Cynthia M. Pornavalai

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T: +66 2653 5559
F: +66 2653 5678




English, Japanese, Filipino, Thai


Doctor of Laws course, Kyoto University

LLM, Kyoto University

LLB, Kyoto University

BA, University of the Philippines

Cynthia M. Pornavalai is a champion of business rights in Thailand. From advising foreign investors on mergers, acquisitions, and investing in Thailand to counseling major players in the Thai property market to helping lenders or debtors through debt restructuring and business reorganization matters, Cynthia’s practice is as varied as the business goals of her successful clients.

Cynthia is fluent in English, Japanese, Filipino, and Thai. Cynthia received in-depth legal training at Kyoto University, completing a Doctor of Laws course in 1991. Drawing on her strong Japanese language and legal skills, she has developed a niche practice helping Japanese businesses invest and succeed in Thailand.

Also a prolific author and an in-demand speaker, Cynthia has penned numerous authoritative texts and has spoken in various conferences in Thailand and abroad. She is a Founding Member of the International Insolvency Institute and a member of the Japanese Securities Brokers Association.

Chambers Asia-Pacific recognizes Cynthia as a leading lawyer in Thailand in the areas of Banking and Finance, Corporate/M&A, and Real Estate.

  • Advised a diversified manufacturing company in regard to Thailand acquisition financing related to its global acquisition of a plastic division in a USD 11.6 billion cash deal. We assisted in the acquisition of the Thai subsidiaries of the plastic division.

  • Assisted a Japanese venture capital company in drafting standard form investment agreements. The form agreements applied to various forms of investment both in stock and loans and to SME companies with listing prospects within a specified period.

  • Represented a Thai company in financing negotiations with a Malaysian investment group.  Documentation and negotiations involved major creditors, the court, and the investor group.

  • Advised a key client on its various property joint venture projects with a major property group, including financing agreements, project joint venture agreements, and legal and tax structuring of specific condominium projects.

  • Represented a group investing in various high-end villa projects targeting the European market in Hua Hin and Phuket.

  • Acted as counsel to the developer of various condominium projects in Pattaya. Our involvement covered all aspects of the condominium project, including legal structuring of investor groups, financing, land acquisition, and contracts.

  • Advised on a mixed development of an entire island, including land acquisition, development and construction permits, joint venture agreements, financing, customer and supplier contracts, and the legal and tax structure.

  • Represented a group of investors in their acquisition of beachfront properties for resort development.

  • Assisted a medical center with company formation in a short period of time to facilitate the timely commencement of business operations.

  • Secured a license for our client to operate as a dealer of derivatives and related securities with the Thai SEC and obtained other necessary licenses and permits for our client to operate in Thailand.

  • Provided assistance to a manufacturer of beverage-filling machines to accomplish the first registration of machinery ownership by a foreign entity with no subsidiary in Thailand. In the past, only registered Thai companies or foreign entities with subsidiaries in Thailand were allowed to register such machinery ownership. The machinery was valued at USD 5,260,000. 

  • Represented a major U.S. telecommunications and software vendor in negotiations with five Thai mobile telecom operators to deploy mobile number portability (MNP) in Thailand. We successfully negotiated the deal to full deployment, which included a build operate and agreed optional transfer build out. We also handled the formation of the client’s Thai subsidiary and associated visa/work permits and required Thai bank guarantees. MNP is now up and available in Thailand, and we continue to advise the client on mobile virtual network operator regulations and the offering of SMS services.

  • Represented two major Japanese banks in preparing security documents for a syndicated loan financing valued at approximately USD 190 million.

  • Assisted a major Japanese bank leading a syndicated term loan transaction with a listed credit card operator in Thailand. The loan was not secured by any borrower assets.

  • Assisted a Thai guarantor on a guarantee transaction for its foreign subsidiary’s financing facility, and coordinated actions between four jurisdictions (the U.K., Singapore, Jersey, and Thailand).

  • Advised a Singaporean hotel group on a loan facility (and ancillary) agreements with a top Asian bank, to finance construction of a hotel in Bangkok. It was secured by a land mortgage, a parent company guarantee, a Letter of Credit, and an assignment of operating accounts.

  • Assisted a worldwide distributor of dental and healthcare related products, listed on the NASDAQ, in an acquisition and joint venture with a market-dominant Thai distributor of medical and dental equipment.

  • Worked with a major law firm in China to represent a Chinese state-owned enterprise in a cross-border acquisition of 20-30% shares in a leading Thai company producing paper pulp and bioelectricity, with capital of approximately THB 2.6 billion.

  • Assisted a listed Singaporean company in the hospitality industry in their acquisition of a medium-sized hotel in Thailand valued at approximately THB 600 million. Participated in all stages of the acquisition, from initial due diligence up to the transaction close, and provided guidance on all legal matters concerning local regulations surrounding corporate, property, and labor laws.

  • Worked with a Chinese law firm representing a Chinese state-owned enterprise in setting up a joint venture with a major producer and exporter of cassava starch in Thailand.

  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of air conditioners in the setup of a joint venture, with a Thai partner, to acquire an air conditioner manufacturing plant. The team assisted the client in all stages of the transaction from legal due diligence to closing. We also advised on necessary procedural steps and permits required before and after the acquisition.

  • Represented a foreign property developer in the purchase of an aggregate plot of land with various unrelated owners, and provided guidance on land purchase and regulations surrounding foreign investments in Thailand.

Datesort icon Title
March 16, 2016

Training Course: ASEAN Business and Investment Law

Nandana Indananda, Cynthia M. Pornavalai, Kobkit Thienpreecha

Three Tilleke & Gibbins partners have been invited to lecture at the “ASEAN Business and Investment Law Training Course,” hosted by the Law and Development Research Center, Faculty of Law,...

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February 10, 2016

Fifteen Tilleke & Gibbins Lawyers Ranked in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2016

Fifteen Tilleke & Gibbins lawyers and consultants have been recognized for their outstanding legal knowledge and experience, ability, effectiveness, and client service in the latest Chambers Asia...

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November 18, 2015

Asialaw Profiles 2016: Tilleke & Gibbins Receives Top Rankings in Four Countries

Asialaw Profiles, a guide to the Asia-Pacific’s leading domestic and regional law firms, has released its annual rankings, and Tilleke & Gibbins has received top rankings in Thailand, Vietnam,...

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September 28, 2015

Tilleke & Gibbins Named Domestic Law Firm of the Year at TrustLaw Awards

Based on our “effort and enthusiasm in supporting pro bono clients over the last year,” Tilleke & Gibbins has been named the “2015 Domestic Law Firm of the Year” at this year’s TrustLaw Awards....

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July 14, 2015

Cynthia M. Pornavalai Featured in Asian Legal Business Article on the AEC

Cynthia M. Pornavalai

Cynthia M. Pornavalai, a partner in Tilleke & Gibbins’ corporate and commercial group, was interviewed by Asian Legal Business  magazine for her views on Thailand’s preparations for the AEC...

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February 5, 2016

Insider Trading: Time for Reform and Tougher Penalties

Cynthia M. Pornavalai

Recent headlines in Thailand and abroad have drawn attention to a spate of high-profile cases involving insider trading and the inadequate punitive action that follows. Many have called into question...

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January 15, 2016

Lex Mundi Guide to Doing Business in Thailand 2016

The Guide to Doing Business in Thailand, published by Tilleke & Gibbins in association with Lex Mundi, provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and business environment for investors...

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December 17, 2015

Getting the Deal Through – Real Estate 2016, Thailand Chapter

Cynthia M. Pornavalai, Chaiwat Keratisuthisathorn

Getting the Deal Through – Real Estate 2016  provides a guide to property and real estate law in 26 jurisdictions worldwide. Cynthia M. Pornavalai, partner, and Chaiwat Keratisuthisathorn,...

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November 24, 2015

New PPP Law Encourages Private Investment in the Railway Sector

Cynthia M. Pornavalai

Two years ago, the Private Investment in State Undertaking Act B.E. 2556 (2013) (PISUA) replaced the Private Participation in State Undertaking Act B.E. 2535 (1992) (PPSUA), which set out the...

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November 9, 2015

Thailand Enacts New Business Collateral Act

Cynthia M. Pornavalai

The Business Collateral Act B.E. 2558 (2015) (BCA) was passed into law on November 5, 2015. The majority of its provisions will come into effect on July 1, 2016, 240 days after publication in the...

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