Banking, finance and capital markets in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has a market-leading reputation, which is underpinned by its excellent track record across a broad range of transactions. Led by Filip Tanghe, the team is a standout performer in a multitude of areas, including corporate lending (such as refinancings and recapitalisations), export finance, acquisition finance, asset-based finance, project finance, structured finance and equity and debt capital markets. Tanghe and recently promoted senior associate Dennis Lievens are advising the European Investment Bank on the €1bn financing of the Oosterweel Connection Project; this is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Belgium. In another matter, in 2018, Tanghe and counsel Greet Vanslambrouck were part of a cross-office group which acted for GeoSea Luxembourg (and its subsidiaries and associated companies) on a €121m leasing transaction connected with the client's financing for "Apollo", a self-propelled DP2 jack-up vessel. Financial regulatory advice is another cornerstone of the work undertaken by the group, whose other key members include Sylvia KierszenbaumYves Van Pul and counsel Sophie Rutten. Senior associates Julie Vander Donckt and Axel de Backer are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Filip Tanghe

Testimonials

Pro-active/creative/knowledgeable

Greet Vanslambrouck is a pleasant person to work with. She is solution-oriented and commercially driven

Allen & Overy distinguishes itself in its attention to quality and detail

Filip Tanghe is the ultimate problem solver. He has an extensive network in the Belgian market. Greet Vanslambrouck is very experienced; we love to work with her due to her pleasant and personal approach in deals

Key clients

Kharis Capital Advisory Belgium

European Investment Bank

DEME Group

Waterland Private Equity Investments BV

Otary/SeaMade

Etex Group

Elia System Operator

Natixis

Rivage Investment

Gilde Equity Management

Benelux Capital Partners

Duvel Moortgat

KBC Group

BNP Paribas Fortis

ING Belgium

Rabobank International

HSBC Belgium

Belfius Bank

Studio 100

La Lorraine Bakery

Bank Degroof Petercam

Kartesia

Argenta Spaarbank SA/NV

Work highlights

  • Advised WPEF VI Holdco VII BE on the €66m financing of its acquisition of Nofollow.
  • Advised Otary and SeaMade on the realisation (including the financing aspects) of two new offshore wind farms to be built off the Belgian coast as of summer 2019.
  • Acted for Kharis Capital Advisory Belgium on the €160m financing of its acquisition of Nordsee.
  • Acted for ING Bank on the €1.65bn refinancing of Ravago, which is a global manufacturer and distributor of plastics, rubber and chemicals.
  • Acted for Etex Group on a €600m refinancing.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL, whose banking and finance practice is led by Antoine De Raeve, provides full-service support on a wide range of transactions. Its team includes Michael Van Acker, who has a first-rate reputation in leveraged finance. Elsewhere, the firm is well-known for its strengths in real estate finance and syndicated lending, and it also excels in trade and export finance matters. Van Acker works closely with recently promoted partner Eric Blomme. Corporate finance head Koen Vanhaerents assists Belgian and foreign clients with debt and equity capital markets transactions, as well as public M&A. Another key figure in the capital markets space is Roel Meers, who is particularly knowledgeable about the healthcare and life sciences sector. In 2018, De Raeve and associate Thomas Vanthournout acted for KBC Bank (as arranger) and the other lenders on financing the restructuring of Hansea. Also notable is that Blomme led the advice to KBC Bank and Belfius Bank on the provision of financing to SnowWorld.

Practice head(s):

Antoine De Raeve (for banking and finance); Koen Vanhaerents (for capital markets)

Testimonials

Great team. They know the answer before you have even asked the question. Very hands-on and experienced

Roel Meers is always available and gives strong, clear and actionable advice

Key clients

KBC Bank

ING

Samsonite

Rabobank

BNP Paribas Fortis

The Navigators Group

FCA Capital Belgium

KeBeK

Cardif Lux Vie

FPIM-SFPI (Federale Participatie- en Investeringsmaatschappij/Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissement)

Worldline

Green Oak Capital

Tikehau Investment Management

VF Corporation

The Estée Lauder Companies

Belfius Bank

Mithra Pharmaceuticals SA

Galapagos NV

Biocartis

Sequana Medical NV

Bryan, Garnier & Co

MDxHealth SA

Traxys

Ergon Capital Partners

Agristo

Gulf Petrochem

Work highlights

  • Assisted ING Bank and other lenders with the provision of a €450m bridge loan facility to the Euronext-listed Bekaert group.
  • Acted as Belgian counsel to VF Company and VF Europe in relation to a $2.25bn syndicated five-year revolving credit agreement, which was lead-arranged by JP Morgan, Merril Lynch, Barclays, HSBC, US Bank and Wells Fargo and syndicated to a wide consortium of US and European banks.
  • Acted as Belgian counsel to Samsonite on a €350m notes issuance alongside the amendment and restatement of a $2.1bn senior credit facilities agreement.
  • Advised Agristo on the refinancing of a three-lender capex financing.
  • Acted as Belgian counsel to The Estée Lauder Companies in connection with the renewal of its $1.5bn senior revolving facility, which was lead-arranged by JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Bank of America and The MUFG Bank.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance offers excellent coverage of particularly complex debt financing transactions, including those involving project finance, securitisation and structured finance, acquisition finance and debt capital markets. The group, which is co-led by Lounia Czupper and Bert De Maeyer, also has extensive expertise in all areas of financial regulation. A team including De Maeyer and senior associate Hélène Volkova is acting for the coordinating committee of lenders on the restructuring of Nyrstar, which involves advice on structuring the financing and security package in such a way as to minimise risk for the lenders across a number of jurisdictions. In addition to acting for lenders, the firm also has a strong profile among borrowers. A notable mandate saw De Maeyer and counsel Wim Aerts assist T-Power with a €210m refinancing of an existing facility agreement.

Practice head(s):

Bert De Maeyer; Lounia Czupper

Other key lawyers:

Wim Aerts; Hélène Volkova

Key clients

ING Belgium

AB InBev

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The Belgian State

Econocom

Banque Degroof Petercam

KBC Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

ABN Amro

Bank of New York Mellon

Work highlights

  • Advised a major financial institution on a complex derivatives transaction during a challenging time for its business.
  • Advised JP Morgan Securities on the amendment and restatement of a facility agreement which provided for complex margin loans to KBC Ancora.
  • Advised banks, financial institutions and the financial services division of a large multinational firm on a receivables sale programmes.
  • Advised an international investment bank on the refinancing of Armonea, a major Belgian company.
  • Advised the EIB, alongside commercial lenders, on the financing of the Liège Tram PPP project.

Linklaters

Linklaters' banking and corporate practices were amalgamated into one group in May 2018. The firm has an outstanding track record in cutting-edge bank finance (particularly general banking, leveraged and acquisition finance) transactions. On the capital markets side, it demonstrates strong capabilities in domestic and cross-border issuances of debt and equity securities, such as those involving regulatory capital, warrants, convertible bonds and private placements, among others. Further underlining its credentials, it has featured in the majority of the most high-profile IPOs in Belgium over the past decade. Elsewhere, Etienne Dessy leads the financial regulation and investment funds practices. Another key figure is David Ballegeer, who has a wealth of experience of acting for lenders, borrowers and issuers. Also noted for his banking and capital markets expertise is Charles-Antoine Leunen, who handles a significant amount of work for clients in the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors. Sophie PeetersAnne-Sophie VankemmelbekeJoyce Wieczorek and Francis Wijnakker are all recommended. Arnaud Coibion is another name to note, as is counsel Filip Lecoutre.

Practice head(s):

David Ballegeer; Charles-Antoine Leunen

Key clients

Belfius Bank

ING

KBC

AXA Belgium

Umicore

BNP Paribas

Waterland Private Equity

Integrale

Fluxys

Solvay

The European Investment Bank

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert

BAM PPP

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton fields a multidisciplinary team, whose expertise in particularly complex banking, finance and capital markets transactions is an integral part of a broader corporate offering. The group assists a wide range of clients with their most complex and demanding financing requirements, including global private equity houses, Belgian and international financial institutions, and domestic state-owned companies. Senior attorney Christophe Wauters and Paris-based Barthélemy Faye acted for Akuo Energy on the partial refinancing and sale of a 49% equity interest in a windfarm project in Montenegro to Masdar, a subsidiary of the Mubadala Investment Company. In another matter, Wauters and Laurent Ruzette are among the advisers to Axereal on a multi-layered quasi-equity and debt financing associated with the acquisition of Cargill's global malt business. Also notable is that the firm has a strong track record of advising most of the sovereign states in French-speaking Africa on matters such as debt restructuring and infrastructure finance. Laurent Legein and Géraldine Bourguignon are other key practitioners in Brussels.

Testimonials

The team was outstanding in its understanding of the financing arrangements, the key documents in the transaction and the legal and institutional environment

Key clients

Akuo Energy

Alpha Group

ArcelorMittal

Bank Degroof Petercam

Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon)

Bekaert

Belgian State

Belron

CVC Capital Partners

Dexia

D’Ieteren

ENI

Eurofima

Goldman Sachs International

Goodyear

Ontex

Petrosen

Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT)

The Republic of Benin

The Republic of Ivory Coast

The Republic of Senegal

Work highlights

  • Is assisting Bank Degroof Petercam with numerous advisory and regulatory matters, including  those connected with MiFID I and MiFID II.
  • Is advising Bank of New York Mellon in connection with resolution strategies.
  • Advised Bekaert on a bridge financing for repayment of the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group secured debt, concomitantly with OTPP’s exit from the BBRG joint-venture.
  • Assisted the Belron group with a $455m incremental amendment to a senior secured term loan B signed in November 2017.
  • Acted for Goodyear on the refinancing of its European syndicated secured revolving loan facilities.

Deloitte Legal

At Deloitte Legal, over half of the 25-strong team focuses on banking and finance, with notable specialisms including the financing aspects of public capital exchange projects, structured finance/asset finance and commercial lending. The firm also has a strong track record handling some of the largest and most complex financial restructurings seen in Belgium. Advice on financial regulation is another key workstream, and the firm's ability to tap into the Deloitte network enable it to add value in the context of issues such as Solvency II and Basel III. In addition, a number of practitioners also have debt capital markets expertise, including partners Benoît FeronDavid RoelensChristoph Michiels and Emmanuel Leroux. The group is led by practice head Werner Van Lembergen, who worked with senior associates Laurent Godts and Jean-Philippe de Vinck to advise Radisson Hospitality and related group entities on various transactions relating to the restructuring of Radisson Group’s current financing arrangements in the context of its acquisition and its de-listing. Other clients of the practice include domestic and international financial institutions, institutional investors, public authorities, fintech companies and project developers.

Practice head(s):

Werner Van Lembergen

Testimonials

They are hands-on, as if they were a member of your own team

Werner Van Lembergen and his team (including Laurent Godts and Jean-Philiippe de Vick, in particular) are excellent and extremely knowledgeable about the Belgian finance market. Werner has been around for a long time and has contacts at every major bank and institution, which makes him an invaluable partner to have in Belgium

We would highly recommend Werner van Lembergen and his associates, especially Laurent Godts. They are responsive and knowledgeable about both the law as well as the market background and context, which allows them to deliver speedy and commercially-aware advice

The team around Werner van Lembergen is one of the best for structured finance in Belgium. We regularly work with it and appreciate its skills, service orientation and experience

Werner Van Lembergen is a person you can trust, can be frank with and with whom you can directly work on the substance

Dynamic banking & finance team led by inspiring and driven partner. Key USP is the quality of its services as well as its entrepreneurial attitude

The Deloitte Legal team includes experienced lawyers and younger practitioners, who are active in a variety of finance transactions. It has the capacity to deliver advice and legal documentation in an efficient manner and with a business-oriented approach

Key clients

ABN Amro Bank

Another Monday

Banque Degroof Petercam

CKV (Centrale Kredietverlening)

Cooperatieve Rabobank

Crédit Agricole CIB

Crelan

DEME

Deutsche Bank

Easy Jet

European Commission

European Investment Bank (EIB)

Fiduciam

Flemish Regional Government

HSBC

I4B (Invest for Belgium)

ING Bank

KBC Bank

Jan De Nul NV

Leaseplan

Lineas

Matexi

MeDirect Group

Radisson Hospitality

Swissport

Taiping Reinsurance

Terberg Leasing Justlease

The Bank of New York Mellon

VDK Bank

Vebego

Willemen

Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen

Work highlights

  • Is acting for Belgian real estate developer Matexi on the privatisation of the social housing sector. Work has included advice on the formation of a joint-venture vehicle (in the form of a real estate investment fund), which will invest in new social housing projects in which Matexi and a limited number of institutional investors will participate.
  • Assisted Ecore, DZ Bank, two HSBC-led syndicates and a Barclays-led syndicate with a series of trade receivables finance deals.
  • Is acting for Ziekenhuisnetwerk Antwerpen on a €700m financing, which is being structured as a combination of bank finance and a rated bond issue.
  • Acted for FFF Real Estate S.à r.l. on the acquisition of Lothian Developments,  which included advice on a debt refinancing.
  • Is advising a syndicate led by ING Bank and Santander on the Belgian aspects of trade receivable securitisation transactions for the Ineos group.

Jones Day

As part of a much larger global practice, Jones Day's Brussels team advises clients on a standalone basis and is also able to leverage cross-office support when required. Jointly led by Ferdinand Brughmans and Matthieu Duplat, the group acts for a mix of international and domestic lenders (and other key financiers), as well as corporate borrowers. Its expertise spans areas such as acquisition and leveraged finance, real estate finance, project finance, distressed financing, derivatives, structured finance and securitisations. In 2018, Brughmans led a team which acted for ING Belgium and KBC Bank on the financing of Ardian’s €50m acquisition of Trustteam group. The group is also a strong performer in debt, equity and equity-linked capital markets transactions. Duplat advised Crédit Agricole and Société Générale (as joint lead managers and joint bookrunners) on the issuance and placement of €200m of bonds convertible into new shares and/or exchangeable for existing shares by Econocom Group SE. Regulatory advice is another cornerstone of the practice, with the team advising on issues arising from the Single Supervision Mechanism, Single Resolution Mechanism, CRR, CRD IV and Solvency I, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Ferdinand Brughmans; Matthieu Duplat

Other key lawyers:

David Roger

Testimonials

The team has always surprised us (positively) with its quality of service and quick responsiveness

Key clients

BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV

KBC Bank

Belfius Bank SA/NV

Banimmo SA/NV

Parkwind NV

Ferro Corporation

Hamon & Cie (International) SA

Natixis

AudioValley

Confédération nationale du crédit mutuel (CNCM)

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium of senior creditors on a €470m term loan and revolving facility to Nobelwind NV for refinancing a 165 megawatt operational offshore wind farm.
  • Advised consortium of senior creditors on the financing of Northwester 2’s €700m total required investment for the construction of a 218.5 megawatt offshore wind farm.
  • Advises Confédération nationale du crédit mutuel (CNCM) on prudential requirements under European Banking Union and supervisory powers of European Central Bank and Single Resolution Board. It successfully represented the client at the European General Court on a dispute with the ECB on prudential requirements under Regulation (EU) n°575/2013.
  • Acted for the Flemish Community (a federated entity of the Kingdom of Belgium) on the issue of an inaugural €500m sustainability bond.
  • Advised AudioValley on its initial public offering and admission to listing on Euronext Growth.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff is a strong choice for cross-border financing transactions, with its Benelux presence and ability to provide related support on regulatory and tax issues enabling it to win high-end work. The Brussels team is led by Marc Vermylen, who has a wealth of experience of secured and asset-based lending, project finance, securitisations, derivatives and debt restructuring. Vermylen is also sought out for his knowledge of Euroclear-related matters and settlement work. He works alongside Koen Panis, who has extensive expertise in real estate finance and PPP transactions. The firm has particularly made a name for itself in the renewable energy sector; Vermylen has led the advice to clients on the financing aspects of all offshore wind parks (which have reached a financial close) in Belgium to date. Recent highlights included him and others acting for 17 lenders on the development, construction and financing of SeaMade’s two offshore wind farm projects in the Belgian North Sea. In addition, the team also assisted Northwester 2 with securing the €700m financing for a 218.5 MW offshore wind farm. Senior associates Eveline HellebuyckJan Missoul and Sarah Libregts are also recommended. Vanessa Marquette joined from Simont Braun.

Practice head(s):

Marc Vermylen

Testimonials

Marc Vermylen and Jan Missoul are excellent in getting things done and managing complex negotiations with numerous parties involved

Key clients

All Belgian offshore wind parks: Parkwind NV, Belwind NV, Northwind NV, Norther NV, Rentel NV, Nobelwind NV and Northwester 2

ING

JP Morgan

Goldman Sachs

KBC

Eurofactor

Deutsche Bank

Bank of New York Mellon

Rabobank

European Investment Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as lenders’ legal advisor to the consortium Tram’Ardent, composed of Colas, the rail system manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and the fund management company DIF. The firm advised on the tender procedure launched by the l’Opérateur de Transport de Wallonie in relation to the design, building, financing and maintenance (DBFM) of the first 12km long tramway line in Liège, Belgium.
  • Acted for JP Morgan Securities Plc and ING Bank NV as mandated lead arrangers and initial purchasers in the €970m refinancing of the Belgian House of HR group.

Stibbe

Stibbe's practice is characterised by its varied spread of complex domestic and cross-border banking, finance and capital markets transactions. It is also highly active in regulatory and litigation work. Wouter Ghijsels leads the team, which has a strong profile among public sector entities, corporates and financial institutions. Senior associate Pieter Nobels also advises on acquisition finance and assists clients with debt capital markets and structured products transactions, as well as real estate finance. Other key figures at the firm are Jan Peeters and Pascal Vanden Borre, whose corporate and M&A experience is complemented by their knowledge about IPOs and other equity capital markets transactions. Ghijsels and Heremans were part of a cross-practice team, which assisted Eurocommercial with its high-profile €468m acquisition of Woluwe Shopping Centre. Another highlight saw them advise Centerbridge Partners Europe LLP on financing its acquisition of Four Leaf Investment NV, a holding company with a portfolio of hotels in Belgium and France. Sofie Heremans joined Fieldfisher.

Practice head(s):

Wouter Ghijsels

Other key lawyers:

Sofie Heremans; Pieter Nobels; Jan Peeters; Pascal Vanden Borre

Testimonials

Pleasant to work with

Key clients

Bekaert

Belfius Bank

BNP Paribas

Fortis

Cheops

Dossche Mills Group

Engie

Eurocommercial Properties

Immobel Group

ING Group

KBC Bank

National Bank of Belgium

Proximus Group

Stow International NV

Vandemoortele

Work highlights

  • Advised the European Investment Bank on a project finance loan for the redevelopment of the Grand Hôpital de Charleroi.
  • Acted for Caisse d’Epargne Hauts de France (CEHF) on the provision of financing to Atream for the acquisition of Sunparks De Haan.
  • Assisted Altran with the €2.6bn financing of its acquisition of the Aricent group from KKR.
  • Acted as Belgian counsel to the Averys Group in the context of its acquisition by Blackstone.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Cheops Technology NV on the management buyout of the company. The work included advice on the financing of the acquisition and the post-acquisition refinancing of the company.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP acts for leading financial institutions, corporates and sponsors across all areas of banking and finance, including project finance, securitisations and receivables finance. It particularly distinguishes itself in large and high-profile mandates of the utmost significance and complexity in the acquisition and leveraged finance space. In 2018, Hadrien Servais acted for ING Belgium, KBC Bank and Belfius Bank as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners on a major financing for Waterland's acquisition of a stake in fast-growing digital agency Intracto. Servais was recently promoted to the partnership. Another highlight involved acting for JPMorgan and BNP Paribas on their €2bn cross-border financing of the acquisition of Cott’s bottling business by Dutch-listed company Refresco. The Brussels team also takes the lead on global syndicated financings. Capital markets transactions (particularly Belgian retail bond issues) are another bedrock of the practice, with the firm being regularly sought out by clients in some of the market's most significant matters. Counsel Willem Van de Wiele led the advice to Belfius Bank and ING as joint lead managers on a €100m retail bond issue by Immobel, one of the few retail bond issues in Belgium in 2018. Thierry Bosly co-heads the practice with Servais and Van de Wiele.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Bosly; Hadrien Servais; Willem Van de Wiele

Testimonials

The team demonstrates sophistication, technical expertise and a unique knowledge of the Belgian market

Very responsive team, which has good knowledge of the direct lending market. Special mention to Hadrien Servais, the local partner in Belgium

Key clients

Aliaxis SA

Armonea

Aurubis

ABN AMRO Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Barclays

Belfius

Bluebay Asset Management LLP

BNP Paribas Fortis

Castik Capital Partners

Cobepa

Commerzbank

Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A.

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Credit Suisse

CVC Capital Partners

Diaverum

DNB Bank

Elia System Operator

The European Investment Bank

Euroports

GSO Capital Partners

Hamon & Cie

HSBC

Huvepharma

Ideal Standard

ING

JPMorgan

KBC Bank

Mithra Pharmaceuticals

Morgan Stanley

Natixis

NatWest Markets

Nordea Bank

Nurtra

Plukon

Rabobank

Royal Bank of Canada

Santander

SD Worx

SettleMint

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Société Générale

Triton Partners

UBS

UniCredit

Work highlights

  • The firm advised BNP Paribas Fortis, Coöperatieve Rabobank (trading as Rabobank London), ING Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited on a strategic €425m syndicated cov-lite financing to Kiwa.
  • The firm acted for ABN AMRO Bank, Barclays Bank Plc, ING Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited and UniCredit Bank on a €407m first lien and second lien financing for the acquisition of Curaeos.
  • The firm acted for Credit Suisse and Barclays on a €670m financing for the acquisition by a US-based sponsor of France and Belgium-based industrial minerals company Imerys.
  • The firm acted for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC on the £365m financing of the acquisition of Alexander Mann Solutions.
  • The firm acted for Hamon on the complex cross-border €435m refinancing of its syndicated bank facilities and retail bonds.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS has excellent credentials in project finance and export finance transactions, and it is increasingly sought out for advice on matters with a cross-border dimension. It also undertakes a high volume of acquisition and leveraged finance transactions. The majority of its work in this area is for international lenders and multinational corporate borrowers. Funds-related matters and regulatory work are other pillars of the practice. The team also covers various other financing matters, including those involving asset-based lending, receivables finance and general corporate lending. Practice head Yves Brosens recently acted for Degroof Petercam Asset Services on the launch of a Belgian UCITS investment fund, Eurinvest UCITS. In 2018, he also advised Singapore-based asset manager EFA Group on a $10m trade finance facility granted by one of its investment funds, EFA Dynamic Trade Finance Fund Ltd, to Swiss company Central Energy and its Beninese subsidiary.

Practice head(s):

Yves Brosens

Key clients

Commerzbank AG

Willemen Groep

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

Izola Bank

ING Bank

Rabobank

Belfius

Siemens

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rothschild & Co Asset Management, a French fund management company controlled by Rothschild Group, on the launch of a Belgian UCITS investment fund.

Ashurst LLP

Arnaud Wtterwulghe leads the team at Ashurst LLP, which generates work on a repeat basis from international banks, large corporates and funds. The firm excels in a number of key areas, including offerings of structured products to retail investors in Belgium and cross-border financings by debt funds. In the leveraged buyout space, Wtterwulghe and Bram Delmotte (who joined in June 2019 from Monard Law) acted for the debt fund BlueBay Asset Management (as lender) on the financing of the acquisition of Compusoft AS. Another highlight involved assisting longstanding client Renewi Plc with a refinancing. The group is also sought out to advise clients on Euroclear settlement and related securities services. Elsewhere, the broader practice covers other significant finance transactions, including those involving securitisation, real estate finance and project finance.

Practice head(s):

Arnaud Wtterwulghe

Other key lawyers:

Bram Delmotte

Key clients

ING

Bank of America Merril Lynch

Apollo Global Management

State Street Corporation

The Bank of New York Mellon

JP Morgan

BlueBay Asset Management LLP

Renewi Plc

Goldman Sachs

Work highlights

  • Assisted Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Barclays with their notes, warrants and certificates issuance programmes to ensure consistency of the terms with the Belgian Code of Economic Law and, in particular, the provisions in respect of unfair terms.
  • Advised JP Morgan on regulatory matters related to the distribution of structured products in Belgium.
  • Assisted ING with its receivable purchase programme.
  • Is acting for the Bank of New York Mellon as facility and security agent on the bankruptcy of Truvo Belgium.
  • Acted for the debt fund BlueBay Asset Management (as lender) on the financing of TA Associates’ acquisition of Compusoft.

CMS

CMS has a varied banking and finance practice, which sees it assist lenders and borrowers with structured finance transactions, real estate finance, leveraged finance, factoring and securitisations, commodities and asset finance, and derivatives. The firm's strong transactional capabilities are complemented by its regulatory expertise. It is particularly strong in advising the financial arms of automotive companies on leasing, insurance and credit distribution. Other drivers of regulatory work include the implementation of MiFID II and Brexit planning. Debt capital markets transactions and private placements are also key workstreams for the team, which is jointly led by Bruno Duquesne, recently promoted associate partner Benoît Vandervelde and Arnaud Van Oekel. In 2018, Vandervelde acted for Banc Sabadell as a lender on a syndicated €1.5bn facilities agreement arranged by ING Belgium and KBC to Belgian company Ravago.

Practice head(s):

Benoît Vandervelde; Arnaud Van Oekel; Bruno Duquesne

Testimonials

I am always happy to work with CMS. They are real professionals with exceptionally efficient approach to time and costs. They are able to deal with the most complex transactions. They are proactive and react promptly to changes in the structure and background of any transaction they work on

Arnaud is deal- and client-oriented, and always finds the most efficient way to resolve any issue. He is great at co-ordinating the work of associates from multiple offices of the firm. He also has deep knowledge of the market and examines the context of every transaction and the specifics of each client’s business very carefully

CMS is very deal-oriented and work time and cost-efficiently on the most complex transactions. Its team has deep experience of all kinds of financial transactions and are flexible in negotiations

Arnaud Van Oekel is an exceptionally qualified lawyer. He is a real professional in finance transactions and able to address the most non-standard questions

The firm provides quick and in-depth advice. Benoît Vandervelde is very pragmatic and knowledgeable – a pleasure to work with

Key clients

Unicredit

Novelis

Prime Capital – Robus

UBS Asset Management

Deutsche Bank

ING Belgium

Helaba

Société Générale

Natixis Bank

Commerzbank

Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Banking

Work highlights

  • Acted for Fidentia Real Estate Investments on the €68m financing of the acquisition from Immobel of a 50% stake in the “Mobius 2” project in the Brussels Northern District.
  • Assisted Telit with the drafting and negotiation of vendor loans in order to faciliate the disposal of its automotive division to a Chinese group.
  • Advised Pareteum and its Belgian subsidiaries on a $50 million senior secured multi-draw credit facility arranged by Post Road Group LP.
  • Advised Helaba on the €43.5m property financing of an office building located in Brussels.
  • Has been advising several financial institutions – such as Commerzbank, Banc Sabadell and Bank Leumi – on Brexit-related matters.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper features in a sizeable number of high-profile banking and finance transactions and shows particular strength in matters involving project finance, real estate finance and corporate and leveraged finance. Johan Mouraux and Sander Buysse recently acted for a consortium of sponsors/borrowers (consisting of Dutch infrastructure fund DIF Infrastructure V, the French civil construction firm Colas and the Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF) on the design, building, financing and maintenance of the €475m light rail PPP project in Liège, Belgium. Another sweet spot of the practice is in the debt capital markets arena, where the firm has been involved in virtually all sovereign bond issues by the Kingdom of Belgium since 2010. The firm also has a first-rate offering in relation to financial services regulatory issues. This side of the practice has gained momentum since Pierre Berger and six other lawyers joined from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL in 2018 and the firm is now better placed to assist clients with regulatory-driven strategic projects, transactions and restructurings. Pierre Proesmans was recently promoted to lead lawyer. Associate Isabelle Van Biesen is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Johan Mouraux (Location Head Finance, Projects and Restructuring); Pierre Berger (Financial services and insurance sector)

Testimonials

The team is very knowledgeable and responsive

Johan Mouraux’s team is very hands-on and flexible. It is truly great at advising you all the way on getting the deal done. True dealmakers

Johan Mouraux is always available at all times to give you a more personal follow up. Very professional and quite quick in understanding the real problem. He always tries to go the most efficient solution even if it results in less legal work, which creates a win-win (which is quite unusual in a client-adviser role)

Very professional, client-oriented, committed, open-minded, flexible and solution driven

Key clients

Aareal Bank

Aermont Capital LLP

Argenta

Bank Degroof Petercam

Bayerische Landesbank

Berlin Hyp

BNP Paribas Fortis

Federale Real Estate

Federale Verzekeringen/Federale Assurance

Flemish and Walloon Governmental Agencies and investment vehicles (PMV, Via-Invest, SRIW)

Helaba Bank

ING Bank

KBC Bank

MeDirect Bank

Rabobank

Tikehau

TriplePoint Capital

Work highlights

  • Recently acted as sponsors’ and borrower’s counsel to a consortium consisting of DIF, Citelum, EDF Luminus and CFE Contracting in relation to a PPP project to implement LED energy efficient lighting systems on motorways and main roads in the Walloon region.
  • Acted as lender’s counsel to Tikehau Capital on the financing of the acquisition of the Euroports group by PMV, FPIM and Monaco Resources Group.
  • Acted for Aareal Bank on the circa €447m refinancing of an international hotel portfolio.
  • Acted for venture finance lender TriplePoint Capital on the provision of financing to Belgian high-growth company Cowboy.
  • Acted for Bancontact Payconiq Company on the creation of a scheme for contactless payments, following the merger between Bancontact Company and Payconiq Belgium.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Practice head(s):

Vincent Macq

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Janssens; Koen Vanlaer

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's corporate and finance practice led by Christel Van den Eynden is equally strong in borrower and lender-side mandates in the banking and finance sphere. Jan Vincent LindemansFreya Mareels and a team of associates have expertise in a wide range of transactions, including those concerning real estate finance, asset finance, structured finance and acquisition finance. Mareels was the lead adviser to ING Belgium and ING Corporate Investments on the provision of senior financing and junior financing facilities to Destiny NV (which is owned by Dutch private equity firm Mentha Capital) for two add-on acquisitions. Debt capital markets transactions are a notable growth area at the firm, and Mareels and counsel Wim Dedecker serve as the key contacts in this space. Tom Van Dyck heads up a specialist group which focuses on regulatory matters, such as those involving PSD2, MiFID2 and other matters specific to funds, asset management and investment products. Van Dyck, Damien Conem and others handled the establishment of a new asset management firm, which is known as Infra4BE Management, as well as the launch of a new Belgian infrastructure fund.

Practice head(s):

Christel Van den Eynden

Testimonials

The team is hands-on, pragmatic and thorough. A pleasure to work with

Freya Mareels has a deep understanding of the banking and finance market, and is knowledgeable both technically and in terms of market practices. She also communicates clearly and quickly goes to the essence of the matter

Key clients

Single Resolution Board

BNP Paribas Fortis

Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen

ING Belgium

Bank Degroof Petercam

ING Bank

BMW Financial Services

Belfius Bank

Factum Group

Mercedes Benz Financial Services

KBC Bank

Allianz

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Flemish Participation Fund (ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen) and four banks (Belfius, KBC, BNP Paribas and ING) with the dissolution and liquidation of ARKimedes Fonds NV.
  • Advised the Flemish Participation Fund (ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen) on the implementation of an integrated policy on AML4 (the EU’s fourth anti-money laundering directive) within its organisation and the four funds it manages.
  • Acted for BNP Paribas Fortis and Belfius Bank on the provision of a credit facility for the development by Extensa, a major real estate developer, of the Gare Maritime site in Brussels.
  • Assisted ING Bank (as coordinator) and ING Belgium, Belfius Bank NV/SA and BNP Paribas Fortis (as lenders) with the provision of a borrowing base facility to International Car Lease Holding Belgium.
  • Acted for Luxembourg-based asset manager Nordea Asset Management on setting up a branch in Belgium.

Lydian

Under the leadership of practice head Tom GeudensLydian has become a well-established player in the Belgian banking and finance market, as is evidenced by its work for domestic and international financial institutions, corporates and investment funds. In addition to generating work on a standalone basis, the firm also works closely with many international law firms, where it serves as Belgian counsel to both sponsors and lenders. Although the firm covers the full range of transactional work, it is particularly well-known for its strengths in asset-based lending, asset finance, trade and export finance and project finance. Geudens and others recently acted for ING Bank on its €240m asset-based financing to NLMK Plates. The firm also handles both debt and equity capital markets mandates. In addition, the workload is extremely varied on the regulatory side. Recent highlights have included advising clients on the registration, marketing and distribution of UCITS and non-UCITS funds in Belgium, as well as handling regulatory issues associated with payment services and corporate card activities. Pieterjan Van Assche joined BNY Mellon.

Practice head(s):

Tom Geudens

Testimonials

Tom Geudens is our go to Belgian lawyer for banking and finance work. He works across a number of different areas of banking and is aware of what clients in the London market are looking for, and adopts the necessary commercial approach in his advice

They are always very receptive and advice received is always concise, to the point and easy to handle

Tom Geudens is a first-class operator with a deep understanding of the law and the kind of issues which really matter to clients. He is supported by a strong team of associates

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Wells Fargo London

Accell Group

Sligro Food Group

J.P. Morgan

Compass Bank

CME Group

Rent of Port

The House of HR

ING Bank

BNP Paribas

Bank of Montreal

Argenta Bank

Bank Nagelmackers

KBC Bank

ING Belgium

Citi Group

KBR Services

Total

Rabobank

ABN AMRO Bank

ING Belgium

Work highlights

  • Acted for 5N plus on the provision of $200m working capital financing by HSBC.
  • Acted for Intergamma on the €205m acquisition term loan and revolving facility financing arranged by ABN AMRO Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, Rabobank and ING Bank. The financing relates to CRH’s divestment of its DIY business in the Netherlands and Belgium to Intergamma and a US real estate investor.
  • Acted for HSBC and BNP Paribas on the €555m acquisition financing of the Fedrigoni Group by Bain Capital.
  • Acted for Crédit Lyonnais on its €31m acquisition financing of the Eye-Lite Group.
  • Acted for Monaghan Mushroom on the €160m acquisition financing of the Walkro Group.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh's excellent reputation sees it work closely with international law firms on cross-border matters, as well as acting for a diverse portfolio of Belgian, Benelux and international clients on a standalone basis. The finance practice, which is led by Thibault Willlems, demonstrates strong capabilities in areas such as acquisition/leveraged finance, asset-based lending (including real estate and receivables finance), structured finance and securitisations. Willems has a particularly first-rate reputation in PPP projects and project finance, and has featured in nearly all major PPP projects in Belgium in the last decade. A recent highlight involved acting for KBC Bank and ING Belgium as the lenders on the €50m financing of an all-weather terminal at the ArcelorMittal site in the Port of Ghent. The firm also advised ENGIE Electrabel as a sponsor/shareholder on the corporate and finance aspects of the Seamade offshore wind project. Nicolas de Crombrugghe and Elke Janssens jointly head up the capital markets practice, which assists issuers (such as biotech companies and Belgian REITs) and underwriters with debt and equity transactions. Senior associates Nathalie Van Landuyt and Lorraine Drubbel are also recommended, as is Philippe Remels, who was hired from Linklaters in November 2018.

Practice head(s):

Thibaut Willems (banking and finance); Nicolas de Crombrugghe (capital markets); Elke Janssens (capital markets)

Other key lawyers:

Philippine De Wolf; Philippe Remels; Nathalie Van Landuyt; Lorraine Drubbel

Testimonials

The team is really hands-on and involved, and very solution-driven, but also firm on its view of things. It has good strategic insights, which are complemented by excellent sector knowledge and experience

Nicolas de Crombrugghe always makes himself available when needed (and is not too present when not needed). He is an excellent negotiator, thinks strategically and in the wider interest of the client

Key clients

Aedifica

AG Insurance

AG Heylen Warehouses

Atenor

Bank of America

Bausch & Lomb

Bayerische Landesbank

BNP Paribas Fortis

BNY Mellon

Cofinimmo

Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A.

Deutsche Bank

ENGIE

Eoly Cooperation

Euroclear

FNG NV

Goldman Sachs

Ineos

JP Morgan

KBC

Kempen

Komatsu

Parkwind

PNC Bank

Santander

Schoeller Allibert

Travelex

Wells Fargo

Work highlights

  • Assisted AG Heylen Warehouses, a joint venture between AG Real Estate and Groep Heylen, with the Belgian law financing aspects of the acquisition of logistic properties in Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • Assisted Aedifica with the Belgian law aspects of the bridge financing for the acquisition of a portfolio of 93 healthcare properties in the United Kingdom.
  • Assisted ENGIE Electrabel with its €2m public offering of participatory notes issued by Spreds Finance and placed through Spreds’ crowdfunding platform.
  • Acted for the underwriters on the $300.6m US public offering and EU private placement by biotech company argenx.
  • Assisted real estate development company Atenor with its €60m public offering of bonds.

ARGO Law

ARGO Law serves the needs of a wide range of clients on their debt financing and capital raising requirements, including listed companies, family businesses and entrepreneurs. In the banking arena, the team is particuarly knowledgeable about the private equity industry, although it generates work from clients in other sectors as well. Pieter Bogaerts recently acted for Waterland PE and Intracto on the increase of its LMA financing, which was to be used for the acquisition of multiple add-ons in Belgium and the Netherlands. Capital markets transactions are another area of strength of the firm; the scope of the work includes advice on IPOs and public issues of shares, bonds and convertible bonds. In 2018, in the life sciences sector, Nico Goossens and recently promoted partner Filip Meire acted for biotech company Galapagos on a $296.2m capital increase. Bert Van Ingelghem's recent work has seen him act for clients such as ING Belgium, Bank Degroof Petercam and Belfius Bank. At associate level, Christophe Verhelst joined from Buyle Legal, and Pieter-Jan Van Goethem was hired from KBC Bank.

Practice head(s):

Nico Goossens; Pieter Bogaerts

Other key lawyers:

Bert Van Ingelghem; Filip Meire

Testimonials

Argo Law’s team is on the ball and deals with things efficiently and pragmatically

Pieter Bogaerts is a great guy. Focused and pleasant to work with

The lawyers at Argo Law are down to earth and approachable

Key clients

Exmar

Alphabet Belgium

Euronav

Galapagos

Gimv

VGP

Waterland Private Equity

Bank Petercam Degroof

ING Belgium

KBC Securities

Work highlights

  • Assisted VGP with its €800m financing from Aareal Bank AG and €34m financing from Raiffeisenbank in respect of a joint venture with Allianz Real Estate.
  • Acted as transaction counsel, advising both VGP as issuer and KBC Bank NV as lead manager and bookrunner, on VGP’s €190m bond issue, which was listed on Euronext Brussels.
  • Acted for ING Belgium, Bank Degroof Petercam and Belfius Bank in their capacity as underwriters on the €160m rights issue of Montea.
  • Acted as borrower’s counsel to Waterland Private Equity in the context of its acquisition of a majority stake in Accent NV.
  • Assisted WPEF VI HOLDCO III BE (jointly owned by Waterland Private Equity and Baltisse) with a €116.4m private placement of approximately 7.2 million existing shares in Fagron NV.

ASTREA

ASTREA's practice attracts banking and finance mandates from Belgian and international clients, as well as a significant amount of referral work from international law firms. Led by Dieter Veestraeten, the team handles the financing aspects of PPP and renewable energy projects, as well as transactions involving real estate finance, borrowing base facility agreements, commodity finance and automotive sector financings. In 2018, working with the corporate team, Veestraeten and others advised Germany-based Alpina Capital Partners on the corporate and financial aspects of its acquisition of Objective International, a Belgium-based warehouse management software provider.

Practice head(s):

Dieter Veestraeten

Testimonials

The ASTREA banking and finance team has deep experience advising US-based clients on foreign markets and transactions. We found that they were fast, efficient, and very responsive. They helped us navigate some fairly complex structure issues and proved to be excellent creative problem solvers. They are an excellent team to work with

Dieter Veestraeten and the ASTREA team proved to be hard working and dedicated. They hit all timelines, and did what ever it took to ensure that we were ready to close with a fully vetted and at or below market banking package. I appreciated the clarity of their communication, and their help across multiple time zones, banking groups, legal teams, and currencies. They helped make a very complex transaction a success

A partner is always involved in every file. He/she is knowledgeable and does not hide behind associates. The partner always forms a team with at least one very strong associate and together they study and build up a file. The teamwork leads to much better cases for us, and 100% availability

Key clients

Group Bernaerts

1001Pact

Efico

Musical Rainbows

Syndicate Bank (India)

Enercon

Credit Europe Bank

Commerzbank AG

Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen

AG Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Assisted Engineered Performance Technologies with its takeover of a European group of tuning companies, which included advising on the acquisition financing aspects of the transaction.

Eubelius

Marieke Wyckaert, who heads up Eubelius' banking and finance practice, is knowledgeable about syndicated lending, acquisition finance and leveraged transactions. She also advises domestic and international financial institutions on governance-related issues arising from the Belgian Banking Law. Capital markets head Lars Van Bever has particular experience of acting for Belgian REITs, as well as handling matters with a nexus to the life sciences sector. Senior counsel Jean-Marc Gollier has vast financial regulatory expertise, which spans areas such as the Capital Requirements Regulation and Directive (CRR/CRD IV), the implementation of the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR) and Solvency II, among others. Other key figures include Matthias Wauters and counsel Frédéric Heremans. Senior attorneys Joris De WolfTim Van Moorhem and Thomas Donnez are also recommended. In 2018, Van Bever and Donnez acted for Belgian REIT Warehouses De Pauw on the provision of a €150m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the purpose of financing investments into 43 warehouses in Romania.

Practice head(s):

Marieke Wyckaert (head of banking and finance); Lars Van Bever (head of capital markets and listed entities)

Testimonials

The partners cooperate efficiently to provide a cost-efficient service

Wouter Claes demonstrates a pragmatic approach, is available for quick answers where needed and elaborates on legal notes when required. Christophe De Backere is dedicated to the client. Thomas Donnez is pragmatic, a clear communicator and helpful in negotiations with banks. Marieke Wyckaert is one of the wisest and most knowledgeable partners I’ve worked with, extremely efficient and to the point. She can hold her ground in even the toughest negotiations and complex situations

Key clients

Gilead Sciences

Puratos

Credit Suisse

Arcomet

Triple Living Holding

Leasinvest Real Estate

Xior Student Housing

Care Property Invest

KBC Ancora

Pandox

Warehouses De Pauw

Aedifica

Credit Mutuel Arkéa

BE-REIT Association

Work highlights

  • Acted for Credit Suisse on the Belgian law aspects of a $100m credit agreement to AGP America and other AGP group companies.
  • Acted for Arcomet as borrower on the Belgian law aspects of a €78.6m facilities agreement in connection with a corporate restructuring of the group.
  • Acted for Triple Living, one of the largest real estate developers in Belgium, on its inaugural €47m private placement of bonds.
  • Acted for KBC Ancora on the refinancing of a €147m tranche of a €325m secured facilities agreement.
  • Acted for Pandox as borrower on the Belgian aspects of a €446.7m real estate refinancing.

Monard Law

Monard Law's practice is led by Birgitta Van Itterbeek, whose aircraft (including corporate jet) finance expertise generates a significant amount of referral work from international law firms. Illustrative of her strengths in this space, her clients include TUI Airlines Belgium and Brussels Airlines, as well as financial institutions and leasing companies. Her expertise in regulatory matters includes UCITS, MiFID and derivatives. Elsewhere, Stefaan Van Dyck is a specialist in real estate finance. The firm also has an excellent reputation in the project finance and acquisition finance arenas, and has a niche strength in creative art lending. Itterbeek led the advice to the Belgian subsidiaries of Dorel Industries on a $175m financing from Sagard. Capital markets transactions are another driver of activity. Jeroen Raskin is a name to note. Bram Delmotte joined Ashurst LLP.

Practice head(s):

Birgitta Van Itterbeek

Other key lawyers:

Stefaan Van Dyck; Jeroen Raskin

Key clients

TUI Airlines Belgium

Dorel Industry Inc.

Brussels Airlines

BNP Paribas Fortis

Tomorrowland

KBC Bank

AVOLON

Equatorial Congo Airlines

Belfius Bank

PMV

WH SelfInvest

ELFC

Citibank

Merit Capital

GEFA

Commaxx International

Work highlights

  • Is acting for Citibank on a multi-aircraft financing for Falko.
  • Acted as Belgian counsel to Commaxx International on the financing of its acquisition of the Hesdo group by ABN AMRO.
  • Acted for Investec on the financing of Icelease’s acquisition of various B737-800 aircraft.
  • Acted for TUI Airlines Belgium on the leasing of a B737-800 aircraft from BBAM.

PwC Legal

At PwC Legal, the key hires of department head Ivan PeetersPhilip Van Steenwinkel and managing associate Ysaline Mouthuy from Stibbe in 2018 have enabled the firm to win work from a significant number of new clients. The team is equally strong acting for corporates and financial institutions and its expertise spans multiple areas, such as asset-based finance, real estate finance, securitisations, debt capital market issues (including standalone bond issues, EMTN programmes and covered bonds programmes) and financial restructurings. In 2018, Van Steenwinkel and Peeters acted as Belgian counsel to Euroclear Bank on the establishment of its €3bn commercial paper programme (certificates of deposit). On the regulatory side, the group is knowledgeable about all the core issues that are critical to the operation of banks and other financial institutions. Also notable is that the asset management industry is another key specialism; the team advises on the establishment, marketing and operation of regulated and unregulated investment funds, among other matters. Jacques Richelle is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Ivan Peeters

Key clients

ABN Amro

AGEAS (AG Real estate)

BNP Paribas Fortis

bpost bank

BS PAYONE GmbH / B+S Payment Europe

Century 21

Cofinimmo

Crédit Foncier de France

Degroof Petercam

Euroclear SA and Euroclear Bank SA

FCA Bank

ING Belgium SA

Isabel

La Francaise Global

REIM SA

Belfius Bank

Patrizia Immobilien AG

Record Bank

Société Générale SA

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Tribeca AIFM NV

Quaestor

Vermogensbeheer NV

Deutsche Bank

Warburg Pincus

Work highlights

  • Is acting for ING Belgium and Belfius on the establishment and/or update of their covered bond programs.
  • Assisted Euroclear Bank with several issuances under its inaugural €5bn EMTN programme.
  • Provides ongoing assistance to Buy Way Personal Finance with the establishment and optimisation of its funding programs for its portfolios of consumer loans (credit facilities and instalment loans).
  • Assisted DEME with carrying out a Brexit impact assessment, which included assessing its financing contracts.
  • Assisted Axis Parc Fund with its first real estate acquisition (including the related financing aspects).