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France > Capital markets > Debt > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: Debt
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘excellent’ team has core strengths in advising on French, English and US law on a broad range of matters, with particular expertise in complex, innovative matters. Experience includes hybrid debt instruments, Euro private placements, EMTN programmes and negotiable debt instruments, US federal securities law and New York Law. Names to note include ‘excellent’ practice head Hervé Ekué, US-qualified Diana Billik, Dan Lauder, Julien Sébastien and senior associate Soline Louvigny. The group acted for Areva on the transfer of a series of notes with a total value of approximately €4.8bn to New Areva and assisted Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken with several issuances with a total value of over $3.7bn. Other work included advising BNP Paribas UK and a syndicate of banks on a €1bn inaugural six-years senior non-preferred notes issuance. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank and HSBC.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s debt capital markets practice advises banks, global players from a range of sectors including aviation and insurance, and public entities on high-profile matters. The team’s expertise extends to senior non-preferred notes under French Sapin II legislation, Rule 144A and Regulation S matters, as well as investment grade debt offerings and liability management. Andrew Bernstein, Fabrice Baumgartner and Valérie Lemaitre form the backbone of the team and often collaborate with tax partner Anne-Sophie Coustel. Recent work includes advising Gecina on a €1.5bn bond offering consisting of three series of senior bonds issued under Gecina’s EMTN programme concerning the client’s acquisition of Eurosic, a matter which also involved the firm’s equity capital markets team. High yield transactions are also a strength, as evident in its advice to shipping giant CMA CGM on €650m of 6.5% senior notes due in 2022. Other clients include Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, the Republic of Iraq and Airbus.

Clifford Chance advises banks, multinationals and public entities on the full spectrum of debt instruments. Cédric Burford and Alex Bafi lead the department, and are supported by Auriane Bijon, who made counsel in 2017. Highlights included acting for the government of the Sultanate of Oman on a $1.5bn 144A offering in debt securities underwritten by Citigroup, J. P. Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Natixis, and advising Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank on cash tender offers and consent solicitation by Crédit Agricole and Crédit Agricole Home Loan SFH regarding subordinated and covered bonds totalling €4.3bn. Other recent work includes advising Transdev Group on its first Schuldschein issuance and acting for the Caisse d’Amortissement de la Dette Sociale on the issuance of $2.5bn notes underwritten by Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank and HSBC, which involved high-value placements in the US and advising on US securities law. Accor Hotels, Carrefour and Unibail Rodamco are also clients.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. demonstrates strength across the board of debt capital market financings, with 144A debt transactions by French issuers and Euro private placements areas of particular expertise. The team has a largely domestic workload but also excels in complex, cross-border matters, such as the work undertaken for Groupe FNAC on the issuance of €650m senior notes, which are governed by New York law, listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and admitted to trading on the Irish Stock Exchange’s Global Exchange Market. In another cross-border highlight, the team advised Veolia Environnement on the first issuance of a panda bond by a French issuer. Domestic highlights include advising Europcar Groupe on the issuance of 144A high-yield senior notes. Other clients include Société Générale, Gecina and BNP Paribas. Practice heads Arnaud Duhamel, Hubert Merveilleux du Vignaux and US-qualified Melinda Stege Arsouze are the key names. Laurent Vincent was promoted to counsel.

Linklaters provides clients with ‘innovative solutions’ and has ‘the necessary judgement to provide advice that best serves the client’s interest’. The ‘responsive’ team often acts in cross-border matters involving the UK and the US and advises on a myriad of debt instruments, from Euro private placements, EMTN programmes and equity-linked bonds to high-yield bonds, 144A and Regulation S placements, and also has expertise in liability management. ‘Technically strong’ practice head Luis Roth is ‘very good with clients in navigating complex financing transactions’; other noteworthy practitioners are Véronique Delaittre and Bertrand Sénéchal, who stands out for ‘his experience and availability’. In a major highlight, the team advised a syndicate of banks, consisting of Barclays, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Société Générale and BNP Paribas, as the lead managers on the first sovereign green bonds issued by France totalling €7bn. Other work includes advising French real estate investment company Icade on a liability management deal, a tender offer to holders of two different sets of notes and the issuance of a third set of notes to refinance part of the existing debt. CGG, Nomura International, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank and Bred Banque Populaire are other clients.

White & Case LLP’s key areas of expertise include EMTN programmes, high-yield bonds, Euro private placements and sovereign bonds and tender offers, but the team also handles liability management and regulatory capital matters. Capital markets practice head Philippe Herbelin and Cenzi Gargaro advised several banks as bookrunners on the €1.5bn bond issuing of Gecina, which included three different sets of notes. Recently promoted partner Grégoire Karila and Séverin Robillard assisted Casino Group with an intermediated tender offer made by BNP Paribas of three different sets of notes with a total value exceeding €1bn. Colin Chang led advice to a banking syndicate on a two-tranche high-yield bond offering by Burger King France, which involved senior secured floating rate notes and senior secured notes. Of counsel Gilles Endréo, Thomas Le Vert and counsel Max Turner are also noted. Kaufman & Broad, Engie and SNCF Réseau are clients.

CMS’ ‘efficient and proactive team’ provides ‘an excellent level of service’. The group handles domestic and cross-border work and has particular strengths handling EMTN programmes and Euro private placement instructions, though covered bonds, liability management mandates and bond issues by public entities are also key areas of expertise. Practice head Marc-Etienne Sébire ‘has been a reference in the Paris market for years’ and ‘goes the extra mile without being obsessed by the clock’. ‘Constantly reliable’ counsel Rosetta Ferrère is noted for her ‘rigour and ability to deal with a heavy workload’. Highlights included advising the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations on updating its €18.5bn EMTN programme; acting for the joint lead managers on Publicis Groupe’s issue of €500m Eurobonds; and assisting Crédit Mutuel Arkéa with its first issue of senior non-preferred notes with a total value of €500m. Société Générale, BNP Paribas and the Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel are other clients.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is a key name for issuers, which it advises on various debt instruments including EMTN, Euro private placements, bond issues, debt security issues and equity-linked instruments. Practice head Louis de Longeaux led a cross-office team in advising Danone on the financing of its acquisition of Whitewave, which included updating the client’s EMTN programme, issuing €6.2bn notes and issuing $5.5bn 144A Yankee bonds. Other work included assisting Bureau Veritas with the issuing of €700m bonds through a private placement to institutional investors. Other clients include Airbus, BNP Paribas, Renault and Safran.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP advises on domestic and cross-border debt instruments, including Euro private placements, green bonds, social impact bonds and sukuk offerings. Global finance group head Sharon Lewis, who also leads the firm’s international debt capital markets practice, and Baptiste Gelpi, who heads the debt capital markets team in Paris, are the key names. Recent highlights include advising EDF on several bond issues totalling over €5bn, including Formosa and green bonds, and assisting the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector as the arranger of three sukuk offerings in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Togo. The team also advised the Association for the Right to the Economic Initiative on the legal structure of the first social impact bond in France. Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, Céréa Partenaire and Edmond de Rothschild (France) are other clients.

Latham & Watkins has strengths handling high-yield debt financing and is able to advise on French, New York and English law from its office in Paris. Practice head Thomas Margenet-Baudry is the key name in a team that regularly cooperates with the firm’s banking department. Highlights included advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the issue of 9.5% senior secured notes and assisting Burger King France with the issue of €250m floating-rate senior secured notes and a separate issue of senior secured notes. Other work includes advising Crédit Suisse on the financing of Paprec’s acquisition of Coved where the purchaser’s existing high-yield green bond structure was used to finance the acquisition. Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Cerba HealthCare are also clients.

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