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The firm: With the combined experience of the firm's partners, MVGS takes pride in having established itself as a leading law firm, providing excellent legal services in the areas of corporate and commercial, banking, securities, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, intellectual property, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, labour and employment and immigration.

Areas of practice: Banking and finance: a core practice area, the firm acts as retained counsel for many leading local and foreign banks and financial institutions in the country. Special interest areas in banking operations, particularly regulatory compliance, are the firm's strong suit.

Corporate finance: the firm and its individual partners have participated in numerous loan syndications and project finance transactions across the spectrum of industries, acting for financial institutions, borrowers and project proponents.

Debt restructuring: the firm and its individual partners have participated in restructuring in varied industries, acting for financial institutions and borrowers. Debt restructuring projects include legal advisory on related debt relief strategies.

Capital markets (equity): its team of securities practitioners has handled a wide spectrum of securities-related issues, ranging from initial public offerings (IPOs), rights and follow on offers, top-up placements, tender offers, reverse takeovers of publicly listed firms and issuances of global depositary receipts, as well as private equity.

Capital markets (debt): the firm acts as counsel to international and local financial institutions, and issuers in connection with the issuance of notes, bonds and similar debt securities. It has also been involved in the private and public issuances of bonds and commercial papers, both long term and short term. The firm works closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulatory authority tasked with implementing the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), and the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc (PSE), a private organisation afforded self-regulatory status.

The firm also assists clients in structuring, drafting and obtaining approval for equity based employee benefit plans, from employee stock options and stock appreciation rights, to stock purchase plans, restricted stock units and other capital accumulation programs.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A): the firm's partners have significant experience in the consolidation of the banking and financial sector, as well as acquisitions involving both equity purchase and asset sale. In its M&A deals, the firm is involved in all stages of the transaction, from initial structuring and due diligence review, documentation of the merger or acquisition and related agreements, securing the relevant regulatory approvals, to transition.

Litigation and alternative dispute resolution: the litigation and dispute resolution group handles the full range of dispute resolution and mediation, covering criminal, civil and administrative litigation and includes appellate practice and advocacy. The firm has a strong arbitration team, headed by a partner who is concurrently a trustee of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc.

Intellectual property (IP): the firm handles the IP requirements of its domestic and international clients, including registration of trademarks, copyrights and patents, legal advisory on contractual concerns and prosecution and defense of intellectual property infringement actions.

Labour & employment: the firm's labour practice includes advisory services on various labour issues, authoring employment manuals and serving as counsel in negotiations for Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). The firm also provides advice and assists in implementation of hiring programs, training, retrenchment, redundancy, closure of companies and employee movements. The firm also handles labour litigation, arbitration, conciliation and mediation.

Above material supplied by Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano.

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