables and Dong Viet Non-Ferrous & Plastic.
  • Advised BIM Renewable Energy Joint Stock Company on a loan for the proposed expansion of its existing solar energy project(Project 18N) in Ninh Thuan Province Vietnam .
  • Advised BBL on the hybrid corporate and limited recourse project financing for two 30MWsolar power projects in the Tay Ninh province.

VILAF

As one of the largest independent law firms in Vietnam, VILAF often acts as local counsel on major cross-border mandates. Its team is notably adept at handling project finance mandates involving power infrastructure and mining. One of the key contacts at the firm is chairperson Duyen Ha Vo, whose recent work spanned syndicated loan transactions, as well as aircraft financing and leasing, and project finance work. She co-heads practice with Hung Nguyen , who recently advised OCBC Bank on a series of trade loans to a domestic bank. Elsewhere in the group, Phong Tran is an expert in energy and aviation financing. Trung Vu is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

Duyen Ha Vo; Hung Nguyen

Other key lawyers:

Phong Tran; Trung Vu 

Key clients

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Grab Holdings, Inc.

KKR Capital Markets Asia Limited

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank)

China Minsheng Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising the arranger, JBIC, and other international lenders as local counsel on the financing of $2.5b Vung Ang 2 BOT power project for the last 10 years.
  • Advising ACWA Power on the financing of the Nam Dinh 1 BOT Thermal Power Plant Project.
  • Assisting Grab Holdings with its $500m financing to Grab Vietnam.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie attracts a steady stream of work across a number of areas, including acquisition finance, project finance and real estate finance. Oanh Nguyen leads the team, which acts for clients such as HSBC, Maybank and Harvey Nash Group. She is supported by special counsel Pham Thuy Van and associate Phuong Chi Vo. Frederick Burke now serves as a senior adviser to the Vietnam offices.

Practice head(s):

Oanh Nguyen

Other key lawyers:

Pham Thuy Van; Phuong Chi Vo

Testimonials

‘A dedicated team that provides outstanding legal counsel and services to assist clients in negotiation, execution, and overcoming legal challenges.’

‘The team has demonstrated their enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of the legal framework and regulatory requirements to accompany us while working on a deal.’

Ms. Oanh Hoang Kim Nguyen, Partner of Baker Mckenzie Vietnam, is a very creditable legal advisor and always turns work around quickly with sensible solutions.’

Responsibility, honour and commitment.’

Key clients

Maybank

HSBC

CIMB

A&A Green Phoenix Joint Stock Company

The Korea Development Bank

Mars Vietnam Company Limited

Kennametal (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Harvey Nash Group

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC on a loan facility to REE Solar Energy Joint Stock Company.
  • Advising Harvey Nash on a syndicated loan facilities from National Westminster Bank plc and HSBC UK Bank plc to Harvey Nash Group Holdings Limited.

Frasers Law Company

Frasers Law Company has been a key fixture in the Vietnamese market for over 25 years. Equally strong advising borrowers and lenders, its team is prominent in major project finance transactions (including those relating to industrial and infrastructure projects), as well as general bank lending matters and debt refinancing mandates. Also notable is that it is increasingly active in Vietnam’s growing fintech sector. The practice is jointly led by Mark Fraser and Justin Gisz. Senior associate Phung Thi Thanh Thao is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Mark Fraser; Justin Gisz

Other key lawyers:

Phung Thi Thanh Thao

Testimonials

‘They are very well aware of the local laws and are client-friendly.’

‘Mark Fraser is highly experienced in Vietnamese law and civil law practices.’

‘This firm provides a comprehensive legal strategy and can lead legal negotiations to meet the expectations of all parties.’

‘Justin Gisz has extensive knowledge in legal matters. He provides high quality legal advice, which identifies the risks to our company and also protects its best interests.’

Justin Gisz is extremely reliable and professional. He has deep knowledge of the financial services regulatory framework, and of the key players and market trends in Vietnam. This enables him to provide very practical structuring advice to international companies entering the Vietnamese market.

Frasers have great combination of local knowledge and international, commercially-attuned approach. With their skill set and presence on the ground, they provide the best quality advice in Vietnam, while remaining very efficient and flexible.

Key clients

Asia Development Bank

Stark Corporation Public Company Limited

Jbic, Kexim And A Syndicate Of 13 Banks (Acting As Lenders)

JBIC And Kexim

Riot Games Limited

Nord Anglia, Inc.

Timo Plus Digital Bank

Aspire

G.U.D. Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as Vietnam counsel to Asian Development Bank (ADB) in relation to its financing and refinancing of two B.Grimm-sponsored PV solar projects in Vietnam.
  • Acted as borrower’s counsel to Stark Corporation Public Company Limited in relation to a complex re-financing of its corporate finance facilities in Vietnam, with a total finance package value of $200m.
  • Acted for the lenders (JBIC and KEXIM) on the 2020 restructuring of the finance package among the lenders, arising from the stepping down of one lender from the consortium and the transfer of its exposure to an incoming new lender – in relation to the $2.75bn 1,200MW Nghi Son 2 power generation project.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown, which has had an on-the-ground presence in Vietnam since 1994, acts for clients on complex project finance, acquisition finance and property finance transactions, among other work streams. In addition to being active in matters with a nexus to Vietnam, the group is also sought after for advice on cross-border transactions in South East Asia and elsewhere across Asia. Leading the team is New York-qualified partner David Harrison , who is a well-known name among multilateral and commercial lenders and agents. He is supported by senior associate Orsolya Szotyory-Grove, who is also New York-qualified.

Practice head(s):

David Harrison

Other key lawyers:

Orsolya Szotyory-Grove

Testimonials

‘Mayer Brown is the pre-eminent legal adviser when it comes to banking & finance transactions.’

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

IFC

DEG-Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG)

Global Climate Partnership Fund

YKVN

YKVN excels in handling a wide ambit of matters for international and domestic banks and other financial institutions. Under the leadership of managing partner Truong Nhat Quang, the team advises on project finance, asset finance, derivatives and corporate finance transactions. Regulatory advice is also a key pillar of the work undertaken by the group. Vu Dzung acts for clients on aircraft and infrastructure-related financings. Vu Dieu Huyen is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Truong Nhat Quang

Testimonials

‘The team has a great commercial sense of transactions.’

‘Dzung Vu is very experienced.’

The team is flexible in dealing with clients and works well collaborating with other law firms from other countries to the best advantage of the client. It provided insight not only on the written laws and regulations but also on the common practices happening in Vietnam in relation to a specific rule/law/issue.

Key clients

Masan Group Corporation

Vingroup

Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Eximbank Thailand)

Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank)

Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV)

Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank)

Credit Suisse

Hongkong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC)

Nanofilm Technologies International Pte Ltd

Phu My Hung Development Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised VPBank on its sale of 49% of the contributed capital (equity interest) to SMBC Consumer Finance Co., Ltd.
  • Advised MSN on its financing from a financial consortium.
  • Advised Eximbank Thailand on financing a solar power project.

EPLegal Limited

EPLegal Limited has strong transactional capabilities in relation to project finance, aircraft finance and syndicated loans. In addition, other areas of activity include the procurement of credit loans and regulatory compliance advice. Tony Nguyen and Annie Ngo jointly lead the team and stand out for their strengths in the financing aspects of major energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Tony Nguyen; Annie Ngo 

Other key lawyers:

Ly Dao; Hanh Pham

Testimonials

The quality and customer service are good. They work well, even under time pressures.

Key clients

Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company

Oversea-chinese Banking Corporation Limited

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company on a number of aircraft sub-lease projects.
  • Advising Mizuho Bank on a syndicated loan to finance the development of a project in Vietnam

Lexcomm Vietnam LLC

Lexcomm Vietnam LLC’s skillset within this space primarily falls under project financing, syndicated loans and regulatory assistance, with a client base consisting of major banks such as HSBC, MUFG Bank and BNP Paribas. Managing partner Pham Ba Linh, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, is a respected name for financing energy projects. He co-heads the team with Hanoi-based partner Nguyen Ngoc Quy.

Practice head(s):

Nguyen Ngoc Quy; Pham Ba Linh

Testimonials

In my view, Pham Ba Linh is a top drawer, astute and technically brilliant banking lawyer. He is very well known in the Vietnam market and extremely experienced in advising international banks across the debt spectrum. I particularly note that Linh excels on advising on complex cross-border multi-source financings, reserve based lending, project finance, asset and structured finance, and capital markets offerings.’

Key clients

HSBC

BNP Paribas

MUFG Bank

UBS

ING

ABN AMRO BANK

Standard Chartered Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Natixis

SOCIETE GENERALE

UniCredit Bank AG

Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical LLC (NSRP)

Work highlights

  • Advising NSRP on highly complex project financing issues for a $9bn landmark Vietnam oil refinery project.
  • Advising BNP Paribas and a group of eight international banks in relation to the Vietnam law aspects of a complex refinancing of a $300m multi-tranche syndicated secured borrowing base facility.
  • Advising ING Bank on highly complex Vietnam law issues relating to structured trade and commodity finance involving the production, export, warehousing and sale and purchase of commodities.

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers is a first port of call among many financial institutions across Asia, as well as corporate borrowers. The team has been increasingly active in project finance mandates recently, particularly in relation to energy projects. Regulatory work has also been an area of growth, notably in the fintech space, where the group's expertise includes cryptocurrency, P2P lending and payment intermediation. The team is jointly led by Nguyen Dinh Nha and Vu Thi Que. Trinh Minh Duc made partner in June 2021.

Practice head(s):

Nguyen Dinh NhaVu Thi Que

Key clients

Ant Financial

Ali Pay

Work highlights

  • Advising DBS on legal compliance of its consumer and institutional banking products.

ZICO Law

ZICO Law is a particularly well-known name among Chinese and Malaysian banks and corporate clients. Its team's experience includes acquisition and project finance transactions, as well as the provision of regulatory advice. Hanoi-based partner Phong Nguyen and Tay Zi Li in Ho Chi Minh City are the co-heads of the practice. Zi Li is also head of the firm’s China desk.

Practice head(s):

Phong Nguyen; Tay Zi Li

Other key lawyers:

Hien Ly

Testimonials

The ZICO Law team has shown to me its high level of professional capability. The team has impressed by the high quality of the advice, as well as the strength and experience of its lawyers and associates.

I have got the chance to work with Phuong Nguyen, managing partner of ZICO Law, for many years. She has shown herself to be a highly talented lawyer. With her experience and expertise, Phuong has been providing us great quality of professional advice and consultation that added value to our business.’

ZICO Law team were very experienced, diligent and helpful in overcoming commercial and legal challenges. They are good for value for complex and challenging projects.’

Key clients

The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM)

United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB)

Hongkong Land Ltd

Hong Leong Bank Berhad

Jaguar International Corporation

Bank Of China (Hongkong) Limited

CIMB Bank Berhad

Malayan Banking Berhad

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

Vietinbank

Work highlights

  • Advising The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM), one of three institutional banks in China, on the project financing of a 3 x 660MW coal-fired power plant in Vietnam.
  • Advising United Overseas Bank Limited, a Singaporean multinational banking organisation having headquarter in Singapore with branches mostly found in most Southeast Asian countries, on a loan multiple currencies syndication facility agreement.

DFDL Legal & Tax

DFDL Legal & Tax is able to advise on domestic and cross-border banking and finance transactions from the Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi offices, and it is also able to leverage additional resources across the wider regional network. Vietnam managing director Jérôme Buzenet leads the team, which generates mandates from a number of financial institutions, such as ING Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Its workload spans a multitude of areas, such as project finance, structured finance and securitisation, as well as acquisition finance and leveraged finance. In addition to being active in finance transactions, Buzenet is also sought for advice on the formation of investment funds. Senior partner Martin Desautels and PhongAnh Hoang are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Jérôme Buzenet

Other key lawyers:

Martin Desautels; PhongAnh Hoang

Key clients

ING Bank, Singapore Branch (ING)

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Standard Charted Bank on financing a waste-to-energy plant and waste treatment facility
  • Advised ING Bank on financing of a portfolio of rooftop solar power projects across Southeast Asia.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP has a significant presence in the banking and finance arena, with Singapore-based partner Samantha Campbell leading the team. It advises lenders, sponsors and public sector entities on major project finance mandates. Key names in Vietnam include senior associates Long Huynh and George Williams, who both share a similar focus on project finance work.

Practice head(s):

Samantha Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Long Huynh; George Williams

LNT & Partners

LNT & Partners is particularly well-known for advising the most active domestic and international banks in the Vietnamese market on cross-border syndicated loan agreements and multimillion dollar project finance transactions. Net Le has recently been handling a number of major instructions from Chinese and Japanese financial institutions. Minh Vu, who is the managing partner of the firm’s Hanoi office, is another active practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Net Le; Minh Vu

Work highlights

  • Advised PVCombank on a two-step loan facility agreement for the purpose of sub-financing the projects of their clients.
  • Advised Vietcombank in the process of opening their branch in Australia.
  • Advised ITEK on an application for license to provide intermediary payment services.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Tilleke & Gibbins' team has a varied workload, which includes advice to multinational companies on the financing aspects of foreign direct investment transactions and M&A. It also handles the financing of energy projects and is experienced in syndicated loan transactions. Elsewhere, the group is notably strong in fintech and e-money matters. Vinh Quoc Nguyen heads up the practice. Senior associate Waewpen Piemwichai is a key name for the firm’s e-commerce and fintech work, with expertise in advising multinationals and local startups on regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Vinh Quoc Nguyen

Other key lawyers:

Waewpen Piemwichai

Work highlights

  • Advised banks and tech startups on issues of e-money, online transactions, and fintech in Vietnam.
  • Advised a Middle Eastern power company on negotiating and finalising loan and security agreements with two local Vietnamese banks.
  • Assisted a European commercial bank with drafting a share pledge agreement and issuing the legal opinion for the pledge transaction.

Vision & Associates

Vision & Associates generates a steady stream of work in relation to syndicated loans and project finance transactions. It also advises on the establishment and maintenance of credit institutions, investment funds and securities companies. Managing partner Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac and Luu Tien Ngoc jointly lead the team.

Testimonials

The team is so strong, nice and well-understanding. They have a perfect collaboration.

Key clients

The World Bank Group

JP Morgan

Vietnam Opportunities Fund

HSBC

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Nomura Research Institute NoSociété Générale

Crédit Agricole Corporate And Investment Banking Développement

International Desjardins

Rabobank

Anz Banking Group

Korea Development Bank

United Overseas Bank Limited

Duxton Asset Management

China Development Bank

Doha Bank

Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the World Bank on financing infrastructure projects.
  • Advised JP Morgan on regulatory issues surrounding an investment fund.
  • Advised PBE on establishing a debt trading company.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP acts for more than 150 financial institutions, including domestic and international banks, export credit agencies and investment funds. It particularly distinguishes itself in the financing aspects of major domestic and cross-border projects, including PPP and BOT projects. In a major development in 2020, the team was strengthened by the return of Matt Lorimer from Allen & Overy Legal (Vietnam) LLC. In addition to being experienced in project finance transactions, Lorimer also advises clients on syndicated loans in the energy sector. He co-heads the practice with foreign legal consultant Linh Doan, who divides her time between Hong Kong and Hanoi.

Practice head(s):

Linh Doan; Matt Lorimer

Key clients

Asian Development Bank