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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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France > Aviation > Aviation finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Who Represents Who

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Norton Rose Fulbright is highly active across a broad array of aviation financing instruments, with experience including aircraft lease structures, export credit agency financings, sale and leaseback agreements and Japanese operating leases. The team has particular strength in cross-border instructions, regularly involving more than one foreign jurisdiction. Asset finance specialist Alex Wass assisted Export Development Canada with the financing of four aircraft for Canadian airline Chorus, which were intended for lease to a subsidiary of Iberia. George Paterson acted for BNP Paribas on a complex combined French tax lease and US-EXIM-backed financing of five aircraft for SunExpress. Marc Hamilton, who has expertise in French optimised lease structures, advised CIC on the financing of four Airbus aircraft for Turkish Airlines involving several international banks. Crédit Agricole, Export Credits Guarantee Department and Euler Hermes are other clients.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP’s team ‘demonstrates expert knowledge and skills together with a top-notch ability for execution’. The group has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of the asset financing industry’ and provides clients with ‘a true sense of partnership between the lawyers and their clients’. The department has a varied workload ranging from credit export agency financings to acquisition financing and pre-delivery payment financings, frequently with an international element. The ‘excellent’ and ‘extremely responsive and commercialAlexander Premont, who is dual-qualified in English and French law, ‘treats every matter with the utmost importance and professionalism whatever its size or value’; he jointly heads the team with Olivier Fille-Lambie. Highlights included advising Chinese investment company HNA Group on its $1.2bn takeover offer for airline catering company gategroup, and assisting the same client with its acquisition of an approximately 50% stake in Servair from Air France. The team also assisted GE Capital Equipment Finance with the disposal of its portfolio of corporate jet financings in the UK and France. Babcock International Group, Natixis and UBS are other clients. Richard Jadot joined HFW

Watson Farley & Williams LLP provides ‘a great level of service with quick feedback and a substantiated analysis of the issues’ and is ‘business-oriented and efficient in delivering while protecting the clients’ interests’, Core areas of strength include cross-border matters such as financings through export credit agencies and Japanese operating leases, more specifically leases with call-option (JOLCO). Practice head Charles Viggers is ‘fully dedicated to the deal’ and ‘detail-oriented’. Highlights included assisting new client China Aircraft Leasing Company with the financing, refinancing and delivery of aircraft to Turkish company Pegasus Airlines, advising on commercial financings, prepayment of the financing and a JOLCO refinancing. Other work includes acting for Société Générale on the drafting of all finance and security documents relating to the refinancing of ten helicopters. Other clients include ATR, Deutsche Bank and Natixis.

HFW predominantly acts for French airlines, particularly on matters with an international component. The team’s core practice includes fleet restructurings and aircraft and helicopter acquisitions. Recent work includes advice to Aircalin on the restructuring and renewal of its fleet and assisting Air France with the financing of a Boeing long-range aircraft. Waypoint Leasing and Aigle Azur are other clients. Practice head Pierre Frühling splits his time between the firm’s Paris and Brussels offices. Following the arrival of Richard Jadot in 2017 from Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP, the group also has one partner exclusively based in Paris.

Ince & Co France SCP has a strong focus on commercial aircraft and business jet financing and particular strength in international lease structuring. Practice head Laurence Hanley is the main contact, with Andrew Charlier having notable expertise in business and private jet financing, private jet ownership structures and the negotiation of management agreements. Clients include Air France - KLM, HOP and Wijet.

Stephenson Harwood’s team has a strong track record advising on operating lease and export credit financing matters, but also handles sales and leasebacks, asset debt financing and bond and capital markets transactions. The presence of Edward Campbell – who is a member of the French, English and US bars – ensures the team is well placed for cross-border work, such as handling the French aspects of a bridge loan facility and, consequently, the repayment of the facility through an asset-backed securitisation for Merlin Aviation Holdings. The group also advised Lion Air Group on the acquisition and financing of a number of aircraft, engines and flight simulators, including assisting with the New York law aspects of EXIM bank financings. Other clients include CIC, CIT Bank and Air Côte d’Ivoire.

White & Case LLP is a key name for cross-border mandates, with expertise spanning asset financing, export credit financing, refinancing and tax leases. Recent work includes advising Société Générale on the financing of two Airbus helicopters. Victoria Westcott left for Reed Smith.

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