Project finance in France
Clifford Chance's state-of-the-art public law, project finance and M&A infrastructure capabilities make the firm an infrastructure and energy project leader in France, in Africa and other parts of the world. The practice is currently advising on many of France's largest rail, motorway, broadband network and renewable projects. Highlights included assisting Eiffage Concessions with its tender bid for the RCEA motorway project tender, and EDF EN with the floating offshore wind test project. The firm is also involved in large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, mostly in Africa but also in other diverse jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. It is assisting the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group is also advising on strategic new pipeline projects and on major infrastructure projects in Turkey including assisting a group of lenders with the Bursa health campus project. The 27-lawyer team is made up of high-profile figures including Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib, Richard Tomlinson, Delphine Siino Courtin and public law expert David Préat. Benjamin de Blegiers joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in April 2019.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.'s wide-ranging expertise and international reach makes the team a popular choice for large-scale projects, especially in France and Africa. The group has considerable French PPP expertise and is notably assisting the Ministry of Transport with the landmark Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport express rail project. Thomas Courtel is highly regarded for domestic work. The team is also advising on key infrastructure projects in Africa and other parts of the world. It is assisting EBRD and IFC as advisers to the government of Kazakhstan with the country's very first PPP pertaining to the building of a road project. The group also has a leading presence in large-scale international energy projects and in recent highlights, it is advising EGL and the contracting states on the development of Ruzizi III 147MWh hydropower plant in the Grands Lacs region in Africa, as well as EDF on the development of six EPR nuclear reactors in India. Stéphane Vernay, John D Crothers, Marie Bouvet-Guiramand and counsels Victor Grandguillaume and Nicolas Jean are other key names. Nicolas Jean was recently promoted to partner.
Linklaters’ impressive range of expertise and resources ensures that the firm is a popular choice for large-scale infrastructure and energy projects in France and francophone Africa. The practice advises on several of France’s largest transport and renewables projects thanks to its top-notch public law, financing and corporate expertise. It is notably assisting the lenders with the financing of France’s first offshore wind farm projects including Courseulles-sur-mer (450 MW), Fécamp (498 MW) and Saint-Nazaire (480 MW). In Africa-related work, the practice is particularly active in renewable energy, transport and airport projects. It recently assisted the sponsors with a €123m development and financing of a 92MW HFO power plant in Kayes in Mali. In other work, the group also handles European, Middle Eastern and Latin American projects. Other recent highlights include advising French sponsors on several international airport projects and assisting Vinci, ADP and Astaldi’s consortium with the Santiago airport expansion project in Chile. Practice head Bertrand Andriani is a key name. Paul Lignières, François April and counsel Mark Barges are other experienced practitioners. Stephen Le Vesconte recently joined the Paris office from the firm's Seoul office.
Orrick Rambaud Martel has impressive capabilities and fields a large team of around 30 lawyers who are able to advise on all types of projects. The ‘responsive and available’ group has strong credentials advising on France's largest infrastructure projects. It is advising a mix of clients, including the French state, sponsors and lenders, on France's largest transport and energy projects. Highlights included assisting the lenders to a consortium with a bid for the CDG Express railway project, as well as Colas Projects with its bid for the RCEA motorway project. Francophone Africa is another very strong area of expertise, especially in the energy sector where the firm is advising on several of the continent's largest hydro and power plant projects, as well as handling numerous smaller solar and other power projects. The practice is notably assisting the Ministry of Energy of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the construction of the Inga 3 4,800MW hydroelectric project, as well as Eneo on the €1bn Nachtigal 420MW hydroelectric power plant project in Cameroon. The team also advises on infrastructure and energy projects in other parts of the world. It notably acted for international finance institutions on the financing of the Sainshand wind farm in Mongolia, and the Serbian government on the development of the JSC Nikola Tesla Airport (Belgrade). Yves Lepage leads the practice. Simon Ratledge, Jean-Luc Champy, Amaury de Feydeau, senior counsel Noël Chahid-Nouraï and of counsel Geoffroy Berthon are also noted.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's team is made up of ‘deal makers who have an impressive ability to find solutions that fit both sponsors' and lenders' goals and concerns’. The firm combines leading public law and project finance expertise that earns it instructions on France's largest infrastructure projects and high-profile projects abroad. The team assists sponsors, as well as lenders where its stands out for its ‘ability to remarkably address lenders' concerns and to select only the most important points to be negotiated with the sponsors’. Recent highlights include advising on leading transport and road infrastructure projects in France. It notably assisted the institutional investors with the first project refinancing in France through the new project bonds format issued by Arcour for the A19 motorway refinancing, and advised Oc’via on the refinancing of the Nîmes-Montpellier high-speed railway bypass. In other work, the team advises on large-scale health campus projects in Turkey, as well as on several port and airport projects in other jurisdictions. The practice also handled several energy projects in France and assisted the Republic of Djibouti with a 750km gas pipeline project. Practice head Amir Jahanguiri is ‘an astonishing and incredible lawyer’ and Michaël Armandou ‘finds adequate solutions for both lenders and sponsors’. Public law specialist Thierry Laloum is also noted.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's strong combined public law and project finance expertise secures the firm regular instructions on high-profile greenfield projects in France. The practice frequently advises banks, including on project refinancing, and also assists sponsors with several of France's largest infrastructure and energy projects. It is notably acting for the European Investment Bank and CDC on the partial refinancing of the Nimes-Montpellier railway bypass project, as well as the lenders on the refinancing and extension of Drôme-Ardèche's broadband network. The 13-lawyer team is equally adept at advising on large-scale infrastructure and energy projects in Africa, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, where it acts for states, lenders and sponsors. Other highlights include advising the government of Benin on the first phase of a combined 1,200MW gas-fired power project, as well as the sponsor and project company on the 280MW Nenskra hydro power project in Georgia. It is also advising on major energy projects in Latin America and on several airport projects internationally. Christine Poyer-Rufenacht and Driss Bererhi jointly head the project finance practice. Banking and finance practice head Adrian Mellor is another key name in the practice and Romaric Lazerges has considerable public law expertise.
De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has strong project infrastructure finance expertise. The firm regularly advises domestic and international lenders on project financing in France. It recently handled the financing of several new mid-sized infrastructure projects and was also involved in large refinancing transactions in the broadband telecoms and energy sectors. Other work includes assisting the European Investment Bank with the refinancing of Nord-Pas de Calais’ broadband network project and advising Neoen on the refinancing of Europe’s largest photovoltaic park near Bordeaux. The firm, which is a key player in the energy sector in France, has strong financing capabilities in this area and also has considerable experience acting for sponsors on high-profile brownfield transactions. Practice head Jean-Renaud Cazali is highly respected. Also noted are Christine Le Bihan-Graf for public law issues and Thomas Bréart de Boisanger for corporate matters.
Dentons has 'a solid team for infrastructure projects in France’. The firm is notably advising on several of the market's largest rail and road projects, including assisting the Ministry of Transportation with the awarding of the RCEA highway road project. The practice also advised on domestic university and school projects and is assisting Vinci Airport with its bid for the Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla concession project. Public law expert Marc Fornacciari and project finance partner Jean-Marc Allix are ‘very good’. The firm also handles energy projects abroad. It was recently involved in large wind and solar projects in Africa and Iran, advising Meridiam and Eiffage on the development of a 30MW solar plant in Senegal, as well as Quercus on a €500m deal with Iran’s Ministry of Energy for the development of a 600MW solar energy plant in Iran. Ramin Hariri and Leïla Hubeaut are key names for energy projects.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a strong track record in energy projects, handling both the financing and project aspects, in France and Africa. The firm is involved in several of Africa’s largest power projects, which are among the most prominent in the world, and is increasingly advising on large renewable projects in Africa. It is notably assisting Akuo Energy with the development of a 50MW solar plant in Mali and acts for Neoen on the financing of a 51MW solar plant in Jamaica. The team is also working on key energy and electricity projects in France, and is advising GridLink on the development of a 1,400MW interconnector cable between Kingsnorth in the UK and Dunkirk in France. The team is also retained to advise on high-profile infrastructure projects in France and is assisting CDC with the financing of the CDG Express project. The practice is jointly headed by project finance expert Régis Oréal and Christophe Lefort, who is a public law and project specialist. The team includes many leading experts including Eric Fiszelson, Louis de Longeaux and Rachel Campbell on the financing side, as well of counsel Mathias Dantin for public law issues.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP has long-standing experience advising governments on high-scale transport projects in France and Africa. The ten-lawyer practice is involved in several of France’s most high-profile matters in that area and is also advising on road and airport concession projects in Francophone Africa. It is notably assisting the French government with the awarding of the A45 motorway concession project, and development banks with the financing of the construction and operation of Dakar international airport in Senegal. The firm is also increasing its involvement in the energy market in France and Africa, acting for utilities companies and investors. It is advising the Africa Legal Support Facility as adviser to the government of Burkina Faso on the Ouagathermal 50MW power plant project, and ABB as the bidder on a 1.4GW interconnector EPC project between France and Britain. Ludovic Babin, Bruno Cantier and finance expert Olivier Fille-Lambie are very experienced. Counsel Perrine Limousin is also noted.
The ‘very professional’ White & Case LLP has ‘strong experience and leads very well-organised processes’. The firm has a strong presence among French and international lenders for the development and financing of major projects in France and abroad. Domestically, it recently advised the lenders on several motorway projects, including assisting Arcos' lenders with the financing, construction and operation of the A355 motorway concession project. The practice also advised on several major campus projects in Turkey including acting for Japanese banks on the $1.83bn financing of the Ikitelli healthcare campus project. Energy projects are another strength and it is notably advising on several large-scale hydro power projects in Georgia and Africa. In evidence of this, it is advising Eiffage, Themis Energy and Eranove as sponsors on a 200MW hydro power project in Madagascar, as well as Eranove on a 42MW hydroelectric dam project in Mali. Practice head Paule Biensan, Jacques Bouillon, François-Guilhem Vaissier and counsel Marianna Sedefian are key names.