Founding Partner
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Dao is the founding partner of DN Legal. She advises on all aspects of doing business in Vietnam.  Her practice includes corporate and M&A, banking and finance, real estate, energy and infrastructure.  She has acted for developers and the government of Vietnam on several landmark projects including the first licensed BOT project in Vietnam.  Dao is fluent in English and Vietnamese.

The Asia Pacific Legal 500 2012 notes she “demonstrates a detailed view of on-going and likely future legal developments, a strong willingness to understand the client’s needs, combined with a pragmatic approach”.  Dao is recognised as a leading lawyer by Chambers Asia in Corporate/M&A (2008-2014), Banking & Finance (2008-2012) and Projects & Energy (2010-2014); as a leading Real Estate lawyer by the Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2014); as leading lawyer by IFLR1000 in Corporate/M&A (2015-2020), Banking & Finance (2015-2020), Energy & Infrastructure (2017), Women Leaders (2018), and Project development (2020); as leading lawyer by AI Global in Corporate (2016-2018), Energy & Infrastructure (2017), Banking & Finance (2018); as winner of Business Excellence Awards by Corporate Insider (2019); as Awards Winner by International Advisory Experts (2019); and as leading lawyer in Construction & Real Estate (2018), Distinguished Practitioner on Real Estate & Construction (2020) by AsiaLaw, IFLR1000 Women Leaders (2022).

Career History

  • Founding Partner, DN Legal, Vietnam, 2014 – Present
  • Managing Partner, Allen & Overy, Vietnam, 2012 – 2014
  • Managing Partner, Mayer Brown JSM, Vietnam, 1995 – 2012

Legal qualifications

  • Admitted as solicitor, Hong Kong, 2002
  • Admitted to the bar, State of New York, 1994
  • Admitted to the bar, State of California, 1991
Banking & Finance
  • Novaland on a number corporate financing arrangements with international lenders totalling over US$800 million.
  • Son Kim Land on corporate financing arrangements with a consortium of international lenders.
  • HSBC on a tier 2 subordinated bond issue for the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), the first tier 2 bond issued in Vietnam based on international standard documentation and the first listed bond of this nature.
  • JP Morgan on a US$108m syndicated loan for Masan Industrial, a member of Masan Group, one of the largest private sector groups in Vietnam. The loan was structured akin to a bond transaction.
  • Indochina Capital on the sale of its shares.
  • TAEL Partners on its acquisition of shares in Cotec Healthcare, which includes six hospitals in Vietnam.
  • Kinh Do Corporation on the acquisition of shares in an edible oil company.
  • Hamon Properties Vietnam Limited on the acquisition of 90% interest in the Gateway project.
  • Hubert Burda Media, a leading global media company, on its acquisition of a stake in CocCoc, an internet company in Vietnam.
  • SonKim Land on the investment by Lemongrass II of US$100 million in convertible bonds in its real estate business.
  • Novaland on several corporate finance transactions (convertible bonds as well as secured and unsecured loans) totalling US$800 million with offshore lenders to finance its real estate acquisitions.
  • Dat Viet (Vietnamese Advertising and Media) on a number of media related transactions and real estate projects.
  • Lombard Asia III L.P on the sale of its shares in a media company.
  • Franklin Templeton on increasing its shareholding in a JV security company.
  • First Alliance on the sale of 100% of its shares in an HR company to a Japanese investor.
  • Wendelbo SEA, a Dutch funiture company on increasing its investment in Vietnam.
  • Crescent Point Management on the sale of several of its assets in Vietnam including the Nam Hai & Six Sense Con Dao resorts.
  • Dynasty Investment on the sale of its interests in a real estate company.
  • IHA on a World Bank appointed study of the hydropower sector in Vietnam as local counsel.
  • Thea on its acquisition of all the interest of a partner in company that own several beauty clinic in Vietnam.
  • AIG on the provision of insurance as the purchaser in its acquisition of a school in Vietnam.
  • Holcim on a corporate matter.
  • GE on a number of transactions.
  • Chiap Hua Group on a 120 hectare project.
  • Dong Saigon on setting up a JV in respect of a 900 hectare project.
  • Assisting a fund on corporate matter in respect of its investment in 2 projects in Nha Trang.
  • Gaw Capital on various corporate issues relating to the Hyatt Danang resort project.
  • DREAM Hotel on a number of corporate matters.
  • An international oil company in relation to its acquisition of shares in a Vietnamese provider of oil and gas stockpiling.
  • C. Starck on a mining joint venture with Nui Phao Mining, developer of one of the largest tungsten mines in the world and a subsidiary of Masan Group, one of Vietnam’s largest private sector companies.
  • Unilever on its acquisition of serveral tea plantations and tea processing factory in Vietnam.
  • Anova Corporation, an animal feedstock producer, on the sale of its majority stake in a Vietnamese fish farming company.
  • A global bank on due diligence of a multinational oil and gas company’s Vietnamese oil and gas assets for the purposes of a major refinancing.
  • Nortel Networks on the dissolution of its subsidiary in Vietnam.
  • Citigroup Venture Capital International on a proposed strategic equity investment in a publicly listed Vietnamese financial institution.
  • Indochina Capital on its disposal of a 25% equity to Orix Group, a Japanese listed financial services group.
  • A private equity fund on its strategic investment of a 20% equity stake in a Vietnamese-based corporate, being a subsidiary of one of the largest private sector listed companies in Vietnam.
  • Prudential Property Investment Managers on its acquisition of 49% of the issued share capital to achieve ultimate ownership of 2 phases in a mixed-use residential development project in Vietnam.
  • Jardine Matheson on two separate acquisitions of Vietnamese companies in the food & beverage sector.
  • San Miguel on its acquisition of a US$35m food production business in southern Vietnam.
  • Diageo on general licensing, corporate and commercial issues and on itsacquisition of a local wine producer.
  • Danone Group on general licensing, corporate, commercial and labour issues and on the establishment of a wholly foreign owned Danone subsidiary.
  • International retailers on the establishment of retail stores in Vietnam, including leasing, licensing, financing, documentation and other regulatory work.
Energy and Infrastructure
  • Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. (MOECO) on a potential acquisition of oil and gas assets in Vietnam.
  • PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation on a proposed project finance offshore investment in a fertiliser plant in Morocco.
  • An international energy company on a 2×2 700 MW coal-fired BOT power project in a joint venture with PetroVietnam.
  • The Ministry of Planning and Investment on the drafting of BOT regulations in Vietnam in 1997, 2004 and 2009 and on the drafting of the Public Private Partnership legislation.
  • Chevron on its oil and gas pipeline and energy project in Vietnam.
  • A client on a passenger terminal BTO project at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
  • Wartsila on the first licensed BOT power project (120MW) in Vietnam. The deal was significant in that all the documentation became the model precedent for later BOT power projects in Vietnam.
  • GS Engineering & Construction on the first licensed road project (US$340m) under the Built-Transfer structure, a special form of investment under Vietnam’s BOT regulations, in which the developer will receive land in exchange for building and its transferring of the road to the Government. Shortlisted by IFLR for “Project Finance Deal of the Year” in 2008.
  • The Ministry of Industry of Vietnam and Vietnam Electricity (EVN) on the Phu My 2-2 (715 MW) and Phu My 3 (716.8 MW) power plant projects.
  • An international consortium on bidding for a BOT project to build and operate a 1200 MW coal-fired power facility and assisting the consortium in its discussions with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam Electricity and any other relevant Vietnamese authorities.
  • Vinacomin in a joint venture with AES on a 1,100 MW coal-fired power project in a negotiated deal that had to be carried out on a BOT basis.
  • Marubeni on the financing of a project to design, build, commission and operate a waste-to-power facility in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.
  • Vinacomin on the Vinh Tan 1 1,200 MW BOT power project.
  • A renewable energy company in its acquisition of shareholding in a state-owned company under EVN that operates several hydropower plants in Vietnam.
  • A French Investor on selling its shares in a 35 MW renewable energy project and a 49.5MW renewable energy project in the central area of Vietnam.
Real Estate
  • Indochina Land on its development, ownership restructuring, rental and sale of the 5-star luxury resort Hyatt Regency Danang Residences in Danang, Vietnam.
  • Indochina Capital on its land acquisition, development, ownership restructuring, management and sale of the 5-star Nam Hai luxury resort in Hoi An, Vietnam.
  • Indochina Land on the acquisition of 99% interest in a real estate development company.
  • Indochina Capital on the sale of certain resorts and assets in Vietnam.
  • Hoi An South Development on its development of an integrated resort & casino complex in Ho Tram, Vung Tau.
  • Asian Coast Development Ltd. on its development of a resort casino complex in Ho Tram, Vung Tau.
  • Hamon Properties on the structuring of the Joint Venture with Son Kim Land in the development of Gateway Thao Dien, a luxury complex project in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Dream Hotel Group (HK), Ltd. on a dispute with the Hotel’s owner regarding the Hotel Management Agreement and Technical Service Agreement.
  • Finortrust Real Estate Company Limited on various purchases of villas and condotels in Vietnam.
  • Hyatt International-Asia Pacific, Limited on the Hotel Management Agreement and Technical Service Agreement for 2 hotel projects in Phu Quoc and Cam Ranh.
  • KN Cam Ranh Co., Ltd on the Hotel Management Agreement and Technical Services Agreement regarding its hotel projects in Cam Ranh.
  • Sun Group on the Intercontinental Peninsula Hotels in Da Nang and Phu Quoc.
  • Nhon Trach Investment Joint Stock Company on its joint venture with CFLD to develop a township in Dong Nai province.
  • Silosso on 2 resort projects Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa.
  • Pavilion International on various project acquisitions including hotels, residential and commercial land and casino projects in Vietnam.
  • Chiap Hua on a transfer of a real estate project in Ho Chi Minh City to Keppel.
  • Dynasty Investments on the sale of a real estate project in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.
  • EZLand on a residential project in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • British University Vietnam on its land lease issue.
  • Silver Needle on its hotel development projects in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Viceroy on the Hotel Management Agreement and Technical Services Agreement regarding a hotel project in Da Nang.
  • Kumho Asiana on the acquisition of the land for the Kumho Asiana complex consisting of an office tower, hotel under the InterContinental brand and service apartments.
  • Gamuda Land on the restructuring and amendment of license for a US$846m mixed-use development project in Yen So Park, Hanoi.
  • GS Retail on obtaining a retail license to build and operate a department store in Binh Duong, Vietnam.
  • An international developer on the sale of its wholly owned real estate project consisting of a grade A office building.
  • A foreign real estate and hotel management company and cornerstone investors on the establishment of a real estate fund to invest in a resort development project in Central Vietnam consisting of several hotels and residential villas and condominiums.
  • A client on a development of an integrated resort complex (with casino) in Vung Tau province, Vietnam.
  • American Indochina Resorts Ltd. on its sale of The Nam Hai resort.