Shipping finance in France

Norton Rose Fulbright

The global shipping practice at Norton Rose Fulbright collaborates with insurance companies, ship owners, and banks, offering comprehensive services to the cruise and ferry, industrial shipping, and offshore energy sectors. Led by banking lawyer and export credit financing expert Christine Ezcutari, the team specialises in high-value finance and leasing deals, complex restructurings, ship sales, acquisitions, and charter transactions. It also handles regulatory, antitrust, corporate, and dispute matters as part of its broader services. Ayaka Millet brings expertise in French law and international financing transactions, including export financing, infrastructure, and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Christine Ezcutari


Other key lawyers:

Ayaka Millet


Key clients

Crédit Agricole CIB


ABN Amro Bank N.V.


UniCredit Bank AG


The Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited


Citibank N.A.


Société Générale


Work highlights


  • Advising Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, ABN Amro Bank N.V. and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB on a French tax lease financing of five LNG vessels for JP Morgan Global Transport Income Fund.
  • Advised Crédit Agricole CIB on a financing under a French tax lease scheme of four service operation vessels for Acta Marine France.
  • Advised UniCredit Bank AG and the Export-Import Bank of China on a sinosure-covered financing of four Ro-pax vessels currently under construction at Guangzhou Shipyard International Company in China.

Stephenson Harwood

The shipping finance practice at Stephenson Harwood represents major French banks in significant vessel financings, restructurings, and transactions within the French market, as well as international transactions involving domestic banks, leveraging their global network of offices in key maritime jurisdictions such as China, London, Dubai, Singapore, and Seoul. Leading the team is Alain Gautron, a recognised expert in the field, known for his regular counsel to banks and financial institutions, covering French tax lease financings, export credits, securitisation, multi-lateral facilities, and banking support. The team also includes recently promoted partner (May 2023) Ezio Dal Maso, who heads the superyacht practice, specialising in non-contentious work related to financing, ownership structuring, and ship registration. Additionally, Hortense Atthenont-Duret, a managing associate, brings her expertise in asset finance, export finance, and transportation to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Alain Gautron


Other key lawyers:

Ezio Dal Maso; Hortense Atthenot-Duret


Key clients

BNP Paribas


Compagnie du Ponant


Caisse d’Epargne Languedoc-Roussillon|Caisse d’Epargne Bretagne Pays de Loire


Accor


Rubis Energie


Fimar


Corsica Ferries


Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC)


Ingépar (Bred subsidiary)


CEPAC


Caisse d’Epargne Ile de France


Socatra


JP Morgan Asset Management


Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CACIB)


Work highlights


  • Advising CIC as lease arrangers and tax investors on the legal and tax aspects of a leasing transaction for five $180m LNG carriers.
  • Assisting Accor Hotel group with the creation of an UltraLuxury offering under the brand name Orient Express Cruise Lines.
  • Assisting JP Morgan Asset Management, through its Global Transportation Group, with the establishment of a fully-fledged French ship operator.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

With a strong presence in major ship finance hubs, the Paris-based global shipping practice at Watson Farley & Williams LLP maintains its leading position in the field. The practice advises owners, operators, and major financial institutions on a wide range of complex, high-value, multijurisdictional ship finance transactions. Co-heading the team are Alexia Russell, a specialist in asset finance, leasing, and project finance; and Laurence Martinez-Bellet, an expert in cross-border transactions, as well as ECA and DFI-backed transactions involving JVs and debt or equity investment funds. The practice also benefits from the expertise of Philippe Monfort, who focuses on transport asset finance, and Isabella Roberts, a maritime specialist with extensive experience in multi-jurisdictional finance transactions, earning her the reputation as a ‘golden bridge across cultures‘.

Practice head(s):

Alexia Russell; Laurence Martinez-Bellet


Other key lawyers:

Philippe Monfort; Isabella Roberts


Testimonials

‘WFW Paris is the place to go in the European market for shipping finance deals.’

‘Alexia Russell and Isabella Roberts are rising stars: not just skilled English solicitors but also golden bridges across cultures.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas


Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank


Société Générale


Work highlights


  • Advising Société Générale on the financing and delivery of LNG vessel “Lech Kaczyński” built by Hyundai Heavy Industry Co., Ltd and bareboat chartered to an affiliate of Knutsen.
  • Advising Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on a multi-tranche term loan syndicated facility made available to the FINAV Holding Group to finance young eco or super-eco MR product tankers.

HFW

Leveraging its extensive global network, the shipping finance team at HFW provides expert counsel to major financial institutions as well as shipowners and maritime enterprises. The team specialises in a wide array of high-value, cross-border matters, with a particular focus on financing through tax lease structures. Jean-Marc Zampa, with over two decades of specialised expertise in large, complex financial transactions, leads the Paris team. He routinely advises both shipowners and banks on various transactional matters, enhancing the team’s comprehensive service, which encompasses international syndicated loans, acquisition finance, asset finance, and export and tax-advantaged financings. Since publication, the team welcomed Paolo Pinna who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in May 2024.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Marc Zampa


Other key lawyers:

Paolo Pinna


Testimonials

‘A pragmatic and attentive team. Great knowledge of the market.’

‘Jean-Marc Zampa is a great professional and demonstrates a lot of professionalism and pragmatism. His solid experience in the sector allows us to move forward with confidence.’

‘Excellent quality of service.’

We recommend Jean-Marc Zampa.’

Work highlights


Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP

The shipping finance practice at Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP combines the strength of its global network with the experience of its domestic team to advise on a broad range of both on and offshore vessel financings, debt, tax structured and capital market financings, representing leading international banks in the market. Qualified in both French and English law, Alexander Premont heads the practice, specialising in acquisition and leveraged financings as well as asset and insurance financings. Tam Tran’s experience in complex, multi-jurisdictional asset financings further bolsters the team.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Premont


Other key lawyers:

Tam Tran; Guergana Zabounova; Stephanie Saunders


Testimonials

‘The Paris office team is completely bilingual; the firm also has a network of offices around the world, which greatly facilitates cross-border operations.’

‘Alexander Premont is an excellent negotiator who always manages to find fair solutions to complex legal issues and who makes it a point of honor to always best satisfy his clients and their interests.’

‘Large firm with numerous areas of expertise, resources and relevant shipping finance experience which were instrumental in the successful closing, under tight timeline, of a yacht financing involving jurisdictions that raised specific challenges.’

Key clients

Société Générale


Lombard (National Westminster PLC)


BNP Paribas


CIC


Natixis


Cathay Capital


SeaOwl Group SAS


Navig8 Europe Limited


Brookfield Infrastructure Income Fund


Work highlights


  • Advised Société Générale and KfW on the financing of six 16,000 TEU containerships vessel to Mediterranean Shipping Company.
  • Assisting various clients with the structuring and preparation of the inclusion of the shipping sector under the EU Emission Trading Scheme.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP‘s Paris office is counsel of choice to prominent shipping firms, financial investors, manufacturers, and asset managers, providing comprehensive guidance across the gamut of matters. The group makes the choice not to represent banking institutions in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Corporate finance specialist Brice Pommiès leads the team, overseeing a wide array of issues, from bank debt, sale and leasebacks, and high yield financings, to restructurings and other corporate affairs.

Practice head(s):

Brice Pommiès


Testimonials

‘A top-level firm’ 

 

Key clients

CMA CGM


Chantiers de l’Atlantique (f/k/a STX France)


Cheyne Capital


Celestyal


Epopée Gestion


ADEME Investissement


Atlante Gestion


Work highlights


  • Advised Cheyne Capital on its equity and debt investment in Compagnie Française de Croisières.
  • Advising CMA CGM on the French tax lease financing supported by Sinosure for twelve new LNG vessels.
  • Advising Chantiers de l’Atlantique on a new construction financing for a vessel to be delivered to Royal Caribbean.

A&O Shearman

The shipping finance practice at A&O Shearman operates on a global scale, offering extensive expertise in the financing, procurement, construction, and chartering of various types of vessels and platforms. Co-led by Adrian Mellor and Florent Belin, the practice serves a diverse client base, including financiers, funds, owners, charterers, sponsors, and ECAs, advising on a wide array of shipping transactions. They have a strong track record of involvement in large, complex transactions within the market, including specific French products like French tax leases.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Mellor; Florent Belin


Testimonials

‘A&O has undeniable expertise in marine and asset finance in general as well as in corporate finance topics. We enjoy working regularly with them on complex shipping transactions (also corporate hybrids) and appreciate their ability to fairly represent the interests of lenders.’ 

‘Having a France/UK deal team is a real plus!’ 

‘The team provides excellent legal advice and really able to listen to the parties to help create pathways to resolve roadblocks.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas


Work highlights


  • Advised BNP Paribas and other lenders on the pre- and post-delivery financing backed by K-Sure of up to 6 dual-fuel LNG newbuild containerships (15,600 TEU) to be built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd for MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Stream – Avocats et Solicitors

Stream – Avocats et Solicitors‘ shipping finance team acts for an international client base on an array of financing and transactional legal services, catering to owners, borrowers, financiers, operators, and banks. The department's expertise spans acquisitions, restructurings, traditional bank loans, private equity investments, and joint venture arrangements. Maritime specialist Aymeric de Tapol and financial transaction expert Olivier Challine jointly coordinate the practice.

Practice head(s):

Aymeric de Tapol; Olivier Challine


Other key lawyers:

Audran de Carne


Testimonials

‘Complementary skills allowing us to offer one-stop shopping an atmosphere that is both friendly and extremely professional.’

‘Ability to find solutions in our sector which requires contractual innovation.’

‘Aymeric de Tapol is very efficient, great teaching capacity in the negotiation phases, charismatic, very rigorous, always available, constructive in the negotiation.’

Key clients

Louis Dreyfus Armateurs


Sogestran


Corsica Linea


Econocom


EDF


TOWT


Neoline


Oceos


Work highlights


  • Advised a French shipowner on the negotiation of shipbuilding contracts and financing under French tax leases of two wind propelled cargo vessels.
  • Advised a French shipowner on the structuring of corporate and financing aspects of a hybrid wind propelled vessel.
  • Advised Louis Dreyfus Armateurs on the sale of its bunker vessels fleet to JP Morgan, in the frame of the restructuring of their commercial activities.