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Editorial

Overview

Despite the increasingly onerous regulations meted out to banks since the 2008 credit crisis, including the heightened strictures placed on capital reserves (most recently as set out in Basel III), lenders are, for the right assets, more than willing to provide funding. Banks’ increased willingness to lend, the relatively vibrant CLO market (despite its own regulatory hurdles with the risk retention rules), and a paucity of deals (due to a continued disconnect between buyer and seller price expectations) has meant that sponsors and corporate acquirers can increasingly dictate the terms with which acquisitions are funded. The current buzzword in the industry is “convergence”, namely convergence between New York and European loan documentary terms. Current investor appetite means the most attractive terms potentially can be selected from both markets and across product lines, with the result being that European based loan arrangers, investors and advisers are seeing more US market derived provisions than ever before. European lenders have been much more inclined to provide terms to sponsors that more closely resemble covenant-lite loans and loans that resemble Term Loan B facilities, particularly on the larger mandates. On the larger deals in the market flexibility is key, and the law firms that are most valued by participants in the industry are those that can provide a credible offering across the key financing products including high yield bonds, Term Loan B, Yankee loans and hybrid European leveraged loans with New York style covenant packages.

This trend of cross-pollination naturally plays to the strengths of the US firms based in London, the most prominent of these in the leveraged market being Latham & Watkins, which is able to provide a flexible approach to clients on both New York and English law financing products in the loan and bond markets. White & Case LLP’s broad and comprehensive finance offering makes it another key player among the US law firms.

In spite of this changing dynamic in the leveraged finance market, the Magic Circle firms remain at the heart of the highest-profile deals in the market and have to varying degrees been relatively successful in building up their high yield and Term Loan B capability. Of these, Allen & Overy LLP, Clifford Chance LLP and Linklaters LLP all remain at the top of the acquisition and investment grade finance market. The sheer strength and depth of their teams, as well as their large international spread of offices ensures that they are able to handle a tremendous range and volume of multi-jurisdictional mandates. The hire of high yield specialist Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP was a statement of intent from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and adds even greater bandwidth to the firm, which benefits from a particularly strong debtor-focused client base of loyal FTSE clients and private equity sponsors. Slaughter and May is also able to leverage an enviable roster of corporate clients, as well as often being involved in sensitive matters involving government input.

Direct lending continues to inform a significant amount of work in the mid-market in particular and the unitranche product remains popular with companies requiring more leverage than banks are prepared to provide, but are too small to issue on the debt market. Ashurst and Hogan Lovells International LLP’s remain the dominant players in this space, although there are many other firms that are seeing opportunities in an increasingly mature market. In addition to its deep penetration with credit funds, Ashurst’s longstanding ties with private equity sponsors and numerous banks ensures that it picks up a raft of new money deals as well as matters that require restructuring. Other key players include Baker McKenzie LLP, for emerging markets and bank lending; Dentons, for trade finance and asset finance; and Simmons & Simmons, for derivatives and trade finance.

Clyde & Co LLP, Hill Dickinson LLP, Holman Fenwick Willan, Ince & Co, Reed Smith LLP and Stephenson Harwood all have standout commodities (physicals) practices, a practice area that relies heavily on a strong complementary shipping group. Able to tap into their respective pre-eminent sponsor client bases, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP perform well for acquisition finance and corporate restructuring, as does Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which, in addition to its entrenched private equity ties has an increasingly formidable roster of banking clients.


Acquisition finance

Index of tables

  1. Acquisition finance
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP has the critical mass, international reach and market knowledge to handle many of the biggest lender mandates across the capital structure. This was underscored by the firm’s work for the lenders, including Bank of America, on the financing to support Royal Dutch Shell’s £47bn purchase of BG Group. Other lender-side highlights included advising the lending syndicate on the $75bn acquisition financing of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s takeover of SAB Miller. On the sponsor side, the firm has handled a number of deals for PAI Partners, including the financing of its acquisition of A/S Adventure Group and Snow & Rock. Jonathan Brownson and Philip Bowden jointly head the leveraged finance team, which includes the ‘impressive’ Stephen Kensell and ‘commercial’ David Campbell. Robin Harvey, Timothy Polglase and Nicholas Clark, who re-joined the London office in September 2015 following a stint in the firm’s Milan office, are also recommended.

Clifford Chance LLP supplements its significant capability in London with a wide-ranging international network, enabling it to provide clients with ‘a combination of superior levels of internationally relevant advice with the requisite local knowledge’. In an illustration of the practice’s track record on top-flight deals, Roderick McGillivray and Peter Dahlen advised Anheuser-Busch InBev on the $75bn acquisition financing of its takeover of SAB Miller. Other highlights included James Butters and Jim MacHale’s work for the lead arrangers on the financing of Apollo’s acquisition of Verallia, in what was one of the largest covenant-lite Term Loan B transactions in Europe in 2015. Also recommended are Charles Cochrane, Mark Campbell, Michael Bates, Taner Hassan and the ‘commercial and understanding’ Emma Folds.

Latham & Watkins provides ‘technical and knowledgeable’ advice across loan and bond transactions for both banks and sponsors, making the firm ‘a highly valued partner for large, cross-border, multi-tranche transactions’. Christopher Kandel advised JP Morgan as underwriter and arranger on the €6.8bn debt financing to facilitate ChemChina’s acquisition of Pirelli. Other recent highlights include Dan Maze’s work for Goldman Sachs and other arrangers and lenders on the Term Loan B, revolving credit facility (RCF) and senior bond offering in connection with Altice’s acquisition of PT Portugal SGPS. Other recommended partners include the ‘very personableRoss Pooley; the ‘responsive and commercialRoss Anderson; Dominic Newcomb, who has ‘a real understanding on what is important and what is not on a deal’; and the ‘superb’ Sam Hamilton, who regularly acts for sponsors including Nordic Capital in addition to his lender-side work.

Linklaters LLP’s balanced creditor and debtor practice handles matters across the capital structure, and is able to combine high yield and loan products to great effect. The ‘experienced and highly skilledNick Syson recently acted for the lead arrangers on the £45m senior facilities and £85m second-lien facility to assist Figaro Holdco’s (a KKR-sponsored vehicle) acquisition of shares in LGC Science Group and LGC Whirlwind. Also recommended are Brian Gray, the ‘very effectiveAdam Freeman, ‘impressive and amenableAnnette Kurdian, and ‘hardworkingEdward Aldred, who is recognised for his strength in Term Loan B facilities.

Strong on both the lender and borrower side’, Ashurst is recognised for its ‘commercial approach’ to transactions in the mid and upper markets. Mark Vickers has strong ties with numerous banks including RBS and HSBC. Helen Burton advised Apollo on the £150m Term Loan B and RCF for the refinancing of one of its portfolio companies, Aurum Group. Burton is also increasingly involved in the growing credit fund market, as is the ‘commercial and detail-oriented’ Ross Ollerhead, who recently advised BlueBay on its provision alongside HSBC of unitranche and super-senior facilities to fund the acquisition of Synexus by LDC. Other recommended partners include Nigel Ward, who has ‘an immense brain, which never gets overheated when the going gets tough’ and specialises in complex inter-creditor arrangements, and the ‘commercial and client-friendly’ Martyn Rogers and Paul Stewart.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP was strengthened on the high yield side by the recruitment in June 2015 of the ‘superb’ Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, giving the firm greater leverage to handle work for its sponsor client base – including CVC and Warburg Pincus – which frequently involves both bank and bond elements. Aided on the high yield front by US-qualified London-based partners Denise Ryan and Simone Bono, the ‘very commercialAlex Mitchell acted for CVC on the complex debt financing of its acquisition of Douglas from Advent International. Sean Pierce worked with the New York office to act for CVC on the acquisition financing of Linxus Group; this deal was notable as the terms of the financing migrated from English law to New York law to take advantage of better terms in the US market. Michael Steele joined Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in August 2015.

Although Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has experienced some turnover in the last 18 months – including the notable departures of Philip Crump to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and high yield expert Ward McKimm to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP – the practice still benefits from a ‘deep bench’ of practitioners who are ‘well-versed’ on bank and bond financings, as well as US Term Loan B. The ‘experienced and highly creativeNeel Sachdev and Christopher Shield advised Bain Capital on the €485m financing of its acquisition of the Wittur Group. ‘Highly knowledgeable and charismatic’ team head Stephen Lucas advised Pamplona Capital on the €315m financing of its acquisition of Partner in Pet Food from Advent International. John Markland* and Michael Steele, who recently joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, are also recommended. *Since publication, John Markland has joined Dechert LLP.

Praised for its ‘flexible approach’ and ‘great grip on market trends’, Weil, Gotshal & Manges provides ‘an excellent service’ to banks and sponsors, and is well placed to take advantage of the increasing convergence between US and European documentation, as well as on mandates which involve New York law governed debt products as part of the capital structure. ‘Excellent team leaderMark Donald acted alongside Reena Gogna, and Patrick Bright on the high yield side, for Hellman & Friedman on the multibillion-euro bank and bond financing of its acquisition of Bain Capital’s stake in Securitas Direct. Other highlights included Tom Richards’ advice to Goldman Sachs on the financing of CVC’s £800m acquisition of SkyBet from Sky plc, which was one of the first all-sterling New York Yankee financings to be syndicated entirely in Europe. Chris McLaughlin and James Hogben are also recommended.

Headed by the ‘excellentLee Cullinane, White & Case LLP’s London team is able to leverage the firm’s very good bank and bond offering, as well as solid US and English law expertise. The ‘affable and experiencedJeremy Duffy provides ‘sensible yet robust advice’. Gareth Eagles regularly handles work for GSO Capital Partners, including its financing of Oaktree Capital Management’s acquisition of Ainscough Crane Hire group. Colin Harley, Martin Forbes and Jacqueline Evans are also recommended.

Now headed by US-qualified Ronan Wicks following his arrival from the firm’s New York office in September 2015, the ‘knowledgeable and technical’ team at Shearman & Sterling LLP provides ‘a strong service’ to lenders and sponsors including Bank of America, Barclays, Bridgepoint and Credit Suisse. Caroline Leeds Ruby represented a lending syndicate on the $15.9bn combined bond and bridge acquisition financing of International Game Technology by GTECH. Other recommended partners include the ‘commercial and personableIain Goalen, the ‘highly respectedAnthony Ward, Peter Hayes and Mei Lian.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP handles a regular flow of high-quality leveraged finance mandates for a heavyweight private equity client base that includes Apax Partners and Blackstone. The ‘very accomplished’ Ian Barratt acted for key client KKR on its respective financings to fund the acquisitions of LGC and Webhelp Group. The ‘very talented’ Antti Pesonen, ‘excellent’ Stephen Short and Gil Strauss are also recommended.

Baker McKenzie LLP provides ‘responsive and commercially focused advice’ to sponsors and banks including HSBC, Macquarie and Europa Capital. The ‘commercial and responsivePaul Hibbert regularly handles acquisition finance in the infrastructure space, and recently advised RBS on Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Wightlink ferries from Macquarie. Nick Tostivin, Bernard Sharp, Sebastien Marcelin-Rice and Lynn Rosell Rowley are also recommended.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s five-partner borrower-focused practice handles a significant amount of acquisition finance mandates for sponsors including TPG and Warburg Pincus, in addition to advising investment grade corporates including ArcelorMittal. The ‘excellent’ Andrew Shutter and David Billington are recommended.

DLA Piper has strong connections with UK clearing banks including HSBC and Lloyds, and also regularly acts for alternative lenders including Hayfin and Ares, which are becoming increasingly important players in mid-market leveraged finance deals. Julie Romer (who is noted for her ‘practical and robust advice’) advised Investec on the financing of Mayfair Private Equity’s acquisition of the Fox International Group. Philip Butler is recommended for unitranche financings, while the ‘excellent’ David Miles is recommended for conventional debt deals.

Leveraging its strong corporate client base as well as a growing roster of private equity clients, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘well attuned to market trends’, particularly in the infrastructure and energy sectors. The ‘impressive’ Heather Culshaw recently advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on the financing of BP’s acquisition of a stake in the Central Area Transmission System gas pipeline in the North Sea. Other recommended partners include the ‘excellent’ Kristen Roberts and Will Nevin.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s five-partner team is noted for its ‘strong commercial service underpinned by sound legal skills’. In addition to acting for traditional lenders such as Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC, the practice is a leading player in the direct lending space for core clients including Ares, which it recently advised along with Lloyds Bank on an innovative unitranche and super senior refinancing of Verastar group. Penny Angell is ‘a leader for leveraged finance’ who ‘marries superlative technical knowledge with commercial pragmatism’. Angell heads the practice, which includes Matthew Cottis and Jo Robinson, who have ‘a strong awareness of market trends’; and Paul Mullen, who is recommended for unitranche deals.

Christopher Lawrence leads Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and commercial’ seven-partner team, which excels at handling mid-market transactions for sponsors including Duke Street, Vision Capital and Better Capital. Lawrence recently advised Exponent Private Equity on the debt financing of its €194m acquisition of Big Bus Tours. The ‘smart and responsiveKirstie Hutchinson, Andrew Perkins and Bronwen Jones are also recommended.

Led by the ‘exceptional’ Suhrud Mehta, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s practice provides ‘pragmatic, constructive and effective advice’ to a lender-focused client base that call on it to advise on complex big-ticket deals, thanks in part to its ability to leverage bank and bond expertise out of London and New York. Recent highlights include advising the lead arrangers, including Unicredit Bank, on the €1.3bn covenant-lite Term Loan B financing supporting Wendel’s acquisition of Constantia Flexibles. Neil Caddy and Tim Peterson are also recommended.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s seven-partner finance group is praised for its ability to ‘provide innovative advice and structuring’ on unconventional deals and for its ‘commercial and solutions-oriented’ approach. Benoit Lavigne has a growing reputation in the market and, in an illustration of the practice’s strong borrower workload, recently advised Altice on the €7.4bn financing of its acquisition of Portugal Telecom Group. Other key figures include Maurice Allen, who ‘has a willingness to roll up his sleeves and get in the trenches’; the ‘strategic and commercial’ Matthew Cox; and US-qualified Mike Goetz. Liberty Global, Blackstone and CVC Capital are also clients.

Although less well known than the more traditional leveraged finance players, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s three-partner team nevertheless regularly handles complex, cross-border mandates for borrowers including Permira and Colony Capital, and has benefited from the increased convergence of US and European market terms. Mark Darley advised Capgemini on the financing of its $4bn acquisition of iGate Corporation. Clive Wells and Pete Coulton round out the team.

Slaughter and May leverages its heavyweight corporate client base to handle borrower-side acquisition finance mandates. The ‘hardworking and pragmaticEdward Fife advised Cable & Wireless Communications on the financing of its $1.85bn acquisition of Columbus International. Team head Philip Snell and Matthew Tobin are also recommended.

The ‘experienced’ team at Travers Smith LLP provides ‘sage advice’ to a private equity sponsor client base, which includes Bridgepoint, The Carlyle Group and Exponent Private Equity. ‘Industry thought leader’ Matthew Ayre is ‘a first-class financing lawyer who is up to speed on the latest market trends’. He recently advised Bridgepoint Development Capital on the financing of its acquisitions of tastecard and Gourmet Society. Other recommended individuals include sponsor-facing partners Andrew Gregson and Jeremy Walsh, as well as Charles Bischoff, who is acting for an increasing number of lender clients including RBS and Investec.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s practice is noted for its ‘very thorough’ service to clearing banks and sponsors, and for its particular strength in mid-market leveraged finance transactions. Alex Dumphy recently advised ECI Partners on the debt financing necessary to purchase Evans Cycles from Active Private Equity. John Cutler recently retired.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides a ‘responsive service’ to banks (including Barclays and Lloyds), sponsors (including Patron Capital and Mount Street) and corporates, predominantly in the mid-market space. Derek Hrydziuszko advised Haversham Holdings on its financing of its reverse takeover of British Car Auctions from Clayton, Dubilier and Rice for £1.2bn. The ‘energetic and highly professionalDaisy Reeves is also recommended.

CMS provides ‘a commercial, pragmatic and responsive’ service to a mix of lenders and sponsors including HSBC, RBS and Lloyds Development Capital. Alex Patience advised Crescent Capital on the €53m debt facility to finance Carlyle’s acquisition of Telvent Global Solutions. Also recommended are Peter Crichton, Patrick Donegan and Mark Moseling, who deliver ‘consistent advice across a range of transactions’.

At Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, the ‘excellentAlan Davies advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on £360m senior secured facilities to fund its acquisition of Motor Fuel Group. US-qualified Pierre Maugue is also recommended.

Catherine Astruc leads the team at Dentons and has particular expertise in cross-border sponsor-backed deals often involving an ABL component. Richard Garvan regularly handles acquisition finance mandates in Africa.

Now recognised as ‘a significant player in the leveraged industry’, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is well positioned to handle work involving UK and US finance products for sponsors and alternative lenders. Stephen Gillespie has ‘absolute mastery of the subject matter’, and is recommended alongside the ‘very calm and considered’ Philip Crump.

At King & Wood Mallesons, ‘calm and unflappable’ team head Ian Borman provides ‘top-tier technical expertise’ to a range of sponsors as well as direct lenders. As well as new money deals, Borman has been involved in numerous refinancings; recent highlights include advising Lion Capital on a £30m super senior revolving credit facility for GHD Group (one of the private equity sponsor’s recent acquisitions). Lorraine Vaz joined in November 2015 from Clifford Chance LLP, bringing further lender-side credentials to the practice, and offsetting the departure of Simon Fulbrook to Goodwin in July 2015.

Led by Martin Bishop in London and benefiting from its regional offices, Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice provides ‘a strong service’ to clearing banks including HSBC and Barclays, with particular exposure on mid-market sponsor-backed deals.

Simmons & Simmons provides ‘an outstanding’ service to banks and private equity sponsors across a range of leveraged and event-driven financings. The ‘remarkable’ Alistair Hill advised Chiltern International Group on its $447m financing for the acquisition of Theorem Clinical Research – one of the largest unitranche financings in Europe in 2015. Simon Thrower is also recommended.

At Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, the ‘responsive and highly professional’ Nick Benham provides an ‘excellent service’ to banks and borrowers. Its expertise on leveraged finance transactions spans a broad array of debt products; Benham has recently handled a number of bridge financings including for Temenos Group in connection with its €235m acquisition of Multifonds. The firm also benefits from a significant presence in the US as well as the services of US-qualified partner Jeffrey O’Brien in London.

At Eversheds LLP, ‘excellent’ team head Nick Swiss handles acquisition finance work for a range of corporates and banks including HSBC, Barclays and Dairy Crest.

While Mayer Brown International LLP is better known for its real estate finance capability, it does handle some mainstream cross-border leveraged finance work out of London in addition to loan portfolio financings. The ‘commercial and detail-oriented’ Trevor Wood is recommended.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Michael Black advised Wells Fargo as lead arranger on a £140m ABL facility to assist a private equity purchaser with the simultaneous completion of the acquisition of two separate equipment rental businesses as well as to provide ongoing working capital. Michael Ings and James Dunnett regularly handle mandates in the emerging markets.

Osborne Clarke‘s Dominic Ross is ‘very easy to deal with’ and is active in the mid-market leveraged finance space.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, Martin Yells and Lerika Joubert advised Amino Technologies on a secured loan facility provided by Barclays to facilitate its acquisition of Entone. Ross Caldwell also handles acquisition finance deals as part of his broad finance offering.


Asset based lending

Recognised for its ‘strong market knowledge’, Mayer Brown International LLP is well placed to advise lenders (including Citi and Deutsche Bank) on complex, cross-border mandates. ‘Pragmatic’ team head Alex Dell displays ‘sound commercial judgement’ and has successfully leveraged his strong relationships with UK banks (including HSBC) to ensure a significant flow of domestic and pan-European financings. The firm’s sweet spot, however, remains in handling transatlantic, quasi-structured finance work, as demonstrated by Graham Wedlake’s work for CF Lending, as administrative agent, on the refinancing of an existing English law €125m securitisation-lite receivables finance facility provided to the International Automotive Components Group. Other recommended practitioners include Simon Fisher and Dominic Griffiths.

Now headed by Richard Usher following Alex Dell’s departure in April 2015 to Mayer Brown International LLP, DLA Piper remains a credible presence in the domestic market, where it acts for clearing banks including RBS and Lloyds, as well as alternative finance providers and corporate clients. Usher recently advised RBS on a $4m invoice discounting facility to NP Group. The firm also has a strong reputation on the recoveries side, where the ‘commercial and pragmatic’ Simon Boon and the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Lorinda Peasland are recommended. Other key figures include Leeds-based Sarah Day and Manchester-based Joseph Frew.

Headed by Andrew Watson, Irwin Mitchell provides ‘an exceptional and cost-effective service’ to traditional and challenger banks including HSBC, Metro Bank and Shawbrook Bank. Jon Bew (who is ‘excellent at picking out the commercial imperatives’) acted for HSBC alongside Birmingham-based associate Natalie Barnes on a £24m pan-European ABL facility to ADM Promotions.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, the ‘extremely knowledgeableMichael Black represents lenders including Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance and Wells Fargo on a range of ABL financings. Black (who is noted for his ‘in-depth market knowledge as well as solid understanding of the credit and administrative concerns of ABL lenders’) advised Bank of America as arranger on a $150m cross-border ABL facility for the Panavision group.

Led by the ‘hands-on and commercialPaula Laird and the ‘very knowledgeableAndrew Knight, Squire Patton Boggs acts for a mix of bank-owned ABL participants and independent market participants, including PNC Bank and GE Capital, and is ‘well placed to handle cross-border transactions’ as a result of its broad network of offices across Europe and the US. On the recoveries side, ABL litigator Gareth Timms is, according to one client, ‘someone you want in the trenches with you if there’s a problem’.

Led by the ‘knowledgeable and sensibleSimon Prendergast in Manchester and Mike Davison in London, Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘cost-effective’ practice acts for lenders and borrowers including GE Capital, Barclays, HSBC Invoice Finance and Denby Pottery. Recent highlights include advising US lender PNC Bank on a full suite of ABL facilities for Meridian Metals Trading including receivables finance, revolving collateral inventory facilities and real estate finance. Leeds-based partners Ben Lowans and Sally Butt round out the team on the litigation and recoveries front.

The ‘fantastic’ Georgia Quenby leads Reed Smith LLP’s practice, which provides ‘proactive, timely and commercial’ advice on a range of ABL mandates, often involving a complex inter-creditor arrangement and/or a multi-jurisdictional element. Quenby is ‘a real expert in the field’ who is ‘always abreast of market conditions and regulatory developments’.

Jones Day’s practice is led by Andrew Rotenberg and has practitioners across Europe, US and Asia, enabling it to handle cross-border mandates for lenders and borrowers. Rotenberg advised ESO Capital on the €356m refinancing of Moventas Gears in a deal which involved creating a hybrid asset-based lending/leveraged finance transaction structure and financing documentation across multiple jurisdictions.

Pinsent Masons LLP has strong ties with the UK clearing banks and provides ‘cost-effective and highly professional advice’ on deals involving discrete ABL facilities or where the ABL portion sits alongside more traditional bank debt. Birmingham-based Edward Sunderland (who is praised for his ability to foster ‘collaborative relationships’ with banks) acted alongside ‘excellent’ senior associate Victoria Baker for Simpsons Malt on the refinancing of its £90m ABL facility. On the recoveries front, Manchester-based James Cameron is a key contact, as is Amy Flavell, who joined the Birmingham office from Squire Patton Boggs.

Liverpool and Manchester-based firm Bermans has ‘very longstanding experience’ in the area, where it predominantly handles domestic invoice financing mandates. Alex Chapman and David Gledhill are the main practitioners on the transactional front, while Jonathan Berkson handles ABL litigation.

At Gowling WLG, Kirsty Barnes handles ABL mandates as part of her broad financing practice, and ‘hardworking and pragmatic’ Birmingham-based Greg Standing handles litigation in the sector.

At Michelmores LLP, the ‘commercial’ Chris Willison is noted for his ‘wealth of invoice discounting experience’, as well as for his receivables financing expertise.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Norwich-based Zak Virgin is well regarded for invoice discounting.


Asset finance and leasing

Index of tables

  1. Asset finance and leasing
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘an undoubted leader’ for asset finance transactions covering the spectrum of transportation asset classes. Headed by the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Mario Jacovides, the team is known for its ability to advise on highly structured and innovative transactions, and recently advised UK Export Finance on the $913m financing for the purchase of four Airbus A380-800 aircraft by Emirates, in what was the world’s first ECA-supported Sukuk issuance and the largest ECA-supported capital markets offering in the aviation space. In another novel deal, the ‘very commercial’ Paul Nelson acted for Turkish Airlines on what was the first enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) issuance by a Turkish airline. On the shipping front, Kevin Young acted for the banks, including ING, on the debt portion of the long-term Japanese operating lease (JOLCO) financing of one new 14,000 TEU vessel to be operated by Seaspan. Other recommended partners include Harry Upcott, who is ‘effectively able to balance legal knowledge with a strong sense of commerciality’, David Smith, and rail expert Jonathan Bevan.

Singled out for its ‘exceptional aviation market knowledge’, Clifford Chance LLP is able to deploy multi-jurisdictional teams to act on major cross-border mandates for lenders and leasing companies. Team head William Glaister (who is ‘the market leader for aviation finance’) recently advised DVB Bank on a $667m debut securitisation through its investment fund Deucalion. Oliver Hipperson (‘an excellent asset finance generalist’) advised BNP Paribas on the K-Sure-supported financing to container shipping company CMA CGM for three container ships under construction at a Korean shipyard.

The ‘very commercial’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘an outstanding service’ that covers the full range of transportation finance matters, with clients benefiting from a ‘very well-connected offering’ between the firm’s international offices. The ‘exceptionally talentedDuncan Batchelor heads the global aviation group, which was boosted by the arrival of Simon Chamberlain from Bird & Bird LLP in November 2015. Batchelor recently advised a syndicate of banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the establishment of a JOLCO facility for British Airways to finance six Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The ‘open-minded yet very practicalSimon Hartley takes the lead on many of the shipping deals handled by the group, and recently advised Saga Cruises on the acquisition of a new 236-metre luxury cruise vessel. ‘Sharp and pragmatic’ finance lawyer Eleanor Martin is ‘extremely knowledgeable on offshore services transactions’. Other recommended partners include global head of transport Harry Theochari and head of rail Tom Johnson.

Aided by the firm’s increasingly expansive international network, Dentons provides ‘a real blue-chip service’ to aviation clients including operating lessors and airlines such as Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon. Co-head Paul Holland has been handling a number of Japanese tax structured financings for Emirates, while Greg Kahn – who has a focus on structured finance transactions within the aviation and shipping sectors – recently advised TUI Cruises on chartering and purchasing arrangements for several cruise vessels. Nick Chandler, William Gibson and Sarah Dyke are also recommended. Former co-head Matthew Harvey joined Gowling WLG in May 2016.

Stephenson Harwood has a ‘top-flight’ ship financing practice led by the ‘excellentMark Russell. Its strong ties with leading banks in the sector (including DNB Bank and Deutsche Bank) makes it a natural choice to advise on new money transactions, as well as being well placed to act on restructuring matters aided by a ‘strong insolvency team’ that includes the ‘intelligent, articulate and shrewdSusan Moore. Key work on the rail front included Graeme McLellan’s advice to Rock Infrastructure and SL Capital on the development of a new and innovative financing solution for rail rolling stock, followed by the successful implementation of that structure on the £200m Moorgate procurement. Jonathan Ward and Ian Mace are also recommended for ship financing, while aviation specialist Richard Parsons regularly acts for banks and operating lessors.

One of the leading shipping finance firms’, Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a team of 17 ship finance partners in London, which provides ‘business-oriented and innovative advice’ to both lenders and owners. The global practice is headed by the ‘clever and pragmaticLindsey Keeble, who advised Citibank as co-ordinator for a syndicate of lenders on a $357m term loan facility for Subsea 7, to fund the construction of two new oilfield service vessels. The ‘commercial and proactiveMichael O’Donnell recently advised Nordea Bank on the upsizing of a loan facility to Exmar LPG BVBA (a joint venture between Exmar and Teekay Corporation) to include a $310m revolving credit facility and a $150m term loan facility. The ‘excellentRex Rosales leads the aviation team, which includes ‘rising starJahnavi Ramachandran.

Led by the ‘excellentJustin Benson, White & Case LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘proactive and commercial advice’ to clients in the aviation sector, including commercial banks such as Deutsche Bank, ECA providers including UK Export Finance, operating lessors such as Jackson Square Aviation, and operators such as Thomas Cook Group. The practice is also continuing to build up its shipping and rail capabilities, with Alison Weal attracting praise for her ‘astute and concise analysis of transactions’ in the shipping sector; and the ‘smart and efficientLouise Mor noted for her rail expertise. Adrian Beasley (who attracts praise for his ‘ability to cut through the nonsense and get to the real issues’) continues to represent CIT Group on the ECA-supported financing of over 50 Airbus aircraft on lease to various airlines.

Led by Robert Fugard, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘creative and robust’ advice to banks, lessors and operators. It covers the full range of asset classes and, working in concert with firm’s New York office, the team is well placed to advise on more complex debt transactions that are increasingly common on the aviation front. In an illustration of the convergence of the use of New York and English law, Fugard advised Norwegian Air on its private placement governed by New York law (the leasing aspects were governed by UK law) in order to facilitate the financing of six new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Fugard also advised Vietnam Airlines on its debut $580m financing of four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft provided by Export-import Bank of the United States. ‘Rolling stock expertSimon Gwynne focuses on rail financings and Shalini Bhuchar has been particularly active advising funds and banks on shipping transactions out of Africa.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘hardworking’ two-partner team excels at highly structured deals, often requiring US capital markets advice (where it is aided by its strong New York pedigree), for funds, lessors, alternative capital providers and banks including Aercap, Apollo, JP Morgan and Highbridge. ‘Superb’ co-head James Cameron advised Aldus Aviation and Magnetar Capital on a $540m asset backed securitisation of a portfolio of 30 aircraft owned by Aldus. The firm has also acted on some big-ticket maritime work, and recently advised the ad-hoc group of new lenders on the $1.4bn restructuring of TORM. The arrival in June 2015 of the ‘highly commercial’ Nick Swinburne from Clifford Chance LLP has further strengthened the practice.

Led by the ‘highly strategic and technicalRussell Clifford, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s two-partner practice has a particularly strong presence in rail transactions, where it acts for clients including Beacon Rail Leasing and Bombardier. Clifford advises Angel Trains on all its leasing and procurement transactions including on the re-leasing of fleets of trains owned by Angel Trains and operated under various franchises. The ‘excellentJamie Wiseman-Clarke is also recommended, and consultant Tom Budgett provides ‘confident and commercial advice’ on aviation finance transactions.

Clyde & Co LLP’s five-partner team focuses on work within the shipping sector, where its clients include banks and operators such as Norwegian Cruise Line, DVB Bank and Oceanco. Dean Norton handles mainstream ship finance transactions as well as offshore mandates; recent highlights include advising West Africa Gas as project sponsors on the financing for the importation of LNG into Ghana for regasification and onward sale to the Ghanaian government. Paul Turner is noted for his multi-faceted knowledge of ship sale ownership and John Leonida has a strong reputation in the super yacht sector.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s asset finance team frequently acts on big-ticket aviation finance mandates, and works alongside its strong capital markets and private equity practices. ‘Excellent’ team head Robert Murphy is well known in the aviation industry.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ two-partner team provides ‘highly technical and commercial advice’ to banks, airlines and lessors including DVB, Emirates and AWAS. The ‘experienced, knowledgeable and attentiveDebra Erni advised Jackson Square Aviation on numerous purchase and leaseback transactions for multiple aircraft to Spanish airlines Air Europa and Vueling. The ‘efficient and responsiveGraham Tyler is also recommended.

Benefiting from strong finance and sector knowledge within the shipping sector, Reed Smith LLP provides ‘commercial and highly innovative advice’ to banks such as DNB and Barclays, funds including York Capital and Oak Hill Advisors, and shipowners such as Sovcomflot. Rob Wilkins is noted for his ‘consistently impressive advice’ on new money financings and in the restructuring space; as well as his strong track record advising purchasers of distressed debt portfolios in the shipping space, Wilkins advised Hayfin as lender on a $100m refinancing of vessels owned by Genco. Team head Philip Rymer attracts praise for his ‘no-nonsense and practical advice’.

Vedder Price is able to combine the firm’s excellent reputation in the US with an increasingly visible London presence to advise an impressive roster of aviation clients including AerCap, Aircastle and GSI Engines. Key figures include Gavin Hill (who attracts praise for his ‘keen eye for detail when drafting’), and the ‘calm but authoritative’ Neil Poland, who has ‘vast experience of all varieties of aviation work’ and recently acted for China Aircraft Leasing Company on its first export credit financing.

At Addleshaw Goddard LLP, the ‘hugely experiencedRory MacCarthy handles financing work for a variety of airlines, manufacturers, leasing companies and banks. He continues to handle a significant amount of work for British Airways including advising it on the wet lease of two Boeing 737-700 aircraft from Danish airline Jet Time. Out of Manchester, Andrew Maskill and Rebecca Williams handle mid-ticket rail and ship leasing transactions.

Led by Paul Briggs out of London and also regularly working with lawyers in the firm’s Frankfurt, Singapore and UAE offices, Bird & Bird LLP’s practice advises airlines and lessors on the full range of aircraft and engine finance matters. Briggs acted alongside Brett Hailey on Emirates’ leasing of three B777 and seven A380 from BBAM. Other clients include Avolon, Virgin Atlantic and ICBC Leasing. Simon Chamberlain joined Norton Rose Fulbright in November 2015.

CMS is particularly strong in work sitting at the nexus of projects and shipping finance, where it can bring to bear significant cross-border prowess as well as energy-related sector strength. The ‘smart and hardworkingTim Elliott is praised for his ‘calm and attentive’ demeanour and is particularly strong in the shipping/offshore sector; he recently advised GasLog on the $1.3bn syndicated and ECA-supported facility for the construction and acquisition of eight LNG vessels. ‘Exceptional’ and ‘experienced’ aviation finance expert Keith Wilson provides ‘creative and robust advice’ to banks and lessors including Erste Bank and ICBC Leasing. As part of his broader corporate practice, Bill Carr regularly handles commercial transactions in the rail sector.

Led by Alan Cunningham, DLA Piper’s two-partner team acts for banks, lessors, airlines and manufacturers on commercial aviation and corporate jet transactions. ‘Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and creative’ senior associate Richard Skipper is an ‘exceptionally talented aviation finance lawyer’ and acted alongside Cunningham for Flybe on the $76m finance and leasing of five aircraft from Avation PLC. On the shipping front, the duo recently advised Investec Asset Finance on its maiden container finance deal with South Korea shipping operator Sinokor Merchant Marine.

Noted for its ‘intellectual rigour tempered with pragmatism’, Holman Fenwick Willan’s seven-partner team is led by Elinor Dautlich and acts for a range of shipping clients including DNB, Nordea Bank, ACS Shipping and Genting Hong Kong. The ‘affable and commercialTony Rice handles new-money deals and refinancings for banks including HSBC Bank, which he recently advised as arranger and bookrunner on a €315m ECA-supported facility to finance Saga Cruises’ acquisition of a cruise vessel. John Forrester and Jay Tooker are also recommended for shipping matters, while ‘hardworking and commercial’ senior associate Barbara Pansadoro has a strong pedigree for aviation finance. The team was also boosted in October 2015 by the arrival of aviation and ship finance expert Stephen Marais from Ince & Co.

Ince & Co’s longstanding ship finance practice has close ties with many of the leading banks active in the sector including DNB, DVB and Nordea, making the firm a regular fixture in significant new money transactions and more recently restructurings/refinancings. Team head David Baker is acting for DNB as a creditor on the restructuring of Italian shipping company RBD Armatori. Notable hires include superyacht expert Duncan Bateson from TLT, who joined in December 2015, and aviation finance partner Will Cooper, who joined in November 2015 from the ECGD. Stephen Marais recently joined Holman Fenwick Willan.

Linklaters LLP leverages the expertise of its capital markets and core banking practices to provide an ‘exceptional level of service’ on asset finance to clients including VistaJet, UBS, Centerbridge and RBS. The ‘responsive and creativeOlga Petrovic is well regarded in the asset finance space.

Headed by the ‘commercial and user-friendlyNorman Fraser, REN Legal’s three-partner practice provides a ‘value-for-money service’ to aviation clients including Emirates, Deucalian Capital Aviation Funds and AerCap. Both Fraser and the ‘insightful and knowledgeableChristopher Jackson have particular niche expertise in aircraft engine leasing transactions.

Slaughter and May handles asset finance mandates within the aviation and shipping sectors as part of its broader finance capability. Andrew Johnson is the primary contact. British Airways is a key client.

The arrivals of Mark Moody (who is noted for his ‘sound knowledge of the aviation industry’) and Christopher Boresjo in 2016 from Simmons & Simmons has given Winston & Strawn London LLP’s London office a credible asset finance capability. Clients include BNP Paribas, Finnair and Aviation Capital Group.

The ‘experienced’ Philip Perrotta leads Kaye Scholer LLP’s practice, which provides ‘an excellent and accessible service’ to clients including VietJet Air, Veling and Jackson Square Aviation. The ‘flexible and adaptive’ Sidanth Rajagopal recently advised TruJet on the leasing of two ATR 72-500 aircraft.

At Shoosmiths LLP, the ‘highly commercial’ Chris McClure ‘has been involved in the rail sector since privatisation and therefore really knows the industry’. McClure recently advised Porterbrook Leasing on the procurement and leasing of new fleets of rolling stock for use by the Southern, Thameslink and Great Western franchises. The team was also strengthened by the arrival in June 2015 of the ‘excellent’ Martin Fleetwood from Bevan Brittan LLP.

At Blake Morgan LLP, the business-savvy Ben Graham-Evans provides ‘practical advice’ to lessors, financiers and operators on commercial debt and ECA-supported financings. Clients include Air France KLM and Barclays.

Burges Salmon LLP has ‘an excellent reputation for rail work’ and acts for train operating companies and financiers including Abellio Greater Anglia, RBS and Merseyrail. Brioney Thomas is recommended for rolling stock leasing arrangements.

At Fieldfisher, Andrew Evans acts for private wealth banks on the financing of super yachts and corporate jets.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s Panos Pourgourides advises high-net-worth individuals and lenders including BNP Paribas and JP Morgan on super yacht financings. Malcolm Entwistle handles mainstream shipping transactional and finance work as part of his broader corporate practice.

Heavyweight US firm Holland & Knight (UK) LLP has a nascent asset finance practice in London following its acquisition of aviation boutique Clark Ricketts LLP. Robert Ricketts is well known in the industry.

At Osborne Clarke, the ‘excellent’ Clive Smith has been acting for Eversholt Rail Group on its finance, acquisition and leasing of two large fleets of CAF Civity rolling stock.


Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans

Index of tables

  1. Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP fields ‘one of the dominant global corporate lending’ practices in the market. The ‘very commercial’ David Campbell advised the lead arrangers including Barclays on the $5bn revolving credit facility to Statoil. The ‘calm and knowledgeable’ George Link acted for the arranging banks on Ferrari NV’s debut €2.5bn syndicated financing in connection with its demerger from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The ‘excellent’ Nicholas Clark (who recently returned to London after a number of years in the firm’s Milan office) acted for the lenders on the $75bn loan facility to finance Anheuser-Busch InBev’s takeover of SAB Miller. The ‘extremely bright’ Melissa Samuel acts for both corporate borrowers and major financial institutions on domestic and international secured and unsecured financing facilities. Stephen Kensell and Trevor Borthwick are also recommended.

Clifford Chance LLP has strength in depth both in London and across its international offices, making it well placed to handle a large volume of corporate lending matters for banks and borrowers. Charles Cochrane advised Jaguar Land Rover on a £1.8bn unsecured five-year revolving credit facility. Jim MacHale acted for Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse on a $5.8bn facility provided to Solvay to enable its acquisition of Cytec Industries. Nicola Wherity regularly acts for the Loan Market Association, which seeks her guidance on primary and leveraged loan documentation. The ‘commercial’ Emma Folds and Michael Bates are also recommended.

At Linklaters LLP, Philip Spittal advised Bank of America, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered Bank as co-ordinators on Jaguar Land Rover’s five-year, £1.8bn revolving credit facility. Other key figures include Mirthe van Kesteren, who is ‘a safe pair of hands’ on emerging markets transactions, and the ‘excellentOliver Edwards. Stuart Thomas, Toby Grimstone and John Tucker are also recommended. Other clients include Barclays, HSBC, Glencore and UBS.

For some, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘a clear market leader’ for its work with borrowers on investment grade deals. Martin Hutchings has handled corporate treasury work for clients including BT and Hikma, and recently advised Intercontinental Hotels Group on its $1.27bn revolving working capital and acquisition facility provided by a club of 11 lenders. Alex Mitchell, Christopher Davis, Neil Falconer and Sean Lacey are also recommended.

Slaughter and May is best known for its borrower-side lending capability. Matthew Tobin has handled numerous refinancings for corporates including Ocado, which he advised on the amendment and extension of its existing unsecured revolving facility. In addition to acting for its blue-chip corporate client base, the firm also continues to handle an increasing flow of work for banks, which praise the practice’s ‘responsive and thoughtful advice on complex structured lending’. The ‘commercial and knowledgeableMiranda Leung and ‘extremely bright and hardworkingEdward Fife handle a mix of bank and borrower-side work.

Headed by the ‘level-headed and solutions-oriented’ Nicholas Moore and the ‘commercial’ Tim Rennie, Ashurst’s investment grade lending practice provides a ‘responsive and knowledgeable service’ to an array of corporates and lenders including HSBC, Informa, RBS and Xchanging Plc. Moore recently advised Lloyds Bank as coordinator on a debut £150m syndicated club facility to RPS Group, while Rennie advised the lenders on the financing of Kier’s acquisition of Mouchel. Nick Wong has ‘deep knowledge’ of the insurance financing space. Lee Doyle, Mark Vickers and the ‘commercial and client-oriented’ Martyn Rogers are also recommended.

Nick Tostivin leads the ‘responsive and pragmatic’ team at Baker McKenzie LLP, which is noted for its ‘great market knowledge and exceptional service’ to lenders and corporates. The practice’s expertise covers a broad range of financings, ranging from short-term unsecured loans to global facilities involving multi-jurisdictional collateral, bilateral loans, syndicated loans and participations. Paul Hibbert (who is ‘excellent at infrastructure financings’) recently advised RBS on the financing of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Wightlink ferries. Working alongside several offices including France and Turkey, Lynn Rosell Rowley advised Equinix on multi-jurisdictional financing, international due diligence and post takeover restructuring issues arising from its $3.6bn takeover of UK company, TelecityGroup plc, by way of scheme of arrangement. The ‘experienced and responsiveSebastien Marcelin-Rice is also recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘commercial’ team provides ‘a world-class service’ to borrowers including EasyJet, Royal Mail and Stagecoach. Kristen Roberts recently advised Capita plc on a £600m revolving facility. In an illustration of the team’s energy sector strength and reserve-based lending prowess, Thomas Bethel recently advised a group of 23 international lenders on a $4.3bn financing facility to refinance Lundin Petroleum’s existing reserve-based lending facility. The ‘authoritative yet easy-going’ Ewen Fergusson and the ‘approachable and commercial’ Malcolm Hitching are also recommended.

Although best known for its mid-market leveraged finance expertise, Hogan Lovells International LLP also handles a significant amount of investment grade work for both lenders and borrowers. As part of her wide-ranging practice (which includes general leveraged financings), the ‘commercial and pragmaticPenny Angell handles insurance company financings, and recently advised a bank on an unsecured bridge facility to Swiss Re Life Capital for its acquisition of Guardian Holdings Europe. Andrew Taylor is regularly involved in emerging markets mandates and recently acted for Natixis and ING on the provision of a $530m pre-export facility to Uralkali.

The ‘attentive’ and ‘knowledgeable’ team at White & Case LLP provides a ‘solutions-oriented’ service to banks and corporates including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Aliaxis Group. Jeremy Duffy (who attracts praise for his ‘sensible and robust advice’) recently advised Aliaxis Group on its €680m revolving facility, and Christopher Czarnocki recently advised Puma Energy on its $1.25bn revolving facility. Other recommended partners include the ‘excellentRobert Bennett and Lee Cullinane.

Headed by the ‘knowledgeable and helpfulEmma Howdle-Fuller, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s seven-partner team displays ‘outstanding technical and commercial expertise’ for banks and borrowers including Tesco, Goldman Sachs and Lloyds Bank. Derek Hrydziuszko has handled numerous mandates for Barclays, including on the provision, alongside RBS, of a £100m secured term loan and revolving credit facility to Restore plc. The ‘proactive and enthusiasticDaisy Reeves is also recommended.

CMS provides a ‘commercial, responsive and pragmatic’ service to UK clearing banks including Lloyds Bank, RBS and Barclays, as well as a growing roster of borrowers such as Value Retail and Mountain Warehouse. Neil James and Alex Patience advised RBS and HSBC on an innovative £158m financing which involved a hybrid ABL, revolving and term loan facility. Patrick Donegan, Mark Moseling and Peter Crichton provide ‘strong and knowledgeable advice’, and Ted Harrison is ‘very knowledgeable about insurance-related financings’.

Key figures at DLA Piper include Julie Romer, who provides ‘practical and robust solutions’ and recently advised a group of banks (including Barclays) on a £90m revolving facility to Just Eat; and Philip Butler and the ‘hugely knowledgeable’ David Miles, who handle traditional debt products as well as mandates in the alternative lender space.

Dentons’ four-partner syndicated lending team has a very strong reputation among banks, particularly for emerging markets work. Isaac Felberbaum leads the practice and acted alongside the ‘excellent’ Robert Spedding for a lending syndicate on a $1.7bn revolving facility to Israel Chemicals. The team is also renowned for its work for lenders on facilities to Turkey’s largest financial institutions.

At King & Wood Mallesons, the ‘commercial and pragmaticIan Borman recently represented AA plc on the £1.1bn refinancing of its existing debt package. Robert Andrews and Jeremy Cross handle fund finance work as part of their broad banking and finance coverage.

Strengthened by the arrival in February 2015 of the ‘pragmatic and commercialAlex Dell from DLA Piper, Mayer Brown International LLP advises lenders on structured/ABL transactions. The ‘superbGraham Wedlake represented CF Lending on the restructuring of an existing €125m securitisation-lite receivables financing facility provided to the International Automotive Components Group. Dominic Griffiths effectively combines bank and structured finance expertise and is recommended alongside the ‘intelligent and experiencedNigel White and ‘detailed and commercial’ Trevor Wood.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, team head Michael Ings specialises in corporate and syndicated lending for telecommunications and media operators, and also handles telecoms deals in Africa for banks including Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. James Dunnett has a strong reputation in emerging markets and Michael Black has ‘a significant depth of knowledge in the ABL space’.

Pinsent Masons LLP benefits from strong ties with the UK clearing banks and is able to utilise its regional offices to handle mid-market corporate lending and syndicated work. ‘Excellent’ team head Martin Bishop has been handling a raft of work for HSBC including advising it on a £115m RCF to St Ives Group. Other key figures include Liam Terry, who is well regarded for corporate lending work; ‘commercial and constructive’ Birmingham-based ABL expert Edward Sunderland; and real estate finance partner William Oliver.

Reed Smith LLP’s Nicholas Williams advised the Côte Restaurant Group on the £78m refinancing of its credit facilities. Ben Davis has significant traction with alternative capital providers including Crescent Capital, which he advised alongside Lloyds Bank on the £33.5m unitranche and revolving facilities to support the refinancing of Interfloor. Leon Stephenson is recommended for fund finance and general bank lending.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s multinational corporate client base, which includes Altice and Liberty Global, regularly calls on it to handle acquisition finance and corporate lending matters. Benoit Lavigne advised Altice on $550m and €300m incremental loans. Matthew Cox has ‘expansive market knowledge’, and is recommended alongside the ‘very experienced and skilled’ Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz.

Now headed by US-qualified Ronan Wicks following his relocation from the firm’s New York office, Shearman & Sterling LLP has been particularly active advising banks and borrowers on refinancings. In an illustration of the firm’s ability to leverage high yield expertise and bring it bear on European loan provisions, dual US and UK qualified partner Peter Hayes advised the underwriters on the refinancing of Virgin Media’s existing £1.2bn debt. The ‘technical and commercialCaroline Leeds Ruby advised ENCE Energía y Celulosa on its recent combined €340m bank and bond financing to replace and redeem existing facilities. Iain Goalen and the ‘tough but fairAnthony Ward are also recommended.

At Simmons & Simmons, Simon Thrower advised Rentokil Initial on its syndicated banking facilities, including a £315m revolving facility for general corporate purposes and a £300m term loan facility related to its acquisition of Steritech Group. Based out of Bristol, the ‘detail-oriented and responsive’ Alistair Hill has a broad finance practice that includes receivables-backed financing work for Shawbrook Bank. Simon Middleton and John Sayers are also recommended.

Led by ‘seasoned professionalZoe Ashcroft, the ‘diligent and client-focused’ team at Winston & Strawn London LLP advises lenders and corporates across a range of financing work, with a particular focus on energy mandates in Africa.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP handles a raft of mid-market corporate banking work on behalf of UK clearing banks including HSBC, as well as a growing list of borrower-side mandates. Amanda Gray leads the team, which was strengthened by the arrival in September 2015 of Angus Gill from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Robert Aulsebrook is ‘one of the best for Russian work in the City’ and regularly handles financing work for LUKOIL including a spate of recent corporate facilities totalling more than $1.6bn. Fred Heller is also recommended.

Spearheaded by the ‘experienced and insightfulJason Fox, Bracewell (UK) LLP provides a ‘world-class’ service to lenders and borrowers in the energy sector across a range of reserve-based lending and bank debt financings. The ‘commercial and focusedOlivia Caddy is also recommended.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s five-partner banking and finance practice has the expertise and credibility in the market to handle a range of high-profile cross-border mandates for multinational corporates including Fiat and Goodyear. The ‘superb’ Andrew Shutter advised Greece on a €7.16bn bridge loan from the European Union under the European Financial Stabilisation Fund, and assisted ArcelorMittal with the establishment of a $6bn revolving credit facility. Polina Lyadnova and Glen Scarcliffe are also recommended.

At Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Thomas Budd handles corporate lending and syndications as part of his broad-ranging finance practice.

At Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP, the ‘commercial and pragmatic’ Emma Menzies regularly works alongside practitioners throughout the firm’s global network on cross-border general syndicated financing work for borrowers including Nomad Foods, Igloo Food and Rentokil.

Leveraging its European and US offices, Jones Day’s broad-based London finance group has a strong pedigree in cutting-edge leveraged and investment grade financing products, including post-IPO “crossover” financings, as well as European and US-style financings. Paul Simcock advised Alcentra on the refinancing and dividend recapitalisation of The Mountain Warehouse Group and The SimplyBiz Group.

Led by the ‘excellentChristopher Lawrence, Macfarlanes LLP’s seven-partner team provides a ‘knowledgeable and commercial’ service. The ‘smart and responsiveKirstie Hutchinson advised ITE Group on the amendment and restatement of £100m term and revolving facilities with Barclays Bank and HSBC Bank.

At McGuireWoods London LLP, the ‘responsiveMarc Isaacs advised Fifth Third as lender on a £485m term and revolving facility to Acteon Group. Isaacs has also represented Bank of America in numerous deals.

At Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, ‘outstanding’ and ‘personable’ team head Phillip Slater recently advised Just Eat on its £90m senior debt raising following its recent IPO. Slater also handles a range of financing work for investment grade corporates including Telecity, and the practice has benefited from the firm’s strong Asian presence to handle numerous lender mandates for Japanese banks including Aozora Bank.

While it is best known for its sponsor-led leveraged finance offering, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP also handles corporate lending for borrowers including Euro Garages, which Stephen Short advised on a new £745m senior term and revolving credit facility to refinance its existing debt facilities. The ‘very talented’ Antti Pesonen advised Ideal Shopping Direct on its recent senior credit facilities.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s Clive Wells advised Ball Corporation on the acquisition financing for its proposed takeover of Rexam PLC, which includes a $3.3bn multi-currency revolving credit facility and a £3.3bn bridge term loan facility.

At Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, ‘thorough and commercial’ team head Presley Warner has a strong reputation for borrower-side mandates and recently advised Ferrari on its €2.5bn syndicated loan facility with a group of ten bookrunner banks. Although better known for his restructuring capability, Christopher Howard also handles investment grade mandates for corporates and banks.

Although best known for its mid-market sponsor-driven leveraged finance work, Travers Smith LLP continues to handle an increasing flow of lender-side mandates, particularly concerning funds financing and financing to non-bank financial institutions. Charles Bischoff advised Investec Bank on a £15m revolving facility to fund investments made by Downing.

At Bird & Bird LLP, the ‘impressive’ Andrew Hallgarth has ‘a wealth of experience and knowledge’ of working with development banks. The ‘commercial’ Trystan Tether heads the team.

At Bryan Cave, dual US and UK qualified partner Marty Rolle advised Scotiabank (Ireland) on a £100m unsecured revolving facility to Alliance Trust.

Led by the ‘commercialRichard Leeming, Burges Salmon LLP’s eight-partner team has significant ‘depth of knowledge’ acting for banks in mid-market transactions within the renewables and real estate sectors. The firm also handles general lending work for corporates including National Express Group and First Group.

At Fieldfisher team head Philip Abbott recently advised Merkle Group on a $250m acquisition and working capital facility provided by a consortium of US banks.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP’s Jons Lehmann is noted for his ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ service, which covers a broad spectrum of mandates including structured and investment grade finance. The arrival in September 2015 of Stuart Brinkworth from Hogan Lovells International LLP has strengthened the team, particularly for leveraged finance.

Led by Kirsty Barnes, the ‘technically excellent’ 11-partner banking and finance team at Gowling WLG is well regarded in the mid-market, where it advises on multi-currency secured and unsecured domestic and cross-border investment grade matters. Barnes recently advised Virtus IMH on the amendment of its £50m syndicated facility agreement with Deutsche Bank.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s practice excels at cross-border financings, and regularly works with practitioners from the firm’s global network. Working alongside colleagues from Moscow, Bruce Johnston advised Natixis on a $750m pre-export finance syndicated facility to EuroChem. The ‘very commercialThomas O’Connor is recommended for his private placement work for US institutional investors.

At RPC, ‘commercially focused’ team head Sukh Ahark handles financing work for corporates including Sports Direct and Dialog Semiconductor.

Stephenson Harwood’s banking and finance team handles syndicated corporate lending, fund financing and acquisition finance as part of its broader remit. ‘Knowledgeable and supportive’ team head James Linforth is recommended.

At Wedlake Bell LLP, team head Hilary Platt has ‘extensive knowledge of the debt financing market’.


Commodities: derivatives

Index of tables

  1. Commodities: derivatives
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Reed Smith LLP garners a great deal of respect in the market; ‘it is certainly a top-tier firm’. Chris Borg and Brett Hillis ‘always deliver good, strong advice’ to a number of trade bodies including the London Bullion Market Association and the European Federation of Energy Traders. Borg also provides regulatory advice to trading houses and energy companies. Claude Brown is a recognised expert on weather derivatives and structured commodity trades. Prajakt Samant, Rashpaul Bahia and counsel Joanna Williams are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has an integrated global practice that is a key adviser to exchanges and clearing houses and is noted for its regulatory and transactional expertise. Barney Reynolds and Thomas Donegan advised ICE Clear Singapore and ICE Futures Singapore on all governance and regulatory matters relating to their launch. Donegan also advised ICE Futures US on the development of its benchmark cotton contract, and ICE Clear Europe on a new physically settled coal contract. Patrick Clancy is also recommended.

Ashurstdelivers on time and on budget, and has a deep understanding of business needs’. The team of ‘smart, hardworking lawyers’ includes James Coiley, who advised Cantor Fitzgerald on regulatory aspects of a commodity financing programme; Jonathan Haines, who acts for Merrill Lynch Commodities Europe; repo and stock-lending expert Chris Georgiou; and counsel Kerion Ball, who ‘knows what clients want and has deep market knowledge’.

At Dentons, Rosali Pretorius (who ‘has a very good name in the market’) and Luca Salerno advised North Sea oil and gas producer Statoil (UK) Trading on the impact of MiFID II regulations on derivatives trading activities. The firm also advises key financial institutions such as Société Générale and Citigroup Global Markets on trading in gas, power and metals both over-the-counter and on-exchange.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s ‘user-friendly and client-focused’ practice is ‘very strong on commodities work’. Regulatory expert Robert Finney and Judith Prior advised CME Europe on the development of a cocoa futures contract. Key figures on the disputes front include Brian Perrott, who represented GMI and Swiss Marine in High Court hearings, and Damian Honey.

Linklaters LLP is the leading Magic Circle firm for commodity derivatives. Highlights included advising LME Clear as the first clearing house to accept LME warrants as collateral from clearing members. The firm also advised the exchange on a new system for the transfer of warehouse receipts. Jeremy Gewirtz counts Noble among his clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright attracts praise for its ‘strong commercial judgement and ability to find solutions under pressure’. On regulatory matters Jonathan Herbsthas formidable command of his subject’ and Conor Foley ‘really knows this area well’. Nigel Dickinson advised a bank on a multimillion-dollar metals deal with a leading trading house. Daniel Franks and Hannah Meakin are also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides ‘excellent business acumen and practical advice’. The practice’s energy capability was strengthened by the arrival of Matthew Williams, Edward Humphries and regulatory specialist Elisabeth Blunsdon from Hogan Lovells International LLP; and Peter Roberts from Andrews Kurth (UK) LLP, who leads the firm’s global oil and gas practice. Clients include BTG Pactual, Noble and JPMorgan.

Simmons & Simmons has ‘a highly effective practice, which is flexible across the commodities space’. Jonathan Melrose is ‘at the top of his profession’ and played a key role in advising an industry association on the implementation of a new pricing benchmark. In another highlight, Omar Al-Ali (who joined from Linklaters LLP) advised Castleton Commodities on energy hedging related to the client’s acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s global oil merchanting business. Charlotte Stalin is also recommended.

Clifford Chance LLP’s practice acts for industry bodies including the LMA and ISDA, and attracts praise for its ‘highly innovative transactional advice’. Leonard Cleland drew on his expertise in margin lending techniques under English and Russian law to advise VTB Capital on its forward sale agreements. Commodity derivatives specialist Matthew Grigg is also recommended.

Clients of Fieldfisher rate its practice for providing ‘advice that is very well tailored and of high quality’. Guy Usher and Edward Miller are advising a Swiss energy trader and a soft commodities broker respectively on the implications of MiFID II regulations. Usher is also advising Mitsubishi Corporation on aluminium trading. Luke Whitmore is recommended and Emma Spiers is one to watch.

Notwithstanding the departure of a significant proportion of its team to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, Hogan Lovells International LLP still fields several key practitioners in this area. Michael Thomas advised the London Metal Exchange and LME Clear on creating new classes of metal derivatives contracts, while James Doyle advised BNP Paribas on pre-paid forward derivatives in emerging markets.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s David Birchall is a respected commodities and energy trading lawyer; he has advised Morgan Stanley on metals contracts, uncollateralised arrangements with UK energy suppliers and green trading.

Sutherland (Europe) LLP has ‘deep market experience and precious knowledge of trading’. Paul Sinnott is recommended for oil and metals transactions. The firm advises major oil companies and leading trading houses on transactional and regulatory matters. Experienced litigator Jenni Lajzerowicz is also recommended.


Commodities: physicals

Index of tables

  1. Commodities: physicals
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Clyde & Co LLPscores highly on all criteria, especially industry knowledge and judgement’. The practice, which acts for leading trading houses such as Glencore and Vitol, has outstanding contentious practitioners in Hatty Sumption, Michael Swangard, sanctions expert John Whittaker and Eurof Lloyd-Lewis. Clare Hatcher excels in trading matters and regulation, and Marko Kraljevic stands out for energy transactions. Paul Dillon, who joined from Reed Smith LLP, adds expertise in energy and natural resources disputes. Litigation associate Tara Smith is one to watch.

Hill Dickinson LLP is noted for its ‘exceptionally professional advice on commodity disputes’. Soft commodities expert Jeff Isaacs is a leading practitioner in the sugar market. 40-year market veteran David Lucasknows his way around every problem’. The ‘technically competent’ Fred Konynenburg and Paul Taylorrespond quickly with to-the-point advice and pragmatic, clear proposals’. Litigator Darren Wallshows exceptional skill and knowledge’, and advised Nidera on a $3m GAFTA arbitration. Other clients include BP, Noble and Cargill.

Holman Fenwick Willan is ‘one of the top players in this area’. The ‘attentive and thoroughBrian Perrott (who ‘builds excellent relationships with clients’) advised Cargill in a multimillion-dollar Supreme Court case. Head of litigation Damian Honey, who represented BP Oil in a crude oil sales contract matter, and disputes partners Chris Swart and Richard Merrylees are also highly recommended. Other key figures include Alistair Feeney, who has ‘an easy grasp of the issues’; Judith Prior, who is a key adviser to the sugar industry; Robert Finney, who is recommended for regulatory matters; and Sarah Taylor, for her expertise in coal, iron ore and metals disputes.

Reed Smith LLP is ‘a market leader and first port of call for any major player in the commodity markets’. Key figures include Kyri Evagora, who is ‘a superb team leader and a hardy fighter’; Andrew Meads, who is ‘bright, experienced, loyal and hardworking’; ‘very effective operator’ Diane Galloway, who ‘cuts to the point and gets outstanding results’; and Richard Swinburn, who is ‘a sure pair of hands in a crisis’. Vassia Payiataki (‘a doyenne of GAFTA and FOSFA matters’) successfully acted for Bunge in a Supreme Court case against Nidera. Glencore, Chevron and Vale are also clients.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘responsive, practical and adaptable’ practice is considered ‘top for disputes in the oil and tanker business’. Haris Zografakis is recommended for disputes and advisory work in hard, soft and energy commodities, and Paolo Ghirardani is a popular choice for disputes work among leading oil companies and trading houses. Peter Bennett represented Mercuria Energy Trading in a $270m dispute with Citibank concerning metal stocks in Qingdao.

Ashurst is noted for its ‘strong bench, industry expertise and commercial approach’. Antony Skinner advises Bank of America Merrill Lynch on commodity matters and is recommended alongside Michael Burns, for his ‘great depth of energy industry knowledge’; Philip Thomson, who advised BP Gas Marketing on the purchase of gas from Ithaca Energy; and newly promoted partner Julia Derrick, who provides ‘sound, practical advice based on extensive experience’.

At DLA Piper, Richard Usher’s time as general counsel at international commodity trading firms enables him to provide clients with ‘a unique perspective on commodities transactions’. Shipping and commodities litigator Linos Choo is also recommended. The firm counts ANZ Bank, Standard Chartered and Falcon Group among its clients.

Ince & Co lost former global head of trade Stuart Shepherd to RPC but retains an active commodity disputes practice. Key figures include Will Marshall, who acted in a multimillion-dollar case regarding contaminated crude oil shipments; and Jonathan Goldfarb, who acts for leading trading houses. Gunvor and Vitol are also clients.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP is a leading light in commodities and energy trading. David Birchall advised Intergen on its UK power trading and acted for JPMorgan Chase in the sale of its physical commodities business to Mercuria. ADDAX Petroleum and Olam International are also clients.

The ‘incredibly hardworking and intelligent’ team at Norton Rose Fulbrightprovides first-class industry expertise and commercial advice even when imaginative solutions are required’. Nicholas Grandage and senior associate Andrew Wood are ‘trusted advisers’. Grandage advised Standard Chartered Trade Services Corporation on a supply agreement for metals, while Michael Godden represented Citibank in a dispute over metals stored in Qingdao.

Sutherland (Europe) LLP advises some of the world’s largest oil companies and trading houses on energy and metals matters. Key figures include Mark Aspinall and Paul Sinnott, who are ‘well known in the London market and have in-depth knowledge’; John McCaskill, who excels in soft commodity trading; and experienced litigator Jenni Lajzerowicz.

Thomas Cooper LLP is sought after by both banks and commodity trading houses. Highlights for Charles Williams’s team included contract disputes arising from grain shipments to Iran; a multimillion-pound dispute before the Sugar Association of London; and a contamination case concerning grain from Ukraine. Lisa Hillary stands out for contentious matters.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is ‘right at the top for commodity trading matters’. ‘Sophisticated and tenacious litigatorAndrew Hutcheon is ‘incredibly knowledgeable about international trade and navigates multi-jurisdictional complexities with ease’. Head of Litigation and Arbitration Andrew Savage represented a cotton producer in a High Court appeal of an International Cotton Association arbitration award.

At DWF, head of shipping and commodities Jonathan Moss won a case for Trafigura concerning a $150m purchase of oil supplies from Malaysia. Other recommended disputes figures include Michael Kingston and former barrister Elliott Bromley. Nimex Petroleum and Van Dalen Metals Recycling & Trading are among the firm’s clients.

Gateley Plc’s Nicholas Walser has over 30 years’ experience in commodity disputes, particularly GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations. His highlights included a $15m GAFTA case concerning feed barley and a $5m FOSFA matter arising from corn oil shipments.

At Linklaters LLP, Chris Staples (who is ‘a really smart dealmaker’) advised BTG Pactual on a $100m prepayment facility for crude oil products. Jeremy Gewirtz acted for Noble Europe in crude oil supply arrangements to the Klesch Group’s Heide refinery. Glencore and BP are among the team’s clients.

At specialist maritime and international trade firm Mills & Co, Neville Hopper is ‘the complete package’; he represented Vitol in jet fuel disputes against Morgan Stanley Capital. Jonathan Green’s broad commodity disputes practice includes a strong pipeline of trade arbitrations. Simon Williams is recommended for metals trading matters.


Corporate restructuring and insolvency

Index of tables

  1. Corporate restructuring and insolvency
  2. Leading individuals

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld provides ‘responsive, commercial and pragmatic’ advice to bondholders and noteholders and is noted for its track record on many of the largest cross-border mandates. Aided by the firm’s entrenched energy expertise, the ‘excellent’ James Terry has been involved in the majority of European oil and gas restructurings in the market, and is currently advising an ad-hoc group of bondholders in their interests as stakeholders of Norske Skog. Co-head Barry Russell (who is ‘at the top of the pecking order for private placement workouts’) recently acted for the par and secondary holders of private placement notes on the €2bn financial restructuring and subsequent bankruptcy of Royal Imtech. Other recommended partners include ‘fantastic’ co-head James Roome; the ‘technically strong and commercial’ Neil Devaney; the ‘top-notch’ Tom Bannister; and Liz Osborne and Emma Simmonds, ‘who are both very good at navigating complex cross-border structures’.

Allen & Overy LLP provides ‘creative and commercial advice’ to lenders including RBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays. Ian Field (who attracts praise for his ‘extensive experience of difficult deals’) acted alongside Carolyn Conner for the senior coordinating committee on the £350m restructuring of Cory Environmental. While the team is busier on the creditor front, it does handle a significant amount of debtor work; highlights included advising Four Seasons Health Group on financial restructuring options with respect to its term facility, senior secured notes and senior notes, as well as its real estate portfolio. The ‘results-oriented’ Earl Griffith led on that matter and is recommended alongside the ‘creative and solutions-oriented’ Randal Weeks and ‘calm and authoritative’ Tim Crocker. Gordon Stewart retired from the partnership (although he remains a consultant) and Mark Sterling now works on a part-time basis.

Clifford Chance LLP’s client base comprises an array of stakeholders including banks, funds, corporates and IPs. Philip Hertz (who ‘excels at getting deals over the line’) acted alongside the ‘superb’ Iain White to advise the ad-hoc bondholder committee on Spanish company Abengoa’s proposed €19.5bn restructuring. White is also acting for Codere on its high-profile restructuring of the company’s revolving credit facility and high yield bond indebtedness. Adrian Cohen has ‘huge experience across a number of jurisdictions’ including the UAE, and is currently advising the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on insolvency law reform. Other recommended partners include David Towers, who is praised for his ‘strategic nous’, ‘rising star’ John MacLennan, and the ‘commercial’ David Steinberg.

The ‘vastly experiencedKen Baird heads Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘talented’ ten-partner team, which provides ‘very creative advice’ to clients including KKR, Alcentra and PwC. The firm, which is ‘excellent at complex cross-border matters’, is a regular fixture on significant pan-European restructurings, and recently advised German-based global technology metals business H C Starck on its €700m restructuring. The ‘unflappableRichard Tett led on that matter and has ‘an excellent understanding of current trends and structures’. The recent hire of Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has strengthened the team’s ability to handle restructurings involving high yield debt. Nick Segal, Sean Lacey, Adam Gallagher and the ‘very strong’ Catherine Balmond are also recommended.

The ‘first-rate’ team at Linklaters LLP has the strength in depth and international platform to handle a range of mandates for an array of stakeholders. The ‘calm, commercial and proactive’ Nick Le Masurier recently acted for the ad-hoc committee of senior creditors on the £817.5m sale, by way of scheme of arrangement, of Guardian Digital Communications to Motorola Solutions. ‘Accomplished’ co-head Rebecca Jarvis has been involved in numerous energy-related matters, including advising the syndicate of senior secured lenders on the attempted restructuring and ultimate administration of Afren Group. Other key figures include co-head Richard Bussell (who is ‘a class act’), Yen Sum, who is known for her bondholder and CLO expertise, Bruce Bell, and insolvency litigator Euan Clarke. David Ereira joined Paul Hastings LLP in November 2015.

The ‘responsive and proactive’ team at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP provides ‘commercial advice’ to a private equity and funds client base including Oaktree Capital, Centerbridge Partners and KKR Credit. The ‘commercial’ and ‘effectiveKon Asimacopoulos advised Centerbridge Partners as majority lender on the debt-for-equity restructuring of Apcoa Car Parks. Asimacopoulos also acted alongside the ‘superbPartha Kar for KKR portfolio company Northgate Information Solutions on its global, multi-jurisdictional restructuring, which involved a debt-for-equity swap and the transfer of ownership to existing mezzanine lenders Goldman Sachs and Park Square. Elaine Nolan is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ ‘multi-disciplinary team’ attracts praise for its ability to ‘draw on strong legal expertise from the firm’s structured finance, litigation and real estate groups’. ‘Very commercial and pragmatic’ team head Adam Plainer (who is ‘a clear leader in his field’) recently concluded his long-running representation of Barclays on General Healthcare Group’s financial restructuring. Also recommended are the ‘very commercialAndrew Wilkinson, who ‘understands how creditors think’; the ‘very experienced and reliablePaul Bromfield; Mark Lawford; Alexander Wood; and ‘personable and clever’ of counsel Linton Bloomberg.

Ashurst’s ‘commercial and imaginative’ team acts for an array of stakeholders including senior lenders, funds and debtors. The ‘commercial and creative’ Simon Baskerville* (who is ‘tapped into the funds community’) recently advised Avenue Capital on its proposed acquisition of a €2bn non-performing loan portfolio from Ulster Bank. The ‘superb’ Dan Hamilton and the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Olga Galazoula continue to act as English law adviser to the Bank of Cyprus on the financial restructuring of some of its largest corporate exposures. London team head Giles Boothman and the ‘pragmatic and clear’ Lynn Dunne are also recommended. *Simon Baskerville joined Latham & Watkins in July 2016.

The ‘high-quality team’ at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP attracts praise for its ‘ability to manoeuvre around difficult and conflicting stakeholders’, and for its ‘excellent oil and gas sector expertise’. The group is traditionally best known for its debtor-side practice and has picked up numerous mandates in the mining sector; highlights included advising Lonmin plc on the refinancing and restructuring of a $360m English law facility agreement and ZAR2bn South African law facilities. The ‘superb’ Laurence Elliott leads the team, which includes Kevin Pullen, who continues to act in the long-running Nortel bankruptcy.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is praised for its ‘ability to manage stakeholders extremely well’, both in a restructuring and formal insolvency setting. Led by the ‘superbStephen Foster, the team is best known for its work for banks including Lloyds, Santander and Bank of America. The ‘excellentPaul McLoughlin recently advised GE on the sale and transfer of its European commercial mortgage portfolio, and the ‘dependable and solutions-oriented’ Deborah Gregory recently acted for the syndicate of secured lenders to Caparo Industries. The ‘smart and commercial’ Tom Astle and ‘sincere and brightJoe Bannister are also recommended.

Clients appreciate Latham & Watkins’ ‘efficient staffing’ and ‘high level of service’. ‘Very creative’ team head John Houghtonfully understands the commercial imperative’ and is known for his ‘robust approach’; in addition to advising bondholders, Houghton also handles debtor mandates and acted alongside the firm’s Moscow office on the restructuring of Ukranian entity DTEK Holdings. The ‘careful and thorough’ Helena Potts is also recommended.

Slaughter and May’s cross-departmental approach ensures it can provide ‘nimble and creative’ advice to debtors on their restructurings. The firm is often involved in politically sensitive matters, and recently acted on the winding-up of former Icelandic bank, Glitnir. The ‘very calmRichard de Carle, ‘excellentMiranda Leung and ‘rising starTom Vickers acted on that matter and are recommended alongside ‘top-drawer’ group head Ian Johnson.

Led by Christian Pilkington, White & Case LLP’s four-partner team has ‘a deep understanding of the restructuring market’ and acts for a balanced and broad array of clients including banks, funds and debtors. The team’s ability to leverage the firm’s wide-ranging international network and complementary practice areas was recently illustrated by its advice to Kaupthing on its approximately $45bn restructuring. The team has also been heavily involved in restructurings in the energy and shipping space; highlights included advising the debtors of Afren plc and lenders to Torm on their $1bn-plus restructurings. Laura Prater has ‘the requisite skillset to get even the most complicated deals done’ and is recommended alongside Ian Wallace, who joined the firm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in August 2015.

Led by Gregory Petrick, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s ‘impressively well-prepared’ five-partner team acts for a range of fund clients including Oaktree, GSO and Apollo. The ‘creative and responsive’ Karen McMaster has acted for numerous distressed funds; recent highlights include acting alongside the ‘hugely impressive’ Yushan Ng on Njord Partners and Goldman Sachs Special Situations’ €25m debt investment in a Portuguese cabling company. Also recommended are Richard Nevins, for his ‘ability to manage disparate groups of creditors to achieve sensible conclusions’; and Louisa Watt, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’ on debt and claims trading matters.

Jones Day attracts praise for its ability to ‘pull together lawyers from various jurisdictions and complementary practice areas’ to provide ‘a comprehensive’ service to funds, banks and debtors. Team head Ben Larkineffortlessly combines commercial deal experience with deep restructuring knowledge’ and recently advised Paperlinx on its insolvency. The ‘thorough and commercialKay Morley regularly advises hedge funds on distressed investment opportunities in Europe. Insolvency litigator Sion Richards is also recommended.

Headed by the ‘responsive and proactiveBen Jones, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘a pragmatic and solutions-oriented service’ to a range of mid-market clients including IPs, banks and funds. ‘Insightful and clever’ insolvency litigator David Leibowitz advised the trustees in bankruptcy on the largest UK Ponzi scheme to date, which involved a court resolution on the most effective way to get the recovered sums to the investors in the scheme. Also recommended are Marc Trottier and Ian Benjamin, who provides ‘robust and definitive advice’.

Headed by the ‘knowledgeable and solutions-orientedRita Lowe, CMS’ practice has deeply entrenched relationships with UK clearing banks and a balanced perspective that debtor clients appreciate. In an illustration of its overall energy sector strength, Emma Riddle acted for the UK entities of Noreco on its bond restructuring. The ‘calm and measuredPeter Wiltshire has also been very active in the energy sector, and is recommended alongside Pranai Karia, who specialises in real estate restructurings, and ‘excellent problem-solverAshley Smith, who handles distressed debt trading.

DLA Piper’s national and international network enables it to handle a significant volume of mandates for clearing banks and corporates in both a formal and informal insolvency and restructuring setting. Led by the ‘commercial and pragmaticMichael Fiddy and ‘exceptionalAmy Jacks, the firm remains a leader on both the buy and sell side for distressed portfolio mandates; Jacks and Fiddy recently advised Aviva on the £2.5bn disposal of its distressed real estate portfolio to Lonestar Funds. Fiddy acted as co-counsel for Abengoa on its high-profile restructuring. David Ampaw leads the London distressed trading team and is ‘excellent within the funds space’.

Dentons’ 11-partner team provides ‘absolutely top-class’ advice that ‘combines both technical expertise and commercial awareness’. Its expertise covers a range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency work for banks, IPs and corporates. Team head and ‘fantastic tacticianNigel Barnett is continuing to act as co-counsel in the proceedings relating to the distribution of surplus assets in the Lehman Brothers insolvency. Also recommended are insolvency litigator Rachel Anthony, for her ‘superlative ability to anticipate the actions that the opponent might take’; the ‘technically astute and determinedCelia Hayward; and the ‘commercial and solutions-orientedByron Nurse.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s ‘very strong, small team provides commercial and effective advice’ to strategic investors including KKR Credit, TPG Special Situations and Sankaty Advisors. ‘Dynamic duo’ James Douglas and Tony Horspool attract praise for ‘their creative approach to protecting their clients’ interests’; they acted alongside Daniel Martin for the senior unsecured bondholders on the £1bn restructuring of Towergate Insurance.

Sidley Austin LLP’s four-partner London team works with colleagues in the US and Asia and excels at providing ‘thoughtful and strategic advice’ on multi-jurisdictional restructurings for a broad range of stakeholders. ‘Energetic’ team head Patrick Corralways comes up with innovative ideas’; he recently advised Northwood Acquisitions on its €285m acquisition of French public company Cegereal. Also recommended are the ‘technically proficientPhillip Taylor and Marc Wassermann, who provides ‘thoughtful and considered advice on ABS restructurings’.

Simmons & Simmons provides ‘commercial and sensible advice’ to clients including Deloitte, Morgan Stanley and Avenue Capital. ‘Pragmatic and experienced’ team head Peter Manning recently advised the board of GHG Property Group on its proposed £2.1bn restructuring. The ‘commercialAlyson Lockett and Ross Miller (whose ‘years on the trading floor has given him a strong understanding of clients’ needs’) have particular expertise in debt trading. The ‘pragmatic and no-nonsenseAlan Gar is also recommended.

Chris Mallon heads Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s two-partner London team, which leverages the firm’s large international network to handle complex cross-border mandates for a broad array of stakeholders. Mallon recently advised TORM on its $1.4bn restructuring. The ‘considered and calm’ Dominic McCahill is acting alongside Mallon on the high-profile restructuring of HETA Asset Resolution.

The ‘experiencedDevi Shah at Mayer Brown International LLP has significant cross-border insolvency expertise and acted for the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) supervisors on the ongoing implementation of a complex CVA of a North Sea oil and gas development and production company. David Allen is also regarded as a ‘top practitioner’ for insolvency litigation. Ashley Katz joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s high-quality’ team provides ‘user-friendly’ advice to a creditor-focused client base, which also benefits from the firm’s UK and US high yield bond restructuring expertise. ‘Highly strategic’ team head Nick Angel is ‘excellent at stakeholder management’, and Peter Newman is ‘adept at devising creative solutions for cross-border restructurings’. Angel and Newman acted for an ad-hoc committee of junior lenders on the $2bn restructuring of General Healthcare Group.

Paul Hastings LLP’s London office has gained a particularly strong reputation for representing clients in the distressed structured finance CMBS space. Stephen Parker is ‘excellent at navigating complex problems’, and acted for Deutsche Bank as note and security trustee on the Fairfield CMBS transaction. Michelle Duncan is noted for her ‘great tactical judgement’ on insolvency litigation and is recommended alongside Karl Clowry. The ‘vastly experienced’ David Ereira joined from Linklaters LLP.

Headed by Clifford Atkins and working closely with the firm’s broader finance group, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s practice has a strong reputation within the financial services sector and has handled a number of major mandates for troubled Greek banks; the ‘commercially mindedMei Lian acted for Piraeus Bank on its €4.9bn recapitalisation. US-qualified partner Solomon Noh provides ‘strong practical guidance around Chapter 11 options in European situations’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s five-partner team provides ‘a good level of service’ to banks and accountants including RBS, Barclays and Deloitte. The ‘knowledgeable, courteous and tenacious’ Alison Goldthorp advised KPMG as administrators of De Stefano Property Group, including facilitating the sale of a large property portfolio to Catalyst Capital.

Baker McKenzie LLP provides a ‘commercial and pragmatic’ service to a range of lenders, debtors, IPs and security trustees. Co-head Louise Webbcombines strong insolvency skills with great attention to detail’; she has been involved in several energy-related restructurings, including acting for the joint receivers, liquidators, and security trustee in an oil and gas related enforcement and sale process. The arrival in January 2016 of the ‘fantastic’ Hugh Lyons from Hogan Lovells International LLP enhances the group’s contentious prowess, particularly in disputes involving distressed or insolvent companies or fraud and financial misconduct. ‘Highly intellectual’ co-head Ian Jack is also recommended.

At Eversheds LLP, team head Paul de la Pena recently advised Oaktree/Sabal on the acquisition of a portfolio of non-performing loans from NAMA. On the contentious front, Jamie Leadernot only has an intricate knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of insolvency law, but ably distils it into succinct and cogent advice.

Headed by the ‘practical and level-headedSimon Beale and Jat Bains, the ‘responsive and commercial’ six-partner team at Macfarlanes LLPprovides excellent commercial understanding and market knowledge, both in restructuring and pure insolvency’. Clients include Ares, Better Capital and ING.

At Nabarro LLP, the ‘knowledgeable, thoughtful and commercial’ Glen Flannery has particular expertise advising on insolvencies in the financial services sector. Flannery is continuing to advise the special administrators on a range of issues in the UK and abroad arising from the special administration of foreign exchange broker, LQD Markets. Patricia Godfrey is ‘well connected in international work’ and is a go-to practitioner for international trustee work.

Now headed by James Stonebridge and Sarah Coucher following Hamish Anderson’s retirement from the partnership to become a consultant, Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘responsive and commercial’ seven-partner team excels at handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. Stonebridge ‘combines robust legal analysis with pragmatic and commercial advice’.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘pragmatic and proactive advice’ to an increasingly balanced array of clients that includes lenders, funds, IPs and corporates. Steven Cottee specialises in law firm insolvencies and recently acted as solicitor manager alongside administrators Alix Partners on the administration of legal and professional services provider Parabis Group. Nicholas Pike and Tom Withyman provide ‘clear and concise advice’ across a range of insolvency and restructuring matters, and Nick Gavin-Brown is noted for his ‘strong understanding of lender-side commercial issues’.

Proskauer Rose LLP acts for trustee and fund clients including Contrarian Capital Management, David Rubin and Partners, and Duff and Phelps. ‘Highly thoughtful’ team head Mark Fennessy is noted for his ‘valuable market colour, which is useful when trouble crops up for a creditor’s position’.

Stephenson Harwood’s eight-partner team is handling a growing number of complex international restructurings in addition to its traditional diet of mid-market domestic mandates. Susan Moore (who is ‘intelligent, articulate and shrewd’) and Elizabeth Elliott (who ‘combines quality legal skills with winning charm and diplomacy’) lead the team, which is advising Winsway Enterprises on its $350m cross-border bond restructuring. Key figures on the contentious front include the ‘tactically astute and tenaciousJulian Cahn and ‘charming and insightfulStuart Frith.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s small team benefits from UK and US law expertise and the support of its US practice, making it a strong choice for complex, partner-led work. Highlights included acting for ZIM on its $2.6bn debt restructuring and debt-for-equity swap. The ‘creativeChristopher Howard and Presley Warner are recommended.

Led by the ‘commercial’ Nick Moser, Taylor Wessing LLP’s ten-partner team handles domestic and international work for clients including AlixPartners, PricewaterhouseCoopers and CVR Global. Leveraging the firm’s overarching IP strength, the team is a natural choice for restructuring matters in IP-rich businesses and recently acted for Petsupermarket.com on its restructuring. Neil Smyth is also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP handles an array of work for the special situations arms of the firm’s private equity client base. Senior counsel Douglas Hawthorn provides ‘balanced and commercial advice’, while the arrival in February 2016 of the ‘pragmatic and calm’ Edward Smith from K&L Gates LLP further strengthens a team that includes recommended partners Peter Hughes and Jeremy Walsh.

The ‘personable’ Joss Hargrave heads the team at Bird & Bird LLP, which provides ‘clear and commercial advice’ to a range of stakeholders and has particular expertise in the financial services and renewable energy sectors.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Simon Ridpathcombines great legal knowledge and a pragmatic approach on insolvency litigation’.

At Clyde & Co LLP team head Andrew Foster provides ‘robust and forthright advice’ on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Foster is also well known in the distressed ABL space.

At Cooley (UK) LLP, team head Jon Yorke focuses on insolvency and restructuring within the financial services and insurance industries.

The arrival in January 2016 of the ‘excellentPaul Fleming from DLA Piper has bolstered Dechert LLP’s restructuring practice. Fleming acted alongside ‘pragmatic and commercial’ litigator Adam Silver for hedge fund Contrarian in its opposition to APP Group’s attempt to implement an English law scheme of arrangement.

Farrer & Copunches above its weight’ and is ‘particularly good in relation to complex administrations and liquidations, where there are difficult legal issues that need to be worked out in short order’. ‘Hardworking’ team head David Fletcher regularly advises boards of directors and private banks in insolvency and restructuring situations.

At Fieldfisher, Manchester-based Michelle Shean provides ‘solutions-oriented’ advice on non-contentious restructuring matters, while the ‘hardworking and attentive’ Kit Jarvis specialises on the contentious side.

Key figures at Fladgate LLP include Jeremy Whiteson and senior associate Peter Reynolds, who recently joined from Memery Crystal LLP. The practice provides ‘responsive and clear advice’ across a range of restructuring and insolvency matters.

Led by Julian Pallett in London, Gowling WLG’s six-partner team has strong lender and IP connections and provides ‘responsive and commercial advice’ across an array of predominantly domestic mid-market insolvency and restructuring matters.

In spite of the recent departure of Edward Smith to Travers Smith LLP, K&L Gates LLP still maintains a ‘quality team’ that includes ‘impressive’ team head Jonathan Lawrence and Andrew Petersen, who regularly handles structured finance related restructurings.

At King & Wood Mallesons, team head Jeremy Goldring handles domestic and cross-border work for funds and IPs. Goldring is advising FTI as administrators of several companies in the Climate Energy group whose businesses had been adversely affected by policy changes concerning subsidisation of green energy initiatives.

Michelmores LLP’s three-partner practice is acting for York Global Finance as one of the respondents in connection with the “Waterfall II” directions application made by the Lehman Brothers liquidators. Charles Maunder and Alexander Wood are praised for their ‘knowledgeable and very commercial approach’.

At Olswang LLP, Alicia Videon is ‘at the top of her game’ and ‘excels at complex and distressed situations’, particularly within the real estate sector. The ‘practical and commercialJulian Turner is also recommended.

At Reed Smith LLP, team head Charlotte Møller provides ‘easily digestible and on-point advice’ to clients across a range of sectors including energy, real estate and financial services. Møller has detailed knowledge of the UK Special Administration regime.

At Squire Patton Boggs, team head Cathryn Williams handles restructuring and insolvency work for a range of banks, IPs, funds and corporates. Paul Muscutt is recommended for ABL restructurings.


Debt capital markets

Index of tables

  1. Debt capital markets
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘a first-choice firm for DCM work; standards are very high, particularly in complex deals with challenging technical issues’. ‘Highly valued liability management adviser’ Jonathan Melton, who leads the team following Stephen Miller’s move to Hong Kong, advised several leading banks on multibillion-pound tender offers for outstanding debt. Other highlights included Theo Trayhurn’s advice to Barclays on the $6.5bn BHP Billiton multi-currency hybrid bond issue; Philip Smith’s advice to Deutsche Bank on a €400m guaranteed notes offering; Jamie Durham and Sachin Davé’s work for Turkcell on a $500m issuance; Matthew Hartley’s advice to a multinational on a €1bn debt exchange offer; and Jonathan Mellor’s work for a large UK retailer on a £500m convertible bond. Tom Grant stands out for his work on regulatory capital and corporate hybrid transactions.

Clifford Chance LLP stands out for its ‘high level of service’ and for its ‘well-staffed teams, which help clients through tricky scenarios’. Head of capital markets Simon Sinclair advised arranger Traderisks on £200m in CPI-linked bonds issued by the Greater London Authority (GLA), with project bonds specialist Clare Burgess acting for GLA. In other highlights, Sinclair and US-qualified Stewart Dunlop advised managers on offerings by UBS Group Funding totalling $4.3bn; David Dunnigan (who is ‘very good at managing client relationships’ and stands out for sovereign and development bank issuance) advised lead manager SocGen on Cameroon’s $750m debut Eurobond; and David Bickerton and newly promoted partner Paul Deakins advised University of Liverpool on £250m in unsecured bonds. ‘Attentive and technically spot-on’ senior associate Peter Pears is one to watch.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘commercial, precise and detailed’ capital markets group is led by Elaine Keats, who provides ‘market-leading advice, technical expertise and depth of knowledge when it comes to liability management’. Richard Levy and US-qualified Cecil Quillen provided English and New York law advice on Standard Chartered’s $2bn fixed rate convertible securities issuance. Ben Dulieu and newly promoted partner Neil Dixon advised Centrica on a €1.4bn issuance, and Carson Welsh acted for BNP Paribas on a £626m bond issuance to recapitalise Eurobank. Other key figures include Yaroslav Alekseyev, who is ‘among the best providers of Yankee bond advice’; Richard O’Callaghan, who leads on equity-linked bonds; and Keith Thomson, who is ‘very strong and knows the market inside out’.

A standout firm for DCM’, White & Case LLP is highly active in emerging markets and is increasing its presence in Europe. Global practice head Stuart Matty (who ‘understands how to work with clients’) and Melissa Butler (who is noted for her ‘truly excellent understanding of English and US law’) acted for the lead managers including Barclays Bank on Ghana’s $1bn issuance of amortising bonds. The practice’s ‘deep bench of experts’ includes Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, who advised the managers including Deutsche Bank on a $750m offering by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic. Michael Doran and US capital markets partners Ian Clark and Doron Loewinger acted alongside Fitzherbert-Brockholes and Matty for the government of Ukraine on its $15bn sovereign Eurobond restructuring.

Ashurst provides ‘great service; even on trickier deals the lawyers have proven competitive at the highest level’. The ‘proactive, long-sighted’ Anna Delgado advised Lloyds Bank as arranger on a €500m debut bond for packaging company DS Smith; and acted alongside Christopher Hardingham (who is ‘a thrill to have on any deal’) for SBAB Bank on a SEK1.5bn Tier 1 capital notes issuance. Francis Kucera (‘a pleasure to work with; he makes sure deals get done’) assisted Petropavlovsk with its $335m convertible bond refinancing, and is recommended alongside ‘practical and intelligent’ senior associate Alexander Biles, and counsel Malcolm Charles, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP and strengthens the practice’s trustee expertise.

Baker McKenzie LLPhas a great reputation in cross-border debt transactions’. Roy Pearce (who is ‘an excellent capital markets lawyer’) acted alongside Adam Farlow in three offerings for Ukraine’s Metinvest, including a $750m tranche of guaranteed notes. Also recommended are Simon Porter, whose trustee practice goes from strength to strength; and Chris Hogan, who stands out for debt and equity-linked deals in emerging markets, and advised the Kingdom of Bahrain on a $1.5bn Rule 144a bond offering. Don Guiney is recommended for US law matters.

In an illustration of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s strength in US law matters, Pierre-Marie Boury advised dealer manager Citigroup on a $400m tender offer by Republic of Iceland. In other highlight US law matters, David Gottlieb acted for Armenian bank Ardshinbank on a $100m offering of amortising notes, and Sebastian Sperber advised UBS and Deutsche Bank on Pershing Square’s inaugural $1bn Rule 144a bond offering. In English law deals, Simon Ovenden advised America Movil on its €3bn exchangeable bond offering.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has ‘a very strong DCM practice with a constructive attitude to deals’. The firm excels in Yankee bonds; John Banes advised AstraZeneca on $6bn of takedowns from its notes programme, and acted for the managers on Société Générale’s $1.5bn Rule 144a issuance. Simon Witty and Reuven Young assisted General Electric and dealer managers on exchange offers for $36bn of outstanding debt. Jeffrey Oakes has retired.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, the ‘innovative and highly commercialPeter Allen, who is ‘one of the leading lawyers in the DCM space’ and stands out for emerging markets deals, acted alongside liability management specialist Duncan Kellaway for the lead managers on Republic of Zambia’s $1.5bn notes issuance, and for Hikma Pharmaceuticals on a $500m guaranteed notes offering. Partner Stuart Grider, counsel Nick Hayday and senior associate Jamie Corner are also recommended.

A very good DCM house with strong market experience’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team is noted for its ‘willingness to push boundaries’. Key figures include the ‘approachable, pragmatic, commercial’ Amy Geddes and head of DCM Andrew Roberts, who are ‘focused, proactive and knowledgeable’. Roberts advised the lead managers on Republic of Namibia’s $750m bond, and Geddes acted for easyJet on a £3bn EMTN programme. Tom O’Neill joined from King & Spalding International LLP and leads on US securities. Steve Thierbach joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Latham & Watkins is ‘very strong in DCM and has a strong suit in emerging markets debt’. The practice is highly active in euro-denominated bond issuances; Lene Malthasen (who is ‘great to work with’) advised Vimpelcom on a cash tender offer for $2.1bn in outstanding dollar-denominated Eurobonds. Malthasen and David Stewart acted for arrangers including Morgan Stanley on the establishment of a $10bn MTN programme for the Arab Republic of Egypt. Jeffrey Lawlis is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team of ‘expert partners’ is ‘friendly, quick to respond and adds real value to DCM deals’. Peter Young advised the Republic of Angola on its inaugural $1.5bn bond, and acted alongside Farmida Bi for the government of Pakistan on a $500m offering. Peter Noble, whose strong Canadian practice saw him advise banks on more than €15bn in new issuances in 2015, also acted for the underwriters on the Province of Alberta’s $6bn global MTN programme. US-qualified Thomas Vita advised Akbank on two $500m offerings in 2015. Tak Matsuda retired.

Clients of Shearman & Sterling LLP consider it to be ‘one of the best for complex, high-end US transactions’. In key 2015 highlights, Richard Price advised Anglo American on four offerings totalling $2.5bn; David Dixter advised the underwriters of RBS’s $3.15bn combined issuance; and Mei Lian and Apostolos Gkoutzinis assisted Piraeus Bank with liability management and the issuance of contingent convertible bonds. Also recommended are James Duncan, for English law matters; Trevor Ingram, for US law matters; and newly promoted partner Marwa Elborai.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s issuer-focused practice is particularly rated for complex US law matters. Danny Tricot and Pranav Trivedi were part of a multinational team that advised underwriter HSBC Securities on a $10bn senior notes and contingent convertible bond issuance. Tricot and James McDonald acted for Russian Standard Bank shareholder Roust Trading on a $550m Eurobond restructuring. James Healy is also recommended.

Slaughter and May attracts praise for its ‘outstanding service; there are no areas that could be improved’. Predominantly an issuer-side practice, it has nevertheless attracted bank clients such as Standard Chartered and Santander; Miranda Leung advised the latter on an issuance under its JPY30bn EMTN programme. In other key highlights, Matthew Tobin advised International Airports Group on unsecured bond issuances totalling €1bn, and Guy O’Keefe assisted UK Asset Resolution with a £283m issuance. Ed Fife is ‘always willing to go the extra mile and always takes up the task with enthusiasm’.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has ‘an excellent team of capital markets lawyers, which focuses on quality rather than quantity’. Vanessa Blackmore and Chris Beatty acted for Pershing Square on its inaugural $1bn senior notes offering. John O’Connor acts for Barclays on its multibillion-dollar notes issuance, and George White advised Anheuser-Busch InBev on $565m in debt financing to fund its acquisition of SABMiller. Kathryn Campbell’s clients include BP.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, Jeremy Willcocks excels in emerging markets sovereign debt and acted alongside 25-year veteran Whitney Debevoise for an African sovereign on a multimillion-dollar international retail bond. Steven Tepper is also recommended. Other clients include the republics of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kenya.

Key figures at CMS include Daniel Winterfeldt, who is ‘one of the few go-to lawyers in London for US securities law’; he acted alongside Michael Cavers and Jason Harding for Wellcome Trust on a €400m bond issuance. In other highlights, Cavers continued to advise Enterprise Inns on liability management and consent solicitations, and Harding advised Société Générale on a €2bn issuance as part of its €50bn EMTN programme.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a strong Yankee bonds practice that acts for both corporate issuers and underwriters. Philip Boeckman’s highlights included advising European Investment Bank on ten registered debt offerings totalling $34.5bn. David Mercado acted for the underwriters on three takedowns totalling $5.81bn from Credit Suisse’s MTN programme.

At DLA Piper, head of financial markets Martin Bartlam advised dealers including Banco Santander on the update of Santander Consumer Bank’s €2.5bn EMTN programme; and Ronan Mellon assisted Hewlett Packard with its $3bn commercial paper programme. In another highlight, Bartlam and Mellon acted for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi on debt facilities for a €120m infrastructure project financing. Mark Dwyer joined from Slaughter and May and adds extensive experience on European DCM matters.

Dechert LLP is known for its ‘efficiency, transparency and good governance’, as well as for its ‘heavy partner involvement’. In an illustration of its emerging markets work, Camille Abousleiman and Patrick Lyons advised Arab Republic of Egypt on its $10bn global MTN programme, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on issuances totalling $1.5bn. Other clients include Bank Audi and Greek telecoms company OTE Group.

Dentons is ‘particularly excellent on Islamic debt instruments and emerging markets DCM’. David Cohen advised the Republic of Ghana on the issuance of $1bn in bonds partially guaranteed by the International Development Association. Matthew Sapte (‘highly qualified to deal with difficult and complex matters’) acted for the Government of Ras Al Khaimah on the update of a $2bn trusts certificate issuance programme. The firm also advised on the restructuring of LPN notes issued by Ukraine’s PrivatBank.

Andrew Carey leads Hogan Lovells International LLP’s team, which is noted for its ‘top-notch service’ and ‘wealth of experience’. Carey acted for FCE Bank in EMTN issuances totalling €3.7bn. US law specialist Sylvain Dhennin, who joined from Dentons, advised HNA Group on a complex €1.5bn debt financing for the acquisition of Swissport Group. Kit Johnson specialises in trustee advice and ‘brings years of experience to the table’.

Mayer Brown International LLP combines strength in US and European debt transactions. Clients praise the ‘experience, knowledge, dedication and negotiation skills’ of dual France and US qualified Robert Flanigan; he acted for Autopista del Sol, Concesionaria Española on the €570m Ausol project bond. In another key mandate, James Taylor advised RBS as arranger on HSH Nordbank's €35bn debt issuance programme governed by German and English law. Bernd Bohr is also recommended.

Tamara Box leads the team at Reed Smith LLP, which is ‘excellent in all respects’. Ranajoy Basu advised the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan on a $4bn notes issuance under its MTN programme, and assisted Instiglio with an innovative $238m social impact bond framework to fund education projects in developing countries. Other clients include Deutsche Trustee Company and Citibank.

At Sidley Austin LLP, David Howe (who ‘finds solutions in complex transactions’), Mark Walsh and counsel Vivian Root advised banks including Goldman Sachs on US and English law aspects of Rolls Royce’s $1.5bn Rule 144a offering. Walsh and Root also advised the underwriters on three offerings for ABN AMRO, including a $500m senior notes issue. Bart Capeci joined King & Wood Mallesons and Stephen Roith left the firm.

Simmons & Simmonsis a major player that is good value for money and has a growing reputation among financial institutions’. Piers Summerfield and managing associate Tony Geffin advised DONG Energy on a €600m offering, and Summerfield advised new client Commonwealth Bank of Australia on a EMTN issuance. US-qualified Daniel Maalo joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feldhas a full understanding of clients’ needs’, and is a market leader for cross-border private placements. Sarah Smith advised investors on North West Electricity Networks’ £305m fixed rate and RPI-linked notes issuance. Barry Russell, Mark Mansell and the ‘truly exceptional’ Robert Aulsebrook are also recommended.

At K&L Gates LLP, trustee specialist Sean Crosky is ‘very good on deal closings and is comfortable explaining tricky situations’. He advised corporate service provider Capita on the restructuring of Ukrexim Bank’s $1.48bn LPN programme. Stephen Moller is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons advised Morgan Stanley on updating its $5bn note, warrant and certificate programme. Andrew Bliss led the team on that matter and also acted for Canadian convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard on its NOK675m debut European bond.

Macfarlanes LLPhas a superb debt capital markets practice’, which includes the ‘smart, astute and technically strongRichard Fletcher, who led on the establishment of a bond programme to fund the Department for Communities and Local Government’s £3.5bn private rented sector guarantee scheme.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP US securities partner Carter Brod advised Pearson plc on its €500m issuance, and acted for the steering committee of Grenada bondholders on an exchange offer for the government of Grenada’s $262m defaulted bonds.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP’s Peter Green and Jeremy Jennings-Mares advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch as underwriter on Bank of America Corporation’s €1.5bn senior notes offering. Brian Bates and Scott Ashton, who are known for cross-border private placements, advised the University of Edinburgh on its £100m private placement of senior notes.

Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its ‘combination of technical ability and a good-value proposition’. Edward Sunderland (‘a very safe pair of hands’) advised Lloyds Bank on a £20m private placement to Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association. Stephen Tobin and project bond specialist Michael Watson are also recommended.


Derivatives and structured products

Index of tables

  1. Derivatives and structured products
  2. Leading individuals

Sharp, commercial and easy to deal with’, Allen & Overy LLP’s practice ‘always provides innovative and practical solutions based on in-depth knowledge’. Richard Tredgett (‘a clear market leader’), Paul Cluley and Parya Badie advised a syndicate of global banks on the structured finance implications of the Greek financial crisis. Emma Dwyer (‘at the forefront of regulatory development’), David Benton and David Wakeling are advising ISDA on margin rules for uncleared trades. Other key figures include Franz Ranero, who ‘has a top-notch CLO practice’; Tony Drake-Brockman and Andrew Sulston, who advise on innovative packaged retail and insurance-based investment products; David Wainer, whose clients include Goldman Sachs; and Tom Roberts, who is ‘technically sound and inspires confidence’.

At Clifford Chance LLP, global practice head Habib Motani ‘has seen and done it all, and always provides excellent legal advice’. He leads a practice that includes retail and insurance product expert Andrew Coats and Asia-Pacific specialist Paget Dare Bryan, who lead the London group; emerging markets and structured credit expert Matthew Grigg, who advised RBS on the establishment of derivatives product company Nevis Derivatives No.3; and Jessica Littlewood. Also recommended are Anne Drakeford and William Winterton, who advised National Bank of Australia on clearing arrangements with Clydesdale Bank. The practice is European regulatory counsel to ISDA.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘business acumen and industry knowledge are the best in the market; the advice is always on-point’. Vinay Samani (who is ‘a fantastic businessman’), ‘excellent all-rounderDeepak Sitlani and Matthew Monahanare very knowledgeable when it comes to market practice’. Monahan advised Barclays Bank on restructuring £200m in swaps for Yorkshire Water. Other leading lights include ‘standout lawyerMichael Voisin and newly promoted partner Mark Drury (‘one of a new breed that is willing to innovate’), who focus on derivatives clearing. Simon Firth, the ‘razor-sharpPaul Lewis, longevity swap expert David Phillips, the ‘hugely experienced and hardworkingMark Brown, ‘top-calibre counsel’ Doug Shaw and Toby Gray are also recommended.

At Ashurst, Michael Logie ‘runs a great team at what is increasingly a firm of choice for structured products’, and which stands out for its ‘technical expertise, industry knowledge and value for money’. James Coiley’s highlights included advising Crédit Agricole as originator and arranger on the synthetic securitisation of exposures in the client’s corporate loan book. Jonathan Haines (‘a great adviser on regulatory matters’) acted for an international reinsurer in a complex longevity risk transfer trade involving more than £2bn in liabilities. Adair Gordon-Orr acted for an investment bank on a $225m secured financing restructuring. Counsel Kerion Ball is recommended for derivatives matters. Chris Georgiou retired.

Clients rate CMS for its ‘quick turnaround times, good value for money and the team’s ease with complex products’. Will Dibble advised a bank on a €500m insurance-linked trade. Jason Harding acted for an investment bank in a multibillion-pound hedging related to a note issuance. Mike Munro (who advised Pension Insurance Company on a £2.4bn longevity swap) and James Parker excel in longevity trades. Retail structured products expert Michael Cavers is also recommended. New arrivals include Jason Brooks, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP, and Thomas Lockley, former structuring director at Legal & General.

For some, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is ‘Europe’s leading arranger counsel for CLOs’. ‘Superstar’ David Quirolo advised Credit Suisse Securities on the $402m restructuring of Cairn CLO III. CLO and derivatives specialist Nick Shiren acted for arranger Sterne Agee & Leach on Commerzbank’s €230m debut leveraged loan CLO. Angus Duncan’s highlights included advising UnipolSai Assicurazioni on its €200m debut catastrophe bond. Special counsels Robert Cannon and Claire Puddicombe are recommended for insurance-linked securities and CLOs and repackaging, respectively.

Hogan Lovells International LLP has ‘an excellent, commercial and highly effective practice’. ‘Great structured products lawyer’ James Doyle advised UK Export Finance on the repackaging aspects of its $913m sukuk, and handled a structured EMTN programme for Crédit Agricole. 30-year structured finance veteran David Hudd acted for BNP Paribas on its €20bn secured structured products programme. Kit Johnson has a market-leading trustee practice. The firm also advises the London Metal Exchange.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s clients praise the practice’s ‘exemplary service’. US- and English-qualified Chris Arnold is ‘one of the world’s leading derivatives lawyers; he provides clear, sensible advice’ and acted as advocate for members of ISDA’s EMEA credit derivatives determinations committee in the first test of government intervention rules. Ed Parker heads the derivatives and structured products practice globally and advised Liberty Specialty Markets on a series of transactions designed to provide insurance to alleviate regulatory capital requirements concerning liquidity facilities and CMBS swaps. ‘Cogent, focused’ counsel Nanak Keswani (‘a safe pair of hands in any structured finance transaction’) and senior associate Marcin Perzanowski are ones to watch.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has ‘a market-leading CLO practice for managers and an experienced derivatives team’. Practice head James Warbey is ‘one of the most experienced partners in the market’ and advised Fifth Street SLF as issuers on a $416m CLO. Warbey also advised Zegona Communications on structured finance elements of its €640m acquisition of Telecable, and assisted Orchard Global Asset Management with a regulatory capital transaction relating to derivatives obligations to Credit Suisse. Newly promoted partner John Goldfinch acted for collateral manager Sankaty Advisors on the $400m NewHaven II CLO.

Partner-led practiceShearman & Sterling LLP is known for its ‘high-quality advice, which is delivered promptly’. Patrick Clancy (who is ‘a very safe pair of hands’) advised ABSA Bank as the main creditor of South African retailer Edcon on restructuring the ZAR2bn derivatives portion of its financing portfolio. The ‘calm, incisive, comprehensiveJames Duncan helped Orange Switzerland and Matterhorn Telecom Holding reorganise hedging arrangements. Ian Harvey-Samuel is also recommended. Other clients include Liberty Global, Ice Clear Europe and Deutsche Bank.

Sidley Austin LLP has a strong buy-side focus and provides ‘excellent technical and regulatory advice’. Matthew Dening (‘pragmatic, commercial and excellent with clients’) and Leonard Ng (who provides ‘robust and insightful advice’) advised Man Group on the impact of derivatives regulation reform. Also recommended are Rupert Wall, John McGrath, who is recommended for CLOs, contentious matters and restructuring, and leveraged finance partner Bryan Robson, who joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

The ‘very competitive and reliable team’ at Simmons & Simmons is noted for its ‘excellent value for money’. David Roylance (‘one of the City’s most brilliant and hardworking partners’) advised the underwriters on structured finance elements of a €750m notes issue. Other key figures include the ‘flexible, commercial’ Paul Browne, who is ‘committed to his clients’ and advises leading investment banks; newly promoted partner David Toole, who is ‘a rising star with an eye for detail’; Craig Bisson, who advises asset managers; and Sean Bulmer, who advises on OTC and securitised derivatives. Alan Davies and buy-side adviser Allan Yip are also recommended.

Slaughter and May is ‘an exceptional firm with great flexibility across the finance space’. Predominantly a buy-side firm, the practice is also handling a growing stream of sell-side work for global investment banks. Miranda Leung advised Syntrus Achmea Vermogensbeheer on OTC derivatives clearing including agreements with Deutsche Bank, and acted for Swiss Re on a $700m secured note programme. Guy O’Keefe advised a European bank on complex credit default swaps. Azadeh Nassiri and Ed Fife are also recommended. Mark Dwyer joined DLA Piper and Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined Latham & Watkins.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ ‘very commercial’ CLO practice ‘has a deep bench of high-quality individuals who stay ahead of the curve’. It acted on one-third of all public European CLOs in 2015 and advised regular issuers such as The Carlyle Group. Team leader Jacky Kelly is ‘very strong on client management’ and advised Blackstone/GSO on the first CLO platform to be compliant with new US and European risk retention rules. Kelly and Brian Maher advised swap counterparty Barclays on restructuring derivatives and a swap term loan related to General Healthcare Group’s £2bn securitised debt.

White & Case LLP is ‘a very solid, reliable and good-value firm’. Derivatives specialist Ingrid York and David Barwise are ‘incredibly commercial, responsive and provide no-nonsense advice’; they acted alongside ‘excellent lawyerGavin McLean and Joshua Parbhu for Goldman Sachs as arranger on the issue of senior and subordinated CLO notes totalling more than €350m. McLean also advised Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur on structured elements of its $143.7m floating rate notes issue. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is known for ‘practical and targeted advice’ on both regulatory reform and transactions. Tariq Rasheed advised Deutsche Bank on clearing documentation for OTC trades, and acted for Goldman Sachs on developing its listed futures business. He also handled the addition of structured note products into Bank Hapoalim’s notes programme. Prashanth Satyadeva is also recommended. Paul Severs moved to Paul Hastings LLP.

Fieldfisher is ‘a client-focused and relationship-driven firm’. ‘Very bright’ group head Guy Usher has built ‘a highly respected derivatives practice’. Usher and Luke Whitmore advised a global bank on refinancing £600m in interest rate swaps. Edward Miller’s highlights included advising a brokerage on OTC swaption trades. Also recommended are Emma Spiers, for clearing and margin matters, Gonzalo Fernandez, for corporate trust issues, and Azad Ali (who joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP), for regulatory advice.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘at the cutting edge of innovation in structured finance’, particularly in the fields of insurance and regulation. Simeon Rudin advised financial institutions and corporate clients including Tesco and Worldpay on EMIR and Dodd-Frank regulations. James Grand specialises in derivatives, structured products and interbank funding structures and is active in the CLO market. Dougall Molson transferred to London from Paris.

Latham & Watkins has ‘a lean team whose work on innovative deals packs a real punch’. Dean Naumowiczcombines detailed knowledge and a practical approach’ and advised a leading investment bank on restructuring $247m in credit overlay transactions. Other key names include Basil Zotiades, who advised AXA IM on two CLO deals totalling $414m, Mark Nicolaides, and counsel Shatha Ali, who is recommended for derivatives transactions and regulatory matters. Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined from Slaughter and May.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘fantastic to work with, extremely helpful and proactive’. The ‘very impressive’ Dina Albagli advised an international financial institution on currency hedging for a highly structured guarantee arrangement. Structured products specialist Jake Jackaman acted for BlueBay Asset Management on its €450m corporate credit programme. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ senior associate Nick May is a rising star.

Norton Rose Fulbright has ‘an excellent, committed team with huge experience and great market knowledge’. ‘Clever, responsive problem-solverNigel Dickinson and the ‘very intelligent and highly experiencedDaniel Franks jointly head the team and are skilled in complex OTC derivatives transactions. Dickinson advised an investment bank on bespoke asset swaps valued at over $150m, and Franks acted for a global bank on credit risk protection arrangements for a securities lending business. Regulatory experts Hannah Meakin and Jonathan Herbst are also recommended.

Tamara Box leads the structured finance team at Reed Smith LLP, which counts US Bank, Wilmington Trust, Deutsche Bank and Citi among its clients. Claude Brown is among the City’s most experienced partners for structured credit and derivatives. Nick Stainthorpe stands out for equity derivatives and hedging transactions and advised on collar hedging for a global bank. Brett Hillis and Peter Zaman are recommended for regulatory matters.

Simon Porter now leads the structured capital markets group at Baker McKenzie LLP. Of counsel Farid Anvari is a key adviser to clearing houses on derivatives regulation. She also advised an asset manager on a structured repackaging deal involving a total return swap, and pension fund trustees on an insurance-based longevity transaction. Vincent Keaveny joined DLA Piper.

Martin Bartlam’s financial markets team at DLA Piper is ‘extremely knowledgeable and very responsive when it comes to getting a deal negotiated’. It continued its expansion with the recruitment of Vincent Keaveny from Baker McKenzie LLP and Mark Dwyer from Slaughter and May. Bartlam advised RBS on a novel MicroRates hedging service for its customers, and acted for insurer Generali on longevity risk management.

Key highlights for Dentons’ ‘capable and credible practice’ included Matthew Sapte’s advice on a structured equity deal for an international airline; and Rosali Pretorius’s work for Daiwa Capital Markets Europe on its assessment of the enforceability of OTC clearing obligations. Edward Hickman is recommended for structured products.

Eversheds LLPprovides good overall service, particularly in relation to regulations and fund structures,’ to a predominantly buy-side client base, as well as a growing number of sell-side clients including HSBC. Group head Jonathan Master advised Scottish Widows on the impact of Solvency II on its collateral management processes. Richard Batchelor is recommended for transactional and regulatory matters.

Jones Day’s Edward Nalbantian assisted BNP Paribas with its acquisition of a £15bn equity derivatives portfolio from RBS, which involved a review of 900 transactions. CLO specialist Neil Hamiltonhas in-depth market knowledge and is both technically excellent and innovative’. Amy Kho is a key adviser to Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘highly commercial’ practice ‘understands the needs of both buy side and sell side’. The ‘knowledgeable and personable’ Will Sykes (who is ‘very responsive under pressure’) advised Permal on setting up trading accounts for a new managed account vehicle. Richard Fletcher is ‘on top of every detail’.

At Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, structured credit and derivaties specialists Peter Green and Jeremy Jennings-Mares are ‘incredibly responsive and pragmatic, delivering legal advice in areas that are not black and white’. They advised Royal Bank of Canada on an equity-linked notes issuance.

Paul Hastings LLP has ‘a very responsive team, which is strong from lead partner to the lowest-level associate’. The ‘brilliant’ Christian Parker and senior associate Karen Stretch are ‘thorough and diligent, making sure issues are addressed effectively’. They advised EAP Partners on derivatives aspects of a $700m bond issue.

Travers Smith LLP’s practice is ‘effective, knowledgeable and responsive’ and provides ‘partner-led, friendly, technical advice’. Jonathan Gilmour’s highlights included a £2.8bn longevity hedging transaction, while Peter Hughes advised the trustee of Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan and sponsoring employer Heineken UK on an insurance-wrapped collateralised deal to hedge £2.4bn of longevity exposure.

Bryan Cave has built a new structured finance team around the vastly experienced Rachel Kelly, who joined from Macfarlanes LLP. Kelly brings experience in CLOs and structured products to a team that includes Helena Nathanson and that acts for clients including Bank of New York Mellon.

At Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP, lead partner Graham Soar advises FTSE 100 corporates, investment funds and pension fund trustees. He acted for FirstGroup on derivatives regulation and the negotiation of ISDA master agreements.

Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP is known for providing ‘good, reliable service from an accessible and proactive team’ led by the ‘very client-focusedKarine Imbrosciano. Imbrosciano advised an investment bank on a €1.2bn equity derivatives structure for shares in a French company. Dimitrios Logizidis is also recommended.

K&L Gates LLP is noted for its ‘excellent knowledge of structured finance’. Stephen Moller acted for EFG Bank on OTC swap clearing arrangements, and is recommended alongside Sean Donovan-Smith and trustee specialist Sean Crosky, who is ‘very down to earth and easily talks through the issues’. Paul Matthews joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP.

Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s team is ‘very knowledgeable, practical and has a good feel for the industry’. It advised clients including LCH.Clearnet and Futures Industry Association on compliance matters. Buy-side adviser David Brennand, and regulatory specialists Carolyn Jackson and Nathaniel Lalone are also recommended.

Olswang LLP specialises in deals with technology and real estate assets. Charles Kerrigan and Anne Chitan ‘understand the commercial risk areas of a deal and can be trusted to run a transaction’. Ruth Marken is noted for her ability to ‘appreciate commercial issues and technical legal points’. Clients include Investec.


Emerging markets

Index of tables

  1. Emerging markets
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘a leader in the finance space and has a strong presence in emerging markets deals’. Lorraine Bayliss advised the lenders, including Bank of China, on the $1.6bn financing of a pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey. Michael Castle advised telecoms infrastructure company Eaton Towers on the financing of its expansion into African countries including Ghana. Sanjeev Dhuna advised Kenyan and international banks on a $350m financing for Kenya Pipeline Company. Also recommended are Philip Bowden and Greg Brown, for banking matters; Sachin Davé, Philip Smith and Jamie Durham, for capital markets work; Tim Arnheim and Andrew Castle, for projects; and Atif Hanif, for Middle East deals.

Baker McKenzie LLPhas vast experience in emerging markets and stands out for its excellent global coverage’. ‘Accurate and knowledgeable’ oil and gas expert Neil Donoghue advised Sonangol on its $10bn Sonaref refinery project. Marc Fèvre acted for Morocco’s state-owned power and water utility on an 850MW wind farm PPP. Ian Jack, Roy Pearce and debt specialist Adam Farlow regularly advise Ukraine’s Metinvest. Other key figures in the firm’s extremely deep bench include Sebastien Marcelin-Rice; the ‘reliable and thoughtfulSimon Porter and US-qualified Edward Bibko, who stand out for capital markets work; bank lending expert Nick Tostivin; and project finance specialist Calvin Walker.

Clifford Chance LLP has ‘one of London’s leading practices’ and is ‘highly knowledgeable in power and infrastructure’. The firm’s extensive team of emerging markets specialists includes ‘commercial, hardworking’ global capital markets head Adrian Cartwright; banking partners Leonard Cleland and Russell Wells; Africa group co-head Jeremy Connick; and China specialist John Dawson. David Dunnigan acts for lead arrangers on sovereign debt deals, including the Gabonese republic’s $500m bond. John Connolly advised lead managers including Citigroup on Emirates Airlines’ $913m sukuk. Habib Motani advised lead arrangers including Goldman Sachs on complex derivatives aspects of SOCAR Turkey’s $13bn financing.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘excellent across the board in the energy space and can adjust to the dynamics of different jurisdictions’. Africa practice head Martin Kavanagh ‘never fails to deliver; his proactive and solution-oriented approach works particularly well in Africa’. He advised the government of Nepal on a $7bn hyrdopower project to supply electricity to India and China. Andrew Roberts advised lead managers including JPMorgan on the Republic of Namibia’s $750m notes offering. Also recommended are capital markets partner Amy Geddes, global energy co-chair John Balsdon, project finance specialist Matthew Job, and Ian Yeo, for leveraged finance deals.

Linklaters LLP is ‘world class, with a deep bench that provides excellent service’. Its leading lights include banking specialists Mirthe van Kesteren and Toby Grimstone, US securities experts Cecil Quillen and Patrick Sheil, and CIS group co-head and ‘excellent transactional lawyerDaniel Tyrer. The firm also has a strong Africa capability headed by Andrew Jones, who is noted for his ‘exceptional expertise’, as well as CEE expertise through Dominic Sanders. Utilities and transport specialist Ian Andrews, ‘outstandingly knowledgeable’ mining specialist Charles Jacobs, and the ‘very client-oriented’ Matthew Keats, who stands out for energy and infrastructure deals, are also recommended. Van Kesteren advised European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a dollar-denominated convertible loan to Kazakhstan’s Air Astana.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is ‘known for emerging markets mega-deals and for its knowledge of important sectors such as energy and telecoms’. Practice head Phillip Fletcher acted alongside John Dewar and Clive Ransome for the lenders, including Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund, on the $5bn financing of the PetroRabigh project expansion. Dewar’s other highlights included a $1.7bn financing for O3b Networks’ satellite project to improve communications infrastructure in Africa. The firm hired project finance partners Matthew Hagopian and Manzer Ijaz from Linklaters LLP and invested heavily in recruiting associates with experience in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.

Norton Rose Fulbright is ‘a top-tier firm for emerging markets work’. Martin McCann excels in infrastructure, mining and commodities finance, and advised lenders and export credit agencies (ECAs) on a $1.5bn greenfield port in Nigeria. Charles Whitney specialises in mega-projects involving ECA and bank finance, and advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the 800MW Kirikkale power station in Turkey. Madhavi Gosavi acted for an African sovereign borrower in a multibillion-dollar receivables backed financing. Also recommended are structured finance partner Daniel Metcalfe, mining specialists Raj Karia and Matthew Hardwick, and projects expert Christopher Brown.

For some, White & Case LLP is ‘the best in the City; few firms come close when it comes to African deals’. For debt transactions, Melissa Butler is ‘exactly the partner you want on emerging market deals’ and Stuart Matty is ‘superb’. They are advising banks including Deutsche Bank on sovereign issuances by Ghana and the Republic of Angola. Christopher Czarnocki advised Trafigura’s oil business Puma Energy on a $1.25bn term loan and revolving credit facility. Jason Kerr advised lenders including Standard Chartered on the $1.2bn financing of offshore wells in Nigeria. Philip Stopford is also recommended for deals in the Middle East and Africa.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has ‘a very strong team of US-qualified lawyers who are not afraid to get their hand dirty’. Debt specialist Lisa Hearn ‘combines a deep understanding of local legal issues with the drive to move a transaction forward’, and advised VimpelCom on a $1bn credit facility from China Development Bank. Russia specialist Robert Aulsebrook acted for Lukoil on a $1bn project financing to develop the Shah Deniz gas field off the coast of Azerbaijan. In another highlight, Fred Heller advised borrower Omnium Telecom Algérie on two syndicated loans.

Ashurst provides ‘a very high level of service from a very personable team’. Sergei Ostrovsky leads the Russia and CIS practice and advised Honda Motor Europe on sanctions issues. Africa group head Cameron Smith and Joss Dare acted for IFC and the government of Uganda on the procurement of road infrastructure projects in Kampala. India group head Richard Gubbins advised Vedanta Resources on developing assets acquired through its merger with energy company Cairn India. Utilities partner David Wadham advised ACWA Power on the financing of a solar power IPP in Morocco.

DLA Piper is ‘a top global firm with very good knowledge of emerging markets’. Leading energy lawyer Charles Morrison’s highlights included handling African telecoms company Zantel’s $100m working capital facility. Nigel Drew and the team ‘have rich experience in project finance’. Drew advised Maamba Collieries on the $840m financing of the first phase of a 600MW power station in Zambia. Dimitri Papaefstratiou acted for Unión Fenosa and SEGAS on the financing of the Damietta LNG complex in Egypt.

Paul Holland’s team at Dentons has a strong capital markets capability. David Cohen advised the Republic of Ghana on its $1bn notes issue. Other key figures include Matthew Sapte, whose clients include National Bank of Oman; Veronika Koroleva (‘she knows the Russian market and intrinsically understands emerging markets deals’), who is recommended for structured trade and commodity finance along with Celia Gardiner; and Tim Pipe, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and handles reserve-based lending. Tom Eldridge joined Mayer Brown International LLP.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, ‘responsive, clear’ DCM partner Andrew Carey handled defaulted Russian bonds and African financing deals. Also recommended are export finance partners Andrew Taylor (who advised lenders on Uralkali’s $530m pre-export financing) and David Leggott; project finance and infrastructure expert Adrian Walker, who acted for Rio Tinto on a multibillion-dollar mine, road, rail and port development; and private equity specialist Keith Woodhouse. The firm is gaining market recognition for its growing Africa practice.

Mayer Brown International LLPis active all over the world, and has in-depth sector knowledge’. The firm advises lenders such as HSBC, EBRD and Deutsche Bank. Recent highlights for Trevor Wood and Mayank Gupta include non-performing loan portfolio acquisitions in Eastern Europe. Key mining partners include Ian Coles, who advised a lender on a multimillion-dollar project financing in Turkey, and Rachel Speight. Also recommended are debt specialist Bernd Bohr, and infrastructure partner Tom Eldridge, who joined from Dentons. Greg Stonefield moved to King & Wood Mallesons.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is ‘one of the best project finance firms in London and has some of the best brains in the business’. John Inglis and Nicholas Buckworth are ‘at the top of their game; they are insightful and excellent at finding solutions’. They acted alongside Sanja Udovicic and counsel Paul Simpson for the lenders on the financing of a 2,520MW IWPP in Qatar. Inglis is also advising the lenders and ECAs on a 1,320MW power plant in Kazakhstan. Iain Elder is also recommended for energy and infrastructure deals.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s emerging markets energy practice is noted for its ‘high level of service and its ability to handle complicated and creative tasks’. Rubin Weston is praised for his work on oil and gas projects and infrastructure financing. ‘Highly skilled professional’ Stuart McIntyre advised Höegh LNG on its $330m floating LNG regasification unit in Indonesia. Robin Mizrahi is a market leader in African power projects. Hamish McArdle is also recommended.

Bracewell (UK) LLP provides clients with ‘world-class energy expertise, from inception to the closing of the deal’. Jason Fox advised EBRD and BNP Paribas on an $80m senior secured reserve-based facility to develop Merlon’s oil and gas assets in Egypt. Olivia Caddy (who is ‘focused and dedicated, with strong execution capabilities’) advised Ophir Energy on the financing of a floating LNG project in Equatorial Guinea.

Capital markets partners David Gottlieb, Simon Ovenden and Raj Panasar are the key figures at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which has a strong focus on both Russia and India. Ovenden advised the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire on English law aspects of its $1bn Eurobond. Panasar counts bookrunners BNP Paribas, Citigroup and NBK Capital among his clients. Glen Scarcliffe has an active practice for deals in the Middle East and David Billington is recommended for African matters.

Dechert LLP is known for ‘the deep commitment of its lawyers and its in-depth knowhow’. Debt specialist Camille Abousleiman and newly promoted US securities partner Patrick Lyons are ‘impressive individuals with a proven track record’. Abousleiman advised Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company on a $750m unsecured notes issue, and assisted the Arab Republic of Egypt with its $10bn global MTN programme.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has ‘an exceptional team’ that is known for its ‘proactive, clear, sensible and intelligent advice’. The ‘extremely brightBruce Johnston advised Natixis on a $750m pre-export financing for CEE mining company EuroChem. Carter Brod acted for Russia’s VTB Bank on tender offers for $3.9bn in bonds. ‘Terrific finance lawyerAmanda Jennings is also recommended.

Peter O’Driscoll heads the emerging markets practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP and focuses on capital markets and private equity transactions. Nell Scott advised the issuer of a $500m bond to fund operations in Africa and Latin America. Weyinmi Popo joined from Jones Day and focuses on Africa deals for private equity sponsors. Anthony Riley is recommended for solar projects in the CEE region and Africa.

Reed Smith LLP is ‘a clear leader in emerging market related derivatives and DCM work’. Tamara Box, Roy Montague-Jones (who co-chairs the India group) and the ‘skilled and industrious’ Nick Stainthorpe (who is ‘a go-to lawyer for the investment banking industry’) are highly recommended, as is Ranajoy Basu, who advised the Republic of Kazakhstan on a $10bn MTN programme.

Simmons & Simmons has wide geographical reach from London. John Sayers acted on the financing of wind power projects in Africa; Adam Cooper acted for lenders including IFC and EBRD on the project financing of a bulk liquids terminal in Egypt; and Mark Moody advised lenders on the refinancing of a fleet of Airbus aircraft owned by LatAm Airlines. Omar Al-Ali joined from Linklaters LLP and has outstanding trade and commodity finance expertise.

Trinity International LLP is a prominent fixture in African deals. Simon Norris is known for energy, infrastructure, mining and telecoms deals for lenders and borrowers including Standard Chartered, NedBank and African Development Bank. He advised lenders on a gas IPP in Mozambique, and on a 450MW IPP in Nigeria. Paul Biggs advised Africa Finance Corporation on the $900m Kpone IPP in Gambia.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has a growing profile in the energy sector. Alexander Keepin, who jointly heads the mining group, advised Ncondezi Energy on an agreement with Shanghai Electric Power Company to develop a coal-fired power plant in Mozambique.

Bird & Bird LLP provides ‘high-quality service and advice’ and plays an active role in financings in the CEE, the CIS and North Africa. The ‘truly impressive, extremely sharp’ Andrew Hallgarth ‘has a wealth of experience and knowledge’ and advised EBRD on the $30m financing of a pharmaceutical sector investment into Jordan and Morocco.

Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP’s brazil desk is led by Silvia Fazio, and Andrei Baev leads on Russia matters. Fazio advised Banco do Brasil’s UK subsidiary on a $100m collateral sharing agreement.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘a cost-competitive choice for mid-market transactions’, and is best known for investment deals in sub-Saharan Africa. Adrian Mayer ‘has a wealth of emerging markets experience and combines that with excellent business sense’. He advised private equity fund Actis on its exit from a Nigerian asset. John Fletcher is also recommended.

Geoffrey Burgess at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a broad practice covering Russia, CIS, Africa and India. His highlights included assisting Nereus Capital with solar project developments in India. Capital markets partner James Scoville advised Russia’s Norilsk Nickel on its $1bn Eurobond.

Fieldfisher is ‘strong in every respect, focused on solutions rather than issues and has a practical approach’. Banking partner Matt Hinxman, who joined from Baker Botts (UK) LLP, is advising Russian gas producer Novatek on a €800m financing from a Chinese lender. The ‘user-friendly and commercial’ Philip Abbott and Nodir Sidikov and Arik Aslanyan (who lead on CIS matters) are also recommended.

Latham & Watkins is ‘one of the best for oil and gas project finance’. Debt specialist Lene Malthasen and ‘highly talented derivatives partnerDean Naumowiczhave great depth of experience in emerging markets matters’. Malthasen advised arranging banks on Arab Republic of Egypt’s global MTN programme.

Michelmores LLP is rated for its ‘clarity and understanding of emerging markets issues’. Harry Trick ‘keeps deals sailing forward with the utmost professionalism and courtesy’. Corporate finance specialist Joe Whitfield has ‘extensive experience in Africa’ and advised Finnfund on a $30m debt facility for sustainable forestry development in Tanzania and Uganda.


High yield

Index of tables

  1. High yield
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Latham & Watkins is ‘excellent across the board, with a deep team of experienced professionals’ that includes the ‘phenomenalRichard Trobman, Brett Cassidy and the ‘outstandingJennifer Engelhardt. Scott Colwell advised banks including Goldman Sachs on three bonds for Altice related to its acquisition of PT Portugal. Jocelyn Seitzman advised issuers GFKL and Lowell on bonds exceeding £1bn for an LBO. Tracy Edmonson is also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘one of the leading firms’ in the high yield space, and fields a number of dedicated partners including Kevin Muzilla, Jeanette Cruz, Matthias Baudisch (who ‘understands the legal aspects to the smallest detail’) and Jake Keaveny. Muzilla advised US private equity firm Lone Star on a €290m notes issuance for its acquisition of Balta Group. Keaveny acted for the underwriters of a £560m bond as part of the acquisition of CenterParcs.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP has ‘a terrific US law bond practice’. James Robinson (‘among the best of the best’) advised the book-running managers (including BBV and Barclays) on a €500m Rule 144a offering by Campofrio Food Group, handled Grupo Antolin’s €400m issuance, and acted alongside Anthony Tama for the managers of IMS Health’s €275m bond.

Key figures at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP include ‘class actPhilip Boeckman, George Stephanakis, Alyssa Caples and Joel Herold (who ‘understands both the market and its participants’). Caples advised Ineos Finance on a €770m Rule 144a issuance. Boeckman’s clients include AA Group.

Linklaters LLP is ‘one of the leading firms for high yield matters’. Alexander Naidenov advised Apollo Global Management on a €300m bond and a €1.3bn covenant-lite Term Loan B for its acquisition of Veralia. Mark Hageman, who acted for Norske Skogindustrier on its €290m issuance, and US counsel Natalia Sokolova are also recommended.

At Ropes & Gray LLP, Jane Rogers advised Liberty Global on high yield elements of its Cable & Wireless bid, and Virgin Media on a $500m notes issue. Michael Kazakevich (who ‘brings a level of experience rarely seen in Europe’) advised Altice on high yield bonds for its SuddenLink acquisition.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has ‘a great team of very creative lawyers’. Apostolos Gkoutzinis advised Credit Suisse and others on a €239m offering by Dakar Finance. Jacques McChesney acted for Barclays on Stonegate Pub Company’s £80m secured notes issuance. Trevor Ingram acted for initial purchasers including UniCredit on a €110m offering by Snai.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘truly excellent sponsor-side practice’ is regularly involved in creative deals. The ‘commercial, pragmatic and focused’ Gil Strauss advised Blackstone on a €70m bond issue, and Nicholas Shaw handled Stonegate Pub Company’s £80m offering. ‘Superstar’ Carol Daniel and Alvaro Membrillera are also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP attracts praise for its ‘quality, vision and guidance on complex matters’. English law specialist Vanessa Blackmore advised Concordia Healthcare on a bond issuance for its acquisition of Amdipharm Mercury. US-qualified Chris Beatty advised Novalis on an €800m offering to redeem existing notes.

White & Case LLP is growing its focus on European deals alongside its emerging markets work. Rob Matthews advised GTECH on multibillion-dollar covenant-lite issuance to fund its acquisition of International Game Technology. Paul Clews advises leading arranger banks. Other key names include the ‘top-notchJill Concannon, who acted for Cabot Credit Management on a €310m offering; and David Becker.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has a strong track record acting for debut issuers, particularly in emerging markets. Pierre-Marie Boury advised underwriters led by Crédit Agricole and HSBC on Rexel’s €500m bond issue, and acted for Goodyear Dunlop Tires on a €250m notes offering.

Clifford Chance LLP’s Fabio Diminich played a key role in one of the year’s most significant deals when he advised private equity firm Cinven on a €2bn bond as part of its acquisition of Labco and Synlab. Michael Dakin advised ChemChina and Marco Polo Industrial Holdings on a high yield bridge facility for their acquisition of Pirelli.

At DLA Piper, Tony Lopez has ‘good knowledge of current market practice’ and advised Central European Media Enterprises on the €235m secured notes redemption, and provided US law advice to PAI Partners on its acquisition of Swissport. Martin Bartlam is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘a one-stop-shop for corporate, bank, private equity and high yield transactions’. Andrew Hagan joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, further strengthening the practice, which includes Ward McKimm, Simone Bono (‘a very strong practitioner’) and Denise Ryan. McKimm advised Worldpay Group on its inaugural €500m bond.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s ‘impressive, smart and hardworking team’ includes William Burke and ‘absolute starMatthew Merkle, who are ‘experienced and highly creative’ practitioners. Merkle advised a consortium including Bain Capital on €1.1bn in PIK notes as part of its acquisition of ICBPI. Cedric Van den Borren is also recommended.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘seasoned team’ was joined by special counsel Trevor Truman and partner Stuart Morrissy, who moved from the New York office to join practice head Tim Peterson. Pearson advised Citigroup and others on the high yield elements of BAE Systems’ $1.5bn debt issuance.

The ‘client-focused, commercial’ team at Paul Hastings LLP has ‘strong partners and associates with good knowledge of current market practice’. Peter Schwartz advised JPMorgan on Altice’s purchase of SuddenLink. Associates Christianne Williams and Edward Holmes are also recommended.

Clients praise Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice for its ‘dedicated partner involvement’. ‘Top legal mind’ Maximillian Kirchner ‘has an outstanding grasp of the bond market’. In addition to its strong funds clientele, the firm also represents investment banks as deal managers.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is known for its handling of novel and complex matters involving New York law. James McDonald advised LM Group on a consent solicitation to amend the terms of its senior secured notes and subsequent NOK475m green bond issuance. Danny Tricot acted for CEMEX in its $750m and €550m dual tranche offering.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges is ‘very responsive and has deep legal knowledge’. Patrick Bright leads the team, which includes associate Nitin Konchady. Highlights included advising banks including Goldman Sachs on the high yield financing of Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Securitas Direct, which was Europe’s largest LBO in 2015.

Baker McKenzie LLP has a leading high yield expert in Adam Farlow. He acted alongside Roy Pearce for China City Infrastructure on consent solicitations for its HK$600m notes issuance. They also acted for Metinvest on negotiations with holders of bond tranches totalling more than $1.1bn.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has ‘significant expertise in the high yield space’. Jeff O’Brien leads the London practice, which advised Abengoa on its $323m notes offering, and advised the underwriters on a €500m issuance by Worldpay Finance.

Hogan Lovells International LLP recruited European high yield veteran Sylvain Dhennin from Dentons. He advised HNA Group on a €690m issuance for the acquisition of Swissport Group.

A new entrant to the European high yield market, Jones Day has ‘a developing practice with some high-quality lawyers’. Jonathan Bloom advised Bité Finance on its outstanding €200m senior notes.

Mayer Brown International LLP has ‘a small but experienced and motivated core team’, which includes Bernd Bohr, who has ‘profound knowledge of both bank and bond financing’. Bohr advised Progroup on multi-jurisdictional aspects of its €400m inaugural bond issue.


Islamic finance

Index of tables

  1. Islamic finance
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP is noted for its full-service practice in London led by the highly regarded Atif Hanif. Hanif advised Maybank Investment Bank as coordinator of the consortium of banks handling the $2.3bn commodity murabaha facility provided to SapuraKencana Petroleum, while Jamie Durham advised UK Export Finance on Emirates Airlines’ $913m sukuk for the purchase of four Airbus A380s, which was the world’s first ECA-supported sukuk issuance. Saudi Electricity Company and Credit Suisse are also clients.

Clifford Chance’s team is headed by leading individual Qudeer Latif in Dubai and has a presence in various key Islamic finance centres, including London, where partners regularly handle complex shari’ah-compliant transactions such as the $913m ECA-backed sukuk by Emirates Airlines (where it acted for the joint lead managers and structuring agents). Credit Suisse and Advanced Energy Systems are also clients.

Dentons’ practice has a diverse workload in keeping with the breadth of its Islamic finance expertise; recent mandates include structuring socially responsible sukuk investments, handling complex real estate deals and acting for the Government of Ras Al Khaimah on the update of its $2bn trust certificate issuance programme. Key London-based contacts include global practice head Richard de Belder and Matthew Sapte, who specialises in debt capital markets and derivatives matters.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice is spread across the firm’s offices in Riyadh, Dubai – where asset finance expert Rustum Shah, team head and structured finance and capital markets expert Rahail Ali, and new recruit Anthony Pallett, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP, are based – and London, which handles shipping and aviation-related financings. Saudi Hollandi Bank and Pakistan International Airline are clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice handles a broad range of matters, and particularly impresses on high-profile real estate deals and work in the aviation sector. In a reflection of its ‘excellent knowledge’ in the latter area, a cross-office team of London, Dubai, Singapore and US lawyers advised Emirates Airlines on its $913m ECA-backed sukuk to fund the acquisition of four Airbus A380s. Farmida Bi in London and Mohammed Paracha in the UAE are recommended.

Ashurst’s practice comprises 20 partners globally and is led from London by the highly regarded Abradat Kamalpour. It acts for an impressive roster of banking clients including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Goldman Sachs, for which it handles a regular diet of sukuks and real estate financings.

At Foot Anstey, practice head Imam Qazi is noted for his ‘thorough knowledge of shari’ah-compliant structuring, which he combines with a commercial and friendly approach’. He is particularly active in the real estate space and advised Greenridge Investment Management on the financing of its £70m acquisition of the National Air Traffic Control Services HQ. Fara Mohammad is a key contact for corporate finance.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Islamic finance practice is led by Nadim Khan in Dubai and debt capital products specialist Andrew Roberts in London. Recent highlights include advising ArcelorMittal on the shari’ah-compliant financing of a steel pipes joint venture in Saudi Arabia. Other highlights included acting for Dubai Islamic Bank on a $70m murabaha financing for the Government of Pakistan.

K&L Gates LLP is singled out for its ‘seamless global service’. Its cross-office team includes London-based Jonathan Lawrence, who has ‘stunning in-depth knowledge of structuring shari’ah-compliant transactions’; the ‘strategic and client-focused’ Amjad Hussain in Doha; banking and finance partner Simon Mabin in Dubai; and new Singapore-based arrival Markus Blenntoft, who joined from Dentons. Deutsche Bank, Emirates REIT and QInvest are key clients. Barry Cosgrave joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP impresses with its breadth of expertise and ‘high industry knowledge’. Names to note in the sizeable team include Salman Ahmed, who splits his time between London and Bahrain and whose recent deals include a construction financing as well as a high yield sukuk issue; Sarah Gooden, who is a key adviser to North Real Estate Partners; and property finance specialist Neill Gibson. The firm became the first international law firm to open an office in Malaysia, where Nicholas Edmondes is a key contact.

At White & Case LLP, London-based Tom Bartlett handled a number of high-value Saudi Arabia related deals, including advising Saudi Aramco on $10bn revolving credit facilities involving two Saudi Riyal murabaha tranches. Project finance is a particular strength; Kirsti Massie acted alongside Philip Stopford for Al Nowais Investments as sponsor on a coal-fired power generation plant in Egypt.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s key London contact is finance and projects partner Paul Salsbury; his recent clients include Bank of London and the Middle East as well as Maybank.

At Clyde & Co LLP, practice head Adil Hussain ‘sets himself apart by being able to draw on his knowledge, as well as his relationships with scholars and practitioners, to offer practical and up-to-date guidance’. The fast-growing practice has added Natixis, Beehive Group and NBF Capital as new clients.

Druces LLP continued to expand its practice with the arrival of Simon Pullen from Howard Kennedy LLP; he brings strong ties to new client British Arab Commercial Bank. Christopher Axford handled a number of property deals in 2015.

King & Spalding International LLP is noted for its track record in shari’ah-compliant project and infrastructure, asset, capital markets and real estate financings. The practice is headed globally by Isam Salah, who splits his time between New York and Dubai, and includes project finance expert Michael Rainey, who is a key London contact.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP stands out for its project finance expertise, and also recently advised the underwriters on a $5bn offering of bonds and sukuk certificates by Petronas. John Dewar heads the practice.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, Ben Shorten acted for the lenders on a solar power project in Dubai, and Barney Reynolds assisted Abu Dhabi Global Market with its establishment as an international financial centre. Sanja Udovicic is a key contact for project finance. Barry Cosgrave joined K&L Gates LLP .

At Simmons & Simmons, Ahmed Butt in Riyadh regularly handles shari’ah-compliant UK real estate deals. Dubai-based Muneer Khan heads the practice and is a key contact for Islamic banking and finance matters.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s London team, which includes Rodney Dukes as well as corporate and project finance expert Hamid Yunis, has been active in real estate deals. Habib Ullah in Dubai has handled a number of fund-related matters.


Securitisation

Index of tables

  1. Securitisation
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘the market leader, with highly capable partners and tremendous market insight’. Key figures include Sally Onions, who handled a £1.5bn RMBS for banks including Morgan Stanley, and Salim Nathoo, who is ‘smart, honest, solution-oriented and eager’. Angela Clist acted for BNP Paribas in establishing an $8bn covered bond programme for United Overseas Bank. ‘Fantastic market leader’ Lucy Oddy, who joined from Latham & Watkins, advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the €317m Taurus Kingfisher CMBS. Also recommended are Franz Ranero, who is ‘one of the top partners in the European securitisation space’; CMBS specialist Christian Lambie; and Tim Conduit, who acted for Credit Agricole on the €1.25bn Alpha Trains structured financing.

Clifford Chance LLP is noted for its ‘leading regulatory and market knowledge’. Kevin Ingram’s highlights included advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a €271m credit card receivables deal. Stephen Curtis (‘very bright and easy to work with’) acted for Citibank and Morgan Stanley on the £2.3bn financing of Lone Star’s acquisition of a portfolio from Aviva. Andrew Forryan advised Warwick Finance Residential Mortgages on issuances totalling £2bn, and Simeon Radcliff assisted sellers and issuers with the securitisation of residential mortgages originated by Co-operative Bank subsidiaries. The ‘superb’ Christopher Walsh assisted the arrangers of a $10bn covered bond programme for DBS Bank, and Maggie Zhao, who heads the China desk, advised British Business Bank on an aggregator asset-backed funding programme for SMEs.

Linklaters LLP has ‘a very broad and nimble practice with experience at both partner and associate level’. Alex Shopov now leads the team, which includes newly promoted partner Alex Shopov, who advised DBS Bank on its $10bn global covered bond programme. In other highlights, Adam Fogarty and counsel Reza Taylor acted for Cerberus Capital Management on its purchase of a £13bn portfolio of Northern Rock loans and mortgages, which involved the unravelling of securitised mortgages; and Mark Nuttall advised Thames Water Utilities on the £4.7bn flagship Thames Tideway Tunnel financing. Julian Davies is recommended for structured utility bonds and whole-business securitisations (WBS), and James Harbach excels in WBS and mortgage-backed deals.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPhas an excellent reputation as a top law firm, especially in CLOs and European risk retention matters’. Stephen Day acted in a highly innovative fleet lease securitisation, and acted alongside Jeremiah Wagner on the first European warehouse securitisation of consumer loans originated through peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa. CLO specialist David Quirolo’s highlights included acting for Credit Suisse Securities on the $402m Cairn CLO III, which involved the first full refinancing of a European CLO. The ‘responsive and accessible’ Nick Shiren is also recommended for CLOs. Bruce Bloomingdale relocated to the New York office but is closely involved with the London team.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLPadds value in complex transactions’. Marcus Mackenzie’s highlights included advising Center Parcs on issuances totalling more than £1bn from its secured financing platform. Christopher Barratt acted for Virgin Money on the £1.2bn Gosforth 2016-1 RMBS, and Ian Falconer handled the £1.39bn Gosforth 2015-1 deal for Citibank. Dougall Molson (who transferred from the Paris office) is recommended for trade receivables deals, and senior associates Helen Jones and Jenny McIvor stand out for WBS deals.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘partners go the extra mile, and the team has tremendous depth’. The ‘invaluable’ Michael Poulton and his ‘magnificent’ team are ‘ahead of the game and highly knowledgeable in all areas of securitisation’. Poulton advised Virgin Atlantic on the £220m securitisation of its portfolio of slots at London Heathrow airport, and acted alongside Jake Jackaman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays on TSB Bank’s £2bn securitisation of residential mortgages. Recommended associates include Francesca Segurini, who is a rising star, and Gauri Rao and Joy Amis, who are ‘robust negotiators with a no-nonsense approach’.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘an excellent firm with a great reputation’. The much-respected Julian Craughan advised Volkswagen Financial Services on its £10bn securitisation programme and the £350m Driver UK deal. Tauhid Ijaz’s highlights included a €150m Irish residential property financing for Deutsche Bank. US-qualified partner Dennis Dillon (who is ‘a first-class securitisation lawyer with strong legal and commercial awareness’) acted for banks in the £600m securitisation of Bibby’s factoring book. Also recommended are Kit Johnson, who counts US Bank Trustees among his clients, and of counsel Marc Mouton, who is ‘commercially and technically brilliant’.

Dominic Griffiths’s team at Mayer Brown International LLP is ‘highly capable and nimble enough to provide good insight and advice’. Richard Todd is a standout lawyer for asset-backed commercial paper conduit-financed securitisations. ‘Strong, commercial partnerDavid O’Connor is ‘great at driving deals forward and can manage complex transactions with a quick timeline’. He advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch as arranger on the €145m Taurus pan-European CMBS. Deal lawyer and regulatory expert Kevin Hawken is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team is ‘always responsive and executes in a pleasant, constructive and cost-efficient manner’. Securitisation specialist Sandrine Sauvel advised Bibby Financial Services on the £600m securitisation of its factoring business, which is the first rated private sector securitisation deal by a non-bank asset lender. She also advised Natixis on a receivables-backed deal for Falcon Trade Finance. David Shearer and of counsel Simon Thompson are ‘willing to take the initiative for the benefit of the client’, and the ‘invaluableFarmida Bi is ‘incredibly good in a crisis’.

The ‘very commercial and technically able’ practice at Simmons & Simmons attracts praise for its ‘impressive market knowledge’. The ‘extremely client-focusedMichael Lorraine advised Macquarie Bank on a £250m RMBS by Bluestone Mortgages, and assisted European Investment Fund with its synthetic securitisation programme. ‘Persistent, precise and robust’ associate Will Trotman and ‘thoughtful, superb’ regulatory partner Penny Miller are also recommended. Ian Sideris retired and Simon Schiff joined Baker McKenzie LLP.

Slaughter and May is ‘absolutely superb; quick and responsive, with great strength in depth’. Key figures include Guy O’Keefe (who is ‘a fantastic ideas man’), Richard Jones (who is ‘a good lateral thinker’) and associate Andrew Williams. O’Keefe advised UK Asset Resolution on the sale of Northern Rock’s £13bn portfolio to Cerberus Management, and handled an auto-loan deal for originator Santander Consumer. Jones acted for NewDay Cards on its second securitisation of credit card receivables. Ed Fife and Azadeh Nassiri are also recommended. Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined Latham & Watkins.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges exhibits ‘excellent service levels, strong knowledge of the market and a commercial approach’. Jacky Kelly and Brian Maher are ‘incredibly easy to work with, showing strong technical knowledge and getting fully involved with the transactions’. A leading CLO practice, it also plays a significant role in securitisation restructuring and auto fleet deals. Kelly and Maher advised Barclays on restructuring two CMBS deals originated by General Healthcare Group totalling £2bn. The firm also act as sole European CLO counsel to Blackstone.

Ashurst is ‘a quality firm that provides excellent service and dedicated expertise’ in the CLO and credit funds space. Michael Smith and newly promoted partner Cameron Saylor ‘have a lot of respect in the market’. Smith advised BNP Asset Management on its inaugural €308m CLO 2.0 transaction, and credit hedge fund manager PineBridge on a £335m CLO. Saylor and Diala Minott handled a €516m CLO for arranger Morgan Stanley.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s Jonathan Walsh is ‘one of the most experienced and savvy lawyers in the European securitisation sector’. He advised PrimeRevenue on establishing a supply chain finance programme, and acted alongside Sarah Porter (who is ‘smart, pragmatic, and a delight to work with’) for FirstRand Bank on UK auto-loan securitisations totalling £394m. For some, Simon Porter is ‘the best in town when it comes to trustee consent issues’. Vincent Keaveny joined DLA Piper.

CMS strengthened its asset-backed securities expertise with the recruitment of Jason Brooks from Clifford Chance LLP. He joins a team that includes Michael Cavers and Jason Harding, who advised Enterprise Inns on the impact of new legislation on its £1.1bn securitisation portfolio. Harding also advised Santander Consumer and Crédit Agricole on amendments to documentation to enable the sale of issued notes.

Dechert LLP is noted for its ‘real depth of knowledge and seamless management of difficult regulatory and commercial issues’. Charles Malpass acted for Apollo Management International in private securitisations in Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK with an aggregate value in excess of $3bn. The ‘unflappableJames Waddington (who ‘thinks outside the box and goes the extra mile to achieve the commercial objective’) advised an investment manager on a $1bn securitisation investment vehicle. Jeremy Trinder is also recommended.

Dentons has ‘an up-and-coming securitisation practice’, which was strengthened by the recruitment of market veteran Peter Voisey from Clifford Chance LLP. He handles covered bonds, RMBS and portfolio acquisitions, and acted for Skipton Building Society on a £525m issuance under the Darrowby RMBS programme. Versatile structured finance partner Edward Hickman advised the sponsor of a £233m RMBS by Thrones 2015-1 plc, and also handled an auto-loan deal for Hyundai Capital and a $150m trade receivables transaction for PNC Bank.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP provides ‘outstanding legal advice delivered by well-known and respected partners’. The London office ‘has some seriously capable and commercial lawyers’, including partners Paul Matthews, Matthew Duncan and Theresa Kradjian, who joined from K&L Gates LLP; and Lisa Cargill, who joined from Sidley Austin LLP and ‘cuts through to the important issues and adds value to transactions’. Clients see her as ‘one of the best’ for European trade receivables deals. Kradjian advised arrangers including Citigroup on Clydesdale’s £300m and €280m UK RMBS issuance.

For some, Paul Hastings LLPhas a best-in-class CMBS team’, and extended its reach into RMBS with the recruitment of Paul Severs from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Conor Downey is ‘a well-honed CMBS expert with unrivalled experience’. Charles Roberts advised Capita Asset Services on the restructuring of the Theatre Hospitals CMBS. Miles Flynn acted for Deutsche Bank on the €316m DECO-2015 Charlemagne CMBS.

At Reed Smith LLP, Tamara Box acted for Wilmington Trust on the restructuring of a $750m RMBS, and newly promoted partner Angelina Soon advised Situs Asset Management on the €316m DECO Charlemagne CMBS. Other key names include Nick Stainthorpe and the ‘attentive and exceptionally hardworking’ Ranajoy Basu, who played key roles in privately placed deals, and senior associate Simon Hugo, who is ‘a responsive and technically able rising star’.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s recruitment of Chris McGarry from Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Partha Pal from Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP has significantly enhanced its structured finance and securitisation practice, which include Counsel Anna Lawry and ‘thorough, practical’ associate Richard Hanson. Hanson advised Sun Capital Partners on a €1.3bn CMBS backed by lease payments from Santander.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘quality of service and responsiveness is exemplary’. Rupert Wall is a standout lawyer for ABS and CLO deals, and Graham Penn is a leading light for real estate backed deals. The ‘approachable, clear and extremely knowledgeable’ Nick Brittain is also recommended, as is Jason Richardson, who acted for Commerzbank on the restructuring of General Healthcare Group’s €1.5bn CMBS transactions, and senior counsel John Woodhall. Lisa Cargill joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP and Matthew Cahill left the practice.

White & Case LLP has a ‘broad and flexible finance practice’ that is active in CLOs and securitisation transactions across a range of asset classes including CMBS, RMBS and auto loans. Gavin McLean and Joshua Parbhu advised Goldman Sachs on the issuance of multiple CLOs by Tikehau CLO. Parbhu also acted for a European bank on four CLO redemptions.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s small but focused team has ‘a sophisticated approach to complex matters’. Sarah Smith (‘a very good and knowledgeable lawyer’) advises Fitch ratings on the review of securitisation structures, principally UK RMBS. Smith and counsel Sam Brodie acted for institutional investors in two private placements by North West Electricity Networks totalling £500m.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘practical and targeted advice’. Nick Butler advised sponsor and issuing group on various UK RMBS deals including the £513m securitisation of buy-to-let and owner-occupied residential mortgages by Residential Mortgage Securities No. 28 plc. Prashanth Satyadeva and Jayne Black are also recommended. Paul Severs joined Paul Hastings LLP.

Bryan Cave’s new structured finance and corporate trust group ‘provides good service in the ABS space’. Experienced partners Rachel Kelly, who joined from Macfarlanes LLP, and Helena Nathanson, who joined from Reed Smith LLP, have established a strong foothold acting for clients including Wilmington Trust, Citibank and US Bank Global Trustees.

Martin Bartlam’s structured finance team at DLA Piper continued to strengthen its bench with the hire of respected securitisation veteran Vincent Keaveny from Baker McKenzie LLP. Bartlam advised arranger Raiffeisen Bank on the securitisation of leasing receivables, and RCI Financial Services on a £993m auto-loan deal. He also handled significant matters for Santander Consumer Bank and Future Finance Loan Corporation.

Fieldfisher has ‘a very experienced team that builds strong client relationships’. Alex Campbell and Gonzalo Fernandez advise corporate service providers, trustees and originators, and are providing advice to issuers and corporate service providers on the impact of ratings downgrades on RMBS deals with a value in excess of £10bn. Other highlights included advising a building society on the pre-securitisation warehousing of a £300m portfolio.

Gide Loyrette Nouel LLPalways gives fast and precise answers, and provides great industry and technical knowledge’, with a proven track record of handling pan-European trade receivables deals combining English and French law. Dimitrios Logizidis advised senior noteholder Crédit Industriel et Commercial on the €335m EURO-GALAXY IV CLO.

K&L Gates LLPprovides excellent service and is extremely responsive’. Paul Matthews, Matthew Duncan and Theresa Kradjian moved to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP, while the firm retained Andrew Petersen, who is ‘very strong on structured real estate deals’, and Sean Crosky (‘top tier for trustee work’), who advised US bank trustees on CLOs and warehousing deals.

Kaye Scholer LLP has ‘great industry and product knowledge’, and clients pick out Stuart Axford for his ‘astute capital markets expertise and deep knowledge of securitisation’. He advised Capita Trust Company on a warehousing facility for a start-up specialist buy-to-let mortgage lender.

At King & Wood Mallesons, Andrew Bliss is recognised for his experience in the CMBS market. In 2015, he advised AA plc on the issuance of £735m in Class B notes under its WBS as part of a broader refinancing package. Vanessa Docherty is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s Edward Sunderland and senior associate Grace Hui are ‘a really good team, and fun to work with’. They advised trustees such as Wilmington Trust on CMBS and RMBS deals, and advised the arranger of an ABCP conduit securitisation of vehicle lease receivables.


Trade finance

Index of tables

  1. Trade finance
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice ‘can be relied on to deliver first-class, practical and timely advice on complex structuring and execution challenges’. Greg Brown heads the team and is ‘a “go-to” adviser who provides clear advice’, especially on regulatory matters. Key highlights for Lorraine Bayliss included acting for ING Bank in a multi-source financing in Korea involving two ECAs, while Katrina Buckley and David Campbell advised the committee of lenders on the £2bn restructuring of Stemcor, which included significant trade finance arrangements. Senior associate Catherine Lang-Anderson advises numerous banks on supply chain finance.

Dentons has ‘a growing team’ with ‘a fantastic trade finance platform and a great international network’. Highly respected specialist Celia Gardiner advised the lender on Trafigura’s $2bn borrowing base facility secured on receivables and stocks of refined metals. Veronika Koroleva leads the team and advised an international bank on the overhaul of supply chain and receivables finance agreements. Tim Pipe joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, adding reserve-based lending and pre-export finance expertise. Matthew Cox is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘one of the most prominent firms in the market’ and has dedicated trade finance partners in David Leggott and Andrew Taylor, who ‘bring specialist expertise to complex transactions’. Leggott advised Deutsche Bank as lead arranger on a €300m borrowing base facility for nickel alloy producer VDM Group. Taylor’s highlights included acting for the banks on a $530m pre-export facility for potash producer Uralkali. The firm’s strong financial institution client base includes Barclays, Citibank and Natixis.

One of the market leaders in trade finance’, Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘good-quality, technical advice with excellent commercial and market knowledge’. Nicholas Grandage and senior associate Andrew Wood acted for Standard Chartered Bank in a $450m facility for Bank of Ghana. They also assisted EBRD with its multi-currency, multi-jurisdictional trade facilitation programme. Structured finance partner Daniel Metcalfe advised Ecobank Capital on a $400m receivables-backed syndicated loan facility for Ghana Airports Company.

At Reed Smith LLP, Jonathan Solomon (‘one of the leading trade finance specialists in the market’) and Robert Parson* advised ICBC as arranger on a $200m secured loan facility to an international commodity trader for the refinancing of a gasoline project in Argentina. Solomon and associate Patrick Sutton acted for Deutsche Bank on a $150m pre-payment facility for zinc smelter Nyrstar. Senior associate Geraldine Butac* is also recommended. *Since publication, Robert Parson and Geraldine Butac have joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Simmons & Simmons’ ‘excellent’ practice is ‘at the top of its game’. ‘Excellent deal lawyerJohn Sayers advised AIG Trade Finance on a novel $125m supply chain finance platform for the sub-investment grade market. Omar Al-Ali, who joined as a partner from Linklaters LLP, advised Castleton Commodities on a $3.75bn borrowing base facility that included a security package of oil and energy products in Belgium, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

Sullivan & Worcester UK LLPhas recognised expertise in trade finance and credit risk mitigation’. The ‘greatly respectedGeoffrey Wynne (who is acknowledged as a leading light in the field) and Simon Cook are ‘the “go-to” guys at a firm of choice for a wide range of market participants’. Mark Norris excels in structured export credit transactions and is on the British Bankers Association’s Trade and Export Finance Committee. Wynne advised a syndicate including Deutsche Bank on a $1.8bn receivables-backed pre-export financing for the Ghana Cocoa Board.

White & Case LLP’s practice is headed by Christopher Czarnocki, who is ‘well versed in trade finance matters’ and advised Trafigura on a $2bn secured refined metals borrowing base facility. Jason Kerr and Tom Bartlett handled a $200m revolving reserve-based lending facility for Cheiron Finance on behalf of HSBC, International Finance Corporation and EBRD. The firm continued to develop relationships with key corporates in the market such as Puma Energy and EuroChem.

At Addleshaw Goddard LLP, banking partner Mike Davison is ‘highly regarded for supply chain finance and ABS’. He acted alongside rising star associate James Tarleton for Islamic financial institution Bank of London and the Middle East on a £25m shari’ah-compliant commodity trade finance facility. They also advised Advance Global Capital on numerous supply chain finance transactions. Banking litigators Mark Gill and Michael Barnett are also recommended.

Top-level trade and export finance firmBaker McKenzie LLP provides ‘spot-on advice and good value for money’. Frances Okosi, who leads the team from Johannesburg but co-ordinates the practice in London, and senior associate Luka Lightfoot are ‘resilient and hardworking problem solvers’. The firm’s large bank client base includes HSBC, Standard Chartered and ING, and its key sponsor clients include Metinvest and Nyrstar.

Clifford Chance LLP excels in the full range of trade finance, from structured deals to letters of credit. Leonard Cleland advised Russia’s VTB Capital on the refinancing of loans totalling more than $2.2bn. Russell Wells acted in numerous reserve-based lending deals including advising BNP Paribas on a $250m facility for Petro SA to finance assets in Ghana’s Jubilee oilfield.

Holman Fenwick Willan hired Philip Prowse from Clyde & Co LLP and Stephen Marais from Ince & Co to complement the strong trade finance practice of Damian Honey, whose clients include Goldman Sachs, Trafigura and Citigroup. Also recommended are Alistair Feeney and repo specialist Sarah Taylor, who has particular expertise in coal, iron ore and base and precious metals.

Jones Day’s Edwin Borrini is ‘greatly valued both by banks and trading houses’ for high-end, big-ticket work. He advised British Arab Commercial Bank on a €25m pre-export facility for Ivory Coast’s SAF Cacao, and handled a $500m promissary note for Eurasian Resources Group relating to coal assets in Mozambique. Drew Salvest’s clients include Trafigura and Puma International Financing.

At Linklaters LLP, Mirthe van Kesteren advised banks including Société Générale on a €267m export credit facility for mining company Metalloinvest’s iron plant in Russia. She also acted for EBRD as arranger on a $170m refinancing for Egyptian oil services company ADES. Also recommended are Toby Grimstone, who often advises leading commodity trading houses, and John Tucker.

Head of finance Grant Eldred, head of trade Charles Williams, finance partner Alex Monk and newly promoted Lisa Hillary comprise the formidable team at Thomas Cooper LLP, which provides ‘better quality and better value than many rivals, and is nicer to deal with to boot’. Highlights included advising Emirates Bank on a $100m borrowing base facility for Cristal Pigments, and assisting Bank ABC with a $350m invoice discounting facility for Jaguar Land Rover.

Clyde & Co LLP has two experienced consultants in Stephen Tricks and Matthew Weedon. Tricks is providing technical advice to EBRD on the effect of sanctions on trade finance, and commodity and disputes partner Michael Swangard advised a commodity trader on a $50m receivables financing. Philip Prowse joined Holman Fenwick Willan.

DLA Piper provides ‘seamless’ commodities and trade finance expertise across a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions. Key figures include Charles Morrison, who has ‘unrivalled expertise and experience’; Richard Usher, who advises financial institutions such as new client ANZ Bank and alternative trade finance providers such as Falcon Group; and David Nelligan.

At Fieldfisher, the ‘highly responsive, thoughtful and commercial’ Oliver Abel Smith focuses on energy and natural resources finance, as does new recruit Matt Hinxman from Baker Botts (UK) LLP. Smith advised Banco do Brasil on numerous trade finance loans. Head of finance Andrew Evans acts for Silicon Valley Bank and Shawbrook Finance.

In an illustration of the strong mid-market focus of Michelmores LLP’s practice, Joe Whitfield and Harry Trick (who provide ‘excellent, attentive and pragmatic legal advice’) advised African Agriculture Fund on convertible debentures. Chris Willison, who has in-house trade finance experience, is recommended for asset based lending.

Stephenson Harwood is known for its ‘excellent relationship management and partner-led work’. David Lacey advised a European bank on a multimillion-pound invoice discounting facility. Ship and trade finance specialist Neil Noble acted for an African oil producer on a high-value structured oil forward sale.

At Taylor Wessing LLP, trade and receivables finance specialist Elisabeth Gaunt advised Unruly Media on cross-border invoice discounting agreements, and acted for Lloyds Bank on a £225m letter of credit and standby facility for companies owned by Trafigura. Deutsche Bank and Bank of America are also clients.

Notwithstanding the retirement of Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s long-serving trade finance specialist Michael Kenny, Joe Levin maintains a busy practice advising international financial institutions, and acted for lenders including HSBC on a $500m reserve-based lending facility for Petroceltic International.


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