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Allen & Overy LLP has ‘one of the leading finance practices in the City and is active in complex and high-value deals across the globe’. The firm’s growth markets practice is a central pillar of its global business and London has a pivotal role working with teams in its network of offices and through strong local relationships in Africa, the CEE region, the CIS, Ukraine, southeastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and parts of Asia and Latin America. The cross-practice team brings together market-leading expertise in areas such as debt capital markets, bank finance, project finance, corporate transactions, structured finance and private equity. The firm has a very deep bench in London that includes Lorraine Bayliss, who leads the ECA practice is best known for oil and gas, power and trade finance deals in the Middle East and Africa; Philip Bowden, who is co-head of the global banking team; Greg Brown, who handle syndicated loans, leveraged and acquisition finance, telecoms financing and export finance; Andrew Castle, who handles oil and gas projects, particularly in Africa and Turkey; Michael Castle, whose banking and leveraged finance practice sees him advise on deals in Russia and Africa; and Sanjeev Dhuna, who co-chairs the firm’s busy India group. Also recommended are Sachin Davé, Philip Smith and Jamie Durham, who stand out for debt capital markets in the CEE, Turkey and Africa, and Atif Hanif, who is a leading practitioner in Islamic finance and banking deals in the Middle East. The team’s highlights included advising telecommunications company Eaton Towers on its expansion into countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Niger. The India group advised a consortium of investors led by AION Capital Partners on the leveraged buyout of GE Capital’s Indian non-bank financial services business. The firm is also advising TAP AG, which is the company behind the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, on the development and construction of the €5bn project.

Baker McKenzie has a reputation as a pioneer in emerging markets and its extensive global network gives it a presence on the ground in the majority of the most active growth markets. The team in London advises many UK-based multinational companies on their emerging markets transactions; more than 80% of the work done by the London capital markets team involves emerging markets. The firm has a particularly strong presence in deals involving Russia and Turkey, but London-based partners are also active in deals across the globe. Among the key names in the practice are head of banking Nick Tostivin who focuses on syndicated lending transactions; leveraged acquisition and infrastructure financing specialist Ian Jack; Marc Fèvre, who advises government authorities, developers, lenders and secondary market investors on all aspects of energy and infrastructure transactions; vastly experienced project finance partner Calvin Walker; head of the London structured capital markets group Simon Porter; energy, mining and infrastructure partner Neil Donoghue, who also leads the firm’s nuclear group; and debt specialist Adam Farlow. Phung Pham, who joined from the London office of Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP, handles derivatives and structured finance deals involving emerging markets. One key deal from 2016 saw Donoghue and Walker advise Korea Electric Power Corporation on the $24.4bn financing of the first nuclear power plant in the Arabian Peninsula. Walker and Fèvre also acted for lenders Bayerische Landesbank and Arab African International Bank on the $126m financing of a 50MW solar plant in Egypt. In Morocco, the team advised Office Nationale D'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable on a $2bn project to develop an 850MW wind farm PPP programme.

Clifford Chance LLP fields multi-disciplinary, cross-border teams that provide market-leading expertise in banking, project finance, commodity and trade finance, structured finance, securitisation, derivatives and both debt and equity capital markets. ‘At the top of its game’, the London finance team serves as a hub for much of the emerging markets work done in partnership with local offices in key jurisdictions; the firm’s Africa practice, for instance, sees the teams in London and Casablanca collaborate closely. The firm also has one of the most prominent profiles for work involving India and Latin America, and leverages its Moscow office to play a lead role in deals centred on Russia, the CIS and the CEE, while its Istanbul office allows it to continue building on its strong track record of transactions in Turkey. The firm’s deep bench includes global capital markets head Adrian Cartwright; banking partner Leonard Cleland, who works in the Africa, Turkey and Greece groups; Titus Edjua and energy, natural resources and infrastructure partner Jeremy Connick who are co-heads of the Africa practice; high yield specialists Michael Dakin and Fabio Diminich; debt capital markets expert David Dunnigan; and banking and finance partner Russell Wells, who is a key member of the India team. A key highlight for the practice saw Wells advise members of The World Bank Group on major financings in Ghana, including acting for the International Development Association as provider of a $500m liquidity risk guarantee in support of the offtake obligations of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and assisting the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development with three debt guarantees with a total value of $200m for the Sankofa Gas Field project. The firm also acts for EBRD, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has ‘genuine experience in emerging markets and is one of the top firms for finance transactions thanks to its in-depth market knowledge’. It is a leading firm for energy and natural resources projects with a track record of advising blue-chip companies on deals in Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, India, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. The firm’s outstanding reputation in the energy and natural resources sectors sees it play a leading role in first-of-their kind transactions and highly complex financings. Recent examples include advising trading house Vitol on a $1.65bn financing for its interest in the $7bn OCTP oil and gas project in Ghana. The project is the first successful, large-scale gas-to-power project financing in Africa and is backed by facilities provided by IFC, United Kingdom Export Finance and a commercial banking group including HSBC, Société Générale and ING. The firm is advising the Government of Nepal on negotiations for the development of six large-scale hydroelectric power projects with a potential value of more than $7bn. Head of the London energy, natural resources and infrastructure finance team Martin Kavanagh, who is also global co-head of the firm’s Africa group, led on both the Nepal and Vitol deals. Alexander Currie has more than 20 years’ experience acting on project financings, acquisitions and disposals of energy and natural resource assets, and on restructuring troubled projects in Russia and the CIS, as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa. Structured and leveraged finance specialist Ian Yeo recently advised on transactions in Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and other African states. Debt capital markets partners Amy Geddes and Andrew Roberts, and banking partner Matthew Job are also recommended. John Balsdon moved to Latham & Watkins.

Linklaters LLP is ‘at the front of the pack for emerging markets DCM work’ and is described by one client as ‘first choice for renminbi bonds listed in London’. The firm has a well-established emerging market practice that is often a first port of call for large corporates and financial institutions, and which has a long track record of innovative and challenging deals in key markets. The firm has a global network of offices but London is an essential hub in many transactions, including sovereign debt deals and complex financings. The team often collaborates with partners in Lisbon, Paris and its affiliated firm in Johannesburg to cover matters across the entire Africa continent. It has a strong presence in the CEE and CIS regions through local offices and resident experts in London, and an India group that is known for its in-depth knowledge of cross-border financings. The firm is also a strong presence in Latin America deals, with the London team collaborating with teams in New York and São Paulo, and is highly respected for deals in Turkey, the Middle East and China. Mirthe van Kesteren leads the emerging markets banking and structured trade finance practice in London and is co-head of the firm’s CIS group. The team includes outstanding partners such as Africa group head Andrew Jones; US securities experts Cecil Quillen and Patrick Sheil, who both handle debt and equity transactions; senior partner and mining industry expert Charlie Jacobs; Elaine Keats, whose extensive international capital markets expertise encompasses debt offerings, convertible bonds and MTN programmes; utilities and infrastructure specialist Ian Andrews; head of the CIS group Daniel Tyrer and Toby Grimstone, who focuses on international banking matters, including syndicated loans and secured financings. 2016 highlights included advising lenders such as African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the $5bn Nacala Corridor project, which comprises a 900km rail and port development in Malawi and Mozambique, and is currently Africa’s largest infrastructure project.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is ‘an outstanding firm for project and corporate finance transactions; the team really takes its time to get to know a client’s business and financial requirements’ and has ‘in-depth knowledge of markets in Africa and the Middle East’. The firm has had one of London’s most prominent emerging markets practices since the 1970s and remains a key player in some of the most challenging finance deals in growth markets. John Dewar is practice co-head and also leads on Islamic finance; clients note that he has ‘a knowledgeable and pragmatic approach, and always gives clients confidence that their points are understood and will be acted upon’. Clive Ransome ‘steers discussions to the place they need to be and guides parties towards a solution’. Matthew Hagopian and Manzer Ijaz have continued to be busy with deals in Africa. Key figures below partner level include senior associate Chris Taufatofua, who ‘has seen almost every kind of transaction and has a calm and reassuring manner’. Senior associate Oliver Irwin ‘is always close to the detail and is able to take a bird’s eye view and come up with extremely satisfactory outcomes’. Senior associate Seyda Duman focuses on projects, energy and infrastructure and is particularly active in deals in Turkey. The firm hired associates Kilian de Cintre from Winston & Strawn London LLP, Jonathan Roberts from Dentons and Robert Thompson from Linklaters LLP, further strengthening its capability in projects work. Flagship deals for the team included advising the Export-Import Bank of Korea (K-Exim) and commercial banks including HSBC on the $24bn financing of the four-unit, 5,600MW Barakah nuclear power plant in Dubai.

At Norton Rose Fulbrightthe expertise and experience revealed by the team in each transaction is nothing short of amazing’; clients also note that ‘response times are truly incredible and the attorneys are always so responsive, working out sensible solutions to issues at every stage’. Key strengths include trade and Islamic finance, infrastructure, mining, commodities, agribusiness and energy. Working closely with offices in the firm’s extensive global network, the London team delivers a broad and comprehensive service for emerging markets work. Martin McCann is the firm’s global head of business and ‘is very well respected in the market for getting difficult things done’. He specialises in major financing transactions in the infrastructure and natural resource sectors. Charles Whitney handles complex project financings involving both export credit agencies (ECAs) and multilateral financial institutions. Whitney and Middle East and EMEA power projects specialist Chris Down have ‘great knowledge and experience in energy and electricity generation, coupled with an ability to negotiate and settle both project and finance documentation that is truly astounding’. Clients also praise head of the financial institution international business group Chris Brown, projects partner Mark Berry, finance partners Madhavi Gosavi and Daniel Metcalfe, mining and minerals specialist Raj Karia and trade finance expert Nick Grandage, who are all ‘diligent, experienced and hardworking’. The firm’s merger with Chadbourne & Parke added prominent partner Silvia Fazio to the team. She works between London and São Paulo and acts for banks, private equity funds and corporates on deals involving Brazil. Among the firm’s numerous highlights was its work for the Ministry of Finance of Angola as borrower on a $4.13bn financing for the development of the Caculo Cabaça hydroelectric station, in which the lender was a syndicate of Chinese banks.

Clients of White & Case LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice single out its ‘knowledge, tenacity, responsiveness and enthusiasm; all in all it is a pleasure to work with’. The firm is widely regarded as a leader in the emerging markets space, thanks in no small part to its extensive global network and its depth of experience in key areas of finance such as banking and debt capital markets. The London team has particular strength in deals emanating from the CEE and CIS regions, the Middle East and Africa. Global head of capital markets Stuart Matty and US-qualified Melissa Butler are highly regarded for cross-border debt matters and are key figures in emerging markets sovereign debt deals. Their recent highlights include acting for joint lead managers Citibank Global Markets, Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered Bank on a $750m notes offering by the Republic of Ghana, and assisting dealers including Barclays with a $1bn GMTN programme for Access Bank in Nigeria and a subsequent $183m drawdown. Matty and Butler acted alongside US securities partner Ian Clark for the Republic of Mozambique on its $1.9bn of debt restructuring, which included a sovereign bond and two state-guaranteed loans. Head of EMEA energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance Jason Kerr worked on numerous financings in Africa and the CIS region in 2016. Bank finance specialist Christopher Czarnocki acts for both borrowers and lenders and played a key role in the Mozambique sovereign debt deal. Co-head of the firm’s global oil and gas practice Philip Stopford, who regularly handles deals in the Middle East and Africa, ‘has outstanding knowledge of project finance and the oil and gas sector, where his presence, experience and negotiating skills are very valuable’. He handled a $4.4bn financing for Vale in relation to the Nacala Corridor project in Mozambique.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is ‘definitely a strong name for emerging markets DCM work’. The firm has a broad regional focus but is best known for deals involving Russia and the CIS region. The London practice acts mainly for corporate borrowers raising funds in international debt markets, though its funds and derivatives practices are also involved in hedging transactions and its strong energy practice sees the firm act in project finance deals in the oil and gas, power and mining sectors. Russia specialist and head of the international finance group Robert Aulsebrook is noted for his ‘ability to provide top-quality service on a wide range of financing transactions’. He has a stellar list of clients that includes Lukoil, Alfa Bank, VimpelCom and RusHydro. Debt capital markets partner Lisa Hearn and associate Jonathan Pico ‘are held in high regard and have in-depth knowledge of key markets’. The firm’s key deals from 2016 included acting for Lukoil on a $1bn Rule 144a/Reg S offering of notes, in a deal that represented the company’s first Eurobond and the first such offering by a Russian company since 2014. For VimpelCom, Hearn and Daniel Walsh advised on a $1.2bn dual-tranche offering of bonds listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Another highlight was a $350m Eurobond for Russian real estate company O1 Properties.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s team in London focuses purely on emerging markets work, with a focus on the energy sector; for some it has ‘the pre-eminent LNG practice’. In London, the firm has a deep bench of expert lawyers handling the financing of major projects in the energy and natural resources sectors including practice head Rubin Weston, who is regarded as a leading light for emerging markets oil and gas and infrastructure projects. His recent work includes projects in Kuwait and Venezuela. He also advised Russia’s Gazprombank on the $489m financing of a high-density polyethylene plant and a polypropylene plant constructed by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. Robin Mizrahi is a leading practitioner for power deals, largely in Africa and the Middle East. He recently advised on a renewable energy project in Jordan and a power project in Kuwait. Stuart McIntyre’s clients include leading Russian banks and global development finance institutions. Hamish McArdle’s highlights included major upstream energy projects. Oil and gas partner Mark Rowley heads the firm’s London office and is the lead partner for Quantum Power on a project for the development of the Tema LNG floating receiving terminal in Ghana. In early 2017, the firm hired the head of King & Wood Mallesons’ EMEA energy, infrastructure and resources team James Douglass. Construction partner Stuart Jordan, who handles significant projects in the Middle East and Africa, joined from the same firm.

For some, Bracewell (UK) LLP has ‘one of the most experienced teams in the market in the energy sector and possibly the best team for oil and gas matters’. The firm’s London office has one of the leading practices for the financing of upstream oil and gas companies. 2016 highlights included advising Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration the $1.75bn project financing of the offshore Leviathan gas field, which was underwritten by JPMorgan and HSBC and which has a $10bn offtake contract with Jordan. The firm has also been heavily involved in some of the largest restructurings in the emerging market oil and gas sector; recent work includes advising Petroceltic in connection with a $500m financing secured against the group’s resources in Egypt, Italy and Bulgaria in the wake of the company’s financial difficulties. The team advised the Carlyle Energy Fund, CVC Capital Partners and Neptune Energy on a $2bn debt facility to support Neptune’s $3.9bn acquisition of a 70% stake in Engie E&P International, which is the largest-ever private equity-backed upstream acquisition in the EMEA region. Jason Fox and Olivia Caddy are the standout partners in a team that counts ENI, Actis, Citibank and BNP Paribas among its clients.

Dentons is best known for its capital markets work in emerging markets, though it also has significant expertise in energy, trade finance and project finance. In a standout matter, the London team advised the Republic of Ghana on a $750m sovereign bond issuance, which was combined with two tender offers for outstanding notes; DCM specialist David Cohen led on that deal. The firm’s capital markets team grew in 2016 with the addition of partner Nick Hayday from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, who advises on debt issuances, equity transactions and Islamic finance matters, and whose experience includes deals in the CEE and Africa; and Cameron Half, formerly counsel at Allen & Overy LLP, who joined as a US securities partner to advise issuers and underwriters on equity and debt offerings, and who has a track record of deals in Russia. Infrastructure partner Dominic Spacie acted for Twebaze Development Limited as the preferred bidder on one of the first PPP projects in Uganda, which involves the construction of new accommodation premises in Kampala. Paul Holland is head of the London banking team and is also a member of the firm’s Islamic finance group. Energy finance expert Tim Pipe is active in deals involving Russia, the CIS and Nigeria. Celia Gardiner is recommended for structured trade and commodity finance. Also recommended are private equity partner Nicholas Plant, senior projects lawyer John Woolley and energy partner Danielle Beggs.

Clients of Hogan Lovells International LLP rate ‘the overall level of service as excellent’. The firm draws on its finance and corporate practices to advise on banking, corporate finance, energy, project finance, equity and debt capital markets transactions. It is a prominent player in India, Africa, Russia, South America and Eastern Europe, where it acts for clients including IFC, EBRD and African Development Bank. DCM partner Andrew Carey and capital markets associate Megan James ‘do an excellent job keeping on top of all the issues; their advice is commercial while also mindful of protecting the client’s position’. Carey and senior associate Jonathan Malim acted for African Export-Import Bank on the annual update of its $3bn EMTN programme, which included a $750m drawdown. Other recommended specialists in the firm’s deep team include export finance partners Andrew Taylor and David Leggott, project finance and infrastructure expert Adrian Walker, private equity specialist Keith Woodhouse, and Richard Tyler, whose practice is dedicated to oil, gas and LNG transactions. Tyler is leading the firm’s international team acting for the Shah Deniz Consortium on a large and complex gas project in Azerbaijan and Turkey. He is also advising the Government of Niger Republic on a $1bn loan facility to support long-term oil sales. The London team also handles financings on behalf of the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund, which in 2016 included a $30m deal to support Ghana Airports Company.

Mayer Brown International LLP provides ‘consistently top-quality service from a strong team with great depth and scope of experience’. The firm is known for handling complex deals in the CEE region, Africa, Turkey and the Middle East, with debt capital markets and structured finance its key strengths. The firm is also a prominent player in the mining sector. Mining partner Ian Coles, infrastructure partner Tom Eldridge and senior associate Danuta de Vries are ‘all very commercial and experienced in the mining sector’. Coles advised Toro Gold on the financing and construction of the Mako gold project in Senegal. Rachel Speight is also a key partner in the mining practice; her recent highlights include advising Standard Chartered Bank, Société Générale, Barclays Africa Group and BNP Paribas as lead arrangers on a five-year loan facility of up to $2.2bn facility for Canadian company First Quantum Minerals Limited, which has seven operating mines and five development projects around the world. Trevor Wood regularly advises on sovereign debt, trade finance, project finance and corporate finance matters in Turkey, and James Taylor handles debt matters including updates to the first global MTN and covered bond programmes set up by Turkish financial institutions. Taylor advised Türkiye Vakıflar Bankasi on a €500m issuance of residential mortgage-backed covered bonds. The firm’s rising stars include senior associate Doye Balogun.

Shearman & Sterling LLP specialises in complex and high-profile project financing transactions and has built a reputation for first-of-their-kind deals in many growth markets. John Inglis acted for lenders including K-Sure, Standard Chartered Bank, Natixis and ING on a $1bn financing for the development of an LNG receiving and regasification terminal in Bahrain. Inglis, who is deputy head of the firm's EMEA project development and finance group, has more than 25 years’ experience advising lenders, sponsors and other project participants on oil and gas, power and infrastructure development. He is acting for SACE and other lenders on the financing of a modernisation project for an oil refinery in Egypt. The team also advised International Finance Corporation on a $1.7bn corporate financing for Angola LNG. Sanja Udovicic played a key role in that deal and is highly experienced in acting for lenders and sponsors on energy and infrastructure projects. She also acted for Standard Chartered Bank on the $3.4bn financing of the Hassyan clean coal power project in Dubai. Iain Elder is another experienced partner in the project development and finance group; his recent highlights include acting for SMBC on behalf of the lender group backing the $1.15bn development of a combined heat and power facility at the Fadhili Gas Complex in Saudi Arabia. Counsel Paul Simpson, who worked on the Bahrain LNG deal, is also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons has a well-respected practice that acts on both lender and borrower-side deals, and its strong team of partners draws on specialist expertise in banking, projects, capital markets and funds for emerging markets work. The team in London acts for a diverse range of clients including multilateral development banks such as the International Finance Corporation, EBRD and African Finance Corporation (AFC), as well as leading investment banks; funds such as Resource Capital Funds (RCF) and Orion; and corporates such as Mitsubishi Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Banking partner Omar Al-Ali, energy and infrastructure expert Adam Cooper and LNG projects partner Andrew Petry are all recommended. The firm significantly expanded its capability in London with the hire of Jen Yee Chan from King & Wood Mallesons, who focuses on funds finance and has experience in cross-border deals involving Africa, Kazakhstan, the Middle East, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine; Simon Moore who was general counsel for projects at Mubadala Development Company in Abu Dhabi; and Cindy Valentine, also from King & Wood Mallesons, who handles private equity deals in Africa. Structured capital markets specialist David Toole was promoted to partner and Adrian Nizzola, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the infrastructure sector, returned to London from the Dubai office. Highlights included advising TEPCO on a $3bn water and power project in Qatar; acting for lenders on the project financing of a bulk liquids terminal at Sokhna Port, Egypt; and assisting Orion Fund 1 with debt financing arrangements in relation to copper offtake from Ongopolo’s Tschudi open pit copper mine in Namibia.

Clients of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP are ‘very pleased with the quality of advice, responsiveness and cost’ and note that ‘the lawyers have strong commercial acumen’. They also praise the firm’s ‘strong experience and good connections in local markets, which allows the team to navigate local law issues with ease’. The firm acts on a mix of mid-market and big-ticket deals and is best known for advising on investments in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, particularly in financial services, retail-sector real estate projects, infrastructure and agribusiness. Its experience covers the full range of debt, equity and property finance transactions for private equity firms, corporates and banks. Adrian Mayer is ‘a consummate relationship partner and is very attentive and commercial in his approach’. Jon Bond is ‘very knowledgeable on the finance side and a tough negotiator who acts in his clients’ best interests’. Corporate partners John Fletcher and Hamish Perry are also recommended. Perry advised The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on a $65m project to select the country’s second mobile network operator. Another highlight saw the firm advise Actis LLP on the disposal of a group structure in Mauritius and Nigeria to Abraaj Group.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is praised for its ‘focus on high-end and complex transactions’, and for its longstanding commitment to emerging markets work, which has helped it to carve out a prominent role in English law transactions in markets such as Russia, the CEE, the Middle East, Africa and India. Its clients include large sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises. The firm’s partners have a multi-disciplinary approach and each advise on a range of finance matters, but many have a specific geographical focus. Tihir Sarkar is the key figure for emerging markets M&A and the London finance team has dedicated Russia specialists in David Gottlieb, Raj Panasar and finance and restructuring expert Polina Lyadnova. Panasar also works on deals involving India along with litigator Sunil Gadhia and corporate partner Shreya Lal Damodaran. David Billington leads on Africa-related finance matters. 2016 highlights included advising Qatar Investment Authority on its acquisition of a stake in Russian oil producer Rosneft, which was financed by a €5.2bn margin loan from Intesa Sanpaolo and a consortium of Russian lenders. The firm also acted as counsel to the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation in connection with the $1.25bn re-opening of its May issuance of bonds, which were sold to institutional investors.

Dechert LLP’s London emerging markets team advises on the full range of international debt and equity transactions, including large liability management deals. The practice’s English and US law capabilities enables it to play a significant role in both public and private 144a/Reg S issuances including high yield and investment grade bonds, as well as SEC-registered offerings. Its capital markets team handles a range of deals in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean basin and the CEE and CIS regions. In recent years it has acted in debut bond issues in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco and Oman, with prominent roles for both underwriters and issuers in sovereign bond offerings. In 2016, it acted for the Arab Republic of Egypt on issuances with a total value of $4bn under the country’s global MTN programme, and a private placement of a further $4bn of notes. Camille Abousleiman and US securities partner Patrick Lyons were the key lawyers on both deals. Abousleiman also advised Russian financial institutions VTB Capital and VTBBank on the $3.6bn refinancing of India-based group Essar, which has a diversified portfolio of assets in the energy, steel, ports and telecoms sectors. Another highlight was Lyons’ work for the Central Bank of Tunisia on euro- and dollar-denominated bond issuances.

Latham & Watkins is ‘a first choice for debt deals in the emerging markets space’. The London team is central to the firm’s presence in that market and has a strong track record of deals in Russia and the wider CEE region, though its pipeline of transactions sees it active in a wider range of jurisdictions. Debt specialist Lene Malthasen has extensive experience of in Rule 144a issuances and liability management transactions in Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, Southern Europe and Asia. David Stewart is ‘particularly strongly recommended’; he recently acted in matters in Mozambique, Croatia, Egypt and Ukraine. Counsel Ed Kempson is also recommended. Highlights included acting for the Republic of Mozambique on a landmark exchange offer to holders of loan participation notes due 2020 for notes with longer maturity. The team also assisted dealer managers JP Morgan and VTB Capital with the exchange of $750m in loan participation notes issued by Mobile TeleSystems PJSC. John Balsdon’s arrival from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP added significant oil and gas expertise as well as a track record of significant deals in West Africa.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has a very active London-based international finance team that advises both borrowers and lenders on complex, multi-jurisdictional deals in emerging markets, including private placements, structured finance, fund finance, and restructurings. Head of international finance Bruce Johnston regularly acts on transactions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa involving acquisition finance, leveraged finance, project finance, trade finance and asset-backed lending. He also plays a role in significant energy and infrastructure deals. Carter Brod is highly regarded for his advice to corporates, banks, governments, investment banks and investors on capital markets transactions including Eurobond issuances, MTN programmes and convertible bonds. Thomas O’Connor and Amanda Jennings are also recommended. In 2016, Brod and Johnston advised investment company China Jianyin Investment on the redemption of €350m in outstanding high yield notes of SGD Pharma in connection with its acquisition of the company. Johnston also advised the Sistema group of companies on a €383m secured facility. O’Connor assisted US insurance companies with financing negotiations concerning the purchase of notes from a Mexican real estate investment company.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP regulary acts for leading investment banks, emerging market private equity funds and strategic investors on transactions in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. The London team is known for its in-depth knowledge of banking law and regulatory regimes in emerging markets. Peter O’Driscoll leads the firm’s emerging markets group and has extensive experience of M&A, private equity and capital markets deals in Africa. Weyinmi Popo is ‘pragmatic and responsive, with a good sense of what the client needs’; he has in-depth experience of markets in Anglophone Africa. Peter Roberts, who leads the firm’s global oil and gas practice, recently acted for Maersk Oil & Gas on projects in western and eastern Africa including the development of the Locichar to Lamu crude oil export pipeline in Kenya. He also advised Tullow Ghana Limited on the sale and transportation of gas from its offshore fields, which involved negotiating first-of-their-kind contracts in Ghana. Also recommended are Anthony Riley, who stands out for deals in the energy and renewable energy sectors, and midstream oil and gas specialist Collin Graham.

Reed Smith LLP has a broad emerging markets finance practice that handles debt and structured finance, among other matters. Clients ‘have nothing but positive things to say’ about ‘professional, personable and committed lawyers’ Ranajoy Basu and senior associate Priya Taneja, who are ‘always timely in their responses and willing to work hard to build new deal structures from the ground up’. Basu advised Bank of India on financing with a total value of $1bn for Videocon Hydrocarbon Holdings. Managing partner for Europe and the Middle East Tamara Box has a track record of novel and cutting-edge capital markets transactions in Europe, Russia, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Litigator Gautam Bhattacharyya leads the firm’s busy India group; Leon Stephenson focuses primarily on corporate banking and finance transactions, particularly leveraged buyouts and acquisitions in the CEE region; Jonathan Solomon’s structured trade and commodity financing practice sees him active in emerging markets transactions; and senior associate Agnes Molnar handles cross-border structured deals, funds financing and non-performing loans transactions. Roy Montague-Jones left the firm. Highlights included acting for trustee Citibank on the $800m bond issuance by Nigerian mobile telecommunications company IHS Netherlands, which was the largest high yield bond issued in Africa.

Trinity International LLP is a niche law firm that specialises in corporate and finance transactions in emerging markets. The boutique practice is ‘very responsive and has strong industry knowledge, as well as good relationship-management skills’. Six partners, five senior legal consultants, four counsels and six associates spend the vast majority of their time on emerging markets deals, largely in the power sector. ‘Excellent finance lawyerSimon Norris, Paul Biggs and Kaushik Ray are all ‘flexible and proactive’. Jennifer Gladstone is ‘a phenomenal lawyer and a great project manager who is smart, hardworking and always goes beyond the call of duty’. Fiona Gulliford joined in 2016 from Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP where she led the London project finance practice. The firm’s key deals included advising lead arrangers African Development Bank, Standard Bank of South Africa and Nedbank, as well as lenders including European Investment Bank, on a €425m project to build a 310MW wind farm in Africa. The deal represents the largest single private sector investment in Kenya.

Ashurst has a long list of partners with experience in emerging markets financing and capital markets transactions. Debt and equity capital markets specialist Francis Kucera has wide-ranging expertise in international securities work, with a particular emphasis on financings in Eastern Europe and the CIS region. Corporate partner Sergei Ostrovsky leads the firm’s Russia and CIS practice and advises on debt and equity deals, fundraisings and M&A transactions. Cameron Smith specialises in infrastructure and energy projects in both the UK and emerging markets. He has a particular niche in waste, biomass and tidal projects and a track record of deals in Africa and Asia. Joss Dare is recommended for transport and infrastructure projects including rail, ports, roads, airports, health and education developments in the MENA region and India. Richard Gubbins has more than ten years’ experience in corporate finance deals in India. Global head of utilities David Wadham has advised on projects in the Middle East and North and sub-Saharan Africa, and his practice encompasses gas, coal, oil, solar, wind, tidal and nuclear power projects.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP continues to grow its standing in the energy sector, particularly in the power, renewables, infrastructure and oil and gas sectors. It also has significant expertise in the mining sector, with Alexander Keepin growing that practice’s presence in Africa along with litigator and head of the firm’s Africa group Segun Osuntokun. Deepa Deb heads the India group; his experience covers commercial real estate including office, retail, hotel development and investment acting for domestic and foreign companies, developers, institutions and funds. Head of energy and natural resources Adam Dann, who is also head of finance, handles a steady pipeline of transactional oil and gas sector work in emerging markets. Head of banking Emma Howdle-Fuller is also recommended. Keepin advised a sovereign wealth fund on its $100m subscription as part of a larger fundraising by Kenmare Resources, which operates the Moma titanium minerals mine in Mozambique. He also acted for Ncondezi Energy, which holds a large coal resource in Mozambique, on an agreement with Shanghai Electric Power Company to develop coal-fired power generation capacity in the country’s Tete province.

Bird & Bird LLP remains an active player in finance transactions in the CEE, the CIS and Southeast Europe, and it has expanded its coverage to include deals in North Africa and Asia. The ‘responsive, innovative, sharp, business-oriented and very patient’ Andrew Hallgarth is the lead partner; clients describe him as ‘incredibly knowledgeable, having vast experience across sectors, jurisdictions and financing instruments’. Hallgarth and banking partner Isabel Evans advised Elisa OYJ as lender on the forward funding arrangements for the €151m acquisition of Estonian cable TV operator AS Starman. Evans also advised the Greater Amman Municipality in Jordan on an innovative €102m loan structure provided by the EBRD to fund the development of an eco-friendly city. Another key deal saw the team act for Beechbrook Capital in a €17m investment in a Bulgarian target company.

DLA Piper fields a number of experienced projects partners in London including Charles Morrison, who is a key figure in the energy and infrastructure finance team, and widely regarded as an expert on energy matters, particularly in the oil and gas sector. He recently advised integrated energy company Victoria Oil & Gas on a complex farm-out arrangement with Africa-focused oil and gas exploration group Bowleven in relation to a production-sharing contract for the Bomono Block in Cameroon. Nigel Drew’s broad finance practice includes bank and bond deals for the financing of international infrastructure projects. He has a strong track record of road, rail and airport projects in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s London office has more than 20 years’ experience advising clients investing and operating in India, China, Latin America, Russia and Africa on deals including M&A, joint ventures, private equity investment, direct investment and capital markets transactions. Geoffrey Burgess advises on a range of projects in Africa, India, Russia and the CIS region. He recently acted for Russian airline Aeroflot on the negotiation of an operating lease for six A321 aircraft from Chinese lessor ICBC Leasing. He also acted for CHC Restructurings in various fleet restructuring arrangements with lessors, lenders and manufacturers. The anchor lessor transaction involved 42 helicopters from Milestone and a committed $150m financing facility for additional equipment. Capital markets partner James Scoville has extensive experience in listings on the London Stock Exchange for corporates based in Russia, China and many other emerging markets. Counsel Vera Losonci, who is dual qualified in US and English law, is a recognised expert in both debt and equity transactions involving issuers in Russia and other emerging markets. She regularly advises on IPOs, tender offers, exchange offers and transactions involving depositary receipts.

Fieldfisher has one of the largest teams in London dedicated to Russia and the CIS region, and has an emphasis on transactional and regulatory matters. Its clients range from entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals to international investment banks and large, blue-chip and LSE-listed companies based in the CIS. The firm also advises on deals in Africa and the Middle East. Matt Hinxman is a project and asset finance specialist with a long track record of advising sponsors and lenders on major financings in the energy and natural resources sector across Eastern Europe and Africa. Banking and asset finance partner Andrew Evans leads the firm’s finance team and has a diverse practice that encompasses technology, asset finance, loan and equity bridge deals in emerging markets. Other key figures include Philip Abbott, who has a diverse bank lending practice; Oliver Abel Smith, who handles commodity and trade finance deals; Alex Campbell, whose experience includes hotel development and asset finance transactions; and Nodir Sidikov and head of the CIS group Arik Aslanyan, who handle cross-border corporate and finance matters. The hire of Jayne Backett from Mayer Brown International LLP added significant skills in debt finance, particularly in the real estate sector. Sidikov and Hinxman acted for state-owned oil and gas company LMG Kashagan in a $1bn crude oil prepayment deal.

Michelmores LLP is ‘very commercial and provides hands-on advice with good knowledge of the market and its key players’. The firm, which delivers ‘outstanding value for money and the service often exceeds expectations’, has a growing boutique emerging markets practice that represents a diverse range of clients including state-owned development finance institutions, private equity funds, sponsors, developers and investors. It focuses predominantly on low- to mid-market deals in agribusiness, forestry, financial services, micro-finance, energy, renewables and real estate. Corporate finance specialist Joe Whitfield (who has ‘excellent commercial understanding as well as legal strength and experience’) leads the team. He has more than 20 years’ experience working in emerging markets deals and benefits from his time as general counsel at CDC Group, a development finance institution owned by the UK government that supports the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia. Associate Harry Trick (who is ‘responsive, thorough and has the ability to execute efficiently and precisely’) works on debt and equity capital markets deals and private equity investment transactions in emerging markets. The team was strengthened by the recruitment of banking partner Asheesh Das from McGuireWoods London LLP. Highlights included advising charitable foundation Gatsby on establishing Msingi, an East Africa fund to foster growth in high-potential industries.

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Legal Developments in London for Emerging markets

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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