Allen & Overy LLP impresses with its combined French and US law expertise, the wide range of its debt capital market transactions, and its track record of acting on the market’s biggest and innovative matters. In Diana Billik as the head of the international capital market practice, the firm counts a market-leading expert in SEC-registered, Rule 144A and Regulation S offerings among its own. The team also shoulders a busy caseload of sovereign debt transactions in addition to advising on high-yield transactions, liability management matters and issuances of convertible bonds. Cross-border matters, not only those involving US aspects, are a particular strength of the team thanks to the firm’s international positioning. The practice acts for issuers and arrangers and is a part of the wider capital market offering in Paris which also includes an equity capital market, a derivatives and structured finance, and a securitisation practice. Other key lawyers include Paris managing partner Hervé Ékué, debt instruments and equity-linked securities specialist Julien Sébastien, counsel Soline Louvigny, whose expertise includes EMTN programmes, covered bonds and liability management matters, and senior associate Karin Braverman, admitted to the New York bar and a solicitor of England and Wales.
Capital markets: debt capital markets in France
Allen & Overy LLP
‘Allen & Overy’s capital markets team in Paris has extensive experience and recognised expertise in structured products.’
‘Excellent communication, understanding of the issues, experience, search for solutions.’
‘The team is extremely dedicated with exceptional knowledge of rules and regulations as well as market practice. They are always helpful and seem to be able to solve any problem within minutes. Billing is always fair and in accordance with agreements.’
‘Diana Billik and Karin Braverman are truly exceptional, knowledgeable and not the least also easy and pleasant to talk to. They understand any issues quickly and have a very good network that helps solve any issue.’
‘Very good ability to understand new technologies and innovative projects.’
‘The Allen & Overy team put all its expertise at our disposal to support us on a complex operation. The lawyers are very helpful and very competent.’
‘We enjoyed working with Dan Lauder, a partner who was extremely available and particularly helpful. He has a great deal of expertise in his field and has put this expertise at the service of his client’s interests.’
BNP Paribas / BNP Paribas Cardif
Covivio / Covivio Hotels
La Banque Postale
- Advised a bank consortium consisting of Goldman Sachs International, Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (SCIB) and Société Générale on the European Investment Bank’s issue of a digital bond on Ethereum public blockchain.
- Advised GECINA on the transformation of its outstanding debt (€6 bn) into green bonds.
- Advised AXA on the issue of €1bn fixed to floating rate ordinary subordinated green notes due 2041.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton‘s renowned practice stands out through its strength in debt and equity capital market transactions and its strong Franco-US platform thanks to the US-qualified Andrew Bernstein and John Brinitzer who co-direct the practice with Valérie Lemaitre. The varied caseload includes a high number of cross-border matters on which the team frequently advises together with colleagues in London and New York. Investment-grade and high-yield offerings, securities offerings, USMTN and EMTN programmes and liability management transactions are core areas of work. The sovereign debt practice, with a focus on African countries, of Barthélemy Faye is also noteworthy.
Other key lawyers:
‘Cleary Gottlieb is able to handle all the issues I deal with with an expert eye, both sophisticated and creative. I know we will always find the best solution together. A high capacity for anticipation and a detailed understanding of business issues. The best qualities that I would put forward: Availability, client orientation and the ability to be innovative.’
‘The partners are one-stop-shops at the forefront on all subjects of business law. Their distinction lies in their strong ability to understand business issues and to help me to describe the risks and anticipate them.’
Republic of Benin
Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
Republic of Senegal
- Advised ArcelorMittal on all of its capital markets financings in USD and EUR, including its SEC-registered equity and mandatorily convertible bond offering for a total amount of $2bn, the 2020 extension of the maturity and restructuring of a structured mandatory convertible bond, and its private exchange offers for circa $200m of the MCNs.
- Advised Crédit Agricole on its MREL/TLAC-eligible and prudential capital issuances, including its €750m issuance of undated deeply subordinated additional Tier 1 fixed rate resettable notes; the establishment of a Panda Bond issuance programme in China and subsequent offerings; the updates of its €80bn EMTN and $20bn USMTN programsmes and subsequent offerings over the period April 2020/April 2021; and numerous liability management transactions.
- Advised BNP Paribas on the annual and quarterly updates of its $45bn USMTN program and numerous issuances in 2020 and YTD 2021 (all 144A/Reg S) of MREL/TLAC-eligible securities thereunder, as well as on stand-alone issuances of AT1 securities.
Clifford Chance acts in a wide range of vanilla and structured matters. The practice has recently been especially active in corporate hybrid bonds and continues to build its track record in advising on sustainable and sustainability-linked bonds, for example in the context of EMTN programmes. Other areas of strength are liability management matters and sovereign debt offerings in the Middle East and Africa. Acting for banks as well as for a range of issuers, including corporates, financial institutions and government entities, the group consistently attracts headline matters across the full gamut of debt capital market transactions. With the lead trio of Alex Bafi, who is admitted to the bar of New York, Cédric Burford, who is admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales, and Jonathan Lewis, US-qualified and a solicitor in England and Wales, the practice has a clear international positioning. Counsel Auriane Bijon is particularly experienced in green and acquisition financings while counsel Olivier Plessis is growing a profile in US securities work. Counsel Andrew McCann's practice includes sovereign debt issuances in francophone Africa.
‘Olivier Plessis is a remarkable lawyer, his advice is of excellent quality, he is efficient and listens to his clients. I highly recommend him.’
‘The Clifford Chance Paris team are incredibly engaged with clients with excellent attention to detail, innovative thinking from both partners and associates alike and are always one step ahead ensuring the most practicable and intelligent solutions are found. I find the team warm, available and thoughtful and they certainly stand out from some of their other competitors in the region. In terms of innovations I have been impressed with their collaboration, willingness to explore bespoke fee structuring arrangements and constant striving to keep clients abreast of key changes in the law/market.’
‘Cédric Burford is technically excellent, available and dedicated to his clients and projects, leads seamlessly a fantastic team of lawyers and most importantly is commercially-focused and pragmatic which makes him an incredibly safe pair of hands. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough.’
‘Stand-out associates are Andrew McCann and Alexander Tollast. I am sure both have very promising careers ahead.’
Crédit Agricole CIB
Bank of China International Holdings Ltd
National Bank of Abu Dhabi
Standard Chartered Bank
Unibail – Rodamco -Westfield
Société du Grand Paris
The Government of Sultanate of Oman
- Advising Tikehau Capital on the issuance of the first ever public sustainable benchmark bond issued by an alternative asset manager in Euro.
- Advising The bank syndicate (Natixis, Deutsche Bank, Mizuho Securities, MUFG, BBVA, BNP Paribas, CIC Market Solution, Mediobanca, SMBC Nikko, Standard Chartered Bank and UniCredit Bank) on dual-tranche issuance by Veolia Environnement of €2bn hybrid notes.
- Advising Bpifrance Financement on the first French Covid-19 related bond issuance launched in the market with a dedicated framework.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. continues to shoulder a very busy caseload across a wide range of matters, with a growing practice in security token issuances, Panda bonds and bonds involving ESG standards in addition to the firm’s traditionally strong work in private placements in the US and Europe, Rule 144A bond offerings, high-yield transactions and liability management matters. Led by quartet Hubert Merveilleux du Vignaux, the US-qualified Melinda Stege-Arsouze; Arnaud Duhamel and Laurent Vincent, the team is adept at advising on vanilla and structured matters.
‘Exceptional availability of Laurent Vincent and very sharp technical skills.’
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa
Pernod Ricard SA
Région Ile de France
Air France / KLM
- Advised Veolia Environnement on the issuance of two series of subordinated bonds for a total amount of €2bn admitted to trading on Euronext Paris in connection with Veolia Environnement’s proposed acquisition of Suez.
- Advised CNP Assurances on the issuance of Tier 3 subordinated notes for an amount of €500,000,000 due 2028.
- Advised Pernod Ricard S.A. on a Rule 144A $2bn investment grade bond offering by Pernod Ricard International Finance, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, who acted as guarantor of the issuance.
Linklaters‘ Parisian debt capital market practice offers longstanding experience in complex multijurisdictional matters for which the team can draw on the firm’s international platform. With the renowned Véronique Delaittre at the helm and the French-, UK- und US-qualified Luis Roth as the second key practitioner, the practice is able to cover a wide range of matters. Acting for issuers as well as for arrangers and underwriters, the team assists with high-yield bonds, MTN programmes and commercial papers, Euro PP issues and hybrid bonds. SEC-registered offerings, Rule 144A and RegS offerings are other areas of strenght. Clients also benefit from the firm’s wider offering, including the corporate, banking, restructuring and tax expertise.
Other key lawyers:
CGG Holding (U.S.) Inc.
Solicitation Agents, MUFG Securities Americas Inc. and Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
SG Americas Securities LLC
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
J.P. Morgan Securities plc
Schneider Electric SE
SIX Group AG Swiss Stock Exchange
Barclays Bank Ireland PLC
HSBC Bank plc
- Advised the European Investment Bank on its first ever notes in digital form on the Ethereum public blockchain.
- Advised Schneider Electric SE as issuer on the first offering of approx. €650m sustainability-linked bonds convertible into New Shares and/or Exchangeable for Existing Shares (OCEANE) due 15 June 2026.
- Advised CGG S.A., on an (i) issuance of $500m 8.75% senior secured notes due 2027 and €585m 7.75% Senior Secured Notes due 2027 guaranteed on a secured basis by certain of its subsidiaries; and (ii) on a $100m super senior revolving credit facility agreement secured by the same package as the notes.
White & Case LLP, home of Paris’s biggest capital market team, stands out through its very broad range of expertise. Practice head Philippe Herbelin and his team advise on EMTN programmes, high-yield bonds and stand-alone bonds, Euro PP and corporate hybrid bonds issues as core lines of work. Among the most active practices for issuers, the group’s caseload is highly international, with a strong practice in emerging markets, especially in francophone Africa where the team has advised on a number of sovereign and supranational matters. Olga Fedosova, who made partner in January 2022, is the key contact for matters involving CIS countries. Thanks to the firm’s international footprint and the Paris-based US-qualified lawyers, the group also excels in cross-border matters involving Rule 144A and Reg S offerings. Another area of strength are local placements in foreign jurisdictions for French issuers, including Samurai and Kangaroo bonds. Green and social bond issues are a growing line of work. In March 2022 Neeloferr Roy, formerly a counsel at Linklaters, joined the firm.
BofA Merrill Lynch
BNP Paribas Personal Finance
Crédit Agricole SA
Crédit Agricole CIB
CA Consumer Finance
PSA Banque Finance/Credipar
Credit Mutuel Arkea
Kaufman & Broad
Agence France Locale
Agence des Participations de l’Etat
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
Compagnie de Financement Foncier
Republic of Cameroun
Republic of Gabon
- Advised MACIF, Aéma Groupe’s affiliate, on its €1.75bn multi-tranche issuance of subordinated debt to finance the acquisition of Aviva France.
- Advised the underwriting syndicate on Euronext’s €1.8bn three-tranche senior bond offering, used by Euronext to refinance part of the bridge facilities in relation to the acquisition of Borsa Italiana.
- Advised the joint lead managers and bookrunners on the 144A/Reg S offering by Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD) of €750m 2.75% notes due 2033, BOAD’s first sustainable bond under its newly implemented Sustainable Bond Framework which is aligned with the ICMA Green Bond Principles, Social Bond Principles and the Sustainability Bond Guidelines.
CMS demonstrates particular strength in EMTN programmes and covered bonds and remains among France's most active Euro PP practices, with a track record of a number of market-first placements. Sustainable and social bond issues are another area of strength. The team acts for French and foreign issuers and underwriters, including public entities and local authorities, in both national and cross-border matters involving other European jurisdictions. Marc-Etienne Sébire directs the team. Rosetta Ferrère made partner in January 2021.
‘The team is very consistent and always available. Excellent expertise at affordable prices.’
‘The team is responsive and efficient. Real added value in the field of covered bonds.’
‘The team adapts very quickly to regulatory changes and knows how to meet our needs.’
‘Marc-Etienne Sébire is very available and provides very good advice. He quickly knows how to take a step back and set limits. He is a talented lawyer.’
‘Perfect knowledge of the Euro PP market.’
‘Marc-Etienne Sébire and Rosetta Ferrère form a specialized team in private debt that knows every challenge perfectly well.’
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Crédit Industriel et Commercial
Crédit Mutuel Home Loan SFH
- Advised the Agence Française de Développement in its role as sole subscriber on the €200m green bond of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
- Advised Vilmorin on its €450m bonds issue which was largely oversubscribed among a large European investor base.
- Advised Imerys on the issue of €300m sustainability-linked bonds.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP focuses heavily on issuer work, acting for an impressive list of listed French companies in addition to small and medium-sized entreprises and privately owned companies, a newer area of work for the team of practice head Louis de Longeaux. Additionally, the group offers experience in advising arrangers. The team's expertise spans stand-alone bond issues, green and social bonds, EMTN programmes and Euro private placements as core areas of work. Debt securities, German-law registered bonds, project bonds and liability management transactions complete the core of the practice. The Paris team frequently joins forces with its colleagues in the London and Frankfurt offices and is well versed in matters requiring cooperation with local counsel. Multijurisdictional matters mainly involve the jurisdictions of the US, the UK, Japan and Luxembourg. Thanks to the firm's Alternative Legal Services ('ALT'), clients benefit from a dedicated project management service for data-heavy and defined-process matters.
Louis de Longeaux
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has developed very relevant expertise for issuers. They have a real knowledge of regulations and market practices and respond very well to the expectations of their clients.’
‘Louis de Longeaux and his associates advise numerous issuers, which enables them to be very efficient in defending their interests and handling cases. The firm’s structure allows it to rely on the skills of other partners, particularly in corporate law with Frédéric Bouvet.’
‘A team dedicated to corporates which guarantees the best defense of the interests of issuers. Excellent cooperation/coordination between London and Paris’
‘Louis de Longeaux and his team are extremely well organised and available. Very close to their clients. Pragmatic. You end up believing that the matters are actually simple.’
Compagnie des Alpes
Conseil Général de l’Essonne
Société Foncière Lyonnaise
La Banque Postale
- Advised Teleperformance on the setting up of a €3bn Euro Medium Term Notes (EMTN) programme and the issuance of a €500m bond.
- Advised Auchan on its tender offer on five series of notes listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange totalling €2.650bn.
- Advised Arkema on the inaugural issuance of a €300m green bond to finance its new world-scale plant in Singapore to manufacture 100% bio-based Rilsan® polyamide 11.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP offers French and English law expertise, making it a popular choice for multijurisdictional matters in Europe, as well as a track record of advising on cross-border matters involving the US. Under the lead of Sharon Lewis and Vincent Fidelle the team acts for banks, funds and corporates, with its very active practice in high-value debt issuances a key feature. In line with the firm’s sector positioning, the group is well versed in advising on matters from the insurance and reinsurance, shipping and transport, energy and automotive sectors.
‘Very good knowledge of capital markets and the different types of market operations carried out.’
‘Professionalism, responsiveness, rigour and efficiency, understanding of needs.’
BMW Finance SNC
Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG
DBRS Ratings Limited
Edmond de Rothschild (France)
Société nationale SNCF
Electricité de France (EDF)
Electricité de France (EDF)
RTE Réseau de transport d’électricité
KBC Bank NV
Latham & Watkins is particularly well-known for its high-yield bond practice, but is also active in investment grade bonds, exchangeable and convertible bonds. Able to assist with UK, US and French law, the practice has built a reputation for its work on complex cross-border matters, including green and sustainability-linked bond issuances. Dual-listed companies with listings in France and England or the US frequently instruct the firm for their debt capital market matters. The firm's French and international M&A, tax, financing and restructuring offering complements the capital market practice well. Thomas Margenet-Baudry is the head of the practice. Roberto Reyes Gaskin joined the partnership in January 2021.
‘Very experienced and extremely well-established team for high-yield issues. It is a real comfort for the client to work with a team which also masters the sequence of the different stages of the process, knows how to anticipate. Multicultural Parisian team. Good advice for listed issuers.’
‘Thomas Margenet-Baudry: excellent management of operations, knowledge of almost all market operations, anticipation of key technical points and subjects of stock market law. Michael Ettannani: facilitates all stages of the process. Great anticipation, excellent technicality, very pleasant communication.’
‘Unparalleled expertise in the high-yield bonds market, invaluable help from the start to the end and an undeniable contribution to obtaining rather advantageous covenants.’
‘Thomas Margenet-Baudry and Roberto Reyes Gaskin allowed us handle a matter very quickly thanks to their perfect knowledge of the market.’
‘Latham & Watkins provided the commercial clarity that we needed. Of course, as is typical of Latham & Watkins, they also provided brilliant legal advice, which was informed by the extensive deal experience of the Latham & Watkins team, and were committed to working as hard as was necessary to close the deal by the deadline.’
‘Roberto Reyes Gaskin is exceptionally smart, thorough and he was completely committed to achieving our success. He demonstrated deep knowledge of the product class and was as thorough in his analysis of our documents as he was impressive in leading negotiations.’
‘The team are great, very knowledgeable and dynamic, always personable and I really enjoy working with them.’
‘Special mention to Roberto Reyes Gaskin who has a great combination of both local and international knowledge, is very commercial and well-connected across the various Lathams offices and markets, works extremely hard, is always friendly and approachable and nurtures great relationships with clients.’
Bank of America
Tencent Holdings Limited
- Advised Groupe Casino on the €4,150,000,000 notes tender offer 2020.
- Advised TOTAL SE on its issuance of €3bn aggregate principal amount of perpetual subordinated notes.
- Advised Groupe Casino on its €1,447,000,000 refinancing transaction involving a bond issuance, a term loan and a tender offer on its existing bonds.
Stephenson Harwood focuses on French law debt capital market work, with the caseload including Eurobonds, secured notes, medium term note programmes and Euro private placements. Practice head Jeremy Grant, who is dual-qualified in France and England and Wales, continues to grow the team and client base, attracting notable domestic and cross-border matters.
‘Stephenson Harwood is responsive, has a global vision in order to anticipate the impacts on the entire company and defends the interests of its clients.’
‘Pragmatism and the ability to find compromises.’
‘Jeremy Grant is a very high-quality lawyer who has, both by his great technicality and his perfect understanding of regulated activities, to establish himself as THE benchmark advisor in matters of capital and debt markets with the legal teams but also of the operational and financial teams of tour company. Fully committed to their clients, Jeremy and his team are able to deliver their expertise and exceptional work within very tight deadlines.’
‘Jeremy Grant is very available and responsive.’
MGG INVESTMENT GROUP
LOUIS DREYFUS COMMODITIES
THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF CHINA (CEXIM)
- Advising Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) on the issuance of its first rated Eurobond and on the issuance of an additional rated Eurobond.
- Advising SCOR SE on its issuance of €300m perpetual fixed rate subordinated resettable restricted Tier 2 notes.
- Advising Touax on several matters, including the refinancing of its Rail division for a total amount of €180m, combining a ‘green ginancing’, a confirmed 3-year revolving credit facility, and a $85m financing.
Société Anonyme des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers (SBM)
Thom Group and Altamir
- Advised Ramsay Santé in connection with the refinancing of the whole of its syndicated debt for a total amount of €1.650bn.
- Advising Casino Group in connection with a refinancing transaction totalling €1.525bn.
- Advised Firmenich on the successful placement of its inaugural €1.5bn Eurobond Benchmark Offering.
- Advised Valeo on a €700m sustainability-linked notes issuance.
- Advised Valeo on the introduction of an option to issue Green Bonds or Sustainable Linked Notes in its €5bn EMTN programme.
- Advised CNIM Groupe on a €45m bonds issuance to Martin GmbH in connection with its financial restructuring.
‘Efficient, responsive, excellent advice, collaborative work with the client.’
‘Involved in the business. Ultra responsive. Partner always present and available.’
‘Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel not only brought an idea, but also knew how to ensure an efficient execution in coordination with the other counsels and with fixed prices allowing to have visibility, which have always been respected.’
‘Gilles Saint Marc’s is a brilliant and agile mind, quick and efficient. He knows how to think ‘out of the box’ by integrating the strategic and commercial dimension, while maintaining the highest standards. Gilles is one of those interlocutors with whom you can make your company grow by relying on the reliability of his legal knowledge, but also on his understanding of the markets. He is always available on a very short notice and comes back very quickly.’
‘The team led by Gilles Saint Marc has a great deal of expertise, particularly in securitization and debt issues.’
‘Gilles Saint Marc is an excellent lawyer who has perfectly mastered the mechanics of securitisation and debt funds. His help was invaluable.’
Cap Vert Energie
La Banque Postale Asset Management
Schelscher Prince Gestion
ITM Entreprises (Groupe les Mousquetaires)
Constructel Constructions et Télécommunications
Eiffel Investment Group
- Advised the investors and the arranger in connection with the €100,000,000 Euro PP bond issued by HLD Europe and listed on the Luxembourg Euro MTF.
- Advising TP ICAP (as arranger), Aviva Investors, Tikehau Capital, Schelscher Prince Gestion, Klesia Finances, SHAM and SAAR LB (as investors) in connection with the €152,000,000 Euro PP secured ‘Impact’ bonds issued by MAGELLAN.
- Advised Midcap Partners (as arranger), Artemid, Eiffel IG, La Banque Postale AM and SP Gestion (as investors) in connection with the €140,000,000 Euro PP secured sustainability-linked (Impact) bonds issued by LUMIBIRD and listed on Euronext Access.
‘The team has not only an unrivalled expertise with respect to the capital markets legal framework, but also a unique knowledge of the market practices and doctrine of the regulatory authorities due to its involvement in almost all the major transactions.’
‘Hervé Letréguilly and Séverine de La Courtie are very close to their clients, always trying to find pragmatic solutions with a very good understanding of their business issues.’
‘Hervé Letréguilly is creative and has a perfect mastery of market issues.’
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Bank of America
- Advised STMicroelectronics on (i) a $1.5 billion dual-tranche offering of New Convertible Bonds and (ii) the early redemption of its 2022 Convertible Bonds.
- Acted for BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Coöperatieve Rabobank, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, Natixis, Société Générale, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, and Mediobanca – Banca di Credito Finanziario as initial purchasers in Elior Group’s €550m offering of 3.75 percent senior notes due 2026.
- Advised BNP Paribas, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Société Générale and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank as initial purchasers on Derichebourg SA’s $300m offering of 2.250% senior notes due 2028 as part of the financing of the proposed acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Groupe Ecore Holding S.A.S.