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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Living Wage
Work 020 7374 8000
Fax 020 7374 0888
Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Belfast, Berlin, Brisbane and 22 more

William Breeze

Work +44 20 7466 2263
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Work Department



Partner with a focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors


William specialises in natural resources finance work, with a particular focus on oil and gas matters. He has experience in oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure finance, as well as general bank debt work.  He has acted for sponsors, project developers, lenders, trading houses and credit guarantors.  William is a recommended individual in Legal 500 across a number of practice areas.


English and Italian


England and Wales, 2003


BA (Hons), Oriel College, Oxford, 1998


Foreign law firms

Within: Foreign law firms

The team at¬†Herbert Smith Freehills LLP¬†acts primarily for clients in the energy, real estate, telecoms and banking industries. The firm has ‚Äėan exceptional track record‚Äô and is ‚Äėhighly familiar with commercial matters relating to the Iranian markets‚Äô. Its legal expertise ranges from advising on sanctions and market entry conditions to structuring investments for the Iranian market. Frankfurt-based¬†Thomas Kessler acted for solar energy company Greencells in relation to its entry to the Iranian market, and has subsequently assisted the client with the establishment of a joint venture and the structuring of multiple investments into several solar projects. Additionally,¬†Hilary Lau, who is based in the firm's Hong Kong office, advised the international division of China National Petroleum Corporation on its investment in the South Pars gas project. London-based¬†Reza Dadbakhsh and the ‚Äėimpressive, outstanding and experienced‚Äô¬†William Breeze are also contacts in the Iran-facing¬†practice group.

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London: Finance

Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans

Within: Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans

Leveraging its impressive roster of FTSE 250/100 corporate clients, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides an 'excellent service' across the gamut of borrower-side financing requirements including on general corporate lending, event-driven and acquisition financings. Team head Kristen Roberts delivers 'high-quality' financing advice to many of the firm's blue-chip corporates including Coats Group plc which he advised in relation to its debt diversification programme through a $350m bank multi-currency revolving credit facility and debut $225m US private placement of notes. Although the firm is undoubtedly better known for its borrower side prowess, Will Nevin has successfully expanded its lender side work both on the leveraged and corporate acquisition finance front on behalf of lender clients including Citi and HSBC. A more established lender practice also continues to flourish in the energy sector where the firm regularly acts for banks in relation to reserve-based funding structures. Thomas Bethel has a strong reputation in this space and regularly handles work for large bank syndicates; he recently acted for the lenders to Ophir Energy on an up to $350m reserve-based lending facility. Other recommended practitioners include Ian Yeo, for emerging markets mandates; William Breeze, for structured commodity trade finance; and Martin Kavanagh, for energy and infrastructure finance.

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Emerging markets

Within: Emerging markets

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP¬†has 'a very strong team that works exceptionally hard to deliver the highest quality of work to a tight timescale; it undoubtedly has a very deep understanding of the market and delivers an outstanding all round service'. The firm handles flagship transactions in¬†Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, India, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, advising both¬†corporates and international banks. Its prime area of focus is energy finance and it has a deep bench of finance and capital markets lawyers who play key roles in its¬†energy and natural resources group. Its recent highlights include acting for the¬†Government of Nepal on five large-scale hydropower projects, and advising¬†the lenders on the US$1bn prepayment facility for Oman Oil Exploration & Production LLC. For the Government of the Republic of Zambia, borrower Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation¬†and sponsor Zesco Limited, the practice handled the financing of a 750MW hydropower project in Zambia. For lenders including ING Bank and Natixis it handled¬†a senior secured borrowing base facility to facilitate the acquisition of¬†Shell's upstream assets in Gabon by¬†Carlyle International Energy Partners.¬†Head of the London energy, natural resources and infrastructure finance team¬†Martin Kavanagh¬†led the Gabon deal.¬†Ian Yeo¬†has more than¬†20 years' experience in banking work, which includes¬†the structuring of complex financings in the emerging markets in Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey.¬†Alexander Currie, who advised Gazprom on the financing of the ‚ā¨13bn¬†Amur Gas Processing Plant in East Siberia, has dealt with¬†project financing and restructuring for more than 20 years. Debt capital markets partners¬†Amy Geddes¬†and¬†Andrew Roberts¬†are also recommended, as is¬†William Breeze¬†who¬†acts for borrowers, lenders and trading houses on a wide range of trade finance, project finance and upstream energy finance transactions.

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Trade finance

Within: Trade finance

'The firm has a very strong team that has worked exceptionally hard to deliver the highest quality of work to a tight timescale', says a client of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, who adds that the lawyers 'undoubtedly have a very deep understanding of the market and deliver an outstanding all-round service'. The 'first-rate practice' is led by both William Breeze, who leads on structured commodity trade finance, and reserve-based lending specialist Thomas Bethel  who is 'highly knowledgeable and very adept at seeing a deal through from inception to close'. Drawing on the firm's strong energy and natural resources capability, the practice acts for banks and trading houses including ING Bank, BNP Paribas and Natixis.  Breeze handles structured deals in the oil and gas sector, and to a lesser extent in metals and softs. His recent highlights include advising lender Société Générale on a $1bn hybrid PXF deal for a Dutch orphan SPV to finance the prepayment of crude oil to Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production LLC. Bethel, who acts predominantly for lenders and has 'as much experience in reserve-based lending as anyone in the market', advised lead arrangers of a $2bn financing for an acquisition by Neptune, which included both reserve-based lending and acquisition finance features.

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London: Projects, energy and natural resources

Mining and minerals

Within: Mining and minerals

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP 's mining practice fields strong dispute resolution and finance capabilities under the leadership of corporate expert Greg Mulley . Lonmin recently appointed a group including Stephen Wilkinson and Robert Moore to oversee its recommended all-share takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater, and Nicholas Peacock represented Vedanta in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration against an Asian government arising from the imposition of a retrospective tax. Gregg Rowan acted for ArcelorMittal with regards to its claim against a Ukrainian subsidiary, an formed senior manager and the Luxembourg-based group holding company on the grounds of alleged breach of contract. David Walton and Will Breeze are also key names on the financing side while John Ogilvie  handles a wide range of disputes. Other notable clients include BHP, Newcrest, South32 and JP Morgan Cazenove.

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Oil and gas

Within: Oil and gas

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides 'competent and timely advice on short notice' and its oil and gas practitioners are praised by clients for their 'generous support, timely advice and client-oriented approach'.  Rachel Lidgate and Reza Dadbakhsh were recently promoted to the partnership and Alexander Currie relocated to London from another office. A team headed by Craig Tevendale is currently representing a major oil and gas field operator in cost recovery disputes with a Central Asian government, and William Breeze acted for two lenders in the refinancing of an international oil and gas company's syndicated multi-tiered reserve-based facilities. Also notable is James Baily 's defence a group of oil majors as the owners of the Andrew Field in the North Sea in a Commercial Court claim brought by Scottish Power seeking damages following an extended shut-in of the field. Other key clients include Chevron, BNP Paribas, Cuadrilla and Vitol.

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