Solicitors governing body: The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Competition authority: Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, Department of Trade and Industry
Financial regulator: Securities and Exchange Commission
IFLR1000 ranking categories:
Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, M&A, Project finance, Project Development, Restructuring and insolvency
The legal system of the Philippines is a combination of civil law and the Anglo-American common law system. But religion plays a vital part in the country and Catholicism and Islam have influenced the law to different degrees.
Family-run law firms and enterprises are an important feature of the Filipino business landscape. Major players in the country are domestic firms such as Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan who provide full service local law services.
As foreign firms are not allowed to practice in the country, some have linked up with local firms to serve clients on cross-border deals. One example is Baker and McKenzie who are partnered with local firm Quismbing Torres (QT).
Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific
ACCRALAW is one of the largest law firms in the Philippines and has a well-established practice in various areas including banking and finance and M&A.
The firm acted on a number of project finance deals, including a number in the renewable energy sector. A highlight deal saw the firm advising Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems on a loan to finance a wind power generator in Puerto Galera.
In M&A the firm advised Jones Lang La Salle Philippines on the acquisition of the assets of JCL International. The firm also advised Shang Properties on a proposed joint venture with Robinsons Land Corporation.
There were several staffing changes at the firm recently with Tadeo Hilado and Brigida Aldeguer retiring.
Key clients include Bain Capital, Toshiba, Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems and Jones Lang La Salle Philippines.
Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia’s strength is in its strong corporate and M&A practice.
During the research period, the firm has advised on a number of notable deals, including the listing of Linocraft Holdings and Linocraft printers on HKSE’s Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) board which involved numerous jurisdictions. The firm also represented Goldenwill in the acquisition of Air Development Rights.
Key clients include Aboitiz Power.
The firm comprises nine partners, six counsels and 17 associates and specialises in M&A and capital markets.
In capital markets, the firm worked on initial public offerings (IPOs) for clients operating in a variety of sectors such as real estate and technology. An interesting deal saw the firm advise Xeleb Technologies on its IPO.
In M&A, the firm worked on the Art of Click’s acquisition by Xurpas
During the research period the firm has expanded its operations by opening two new local offices and adding Anthony Edsel Tupaz from the Department of Public Works and Highways as a partner.
Key clients include DM Wenceslao.
Gulapa Law is a diversified firm with experience in M&A, project development, project finance and restructuring and insolvency. In addition to an office in Manila, the firm also has an affiliate, Gulapa & Baclay, in New York.
In M&A, the firm has picked up an impressive volume of work in various sectors including technology, consumer goods, and food and beverage. An interesting deal saw Gulapa Law acting for Densan System in acquiring part ownership of CIS Bayad Centre.
In project development, the firm has primarily focused on transport and infrastructure. During the research period, a notable deal saw the firm advise the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the expansion, operation and maintenance of the Clark International Airport.
On the project finance side, the firm worked on projects in sectors including utilities and transport. A highlight deal saw the firm advising Aboitiz Equity Ventures and JV Angeles Construction Corporation on the financing of the Tamugan River Bulk Water Project.
The firm welcomed new partners Charmaine Rose Haw-Lim from the Asian Development Bank and Rico Paolo Quicho from Quicho & Angeles.
Key clients include the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, MFT Group, Densan System, Aboitiz Equity Ventures and APO-UGEC Security Printing.
The firm focuses its practice on banking and finance, corporate and M&A.
An interesting deal in banking and finance saw the firm advise Western Union on setting up a Remittance Platform Provider.
On the M&A side, the firm advised Orix on its real estate joint ventures and transactions in the Philippines.
The firm underwent staffing changes, with Lorybeth Baldrias-Serrano joining the firm as a partner from Quisumbing Torrres.
Key clients include Western Union and Orix.
In the research period the firm expanded its operation and opened an office in Bonaficio Global City.
Meer Law’s practice focuses on corporate and M&A. The firm has advised in sectors including real-estate, agriculture and banking. The firm’s recent M&A deals involved advising both domestic and international firms.
A highlight mandate saw the firm advising Del Monte Far East on the first local deal to be submitted and approved by the Philippine Competition Commission.
Key Clients include Del Monte Far East, Stem Financial and Philippines Urban Living Solutions.
The firm’s strength is in its M&A practice.
During the research period the firm has worked on a number of projects in natural resources and energy and mining. A highlight deal saw the firm advise Manila Water Philippine Ventures on negotiating and implementing a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement for the development of a water supply and disposal system in Calasiao, Bulacan.
A staffing change saw Darwin Angeles join the team from V&A Law Offices.
Key clients include Manila Water Philippine Ventures, Ayala Corporation and Laguna AAA Water Corporation.
The firm offers advice in banking and finance, project development, capital markets, and corporate and M&A.
Banking and finance is the core practice of the firm and the team has picked up impressive work in the research period. A highlight deal in acquisition financing saw the firm representing Udenna Corporation in its takeover of Global Gateway Development Corporation.
The firm’s capital market practice is focused mainly on advising on initial public offerings (IPOs) and rights offerings. An interesting deal saw the firm advise BDO Unibank on its stock rights offering in the largest equity capital markets transaction by a Philippine entity to-date.
A landmark M&A deal saw the firm representing Udenna Corporation in its acquisition of GGDC Holdings.
In the projects space the firm has worked on deals in infrastructure, energy and natural resources. In an eye-catching deal, the firm acted for Norddeutsche Landesbank Singapore, KEB Hana Bank and Hanwha Q Cells Korea on a loan to Enfinity Philippines Renewable Resources for refinancing the loan obligations relating to the development and operations of a solar photovoltaic plant in Digos City.
Notable clients include Citibank, Udenna Corporation, BDO Unibank and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale Singapore.
Poblador Bautista & Reyes focuses its practice primarily on corporate and M&A. In M&A, the firm’s recent deal highlights were focused on domestic clients.
A staffing change saw Susan Bustos Jacinto recently left the firm.
Puyat Jacinto & Santos is strongest in project development, M&A and banking.
The firm has been particularly active in the projects space and has advised on deals in the energy sector. Highlight deals include, acting for Atimonan One Energy in negotiating a loan for the development of a coal-fired power plant; and advising Aboitiz Power Corporation in the operation of its power plants.
In M&A, one deal example saw the firm acting as Philippine transaction counsel for Global Business Power Corporation in the acquisition of Alson Thermal Energy.
In the past year the firm hired Miguel Antonio Mendoza for its banking and finance and capital markets practice from ACCRA Law, while Francis Alvin Asilo retired from the same practice
Key clients include Aboitiz Power Corporation, Atimonan One Energy, Global Business Power Corporation and Universal Robina Corp
Quisumbing Torres is a part of Baker McKenzie’s global network. The firm is active in various practice areas, with expertise in M&A, banking and finance and capital markets. The firm is highly regarded in project development.
In the project space, the firm has advised on a number of deals in the utilities and energy sectors. One interesting deal saw the firm acting as Philippine counsel for the Korea Water Resources Corporation on the Bulacan bulk water supply project.
The firm hired TJ Mendoza from Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos as a partner.
Key clients include Hero Future Energies Asia, SK Engineering & Construction and the Korea Water Resources Corporation.
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan is one the of the largest and most reputed firms in the Philippines.
During the research period the banking team has picked up impressive work including cross border transactions for high profile international companies. One significant deal saw the firm advising BDO Capital and Investment Corporation, China Bank Capital Corporation, PNB Capital & Investment Corporation and RCBC Capital Corporation on the first ever dollar denominated public offering and listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
In the projects space, the firm was active in sectors including transport and utilities. A notable deal saw the firm advising Metro Pacific Investments Corporation on a proposal to expand and operate the Clark International Airport.
There were a number of changes in staff at the firm recently, with Jan Abano-Ranada and John Paul de Leon joining the firm as partners, while Mia Gentugaya retired.
Key clients include BPI Capital Corporation, BDO Unibank, China Bank Capital Corporation, Credit Suisse Securities, Standard Chartered Bank and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.
Villaraza & Angangco has experience in banking and finance, corporate and M&A and project development.
During the research period the firm’s banking team worked on an impressive number of cases. A highlight example saw the firm assist Verge Finance in entering the finance and lending market of the Philippines. Another example saw the firm advising Swiss Reinsurance, Swiss Re International, Swiss Re. Corporate Solutions and Swiss Re Asia on reinsurance regulation in the Philippines.
In the projects space, the firm worked in sectors including technology and energy. A representative deal saw the firm advising SPi CRM on the possible acquisition of iTech Global Business Solutions.
Key clients include Swiss Reinsurance, Verge Finance, Ayala Group of Companies and Ninja Express Tech Philippines.
A strategic alliance partner of WongPartnership, Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula (ZGLaw) has a diversified law practice with a focus on restructuring, banking and finance, M&A and capital markets.
In banking, the firm worked mainly on financing deals typically on the side of the lenders. A representative deal saw the firm advising the Philippine Bank of Communications on a loan for the operation of a hotel chain in Manila, Cebu and Davao.
In M&A, the firm was active in sectors including food and beverage and hospitality. An interesting deal saw the firm acting for AccorHotels Group in the acquisition of a majority stake in Fairmont Raffles Hotels International.
In the projects space the firm advised AB Leisure Global on a loan financing the acquisition of land in the Visayas Region.
Key clients include the Philippine Bank of Communications, BDO Unibank and AB Leisure Global.