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France > Project finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Project finance
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Mark Barges - Linklaters (energy)
    • Driss Bererhi - Allen & Overy LLP (energy)
    • Mathias Dantin - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (energy)
    • Benjamin de Blegiers - Clifford Chance (energy)
    • Delphine Siino Courtin - Clifford Chance (energy)

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP regularly advises sponsors, lenders and governments on projects in Africa, France and Central Eastern Europe. The 14-lawyer team, which often works alongside the firm’s international offices, has recently been involved in major infrastructure, power and renewables projects in Africa. Notable highlights included assisting Korea Water Resources Corporation and project company JSC Nenskra Hydro with the negotiation of a power purchase agreement with the Government of Georgia regarding the 280MW Nenskra Hydro Power Project and advising the lenders on landmark projects in France including the Charles de Gaulle-Paris Express rail project. The group is also involved in domestic energy projects. Christine Poyer-Rufenacht is highly visible, Adrian Mellor is praised for his ‘technical expertise and market knowledge’ and Rod Cork as well as Driss Bererhi, who joined from Bird & Bird, are also recommended. Romaric Lazerges provides public law expertise.

The ‘extremely professionalClifford Chance is ‘above the pack’, ‘provides high quality work’ and is ‘the best in town and gives clients real value for money’. The firm provides ‘superb in-depth analysis and knowledge of project finance’ work and its ‘ability to link legal and commercial aspects is outstanding’. The 38-lawyer team stands out for its leading capabilities on both domestic and international projects, but is also involved in large transport and construction projects in Africa and Turkey: notably, the practice is assisting HSBC and sponsors Meridiam and Rönesans with the project bond financing of the Turkish Elazig health campus, and several lenders with the financing of the Turkish Bursa health centre. In France, the practice is involved in most of the country’s few ongoing large greenfield projects, including advising Transdev’s biding consortium on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport Express rail project. Other work included high-profile instructions in the energy sector, including involvement in many of France, Europe and Africa’s landmark power, hydropower, gas, renewables and pipeline projects: it is assisting the Maltese Government with a 215MW gas-fired power plant and a LNG facility project. Practice heads Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell and Daniel Zerbib are some of the market’s finest advisers. David Préat is a key name for public law matters in France and abroad and also strongly recommended are Delphine Siino Courtin and Benjamin de Blegiers, who is ‘a must when it comes to M&A transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors’. Richard Tomlinson is also involved.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. is regularly retained by the French government and sponsors to advise on large infrastructure projects in France. The team recently assisted the Minister of Transport with the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Express rail project. Thomas Courtel ranks among the best in his field. Also highly recommended for domestic projects are Bénédicte Mazel and Emmanuel Vital-Durand. The practice is also highly involved in large projects in Africa, often alongside sponsors and governments: it is advising on a series of port, airport and transport projects, and is also involved in high-profile power and renewables projects such as assisting SNEDAI with the financing and construction of a 2x350MW coal-fired plant in Ivory Coast. Finally, the firm produces ‘excellent work on international industrial defence projects’ and is advising DCNS on the development of the future Australian submarine fleet. John Crothers and François Krotoff are top notch, and the ‘reliable and solidStéphane Vernayhas large experience of various jurisdictions and industries and brings very high added-value in structuring complex industrial projects thanks to his concrete solutions’. Marie Bouvet-Guiramand, Laetitia Lemercier and counsel Victor Grandguillaume are up and coming.

Linklaters provides ‘excellent service’, has a comprehensive practice, combining top expertise for projects in France and Africa, and recently advised on several port and airport infrastructure projects in Africa alongside sponsors and development banks. The practice is also highly involved in energy projects in France and Africa alongside sponsors and lenders, where it is ‘well-aware of lenders’ practices and development finance institutions’ intervening in those areas; particular expertise exists with regards to strategic electricity interconnection projects as well as to the financing, development and investment in renewables and gas-fired plants. Highlights included advising the sponsors (AIIM, BWSC, IFU) on the €123m development and financing of a 90MW HFO power plant in Mali, and some French banks as arrangers on the €300m financing of a 180MW wind and solar PV portfolio in France developed by Valeco. The firm also assisted SOCAR Trading with its 26% stake investment in a LNG re-gasification terminal construction project in Abidjan. Bertrand Andriani heads the projects practice in Paris and co-heads the firm's Francophone Africa group. Paul Lignières heads the public law practice and co-leads the firm's global infrastructure practice and Francophone Africa group. François April is another key name, while counsel Mark Barges is also recommended.

Orrick Rambaud Martelalways acts swiftly, with great care and effort’ and provides suggestions that bring ‘tremendous value for money’. The 20-lawyer team is among the market’s strongest for large power projects in Africa, while recently developing its involvement in French, African and other international renewables projects. The firm provides comprehensive expertise to sponsors, public sector entities and lenders alike and its domestic PPP expertise also ranks among the best. Highlights included assisting the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Energy with the construction of the 4,800MW Inga 3 hydroelectric project, and Azito Energie and the sponsors with the 250MW expansion of Ivory Coast's Azito gas-fired independent power plant. Pascal Agboyibor and Yves Lepage head the practice. Simon Ratledge, who brings UK law expertise, ‘acts timely with keen knowledge of structures’. For domestic projects, senior counsel Noël Chahid-Nouraï, Jean-Luc Champy and finance expert Amaury de Feydeau rank among the top experts in the country. Of counsel Geoffroy Berthon is also noted.

White & Case LLP is ‘one of the few first port of calls when looking for a reliable and strong project finance legal adviser’. The 16-lawyer team provides ‘top quality project finance’ work, ‘is very prepared and hands on, nails the issues down to the core’ and has ‘a strong bench strength’. It regularly advises lenders, while also sometimes representing sponsors, on the financing of landmark infrastructure projects in France, Europe and Africa. The group recently advised on the financing of several French motorways such as assisting the joint arrangers and bookrunners Deutsche Bank and HSBC with the A28 motorway refinancing. Other highlights included advising Japanese lenders and sponsors on several large-scale projects including assisting the Japanese banks with the €1.5bn financing of Turkey’s Ikitelli healthcare campus. Finally, the firm advises sponsors on power, hydropower and renewables projects in Africa. Paule Biensan heads the practice.. Jacques Bouillon, François-Guilhem Vaissier and counsel Marianna Sedefian are also involved. Finance expert Victoria Westcott joined Reed Smith.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is one of the market’s go-to-firms for large domestic project finance work. The ‘highly responsive and dynamic’ eight-lawyer group is involved in several high-profile domestic transport infrastructure projects alongside sponsors. Lately, the Paris team has been increasingly active in projects abroad and notably worked on several complex financing projects in Turkey in the healthcare sector, including assisting Rönesans and Japanese conglomerate Sojitz with the landmark Ikitelli healthcare project. Other recent work includes handling major transport and energy projects work in Africa such as advising Setrag and Comilog on the first tranche financing of the renewal of the Transgabonais railway in Gabon. Practice head Amir Jahanguiri is ‘a reference for project finance work’ and is ‘always aware of the latest cutting-edge project finance techniques’. Public law expert Thierry Laloum is another leading figure and Michaël Armandou is also recommended.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has ‘excellent project finance’ expertise, especially for lenders. The practice recently advised on some of France's largest broadband network PPP projects, including assisting the European Investment Bank with the financing of a high-speed internet network in the Hauts-de-France region. Energy is another strong field of expertise: here the group recently assisted the lenders (CIC and Auxifip) with the financing of a €150m acquisition of a majority stake in a 330MW cogeneration facilities' portfolio held by Dalkia. The ‘brilliantJean-Renaud Cazali impresses with ‘very high level expertise’ and ‘exceptional quality of work’; Christine Le Bihan-Graf is also involved in the regulatory and public law aspects.

Dentons has excellent domestic PPP expertise and is often retained by government ministries and public sector entities to assist with the realisation of some of the market’s largest projects. The practice is notably advising on landmark transport projects and represented RATP Développement and Keolis’ consortium on the awarding of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Express rail connection operation procurement and the Ministry of Transport on the awarding of the RCEA road concession contract. Public law expert Marc Fornacciari ranks among the best in his field, while Jean-Marc Allix is the other key name for finance aspects. The firm also advises on oil and gas and power projects, notably in Iran. Ramin Hariri is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s seven-lawyer team provides ‘high-quality service’ and has strong domestic PPP and infrastructure expertise, as recently exhibited in its assistance of Meridiam Infrastructure and Spie Batignolles as part of a consortium with their bidding offer for the state-launched awarding of the Route Centre Europe Atlantique (RCEA) upgrade project. The firm is also increasingly involved in key domestic infrastructure projects and brownfield transactions in the energy sector. Finally, it intervenes on projects abroad and notably advised Meridiam, Vinci Highways and Vinci Concessions as part of a consortium on the Kenyan Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway project. Practice head Pascal Cuche is ‘flexible and easy to work with, dedicates personal time and energy to his clients, and brings practical and legally robust solutions in complex situations’. Counsel Geoffrey Levesque brings complementary financing expertise.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's 32-lawyer team is highly involved in the French and African energy sectors where it acts for leading French energy operators and many international investors and banks. The firm is notably advising on some of France's most ambitious renewable and interconnection projects and in Africa, it is involved in large traditional power projects while also assisting clients on renewables projects. Highlights included advising Sumitomo as part of a consortium on its successful bid for Radès’ 450MW thermal power plant project in Tunisia, as well as EDF, IFC and the government of Cameroon on Nachtigal’s 420MW hydroelectric power plant. Other areas of expertise include advising on large infrastructure PPP projects in France and the group also assisted the Croatian state with the development of the Istrian Motorway. Engie and Meridiam are other clients. Christophe Lefort heads the energy and infrastructure practice, while Régis Oréal leads the project financing practice. Also recommended are Eric Fiszelson, Louis de Longeaux and recently promoted partner Rachel Campbell.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is retained by lenders and state entities to advise on large transport infrastructure projects in France and Francophone Africa. The firm is notably assisting African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Agence Française de Développement with Dakar’s new international airport project, as well as ADP with the Charles de Gaulle airport-Paris Express rail project in France. The ten-lawyer team also advises state entities, sponsors and lenders on power and renewables projects in France and Africa. It is advising the Government of Burkina Faso on one thermal power plant and five solar power plant projects. Ludovic Babin, Bruno Cantier and finance expert Olivier Fille-Lambie are the key contacts.

Jones Day provides ‘efficiency, responsiveness and in-depth experience ’ in French PPP projects. The firm is currently advising sponsors and lenders on several high-profile projects in the transport, telecoms and university infrastructure sectors and notably assissted an international banks syndicate as lenders to the winning consortium with the financing of Nice airport’s privatisation, as well as CDC on Touraine Cher Numérique’s high-speed broadband network project. The practice can count on Philippe Delelis and Nicolas Brice for public law aspects, as well as Frédéric Gros and Sophie Chevallier who deal with financial matters.

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