Firms To Watch: Trade finance

In summer 2021 Squire Patton Boggs sealed the hire of a Clyde & Co trade finance team comprising experienced practitioner Robert Parson along with senior associate duo Geraldine Butac and Jennifer Greengrass.

Trade finance in London

Allen & Overy LLP

At Allen & Overy LLP, ‘the team excels at focusing on commercially relevant rather than legally abstract points, and it has a definite finger on the pulse of market positions‘. One client remarks that it ‘consistently delivers on schedule and is skilled at bringing in experts from other areas as and when required‘. The firm has a dedicated trade, commodities and export finance practice, which handles high-value, complex and innovative mandates. It is also at the leading edge of sustainability-linked lending, having handled landmark transactions such as the £450m sustainability-linked supply chain finance programme for Tesco plc, the first to be rolled out by any UK retailer, on which the firm advised Santander. Catherine Lang-Anderson, who ‘has lots of positive energy, provides innovative thinking and is highly engaged with stakeholders on all sides‘, led that deal. Banking partner Greg Brown is a key adviser on receivables purchase arrangements, and structured finance partner Richard Tredgett and Daniel Shurman also play key roles in the practice. Head of the ECA practice Lorraine Bayliss acted for UK Export Finance on a $600m facilities agreement that represented the first green transition loan ever backed by the UK government.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Lang-Anderson; Greg Brown; Richard Tredgett; Daniel Shurman

Other key lawyers:

Lorraine Bayliss

Testimonials

‘The team excels at focusing on commercially relevant rather than legally abstract points.’

‘Definite finger on the pulse of market positions.’

‘Consistently deliver on schedule and skilled at bringing in experts from other areas as and when required.’

‘Catherine Lang-Anderson, partner, has lots of positive energy, innovative thinking and is highly engaged with stakeholders on all sides.’

Key clients

SMTB

Metinvest B.V.

Trafigura

IXM S.A.

SMBC

Trade and Development Bank (TDB)

Gunvor Group

Natixis

Stemcor

MUFG

Work highlights

  • Advised the co-ordinating committee of senior creditors on ED&F Man’s USD1.5bn restructuring, using a UK restructuring plan.
  • Advising Santander as lender on a GBP450m sustainability-linked supply chain finance (SCF) programme for Tesco plc, the first to be rolled out by any UK retailer.
  • Advising Mizuho, MUFG and SMBC International plc as Joint Active Bookrunners & Mandated Lead Arrangers, and a syndicate of 11 additional Asian investors, in connection with an English law governed JPY27 billion TONA-linked term loan credit agreement for Gunvor Group.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

The trade and export finance practice at Hogan Lovells International LLP is known for ‘attention to detail, high-quality deal documents, and excellent legal due diligence‘. Clients note that ‘the team is very responsive and attentive to client requirements, and has deep breadth of expertise in banking and finance which adds value to transactions‘. The firm has extensive experience in trade finance instruments such as letters of credit, bills of exchange, bills of lading, and demand guarantees, as well as structured finance, sustainable financing and emerging markets transactions. David Leggott, who is ‘responsive, solution-oriented and recognised for his breadth of experience in cross-border financing‘, and banking partner Andrew Taylor lead the practice. Taylor’s highlights include advising San Francisco-based fintech Taulia Inc. on the establishment of its innovative multi-funder supply chain financing platform. Senior associate Philip Beswick ‘drives transactions on and deftly covers off all the moving parts to get us to the finish line‘.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Taylor; David Leggott

Other key lawyers:

Philip Beswick

Testimonials

‘Attention to detail and high quality deal documents. Excellent legal due diligence delivery.’

‘The team is very responsive and attentive to client requirements. Deep breadth of expertise in banking and finance which added value to our transactions.’

‘David Leggott is solution-oriented and recognised for his breadth of experience in cross-border financing and acquisition finance transactions. He is responsive, pays attention to clients requirements and provides valuable input in structuring of bespoke transaction structures.’

‘A close, collaborative working relationship over the last couple of years has led to real understanding of our products and documents. This has been through continuity of lawyers advising us, flexibility on costs where certain deals dictate and a willingness to answer quick questions on pipeline deals.’

‘David Leggott leads the small team that have been regularly advising us. Like a good chess player, he thinks several moves ahead and anticipates what comes next so that we are able to conclude processes swiftly.’

‘Extremely customer-oriented, with a clear dedication to set the right legal framework to the transaction. Close attention to details.’

‘Sophisticated thinking about the potential legal consequences of the legal wording. Very consistent work.’

‘Team available with clear split of responsibilities at working group level.’

Key clients

African Export-Import Bank

ING Bank N.V.

Citibank

UK Export Finance

Deutsche Bank

United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Proparco

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Natixis

Société Générale

CDC

European Commission

Work highlights

  • Advised ING Bank N.V. and a group of international banks on a US$500m sustainability-linked senior secured borrowing base financing to Geneva-based coffee trader Sucafina group.
  • Advising BNP Paribas as arranger of a syndicated unsecured revolving credit facility for semiconductor producer X-FAB to finance the expansion of their plants in France, Malaysia, Texas (USA) and Germany.
  • Advising Taulia Inc, the San Francisco-based fintech business, on the establishment of its innovative multi-funder supply-chain financing (SCF) platform.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has ‘a dedicated and knowledgeable team which is available around the clock and has excellent knowledge of trade finance and, specifically, work of IFIs‘. One client remarks that the firm’s finance practice has ‘peerless knowledge of trade finance documentation‘. Widely recognised as a go-to firm for commodity finance, derivatives and regulatory advice, the firm handles the full range of trading, trade finance, commodity physical supply contracts, shipping, futures documentation, regulatory investigations, fintech matters and disputes. It also has a major presence in the emerging area of sustainable finance. Nicholas Grandage and Andrew Wood (who is ‘a guru of trade finance, commercial in his approach‘) lead the practice. They both advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on its award-winning Trade Facilitation Programme. Senior associates Tudor Plapcianu (who has ‘a mix of savvy technical knowledge, incredibly hard work and sheer personality’), Richard Wilkes and Mark Brighouse also have extensive experience in structured trade and commodity finance.

Practice head(s):

Nick Grandage; Andrew Wood

Other key lawyers:

Tudor Plapcianu; Richard Wilkes; Mark Brighouse; Frances Chapman

Testimonials

‘A dedicated and knowledgeable team which is available around the clock.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the area of trade finance and specific of work of IFIs in the area of facilitating trade finance.’

‘Always pleasure working with the team.’

‘Cannot recommend enough Andrew Wood, Richard Wilkes and Frances Chapman. We’ve been working with them for the last seven years if not longer. The team is very knowledgeable and available around the clock and happy to give very thorough advice and explanation to make a balance decision.’

‘Peerless knowledge of trade finance documentation.’

‘Andy Wood is a guru of trade finance. He is commercial in his approach whilst at the same time across all of the details.’

‘Tudor Plapcianu through of mix of savvy technical knowledge, incredibly hard work and sheer personality is excellent working towards results.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO

AIG

BP

BNP Paribas

The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi Ltd

Citibank

Coal India Limited (CIL)

Commodities Markets Council

Demica

Erste Group Bank AG

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Eurasian Resources Group

FBN Bank

Mauritius Commercial Bank

HSBC

JP Morgan

Louis Dreyfus

Lloyds Bank

Low Carbon

Macquarie

Mercuria

Natixis

NEXIM

TD Securities

RWE

Santander

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank

Trafigura

Trailstone

Bank of Ireland

ICBC Standard Bank

Raiffeisen Bank International AG

Mizuho Bank, Ltd

Baffinland

Trade and Development Bank

UK Export Finance

Work highlights

  • Advised Louis Dreyfus Group on the R$7 billion financial debt restructuring of Biosev S.A. and Biosev Bioenergia S.A.
  • Advice re dispute under joint venture for marketing of Polymer products.
  • Advised EBRD in relation to its award-winning Trade Facilitation Programme, which involves documentation with numerous banks in EBRD’s countries of operation.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP ‘consistently shows a depth of knowledge across a wide range of disciplines‘ and clients note that the energy and natural resources ‘really takes the time to understand the commercial drivers of the transaction and the risks clients need covered, and tailors advice and documentation accordingly‘. The firm is particularly well known for handling both hard and soft commodity financings globally, advising both major banks and international commodities trading houses. Lead partner Jonathan Solomon ‘does a fantastic relationship role in ensuring the right experts are brought in as required‘. Newly promoted partner Patrick Sutton is a commodities specialist with considerable depth of expertise in sophisticated trade finance work. He focuses heavily on deals for alternative lenders in the space where trade finance meets structured finance. Partner Daniel Birch and associate Liz Stroud joined from Allen & Overy LLP, bringing experience in acting for multinational investments banks and other leading financial institutions, on a variety of highly substantial and strategically significant transactions.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Solomon

Other key lawyers:

Dan Birch; Liz Stroud; Patrick Sutton

Testimonials

‘The team at Reed Smith has been diverse and consistently shows a depth of knowledge across a wide range of disciplines.’

‘The partners and assistants at Reed Smith are a pleasure to work with.’

‘The firm is responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘Crucially, we have found that they really take the time to understand the commercial drivers of the transaction and the risks we need covered and tailor advice and documentation accordingly.’

‘A special call out to Jonathan Solomon who as well as being an outstanding trade finance lawyer does a fantastic relationship role in ensuring the right experts are brought in as required.’

Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Sullivan & Worcester LLP has ‘deep expertise in trade and working capital finance in the UK market, and a good understanding of how technology is evolving in this space‘. One client remarks that the firm is ‘widely recognised as the best and most prestigious law firm in the trade finance space, its knowledge is unrivalled and it covers all areas from the plain vanilla of LCs, guarantees and receivables finance, to the most complex structured trade finance‘. The firm has the largest dedicated team in trade finance in London and is involved in the full range of work, including the development cutting-edge trade finance platforms. Geoffrey Wynne (who is ‘very present and active within the whole market‘), Simon Cook (who ‘has a good commercial understanding of the market‘), infrastructure finance partner Mark Norris and the ‘commercially minded and clear‘ Sam Fowler-Holmes are the key practitioners. Wynne and managing associate Hannah Fearn acted for the ITFA Insurance Committee on its development of a Basel III trade credit insurance policy form.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Wynne; Simon Cook; Mark Norris; Sam Fowler-Holmes

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Fearn

Testimonials

‘They have deep expertise in trade and working capital finance in the UK market, which was invaluable in assisting us in establishing our funding structure and supporting legal documentation.’

‘Geoff Wynne – recognised Trade Finance expert. Is very present and active within the whole market. Easy to work with.’

‘Simon Cook is a well known active member of the trade finance network. His presence at industry events is longstanding. He has a good commercial understanding of the market and underlying products and can give good advice based on this experience. Similar can be said for Geoff Wynne.’

‘Sam Fowler-Holmes brings great knowledge in the area of trade and working capital finance and is very clear when setting out legal considerations and potential risks. He is commercially minded in his approach, which is critical to the way we work and think.’

‘Sullivan is widely recognised as the best and most prestigious law firm in the trade finance space. Their trade finance knowledge is unrivalled and they are often leading the way in terms of advocacy together with the likes of the ITFA, which is the global trade finance industry body.’

‘All the Sullivan staff we deal with are though leaders and some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry. Asides from their technical knowledge, they are also extremely approachable and often available at short notice.’

‘A well-established team with trade finance specialisation. Very visible in the market and they take care to engage with their clients and the market as a whole.’

‘Great team to work with, commercial approach and have deep knowledge of structured financial transactions, with a good international network for cross border deals.’

Key clients

Citibank

Deutsche Bank

Crown Agents Bank

International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA)

J.P. Morgan

Santander

Rabobank

Africa Global Trade Finance Ltd

Standard Bank

Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT)

UK Export Finance (UKEF)

Nedbank CIB

Contracta UK

Iroko Securities Limited

Muse Finance

Work highlights

  • Advising UKEF, as lender, and Nedbank CIB of South Africa, as agent, in relation to a loan to finance a health infrastructure project, to be delivered by NMS Infrastructure Limited.
  • Acting for Marco Polo Network, the world’s first blockchain-enabled, distributed network of trade finance and payment solutions to produce two rulebooks for its Marco Polo platforms under English law and the equivalents under New York law.
  • Advised the Insurance Committee of industry body the International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) Board in connection with various market-led insurance related matters.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has deep practices in debt finance, capital markets, mining and metals, and project finance, all of which combine to bring in large trade finance mandates. Clients praise its ‘good work overall in getting support on issues related to trade finance‘ and note that key partner Christopher Czarnocki has ‘impressive commercial knowledge, is responsive to request and issues, and always comes across really well‘. The firm has a prominent role in high-end structured trade and commodity finance transactions, frequently acting for bank creditors, traders and offtakers, exporters and sellers, sovereigns, and state-owned entities such as national oil companies. Czarnocki advises Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Energy in a project to monetise royalties payable to the state by companies operating in the gold commodity sector. Emerging markets debt finance partner James Hardy and leading derivatives specialist Ingrid York also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Czarnocki; James Hardy; Ingrid York

Testimonials

‘Good work overall in getting support on issues related to trade finance.’

‘Christopher Czarnocki – impressive commercial knowledge, responsive to request and issues. comes across really well.’

Key clients

Afreximbank

Standard Chartered Bank

The Ministry of Finance Ukraine

Petrobras

Global Palladium Fund, an affiliate of the Norilsk Nickel Group

Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Energy Ghana

Puma Energy

Gemcorp Capital

Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC)

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)

Goldman Sachs

Helios Investment Partners

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Mauritius Commercial Bank

Ministry of Finance Equatorial Guinea

Deutsche Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Gracelake Partners Limited

Trafigura

Work highlights

  • Ongoing representation of the Ministries of Finance and Energy of Ghana in connection with the monetisation of royalties payable to the state by companies operating in the gold commodity sector.
  • Representation of Puma International Financing S.A. in respect of their 2021 US$586.5 million revolving credit facilities, used to refinance the company’s existing credit facilities and for general corporate purposes.
  • Representation of Helios Investment Partners and Tema LNG Terminal Company Limited in respect of the financing and project development of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Tema, Ghana.

Baker McKenzie

The team at Baker McKenzie is ‘experienced in export financings, providing quality work and partner involvement throughout assignment‘. The firm focuses on high-value, cross-border and complex trade and export finance transactions including export credit agency finance, pre-export finance, pre-payment finance, borrowing base finance, structured receivables finance and supply chain finance. Clients praise the team’s ‘familiarity with ECA-backed financings and the fact that they respect imposed deadlines‘. Luka Lightfoot and Nick Tostivin are the lead partners. They advised Standard Chartered Bank, Societe Generale, African Export-Import Bank and Natixis on a $1.3bn syndicated financing for Sonangol, structured through a receivables off-take arrangement for crude oil.

Practice head(s):

Nick Tostivin; Luka Lightfoot

Testimonials

‘Quality work.’

‘Team is experienced in export financings.’

‘Partner involvement throughout assignment.’

‘Highly praised partner involvement in negotiations, particularly Luka Lightfoot.’

‘Overall team familiarity with ECA-backed financings.’

‘They respect imposed deadlines.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

Société Générale

MUFG Bank

Natixis

BNP Paribas

African Export-Import Bank

SMBC

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Coopération Economique S.A. (PROPARCO)

PrimeRevenue

Bank of America Merrill Lynch International

Blackstar Capital Europe Limited

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Kantar

Work highlights

  • Advising the MLAs and Lenders on the USD 1.3 billion syndicated financing for Sonangol.
  • Advised PetroBal on the establishment of a c. USD 200 million senior secured reserves based finance facility for one of its subsidiaries.
  • Advising Lenders on the USD 871 million financing to INK to finance its purchase of equipment for ethylene and polyethylene production.

Dentons

The commodities, trade and upstream finance practice at Dentons provides ‘sound and knowledgeable advice‘ on a broad spectrum of complex and cross-border work, and it counts ING Bank, ED&F Man and Trafigura among its key clients. Lead partner Tim Pipe has extensive experience in the English law upstream oil and gas financing market and frequently works on financings and re-financings in the sector across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Simon Prendergast, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard, is regarded as a leading asset-based lending and receivables financing lawyer and he frequently advises UK and international banks, as well as numerous large corporates. Ian Clements frequently handles syndicated borrowing base, pre-export and structured prepayment financings, as well as bilateral secured trade finance facilities, receivables financing transactions, trade finance distributions and export credit financings.

Practice head(s):

Ian Clements

Other key lawyers:

Tim Pipe; Simon Prendergast

Testimonials

‘Sound and knowledgeable.’

‘Ian Clements: He is responsive and understands the issues.’

Key clients

ING Bank N.V.

Ghana Cocoa Board

Coöoperative Rabobank U.A

E D & F Man Group

Natixis

UK Export Finance

Trafirgura

FBNQuest Merchant Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Trafigura as arranger of a reserve based lending facility for Panoro Energy in connection with its acquisition of Tullow assets in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
  • Advising Ghana Cocoa in relation to its annual syndicated receivables-backed pre-export financing facility.
  • Advising AfDB on the development of a suite of guarantee documentation in relation to its newly implemented trade finance guarantee programme.

Fieldfisher

Trade finance is an integral part of the work of Fieldfisher‘s financial markets and products group, which handles pre-payment finance, documentary and standby letters of credit, export and pre-export facilities, reserve-based lending, borrowing base, inventory finance and receivables finance. Practice head Oliver Abel Smith handles a range of finance transactions but has particular expertise in trade and commodity finance, and asset finance in the energy and natural resources sector. Structured finance partner Dougall Molson advised SMBC, Citi and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a new series of $300m notes of Trafigura Securitisation Finance Plc, a receivables securitisation vehicle of Trafigura Group, for which this was the sixth public ABS transaction in its programme.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Abel Smith

Other key lawyers:

Dougall Molson

Key clients

Amalgamated Metal Corporation plc

Banque Misr

Banco do Brasil

Europe Arab Bank plc

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development

Fusion Capital AG

Hasib Bank AG

ICBC Standard Bank

Misr Bank Europe GmbH

Osisko Gold Royalties

RCB Bank Ltd

Silicon Valley Bank

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Trafigura Pte Limited

Traxys Europe SA

Work highlights

  • Advised a commodity trading company on its three-tier financing, including from a pan-African multilateral DFI, in order to allow it to finance the purchase and tolling of crude oil and the export of certain refined oil products.
  • Advised the London branch of a South American bank on the provision of an uncommitted revolving credit facility to a leading steel trading and distribution group; secured on steel, steel products and raw materials used in the production of steel.
  • Advising Trafigura on the commodities industry’s first fund dedicated to commodities prepayments.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘is very responsive and has very good strength in depth, striking the right balance in terms of the level of experience in the team your working with – not too partner-heavy, not too partner-light, and the associates are excellent‘. The firm frequently advised both lenders and borrowers on all forms of commodity-related financings. Thomas Bethel and energy and project finance specialist William Breeze (who has ‘ excellent legal knowledge and anticipates the commercial issues which may arise‘) are the lead partners. Breeze is also ‘first-choice lawyer for ESG issues in the mining finance and renewables sectors‘. Senior associates Rakhee Patel and Kerry Reid also play key roles in energy, natural resources and infrastructure finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Bethel; William Breeze

Other key lawyers:

Rakhee Patel; Kerry Reid

Testimonials

‘They function very well as a team.’

‘They’re very responsive, whether it’s in relation to legal issues or billing, and they also have very good strength in depth, so they strike the right balance in terms of the level of experience in the team your working with: not too partner-heavy, not too partner-light, and the associates are excellent, so you feel as if you’re in good hands all the time.’

‘They’re very open to discuss billing – you can have a straight conversation with them, and they will be straight with you.’

‘Will Breeze is an outstanding lawyer: excellent legal knowledge and anticipates the commercial issues which may arise. He’s very calm and very measured, too, so has great clarity of thought and you always feel as if he has your back. He’s also a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

The Carlyle Group

Trident Energy

Dynamic Mining

Macquarie

Shell

Prime Oil & Gas Coöperatief U.A.

Mercuria Energy Trading SA

Work highlights

  • Advised Prime Oil & Gas Coöperatief U.A. on an up to US$300 million junior secured facility with Africa Finance Corporation and a Shell subsidiary.
  • Advised the senior lenders on the provision of a secured loan and letter of credit borrowing base facility of up to US$750 million to the EnQuest group.
  • Advised the senior lenders on the provision of secured term loan and revolving credit facilities to TNOG Oil & Gas Limited.

Hill Dickinson LLP

At Hill Dickinson LLP ‘the practice is swift to react, its comments are to the point, and timelines are well respected‘. The firm climbs the ranking this year, largely due to its in-depth knowledge of physical commodities markets, and its understanding of a diverse range of instruments, among them bilateral and syndicated facilities, documentary credits, standby credits and guarantees, bills of exchange and discounting agreements. It also handles structured trade finance transactions, including pre-finance agreements, stock and inventory finance, repo financing structures, and borrowing base finance. Lead partner Mark Aspinall and associate Olga Newman are ‘a pleasure to work with and provide services in a timely manner‘. Newly hired associate Nina Rahman, previously at HSBC, has significant experience in asset-based lending and trade finance.

Practice head(s):

Mark Aspinall

Other key lawyers:

Olga Newman; Nina Rahman

Testimonials

‘The practice is swift to react, comments are to the point, and time lines are well respected.’

‘A pleasure to work with in a dynamic business such as ours. Mark Aspinall and Olga Newman are our usual business partners.’

‘The services are timely provided. They do not limit themselves with the previously agreed narrow scope of services and try to assist for all English law related matters.’

‘For other jurisdictions, when we ask their opinion, they always contact their colleagues abroad and try to find a solution for our queries.’

‘I believe they deserve to be considered to provide a unique service amongst other usual London firms.’

‘Both for Mark Aspinall and Olga Newman, their politesse and also to the point opinions. As we always try to avoid ambiguities on legal matters, they do their best to provide us with neat answers.’

Key clients

Czarnikow

ADES International Holdings PLC

Broadway Partners

Wilmington Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised long standing client, ADES International Holdings PLC (ADES), on the acquisition of its entire issued ordinary share capital by Innovative Energy Holding Ltd for a cash offer valuing ADES at approximately US$ 516,000,000.
  • Advised on a £145 million deal to finance the rollout of full fibre broadband to rural communities in Scotland and Wales.
  • Assisted ADES as Marine Counsel on a refinancing of a fleet of jack-up drilling rigs.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Their responsiveness and thoroughness in analysing any legal issue and their expertise in accurately drafting complex loan and security documentation, is unparalleled‘, says a client of Mayer Brown International LLP. The firm works for banks, funds, corporates and fintech companies in relation to complex global trade finance transactions spanning product areas such as core trade finance, structured trade & commodity finance, borrowing base finance, inventory monetisation and risk distribution. Alex Dell leads the banking and finance practice, and leads its trade finance work. Key partner Ashley McDermott acted for a syndicate of banks on the debt restructuring of Brazilian energy company Raízen, which involved syndicated pre-export finance facilities provided by the banks. McDermott and senior associate David Fraher ‘display a level of professionalism in their work that makes them stand out by its evident thoroughness and quality‘. Up-and-coming partner Charles Thain handles traditional trade finance transactions, borrowing base finance, receivables finance, supply chain and payables finance and risk distribution structures.

Practice head(s):

Alex Dell

Other key lawyers:

Ashley McDermott; Charles Thain; James England; David Fraher

Testimonials

‘Mayer Brown have been invaluable in providing advice on complex structured commodity financing facilities and are very responsive.’

‘David Fraher and Ashley McDermott have been outstanding. Excellent drafting, very responsive and always on hand to assist.’

‘Overall, the team is outstanding.’

‘The practice has a special ability to make the client feel special, almost as if the entire practice is dedicated to the client’s matter, with their (unstated) but effectively 24-hour availability.’

‘Their responsiveness and thoroughness in analysing any legal issue and their expertise in accurately drafting complex loan and security documentation, is unparalleled in relation to many of their peers in the industry.’

‘Ashley McDermott, David Fraher and James England all display a level of professionalism in their work that makes them stand out by its evident thoroughness and quality. A particularly pleasing hallmark of their work is the timeliness and sense of urgency with which it is unfailingly delivered.’

‘Their awareness of some of the cultural sensitivities around interacting with a rising African institution like TDB, also deserves commendation.’

Key clients

Banco Santander

Barclays Bank

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

CIBC

Citibank

Citizens Bank

City National Bank

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

HSBC

JPMorgan

MUFG

PNC

Raistone Capital

Raiffeisen Bank International

Scotiabank

U.S.Bank

UBS

UniCredit

ING

ABN AMRO Bank

Natixis New York Branch

Cooperative Rabobank

Société Générale

KfW IPEX-Bank

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

FirstRand Bank

TDB

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard has a strong track record in the mid-market trade finance space and across the variety of working capital products on the lending side. It focuses predominantly on domestic work, acting for both borrowers and lenders, though there is a growing cross-border element to its work. Among its clients are clearing banks, overseas banks, funds and numerous specialist sector providers. Lead partner Mike Davison acted for Press Glass Group in its €265m group financing facilities provided by a syndicate of banks led by PKOP Bank Polski.

Practice head(s):

Mike Davison

Key clients

PNC Bank and PNC Business Credit

BNP Paribas & BNP Paribas Commercial Finance Ltd

Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance

HSBC Bank PLC & HSBC Invoice Finance Limited

FGI Finance LLC

Breal Zeta Commercial Finance

Bank Leumi & Leumi ABL Limited

ABN Amro Asset Based FInance

Close Brothers Group Plc & Close Brothers Invoice Finance Ltd

Omniveta DK Holdings ApS (and Group Companies)

Advance Global Capital

AIB Commercial Finance

Metro Bank

Blazehill Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting in relation to the administration of Arena Television to secure, worldwide freezing injunctions against each director, a £100 million summary judgement against each director and their subsequent bankruptcies.
  • Advising on the refinancing of the group’s committed receivables facilities provided by a syndicate of lenders.
  • Advising in relation to a €265,000,000 Group financing facilities with a syndicate of banks led by PKOP Bank Polski.

gunnercooke LLP

gunnercooke LLP is known for ‘good practical and legal knowledge delivered simply and clearly‘, and one client praises its ‘quality of knowledge, service and complete understanding of the underlying trade structuring processes‘. The firm continues to steadily grow its presence in the trade finance market, focusing on work for both borrowers and lenders, among them alternative finance providers, international banks with the UK presence, and commodity traders. Commodities and finance partner Marc Weisberger and Veronika Koroleva are the key figures in a practice that has ‘experience within the sector and a willingness to support and guide, based upon a strong industry and product knowledge‘.

Other key lawyers:

Marc Weisberger; Veronika Koroleva

Testimonials

‘The quality of Knowledge, service and complete understanding of the underlying trade structuring processes.’

‘Experience within the sector and willingness to support and guide, based upon a strong industry and product knowledge.’

‘Good practical and legal knowledge delivered simply and clearly.’

Key clients

SOCAR Trading SA

Green Biofuels Limited

Cabipa Nigeria Limited, Nigeria and Eterna plc, Nigeria

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Limited, London Branch

Worldwide Supply Chain Solutions International Limited

Torq Commodities AG

Stronghold Global Finance (UK) Ltd

Barens CT SA

7 Sigma FinTech Limited

Korea Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Green Biofuels Ltd on a $15m supply and investment transaction with BP plc.
  • Advised on a $5m potential pre-export finance line and offtake between Torq Commodities AG and a manganese mine in South Africa.
  • Advising Eterna plc in its ongoing $20m dispute with a Swiss trade finance bank over the ownership and control of a cargo of baseoil.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP joins the ranking on the strength of lead partners Grant Eldred, who leads the financial services sector group, and trade finance litigation specialist Mark Sachs. The trade finance practice is ‘very experienced and solution-driven, and is also to-the-point and pragmatic‘. Eldred is ‘very knowledgeable and experienced, a person you can rely on to guide a file to closing‘. The firm acts for overseas banks and financial institutions that specialise in trade finance, but also advises parties across the supply chain from producers through to trading companies and end-users. It has particular expertise in transactions involving Africa and South America, as well as matters concerning Russian sanctions.

Practice head(s):

Grant Eldred; Mark Sachs

Testimonials

‘The team is very experienced and knowledgeable and have the wider depth in terms of product skills and expertise.’

‘Strong partners and capable juniors with a willingness to meet all deadlines.’

‘The individual we work with most extensively is Grant Eldred who is undoubtedly one of the best in the business for trade finance.’

‘Excellent and consistent. Very broad range of expertise.’

‘Availability and willingness to engage.’

‘The trade finance practice is very experienced and solution-driven. Also to the point and pragmatic.’

‘Grant Eldred – very knowledgeable and experienced. A person you can rely on to guide a file to closing.’

Key clients

Santander UK plc

Bank of China (London branch)

Agricultural Bank of China

Bank ABC

Bank of Beirut (UK) Ltd

Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited

Bank of Communications (UK) Limited

Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

Banque Cantonale de Genéve

Banque de Commerce & de Placements S.A.

National Bank of Greece S.A.

Emirates NBD

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood joins the ranking having hired key lawyers from HFW. Practice heads Philip Prowse and Jameel Tarmohamed, along with associate Andrew Green, are the key practitioners who moved to the firm. Prowse is ‘always aware of the commercial aspects and of the need to break new legal ground where this is required for the project to stand out‘. He is a specialists in commodities trade finance and frequently acts for traders, banks, other financial institutions and lenders, investors, and other global supply chain participants in relation to their trade finance businesses, covering all types of finance, security and trade structures. Tarmohamed acts for banks, investors, corporates and traders up and down the global commodities supply chain in many emerging jurisdictions. ‘Their knowledge and awareness of new technologies such as blockchain systems, and the legal issues pertaining to them, were very evident and I believe market-leading‘, remarks one client.

Practice head(s):

Philip Prowse

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Green; Jameel Tarmohamed

Testimonials

‘The team has consisted of Philip Prowse as the lead partner, Jameel Tarmohamed and Andrew Green, as a mid-associate. The team was able to organise support across many legal disciplines including trade, corporate, finance, commodities and regulatory advice.’

‘Their knowledge and awareness of new technologies such as blockchain systems, and the legal issues pertaining to them, were very evident and I believe market-leading.’

‘Philip Prowse was the lead partner and he was very commercial, bringing all of my legal asks together as a composite offering. He was always aware of the commercial aspects and of the need to break new legal ground where this was required for the project to operate/stand out.’

‘Andrew Green covered the regulatory aspects of the matter, showing a very deep and wide regulatory knowledge even for one who is relatively junior. His advice was consistent and well presented.

‘Philip Prowse is an excellent trade finance lawyer. He is a real name in the sector and technically excellent. Philips brings energy to any deal he is working on. A lawyer you want by your side.’

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has ‘a friendly team with the ability to advise on a range of trade finance matters across different commodity areas, providing consistently strong service levels‘. The firm frequently advises banks, trading houses and independent companies on transactions in the commodity and upstream finance space. It is particularly strong in the energy sector, due to its experience in mining, metals, soft commodities, oil and gas and other relevant markets. Lead partner Joe Levin is ‘a solution-focused and adaptable finance partner with trade finance expertise across numerous jurisdictions, and he takes a commercial approach to help ensure deals close‘. Senior associate Jordan Joannides is another name to note. Head of the mining and commodities group Jan Mellmann and head of the global oil and gas practice Chris Kilburn are heavily involved in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Joe Levin; Jan Mellmann

Other key lawyers:

Jordan Joaniddes; Chris Kilburn

Testimonials

‘Friendly team with the ability to advise on a range of trade finance matters across different commodity areas.’

‘Consistently strong service levels whether they are advising on a small transaction or one that is globally significant.’

‘Joe Levin is a solution focused and adaptable finance partner with trade finance expertise across numerous jurisdictions. Joe’s ‘can do’ attitude ensures he supports his clients, working through any challenges that arise, and takes a commercial approach to help ensure deals close.’

‘Jordan Joaniddes is an approachable, helpful, and knowledgeable senior associate who delivers in trustworthy fashion. A background in private practice as well as various financial institutions has given him a commercially-driven approach.’

Key clients

FBN Bank (UK) Ltd

Pala Investments Limited

VSA Capital Limited

DNB Bank, Bank of Montreal, BNP Paribas and ING Bank as arrangers and a syndicate of 20+ lenders

OMV Gas Marketing & Trading GmbH

CalEnergy Resources

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd

Chesterfield Resources Plc

Sandfire Resources Limited

PTT Public Company Limited

Advance Energy

Coastline Exploration

Work highlights

  • Advising FBN Bank (UK) Ltd (“FBN”) on US$185m worth of commodities mandates for FBN.
  • Advising Lenders to Cheiron Petroleum Corporation and Cairn Energy PLC in relation to a junior financing for a consortium of affiliates of Cheiron Petroleum Corporation and Cairn Energy PLC.
  • Successfully representing PTT Public Company Limited at all stages of its UK court proceedings against its US counterparty, Triple Point Technology.