Thailand

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Thai Bar Association

Competition authority: Office of Trade Competition Commission (OTCC)

Financial regulator: Bank of ThailandOffice of the Securities and Exchange Commission Thailand

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A, Project Development, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

Thailand is the only country in South East Asia that was never colonised, so Thai law has naturally taken on its own identity. Yet this hasn’t made its legal system simpler as it’s largely formed of a mixture of German, Swiss, French, English, Japanese, Italian, and Indian laws and practices. Even today, Islamic laws and practices exist in four southern provinces.

In Thailand there are some restrictions on foreign law firms practising in the country, but the legal sector is generally open to international law firms when compared to other jurisdictions in the region. The likes of Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Overy and Linklaters all have a presence in the country. 

Under the Foreign Business Act, foreign law firms are only allowed to establish joint ventures with a local partner and must register as limited companies. This restricts ownership of the foreign firm in Thailand of up to 49% against Thai ownership of at least 51%. Only lawyers admitted in Thailand holding Thai nationality can give advice, consult Thai laws and appear before the courts. 

Thailand’s real estate, leisure, manufacturing, technology and telecoms industries remain strong as a result of active inbound investment from China and Japan. Myanmar is a key focus for Thai outbound investment. 

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
Axis Consultants

Axis Legal is a boutique law firm specialising in corporate and M&A and restructuring work and advises both multinational and domestic companies.

The firm was recently busy advising on a range of matters including buy and sell-side acquisitions, joint ventures, restructurings, and divestments in sectors such as consumer goods, industrials, telecommunication, and manufacturing.

Baker McKenzie

As the largest law firm in Thailand, Baker McKenzie is a household name in the Thai legal market and excels in all transactional matters. The firm’s renowned capital markets practice stands out, particularly in terms of its derivatives and structured finance work, and boasts the largest market share in structured products transactions in Thailand. During the research period, the firm acted on an issue of perpetual securities that was the first such transaction to be executed in Thailand.

In the research period the firm acted on an array of banking matters, including acquisition financing, project financing, loan facilities, corporate financing, and aircraft leasing deals. A recent highlight saw the firm advising a private equity fund on the financing for the acquisition of a top manufacturer of payment cards.

In M&A the firm focuses on consumer goods, energy and infrastructure, mining, banking and financial services, healthcare, hospitality, industrials and manufacturing, and technology and telecommunication. The firm has recently been active in the hospitality industry and advised on a landmark hotel acquisition deal spanning several jurisdictions.

The firm has a historically strong projects practice with a key focus on PPPs. In the recent past the firm notably advised on a large-scale expansion project for a petrochemical company and acted for bidders in PPP projects in the transport sector.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         Minor International $300 million issue of guaranteed senior perpetual capital securities

·         Minor International $2.06 billion acquisition of a 94.10% in NH Hotel Group

·         Siam Commercial Bank $1 billion dual tranche (3.90% and 4.40%) bond issue

·         Singha Estate $310 million acquisition of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts’ properties

·         The Mall Group / AEG joint venture

Chandler MHM

Ranked highest in banking and finance and project development, Chandler MHM also has a strong M&A practice.

In recent banking work the firm acted on the lender’s side on several cross border project financing mandates including the first project financing by a Thai financial institution provided to a Vietnamese borrower.

The firm has recently been developing its capital markets practice, particularly in terms of REIT related work. A recent highlight saw the firm advising Thailand’s largest retail-focused investment trust on the establishment of a debenture program and the issue of debentures under it.

In M&A the firm’s integration with Japanese firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto provides a competitive edge in securing work from Japanese clients, and Japan is the largest FDI contributor to Thailand.

Recent staffing changes saw the firm bring in new partner Joseph Tisuthiwongse from Clifford Chance to its banking and finance and energy practices, while partner Supasit Boonsanong left for The Phenomena. The corporate team welcomed Arkrapol Pichedvanichok as a senior partner from Allen & Overy, while Prisna Sungwanna left for Tilleke & Gibbins. Additionally, the capital markets team was strengthened with the hire of Tananan Thammakiat from Charin & Associates.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         B Grimm Power $104.1 million acquisition of Glow SPP1

·         CPN Retail Growth Leasehold REIT Bt16.25 billion MTN programme

·         Sumitomo Corporation / Kuraray and Global Chemical joint venture

·         Truong Thanh Quang Ngai Power and High Technology $32.5 million credit facility

Client feedback

“The lawyers of this law firm are at the level of an excellent standard. They work well as a legal counsel with vast knowledge and optimized suggestions.“ – Banking

“Excellent knowledge of laws and the market.” - Banking

“Possessing the ability to deliver good work on time even with a tight schedule and the ability to advise both lenders and borrowers, well-mannered, amicable, and comfortable to work with.” – Banking

“Very knowledgeable and experienced in real estate. Knew our company well and made solutions for us.” – M&A

“The firm quickly caught and understood our needs and provided proper advice. The firm was always quick and accurate.” – M&A

“Very responsive, efficient and cost-effective. Good commerciality in the context of the deal size.” – M&A

 

David Beckstead

“Commercial and got on with it; drove the deal forwards.”

Hiroki Kishi

“Reviewd JVA and related documents.”

Supattra Sathapornnanon

“Responsive and active; able to advise on the practice of government bodies as well as between private parties.”  

Joseph Tisuthiwongse

“Excellent knowledge of laws, the market and is responsive.“

Worapan Wuttisarn

“Always quick to respond. Willing to accommodate our needs in a tight schedule.”

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Hunton Andrews Kurth, the product of the 2018 merger of Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon, is one of Thailand's strongest firms, performing consistently well across banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, project development and the restructuring and insolvency areas. 

In banking, the firm’s recent work includes syndicated financing, lender and borrower side roles on bilateral financing mandates, debt restructuring, and project financing. Highlights include advising on the financing of the first ultra-hybrid venue in Thailand and acting on the lenders' side on the financing of two of the few waste-to-energy projects in Thailand.

In capital markets work the firm recently acted on several market firsts, including JPMorgan’s first issue of derivative warrants in Thailand; the first green bond issued by a Thai commercial bank; and the first SME bond issued by a Thai commercial bank.

In M&A a highlight mandate saw the firm act for the acquirer on a high value, cross border acquisition in the energy sector.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         ABB $11 billion restructuring

·         B Grimm Power $104.1 million acquisition of Glow SPP1

·         Electricity Generating Public Company $796.4 million acquisition of 49% in Paju Energy Service

·         JPMorgan Securities Bt5 billion derivative warrants issue

·         Rodenstock €415 million financing

Kudun & Partners

Kudun & Partners (KAP) is strongest in capital markets and project development. KAP boasts setting up the first dedicated China Business Unit in a Thai law firm.

In the capital markets area recently the firm advised on both international and domestic equity offerings, secondary and follow on offerings, debt offerings and tender offers and it has experience in working with local regulatory bodies. A notable deal saw the firm advising the issuer on a private placement offering.

In M&A the firm primarily acted for the acquirers across a variety of sectors. The firm was notably engaged in outbound work, acting for B Grimm Power on several acquisitions in the renewable energy space. Another noteworthy deal saw the firm act for the acquirer in the first major pre-construction wind acquisition in Korea by a Thai power company.

The firm enhanced its restructuring offering with the hires of new partners Chinawat Assavapokee and Saravut Krailadsiri from Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      B Grimm Power $35.2 million acquisition of 80% in Phu Yen 257MW solar power plant

•                      B Grimm Power THB1,13 billion acquisition of 55% in Viet Thai Solar

•                      Prima Marine THB2.9 billion acquisition of Big Sea Co

•                      Seamico Securities THB 467.1 million share private placement

•                      Siamraj Public THB313.5 million acquisition of stakes in C2C Solutions, Sole Tech Solutions and Techtronic Company

Client feedback

“KAP provides prompt services professionally.” - Capital markets

“Quality, professional, and friendly.” - Capital markets

“Good at listening to and implementing feedback.” - Capital markets

"A good, professional and capable team with a flexible mind-set." – M&A

Kudun Sukhumananda
“Active and experienced.”

Kom Vachiravarakarn
“Strong knowledge on M&A transaction and capital market. Very helpful and flexible.”

Siam Premier International Law Office

Siam Premier International Law Office is recognised for its quality M&A work.

The team advises sellers, bidders and acquisition targets on public and private M&A deals across a broad range of sectors including automotive, aviation, food & beverage, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, insurance, mining, energy, real estate, logistics, technology and telecommunications.

A recent highlight saw the firm act for a global investment firm in a high-value acquisition in the Thai education sector.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      Grande Asset Hotels and Property acquisition of a stake in Royal Orchid Hotel

•                      Jacobs Holding $2.7 billion acquisition of Cognita

•                      Permira acquisition of  Ye Cherng Industrial Products

•                      Plan B Media $8.15 Million acquisition of a 20% stake in Bangkok Metro Networks

•                      Sun Reachers acquisition of Brilliant & Million and Brilliant Interactive

Thanathip & Partners

Thanathip & Partners is ranked highest in capital markets and M&A. Key sectors of focus include insurance, education, food and beverage, and energy.

During the research period the firm acted on the first Thai IPO in 2019; issues of foreign currency debentures; and both cross border and domestic acquisitions, primarily for acquirers.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         Allianz Group joint venture with Sri Ayudhya Capital

·         Banpu Public Company $50 million bond issue

·         China YuHua Education $27.87 million acquisition of Stamford International University

·         SAAM Energy Development Stock Exchange of Thailand IPO

·         Thai President Foods acquisition of President Bakery

The Capital Law Office

The Capital Law Office excels in capital markets work and is active in M&A.

The capital markets team has extensive experience in acting for both issuers and underwriters and advises on an array of matters including the issue of equity, equity-linked products, debt instruments and derivatives in domestic and international markets. The firm recently acted for TTCL Power Holding on the first primary listing on the SET.

In M&A the firm takes on both buy and sell-side roles for clients from a diverse range of sectors including retail, financial services, aviation, logistics, insurance, energy, oil and gas, healthcare, media, real estate, and hospitality. In the research period an interesting mandate saw the firm act for the acquirer in a high-value acquisition in the real estate sector.

During the review period the firm hired partner Patraporn Milindasuta from Kiatnakin Bank.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•                      King Power Mahanakorn $129.6 million acquisition of Pace Development Corporation’s assets

•                      Thai Plaspac $15.0 million acquisition of an 89% in Sun Packaging Systems

•                      TTCL Power Holdings SET IPO

•                      U City $416.7 million acquisition of Unicorn Enterprise

•                      VGI Global Media $190.3 million acquisition of 23% in Kerry Express

 

Tilleke & Gibbins

Tilleke & Gibbins in Thailand is strongest in M&A and project development.

In banking work the firm advises local and foreign banks, securities brokers and dealers, investment firms, and financial institutions across on the gamut of financial instruments.

In addition to providing advice on regulatory compliance, the capital markets team was recently mandated to act on primary and secondary listings on both domestic and foreign exchanges.

The M&A team has had a busy period and acted on many notable mandates, including Grab’s acquisition of Uber – the largest-ever deal of its kind in Southeast Asia. The firm primarily took on buy side roles in acquisitions and also advised on joint venture deals in a range of sectors such as technology and telecommunication, industrials and manufacturing, logistics, real estate, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.

In the projects space a notable highlight saw the firm advise on matters related to the operation of Southeast Asia’s largest wind farm.

The firm boosted its banking and projects practices with the hire of Joseph Tomkiewicz from Chevron.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         Grab $700 million acquisition of Uber

·         Hebei Iron and Steel Group $327 million acquisition of a 67% stake in Tata Steel

·         Marsh & McLennan $5.6 billion acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson group

·         Liqui-Box Corporation $585 million acquisition of DS Smith’s plastics division

·         R & B Food Supply Stock Exchange of Thailand IPO

Weerawong Chinnavat & Partners

One of the leading law firms in Thailand, Weerawong Chinnavat & Partners is recognised for its top tier work in capital markets, M&A and project development.

During the research period the banking team acted, primarily on the borrower side, on matters such as project financing, acquisition financing, aircraft financing, and loan facilities. Highlights saw the firm act on the first aircraft financing mandate involving Thai lenders and on the first Japanese Operating Lease with Call Option (JOLCO) transaction done with a Thai airline.

Additionally, the firm acted for the acquirer in financing and executing the largest M&A deal in Thailand’s power sector and the first deal involving approvals under a recently implemented antitrust measure. Furthermore, the firm also acted on the largest technology/ride-hailing acquisition in Southeast Asia.             

In the projects space the firm focuses primarily on infrastructure and energy-related work. The firm has had a successful period in this area and acted on a number of multibillion-dollar deals, including U-Tapao International Airport, Laem Chabang port and a high-speed rail project. The firm often acts for regulators and government bodies and was notably engaged by the State Enterprise Policy Office of Thailand to assist in drafting the new PPP legislation.

The capital markets team was hit by the departure of Khemajit Choomwattana who moved to an in-house role.

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         Global Power Synergy $4.39 billion acquisition of a 69% stake in Glow Energy

·         Laem Chabang deep-sea port

·         Map Ta Phut industrial terminal

·         Sumitomo Corporation / Kuraray and Global Chemical joint venture

·         U-Tapao International Airport

 

Client feedback

“Strong knowledge and connections with government officials which greatly assists on process planning.“ – Banking

“A very experienced partner, strong negotiation skills, and devotes time to deals.” – Banking

“Professional; provides deep advice with good solutions.” - Banking 

“Well-equipped and knowledgeable team with a good understanding of the client's preferences.“ - M&A

“The firm has extensive knowledge of all M&A requirements for such a large-sized and complicated acquisition. The firm has an extensive workforce and the required network of law firms in all disciplines required. Even though the partner who is actively involved in this deal is relatively young, it is clear that she knows all the issues and can help us navigate through the process.” – M&A

“WCP was a tough counterparty but brought and a high level of international standard practice to the negotiation table, which is rare for a local Thai firm. Samata Masagee in particular always had her client's best interests at heart, while appreciating the mutual interests of getting a deal done. Very responsive across the issues.” – M&A

“Great understanding of the client's industries and localization, e.g. updated regulatory framework, etc. Customer-oriented in providing legal advisory services in a prompt, responsive manner suitable for M&A work. One-stop services for related legal advice.” - M&A

“Strongest law firm in Thailand in public-private partnership legal advisory under the great leadership of Mr Weerawong himself.” - Project development

“Highly experienced in debt restructuring and rehabilitation processes.” - Restructuring and insolvency

 

Panuwat Chalongkuamdee

“Knowledgeable, pays attention to details, and is decisive.”

Suntus Kirdsinsup

“Excellent experience in debt restructuring and rehabilitation processes.”

Samata Masagee

“She possesses in-depth knowledge of M&A transaction. She helps negotiates and gives us advice on what to do or what not to do. She also shows her ability to work on domestic and overseas projects. She also demonstrates her keen ability on the different type of projects from M&A to greenfield projects.”

“Samata was a tough but fair negotiator. She has a very good grasp on international standards and market practice norms which is rare for a local Thai counsel. She had her client's best interests at heart at all times while also appreciating and working towards the mutual goal of getting the deal over the line.“

“Great client relationship and transaction management. She's able to provide both M&A and equity capital market legal advice in a prompt manner.”

Passawan Navanithikul

“Devotes time, highly experienced in the field, and a good negotiator.”

“She is very professional, has a high level of expertise and an analytical mind. Always provides valuable suggestions.”

Natthida Pranutnorapal

“Capable at rehabilitation matters, reachable and accessible.”

Jirapat Thammavaranucupt

“Jirapat Thammavaranucupt is the most well-rounded lawyer in public-private partnerships ("PPP") practice in Thailand and a real rising star. Thorough and in-depth legal knowledge is his core which, in combination with his understanding of the clients' requirement and exceptionally high level of commitment, always leads to the best possible solution/legal advice for the clients. Leadership is his strong suit in every meeting. He can easily run the meetings effectively without any partner's involvement. His team members also look up to him as their role model. His strong network with both government and private sector clients is second to none. Clients consider him as a trusted advisor, and the referral rate is extremely high. His ability to both pitch for and execute quality deals is admirable. Mr Jirapat also looks at the bigger picture and keeps the country's interest at heart. His most applause-worthy character is to always strive to develop good PPP standards in Thailand, which he has been very successful in from his valuable contribution in drafting the country's PPP Act and notable efforts in advising multiple large PPP projects in Thailand.”