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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 the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Emerging markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Emerging markets
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP provides 'an excellent level of service, which is prompt, very well-drafted and good value for money; the lawyers are very accommodating and ultimately aim to assists banks to complete transactions notwithstanding the various challenges that may crop up along the way'. The firm's growth market practice in London acts with other offices in the network and with relationship firms in key jurisdictions to handle work in Africa, the CEE and CIS regions, Ukraine, southeastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and many parts of Asia and Latin America. Its key strengths are in debt capital markets, bank finance, project finance, corporate finance and private equity. It also has a strong structured finance practice that acts in high-value trade and leveraged finance deals. Lorraine Bayliss leads the firm's ECA practice and along with Middle East specialist Jaspal Gillar advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its co-lenders on three Ben Ban power projects - ACWA Power's 120MW development, Access EREN's 1000MW project and the 50MW Al Fanar deal - with a combined value of $1.3bn. Another leading light in the market is Sanjeev Dhuna, who focuses on deals in India and Africa. He handled the $110m Project Lima acquisition financing for Standard Chartered Bank and Société Générale, which funded Helios Investment Partners' buyout of Fertilizers and Inputs Holding and involved jurisdictions such as Ivory Coast and Cameroon. Capital markets partners Sachin Davé and Jamie Durham acted for the lead managers in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s GTMN programme and first ever diaspora bond issuance. This involved the combined issuance of $1.3bn in notes. The firm's deep bench includes Greg Brown , who is 'an excellent lawyer who has a perfect understanding of commercial principles', banking partners Philip Bowden and Michael Castle , oil and gas specialist Andrew Castle and head of Islamic finance Atif Hanif. Senior associate Oleg Khomenko is 'extremely knowledgeable, client-centric and a great negotiator' fortransactions in Russia and CEE.

Baker McKenzie's global presence gives its London practice access to in-depth local knowledge of emerging markets around the world, and brings its finance group into some of the most demanding and high-value deals in the market. More than half of the firm's offices are located in emerging markets, and its London office plays a key role in transactions in¬†Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America on behalf of financial institutions, sponsors and borrowers. The firm's highlights from 2017 included advising¬†Bank of America Merrill Lynch International on a ‚ā¨799m and $411m dual-currency term loan for¬†Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi in Turkey. The practice also acted for a syndicate of 14 lenders including¬†Banca IMI, BNP Paribas, ING and¬†Scotiabank Europe in a ‚ā¨1.95bn loan as part of the ‚ā¨4.5bn financing of the acquisition of energy efficiency solution provider Ista International. Acquisition finance specialist¬†Lynn Rosell Rowley¬†led that deal. Experienced project finance partner¬†Calvin Walker¬†acted for¬†Bayerische Landesbank and Arab African International Bank in a $126m project financing for¬†Infinity 50 Renewable Energy, which is developing a¬†50MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Ben Ban, Egypt.¬†Marc F√®vre, who frequently¬†advises government authorities, developers, lenders and secondary market investors on all aspects of energy and infrastructure transactions, also played a key role in that deal. Other recommended partners include head of banking¬†Nick Tostivin,¬†who¬†focuses on syndicated lending transactions and acquisition finance;¬†leveraged acquisition and infrastructure financing partner¬†Ian Jack; structured capital markets partner¬†Simon Porter; head of the firm's¬†global nuclear energy practice¬†Neil Donoghue; and debt capital markets specialist¬†Adam Farlow.

The finance practice at Clifford Chance LLP brings together expertise in banking, capital markets, project finance, commodity and trade finance, structured finance, securitisation and derivatives to advise corporates and financial institutions on complex emerging markets transactions. The firm has a significant presence in deals involving Africa, India and Latin America, and its London practice works closely with the Moscow office on deals in Russia, the CIS and the CEE. Last year, its debt capital markets work included acting for joint lead managers and bookrunners Citigroup Global Markets and Raiffeisen Bank International in combined issuance of $1.4bn in notes. DCM specialists David Dunnigan and John Connolly led that transaction. They also acted for Alfa Capital Markets, Bank GPB International, JPMorgan Securities and other lead managers on an $800m Eurobond issue by Polyus Gold International, which is the largest gold mining group in Russia. The firm's high yield debt practice, which features leading lights Michael Dakin and Fabio Diminich, is also active in emerging markets. Diminich recently advised a leading bank on its role as placement agent for a privately placed bond offered by a company in Eastern Europe, and acted for a Nigerian corporate on its debut Rule 144a offering. Leonard Cleland leads the trade finance team and last year he handled high-value transactions in Angola and Ethiopia. He frequently works as part of the firm's Africa and Turkey practice groups. Head of the firm's Africa practice Jeremy Connick is recommended for energy, natural resources and infrastructure projects. Also recommended are banking and finance partner Russell Wells, who works in the India team, and director of the global Africa group Titus Edjua.

Dentons¬†is 'responsive, clear and pragmatic' on structured finance transactions in emerging markets. One client praises the lawyers' 'availability, really fast response times and excellent industry knowledge'. The firm has a large network of offices around the world, on which the London office draws for deep sector expertise and local market knowledge. Its track record in Africa goes back more than¬†50 years, though it also focuses heavily on the Middle East,¬†Russia and the CIS for banking and finance transactions. The firm's respected¬†Islamic finance practice frequently handles sukuks and other shari'ah-compliant structures. Capital markets is its key area of work in emerging markets, though it also handles¬†energy projects, and trade and project finance transactions. Its highlights deals from 2017 included acting for Lithuanian energy company Lietuvos Energija on its ‚ā¨300m green bond offering under its EMTN programme. This was the first international green bond issues in the CEE region, and¬†DCM specialists¬†Nick Hayday¬†and¬†David Cohen¬†¬†led the transaction.¬†Celia Gardiner¬†is a leading light in structured trade and commodity finance and one client describes her as 'very strong at simplifying complicated matters, and very clear and persuasive in her explanations'. She advised¬†Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on a $1.3bn pre-export finance facility for the Ghana Cocoa Board.¬†Paul Holland¬†leads the London banking practice and is a core member of the Islamic finance group.¬†US securities partner Cameron Half¬†handles high-profile debt and equity transactions.¬†Also recommended are¬†international oil, gas and power sector expert Danielle Beggs, infrastructure partner Dominic Spacie, energy sector finance expert Tim Pipe, and syndicated loan practice head Isaac Felberbaum.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP¬†has 'a very strong team that works exceptionally hard to deliver the highest quality of work to a tight timescale; it undoubtedly has a very deep understanding of the market and delivers an outstanding all round service'. The firm handles flagship transactions in¬†Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, India, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, advising both¬†corporates and international banks. Its prime area of focus is energy finance and it has a deep bench of finance and capital markets lawyers who play key roles in its¬†energy and natural resources group. Its recent highlights include acting for the¬†Government of Nepal on five large-scale hydropower projects, and advising¬†the lenders on the US$1bn prepayment facility for Oman Oil Exploration & Production LLC. For the Government of the Republic of Zambia, borrower Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation¬†and sponsor Zesco Limited, the practice handled the financing of a 750MW hydropower project in Zambia. For lenders including ING Bank and Natixis it handled¬†a senior secured borrowing base facility to facilitate the acquisition of¬†Shell's upstream assets in Gabon by¬†Carlyle International Energy Partners.¬†Head of the London energy, natural resources and infrastructure finance team¬†Martin Kavanagh¬†led the Gabon deal.¬†Ian Yeo¬†has more than¬†20 years' experience in banking work, which includes¬†the structuring of complex financings in the emerging markets in Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey.¬†Alexander Currie, who advised Gazprom on the financing of the ‚ā¨13bn¬†Amur Gas Processing Plant in East Siberia, has dealt with¬†project financing and restructuring for more than 20 years. Debt capital markets partners¬†Amy Geddes¬†and¬†Andrew Roberts¬†are also recommended, as is¬†William Breeze¬†who¬†acts for borrowers, lenders and trading houses on a wide range of trade finance, project finance and upstream energy finance transactions.

Linklaters LLP¬†has one of the premier finance practices in London and frequently acts for banks, corporates, funds and governments in their financing, hedging and investment activities. From London, it handles work in Africa, the CEE, China, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Southeast Asia and Turkey. It is a leading player in¬†debt capital markets transactions in emerging markets, though trade and project finance are also among its major strengths. Last year, it acted for lenders including African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation and¬†Japan Bank for International Cooperation on the $5bn financing of the Nacala Corridor project, a 900km rail and port development in Malawi and Mozambique backed by mining company Vale to transport coal from its mines to overseas markets. Head of the firm‚Äôs Africa group¬†Andrew Jones¬†led that deal. Another key deal in Mozambique was the $5bn financing of the¬†Coral South floating liquefied natural gas project, in which¬†Daniel Tyrer¬†led a team acting for the sponsors. He is also¬†head of the CIS group¬†is a leading light for oil and gas¬†project finance across EMEA.¬†Mirthe Van Kesteren¬†leads the emerging markets banking and structured trade finance practice in London, which has a deep bench of experienced partners including transport,¬†utilities and infrastructure¬†expert¬†Ian Andrews;¬†US securities partners¬†Cecil Quillen¬†and¬†Patrick Sheil, who handle both for debt and equity transactions; senior partner and mining industry expert¬†Charlie Jacobs; capital markets partners¬†Richard O‚ÄôCallaghan, who advised the Republic of Slovenia on a ‚ā¨1.25bn tender and exchange offer for outstanding debt, and¬†Elaine Keats; and¬†banking partner¬†Toby Grimstone.

At Milbank 'response times are always excellent and there always seems to be more than one person at more than one level that has enough experience and information to ensure that your queries or requests are dealt with in the optimal way'. The firm has had an established reputation as a leader in emerging markets transactions since it opened in London in the 1970s, and it continues to be a prominent player in deals in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Asia. In 2017, it advised K-Exim and commercial banks including First Gulf Bank, HSBC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi on the $24bn financing of the 5,600MW Barakah nuclear power project in Abu Dhabi, which is one of the first cross-border financings of a nuclear power plant since the accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan. It also acted for International Finance Corporation, UK Export Finance and commercial banks in the first upstream oil and gas financing of its kind in Ghana, which saw the lenders provide $1.5bn in development financing for the OCTP oil and gas field project. Practice co-head and lead partner for Islamic finance John Dewar , who is 'a steady overseeing eye for a transaction with so much experience that you get the feeling that nothing phases him', and fellow co-head Clive Ransome are regarded as leading lights in projects and finance matters. Other key partners are energy and infrastructure specialists Matthew Hagopian and Manzer Ijaz. The practice has a deep bench of associate includes Chris Taufatofua , who acted in the Ghana deal; Oliver Irwin, who is 'a strong negotiator who doesn’t seem to go in without winning arguments'; Seyda Duman; and Munib Hussain, who has 'a phenomenal work rate and an eye for detail that reassures you as a client'.

Norton Rose Fulbright excels in handling a broad range of practice areas that put in a prominent position to handle high-value emerging markets transactions from London. Its strengths in trade finance, Islamic finance, infrastructure, mining, commodities, agribusiness and energy, and its in-depth local knowledge in developing markets sees it involved in transactions in Africa, Central and South East Asia and Eastern Europe. Since its merger with Chadbourne & Parke, the London office has also been increasingly involved in deals in Latin America. Charles Whitney specialises in oil and gas, power and renewable energy project financings involving export credit agencies and multilateral financial institutions, notably in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. He advised the lenders on combined financings of $2.5bn for the the Southern Corridor Gas project, which includes the Shah Deniz gas field and TANAsP and TAP pipelines. Martin McCann is the firm’s global head of business and his finance practice is exclusively focused on emerging markets. Trade finance expert Nicholas (Nick) Grandage acted for trading house Louis Dreyfus in a financing package provided by Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank as part of its disposal of businesses in nine African countries. Head of the firm's financial institution international business group Christopher (Chris) Brown, projects partner Mark Berry, who specialises in EPC and EPCM contracts, structured finance specialist Andrew Wood, finance partners Daniel Metcalfe and Madhavi Gosavi, mining and minerals specialist Raj Karia and Middle East and EMEA power projects specialist Chris Down all play key roles in the practice. Senior associate Daniel Giemajner, who handles cross-border project financings and other structured finance transactions in Africa, is a rising star.

White & Case LLP has a strong focus on emerging markets, notably the CEE, CIS, Middle East and Africa, and has amassed decades of experience in finance and capital markets transactions. It is involved in some of the most complex projects, energy and natural resources transactions, handling groundbreaking project finance deals in a wide variety of emerging markets. In the oil and gas sector, for example, it handled the multibillion-dollar financing of the Tahrir petrochemical project in Egypt on behalf of sponsor Carbon Holdings, and acted for Ghana National Petroleum Corporation on a landmark LNG regasification project in Tema. Co-head of the firm’s global oil and gas practice Philip Stopford and bank finance specialist Christopher Czarnocki played central roles in those deals. Debt capital markets transactions are a key strand of the firm's work and US securities partner Ian Clark led a highlight deal from 2017 when he advised the Ukraine Ministry of Finance on a $3bn Eurobond offering and a tender offer for its existing notes. Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes and Richard Pogrel, who are 'very accommodating to clients and well aware of their interests and requirements; they give advice that is personal and tailor-made', acted alongside Clark for the Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan in a $3.2bn debt restructuring transaction. Also in the sovereign debt arena, global head of capital markets Stuart Matty and US-qualified Melissa Butler, who are leading lights in their field, advised Republic of Nigeria on establishing a GMTN programme and $4.5bn in subsequent issuance. Mark Castillo-Bernaus, who is the firm's new head of EMEA projects, is also a key partner in the emerging markets practice.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP focuses purely on projects in emerging markets and clients report that it is 'good value for money, highly responsive and able to meet demanding deadlines in complex transactions'. Practice head Stuart McIntyre  is 'an exceptionally smart and talented transaction lawyer who gives sound advice on complex debt restructurings and equity exit transactions'. Robin Mizrahi is a leading player in the power sector in Africa and the Middle East. Hamish McArdle remains active in innovative projects and last year he advised Russia's Rosneft Oil Company on a $2.8bn investment that will see it work with Eni to develop the Shorouk gas block, which is part of the Zohr gas field discovery offshore Egypt. The project was particularly complex due to Russian sanctions issues, anti-trust concerns and the consent process required by the Egyptian government. Oil and gas specialist Mark Rowley led  the practice's work for pan-African energy infrastructure investment platform Quantum Power on project structuring and development, as well as commercial and financing documentation, for the Tema LNG floating receiving terminal in Ghana. James Douglass has 25 years' experience in infrastructure, power and oil and gas projects, covering project finance and structured lending. Construction partner Stuart Jordan has deep experience in real estate and energy and infrastructure projects. The firm hired Lewis Jones , who represents sponsors, lenders, governments, and private equity investors in the acquisition, development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects around the world, from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP. Rubin Weston joined Stephenson Harwood.

Bracewell (UK) LLP has one of the leading practices in London for the financing of upstream oil and gas companies, and it has been involved in the lion's share of these transactions in the EMEA region during the last year. These included a $1.75bn development financing for Delek Drilling to develop the Leviathan gas field, offshore Israel, which is one of the largest discoveries in the Mediterranean. The firm also acted for Neptune Energy Group in the debt financing of a $3.9bn acquisition of a stake in ENGIE E&P International, which was one of the largest private equity-backed upstream acquisitions in the market. Key partners Jason Fox and Olivia Caddy led those transactions. Fox also advised Shoreline Natural Resources on a $534m financing led by Vitol that was secured against assets in Nigeria. Caddy assisted underwriter Sumitomo Mitsui Corporation Europe with a $120m reserve-based facility for Trident Energy. The practice also has in-depth knowledge of sponsor-side power projects in Africa and the Middle East, financed through development finance institutions, export credit agencies and both international and local commercial banks. Senior associate Eimear Murphy is recommended for advice to borrowers and lenders in upstream oil and gas financings.

Dechert LLP 'gets top marks for its response times, the engagement of the specialists and its industry knowledge'.The firm has a strong reputation in capital markets deals in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean basin, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS and Central Asia. It handles the full range debt and equity transactions and has both English and US law capability in London, which sees it play a key role in public and private Rule 144a/Regulation S issuances. including high yield bonds. Camille Abousleiman, who is co-head of the corporate and securities group, is recognised as a leading light in emerging markets sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt deals. He recently advised Barclays , Byblos Bank, JPMorgan and Société Générale de Banque au Liban as joint lead managers and bookrunners on a $3bn triple-tranche bond offering by the Lebanese Republic. US securities partner Patrick Lyons 'can always find the most suitable and loss-saving option' and played a key role in that deal. The practice also acted for the Kingdom of Bahrain in its $3bn combined issuance of bonds and trust certificates, which is the country's largest-ever syndicated debt deal. In another $3bn offering, the practice acted for the Arab Republic of Egypt in a multi-tranche bond issue under its GMTN programme.

Hogan Lovells International LLP¬†has a full-service emerging markets offering that draws on its¬†finance, corporate, energy, projects and capital markets practices. Its extensive client relationships span Asia, India, Africa, Russia, South America and Eastern Europe. The firm frequently acts for multilateral organisations such as Afreximbank, International Finance Corporation, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as handling¬†export credit-backed projects for¬†commercial banks, project companies, sponsors and developers. A key highlight from last year was the ‚ā¨1.06bn loan to Croatian food retail business Agrokor.¬†Tom Astle, who focuses on multi-jurisdictional corporate restructurings on behalf of creditors, acted for an ad hoc committee of bondholders in that deal.¬†DCM partner and practice head¬†Andrew Carey¬†is a leading light in the market and also played a key role in that deal. He also acted for Banco do Brasil in its $1bn bond offering under its EMTN programme. Export finance partners¬†¬†David Leggott, who handled a $600m pre-export finance loan to KAZ Minerals on behalf of Deutsche Bank,¬†and¬†Andrew Taylor¬†are leaders in their field. Project finance and infrastructure expert¬†Adrian Walker¬†and oil, gas and LNG projects specialist Richard Tyler¬†are also key partners in the practice.¬†Newly promoted partner¬†Alex Kay, who advised a committee of noteholders on the restructuring of Ukrainian company Mriya Agro Holding, is also recommended.

Mayer Brown International LLP has 'deep knowledge in international construction law and FIDIC Contracts, and a lot of experience with international contracts and dispute resolution'. One client remarks that it is 'very responsive and provides timely advice, and the depth of the team is enhanced by the fact that it has highly-qualified lawyers working in both the UK and the US'. The firm has a strong mining practice that frequently handles complex deals in emerging markets, but it also prominent in transactions in the CEE region and Africa. The firm's structured finance and capital markets practices are also highly regarded and frequently handle matters in Turkey and the Middle East. Debt capital markets partner James Taylor recently advised Vakifbank on a $900m exchange offer for outstanding Tier 2 bonds. This was the first exchange offer ever initiated by a Turkish financial institution. Banking and finance partner and leading light Ian Coles is an expert on mining transactions. He acted for Société Générale, Investec and Ohridska Banka in the $75m financing of a lead and zinc mine in Macedonia. Rachel Speight is another mining specialist and her recent work included major projects in Latin America. Also recommended are infrastructure partner Tom Eldridge  and Raid Abu-Manneh, who is 'a brilliant attorney - his skills in analysing technically complex matters are superb'. The firm's rising stars include Doye Balogun and Danuta De Vries. Trevor Wood joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

The international finance practice at¬†Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP¬†in London handles¬†complex, cross-border deals for both borrowers and lenders in emerging markets, notably in Russia, the CIS, the Middle East and Africa. Its work encompasses¬†private placements, structured finance, funds finance and restructurings. Its work for banks last year included advising¬†Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the sole lead manager on a $250m bond offering by state-owned Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom. It also acted for VTB Bank as guarantor of¬†‚ā¨4.9bn¬†of¬†a ‚ā¨5.2bn loan by Intesa Sanpaolo to Glencore and Qatar Holding. The loan financed the purchase of shares in Rosneft and was one of the largest energy financings in 2017. The firm's work in Russia and the CIS included handling a $60m pre-payment facility by alumina producer RUSAL Marketing on behalf of Sberbank. The firm is also on the panel of¬†New Development Bank, which exists to further projects in BRICS countries. The practice also advises sovereigns, and its work included acting for the Republic of Tajikistan in its $500m Rule 144a/Regulation S bond issuance, the proceeds of which went towards financing¬†the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant. Head of international finance¬†Bruce Johnston¬†and capital markets expert¬†Carter Brod¬†are the key partners.¬† Also recommended are¬†Paul Denham, who recently joined from¬†Dorsey & Whitney¬†and has experience in leveraged finance, banking, and restructuring matters, and¬†consultant¬†Amanda Jennings.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP has continued to  grow its work in high-profile financing and investment matters across the emerging markets in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The practice in London frequently acts for investment banks, emerging market private equity funds and strategic investors and is known for its knowledge of international banking law. Its recent work included acting for lenders, including European Investment Bank and EBRD, in a $120m debt and equity financing for a 54MW wind farm in the Sainshand region of Mongolia. Peter O’Driscoll leads the firm’s emerging markets group and last year he acted for Norwegian mobile operator Telenor two public offerings of shares in Russian telecom company VEON, formerly known as VimpelCom, with a combined value of $650m. Nell Scott, who has extensive experience in corporate finance and capital markets transactions in Russia, acted for Millicom International Cellular in a $500m bond issue and a $600m tender offer for existing bonds. Also recommended are Weyinmi Popo, who focuses on infrastructure and energy transactions in Africa;  Shawn Atkinson, who assists US and Canadian investors with emerging markets transactions; and oil and gas expert Peter Roberts, who counts Tullow Ghana among his clients.

Shearman & Sterling LLP blends sector experience and local market knowledge to advise on some of the most complex emerging market projects, transactions and disputes from London. It has a deep bench of lawyers who are qualified in both English and US law, and who bring expertise specific to the energy industry, which allows it to handle oil and gas, nuclear and renewables projects. A prime example from last year was its work for Vertroelektrane Balkana on the $300m development and financing of the first wind farm in Serbia. The key lawyers on that deal were practice head John Inglis , who has more than 25 years’ experience in advising lenders, sponsors and financiers on energy, natural resources and infrastructure development and financing projects, and Iain Elder. Inglis also handled the $1.2bn expansion of the Middle East Oil Refinergy in Egypt on behalf of lenders SACE, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and BNP Paribas. Sanja Udovicic has more than 20 years’ experience advising multilateral development banks, export credit agencies, Islamic financiers and sponsors on power, renewables, oil and gas and infrastructure transactions. She frequently advises development finance institutions on major projects. Also recommended is Nicholas Buckworth, who  frequently handles project financing transactions in Africa, Asia and in other emerging markets for development finance institutions, sponsors, commercial lenders and export credit agencies.

Simmons & Simmons' presence in emerging markets deals is due in part to its sector focus, which sees it act for asset managers, investment funds, financial institutions and companies in the TMT and life sciences industries. It has a long track record of complex and high-value project finance transactions, notably in the power, LNG, mining and pipeline sectors. For lenders International Finance Corporation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Commercial International Bank (Egypt), the practice handled the project financing of a bulk liquids terminal at Sokhna Port in Egypt. Another highlight saw it act for the government of Kenya in the commercialisation of oil reserves in the Lokichar basin, which involved two projects with a combined value of $5bn. Leading light John Sayers 'is able to advise lenders on a number of different financing aspects and share insight into international best practices', says a client who comments that 'I have worked with a fair number of London-based lawyers and John stands out as one of the most talented amongst them'. Other key lawyers are banking partner Omar Al-Ali; energy and infrastructure partner Adam Cooper; Adrian Nizzola, who has 33 years’ experience in the energy and infrastructure sector; LNG projects partner Andrew Petry; emerging markets funds finance specialists Jen Yee Chan and Cindy Valentine; structured capital markets specialist David Toole; and Iain Duncan for equity and debt financings. Managing associate Simon Kenolty, who handles energy, water and mining projects, is a rising star.

Akin Gump LLP acts primarily for borrowers in cross-border transactions involving emerging markets. Its main focus is on loan, debt and equity deals, though it also handles financial restructurings for institutional lenders and borrowers. Among its key clients are PJSC LUKOIL, which is Russia's second-largest oil and gas company and the first Russian company to be fully listed on the London Stock Exchange, and telecommunications company VEON. The practice also counts Lukinter Finance, Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Affinion Group Holdings among its clients. Robert Aulsebrook is 'excellent - he has a thorough knowledge of the relevant products, good business and quick response times'. He recently acted for a major oil company in the CIS region on a high-value revolving credit facility from a leading European bank. Counsel Jonathan Pico, who advises on capital markets, project finance and US securities law, is a rising star in the practice. Lisa Hearn moved to the Houston office.

Bird & Bird LLP is 'very responsive, commercial and flexible, providing solutions for innovative commercial terms, and it is very good value for money'. Its banking and finance practice in London acts for commercial and development banks in finance transactions in the CEE, the CIS and Southeast Europe, and has continued to expand its presence in deals involving Asia and North Africa. It is particularly active for both borrowers and lenders in aviation, asset finance, energy and sports finance. Andrew Hallgarth leads the practice, which handled 50 transactions in emerging markets during 2017; he has 'deep knowledge and understanding of his clients, especially international financial institutions'. The firm's highlights included Hallgarth's advice to a development finance institution on a facility to support local banks in the CEE region in renewable energy projects. Banking partner Isabel Evans also plays a key role in the practice, as does senior associate Jennifer Bird, who handles acquisition finance, asset finance, development bank work, property finance and insolvency and restructuring matters.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is 'a very strong, well rounded firm with a good array of experts in this field'. Clients report 'very high quality and service of a level comparable with any top UK firm'. The practice is best-known for its advice on investments in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, particularly in the financial services, real estate, retail, infrastructure and agricultural sectors. It handles a broad range of mid-market and big-ticket deals, which last year included advising AIM-listed fastjet plc on a $44m fundraising to expand its operations into South Africa and Mozambique, and to access three ATR 72-600 aircraft for ten years. For Barbados National Oil Company, the firm helped to negotiate terms for two joint operating agreements with BHP Billiton relating oil and gas exploration of the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire offshore blocks. Adrian Mayer is the key partner in the practice and clients describe him as 'exceptionally intelligent and very client-friendly'. The firm has many partners involved in emerging markets projects, including head of financial services Jon Bond; corporate partners Hamish Perry and David Berry, who frequently handle deals in the Caribbean; and corporate finance specialist Keir Gordon. John Fletcher retired.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has a long track record of advising on emerging markets transactions from London for sovereign wealth funds, state-owned enterprises and high-net-worth individuals. The practice recently acted for an ad hoc group of holders of $4.8bn in project bonds issued by subsidiaries of Odebrecht Oil & Gas affected by the planned restructuring of the group and its project companies. In another restructuring deal, the firm advised a group of noteholders on the 65bn reais of debt issued by Oi as part of Brazil's largest-ever bankruptcy protection transaction. For the Republic of Ivory Coast, which is the world's largest cocoa producer, the practice handled a liability management exercise for $1.9bn in sovereign debt. Tihir Sarkar is the key partner in the London emerging markets practice and handles transactions in the Middle East, Africa, India and the CEE. He leads a practice that includes specialists in Russian deals, notably David Gottlieb and Raj Panasar, who handle capital markets transactions, and finance and restructuring partner Polina Lyadnova. The firm also has several lawyers who focus on matters involving India, including Panasar, litigator Sunil Gadhia and senior India consultant Shreya Lal Damodaran. For African matters, the London practice turns to finance partner David Billington and M&A specialist Sam Bagot.

Fieldfisher¬†has a deep bench of lawyers focused on¬†Russia and the CIS region, in which it handles¬†both transactional and regulatory matters. The practice continued to increase its flow of work involving jurisdictions in¬†Africa and the Middle East. It acts for a diverse range of clients that includes¬†high-net-worth individuals, international investment banks and blue-chip corporates. Lead partner¬†Matt Hinxman¬†handles¬†project and asset finance and his highlights from last year included working with CIS group partner¬†Nodir Sidikov¬†on the¬†upsizing of two bespoke prepayment financings for Kazakh oil and gas companies KMG Kashagan and KazMunaiGaz Finance Sub. Hinxman also acted for¬†VTB Capital in a $250m sovereign loan to the¬†Republic of Ivory Coast¬†to fund the development of school, hospital and university buildings.¬†Robin Spender¬†and associate¬†Igor Stermsek¬†advised Maltese company Negbasis Box on the acquisition of ‚ā¨35m in bonds issued by¬†Ivorian bank Banque Atlantique.¬†Arik Aslanyan¬†leads the CIS group and frequently handles¬†cross-border transactions involving Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine.¬†Banking and finance partner¬†Oliver Abel Smith¬†advises corporates and financial institutions on¬†asset finance, bilateral and syndicated corporate lending, commodity and trade finance, and real estate finance. Also recommended are mining and metals specialist¬†Jonathan Brooks, and¬†Philip Abbott¬† who has more than 20 years' experience in lending transactions.

Latham & Watkins  is a leading player in debt capital markets transactions involving emerging markets. The practice has extensive experience in Russia and the CEE region, as well as other key jurisdictions. Debt specialist Lene Malthasen is a key partner in the group, and frequently advises on Rule 144a issuances and liability management transactions in Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, Southern Europe and Asia. Last year, she advised the joint bookrunners on a $3bn notes offering and tender offer by the Government of Ukraine. The firm has worked closely with JPMorgan on all bond issuances out of Ukraine since 2016. David Stewart, who works between the London and Moscow offices, focuses on the broader CEMEA region, bringing his knowledge of US securities law to bear on debut bond offerings and liability management transactions. Malthasen and Stewart worked together to assist JPMorgan and Citigroup with an offering of loan participation notes to fund a loan to the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine. Also recommended are counsels Ed Kempson and James Baxter for transactions in Russia and the CIS region; and project development and finance partner John Balsdon, who frequently handles oil and gas projects in emerging markets.

Reed Smith LLP delivers 'good response times and very good industry knowledge, and has good strength-in-depth'. Structured finance, securitisations, derivatives, debt capital markets and debt restructuring partner Ranajoy Basu and litigator Gautam Bhattacharyya lead the firm's respected India Group, which acts for high-profile clients including state banks and large corporates. Managing partner for Europe and the Middle East Tamara Box plays a key role in the practice, advising arrangers, dealers, issuers and trustees on securitisations, project bonds, high yield issuance and other instruments. Leon Stephenson, who leads the funds financing group, recently acted for one of the largest private investment firms in Africa on a revolving credit facility. Jonathan Solomon is recommended for structured trade and commodity financing transactions. James Wilkinson, who is a partner in the Europe and Middle East corporate group, acted in a secondary fundraising for an investment company in Myanmar. Senior associate Priya Taneja is recommended for her 'ability to find pragmatic solutions to complex problems'. Senior associate Agnes Molnar is a rising star and is recommended for cross-border structured deals, funds financing and non-performing loans transactions.

Trinity International LLP 'provides high-quality advice and quick response times'. 'It is among the top firms for work in Africa; it has genuine people with a lot of experience', remarks one client. Another comments that 'the firm is unique - its fee structure enables developers to develop projects in risky jurisdictions and the lawyers bring immense knowledge to the table'. The firm focuses exclusively on corporate and finance transactions in emerging markets, which last year included advising Africa Finance Corporation and other lenders on a $350m peat-fired IPP power plant in Africa, and acting for CDC Group in a $9m facility for Virunga Energy to provide hydro-electric power to homes in Eastern Congo. The firm has a deep bench of 'excellent specialists' including leading light Simon Norris and project finance expert Patrick Leece. For projects in Africa, Paul Biggs is 'certainly at the top of the market' and one client remarks that he is 'exceptionally knowledgeable about the power sector in Africa with a very pragmatic and commercial approach'. Kaushik Ray is 'a financing expert with a real wealth of experience dealing with lenders; his understanding of their needs is invaluable'. Jennifer Gladstone is 'a phenomenal lawyer and great project manager - smart, hardworking, prompt and always willing to go beyond the call of duty'. Project finance specialist Fiona Gulliford has 'good knowledge of EPC contracts and the nuclear field'. Conrad Marais is 'an excellent lawyer - his work ethic is unparalleled and he is a very creative problem solver'.

Ashurst has a strong bench of partners with experience in emerging markets finance, particularly in capital markets transactions. Francis Kucera has wide-ranging expertise in international debt and equity deals, and has a particular focus on emerging market financings in Eastern Europe and the CIS region. He frequently acts for investment banks and issuers, among which are sovereigns, corporates and financial institutions. Head of Corporate Trust and Agency Malcom Charles advised Citibank as trustee in connection with the issuance by JSC Bank of Georgia of GEL500m in bonds. This landmark transaction was the first international capital markets issuance of debt securities denominated in Georgian Lari and the first local currency bond offering in the wider CIS region for a decade. Also recommended are corporate partner Sergei Ostrovsky, who leads the firm’s Russia and CIS practice; Cameron Smith, who specialises in infrastructure and energy projects and project financing; and global head of utilities David Wadham.

The London office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has more than 20 years' experience in advising clients with investments and operations in Latin America, China, India, Russia and Africa. Its work includes private equity investments and capital markets transactions. Its highlights from 2017 included advising Helios Investment Partners and its investment vehicle Boundary Holdco on its subscription of subordinated convertible promissory notes in Africa solar startup Off Grid Electric, which aims to bring clean energy to rural Tanzania and Rwanda. Geoffrey Burgess, who focuses on transactions in Africa, India, Russia and the CIS region, is the key partner. Capital markets partner James Scoville frequently handles listings on the London Stock Exchange by companies from Russia, China and other emerging markets. Counsel Vera Losonci, who is dual-qualified in US and English law, handles debt and equity offerings for emerging markets issuers.

DLA Piper has a bench of experienced partners in London whose sector focus gives them exposure to finance transactions in many emerging markets. Energy partner Charles Morrison is dual-qualified in the UK and Tanzania, and his recent work encompasses oil and gas development projects in Africa. He recently acted for HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank in a $500m credit facility for Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. Nigel Drew is a standout practitioner in project finance, acting for arrangers, bidding consortia, contractors and public sector bodies in international projects and structured finance transactions. His track record includes advising on the financing of power plants in Africa.

Gowling WLG relocated Jonathan Brufal from Dubai to lead the practice. He has a strong reputation for work in sub-Saharan Africa and he is currently advising the government of Kenya on the Muranga Water PPP project, which is the first County Government PPP project to be procured under devolution legislation, and is also the country's first water PPP project. He also assisted the government of Rwanda with an inland port PPP project in Kigaliup. The firm provides 'a very good level of service' and it has particular expertise in the utilities and mining sectors. Andrew Newbery is a key partner in the practice and has significant experience in infrastructure, energy and mining projects. He is currently assisting Unity Energy and Resources with applications for coal, copper and zinc exploration licences in Myanmar. Corporate finance partner Charles Bond leads the natural resources group and he advised Bushveld Minerals on its mining operations in South Africa. Principal associate Alasdair McKenzie , who is 'very knowledgeable', plays a pivotal role in work for GuarantCo, for which the firm handled the financing of oil terminals in Ghana and a hydro-facility in Nepal.

Michelmores LLP's lawyers are 'prompt in their responses, have a wide range of expertise and experience to draw from, provide practical advice instead of being overly academic, and are good value for money'. The firm has a well-established and growing boutique emerging markets practice that focuses on low- to mid-market deals in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, financial services, micro-finance, energy, renewables and real estate investment. Last year, this included acting for charitable foundation Gatsby in the establishment of Msingi, which identifies and invests in high-potential industries in East Africa. For AgDevCo, the practice handled an equity and project finance investment in a hydroelectric plant on the Suma river in Tanzania. Corporate finance partner Joe Whitfield, who is a leading light for deals in Africa and has more than 20 years' experience in the region, and rising star Harry Trick , who handles debt and equity investments in emerging markets and acts for DFIs and private equity firms on downstream investments and jurisdictions such as Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Mozambique, were the key lawyers on those deals. Partner Philip Newhouse joined from McGuireWoods London LLP and focuses on deals in the Middle East.

The London office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is a key hub for emerging markets work, linking with offices in the Middle East, Asia and the US to advise lenders, sponsors and borrowers on debt and equity financing, M&A, outward and inward investment, non-performing loan transactions, and strategic investments. A key example of its recent work is its advice to nuclear energy company Rusatom on its activities in emerging markets, which include on-going investments in Turkey. That deal was led from the US, but London-based senior lawyer Vincent Zabielski played a key role. The firm recently added significant emerging markets expertise with the hire of partner Trevor Wood from Mayer Brown International LLP to lead the practice. He frequently acts for banks, funds and other financial institutions in secured and unsecured financings. Public policy partner Matthew Oresman is also recommended for his work for governments on matters including sanctions and international trade.

TLT provides advisory, transactional and disputes services for clients across in the financial services, energy, renewables, housing, leisure, TMT public, retail and consumer goods sectors. In the emerging markets, it has a close association with several Indian banks and the London office is frequently involved in finance transactions in the region. The firm has almost 30 years' experience in the Indian market, where its finance work includes the structuring of bilateral, club and syndicated transactions, guarantees, security, priority and subordination issues, and cross-border issues including asset finance. Restructuring and insolvency partner Peter Carney in the firm's Bristol office, and Paul Gair in London are the key partners. The practice recently acted for State Bank of India as lenders agent for a consortium of 13 Indian banks, in matters arising from loans to a prominent Indian businessman, and acted for Bank of Baroda in two loan facilities with a combined value of $25m.

Winston & Strawn London LLP¬†is 'an¬†excellent firm with top-level practitioners', according to one client. Another remarks that it is 'a very high-quality firm that seems to have retained its partnership collegiality and cooperative ethos'. The firm has a track record of transactional work in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.¬†Zo√ę Ashcroft¬†is 'primarily¬†a corporate lawyer but with her finance background she is able to provide the full range of services you need on a leveraged deal; she is client-friendly and pragmatic'. Ashcroft, capital markets partner¬†Stewart Worthy¬†and export finance specialist¬†Rebecca Finn¬†'have excellent African expertise in particular'.¬†James Simpson¬†is recommended for¬†infrastructure and power development and financing in Central and Eastern Europe. Finn acted for Taiwan's Cathay United Bank in a¬†$35m syndicated loan to the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia, and for the same client handled a $350m loan for the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam.

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Legal Developments in London for Emerging markets

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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