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Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘highly experienced and proactive’ team excels at advising lenders and borrowers across the banking and finance space. The firm is particularly strong in the financing of projects (including PPPs), trade and commodity finance, as well as debt capital markets work, and attracted various new clients, including Belgian rail freight company B Logistics, which was advised on its sale-and-leaseback transaction with Deutsche Bank for 1,100 rail wagons. Department head Filip Tanghe and Yves Van Pul are recommended.

Mainly active on the lender side, Baker & McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is especially active in acquisition finance, real estate finance and syndicated lending, and also has ‘very good knowledge of equity capital markets’. Recent work includes advising ING Belgium as arranger on the financing of several leveraged buyouts. Banking and finance head Antoine De Raevealways goes above and beyond what clients expect’. Roel Meers, Luc Meeus and global head of capital markets Koen Vanhaerents are also recommended.

Highly esteemed for its ‘solid experience’ and ‘strong team performance’, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advises financial institutions and private equity houses. The firm represented JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse as the joint bookrunners on Nyrstar’s issuance of senior unsecured convertible bonds. Laurent Ruzette, Laurent Legein and counsel Géraldine Bourguignon are key contacts.

Clifford Chance’s team gives ‘to-the-point advice’ to borrowers and lenders alike. It advised European Investment Bank on the financing of a Belgian offshore wind farm and assisted creditors led by ING Bank with the administration and subsequent bankruptcy of chain store operator Macintosh Retail Group, as well as the restructuring, sale and refinancing of shoe retail subsidiaries Brantano and Scapino. Other clients include Belfius Bank and AB InBev. Bert De Maeyer, Philippe Hamer, Lounia Czupper and counsel Wim Aerts are recommended.

Linklaters’ ‘hugely experienced’ practice focuses on acquisition finance, as well as structured finance, financial regulation and debt capital markets. The team advised a consortium of BAM PPP and Cofely Fabricom on the financing of an infrastructure project in Antwerp. Other work included assisting Belfius Bank and KBC Bank in their role as lenders on the financing of the Wind4Flanders Projects 1 and Wind4Wallonia onshore wind farms. David Ballegeer heads the group, which includes the ‘commercially minded’ Charles-Antoine Leunen.

Valued for its ‘strength in depth’, Stibbe handles commercial finance, special-purpose lending or borrowing such as project finance, and securitisation, covered bonds and structured finance. Recent work includes advising Proximus on updating its Euro medium term note programme, drafting an €800m residential mortgage backed securities transaction for Belfius – the first RMBS in Europe since the financial crisis – and advising lenders on subordinated loans to help finance the Nobelwind offshore wind farm. Longstanding bank clients include BNP Paribas Fortis, Deutsche Bank and ING. Practice head Ivan Peeters, Wouter Ghijsels and counsel Philip Van Steenwinkel are recommended.

Ashurst LLP advises international and domestic financial institutions as well as large companies and funds, with an emphasis on cross-border work, as exemplified by its advice to Apollo Management International on recap of a credit agreement following its acquisition of a portfolio of hotels. The team also acted for a supply chain company on a very large securitisation of European receivables. Institutional clients include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Bank of New York Mellon. Arnaud Wtterwulghe heads the department.

Vincent Macq heads the ‘efficient and totally dedicated’ group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which recently advised IK Investment Partners on the financing of two major transactions. The team often advises arranger banks on transactions, such as acting for Belfius Bank, KBC Bank and ING Belgium on the financing of Gilde Buy Out Partners’ acquisition of T-Groep. Geert Verhoeven leads on capital markets matters. Deborah Janssens is also recommended along with recently promoted counsel Lien Delvoye, who adopts ‘a hands-on and pragmatic approach’.

Jones Day acts for lenders and borrowers, with clients including Crédit Mutuel and BNP Paribas Fortis. The firm strengthened its capital markets and acquisition finance expertise by hiring Matthieu Duplat and Ferdinand Brughmans, formerly of White & Case LLP. Practice head David Roger assisted Gimv with financing its acquisition of a majority interest in Brakel and, in other work, the team advised an investment bank as mezzanine lender of acquisition finance.

Laga’s ‘pragmatic’ attorneys ‘appreciate the pressures and demands of London-based clients’. Recent work includes assisting AG Insurance and AG Real Estate with investment in social infrastructure projects. Other clients include Société Générale and KBC Bank. Practice head Werner Van Lembergen is ably supported by Benoît Feron.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick recently hired Freya Mareels, formerly of Linklaters, who focuses on financing and debt restructuring. The practice assisted FirstCaribbean International Bank with the financing of a wind farm and advised ING Belgium on granting a $45m credit facility to PQ Licensing. The ‘outstanding’ Jan Vincent Lindemans heads the team, which also includes Tom Van Dyck, Thierry Tilquin, financial litigator Roel Fransis and fintech expert Joan Carette.

Loyens & Loeff represents lenders and borrowers, with a focus on project finance and PPPs, asset-based and secured lending, as well as capital markets work. New clients include Unitronics and City National Bank. The team assisted Nobelwind with the project financing of its offshore wind farm at Bligh Bank. Department head Marc Vermylen and recently promoted partner Koen Panis are recommended.

The banking and finance group at Altius was boosted in mid-2016 with the arrival of Yves Brosens from DLA Piper. Bosens, who has valuable expertise in commercial lending and African infrastructure finance, now heads the group after former practice head Johan De Bruycker went in-house. The firm advised Morgan Stanley Senior Funding on a refinancing of Sensata.

CMS often represents major banks and investors but also works for large companies such as biotech firm Curetis, which was advised regarding its IPO on Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels. Bruno Duquesne and Benoît Vandervelde are department co-heads along with Arnaud Van Oekel, who has ‘excellent negotiation skills’.

DLA Piper’s financial services regulatory and lending team is staffed by ‘serious and professional’ attorneys. The firm advised Aermont Capital on the financing of the acquisition of Cine Invest Group. The ‘brilliant’ Johan Mouraux and Koen Vanderheyden head the department.

Lydian’s ‘team of hardworking and dependable associates’ handles all forms of commercial finance, banking regulatory work and special-purpose transactions, including highly leveraged deals, for asset, trade, project and real estate finance; the group is particularly strong in asset-based lending. Recent work includes assisting Wells Fargo Bank with granting a facility to finance Complete Innovations Group’s acquisition of IT Mobile Group. Tom Geudens heads the practice.

NautaDutilh recently assisted Société Générale and Natixis with the Belgian aspects of the €121m financing of Eurazeo Group’s acquisition of various Accor hotels. Nicolas de Crombrugghe heads the practice, which includes Frédéric Heremans, Anne Fontaine and Thibaut Willems.

Simont Braun focuses on contentious and regulatory matters. The firm represented various investment funds in a major litigation against the former companies of Fortis Group. Practice head Vanessa Marquette is recommended, as are Sandrine Hirsch and litigator Paul Alain Foriers.

Strelia’s ‘straightforward’, efficient banking team advised a consortium of lenders, including ING Belgium and BNP Paribas Fortis, on changes to a facility granted to Armonea Group. It also assisted Inver Invest and film producer Versus Production with preparing a new public offer prospectus. Key partner Jacques Richelle has ‘excellent technical capabilities’ and Gisèle Rosselle is also recommended. Henri Culot joined Praetica.

White & Case LLP frequently handles banking regulatory work and represents borrowers in acquisition finance; it is increasingly active on the lender side. Recent work includes assisting plant construction firm Hamon with a refinancing of its corporate debt through a syndicated senior credit facility. Thierry Bosly is the key partner along with Hadrien Servais, who joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP. Matthieu Duplat, Ferdinand Brughmans and a team of associates moved to Jones Day.

Astrea’s ‘diligent and responsive’ team mainly represents borrowers, such as Group Bernaerts and wind turbine manufacturer Enercon, in their banking and finance needs, but also assists financial institutions such as Commerzbank. Practice head Dieter Veestraeten is recommended.

Bird & Bird focuses on regulatory work as well as matters related to e-banking, e-finance and online payment systems. Paul Hermant heads the practice, which advised Israel Discount Bank on its refinancing of Gadot Group. Scott McInnes joined the team after working in-house with MasterCard.

Cresco Advocaten has ‘a target-oriented, hands-on approach’. Handling lending and borrowing transactions as well as regulatory matters, the firm has a sizeable and growing client base, which mainly comprises entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors. Pieter Capiau has ‘excellent experience in venture capital transactions’. David Dessers is also a key contact.

Dentons has made a name for its Belgian banking and finance practice, with team head Nora Wouters advising a wide range of financial institutions and corporate borrowers on regulatory financial services, banking and insurance law.

Eubelius has ‘local market expertise’. Marieke Wyckaert heads the department, which advised AG Insurance on the split of a segregated life insurance fund into two separate funds.

Monard Law assisted ICICI Bank UK with various credit facilities to Belgian corporations. Bram Delmotte, Natalie Ulburghs and Birgitta Van Itterbeek are the names to note.

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