Chambers Global (2019)

R&T Sok & Heng - Cambodia

General Business Law - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Heng Chhay - Band 1, Sophonnora Tiv - Band 3

What the team is known for
Impressive Phnom Penh-based team working with the wider Rajah & Tann network, regularly advising international clientele on domestic law. Retains a strong market reputation for work on cross-border transactions, including project finance and joint ventures. Banking and real estate sectors constitute key areas of expertise. Also offers significant knowledge of Cambodian securities law. Acts for a broad mix of Asian and global clients as well as domestic Cambodian corporations.

Strengths
The lawyers' commerciality attracts praise from clients. Interviewees say: "They stand above in their quality of advice and responsiveness, understanding business issues rather than just telling us what the law is."

The team's clear explanation of complex matters impresses sources, who praise "their ability to simplify legal terms," as well as their "very fast turnaround" of work.

Work highlights
Assisted Crystal International with the Cambodian aspects of its USD574 million IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, performing due diligence on its subsidiaries in Cambodia.

Advised both the borrower and lender, Donaco International and Mega International Commercial Bank respectively, on the USD57 million refinancing of a loan.

Notable practitioners
Managing partner Heng Chhay has expertise in a wide range of areas, including real estate, finance, M&A and litigation. Sources report: "He dives into documents and spends time going through even the smallest of issues, giving great confidence to clients that he is on top of everything himself." Clients also note that "his strength is an ability to diagnose and understand any business issue."

Sophonnora Tiv has long-standing experience handling capital markets deals, as well as M&A transactions, real estate and insurance issues. Clients appreciate that he "is responsive and brings in others when necessary." Other clients explain: "It is a pleasure to work with him," while further interviewees note that he "has the benefit of international experience."

 

Assegaf Hamzah & Partners - Indonesia

Capital Markets - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 1, Bono Adji - Band 1, Putu Suryastuti - Band 2, Tunggul Utomo - Up and Coming

The "highly regarded" Ahmad Fikri Assegaf is noted for his adept representation of both listed companies and the Government of Indonesia. In particular, he possesses expertise in handling bond issuances and IPOs.

Bono Adji is held in high regard for his ECM and DCM expertise, as well as his ability to advise clients on refinancings and IPOs. One source remarks: "He is capable, provides a quick response and is a most reliable person."

Putu Suryastuti is best known in the market for her exceptionally broad capital markets practice, with a particular focus on IPOs and bond issuances. She regularly assists clients from the telecommunications, aerospace and manufacturing sectors.

Tunggul Utomo has a growing reputation in the capital markets space, with an excellent track record in bond issuances and IPOs. He frequently acts for clients in the financial services, oil and gas and telecommunications sectors.

Corporate/M&A - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 1, Bono Adji - Band 1, Eko Basyuni - Band 4

Ahmad Fikri Assegaf is a distinguished practitioner who is praised by clients for being "practical, commercial and responsive." He regularly assists international and Indonesian clients with complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions.

"Respected lawyer" Bono Adji is highly regarded for his experience in acting for multinational corporations on the full spectrum of corporate and M&A deals. He is additionally noted for his work on foreign direct investment and capital market matters.

Head of department Eko Basyuni is well known for his experience in M&A matters, including joint ventures and share acquisitions. Clients benefit from his expertise in a wide range of areas, including the manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services sectors.

Projects & Energy - Band 2
Ranked Lawyer: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf - Band 2

Ahmad Fikri Assegaf possesses over 20 years of experience in finance, capital markets and infrastructure. His areas of focus include renewable energy projects.

 

Christopher & Lee Ong - Malaysia

Banking & Finance - Band 3

What the team is known for
Established and experienced team handling a comprehensive range of finance matters, on behalf of both Malaysian and international banks. Particularly well placed to advise on energy-related project finance, the team also handles syndicated loans, acquisition and asset finance, restructuring and Islamic finance. Conversant in both conventional and Islamic finance, the firm has additional expertise regarding DCM and fintech. Fiona Sequerah and Christopher Lee are key points of contact for clients.

Corporate/M&A - Band 3
Ranked Lawyers: Christopher Lee - Band 3, Yon See Ting - Recognised Practitioner

Christopher Lee is well regarded for his experience handling M&A deals, with commentators describing him as "a pleasure to work with." He also handles joint ventures and takeovers, and is especially adept at advising on infrastructure projects.

Shipping (Expertise Based Abroad) - Singapore
Ranked Lawyer: Jainil Bhandari

Jainil Bhandari is qualified to practise in both Singapore and Malaysia and regularly acts for shipping companies and insurers on contentious matters involving cargo damage and contamination, collisions, and wreck removal. He acted for QBE Insurance in a USD2 million dispute following an allision incident with a jetty at a power station project in Port Dickson, in Malaysia.

 

Rajah & Tann NK Legal - Myanmar

General Business Law - Band 2
General Business Law: International Firms - Band 1
Ranked Lawyer: Chester Toh - Band 2 (Expertise Based Abroad)

What the team is known for
Highly effective regional platform able to provide domestic and international law capabilities from its Yangon and Singapore offices. Particularly active in advising the consumer products sector on market entry and local franchising issues. Also has experience handling banking, project finance and joint venture matters in the region. Represents an impressive array of Myanmar corporates as well as blue-chip international clients. Increasingly involved in construction and infrastructure projects.

Strengths
A client applauds the team for providing "practical advice" and notes that everything is "well explained."

Another client appreciates the excellent level of "engagement with the partner," and adds that the team is always available and provides "quick turnaround times."

Work highlights
Advised Myanmar Winery & Distillery on the USD742 million sale of a 5% interest in Myanmar Distillery Company.

Advised China Communications Construction on negotiations with New Yangon Development Corporation and the Yangon Regional Government for a joint venture to development of the New Yangon City Project.

Notable practitioners
Singapore-based Chester Toh is described by a client as "dynamic and very knowledgeable," and they add that he has "very good negotiation skills." He regularly advises on foreign direct investments, joint ventures and M&A matters.

 

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) - Philippines

Corporate & Finance - Band 3
Ranked Lawyers: Jaime Renato B Gatmaytan - Band 3, Norma Margarita B Patacsil - Band 3

Jaime Renato Gatmaytan is the head of the firm's corporate commercial practice. He advises on a variety of matters, including investments, loans and acquisitions, often in the energy and infrastructure sector.

A client notes that Norma Margarita Patacsil is "always on top of everything and manages to help." She lends her expertise to acquisition, investment and competition matters, and is adroit at advising on competition law.

Projects, Infrastructure & Energy - Band 3
Ranked Lawyer: Jaime Renato B Gatmaytan - Band 3

Jaime Renato Gatmaytan is known by interviewees for his strength in both energy and infrastructure, and is particularly experienced in related corporate transactions and project financing.

 

Rajah & Tann Singapore - Singapore

Banking & Finance - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Angela Lim - Band 2, Lee Weilin - Other Noted Practitioner, Ng Sey Ming - Band 4, Regina Liew - Band 1 (Banking & Finance: Regulatory), Sandy Foo - Band 4, Terence Choo - Band 4

Angela Lim regularly handles financing for infrastructure projects and real estate and construction on behalf of both borrowers and lenders. She is dual-qualified in Singapore and in England and Wales and heads the group's banking and finance team.

Ng Sey Ming is the deputy head of Rajah & Tann Singapore's banking and finance practice. He is particularly active in financing mandates with cross-border elements, most notably mandates involving Indonesia.

Terence Choo's practice has a focus on refinancings and real estate-related transactions. He is particularly experienced representing banks as lender's counsel.

Sandy Foo is praised by interviewees for being "sharp and easy to work with." Her practice encompasses an array of corporate and finance matters.

The "commercial and pragmatic" Regina Liew leads the firm's financial institutions group. She handles both regulatory and transactional matters for financial institutions and also boasts considerable experience in fintech-related matters.

Capital Markets - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Chia Kim Huat - Eminent Practitioner and Foreign expert for China, Danny Lim - Band 3, Evelyn Wee - Band 3

What the team is known for
Offering expertise across both debt and equity capital markets, the team is recognised for being involved in many complex transactions in the market. Highly regarded for advising on IPOs and listings, as well as rights offerings and hybrid issuances. A network of offices across ASEAN and beyond adds to the team's ability to handle cross-border work in jurisdictions such as Vietnam, Japan and Myanmar. The team harbours particular proficiency in Indonesia-related work. Its Singapore team combined with its affiliate offices in Indonesia and Vietnam to advise Sea Limited on its USD884 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Notable practitioners
Chia Kim Huat has over 20 years of experience on a wide range of debt and equity work. He is best known for his China-focused practice, one source explaining that "he has a very good clientele among Chinese clients." He handles IPOs, reverse takeovers and notes issuances.

Danny Lim is described by a client as being "dedicated and willing to discuss various solutions to a particular issue." Having previously worked in the firm's Shanghai representative office, he continues to act for a roster of Chinese clients on listings and other investment work.

Evelyn Wee is head of the firm's capital markets team and regularly advises clients on the IPOs of companies, business trusts and REITs. Her practice encompasses both Singapore and overseas listings.

Corporate/M&A - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Chester Toh - Corporate/M&A (Foreign Expertise) – Myanmar, Lawrence Tan - Recognised Practitioner, Sandy Foo - Band 3

What the team is known for
Highly regarded team that leverages the strength of its network of Asian offices to handle complex cross-border mandates, particularly takeovers of Singapore-listed companies, whether hostile, contested or uncontested. Active in a range of sectors, including banking, insurance and healthcare, it acts for major banks and corporate clients on public and private M&A transactions. Acted for RHT Health Trust Manager on the SGD957 million disposal of assets in RHT Health Trust to Fortis Healthcare International, which operates medical establishments in India.

Foreign desks (Ranked in Corporate/M&A: Foreign Expertise – Indonesia*)
The firm has an established Indonesia desk, representing leading multinationals and domestic entities in complex M&A. Led by Cheng Yoke Ping, who is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, it handles deals in a range of sectors, including natural resources, technology and manufacturing. The team advised Moya Holdings Asia on the USD92.87 million acquisition of Acuatico, which included its three subsidiaries in Indonesia. The group also provides Indonesia law advice through its associate firm, Assegaf Hamzah & Partners.

Notable practitioners
Sandy Foo continues to act for a range of financial institutions, listed companies and private equity firms. Her work is appreciated by one client for "understanding our expectations and consistently meeting our requirements," and includes share acquisitions, delistings and divestments.

Singapore-based Chester Toh regularly assists local and international clients with acquisitions, divestments and joint ventures in Myanmar. Interviewees attest that he is "dynamic and very knowledgeable," with "very good negotiation skills."

Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap SC - Band 4, Paul Tan - Band 3, Tan Chuan Thye SC - Band 3

Tan Chuan Thye SC is a "very safe pair of hands," according to one peer, and "easy to deal with" in the words of another source. He has a broad commercial disputes practice and has particular expertise in relation to insolvency.

Andre Yeap SC is "hard-working and knowledgeable," say sources. He offers substantial experience in cross-border disputes relating to banking and securities matters. He heads the firm's international arbitration practice.

"Rising star" Paul Tan is held in high esteem by the market and has an active commercial and investment treaty arbitration practice. He is also able to offer expertise in public international law. Interviewees say he is "very smart and can be relied on for difficult legal analysis. He is responsive and a very serious, intellectual lawyer known for dealing with difficult problems."

Dispute Resolution: Litigation - Band 2
Ranked Lawyers: Andre Yeap SC - Band 3, Danny Ong - Band 4, Francis Xavier SC - Band 2, Lee Eng Beng SC - Band 1, Paul Tan - Band 4

Interviewees say of Lee Eng Beng SC that "clarity of thought, communicating position and breaking down of the opponent's case, these are the things he's brilliant at." His practice centres upon banking disputes and he has substantial experience of debt enforcement and insolvency litigation. He is especially well regarded as an appellate lawyer.

Danny Ong handles commercial disputes and investigations, with a specialism in the banking sector. Peers praise his proactiveness and creative approach. Sources say: "He combines a deep and broad knowledge of the law with a pleasant manner and an ability to switch gears and become a powerful advocate and highly effective cross-examiner."

Paul Tan is well regarded by peers, who see him as someone who is "building up a good reputation." He specialises in financial disputes and also has an active arbitration practice.

Francis Xavier SC is "tenacious, innovative and has a well-prepared team," say market commentators. Another source praises his "fair-minded, honourable way of presenting the case." He is best known for representing clients on banking, property and investment disputes.

Andre Yeap SC is "tough and extremely well prepared," according to commentators. He is a litigation and arbitration practitioner with a broad commercial disputes practice. Recently, he has acted on several cross-border cases in the banking sector.

International & Cross-Border Capabilities (Singapore & South East Asian Firms) - Spotlight Table

What the team is known for
Highly rated Singaporean firm which has expanded to become a South-East Asian practice with its own network spread across the ASEAN region and beyond. The firm is well positioned to provide full-service one-stop service to clients across different legal systems in South-East Asia, often helping clients from within the region to obtain regulatory approvals across jurisdictions and handling other cross-border issues. The firm is also regarded as a very attractive partner for international clients which are investing in the region.

A member of the Lex Mundi network, the firm has developed a strong network of relationships with firms from different jurisdictions and is regularly engaged as a co-ordinating counsel for the South-East Asia region. Its clientele includes companies investing from the US, Europe and Japan, as well as China and India.

Strengths
With the continuing rise of Singapore as a bustling hub for the region, Rajah & Tann has become a globally recognised brand, and is frequently mentioned as one of the most impressive international practices. One source says: "They are building a platform that is very credible." Another remarks: "Rajah & Tann has a great strategy. They have this network in the region so they are useful and well positioned to do all the work there."

Projects & Energy - Band 1
Ranked Lawyer: Shemane Chan - Band 2

What the team is known for
Well known for its comprehensive regional network, with an established presence in Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia. Highly sought after for its expertise in power and strong experience on PPP infrastructure projects. Also experienced in the oil and gas sector. Noted for its focus on the construction and development aspects of projects, with additional expertise regarding project finance. Advised Yangon Metropolitan Development on concession, O&M and joint venture agreements for the Ngwe Pin Le Integrated Logistic Park.

Notable practitioners
Sources say that Shemane Chan is "very efficient and detailed when it comes to drafting documents, and during negotiation she is always focused on the client's objective and negotiates thoroughly." She acts on construction and project development work, and is well versed with cross-border matters as well as a range of domestic development.

Shipping - Band 1
Ranked Lawyers: (Shipping: Domestic: Finance) Chua Choon King - Band 2, (Shipping: Domestic: Litigation) Ian Teo - Band 2, Jainil Bhandari - Band 3, also ranked in Shipping (Foreign Expertise) - Malaysia, Kendall Tan - Band 3, Leong Kah Wah - Band 1, Toh Kian Sing - Band 1, Winston Kwek - Band 2

Head of the shipping and international trade practice, Toh Kian Sing SC has a wealth of experience advising on contentious shipping matters, including on bills of lading, charter party, insurance and cargo claims. He also regularly advises on the bankruptcy and restructuring of shipping companies. A client describes him as "very active and aggressive," while another appreciates his "legal analysis and the depth of his considerations."

Leong Kah Wah continues to be regarded by market sources as a leading practitioner. He regularly advises shipowners, clubs, and underwriters on collisions and ship arrests. He recently advised the People of Eauripik on Singapore High Court proceedings in relation to damage caused by a vessel to the island's coral reef.

Chua Choon King is known for his activity in the ship finance sphere. He often advises on sale and purchase, sale and leaseback and ship finance, frequently acting for banks. In addition he advises on general corporate matters and restructurings in the shipping sector. A client appreciates that "whenever we have an urgent matter he dedicates his time to us."

Winston Kwek regularly advises on disputes relating to shipbuilding and defaults on agreements. He is also highly active advising financial institutions on a range of work-outs for shipping companies and shipowners. A client appreciates that he is very practical and that he "puts himself in the client's position and doesn't just quote the law, he comes up with solutions."

Ian Teo is best known for his dry shipping expertise, advising clients on shipbuilding and commodities contract disputes as well as issues relating to sanctions. He is also able to advise on wet matters including collisions.

Malaysia-qualified Jainil Bhandari continues to be active on Malaysia-related shipping matters. He has over 20 years of experience and regularly acts for shipping companies and insurers on contentious matters involving cargo damage and contamination, collisions, and wreck removal. He assisted Maersk Line with claims valued at USD8 million relating to damage and loss of earnings following an oil spill at a Malaysian port.

Kendall Tan has experience on both wet and dry shipping litigations, regularly advising shipping companies and P&I clubs on collisions and loss of cargo claims. His counsel is also sought by financial institutions on restructurings in the shipping sector.

Asia-Pacific Region: Arbitration (International) - Band 4

What the team is known for
Leading Singapore firm, highlighted for its specialist arbitration practice and impressive regional range, extending to the Middle East, including especially notable coverage of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and maintaining an acknowledged profile in Philippines-related matters. Particularly noted for handling investor-state, construction and energy cases and regularly instructed in matters involving the operations of Chinese companies in other Asian jurisdictions. Additionally well placed to act on arbitration-related litigation in the Singapore courts, where it often provides assistance to international firms.

Work highlights
Represented the Republic of the Philippines in distinct but related sets of proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, brought by two public utilities on the alleged grounds that the Republic breached contractual undertakings granting the claimants exclusive rights in the management of waterworks and other facilities in certain parts of the country.

Notable practitioners
Andre Yeap SC is the firm's head of international arbitration.

Asia-Pacific Region: International Trade/WTO - Recognised Practitioner

Indonesia: Corporate & Finance (International Firms) (Desk based Abroad) - Band 4

What the team is known for
Leverages its network of offices across the Asia-Pacific region to advise on a significant volume of cross-border mandates. Provides Indonesia law advice through its associate firm, Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. Expertise covers banking and finance, dispute resolution, M&A and projects.

Notable practitioners
Cheng Yoke Ping is a key contact for the practice.

South-East Asia: International Trade/WTO – Asia Pacific Region - Band 1
Ranked Lawyer: Kala Anandarajah - Spotlight Table

What the team is known for
Offers in-depth expertise in trade matters concerning South-East Asian countries. Excels in a range of areas, including anti-dumping, export controls, safeguards and the structuring of trade flows, as well as handling customs regulatory compliance for international companies operating across a number of sectors, with particular expertise in the hi-tech, healthcare and agrifood spaces. Also works on matters involving free trade agreements and tariffs. Maintains a strong reputation for its handling of Thailand and Malaysia-related matters.

Strengths
"The work they do is customer-focused, and succinct. They try their best to understand the customers' needs and spare them the agony of reading economic legal opinions," a client attests, further explaining: "It's all very well written with the customer in mind, they know the recipient might not be a lawyer. Turnaround time is quick; partners are contactable and approachable."

Another interviewee reports: "They are client-focused and have the soft touch - making clients feel like they are walking the same journey."

Notable practitioners
Singapore-based Kala Anandarajah is "technically very sound in international and competition law," a client reports, also stating: "She is able to quickly grasp customer issues and her opinions are very focused." She advises international clients on export control issues and sanctions, among other trade matters. Another interviewee notes: "She is just so dynamic, very exciting and enthusiastic; she is a high energy lady which is great."

 

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers - Vietnam

Corporate/M&A - Band 3

Thi Que Vu is based in Ho Chi Minh City, and heads the firm's corporate and M&A practice. She frequently assists Chinese clients on transactional matters in Vietnam, utilising her fluency in Chinese and English.