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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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