Index of tables
Asset finance and leasing
- Blake Lapthorn
- Burges Salmon LLP (Bristol)
- CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
Clark Ricketts LLP
- Curtis Davis Garrard LLP
- Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- David Baker - Ince & Co
- Justin Benson - White & Case LLP
- Nick Chandler - SNR Denton
Simon Gwynne -
Hogan Lovells International LLP
- Mario Jacovides - Allen & Overy LLP
- Peter Jolliffe - Slaughter and May
- Greg Kahn - SNR Denton
- Rory MacCarthy - Addleshaw Goddard LLP
- Robert Murphy - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- Mark Russell - Stephenson Harwood
- David Smith - Allen & Overy LLP
- Graham Smith - Allen & Overy LLP
- Harry Theochari - Norton Rose LLP
Allen & Overy LLP has ‘a depth of quality resource that few can match’. Leveraging the firm’s vast global footprint, the seven-partner team excels at multi-jurisdictional mandates, and particularly aviation finance transactions. The ‘very good’ Paul Nelson advised Aldus Aviation on the ECA-supported portfolio financing of up to 14 Embraer Aircraft. ‘Not afraid to roll up his sleeves’, the ‘very impressive’ Harry Upcott regularly advises across a raft of asset classes, and recently represented Hong Kong Aviation Capital on the pre-delivery payment financing and subsequent leaseback of six Airbus A320 aircraft for Wizz Air. Praised for his ‘proactive and solution-orientated approach’, Mario Jacovides is global head of the team, which also includes Graham Smith; David Smith, who handles ship finance; and Jonathan Bevan, for rail finance.
The ‘go-to firm for highly strategic mandates’, Clifford Chance ‘excels at handling deals employing highly complex structures’. In a deal that also drew on the firm’s M&A, competition and tax expertise, the team played a pivotal role on RBS’ $8bn disposal of its aviation leasing unit. Able to tap into a vast international network, the team has been involved in a raft of deals in the BRIC countries, with the ‘very proactive’ William Glaister recently advising Natixis on the $27.1m Brazilian ECA financing for Saudi Airline NAS. On the rail side, Gavin Teague is advising the senior lenders on the £2.2bn Thameslink rolling stock project. Simon Lew and Nick Swinburne are also recommended. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Citibank and EIB.
Praised for its ‘outstanding industry knowledge and business acumen’, Norton Rose LLP provides ‘consistently high-quality advice’ across all asset classes. Recent highlights include advising the JV parties in the establishment of a Luxembourg joint venture for the leasing and financing of Boeing 747-8F for launch customer Cargolux, while on the rail side the team is advising Lloyds on the sale of parts of its rail portfolio. Shipping remains a core part of the practice, and the team is instructed by banks and owners across the spectrum of financings, including Islamic finance methods. Harry Theochari heads the team, which includes core partners Simon Hartley, Neil Poland and Tom Johnson, who are recommended for shipping, aviation and rail respectively. Clients include ABN AMRO, Flybe, P&O Ferries, and Bombardier.
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP continues to gain market share, and is increasingly viewed as ‘capable of competing with the traditional major players in the market’. Team head Russell Clifford provides ‘dynamic and enthusiastic leadership’ and is the key figure for rail financing work, with Angel Trains a key client. The aviation finance practice has shown most growth, and the ‘highly practical and commercially minded’ Keith Wilson and Tom Budgett are particularly admired in the industry. Praised for his ‘excellent industry knowledge’, Wilson represented Engine Lease Finance Corporation on its acquisition of Macquarie’s engine aircraft portfolio. The ship finance limb of the practice has been in a period of consolidation following Nicola Davies’ recent departure to Watson, Farley & Williams LLP.
SNR Denton has a ‘very strong and long track record’ in asset finance across the rail, shipping and aviation sectors. Team head Matthew Harvey is ‘very experienced in all major facets of asset finance’ and is part of an eight-partner team that includes ‘strong negotiator’ Sarah Dyke, Nick Chandler, Greg Kahn, Serge Sergiou and the ‘knowledgeable and friendly’ William Gibson. Clients include Avolon Aerospace Leasing, Barclays, GE Capital, and HSBC.
Headed by Mark Russell, Stephenson Harwood’s 12-partner team handles work across the spectrum of asset classes for banks, lessors and owners. It remains best known for its ship finance work and has a strong record advising banks such as DVB Bank, HSH Nordbank and Nordea Bank Finland. While new-money financings have been impacted by the economic climate, the group has been increasingly active in restructurings, including advising a co-ordinating committee for three syndicates of banks in relation to the $1bn of debt and bonds of a major shipping company. ‘Able to drill down on the issues’, Richard Parsons has ‘very good overall understanding of all aspects of aircraft leasing financing and debt structures’. Also recommended are Graeme McLellan, for rail; and Jonathan Ward and Nigel Porter, for shipping.
Watson, Farley & Williams LLP is praised for its ability to ‘co-ordinate and manage heavy workloads involving teams in several jurisdictions in an efficient and proactive manner’. The ‘very analytical and experienced’ Rex Rosales heads the aviation finance team and has been involved in a raft of ECA-supported financings, as well as capital markets transactions. Siva Subramaniam advised Singapore Airlines on the sale and leaseback of an A380 aircraft. Shipping finance remains a core element of the practice, with Nigel Thomas heading a team that advises a mix of banks and owners including DVB, Nordea and Clipper Group. Thomas recently advised a joint venture between Teekay LNG and Marubeni on the $1.2bn financing for the acquisition of AP Moller Maersk’s LNG shipping fleet. Offshore marine expert Nicola Davies joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.
Clyde & Co LLP provides ‘knowledgeable and competent’ advice to a balanced mix of clients in the maritime and aviation sectors. Head of the aviation finance group Philip Perrotta has a ‘wealth of experience and knowledge’, and gives ‘very prompt and focused advice’ to banks, airlines and lessors. He recently advised VietJet on a series of operating lease transactions involving ECA-financed A320 aircraft. On the shipping side, Matt Hannaford heads a three-partner team that has been particularly active advising its owner and operator client base on refinancings. Mark Bisset is recommended for business jet financings.
DLA Piper UK LLP has ‘long experience in the area’, and was bolstered by the recent arrival of Debra Erni and Alan Cunningham from White & Case LLP and DWF LLP respectively. Cunningham has ‘extremely good aviation knowledge’, and adds to the firm’s capabilities on mid-market UK deals. The ‘technical, client-focused and practical’ Siddharth Sharma has expertise across a range of asset classes including rail, where he is part of a team advising Eversholt Rail on a number of matters including the restructuring of its internal leasing structures. Team head Graham Tyler has a ‘great overview of the aviation market’, and is advising Emirates on a variety of financing and leasing deals.
Led by the ‘hugely experienced and very dependable’ Robert Murphy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides a ‘premier service’ to clients engaged in complex deals, often requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. Recent highlights include advising Avolon on its acquisition of nine aircraft from GECAS, and representing Ryanair on its first bond issuance, guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank. The ‘excellent’ Richard Phillips is a prominent figure for rail finance, and continues to advise the Department for Transport on the Intercity Express project. Clients include Aercap, Deutsche Bank and Etihad Airways.
Headed by the ‘highly commercial and practical’ Robin Hallam, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s five-partner team has ‘strength and depth’ across the spectrum of asset classes. The ‘excellent’ Robert Fugard has had an immediate impact since his recent move from Linklaters LLP; his recent work includes advising new client Norwegian Air Shuttle on various sale and leasebacks, EXIM financings and PDP financings for a total of 20 B737-800 aircraft. Other recommended partners include ‘the very experienced’ Simon Gwynne, for rail financing; and Austen Hall, who has a niche advising on corporate jet financings. ‘From top to bottom, the team has excellent lawyers who are able to blend a commercial approach with an eye for detail and a can-do attitude’.
At Reed Smith, Philip Rymer heads a small three-partner team with a focus on ship financing for banks, funds and owners. Rob Wilkins has a burgeoning reputation, and recently advised investment fund ICON Capital on the provision of a $10m mezzanine finance facility to Kyla Shipping Enterprises.
Bolstered by the arrival in May 2012 of the ‘very knowledgeable and commercial’ Donna Ager from Clifford Chance, Simmons & Simmons LLP’s three-partner team is a significant player in the aviation arena. Team head Christopher Boresjo handles a range of mainstream commercial aviation transactions, and recently advised AerCap on a five-aircraft portfolio sale to Apollo Aviation. Mark Moody continues to handle a number of key export credit supported financings. Clients include Bank of America, Citibank, Finnair, and Aviation Capital Group.
Slaughter and May regularly handles asset finance work as part of its broader finance practice. Team head Peter Jolliffe acted for key client British Airways on a number of matters, including advising on the Japanese operating lease financing and delivery of numerous aircraft.
Aviation finance remains the driving force of the practice at White & Case LLP. ‘Very clever’ team head Justin Benson ‘inspires trust, determination and goodwill’, and recently advised BNDES on financing the acquisition of a number of aircraft for Flybe. The team also continues to be involved in government-backed financings as a result of its panel relationships with the ECAs. Adrian Beasley is well regarded in the market, and acts for lessors and operators. Clients include Babcock & Brown, Barclays and CIT Group.
Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s Rory MacCarthy stands out as a leading ‘hands-on aircraft leasing attorney’, and is highlighted for his ‘knowledge about the technical aspects of commercial jet aircraft’. Acting mainly for airlines, he has handled a number of deals for Flybe, including advising on the $517m export credit financing of 20 new Embraer ERJ 175 aircraft. The ‘very commercial’ Andrew Maskill, in Manchester, handles general equipment finance matters for a strong lender client base.
The ‘responsive and highly commercial’ team at Bird & Bird has ‘great aviation industry knowledge’, and is instructed by an expanding array of airlines including Air Atlanta Icelandic, Etihad and Flybe. The ‘incredibly commercial’ Paul Briggs provides ‘business-focused advice’, and recently advised Virgin Atlantic on the sub-lease of five ECA-financed A330 aircraft to a US operator. The ‘very commercial’ Simon Chamberlain regularly handles financing work as part of his broad aviation practice.
Holman Fenwick Willan LLP provides a ‘high level of service and an excellent work product’ to banks, owners and operators in the shipping sector. The team has strong links with the main shipping banks, including Nordea, DNB and DVB, and recently advised the former as one of the lead arrangers on the $750m ‘forward start’ facility for Euronav. John Forrester has vast experience and oversees the team. Also recommended are Tony Rice; and Jay Tooker and Elinor Dautlich, who both have a good reputation for superyacht financings.
Ince & Co provides ‘pragmatic, simple and reliable’ advice to banks, shipyards and owners. The ‘business-orientated and efficient’ Dean Norton advised DNB Bank on the $288m financing for the construction of two floating storage and regasification units for Hoegh LNG. Also recommended are the ‘very precise and knowledgeable’ Renaud Barbier-Emery; the ‘highly experienced’ David Baker; and Stephen Marais. Clients include DVB, Nordea, Subsea 7 and Epic Shipping.
At Linklaters LLP, the ‘excellent’ Olga Petrovic is the core partner handling asset finance transactions. Petrovic recently advised Standard Chartered on a series of structured lease-financing transactions relating to a number of vessels for three Asian carriers.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP provides ‘responsive and commercial’ solutions to banks and lessors engaged in aviation financing. While it may lack the critical mass at partner level of some of its competitors, it has the ‘very commercial and diplomatic’ James Cameron, who has an excellent reputation. Leveraging the firm’s premier reputation in the US, the team specialises in complex mandates that often involve a transatlantic component, and recently assisted SMBC in its $7.2bn acquisition of RBS Aviation Capital. Associate Richard Walton is praised for his ‘ability to take a complex set of issues and distil into key areas of focus’.
Headed by the ‘very diligent, tenacious and experienced’ Andrew Evans, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP’s three-partner team specialises in advising the wealth management divisions of investment banks and ultra high-net-worth individuals on yacht and aircraft financings. At associate level, Olga Agueeva provides ‘concise and excellent’ advice, and Hannah Salton is ‘very responsive and not easily flustered’.
At Harbottle & Lewis LLP, team head Alison Wilds has ‘exceptional knowledge of how the aviation industry works’, and is praised for her ability to ‘keep a cool head in the face of adversity’. Clients include Virgin Atlantic Airways, Royal Wings Aviation Services, and Cityjet.
Blake Lapthorn has a six-partner team across London and Southampton, and acts for financiers, lessors, airlines, individuals and manufacturers. Ben Graham-Evans heads the team, which was boosted by the arrival of David Daws.
Bryan Cave is recommended for aviation finance.
CMS Cameron McKenna LLP handles asset finance transactions as part of its infrastructure and projects practice.
At Clark Ricketts LLP, the ‘excellent’ Robert Ricketts has a good pedigree for aviation finance. Clients include SpiceJet, flydubai and Air Arabia.
Curtis Davis Garrard LLP regularly handles shipping finance transactions as part of its broader shipping practice.
At Mayer Brown International LLP, the ‘hands-on’ Stuart McAlpine excels at cross-border asset financing transactions.
The arrival of the ‘very practical and commercial’ Clive Smith from DLA Piper UK LLP was a fillip for Osborne Clarke, on the rail finance side; he ‘lives and breathes the rail industry and knows it backwards’.
Since it was established towards the end of 2010, REN Legal LLP has forged an impressive reputation for its ‘highly responsive, robust and commercial advice’ to a range of clients in the aviation field. Norman Fraser and Christopher Jackson are noted for their ‘technical excellence’.
At TLT LLP, Annette Newport has a good reputation among banks for cross-border ship finance transactions.
A leading firm in the US for aviation finance, Vedder Price established a London presence towards the end of 2011. Formerly of Clyde & Co LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP respectively, Gavin Hill and the ‘totally committed and very thorough’ Derek Watson lead the practice.