Affiliate of Malaysia’s Zicolaw to use Singapore IPO to fund ASEAN expansion

A business associated with Malaysian law firm network Zicolaw is seeking to raise $14.4m on the Singapore Stock Exchange with the aim of funding expansion across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

Zico Holdings, which is a multi-disciplinary practice with three divisions covering advisory and transactional services, management and support services, and licensing services, is placing 48 million shares at 30 cents each.

Chew Seng Kok, who is managing partner of Zicolaw’s Malaysian member firm Zaid Ibrahim & Co as well as regional managing partner of Zicolaw and managing director of Zico Holdings, said the business was looking to expand and integrate its current offering to take advantage of opportunities presented by the introduction of the ASEAN Economic Community.

“The introduction of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 is expected to accelerate domestic growth, regional trade and foreign investments, which will in turn generate demand for the regional capabilities and services of our group,” he said.

Zico Holdings and Zicolaw are separate legal entities with the relationship between the two being that of service provider and client, with Zico Holdings providing management and support services and licensing services to the law firm.

Under the terms of the IPO Chew must give up legal practice to manage Zico Holdings so will be standing down from his management positions at Zaid Ibrahim & Co and Zicolaw. 

Having been established as Zaid Ibrahim & Co in Kuala Lumpur in 1987, Zicolaw is structured as a network rather than a single firm. It has own-branded offices in Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, operates as Zaid Ibrahim & Co in Australia and has associated firms in Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia. 

In a similar set-up to the European Union, the ASEAN Economic Community will seek to bring together the 10 ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia and Lao PDR – in a single economic zone. While there are no immediate plans for a single currency there will be free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labour as well as a freer flow of capital.

The network has already started its expansion across ASEAN with the launch of offices in Yangon (22 February 2013) and Hanoi (2 October 2014), and the addition of a member firm in Laotian city Vientiane (7 July 2014).

The Zico Holdings flotation has gifted roles to a raft of law firms across the region, with Drew & Napier advising the business in Singapore, Foong & partners advising in Malaysia, Myanmar Premier International Law Office in Myanmar, Arfidea Kadri Sahetapy Engel Tisnadisastra in Indonesia and Lao Premier International Law Office in Laos.

Chew and Zico Holdings executive directors Robert Liew and Kelvin Ng will retain a combined 45.9 per cent of the business following the flotation.