Firm Profile > Watson Farley & Williams LLP > Paris, France

Watson Farley & Williams LLP
26 AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES
75 008 PARIS
France

Shipping finance Tier 1

Clients of Watson Farley & Williams LLP benefit from the firm's presence in all major ship finance centres, with the group experienced in advising on French, English, German, Italian, New York and Marshall Islands law. The team is retained by a mix of lenders to the shipping industry and export credit agencies, which increasingly instruct the department on restructurings, work-outs and enforcement matters. Asset and project finance specialist Alexia Russell leads on English law matters and jointly heads the practice alongside Laurence Martinez-Bellet, who focuses on cross-border transactions and is also the key contact for issues relating to French law.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Martinez-Bellet; Alexia Russell

Key clients

B.A.I. (Bretagne Angleterre Irlande)

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Société Générale

Aviation finance Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's well-established presence in asset management extends to aviation finance, where the Paris-based practice is regularly appointed to panels for several large banks. Notably, the team was selected to sit on the Aviation Working Group, advising on its Global Aircraft Trading System and the development of ESG policies. Other work for the department includes complex alternative funding structures, leasing transactions and debt capital market financings on behalf of a broad client list featuring manufacturers, export credit agencies, arrangers and lessors. Asset finance specialist Alexia Russell takes the reins in France following global co-head of aviation Charles Viggers' relocation to the Singapore office.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Avions de Transport Régional G.I.E.

Bank of China

BNP Paribas

BRED Banque Populaire

CaixaBank

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale

Deutsche Bank

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

European ECAs (ECGD, Bpifrance Assurance Export and Euler Hermes)

Export-Import Bank of the United States

French Ministry of Defence

Hamburg Commercial Bank (fka HSH Nordbank)

ICBC Financial Leasing

Investec

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

La Banque Postale

Natixis

Société Générale

Banking and finance: transactional work Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's financing practice advises on matters governed by both English and French law. As well as acting for a significant number of leading international financial institutions, the group also represents a number export credit agencies and banks. The practice's strong reputation in the energy, infrastructure and transportation sectors, is complemented by its expertise in asset finance, although the department does have broader capabilities in project, leveraged, export credit, acquisition and real estate finance. Laurence Martinez-Bellet leads the team and has a strong track record in cross-border shipping transactions. Philippe Wolanski is another key name, specialising in corporate and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Philippe Wolanski 

Testimonials

The practice is always significantly invested from the first phase of a transaction.

‘Laurence Martinez-Bellet’s advice is always rigorous, pertinent and well judged.

Always available and reactive, the team listens well and always provides pragmatic solutions.

The team at Watson Farley is always available and imaginative in providing answers to our questions. We always find them useful.

Excellent understanding of the market particularly in the maritime sector.

The team demonstrates great expertise and always adds a great amount of value.

Key clients

Akuo Energy

Banque Palatine

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Ermewa

ING Bank

La Banque Postale

Natixis

Société Générale

Industry focus: Energy Tier 2

Watson Farley & Williams LLP assists an extensive client base of key domestic and international players: project developers, equity sponsors, investors, banks and other lenders. The firm is recognised for its strong presence in domestic renewable energy projects, but also regularly advises on similar European projects. Combining strong structured finance, project, public law and regulatory expertise, the firm handles a high amount of greenfield and brownfield mid- to large-scale projects, including one of the country’s landmark wind projects. In addition, the firm is retained to advise on innovative projects in relation to new energy storage and corporate PPP initiatives. The practice is co-headed by regulatory and public law expert Laurent Battoue, structured finance expert Laurence Martinez-Bellet, corporate partner Arnaud Félix and tax partner Romain Girtanner.

Practice head(s):

Laurent Battoue; Laurence Martinez-Bellet; Arnaud Félix; Romain Girtanner

Testimonials

‘Extremely knowledgeable regarding the French renewables sector. Very responsive and pragmatic when it comes to problem-solving. Tight control on spending. Nothing is too much trouble – a real pleasure to work with.’

‘Good expertise on new types of issues such as corporate PPA and energy storage matters.’

‘Very good knowledge of the market. Great negotiation skills.’

‘High-level expertise. Public law partner Laurent Battoue is well recognised in his field. He provides accurate, thorough and practical judgements. Laurence Martinez Bellet is a very experienced professional.’

‘Open mindset and professionalism. Their knowledge of regulatory matters in different fields of energy, transport and finance and their presence in Europe are a key to success.’

‘Laurence Martinez Bellet has excellent knowledge of the renewable energy market and is highly available. She has recognised expertise and finds solutions to complex matters.’

Key clients

Akuo Energy

Amundi Transition Energétique

BayWa r.e.

BNP Paribas

Bpifrance Financement

Banque Populaire Grand Ouest

Caisse d’Epargne Provence – Alpes – Corse (CEPAC)

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

Envision

ING Bank

La Banque Postale

Meridiam

Natixis

Predica Energies Durables

Renault

RES

RGreen Invest

Société Générale

Technique Solaire

Valorem

Ze Energy

Administrative and public law Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice strongly focuses on infrastructure and energy work and offers in-depth expertise of advising major French and international sponsors and developers on large greenfield and brownfield renewables energy projects in France and Europe. It is also well versed in advising large private sector companies and start-ups on innovative projects in energy and transport mobility, such as corporate PPA, hydrogen production and battery storage projects. In addition, the practice also advises on major PPP and public procurement projects. Laurent Battoue leads the practice. Arnaud Troizier is the other key contributor.

Practice head(s):

Laurent Battoue

Other key lawyers:

Arnaud Troizier

Testimonials

An ultra-available and open-minded team.’

‘Very fine analytical skills and great knowledge of the public contract and project environment.’

‘Arnaud Troizier is a very good expert in public contracts who integrates clients’ requests in his research for innovative contractual solutions. He is very available and responsive. His work is extremely concise and spot-on.’

Key clients

Amundi Transition Energétique

Bâtiment Force Centre

Bouygues Energies and Services

BTP Impact Local

French Ministry of Defence

Meridiam

Renault

Séché Environnement

Suez

The Renewables Infrastructures Group

Vauban Infrastructure Partners (f.k.a. Mirova)

Tax Tier 4

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s team has a strong focus on tax structuring of private equity and structured finance deals and projects conducted by the firm in the domestic and European renewable energy sector. Headed by Romain Girtanner, the team acts for investment funds, banks, financial institutions, corporations, public and private companies, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. It also has good expertise in structured finance and leasing transactions, particularly in shipping finance and aviation finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Romain Girtanner

Testimonials

 ‘The French tax team has excellent knowledge of existing tax laws and their application in the ‘real world’. The lawyers are very good at communicating any changes (or proposed changes) to French tax law and what the implications could be for our business which has proven invaluable.’

Key clients

Access Capital

Akuo Energy

Amundi Transition Energétique

BNP Paribas

DIF

Naxicap Partners

Predica Energies Renouvelables

RES

RGreen Invest

Société Générale

DEDICATED TO CLIENT CARE, INDUSTRY FOCUS AND INVESTMENT IN OUR PEOPLE

We are an international law firm advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.  We have a strong sector focus, combining our technical excellence with deep industry knowledge across energy, transport and real estate.

Our business exists to help our clients achieve their goals, partnering with them to meet the challenges they face today and will face tomorrow.

Our values rest on developing deep and long-lasting relationships externally and internally through respect, sharing, communication and integrity.

We strive for excellence in all that we do and view investment in our people as key to achieving our business goals and values.

Our teams are integrated across legal disciplines and offices delivering consistently high levels of service locally and in combination across borders.

 

HISTORY

Sector focus has been at the heart of our strategy since we opened for business in 1982.  Having started life as an asset finance boutique focusing on the maritime and aviation industries, our Transport focus quickly expanded to other supply-chain led industries, most notably, Renewable and Conventional Energy and Real Estate and associate infrastructure across these industries.

Through our offices around the world, we provide a full suite of services within our core sectors enabling us to deliver exceptional value to our clients.

FACTS

  • FOUNDED 1982
  • 170+ PARTNERS
  • 550+ LAWYERS
  • 17 OFFICES
Photo Name Position Profile
 Laurence Martinez Bellet  photo Laurence Martinez Bellet Laurence has over 20 years’ experience advising domestic and international clients on…
 Alexia Russell photo Alexia Russell Alexia specialises in asset finance, leasing and project finance, where she acts…
 Philippe Wolanski photo Philippe Wolanski Philippe advises on a broad range of banking and finance transactions, including…
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