Banking and finance in Israel

Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co

Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co's banking practice is impressively broad. Headed by Miri Kimhi, the department advises international banks and a variety of domestic lenders on lending activity for real estate and infrastructure project development and M&A. Recently, Kimhi advised JP Morgan, as mandated lead arranger and agent, on the the provision of financing for ADLER Real Estate's acquisition of 70% of Brack Capital Properties, and also advised a group of lenders, including Bank Hapoalim, on a transaction to refinance a large syndicated facility. Additional contacts include Dikla Lavy-Fischer, who has advised Shaked Partners Fund on a number of mezzanine loans provided to various borrowers, and Gilad Winkler, who acted for Harel Insurance Company in relation to the provision of a senior facility for the construction of a government complex. On the borrower side, the team has experience in complex financing structures. As an example, Kimhi and Vered Oren assisted OPC Energy with a structure to provide NIS320m financing through a combination of mezzanine loans and corporate debt; the structure also enables the refinancing of an existing loan and a restructuring of the group. Avraham Well is another key figure in the practice.

Gornitzky & Co.

Gornitzky & Co. is engaged by domestic and international lenders in a range of financing mandates, and has particular strengths in cross-border acquisition finance and factoring transactions. Department head Eli Elya acted for Bank Hapoalim and several Israeli institutional lenders, including Meitav Dash, in relation to a transaction with Israel Land Development and Seven Stars Mall to refinance an existing syndicated loan. Additionally, the team provides advice to Phoenix Insurance Company in relation to multiple cross-border finance mandates, including its role in a syndicate led by five international banks for the provision of $1.5bn to finance a real estate project in Manhattan. The firm also has a number of fund relationships, which complement its strong banking practice. In another cross-border highlight, Dubi Gross advised Apollo on the provision of financing for SK Capital's acquisition of Perrigo API from Perrigo. Elite Elkon provides extensive regulatory support to several of Israel's largest banks and also has an active cross-border finance practice.

Herzog Fox & Neeman

Herzog Fox & Neeman has 'deep experience with international banking issues and cross-border financing'. As such, 'the group's clientele consists of many of the first-class international banks' as well as various investment funds and domestic banks, insurance companies and other institutional lenders. Natalie Jacobs advises international banks such as JP Morgan and Barclays, as well as domestic banks such as Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim on a range of regulatory issues, including capital requirements, credit derivatives, standard bank documentation, and wealth management. Further, Jacobs advises a number of Israeli banks and a majority of large domestic institutional lenders on ISDA agreements and derivative transactions. Department head Alan Sacks acted for ING Capital and HSBC in relation to a secured cross-border financing transaction, and also advised two international lenders on the financing of two Boeing aircraft acquired by El Al Israel Airlines. Also recommended is Roy Nachimzon, who has experience advising investment funds as lenders in leveraged acquisitions. The team also advises its strong corporate client base on borrowing mandates.

Meitar | Law Offices

Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Offices has a formidable financial regulatory practice and is engaged by some of Israel's largest banks and insurance companies in relation to high-value lending transactions. The banking department is jointly led by Adv Assaf Oz and Adv Eyal Dotan, the latter of whom has considerable expertise in banking regulation and acts for The Association of Banks in Israel in various regulatory and legislative negotiations with the Knesset, the Ministry of Justice, the Israeli Securities Authority, and others. Other contacts in the team include Adv Judith Gal-Or and Adv Gal Feingold, who advised Dexia Israel Bank on the execution of a cooperation agreement with Altshuler for the provision of joint loans to local authorities in Israel. Further, the team has handled real estate financing and cross-border general lending transactions for major domestic banks and insurance companies, and also has experience with M&A in the banking sector, where it recently advised the controlling shareholders of Union Bank of Israel on its proposed merger with Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank.

S. Horowitz & Co

S. Horowitz & Co has longstanding relationships with Israel's most active lenders, which the team advises across a huge variety of transactions from high-value project financing to esoteric cross-border refinancing deals and factoring transactions. The banking group is also engaged by foreign banks and investment funds in relation to cross-border lending transactions and collateral issues. Having advised a syndicate of domestic and international lenders on a loan transaction with Netafim, Anthony Bloch and Michelle Liberman recently assisted the syndicate with modifications to the finance documents following the acquisition of Netafim by Mexichem. Additionally, Bloch acted for a domestic bank in relation to multiple cross-border refinance transactions, and Liberman has experience in aviation finance. Another key figure in the team is Clifford Davis, who works for international banks, including Deutsche Bank, and has been involved in a number of unique and high-value export credit financing matters.

Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co.

Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co. provides its clients with service inspired by 'a deep understanding of financial regulations and a unique sensitivity to commercial issues'. In particular, department head Yona Goshen-Gottstein has been noted for her 'special combination of experience in banking regulation and finance transactions'. Goshen-Gottstein provides a range of banking advice to clients such as Harel Insurance Company, which she recently advised on the creation of a platform for ongoing syndication agreements with Dexia Israel Bank in relation to municipal loans of over NIS1bn. Also of note, the team is advising Ofek Capital Cooperative Association on the proposed establishment of the first cooperative bank in Israel. Goshen-Gottstein also advises Migdal Capital Markets and The Phoenix Insurance Company on ISDA agreements and various other financing matters. In the project finance space, the team advises borrowers and lenders in some of the market's most significant financing transactions in the oil and gas sector.

Goldfarb Seligman & Co.

Goldfarb Seligman & Co. acts for lenders and borrowers in relation to a variety of financing transactions and operational matters in the financial services sector, which often require considerable regulatory expertise. Ariel Rosenberg heads the banking department and has advised major international banks on high-value cross-border lending transactions. Further, the team is engaged by domestic banks and major institutional lenders in relation to project and acquisition finance mandates. Rosenberg also assisted a North American bank with the establishment of its operations in Israel. The team has also handled significant M&A and corporate finance mandates for clients in the banking and credit card industries. Also of note, Rosenberg is assisting a number of lenders with an analysis of factoring agreements following a Supreme Court decision. Rami Sofer and Dubi Zoltak are additional contacts in the team.

Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg, Shenhav & Co.

Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg, Shenhav & Co. has notable experience handling banking regulation issues, especially in the context of complex corporate transactions in the banking sector. The team also handles ISDA agreements and derivative transactions for major domestic and international banks. Standout work has included Ofer Hanoh and Yigal Binyamini advising Dexia Credit Local on its separation from Dexia Israel Bank, and on its sale of control in the bank as part of the decentralisation process of the bank. Additionally, Hanoh provides a slew of regulatory advice to The Association of Banks in Israel, as well as UBS and UBS Israel. The team is also engaged by Israel's largest banks, a variety of institutional lenders, and multiple other industry associations.

Weksler, Bregman & Co., Advocates

Weksler, Bregman & Co., Advocates advises the majority of Israel's largest banks, as well as the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and both Israeli clearinghouses, on a full range of banking and securities regulation and corporate governance. Under Ora Dvir's leadership, the team is among the market's best known for banking regulation. Dvir also handles financing transactions, particularly in the real estate development sector, and has been involved in certain divestment transactions arising out of legislative initiatives concerning decentralisation in the banking sector. Avi Ben-Yaacov has acted for Israeli lenders in connection with a slew of real estate finance mandates, while on the borrower side, Yossi Falach advises one of the country's largest real estate companies on the financing aspects of its real estate development projects. The team also handles banking disputes, including insolvency and debt restructuring and recovery.

Yigal Arnon & Co

Acting for prolific lenders and borrowers, Yigal Arnon & Co is involved in significant project finance mandates, and also has strength across the full range of crypto and fintech issues. Simon Weintraub and Shiri Shaham advised HSBC Bank and JP Morgan as mandated lead arrangers of the term loan facility for the financing of the Leviathan gas field and continues to assist the facility agent and security trustee with ongoing amendments. Conversely, the team acted for The Jewish Agency, as borrower, in relation to a NIS600m loan provided by Harel Group for the development of an elderly housing project. Further, the team has advised international lenders, including Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group and UBS, on lending transactions and various regulatory matters. Another key figure in the team is Yuval Shalheveth, who has expertise in derivative transactions and fintech. The team also handles a range of contentious banking matters, including debt recovery and banking litigation.

Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. Advocates and Notary

Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. Advocates and Notary advises domestic banks, insurance companies, and investment funds on a litany of financing transaction in relation to project developments, M&A and general business lending. Additionally, Orit Israeli, who heads the banking practice, has acted for a European-incorporated borrower in relation to the refinancing of its European banking facilities. Israeli has also acted for one of Israel's largest insurance companies in relation to high-value lending transactions involving domestic and international borrowers. Also of note, the team has assisted Arbel Fund on multiple lending transactions, and handles dozens of financing transactions for clients such as Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank, Clal Group and Ayalon Insurance Company.

Epstein Rosenblum Maoz (ERM)

Epstein Rosenblum Maoz (ERM) is particularly well known among international banks and alternative lenders operating in Israel. Given the lawyers' international pedigree and fluency in a number of European languages, foreign clients in particular have found 'the cultural and international awareness' of the team to be especially beneficial. Department head Amnon Epstein assisted Bank of America Merrill Lynch with the establishment of a collateralised foreign exchange facility for an Israeli borrower, and also acted for Lloyds Bank in relation to a real estate finance transaction in Israel. In addition to working for almost every international lender doing business in Israel, the team has seen increased work from major domestic lenders. In one matter, Epstein advised Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank on its purchase of three sovereign loans. The team is also well positioned to advise clients on European financial regulations. Asaf Rimon has experience in project finance transactions, and the team's real estate finance practice was strengthened by the firm's merger with Zahavi-Blau & Co.

Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co.

Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. has a significant borrower practice, where it acts for a number of major corporates and global investment funds, including Netafim, Lumenis and XIO Group. Doni Toledano and Dan Sella have assisted XIO Group with multiple high-value refinancing transactions of late, while on the lender's side, the team advised Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank and Menora-Mivtachim Insurance on the provision of an €80m loan to Polymer Logistics to finance the company's expansion into new US and European markets. Further, the team has been engaged by international banks and prominent Israeli investors such as Psagot Investment House.

Hamburger Evron & Co. Law Offices & Notaries

Hamburger Evron & Co. Law Offices & Notaries is engaged by several of Israel's largest banks, and is particularly active in real estate and infrastructure development finance. Jointly headed by Assaf Englard and Gabriel Moyal Maor, the team has advised Bank Leumi on a number of large-scale finance transactions, including the financing of the Next TLV project, one of the Tel Aviv's most prestigious urban renewal schemes. Further, the team acted for Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank in relation to the provision of a NIS2.75bn loan for the construction of the Midtown Tel Aviv project. Englard also advised Israel Discount Bank on a multitude of high-value lending transactions, including a NIS400m loan transaction for the development of a medical clinic and commercial centre in Ramat HaHayal. Borrower clients include Tzevet Shlomo Berkovich and Shikun & Binui.

Lipa Meir & Co

The banking practice at Lipa Meir & Co was significantly strengthened by the firm's merger with Preis, Baharav & Co, which brought to the team former Herzog Fox & Neeman partners Ronen Baharav and Ziv Preis. Baharav in particular has experience advising funds and private lenders, and will bolster the firm's already active cross-border finance practice. Department head Yariv Shalom has acted for Netafim in relation to financing matters in jurisdictions from the Netherlands to Peru to Ethiopia, and provides ongoing advice to Bank Leumi regarding commercial export financing matters. Additionally, Shalom advised a consortium of lenders led by Bank Leumi on a transaction to provide a NIS1bn credit line to the Jerusalem Municipality. Also of note, the team has niche expertise in providing true sale opinions, and in that context it regularly advises clients such as Harel Group and Bank Hapoalim, among others.

Shibolet & Co. with Raved, Magriso, Benkel & Co.

Shibolet & Co. with Raved, Magriso, Benkel & Co. is involved in an impressive array of cross-border project finance transactions, where it works for lenders and borrowers. Alon Ziv advised Clal Insurance Company on its role in a consortium of international lenders in connection with the provision of financing for several power projects in the US, and also assisted The Phoenix Insurance Company with the financing agreements for multiple renewable energy projects in Israel. Additionally, Ziv advised Cooperative Rabobank and Atradius Dutch State Business on the provision of financing for a contractor associated with the Dead Sea reclamation project. Other key figures include David Magriso and Ofer Zuzovsky, who acted for Bank Hapoalim and Harel Insurance Company, as joint lenders, in relation to a syndicated loan agreement for the Herzliya Hills real estate project. The team is also engaged by foreign banks, including Silicon Valley Bank, as well as a number of prestigious borrowers.

Tadmor Levy & Co.

Tadmor Levy & Co. has close working relationships with some of Israel's largest banks and financial institutions, which it advises on lending mandates and transactions in the heavily regulated banking sector. David Tadmor handles a wide variety of matters for Bank Leumi, which has recently included representing the bank before a government committee concerning the mandated separation between the country's banks and their credit card companies. In the lending space, the team acted for Bank Hapoalim in relation to a NIS2.8bn financing transaction for the construction of a power plant in Ashalim, and also advised Israel Discount Bank on multiple financing transactions for real estate and infrastructure development projects. Also of note, Aviad Lachmanovich advises a subsidiary of Direct Insurance Financial Investment on securitisation transactions with a number of Israel's major banks and institutional investors. The banking team also advises The Association of Banks in Israel on various regulatory issues, and handles complex banking litigation in conjunction with the firm's strong litigation department.

AYR – Amar Reiter Jeanne Shochatovitch & Co

AYR – Amar Reiter Jeanne Shochatovitch & Co has 'a lot of experience' handling borrower-side mandates, which enables 'a deep understanding of all the aspects that may affect a transaction'. Led by Yoav Caspi, the team has considerable experience acting for borrowers in the real estate sector in relation to significant financing transactions. In this context, Gindi Tel Aviv Towers, Nan Bachar Group Real Estate and Dankner 38 Renewing Life Quality are among the team's key clients. As lender's counsel, the group advised an institutional lender on the provision of financing for a real estate development. Additional contacts in the department include Assaf Lapid and Nir Oren.

Barnea Jaffa Lande & Co.

Barnea Jaffa Lande & Co. is 'a solution-oriented firm' that pairs 'a good commercial understanding with highly tuned legal skills'. The team has considerable strength in cross-border project financing, and is among the most sought-after Israeli firms for foreign banks seeking regulatory advice on their operations in Israel. Zvi Gabbay advises a variety of foreign financial services companies, including banks such as Deutsche Bank and Julius Baer Group, on operational issues within Israel. Additionally, Gabbay serves as CCO and general counsel to BHI Global Investment Advisory (Israel), where he advises on Israeli financial regulation. The team has also assisted foreign banks with the establishment of Israeli operations. Another key figure is Inon Yogev, who acts for project companies and borrowers in major cross-border project finance transactions, often with cross-border aspects. Also recommended are Simon Jaffa, who acts for a number of international banks, and Anat Even-Chen, who specialises in fintech and financial regulation and was promoted to partner in 2019.

M. Firon & Co Advocates and Notaries

At M. Firon & Co Advocates and Notaries, clients can expect to receive a 'personal and clearly devoted service'. The banking and finance group is especially active in real estate and infrastructure development financing, where it acts for borrowers and lenders. Tamar Firon-Smorodinsky heads the projects finance group and recently advised Harel Insurance Company on agreements with The Jewish Agency for the financing of thousands of affordable housing units. Additionally, the team acted for Harel in connection to the refinancing of a solar power plant in Kibbutz Ketura. Further, Mazor Matzkevich and Udi Efron have assisted Israeli banks and insurance companies with regulatory issues involving pre-paid cards and Israel's Anti-Concentration Law.

Steinmetz, Haring, Gurman & Co.

Steinmetz, Haring, Gurman & Co. has a considerable amount of experience in complex finance transactions, which enables the team to 'find the best way forward to overcome legal, commercial and financial hurdles in order to close a deal'. Jointly headed by Manny Gurman and Jacob Steinmetz, the team is engaged by foreign banks, corporate lenders, Israeli investment houses and insurance companies, and domestic borrowers. In a standout matter, Gurman advised VTB Bank on a $160m financing agreement with a private company owned by Lev Leviev. In the domestic market, Steinmetz is acting for Clal Insurance in relation to a NIS650m loan provided to the Tel Aviv Municipality. Liav Israel advises institutional lenders on domestic and cross-border finance transactions, particularly in the real estate sector. Other key clients include Yalin Lapidot Investment House and Altshuler Shaham Investment House.

Yehuda Raveh & Co.

Well known for its work in infrastructure development, Yehuda Raveh & Co. advises borrowers and lenders in financing transactions for significant construction and infrastructure projects. Additionally, Lisa Tross advises Bank of Jerusalem on a huge variety of day-to-day matters, including financing amendments and draft documentation, and also assists The Association of Banks in Israel with a host of regulatory issues. In the project finance space, Ron Vered assisted several active domestic lenders with the provision of financing for a significant power project, and he advises certain Israeli banks on lending arrangements to develop clean energy projects. Vered also provides day-to-day operational advice to multiple foreign banks.