Energy, banks, insurance and tech-related businesses, will be the sectors driving Thailand’s M&A and financing activities in 2023, says DLA Piper’s newly minted country managing partner in Bangkok.
DLA Piper appointed banking lawyer Waranon Vanichprapa as the sole country managing partner in Bangkok. Vanichprapa joined the firm in 2020 after almost five years of partnership at Baker McKenzie and became a co-country managing partner along with Timothy Tan, who is now a partner.
“Energy companies will continue to grow their businesses into other sectors as well as outbound expansion beyond Thailand, a trend that has been picking up impetus over the last few years,” said Vanichprapa, adding that the country will also be a key centre for projects and investment as Southeast Asia becomes a major hub of economic growth.
“For the insurance and banking businesses, advantages gained from consolidation include economies of scale, synergies, increased market share, greater competitiveness, tech-related products and new platforms being created directly for their own organisations and via investments with others.”
Having more than 20 years of experience in helping to lead financial institutions and multinational corporations with complex financing and restructuring transactions, financing regulatory matters, bankruptcy, M&A, and commercial law issues, Vanichprapa said Thailand has made significant strides in recent years to position itself as a legal hub in Southeast Asia.
“This has happened naturally because of the immense expansion and wealth of Thai companies and families investing outside of Thailand and in Southeast Asia,” he added. “This includes energy companies, retail, infrastructure, banking, insurance and others.”
“Wealth concentration is an issue widely acknowledged and discussed in Thailand and amongst leading Thai companies,” said Vanichprapa.
With a growing economy and increasing foreign investment, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for legal services in the country. Thai clients, says Vanichprapa, enjoy having their Thai lawyers with them and helping them through the law firm’s international network when they feel secure and protected.
“The clients have changed over the past 10 years or so from more intentional clients investing in Thailand to Thai clients doing international investments. Lawyers in Thailand have grown with their clients to become international deal leaders and have more opportunities than ever before.”
As a result, the legal sector in Thailand has become more diverse and sophisticated, with a wider range of legal services being offered to clients. This includes not only traditional areas of legal practice such as corporate law and litigation but also emerging areas such as fintech; environmental, social and governance; sanctions and environmental law.
In addition, the growth of the legal sector has led to an increase in the number of law firms and lawyers operating in the country. Many international law firms have established a presence in Thailand, and there has been a corresponding increase in the number of Thai lawyers working for these firms. To stay ahead in the competitive market, Vanichprapa has a strategy.
“We are focused on hiring and retaining top talent as part of our active and long-term strategy to continue developing our legal practice across Asia, especially the Asean region, which continues to attract significant investment,” Vanichprapa added. “This includes a potential expansion to tax and tech practices.”