Transport finance and leasing in London
Led from London by the 'knowledgeable and experienced' Mario Jacovides and also able to tap into the expertise of lawyers throughout the firm's extensive global network, Allen & Overy LLP is well-positioned to provide a comprehensive service. It advises lenders, lessors, operators and funds across the spectrum of cross-border transportation asset finance matters. It is best known for its prowess within the aviation sector, where its ability to handle highly structured deals at the top end of the market differentiates it from many of its peers. 'Exceptional' aviation finance head Paul Nelson 'has deep knowledge across an array of financing structures' and regularly takes the lead on the most sophisticated and often groundbreaking mandates in the market, including his recent advice to KEB Hana Bank on its first Islamic finance transaction of aviation assets and first financing for Kuwait Airways. Harry Upcott has 'first-rate expertise across the spectrum of aircraft leasing and financing issues', including as they relate to tax-based debt and leasing structures, as well as portfolio trading and financings. While he also handles aviation deals, the 'thorough, measured and inventive' Kevin Young is best known for his financing of shipping assets, particularly on behalf of private equity funds. Jonathan Bevan leads on the rail side.
Other key lawyers:
‘Paul Nelson & Evgenia Erakhtina have been absolutely fantastic legal partners in closing several unique and complex aircraft financing transactions. Paul has also provided exceptional service by going over and beyond the scope of work in some cases and providing advice on transactions which may not necessarily be mandated. They have remained available at all odd hours and have turned around documents very quickly noting the urgency in some cases. I would highly recommend these individuals at A&O.’
‘Paul Nelson has put together a large, dedicated team in their work for us. This has allowed for quick, efficient work on transactions. He has deep knowledge in the aviation finance market including with respect to the array of financing structures. He provides useful guidance for us in financings and in restructuring and enforcement work.’
First Abu Dhabi Bank
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Royal Air Maroc
Export Credit Agency (including BPI, UKEF, SACE and Euler Hermes)
LOT Polish Airlines
- Advised British Airways (BA) on its first EETC since 2012, proceeds of which were used to finance the first A350-1000s in BA’s fleet (six a350-1000as, two A320neo).
- Advised AFIC Group on the AFIC-supported French Overseas LODEOM Tax Lease of two Boeing 787-9s for Air Tahiti Nui.
- Advised various banks, including KEB Hana Bank, on the Ijara financing of five A330 aircraft for AFIC (on lease to Kuwait Airways).
Praised for its ability to effectively 'anticipate issues', Clifford Chance LLP provides 'high-quality work' to a roster of stakeholders, including banks, funds, lessors, operators and export credit agencies. Led by the 'very well-respected' William Glaister, the team is best known for its work in the aviation space, where its ability to combine industry knowledge with 'great expertise' across banking, capital markets and restructuring, ensures that participants are well served across the spectrum of financing activity. Ranbir Hunjan 'combines exceptional lawyering skills with excellent commercial instincts', enabling him to provide a 'very strong service' to lenders on complex financings of commercial aircraft. 'Extremely strong' senior associate Richard Evans is also well regarded for his work in the aviation sector. Oliver Hipperson, who 'understands the value of a relationship as opposed to being transaction-specific only', is active across both maritime and aviation sectors (including in relation to secondary debt trading).
Other key lawyers:
‘The Clifford Chance Asset Finance team has a unique range of highly skilled, commercially aware and hard working associates headed by an exceptional aviation finance partner.’
‘Quality of work is high and they have great experience to anticipate issues.’
‘Oliver Hipperson – strong communication, understands the value of a relationship as opposed to being transaction-specific only. I feel confident when they are engaged that they will deliver.’
GE Capital Aviation Services
SMBC Aviation Capital
Goshawk Aviation Limited
- Advised GE Capital, on the sale of the PK AirFinance aviation lending business to Apollo Global Management (together with its consolidated subsidiaries) and Athene Holding Ltd.
- Acted for a consortium between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments in relation to the procurement and financing of circa £350m of new Hitachi bi-mode and electric multiple units to operate on the West Coast Partnership Franchise (branded as Avanti West Coast).
- Advised GTLK in connection with the pre-delivery financing and sale and leaseback of two cruise vessels.
Providing 'unparalleled in-depth industry knowledge', Milbank's two-partner team is able to 'complete complex assignments efficiently and on short notice'. This is especially in the aviation sector. It also leverages the firm's broader capital markets/finance and restructuring competences across both the London and New York offices. The firm excels in advising on highly structured mandates for funds, investment banks and lessors and provides added value by virtue of its ability to structure mandates utilising UK and US-law governed financial products. Nick Swinburne embodies the firm's willingness to provide 'creative and thoughtful' structuring for clients and he regularly provides bespoke advice on first-of-kind transactions, including his recent work alongside the firm's New York office on the structuring of a groundbreaking Japanese operating lease transaction. James Cameron is praised for his 'quick and excellent grasp of commercial issues', enabling him to excel at handling the core flow of aviation mandates, as well as a significant volume of shipping-related matters, particularly as they relate to complex global restructurings/refinancings. 'Technically excellent' special counsel Richard Walton mirrors the firm's aptitude at handling complex structured finance-related aviation mandates; he has broad-ranging expertise including advice to stakeholders in the growing non-US EETC market. Associate Jon Cripps is also recommended.
‘We recommend in our transactions that Milbank are the Lenders counsel of choice. (We, as Borrower, get to recommend counsel as we pay the Lenders fees.)’
‘We recommend Milbank because the team are technically excellent and yet work well, in a constructive and collaborative manner, with Borrower counsel.’
‘Milbank continues to impress with its heavyweight transportation finance practice. The combination of decades of experience and practical commercial legal advice based on first-rate technical knowledge is hard to beat.’
‘As a firm we have worked with Jim Cameron and Nick Swinburne. There is no better combination of expertise and all round competence in the London market in the transport sector.’
‘In our work with Milbank, we have experienced exceptional service and advice across the board and can only recommend the team highly.’
‘Unparalleled in-depth industry knowledge and team dedication. Able to complete complex assignments efficiently and on short notice. Broad legal expertise relevant to the industry.’
‘Jim Cameron stands out – great industry knowledge, quick pragmatic commercial advice and always accessible. Quick and excellent grasp of commercial issues which enables him to give targeted on the point advice.’
JP Lease Products and Services
Stratos Aircraft Management
Avolon Holdings Limited
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Aircraft Finance Insurance Consortium (AFIC)
- Advised M&G Investments on its $300m equity investment in a new aircraft leasing fund to be serviced by SKY Leasing, a full-service aviation asset manager.
- Advising Citibank and the other financing banks with respect to a portfolio financing programme of up to $2bn made available to a subsidiary of Seaspan Corporation to refinance approximately 40 vessels.
- Advised NCB Capital and Dara Aviation Finance Limited in relation to the groundbreaking acquisition by Dara Aviation Finance Limited of a portfolio of 19 commercial aircraft from AerCap Holdings N.V. and its subsidiaries, comprising a combination of Airbus and Boeing narrow-body and wide-body aircraft that are leased to 17 airlines across the world.
Transport is a core industry focus for Norton Rose Fulbright and accounts for a significant proportion of finance work handled from its London office. Consequently, the 'client-oriented' team, which is overseen by Harry Theochari and Duncan Batchelor, is well positioned to provide 'high-quality' advice to myriad stakeholders across the shipping, aviation and rail sectors. The 'solution-driven, pragmatic and smart' Simon Hartley is able to 'manage particularly complex transactions' for both borrowers and lenders in the shipping sector, and has been active of late in the cruise market. Eleanor Martin is also a key figure for shipping finance. She advises on the deployment of capital to fund offshore equipment, including floating production storage and offloading units and drilling rigs. Rail remains a key area of strength for the team and the arrival of the 'fantastic' Simon Gwynne from Hogan Lovells International LLP in mid-2019, underscored the firm's commitment to the sector and bolsters an already strong offering that includes the 'very knowledgeable' Tom Johnson. On the aviation front, the firm assists significant banks, and a growing roster of airline clients that includes easyJet and LATAM Airways. Counsel Will Alete recently completed a six-month secondment at an airline and is developing a practice which is equally well suited to operator and lender representations.
Other key lawyers:
‘Tom Johnson, with assistance from Louise Auty, provides in-depth advice on longstanding and complex transactions. Their depth of knowledge of the rail sector assists with their focus on key issues of concern.’
‘Tom Johnson and Louise Auty, with assistance from Chris Bates and Judith Harrison (Tax), provide comprehensive advice on longstanding, complex transactions.’
‘The Norton Rose Fulbright shipping team is incredibly competent and well staffed. The experience in the industry is unparalleled and the geographic coverage enables clients to rely on the firm for global businesses with consistent high-quality advice.’
‘The head of transportation (Harry Theochari) is one of the most recognised figures in shipping. Absolutely great in managing business, legal issues and the global team. He is the pillar of the firm. In many occasions his input has made the difference between getting a deal done or not. His relationships and reputation are outstanding.’
‘We are used to working with Simon Hartley’s team. This team has a very strong franchise, and a very good knowledge of the cruise sector. The team is ultra efficient, client oriented, always available for all the aspects of a transaction (from the negotiation until the fulfillment of CPs). They produce high-quality advice and documents. It is a pleasure to work with them.’
‘Simon Hartley is our absolute reference partner. He has a very strong experience, he is solution driven, pragmatic, smart, remains calm even in the toughest circumstances. His advice is always brilliant and appropriate. He follows closely all the aspects of the transaction and is always available. He is really hands on and working hard. He is able to manage particularly complex transactions. He is our trusted adviser. On top of that his ethic is particularly appreciated. We do absolutely trust him. The quality of advice is outstanding. He has an excellent team with associates (Michelle Tsui, Matthew Bambury) sharing his values of commitment, hard work, efficiency and transparency. In addition, this is a team with whom it is a pleasure to work with humanly speaking. This is a great team.’
Amedeo + Voyager Aviation
Gener8 Maritime Inc.
ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Crown Commercial Services Rail panel
DNB Markets, Inc.
Global Ship Lease
The Go-Ahead Group
InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo)
John Laing Infrastructure Fund
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A.
Clover Aviation Capital (formerly Ping An Aircraft Leasing Company Limited)
Prime Capital AG
Qatar National Bank
Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB)
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Volga Dnepr Airlines (Ireland) Limited
- Advised DHL on three transactions which were significant as a means of accessing a wider investor base for the financing of their new Boeing 777F cargo aircraft and marked an important move by traditional transport financial institutions into the financing of cargo aircraft via JOLCO structures.
- Advised DVB Bank and DZ Bank on the sale and transfer of DVB’s Land Transportation business to Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba), as co-counsel with Freshfields in Germany.
- Acted for KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH on a complex €2.6bn financing for the construction of two global class cruise ships for Genting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises unit.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
With 25 partners in London sitting within the firm's assets and structured finance team, Watson Farley & Williams LLP undoubtedly has one of the largest practices in the City. It therefore has the firepower to resource a tremendous volume of mandates for lenders, operators and lessors involved in the financing of both shipping and aviation assets. The 'very pragmatic and solutions-oriented' Lindsey Keeble is global head of the maritime group and is effectively able to marshal resources, not only from London, but also utilising lawyers based in key locations including Athens, Singapore and Hamburg. Consequently, the team has 'impressive capability to execute transactions in a smooth and efficient way', not only for its traditional banking clients, but also a growing number of private equity funds which are increasingly deploying capital in the sector. Praised for his 'strong awareness of market conditions and intel', Jim Bell has done a superb job of rebuilding the firm's aviation practice, following the departure of Rex Rosales to Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in April 2018. Enhanced by a number of new hires, including most significantly that of the 'sensible and pragmatic' Pete O’Hare from Milbank in September 2019, the group has been particularly productive on the bank and lessor side, including work within the debt capital markets. In addition to her work on the aviation front, Louise Mor is the principal contact at the firm for rail finance work and has recently handled substantial bank and bond financings for several major European rail leasing companies.
Other key lawyers:
‘WFW are a hugely experienced partnership with a huge depth of expertise in aviation financing and aircraft leasing. What sets them apart is that they work with me as if they were part of my own in-house deal team. This means they are led by me, the client, to deliver the outcome we require as expediently as possible with no ego or grandstanding. This means that they will work with me and provide counsel as required to get the deal done as opposed to allowing themselves to be drawn into a legal stand-off between opposing counsel, as is too often the case and creates no other value than for the partners at the respective legal firms. To summarise, they provide the exact service that I require with very high levels of customer service and satisfaction.’
‘The Transport finance and leasing practice at WFW is one of the foremost experts in the global aviation leasing world. It brings a wealth of market experience to the table and has an industry leading team. They are large enough to have a global reach yet have an individually focused service that brings close attention to the individual nuances of each transaction.’
‘Louise Mor and her team in WFW London supported us throughout our refinancing project (circa EUR1.5bn). Its in-depth knowledge of financing of transport assets and of our group enabled it to draw up the new legal framework for our financing, which moved from an asset-based financing model to a corporate financing model.’
‘Deep understanding of the company and its structure, always responding promptly, always following up on outstanding issues (reminding us if we forget to respond), strong legal expertise and good at arguing our case.’
‘Jim Bell has clearly differentiated himself as the next industry leader in aircraft finance. Jim is able to combine his best in class legal skills with a deep understanding of transaction economics making him a valuable partner. He has hired some promising young partners and as a consequence Watson Farley & Williams looks set to become the number one law firm in the space under his leadership.’
‘Lindsey Keeble is, as far as we are concerned, the best lawyer in the ship finance sector. She has deep knowledge of the industry, regulations and market practice. Very pragmatic, she knows how to get a deal done and is always looking for solutions when parties reach a blocking point. She is fully dedicated to her clients and will always go the extra mile for them.’
‘Patrick Kirkby, partner, is intelligent, diligent, gets into the detail without losing sight of the bigger picture and is able to suggest workable solutions and compromises on tricky sticking points during negotiations. He is a linchpin in our deal negotiations. He is also very good at managing/overseeing other parts of the firm with which we are working in his capacity as our relationship partner.’
‘Gary Walsh is an outstanding partner, with a very strong expertise in the maritime finance sector. His advice is always most helpful and his commitment is exceptional. He has a very constructive approach thereby facilitating the communication between all parties involved in the deal.’
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Aviation Working Group
J.P Morgan Asset Management
- Advised MSC Cruises on an ECA-backed debt financing facility to fund the newbuilding programme for their four new luxury class ships currently under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.
- Advised Investec as lead arranger, agent and trustee on the €36m private placement bond in relation to the financing of the purchase and French tax leasing of two ATR72-600 aircraft for EWA Air.
- Advised Ermewa Holding on its establishment of an investment grade long-term multi-creditor common terms platform, enabling the restructuring and refinancing of its group debt through a combination of multicurrency secured bank debt, long-dated US private placement notes offered to institutional investors and significant revolving capex and working capital facilities.
Benefiting from 'many years' experience in the field of asset finance and leasing', and able to leverage vast resources across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, Dentons' five-strong team is particularly accomplished at handling significant cross-border aviation finance mandates. Led by the 'excellent' Nick Chandler, the scope of the work handled by the team is broad, reflective of the varied needs of an eclectic client base which includes airlines, lessors, banks and manufacturers. Having spent many years working in the Middle East, Paul Holland has a strong connection to the region and regularly advises Middle East-based carriers on their financing requirements, both from a pure commercial debt perspective, as well as as when underpinned by an export credit facility. Serge Sergiou is also a key member of the team and is well-versed across the myriad of structures - include tax-based leasing arrangements - to facilitate the financing of commercial airlines. The 'very practical' Greg Kahn heads up the shipping finance limb of the practice that is gaining increased traction among lenders, in particular, which are appreciative of its ability to provide 'specialised guidance on complex, cross-border financings'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sarah Dyke is very knowledgeable and responsive in the corporate jet market.’
‘Nick Chandler is an excellent lawyer and a pleasure to work with. His team is trained very well and their pragmatic approach is much appreciated.’
‘Having a professional and considerate team like Dentons London makes incredibly challenging transactions seemingly smooth and simple. Without their patience, dedication and support it would’ve been easy to shirk the challenges presented. In-depth market knowledge and willingness to take ownership of critical legal elements of these structured financings are just some of the impressive skillsets Dentons possess within their highly personable and qualified team of lawyers.’
‘The team are always happy to aleviate the burden on the lending group by taking ownership of key steps/processes in the documentation and execution phases of transactions, only seeking guidance and clarification from lenders when necessary and of benefit.’
‘Having witnessed first hand their professionalism I would highly recommend Dentons Transport Finance & Leasing team to any lenders seeking counsel across the transportation sectors.’
‘Whilst the team in Dentons is relatively small in size they deliver incredible client service irrespective of their size and achieve turnaround times that would be the envy of their larger competitors. They are always available and are very pleasant to deal with.’
‘The team is astutely led and chaired by Nick Chandler. Lee McLernon is incredibly commercially minded and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure a client receives a satisfactory result.’
‘Greg Kahn takes the time to fully understand our business. He always tries to find the most practical solution.’
Azul Brazilian Airlines
Standard Chartered Bank
Airbus (including Airbus Financial Services and Airbus Helicopters)
Engine Lease Finance Corporation
The Export–Import Bank of China
- Advising Qatar Airways throughout 2019 on a number of Boeing, Airbus and Gulfstream aircraft financings, acquisitions and restructurings.
- Advising the European branch of a Japanese bank on a €70m equity bridge financing supporting an infrastructure fund’s acquisition of an ownership participation in five LNG carriers.
- Advising Chorus Aviation Capital (Ireland) Limited on a seven-year $300m warehouse financing facility.
Able to call upon a huge reservoir of talent in London, as well as in key international hubs, Stephenson Harwood is well-placed to handle a significant volume of mandates across the spectrum of asset classes, for both lenders and operators. Led by Ian Mace, the jewel in the firm's crown, however, remains in relation to handling shipping finance work, where it acts for both commercial lenders, credit funds and owners across a myriad of new money deals and restructurings. Jonathan Ward is well-versed in handling cross-border matters, particularly with a nexus to Europe and the Far East and heads up the Chinese ship finance practice from London. Under the guidance of Richard Parsons, the firm has also been increasingly active on aviation matters and has effectively been able to leverage its market-leading offering from Hong Kong to establish a strong position among Chinese lessors, as well as to build up a sizeable client roster of low-cost airlines in Asia and the Middle East. Although the firm's rail finance capabilities took a significant dent following Graeme McLellan's departure to Greenberg Traurig, LLP in August 2019, Lisa Marks has been able take up the slack for some of that work as a function of her broader equipment finance and leasing practice.
ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Alliance Laundry Finance Limited
Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft
DNB Bank ASA
DVB Bank SE
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Investec Asset Finance Plc
Taiping Fontainburg DVB Aviation Capital
MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
- A cross-office and cross-practice team advised Euronav in relation to its acquisition of two Suezmax tankers through joint ventures with Ridgebury Tankers and Tufton Oceanic for a combined consideration of $40.6m.
- Advised an international financial institution (acting as agent) on an approximately $533m secured revolving credit facility provided to the Teekay Tankers group in relation to the refinancing of 31 vessels.
- Following on from successfully acting for Lombard North Central on the financing of the first Vivarail Electric Multiple Units for the West Midlands network, the firm acted for financier Lombard North Central, which is part of the RBS Banking Group, in relation to the manufacture and supply by Vivarail of five Class 484 two-car Electric Multiple Units, which will be manufactured by Vivarail using bodyshells and bogies from former London Underground District Line cars.
Led from London by the 'very thorough' Justin Benson and able to leverage the expertise of lawyers based across the Americas and Asia, in particular, White & Case LLP's eight-strong team has strong traction among lenders and lessors across the bandwidth of activity in the aviation sector, including on debt financing, portfolio sales and trading. The 'knowledgeable and business-oriented' Adrian Beasley is the other partner in the team and has vast experience in the market across myriad commercial debt and export credit-backed mandates. Although the departure of Alison Weal to Winston & Strawn LLP in July 2019 has undoubtedly diminished the firm's shipping finance credentials, particularly on the origination front, the team remains a compelling proposition for debtors and creditors as stakeholders in large-scale cross-border restructurings in the sector, by virtue of its ability to draw from broader firmwide finance competences and knowledge across the capital structure.
‘What was unique in our eyes was that most of the time we talked to the partner. There were more people involved on the W&C side, but these were managed internally by the partner himself without our involvement.’
‘Our primary business partner Adrian Beasley was very helpful. Knowledgeable of the business and its needs, always available, very much business oriented.’
‘Also very skillful in the negotiation phase, able to manage in a decent way both the opponent and his client and help them find acceptable solutions in areas of disagreement. I definitely recommend him. Without his involvement we would not be able to successfully close the transaction.’
‘We have worked with the White & Case London transport finance and leasing practice team on aviation finance transactions which have been mainly operating lessor financings. We have worked primarily with Justin Benson (partner) and David Wright (associate) and a few other associates in their aviation finance team. Our experience has been very positive. As a team, they have a strong attention to detail, provide thorough analysis of legal issues, and carefully draft. We have been particularly impressed at their ability to handle the complexity of transactional restructurings and the related amendments to existing documentation. They have a polite humourful way of managing and negotiating cross-border transactions and follow through on post-closing matters. For complex aviation finance matters, they are a very good address.’
CDB Aviation Lease Finance
UK Export Finance
Czech Airlines Technics
- Representation of AMCK Aviation in relation to the financing of two Airbus A321 aircraft leased to Wizz Air.
- Representation of Nordea Bank as agent in connection with the restructuring of debt relating to a Singapore-based shipping business.
- Representation of Nordea Bank as agent in connection with the restructuring of debt for Global Seismic Shipping.
Led from London by the 'outstanding' Robert Fugard, Hogan Lovells International LLP's three-partner asset finance team is heavily focused on transactions within the aviation sector, for a varied client base that includes lessors, airlines, fund and export credit agencies. Its sweet-spot lies in advising clients on the more bespoke and heavily structured international deals in the market (including EETCs and tax-based leasings), where it is able to provide additional resources and financial product knowledge by drawing from the expertise of lawyers based out of the overarching banking and capital markets teams in London and globally (including US, Middle East and Europe). The team also advises on work in the shipping and rail sectors. The 'excellent' Richard Goss is noted for his lessor-related expertise, which includes advice on numerous significant portfolio transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Robert Fugard is outstanding. He is highly knowledgeable of the global aviation market and does a great job for his clients.’
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA/Arctic Aviation Assets DAC
Standard Chartered Bank/Pembroke Capital
Rolls Royce & Partners Finance
Babcock Mission Critical Services
AMCK Aviation (formerly Accipiter and MCAP)
Minsheng Commercial Aviation
Bank of China Aviation (BOCA)
African Export-Import Bank
- Advising Norwegian Air on the establishment of a $1.3bn joint venture with CCB Leasing (International) Corporation DAC, to finance, own and lease 27 A320neo family aircraft that Norwegian Air has on order.
- Advising Société Générale on the financing of eight vessels for K Shipping Investment Ltd (part of the Louis Dreyfus group).
- Advising Minsheng on the sale of six Airbus A320-200 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft to Goshawk Aviation Limited.
Led by the 'commercial and business-oriented' Graham Tyler, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's 'well-rounded' two-partner team has strong traction in the aviation market for asset managers, banks, lessors and airlines, with work spanning ECA-backed financings, EETCs, cross-border leasing and portfolio trading. As well as handling a considerable number of stand-alone matters, the team also regularly works alongside lawyers based out of the firm's New York office, allowing clients to benefit from the ability to structure mandates utilising both US and UK-governed law. The 'helpful and responsive' Debra Erni is the driving force behind the firm's 'very strong' lessor practice and benefits from particularly strong relationships with Asian entities which are prevalent in the space.
‘The team is very quick, responsive and creative. Also, the team members communicate with each other within their organisation. They always respect the corporate culture of the client and give their advice and support keeping it in mind.’
‘Debra Erni is very helpful and responsive. She always completely understands what the client’s intention is and comes up with creative solutions based on a variety of experiences with a number of industrial players.’
‘Rakhi Savjani is responsible, practical and takes a thoughtful approach. She knows transactions well and catches everything to proceed with transactions even if it is not major.’
‘We have known them at least for three years and have worked on two engine sale transactions in the past 18 months (where we were the Seller and PWSP was our legal counsel). There are reputable aviation law firms but I believe PWSP is unique in that they have a deep understanding and experience in both aircraft- and engine-related transactions.’
‘It was Debra Erni. I would describe it as excellent. Both transactions were very challenging but we overcame together. Her strengths include the deep understanding about engine transactions (not only aircraft), the ability to communicate both in English and Japanese and strong commitment toward closing a deal on time (she constantly checked e-mails and sent advice in the winter holidays).’
‘Debra Erni in London and Olivia Matsushita in Tokyo are so excellent. Debra and her team are proud that the team is able to produce stable good output not depending on who becomes window lawyer. In other words, Debra’s team management is excellent. The aviation business is dominated by English language and a non-native English speaker like myself is quite often frustrated by the language barrier and both Debra and Olivia are so distinctive and different from other lawyers because although they are English native speakers, their capability in Japanese language is excellent. There are a few English native lawyers who can communicate orally in Japanese but they usually can’t by email. Both of them can.’
‘Graham Tyler is a long-term provider of pragmatic, knowledgeable and commercial legal advice. Friendly, approachable and open. Excellent network established over many years across a broad range of airlines, lessors and banks. Knows how the industry ticks.’
‘Our relationship partner at Pillsbury is Graham Tyler, based in the London office. In addition to having excellent technical knowledge, Graham is one of the most commercial and business orientated partners I have come across in my career and is someone who genuinely cares about his clients and goes out of his way to find ways to help them develop their business.’
Air Lease Corporation
AMCK (an amalgamation of former clients MC Aviation Partners, Vermillion Aviation and Accipiter)
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise
Jackson Square Aviation
Chishima Real Estate
BOT Lease Company
Minsheng Financial Leasing
SMBC Aero Engine Lease
Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance
- Continued to represent Oaktree Capital and its lease manager World Star Aviation not only in respect of work on their existing portfolio of aircraft, but also on its acquisitions and financing of a new number of aircraft as they build a second portfolio.
- Acted for MCAP and Mitsubishi Corporation in connection with the amalgamation and integration of three large-scale aircraft leasing platforms.
- Continued to advise SMBC Aero Engine Lease throughout 2019 on a number of new purchase and lease back transactions with various airlines throughout the US, Asia, and Central and South America.
'Second-to-none in the aviation finance industry', Vedder Price's four-partner London-based practice excels at handling investor-side mandates (for banks, leasing companies and equity investors), either on its own or in conjunction with its market-leading US team. The 'committed and constructive' Gavin Hill has deeply entrenched banking ties and is active across a range of secured and unsecured financings on the loan and capital markets front. As well as providing invaluable assistance on aviation matters, Dylan Potter has also helped grow the office's wider asset finance competences and leads its efforts on the maritime and equipment finance front. Team head Derek Watson has a niche focus on private jet financings.
‘The Vedder Price team is second to none in the aviation finance legal community. Vedder is adept at advising about individual aircraft transactions as well as ABS and corporate transactions secured by AR and inventory.’
‘The lawyers at Vedder do not treat each individual interaction as a transaction, rather they partner with us and advise us as to the risks of each situation.’
‘Highly professional, target and client oriented.’
‘Gavin Hill is committed and constructive.’
‘The Vedder Price team has a breadth and depth of aviation industry knowledge from an airline, financier and lessor perspective. This gives the firm a great advantage in any legal negotiation and offers a rounded perspective on legal advice provided to clients.’
‘Partner Neil Poland offers extensive years of experience and knowledge of the aviation/transport section, which is invaluable to clients navigating commercial negotiations. Neil’s advice is always commercial, practical and balanced, allowing clients to assess and provide a fully informed view on matters.’
‘High reliability, 24/7 availability, very responsive.’
Aero Capital Solutions
Airbus Financial Services
Arab Banking Corporation
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Bank of America
Bank of China
Cathay United Bank
China Aircraft Leasing Company
China Construction Bank
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CA-CIB)
DBS Bank (Development Bank of Singapore)
Export Development Canada
Helaba (Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Gironzentrale)
ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)
KEB Hana Bank
Korea Development Bank
LCI (Lease Corporation International)
LHI (Leasing für Handel und Industrie)
Magi Aviation Capital (f.k.a. Magi Partners)
Mega International Commercial Bank
National Australia Bank
National Bank of Abu Dhabi
National Bank of Kuwait
New York Life Insurance Company
Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Nord/LB)
Nordic Aviation Capital
Qatar National Bank
Siemens Financial Services
Standard Chartered Bank
Stonebriar Commercial Finance
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe
Westpac Banking Corporation
- Advising Airbus on numerous PDP financings for Air Austral and Viva Air.
- Acted for the lenders in relation to the acquisition of AerFin by private equity firm CataCap. The deal was structured as a novel combination of an ABL facility with a leverage finance facility, which provided the funds for the acquisition together with a long-term financing solution to the group.
- Acted for the lessor in relation to the leasing and refinancing of four Boeing 777 freighters to Aerologic, which is a joint venture of DHL and Lufthansa, and the related financing arrangements.
Led on the finance side by Richard Sharman and also aided by a wider aerospace group which has significant knowledge of the operational, regulatory and commercial aspects impacting aviation clients, Bird & Bird LLP 'is able to cover most issues likely to arise within the aviation sector', for lessors, airlines and banks. Leveraging his underlying structured finance expertise, Sharman has made a rapid impact following his move in February 2019 from Clifford Chance LLP and has taken the lead on numerous complex mandates for lessor clients, including in relation to a newly established leasing company on its inaugral ABS.
‘The working relationship is excellent. The team are very prompt in their responses, clear in their communication, and comfortably meet deadlines without a last-minute scramble. They are commercially focused and offer solutions rather than trying to win unreasonable positions.’
‘Marcus Pyke is a stand-out associate. extremely professional, organised, knowledgeable and efficient. Strong ability to offer commercial resolution. Richard Sharman is a stand-out partner. He successfully supported a complex aviation joint venture on our behalf which included several different elements between financing, shareholding, servicing, and purchase agreements. Michael Holt was very diligent in supporting our transaction. Paul Briggs is always available and goes above and beyond to support transactions. He has his finger on the pulse in relation to key industry matters and is very commercially minded.’
‘An excellent team for all aspects of aviation law, skilled and responsive.’
‘I would recommend Simon Phippard, he is a highly committed professional, he quickly understands the needs of the client and has a very strategic approach.’
‘A well-balanced team which is able to cover most issues likely to arise within the aviation sector.’
‘Paul Briggs has an infectious personality and is a pleasure to work with on deals. The aviation practice dovetails well with other parts of the firm so that a comprehensive offering is available for clients.’
‘Bird & Bird LLP are experts in aviation finance and this sets them apart.’
China Construction Bank (CCB Leasing (International) Corporation)
Airborne Capital Limited
Investec Bank plc
EMP Structured Assets GmbH
Lease Corporation International
LOT Polish Airlines
Smartwings / Czech Airlines
- Advising China Construction Bank’s leasing arm on its $1.5bn joint venture with Norwegian Air relating to 27 Airbus A320NEO aircraft to be leased to international airlines.
- Advising Airborne Capital on the investment and servicing arrangements for the acquisition of a portfolio of 17 leased aircraft now within Airborne’s inaugural $637m asset-backed securitisation, Tailwind 2019-1.
- Advising the commercial lender on the ECA (BPIFrance) backed structured financing of two Airbus A380 aircraft leased to Emirates, the first A380 BPI backed financing which combined a tranche provided by Korean investors and the first A380 financing backed by BPIU for several years.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Led by the 'outstanding' Russell Clifford, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's six-partner team displays a 'high level of technical knowledge and commerciality' to stakeholders involved in rail-related transactional work. The team's longstanding and deeply entrenched relationships with core rolling stock clients, Angel Trains and Beacon Rail, continues to inform much of its work, including advice on asset portfolio management and their leasing activities. Outside of rail, Rebecca Quayle continues to develop the firm's aviation finance offering on behalf of lessors and airlines. For maritime matters, the 'very experienced' Nigel Ward has a strong reputation among Asian clients that he helped to nurture during his recent tenure in the firm's Beijing office.
‘The level of technical knowledge is excellent, as is the ability to apply that knowledge to the commercial circumstances at hand.’
‘The practice’s partners I have most experience of (Russell Clifford & Jamie Wiseman-Clarke) have a level of knowledge, expertise and (in a transactional context) application I have not seen matched by any of their competitors.’
‘BCLP finance lawyers have extensive experience in secured lending, leasing, structured financings, export credit financings, securitisations and receivables financings. They have an in-depth understanding of clients.’
‘Nigel Ward is very experienced in the finance sector. He understands very well about clients’ need and Chinese culture. It is very pleasant to work with Nigel.’
‘Jason Chamberlain has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the rail industry and is very user friendly. Knowledgeable and measured, always acting in the client’s best interests.’
Angel Trains Limited
Beacon Rail Leasing Limited
Falko Regional Aircraft Limited
Widerøe Asset AS
ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd
ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited
CityJet Designated Activity Company
Montrose Global LLP
The Export-Impact Bank of China
Ironshore Speciality Insurance Company
- Advised Angel Trains on the re-leasing to Avanti West Coast of the Pendolino fleet operated on the West Coast franchise.
- Advised Flybe Plc in connection with the sale of its subsidiary, Flybe Limited.
- Continuing to advise Beacon Rail across its asset and portfolio management and leasing activities.
Led from London by Elinor Dautlich and also able to tap into the expertise of lawyers based in key jurisdictions, including Singapore and Greece, HFW's finance offering forms a vital component of the firm's full-service capabilities to a range of stakeholders in the maritime sector. Appreciated for its 'excellent industry knowledge', the team is as comfortable advising operators, as it is banks, across myriad financings within the loan and capital markets spaces. Tony Rice has longstanding expertise handling commercial debt and ECA-supported financings, and as well as advising on new money mandates is also regularly instructed by creditors and debtors in large-scale shipping and offshore restructurings. For aviation matters, the 'experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic' Adam Shire has niche corporate jet financing expertise, while on the commercial airline front, 'very talented' senior associate Barbara Pansadoro is well-versed across a range of structures, including export credit-backed financings, tax-based leases and pre-delivery payment (PDP) financings. The arrival of Asheesh Das in September from Elix Aviation Capital enhances the firm's lessor credentials.
‘Barbara Pansadoro at HFW is an extraordinary professional, with a high level of knowledge; promptness in providing comments in a so efficient manner; looking for our best position in any deal, but with a pragmatic approach. They don’t lose time in nonsense comments. High professionalism.’
‘Adaptability and a calmness under pressure. The team is capable of delivering first class work to strict deadlines, whilst always remaining good-humoured to work with/deal with.’
‘Siri Wennevik and John Forrester went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver top class work to very tight deadlines. Yet throughout they remained very good-natured and always agreeable to communicate with and to discuss plans.’
‘Business-minded and pragmatic approach. Competitive fees. Relationship-focused. Very reliable.’
‘Adam Shire – very experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic lawyer. He understands our company’s needs. Great listener with excellent communication skills. Creative, “out-of-the-box” thinker.’
‘The HFW London [team] are responsive, always reliable and a pleasure to work with. They have a great dedicated team and as a bonus, often come out slightly more reasonably priced than other firms!’
‘Katherine Noble is excellent. Highly experienced in bank work, she understands the commercial perspectives of our business and is able to facilitate smooth execution of transactions in a timely and diligent manner.’
‘Gudmund Bernitz is an excellent partner at HFW with whom we have worked for many years. High knowledge of shipping and shipping finance. He has assisted us with many transactions within different areas. His combination of English and Swedish law is very useful and convenient. We can only praise all his work with us over the years.’
Genting Hong Kong
Northern Offshore Group
Tsakos Energy Navigation
Oman Shipping Company
- Advised the Genting HK Group in relation to the highly complex $2.6bn export credit-backed financing of two ‘Global Class’ newbuilding cruise ships under construction at MV Werften in Germany.
- Acting for Svenska Handelsbanken and a syndicate of six banks on a $152m revolving credit facility for Concordia Maritime.
- Acting for Northern Offshore Group and its subsidiary Mareel in connection with a sale and leaseback transaction involving 25 vessels.
Reed Smith LLP
At Reed Smith LLP, Rob Wilkins leads the firm's global transactional shipping practice and 'brings a diligent and rare financing discipline to transactions', particularly in relation to non-performing loan portfolio acquisitions for funds clients. Under the guidance of Richard Hakes, who returned in 2017 following many years at Allen & Overy LLP, the firm also continues to be seen with increased regularity in the aviation sector, particularly on behalf of mid-market lessors and funds.
Other key lawyers:
‘Undoubtedly a strong bench for shipping work which is combined with an aviation team that seems to be growing the business in a competitive market. Their lawyers seem technically strong and responsive.’
‘Richard Hakes is doing a good job raising the profile of the aviation team. My sense is that it is an energetic team that is ready to go the extra mile to meet clients’ expectations.’
‘Rob Wilkins brings a diligent and rare financing discipline to shipping.’
‘A very knowledgeable and dependable team with good attention to detail and ability to understand key commercial drivers.’
‘Rob Wilkins has excellent knowledge of the industry and is a creative and pragmatic solution oriented adviser.’
‘Very cooperative and punctual on time lines. Never give up and come up with the solution even in the very tight timeline. They can guide us quite well from the goal to day-to-day tasks so that we can achieve the goal by the deadline.’
‘To the point, practical and solution minded. No nonsense, good quality advices and ability to act swiftly.’
‘Rob Wilkins handles complicated transactions in a very good way, manages to analyse and build up a structure for the transaction and works to secure the completion of the transactions.’
‘Philip Rymer is a professional, quick, to the point advisor.‘
Winston & Strawn LLP's 'proactive' two-partner team is 'excellent at managing large complex transactions', either acting on its own, or alongside lawyers based out of the US. It has a loyal creditor-focused aviation-sector client base, including banks, leasing companies and ECAs. As well as handling a significant amount work for leasing companies on the financing, sale and purchase of aircraft portfolios, 'very hands on and practical' team head Mark Moody also has a particular niche advising commercial banks and ECAs engaged in financings for Latin America-based airlines. Partner Alison Weal handles core aviation work and also has experience handling new money and restructuring mandates in the shipping sector.
‘In addition to their level and quality of work, W&S team is very proactive and problem solvers. They search for ways to meet their client’s goals and are able to recommend anywhere from the conservative to more aggressive approaches. Their team is excellent in managing large complex transactions or a simple one off.’
‘Mark Moody is irreplaceable. He understands his clients and what is important to each. This results in his team providing a tailored approach and a high quality service based on his clients’ goals.
‘The team is diversified and the partners have a breadth and depth of expertise on which they can draw to support a client on cross border transactions. This includes regular financings as well as more complex restructuring work.’
‘Mark Moody is very hands on and comes up with practical solutions to complex problems. He has high attention to detail yet does not lose sight of the big picture. Deep aviation expertise in cross border transactions.’
Aviation Capital Group
European Export Credit Agencies (UK Export Finance, Bpifrance, Euler Hermes)
Development Bank of Japan
Wings Capital Partners
- Advised MUFG, as facility agent and lender, in the JOLCO financing of six Airbus A320 aircraft for LATAM Airlines Group.
- Represented ACG in the securitisation of a portfolio of 24 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. The aircraft are subject to leases with 19 airlines based in 15 countries.
- Acted for ACG in the recovery of numerous aircraft and engines on lease to Thomas Cook following the high-profile insolvency of Thomas Cook.
Principally focused on rail-related mandates - under the guidance of the 'proactive and client-focused' Clive Smith, Addleshaw Goddard advises manufacturers, lessors and financiers across a range of work. This includes new build rolling stock projects. Outside of the rail sector, the firm's Edinburgh office handles a variety of transactional shipping work, including sales and purchases, as well as financing work for lenders and borrowers.
‘Excellence in Shipbuilding Contracts.’
‘They have an excellent understanding of our challenges and how we like to work.’
‘Clive Smith is exceptional at dealing with the most complex and time pressured transactions with speed, flair and organisational rigor. His drafting is always second to none, taking into account the myriad concerns present in multi-party, multi-document deals. Clive anticipates problems before they come into being and is proactive in coming up with client focused solutions, thereby smoothing out the bumps in the long and winding road to closing, to the fullest extent possible.’
‘Clive Smith would always be my first port of call for assistance in a complex transaction. His ability to synthesize complex ideas into something comprehensible and ensure that no risk is missed, is unlike any other lawyer I have known in the asset finance sector. His in depth knowledge of the rail industry ensures that his advice is always accurate.’
TATA SIA Airlines (Trading As Vistara)
Hero Inc, B.V.
Helix Advisory Services Limited
Union Bancaire Privée (UBP)
Stobart Group Plc
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited
Royal Bank of Scotland plc
Yuexin International Development Limited
Briggs Marine Contractors Limited
Delta Marine Limited
Lombard North Central plc
Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Limited
Caspian Offshore Construction LLC
Stone Marine Services Limited
Clydesdale Bank Plc
- Advising SMBC Leasing and Equitix as the equity sponsors, backed by a lending group of banks and institutional investors, arranged by Goldman Sachs, in relation to the circa £885m secured financing of x4 fleets of new-build rolling stock, for operation by KeolisAmey on the Wales & Borders franchise.
- Advising Eversholt Rail on the re-leasing of its incumbent Class 375, 376 and 465 rolling stock fleets comprising over 1000 vehicles – into the Southeastern franchise, as part of its 2019 direct award franchise extension.
- Re-financing work for eight pilot vessels including delivery of two new vessels in 2019/2020.
Led by consultant Dan Tindall, Clyde & Co LLP's transactional shipping practice is particularly aligned to advising owners on their financing needs, in addition to advice in relation to shipbuilding contracts. As well as conventional commercial shipping mandates, the team is also well versed at handling super yacht finance and LNG-related transactional work (although this was recently weakened by the departure in May 2020 of Stuart McAlpine to Ince). On the aviation front, Mark Bisset has a strong reputation for numerous commercial operators, including Turkish Airlines, in addition to his market-leading corporate jet finance practice.
‘I am very pleased by their services. Firstly, they do not take from your time, on the contrary they make you save time. Secondly, they are absolutely one of the best firms regarding value for money criteria. They respond very timely with high quality knowledge. Furthermore, they are very practical and keep the things simple.’
‘Mark Bisset , Thomas van der Wijngaart and Nicholas Harding are very understanding, cooperative and practical.’
Royal Air Maroc
- Advised Turkish Airlines on a novel insurance-backed €200m financing of five Airbus aircraft with French tax lease structure.
- Represented Turkish Airlines on the financing of two Boeing 787-9 aircraft with guarantee provided by ACG though its Aircraft Financing Solutions (AFS) program.
- Advised Turkish Airlines on the commercial debt financing of three Boeing 787-9 aircraft by PK AirFinance.
Primarily focused on work in the aviation sector, the 'highly skilled and knowledgeable' three-partner team at DLA Piper provides 'technically good' advice to a lessor and airline-focused client base across myriad financings. The ability to access experts world-wide, including a nascent office in Dublin, (of strategic importance on the lessor front given the preponderance of entities based there) ensures that the firm is well placed to handle cross-border mandates. 'Commercially-minded' team head Alan Cunningham has a focus on corporate jet mandates for high-net-worth individuals and lenders.
‘The team as a whole is always friendly and approachable, always at the end of a phone and always respond promptly to emails. The instructions that they provide are concise and to the point.’
‘I have worked with Anna Powers for a number of years and she is always great to work with. Very approachable and happy to help or answer any queries as they come up over the course of a transaction. She is a very capable lawyer.’
‘A highly skilled and knowledgeable team of individuals who work together to provide an extremely high level of service to their clients.’
‘A strong understanding of the importance of client delivery. Alan Cunningham leads a team (Anna Powers, Claire Manley & Chris Nash) of commercially minded forward thinking professionals who excel in their area of expertise.’
‘We have dealt with DLA Piper for a number of years on numerous transactions and they are our firm of choice for marine and aviation legal requirements.’
‘My experience with DLA Piper (in the area of aircraft leasing) has been nothing but positive. The lawyers in their Aviation group are well versed with respect to the subject matter, efficient and pragmatic in their approach. They are also a pleasure to deal with as people; they treat all transaction participants professionally and collegially. Their efficiencies are reflected in their billings which I have always found to be reasonable.’
‘The individual lawyers who I have primarily worked with (Richard Skipper (partner) and Alison Balfour (associate)) are the reason for my exceptional opinion of DLA Piper.’
‘The team are very close knit and everyone is approachable and invests time to understand and assist with queries and advice.’
‘The team understand their sector and area of expertise entirely. If you are unable to get in touch with your contact someone else will always step in to help.’
‘Claire Manley deserves a mention. Claire is incredibly knowledgeable in her sector and will always look at ways to provide a solution, taking time to understand the issue and provide advice and guidance. Claire is extremely likeable, approachable and calm and an absolute pleasure to work with.’
‘Technically good and easy to deal with. Very responsive. An underrated practice.’
‘Richard Skipper is a very approachable lawyer with sound judgement.‘
- Advised Etihad Airways on a pioneering €100m sustainable finance transaction, by which the company has become the first airline to secure funding for a project based on its compatibility with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Acted for GTLK Europe DAC as lessor which involved drafting all leasing documentation and coordinating the transaction including meetings in Jordan. This transaction was important as it was part of a larger project assisting GTLK with aircraft that had been repossessed from the collapse of Air Berlin.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's London practice can draw upon the expertise of lawyers from within the firm's broader aviation industry practice group, as well as working closely with asset finance practitioners based out of Asia Pacific. The nascent London offering has therefore quickly established itself as a significant player in the aviation sector. Led by the 'well regarded' Rex Rosales, the two-partner team's primary focus is representing lessors and financial institutions, with expertise spanning a range of commercial debt financings (including highly structured capital markets mandates), export credit-backed financings and portfolio-related matters.
Bayerische Landesbank (Bayern LB)
Bpifrance Assurance Export
Erste Group Bank
Expert Development Canada
JP Morgan Private Bank
National Australia Bank
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank
TAP Air Portugal
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group
World Star Aviation
- Advised Virgin Atlantic Airways on its participation in the Connect Airways consortia (a joint venture company owned by Virgin Atlantic together with Stobart Aviation and Cyrus Capital Partners) in its acquisition of Flybe. The firm advised on the related share sale, a £20m bridge finance facility, and additional financing for working capital purposes.
- Advising BNP Paribas on the sub-charter of an LNG tanker, reviewing underlying financing documentation, charter and sub-charter agreements, advising on insurance assignments and the granting of finance parties’ consent to the sub-charter.
- Advising an Australian lender on the sub-charter of two LNG tankers, reviewing underlying financing documentation, charter and sub-charter agreements, advising on insurance assignments and the granting of finance parties’ consent to the sub-charter.
Holland & Knight (UK) LLP
Led by Robert Ricketts, Holland & Knight (UK) LLP's 'experienced and capable' three-partner team has a sizeable following among lessors and airlines, with work ranging from commoditised sale and leaseback transactions, through to more structured and complex mandates, including aircraft lease securitisations and EETC capital markets matters. As well as handling standalone matters, the firm also frequently partners up with its excellent US team in New York, providing clients with the flexibility to structure deals incorporating both UK and New York governed law.
‘Excellent team work by highly experienced and capable individuals. Very responsive,’
‘Robert Ricketts, Tim Murray and Gwynn O’Flynn are outstanding experts in their respective fields and put the client’s needs for advice first.‘
GE Capital Aviation Services Limited
Investec Bank Plc
Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE)
The Milestone Aviation Group Limited
AerCap Holdings, N.V.
SMBC Aviation Capital Limited
BBAM Aircraft Management LP
- Advised AerCap in its only secured portfolio financing for 2019 – this involved the financing and delivery of 11 aircraft to eight different airlines in seven countries.
- Representing Oman Air in connection with a fleet renewal, purchasing and leasing a large number of new aircraft from Boeing and a number of lessors, and various financings.
- Representing Close Brothers Aviation and Marine Finance Limited in connection with various loans to the aviation sector, in addition to advising on loans for various super yachts.
Ince's practice has been enhanced by the recent arrival of LNG/offshore expert Stuart McAlpine who joined in May 2020 from Clyde & Co LLP. Additionally, a number of asset finance lawyers joined, who were formerly at shipping boutique Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless (which merged with the firm at the beginning of 2020). The team provides an 'incredibly responsive and practical' service to banks and owners/operators across a range of new money financings and restructurings. David Baker and Beatrice Russ co-head the team, with the latter noted for her 'commercial insight' and 'special expertise on sale and leaseback transactions'.
Other key lawyers:
‘We have worked closely with Andy Powell for several years and always found him available, professional and pleasant to work with. He has a hands-on solution-focused approach.’
‘They are very experienced, knowledgeable and trustworthy, as well as being incredibly responsive and practical. We are always very happy with the work that they do for us.’
‘Beatrice Russ is incredibly experienced, skilled and knowledgeable on ship financing matters in general and with a special expertise on sale and leaseback transactions. She excels in all practice areas, including drafting, deal structuring and negotiation with counterparties. She has great commercial insight and we trust her judgement implicitly.‘
Golar LNG Limited
Golar Power Limited
KfW-IPEX Bank GmbH
Nordea Bank Abp, filial i Norge
- Advised Gimi MS Corporation (a joint venture of Keppel Capital and Golar LNG) on a $700m long-term financing facility from a syndicate of international banks for the financing of the one LNG carrier Gimi and its conversion into an FLNG facility.
- Advised a syndicate led by KfW IPEX-Bank in respect of two financings covering a total of eight newly build river cruise vessels for Viking River Cruises.
- Advised long-standing client Golar Power Limited on the sale and leaseback financing in respect of the LNG vessel Golar Penguin with Oriental Fleet International Company Limited.
K&L Gates LLP
Led out of London by the 'exceptional' Sidanth Rajagopal and also able to access experts spread across the firm's international network of offices, K&L Gates LLP's two-partner team provides a 'very proactive service' to lessors, airlines and lenders across a range of matters, from large securitisations through to sale and leaseback arrangements and the trading of parts.
ACIA Aero Holdings Limited
Kayan Aircraft Holdings
- Advised Citigroup Global Markets, Royal Bank of Canada and Mizuho on the financing aspects around the acquisition of PK AirFinance from GE.
- Advised VietJet on the sale and leaseback by way of JOLCO of two A321/NEO planes.
- Advised flydubai on the sale and leaseback of three 737-MAX aircraft from FPG.
The cross-practice nature of Linklaters LLP's asset finance team means that it can draw upon the broader expertise of the firm's private equity, capital markets, structured finance and restructuring teams. This ensures that it is well positioned to advise on the more complex and bespoke mandates in the market. The 'responsive and knowledgeable' team head Olga Petrovic is 'great to work with' and is noted for her 'solution-driven approach' on behalf of banks and lessors.
‘Olga Petrovic and her team are excellent at transaction management and communication which helps the transactions run smoothly and efficiently.’
‘Olga Petrovic is great to work with.’
‘Linklaters has participated in the development of two standard ship financing term sheets for bilateral and syndicated transactions, both published by BIMCO. The drafting team consisted of representatives of shipping companies, ship financing banks and lawyers. Linklaters had a significant role in the development of the term sheets, providing expertise and insights into what is practice in the ship finance market and, as this is a prerequisite for standard BIMCO forms, what is fair and balanced.’
‘Olga Petrovic participated in the drafting team. Throughout the development work, Olga Petrovic’s expertise and experience with ship financing transactions was of great value in so far as she brought a huge amount of up-to-date knowledge to the group which was used to determine what was market standard and what was not sufficiently common in the market to be included in the term sheet.’
‘They are professionals, very knowledgeable and attentive.’
‘They have industry knowledge, fast response times, good team spirit, and a solution driven approach.’
‘Good partner presence on the deal, knowledge and capability.’
‘Olga Petrovic is commercial, organised and has a practical approach which is really valued on-deal. Always available to discuss and talk through matters – her experience really shows. She is also friendly and approachable which makes her an easy choice when choosing counsel to work with.’
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch
China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited
Citibank N.A, London Branch
UBS Switzerland AG
China Orient Asset Management Holding Limited
SeaCube Container Leasing, Inc.
European Investment Bank
- Advised MUFG Bank, and its affiliate Bank of Tokyo Leasing, on their $6.3bn acquisition of the aviation finance business of DVB Bank.
- Advised China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited on the structuring and implementation of their sidecar international investment vehicle for aviation leasing, to invest in aircraft portfolio on lease to global airlines.
- Advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, a secured vessel lender, in connection with the US chapter 11 insolvencies of Toisa Limited and its affiliates.
Aviation finance is a core area of focus for boutique City-based commercial law firm REN Legal. Consequently, clients benefit from 'superb industry knowledge' and a high level of commerciality across a range of transactions relating to the sale, purchase, leasing and financing of aircraft and engines. As it does not have any foreign offices, the firm is regularly engaged in cross-border mandates due to its being unfettered in its ability to work with law firms situated in the relevant jurisdiction. Norman Fraser, Christopher Jackson and Adam Longney (who has 'exceptional knowledge of the leasing market') lead the practice and collectively have 'great industry and market knowledge'.
‘The practice has great industry and marked knowledge, vital for advising on legal matters in the aviation sector.’
‘Primarily the industry expertise of the individuals makes them stand out.’
‘The practice is very experienced and has a very detailed knowledge of their expert areas.’
Erste Bank AG
Engine Lease Finance Corporation
TAP Air Portugal
Vx Capital Partners
Harel Insurance Company Limited
- Advised TAP Air Portugal in connection with its financing and delivery of two x A330-900 neo aircraft.
- Advised TAP Air Portugal on the retirement and sale of its legacy A340 and A330 aircraft.
Bristol-based firm Burges Salmon LLP has 'very strong' rail industry knowledge, with work encompassing operational, regulatory and transactional matters. Team head Brioney Thomas regularly handles rolling stock financing and procurement work for many of the country's most prominent train operating companies. Although he is less active on the financing front, Simon Coppen has a strong reputation in the sector and heads up the rail franchising group.
FirstGroup (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, First TransPennine Express and Hull Trains)
Abellio Transport Holdings (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and ScotRail)
Welsh Government / Transport for Wales
Northern Ireland Railways Company (trading as Translink)
Eurostar International Limited (trading as Eurostar)
Rock Rail East Midlands plc
Rail Delivery Group
- Advised new client Rock Rail East Midlands Plc, on the £400m financing of a new fleet of Hitachi trains for Abellio’s East Midlands Railway.
- Advised long-standing client FirstGroup and its joint venture partner Trenitalia on the £300m procurement and financing of new Hitachi trains for the West Coast franchise.
- Advised open access operator East Coast Trains Limited on its £100m procurement and financing of new trains for use on the East Coast Franchise.
Overseen by Tim Elliot who splits his time between London and Hong Kong, CMS represents operators and lessors across a range of commercial debt and ECA-backed financings. Less visible in the conventional commercial shipping sector, the team's strength lies in handling offshore/projects-related financings of LNG vessels and FPSOs, particularly with a nexus to Latin America and Asia. The 'approachable' Keith Wilson heads the aviation finance work, and advises a mix of banks, lessors and investors on the acquisition, disposal, financing and leasing of aircraft, helicopters, aircraft engines and aircraft spare parts.
‘Counsels from CMS have extensive experience in dealing with various types of transactions re aircraft financing. They always are good at evaluating commercial and legal benefits when proceeding with transactions, not sticking to so-called concerns or risks in theory but get the full vision of the whole transaction. This could give clients higher quality and efficiency support.’
‘Keith Wilson, partner of finance and leasing section of CMS is really good at making transactions happen smoothly happen and has good control of legal risks.’
‘Neha Arora, senior associate in finance & leasing section of CMS always provides high quality work support.’
‘The CMS team is technically excellent. They have vast experience with a deep understanding of the legal and commercial issues.’
‘They care about and understand Chinese Companies’ requirements. They are reliable and the communication between us was efficient.’
‘Most of them can speak Mandarin.‘
‘They have a high level of partner involvement.‘
ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited
volofin Holdings DAC
CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited
Goshawk Aviation Limited
GasLog Limited / GasLog Partners
Bumi Armada Berhad
- Advised ICBC on the leasing of ten Embraer E196-E2 Aircraft to KLM Cityhopper B.V.
- Advised GasLog Ltd. on its $1.05bn ECA-backed debt financing with 12 international banks in respect of seven new-build LNGCs, due for delivery in 2020 and 2021.
- Advising the senior debt funder group to the Rock Rail/Aberdeen Standard consortium on all aspects (including finance and commercial documents) of the funding for the purchase of 135 new build vehicles to be manufactured by Hitachi – comprising 10 seven-car EMUs and 13 five-car bi-modes, that will enter service from 2022.
The 'commercial and flexible' Graeme McLellan heads up Greenberg Traurig, LLP's nascent asset finance group, following his arrival from Stephenson Harwood in August 2019. McLellan is 'knowledgeable about all things rail' and is well positioned to develop a strong practice at the firm given his expertise across the spectrum of procurement, financing and leasing matters within the industry.
Other key lawyers:
‘Graeme McLellan is knowledgeable about all things rail and has a very commercial outlook which help to get the job done.’
‘Graeme McLellan is very flexible and commercial.‘
Macquarie Bank / Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
- Representation of various institutional investors in a landmark private placement refinancing of £250m senior secured notes issued by leading UK train leasing company, Porterbrook.
- Advising Macquarie on all matters in relation to the sale of three European passenger and freight rolling stock portfolios operating across Europe.
- Representation of Equitix Limited as the equity investor in relation to the ongoing financing of the development of the Norwich Crown Point Light Maintenance Depot (NCP) and the financing of a new overnight stabling facility at Norwich Victoria Sidings (NVS) for the fleet of trains being maintained at NCP.
Although it has recently been increasingly active financing other transportation assets, including corporate jets, Hill Dickinson LLP remains best known for its shipping finance offering for operators and lenders. Panos Pourgourides is one of the foremost practitioners in the country in the superyacht space and co-heads the overarching team with Roderick Palmer, who has a focus on more traditional commercial shipping matters.
Oman Shipping Company
J.Marr (Seafoods) Limited
Laskaridis Shipping Company
PG Cruise Line Ltd
Advanced Energy Systems (ADES) SAE
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)
Bank of America
- Advised Laskaridis Shipping on the financing and acquisition of six reefer vessels.
- Advised PG Cruise Line Ltd on the sale of luxury cruise line business.
- Advised Advanced Energy Systems on the acquisition and financing of various oil rigs and other assets.
Slaughter and May
Although Slaughter and May does not have a discrete asset finance practice, numerous lawyers within the broader finance group have built up considerable expertise in the area on behalf of some major transportation clients, most notably British Airways.
Other key lawyers:
International Airlines Group (IAG)
Orient Overseas (International) Limited
Legal & General Investment Management
The Department for Transport
- Advising IAG, the world’s largest multinational airline holding company, on the complex asset finance and leasing aspects of its proposed €1bn acquisition of Air Europa. The transaction involved an analysis of the complex financing and ownership arrangements of Air Europa’s fleet of aircraft.
- Advising AlixPartners (as prospective administrators to Thomas Cook), on the asset finance and leasing aspects of Thomas Cook’s restructuring, including in relation to complex negotiations with the government regarding repatriation of overseas customers.
- Advising the Department for Transport on procuring freight capacity for category one goods in the event of a no deal Brexit and setting up a framework for this and other purposes.