Chambers Global (2015)
R&T Sok & Heng - Cambodia
General Business Law - Band 1
Ranked Lawyer: Heng Chhay - Band 1, Sophonnora Tiv - Associates to watch
R&T Sok & Heng has renowned capabilities in securities law alongside a growing profile in the Cambodian legal market. Market commentators speak highly of the firm's "very high level of understanding of both national and international laws, superb analytical capabilities, and outstanding judgement." Of late the team acted for E.SUN Commercial Bank on its USD69.3 million acquisition of a 70% shareholding in Union Commercial Bank.
Chhay Heng is an experienced counsel to financial institutions with respect to their Cambodian investments and operations. One impressed client enthuses: "He has a good knowledge of the Cambodian legal and regulatory environment; he is flexible, excellent at meeting last-minute requests, and able to work within tight deadlines."
Senior associate Sophonnora Tiv assists clients with a range of commercial transactions. He played a key role in advising RGB International on the formation and closure of its Cambodia subsidiaries, as well as providing counsel on licensing compliance work.
General Business Law - Cambodia - Desks Based Abroad
Singapore: Rajah & Tann Singapore
Headquartered in Singapore, this renowned regional firm acts on a range of corporate mandates throughout South-East Asia. In 2013, the firm solidified its presence in the Cambodian legal market with the establishment of R&T Sok & Heng, created by an affiliation with well-known local practice Sok & Heng. The team on the ground is further supplemented by lawyers based in its head office who are well placed to advise on multi-jurisdictional matters involving Cambodia.
Assegaf Hamzah & Partners - Indonesia
Capital Markets - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers : Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 1, Bono Adji, Putu Suryastuti - Up and Coming
Ahmad Fikri Assegaf is lauded by one peer as "an outstanding partner at the firm." He earns consistent praise for his corporate and capital markets practices. Recent work highlights include advising Chandra Asri Petrochemical on its IDR1.4 trillion rights issue on the Indonesia Stock Exchange.
Bono Adji is recognised by sources as an expert in this area. One satisfied client says: "He took the time to understand our concerns and is quite creative with ideas." Adji represented Mitra Pinasthika Mustika in its USD131 million IPO.
The "tireless" Putu SuryastutiFirst ranked in Chambers Global 2015. exhibits "in-depth knowledge of the capital markets regulatory process," and has worked extensively in this area in recent years. She was part of the team which assisted the international selling agents in the USD87 million IPO of Sawit Sumbermas Sarana.
Corporate & Finance (International Firms) - Indonesia (Desks Based Abroad) - Band 4
Singapore: Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP
This Singapore-based firm is well regarded for acting on Indonesia-related matters, particularly in cross-border M&A. Recent work highlights include advising Gallant Venture on its SGD1.6 billion takeover of Indonesian company Indomobil Sukses Internasional, including a SGD767 million rights issue to finance the bid. Clients benefit from the firm's association with domestic firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. The key contact is Cheng Yoke Ping.
Corporate/M&A - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 1, Bono Adji - Band 3, Eko Basyuni - Up and Coming
Ahmad Fikri Assegaf is an acclaimed practitioner commended for his intelligence and good working relationships with major Indonesian conglomerates. He recently represented Chandra Asri Petrochemical in a USD435 million rubber plant joint venture.
Bono AdjiFirst ranked in Chambers Global 2006. is described by one source as "very professional and a pleasure to deal with," whilst another says that he "explains things well, even though Indonesian regulations can be unclear." He recently counselled XL Axiata in its acquisition of the entire share capital of AXIS.
Interviewees highlighted Eko Basyuni as being "knowledgeable on issues related to M&A transactions." He has been advising Multimedia Nusantara on a proposed joint venture with Telstra.
Projects & Energy - Band 3
Ranked Lawyers: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 2
Ahmad Fikri Assegaf leads a number of the firm's most significant matters, ranging from advising banks investing into Indonesia to working with domestic corporates on project development. Market sources observe that when it comes to projects, "he knows his stuff."
Christopher & Lee Ong - Malaysia
Banking & Finance - Band 3
Ranked Lawyer: Christopher Lee - Band 2
Christopher Lee is recognised for his diverse expertise in such matters as project finance and corporate finance, as well as in capital markets work. He is skilled in both conventional and Islamic finance.
Corporate/M&A - Band 3
Ranked Lawyer: Christopher Lee - Band 3
Christopher Lee is a co-managing partner of this newly merged firm and is a well-known name in the market, particularly in the energy sector. He draws on over 25 years of experience handling a range of transactions. He led the team in Sime Darby Healthcare's joint venture with Ramsay Health Care.
Singapore-based partner Jainil Bhandari is described as "a very good Malaysia and Singapore-qualified lawyer." He acts across the full range of contentious shipping and trade issues and has some 25 years' experience.
Shipping - Malaysia (Experts Based Abroad)
Singapore: Jainil Bhandari (Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP)
Rajah & Tann NK Legal - Myanmar
General Business Law - Band 2
Basic facts about the department
- integrated with local firm NK Legal in March 2013
- 4 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Myanmar group spread across regional network, including Singapore, Laos and Thailand
What the team is known for Offers strong expertise in advising multinationals on their entry into Myanmar, including on licensing and regulatory considerations. Varied client base includes well-known brands in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"It was a pleasure working with them. They were very knowledgeable."
"Bearing in mind this is a new frontier, they helped me to structure my business in a way I was happy with."
Associate director Kenneth Lim joined the firm's Yangon office. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker.
Advising Coca-Cola on its entry into the Myanmar market, including on its joint venture with Pinya Manufacturing.
Acted for MediaCorp on its entry into the market, the first foreign news agency to do so following reforms by the Myanmar government.
Advised Tiong Seng on its joint venture with Shwe Taung Development for setting up a manufacturing plant.
Coca-Cola, Canon, Abbott Laboratories, Ernst & Young, PwC.
Rajah & Tann Singapore - Singapore
Arbitration (International) - Asia-Pacific Region - Band 3
What the team is known for
Has a strong base in Singapore and can call on a comprehensive network of offices in the region to provide a pan-Asia service. Handles high-value matters and is particularly respected for conducting disputes emanating from a broad range of sectors, including construction, infrastructure, TMT and energy, plus bilateral investment treaty issues.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a very large number of arbitrations and seem to be able to build their team quickly. A dedicated arbitration group."
Singapore-based Andre Yeap heads the team.
Banking & Finance - Band 3
Ranked Lawyers: Angela Lim - Band 2, Terence Choo - Band 3, Ng Sey Ming - Band 4, Regina Liew (Banking & Finance: Regulatory) - Band 1
Head of department Angela Lim recently advised the borrower on receipt of a multi-million dollar facility for the development of a container terminal in India. She is well regarded for her work on acquisition, project, property and structured financings. Clients describe her as a "balanced lawyer who has good client skills, who is also proficient and experienced in her field."
Terence Choo is known for his work for both borrowers and lenders on project, property and acquisition finance. Recently, he worked with a group of banks on a SGD2.6 billion loan to Senoko Energy for refinancing purposes.
Ng Sey Ming acts on cross-border financings including syndicated loans and project finance, particularly for transactions involving Indonesia and Laos. "He is able to give a workable solution as he's very commercially minded - and has a fast turnaround," clients note. In one highlight he advised the Export-Import Bank of China in the project financing for the Nam Mang hydropower project in Laos.
Regina Liew enjoys a good reputation for her financial services regulatory practice, and is commended by market sources for her commercial perspective. In a notable highlight she advised Citi and Daiwa during the IPO of Accordia Golf Trust on the Singapore stock exchange, providing advice on regulatory issues.
Capital Markets -Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Kim Huat Chia - Band 2, Evelyn Wee - Band 3, Danny Lim - Band 4
Chia Kim Huat is the firm's regional head of corporate and is noted for his work on IPOs, with a particular expertise for work involving PRC clients. Market sources praise his "ability to simplify complex legal issues in layman's terms."
Head of the capital markets group Evelyn Wee has wide-ranging expertise, covering REITs, IPOs and private equity. She is appreciated for consistently making an "extra effort" on transactions.
Danny Lim has experience spanning IPOs, rights issues, placements and delistings. He recently advised the joint placement agent, SAC Capital Private, on the IPO of International Healthway Corporation.
Corporate/M&A - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Kian Hwee Goh - Band 1, Serene Yeo - Band 4
Senior partner Goh Kian Hwee advises on many of the firm's most significant M&A deals, sources noting: "He knows what he's about; he's strong and he's experienced." In one notable example, he advised the Lee Rubber companies on the SGD450 million sale of their shareholding interests in Anson Company to Halcyon Rubber.
Serene Yeo has a wealth of experience on both domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, and in a highlight was co-lead partner for Gallant Venture during its SGD1.6 billion takeover of Indomobil Sukses Internasional. Interviewees appreciate that she "carefully analyses the issues," and is "very willing to fight to protect the client's interest, with good supporting arguments."
Foreign Desks Indonesia is an increasingly important jurisdiction for the department, having entered into an association with local firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners in 2013. Of late it advised Gallant Venture on its SGD1.6 billion takeover of Indonesian company Indomobil Sukses Internasional, and also acted for Indonesian client Salim Group on its USD37 million acquisition of the Vietnamese Hiep Thanh group. Cheng Yoke Ping is the main point of contact.
The firm also has expertise relating to the India market, advising both Singaporean and Indian clients in dispute resolution, debt capital markets (DCM), funds and regulatory issues. In one notable matter, it advised on the establishment of the Singapore-based ASK India Real Estate Special Opportunities Fund, set up for investment into the Indian real estate sector. Evelyn Wee is head of the South Asia group and is a key contact at the firm.
In Cambodia, the firm maintains an association with local firm Sok & Heng, providing a one-stop service to clients. Lately the Singapore office has advised an illustrious list of international clients on investments into the country, including Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific, Thomas Lloyd Global Asset Management and Zurich. Chhay Heng is a key contact in Phnom Penh.
Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Band 2
Offices and affiliated firms in nine countries across the region put this team in a strong position to handle major, cross-jurisdictional arbitrated disputes. It is acknowledged not only to have an "excellent Singapore capability with a consistent, quality product," but also to be "developing an interesting, ambitious South-East Asian network." Key areas of strength include construction, energy and resources, public international law and telecoms disputes. Andre Yeap SC heads the practice.
Dispute Resolution: Litigation - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap SC - Band 2, Eng Beng Lee SC - Band 1, Francis Xavier SC - Band 2, Mohammed Reza - Up and Coming
Managing partner Lee Eng Beng SC commands substantial market respect for his combination of academic distinction, particularly in the insolvency space, with formidable advocacy skills. He is also active in representing participants in banking and finance disputes and high net worth individuals, and recently acted for Dr Tan Choo Suan in a multi-jurisdictional dispute over the provisions of her late father's will.
Francis Xavier SC heads the regional disputes practice and is described as an "excellent lawyer" who is "well established" in the litigation space. He is experienced in cross-border work, and recently acted for the Singaporean and Australian parties to a multi-jurisdictional dispute with an Indonesian entity over a joint venture agreement to develop a coal upgrading facility.
Andre Yeap SC is a "very good practitioner" who practises extensively in both litigation and arbitration, operating across a broad range of disputes, including insolvency, breach of duty and shareholder issues. He represented the liquidators of MF Global Singapore in two sets of proceedings concerning the extent to which the company's former customers can claim unpaid profits generated by principal-to-principal transactions.
Market sources say commercial and banking litigation specialist Mohammed Reza is "very smart and capable." He recently acted for two high net worth individuals in Singapore-based civil proceedings concerning the allegedly fraudulent transfer of assets, complicated by related criminal proceedings in Indonesia.
Projects & Energy- Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: Shemane Chan - Band 2
Clients consider Shemane Chan to be "very impressive," specifically highlighting her responsiveness. Chan is active in project development, assisting key clients with projects throughout South-East Asia. Recent international mandates include advising the successful bidder on the development and financing of airport projects in Vanuatu.
Shipping - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: Kah Wah Leong - Band 1, Kian Sing Toh SC - Band 1, Winston Kwek - Band 1, Ian Teo - Band 3, Jainil Bhandari - Band 3, Kendall Tan - Up and Coming
Head of shipping Toh Kian Sing SC is an expert on cross-border contentious matters with experience of both the litigation and arbitration of many major insurance and financial cases. His recent work includes advising Sea Consortium, charterers of the 'Tiger Spring' in respect of its collision with another vessel in India.
Winston Kwek is a partner who works on marine insurance, charter party disputes and shipping finance. He lately acted for Greece's Alpha Bank on a series of matters, including representation with regard to a loan default by the owners of the vessel 'Sea Urchin'.
Head of disputes Leong Kah Wah is renowned for his regional shipping expertise and is described by sources as "a pragmatic person and commercially aware, which makes his advice more realistic." He lately advised the owners and P&I club insurers of the 'MOL Comfort' on Singaporean legal issues arising from its loss at sea.
Ian Teo specialises in shipping and trade disputes. Highly experienced in both litigation and arbitration, he "has the ability to handle cases quickly and is a commercially sound lawyer." Of late, he successfully represented a Singapore shipbuilder throughout a complex dispute with an engine supplier in the Singapore High Court.
Jainil Bhandari is active across the shipping sector, advising on contentious and trade issues and offering impressive expertise in Malaysian law, recently assisting clients on a number of high-value, Malaysian-related maritime disputes. Clients characterise Bhandari as "a very good Malaysia and Singapore-qualified lawyer."
Kendall Tan works with clients on both wet and dry shipping matters, with a particular focus on disputes. Sources praise him for being "good at keeping an eye on the commercial perspective of a case" and for his "thoroughness and doggedness in examining all the evidence."
Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers - Vietnam
Corporate/M&A - Band 4
Foreign Expert – China - Thi Que Vu
Head of department Thi Que Vu has a wealth of experience assisting Chinese companies seeking to invest or operate in Vietnam. Her fluency in Mandarin and English, as well as Vietnamese, is especially valued by international clients.
Projects, Infrastructure & Energy - Band 4
As of February 2014, LCT Lawyers combined with regional law firm Rajah & Tann. This newly combined practice represents developers and construction companies on a variety of projects and infrastructure matters. The team is often instructed by Japanese and Chinese clients investing in Vietnam. Recent highlights include advising Guangzhou Electric Power Design Institute on the construction of a jetty at the Duyên Hai Thermal Power Plant. Head of department Thi Que Vu is a key client contact.