Banking & Finance: Finland
THE FIRM This much-admired firm is at the forefront of banking and finance work, handling domestic and international financing cases of significant magnitude and complexity. The team has notable strength in project financing, recently acting for the industrial consortium behind the EUR623 million E18 motorway project. The firm also maintains close ties with the banking sector, often working for prominent Nordic financial institutions, such as Nordea, Danske Bank, Swedbank and Sampo Bank.
Sources say: "The lawyers have an impressive knowledge base and are really tough negotiators. They look after a client's interests."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tero Tuomisto gains plaudits for his expertise in finance. Sources describe him as "very dedicated, reliable and solution-oriented."
Interviewees recognise Pekka Lehtinen's long-standing experience in banking, finance and capital markets. He also manages the Russia desk and frequently advises on cross-border projects. He is fluent in Finnish, English, German and Russian.
Sakari Lukinmaa maintains a strong relationship with Finland's banks, recently acting for Pohjola Bank on the arrangement of acquisition financing for PKC Group's EUR181 million purchase of AEES companies.
Jonne Järvi was part of the team advising a syndicate of banks on the financing for a soy processing plant.
THE FIRM This robust Nordic firm has a highly rated banking and finance practice. Sources praise its client-focused service, highlighting its 24-hour availability on complex deals. Recent activity has focused on the restructuring market, and a notable case was advising Sampo Bank as the senior lenders on the reorganisation planning of Moventas. Other high-profile clients include Nordea, Goldman Sachs and the Republic of Finland.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Henrik Mattson is appreciated as one of the top lawyers in the Finnish banking and finance market, and clients praise his practical approach.
Markus Bremer is well regarded for his work with major financial institutions. He recently advised 3i, Goldman Sachs and Ilmaren on their acquisition of Vattenfall's heating and electricity businesses.
The highly experienced Matti Engelberg is respected for his knowledge of banking and finance law, in addition to his work on restructuring matters. He recently assisted Ahlstrom with its EUR250 million revolving credit facility.
Clients commend Jari Tukiainen for being as impressive, available and easy to deal with.
Maria Lassenius has established herself in the Finnish market, recently acting as one of the lead lawyers on the debt restructuring of Myllykoski and Rhein Paper.
THE FIRM This sterling regional firm has been especially prominent in project financing lately, acting for the lender group behind the E18 motorway project, and for the syndicate of banks that financed the construction of wind farms by Tuuliwatti. It has vast experience of acting for major domestic clients, and recently represented Finnair in the financing of its joint venture acquisition with FlyBe of Finnish Commuter Airlines. It is equally capable in international work, and acts for a number of significant international financial institutions.
Sources say: "This is a very reputable firm and the quality is top-notch." "The team keeps to the timetable and delivers what it promises."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gunnar Westerlund is a leading light in Finnish banking and finance. He is active in all of the practice's work, and sources state that "the precision of his advice is excellent. He is technically good and he presents you with all the facts and options."
Selinda Näse has a strong relationship with Nordic banks, and is recognised for her "logical thinking."
The "very capable" Sini Soini recently assisted with the E18 Motorway project financing banking syndicate. In addition, she advised on the funding of Finnair's joint venture takeover of Finnish Commuter Airlines.
Helena Viita was part of the team assisting Amplion Asset Management with its financing for new portfolio assets. Interviewees regard her as "a pleasure to work with."
Up-and-comer Kaisa Kallio is seen by clients as a "creative individual with good negotiation skills."
THE FIRM This firm maintains close ties with the Nordic banking sector, granting its banking and finance practice a key role on many of the major financing mandates in the region. The team recently represented a banking syndicate in the financing for Suominen's acquisition of Ahlstrom's Home and Personal businesses. The practice also demonstrates pan-Baltic strength, thanks to its Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian offices. The offices recently collaborated with the Helsinki team on Svenska Handelsbanken's financing of the acquisition of Finnkino by Ratos.
Sources say: "It's always a pleasure to work with these lawyers, even if it's a tough deal."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Having previously worked at Nordea, Andrei Aganimov has "extensive experience of how a bank works and the kind of restrictions a bank may encounter." He is revered by clients as a lawyer who "understands business from a commercial point of view," and also excels in negotiations.
Ari Kaarakainen is actively involved in work with the Finnish banks, recently advising Pohjola Bank on its financing of Lujatalo and Kiinteistö Sola Business Valley.
THE FIRM This talented Finnish firm has recently been active in real estate financing, assisting Sveafastigheter with its acquisition of 68 retail properties across Finland, in a deal valued at over EUR100 million. Clients acknowledge its strong experience in mezzanine financing and its presence in debt restructuring. This includes a recent case for a Nordic banking syndicate involving the refinancing of Kemira's EUR300 million revolving credit facility.
Sources say: "The lawyers are really diligent with their work, and their drafting is very good."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients single out department head Päivi Toivari as one of the prominent figures in Finnish banking and finance. She is respected as someone who "takes care of her client very well and sees the whole picture." Another source adds: "She is very sharp, punctual and conscious of the quality and cost issues."
US-qualified lawyer Kimmo Mettälä brings an international perspective to the team, recently working with Crédit Agricole CIB and SEB in a telecoms export financing.
Juha Wessman impresses with his work in real estate finance. He represented Evli Property Investments in a refinancing case with Nordea.
THE FIRM White & Case has a major international presence in this area, with a global network that allows it to act on a range of multi-jurisdictional deals. Of late the team represented Sanoma in the complex financing of its EUR1.225 billion acquisition of SBS Netherlands and SBS Belgium, a transaction involving aspects of Belgian, Dutch, English and Finnish law. The firm works closely with international banks, recently acting for RBC Capital Markets, BNP Paribas and IKB Deutsche Industriebank on their financing of Advent International's acquisition of Mondo Minerals.
Sources say: "I know that White & Case will always deliver." "A well-established player."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Timo Airisto is a prominent figure in acquisition financing, working on UPM-Kymmene's EUR900 million purchase of Myllykoski Group and Rhein Papier, a transaction also requiring financial restructuring expertise. Sources recognise his capabilities in all areas of corporate work, lauding him as "an all-rounder."
The "highly appreciated" Tanja Törnkvist is very active working with many of the firm's international banking clients. She also advises large corporations, recently acting for global packaging company Huhtamäki on its EUR400 million syndicated multicurrency revolving credit facility.
THE FIRM Known in the market for providing a high-quality banking and finance service, this team is heavily involved in Finnish industrial financing work. It recently advised private equity firm Ratos on its financing for the acquisition of Finnish movie theatre group Finnkino. It is equally strong in cross-border work, acting for major international clients including RBS, BNP Paribas and SEB.
Sources say: "The lawyers are able to think about issues not just from a purely academic perspective – they are also able to put the law into context for clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS A former president of the Finnish Bar Association, Kari Lautjärvi is universally admired by interviewees for his decades of experience in banking and securities law.
Department head Juha-Pekka Mutanen is known amongst sources for his strong presence on deals, and is the driving force behind the firm's industrial financing work.
Recently made partner Robin Nordblad is touted by many as a rising star in the Finnish market. He is admitted to the New York Bar and has an impressive international background, having previously worked at US and UK firms.
THE FIRM This highly skilled domestic firm is known for its strong international connections, representing clients such as Santander Consumer Finance in an auto loan securitisation in Finland, a matter value of EUR480 million. Its international approach is appreciated by interviewees, who see it as a firm that can accommodate the demands and expectations of global financial institutions.
Sources say: "Waselius & Wist helped on one of the most legally complex deals I've ever done. The team provided very creative thinking on how to overcome significant legal issues and adhere to specific commercial requirements."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lead figure Lauri Peltola works closely with domestic and international banking clients, recently advising BNP Paribas, ING and Nordea on their financing of Sanoma's acquisition of ProSiebenSat 1 in the Benelux region.
Clients appreciate Tarja Wist as a lawyer who is "extraordinarily good at putting together very unusual structures in deals." In addition to a strong banking background, she has long-standing experience in capital markets and M&A.
THE FIRM This Finnish firm is widely respected for its work in banking and finance, and is able to handle an array of mandates in this field. The team has recently been especially active in syndicated bank loan financing cases, such as the financing for Suominen's acquisition of Ahlström's fabric wipes business. The deal spanned several jurisdictions, including Brazil, Italy, Poland and the USA. Other key clients include Citibank and Aberdeen Property Funds.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tommi Elo is highly appreciated and trusted by clients for his extensive banking and finance experience. One source says of him: "It's very easy to get along with him, and we can really trust him. He does everything by the book."
THE FIRM This quality domestic player has a strong banking and finance team, which is supported by a robust corporate department. It is present on major international financing cases, acting for clients of the stature of RBS, HSBC, Citibank and BNP Paribas. Recent work highlights include advising US chemicals manufacturer OM Group on the Finnish aspects of its acquisition of German VAC Group.
Sources say: "We have been very pleased with the firm. It understands our operations very well, and working with it is easy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Antti Niemi is a visible figure in the market, leading the firm's presence in OM Group's acquisition of VAC Group.
Janne Tuulos is valued by clients for his export finance experience, recently acting for KfW IPEX-Bank and Nordea in connection with a USD200 million export credit facility for Telemar Norte Leste Brazil.
, sole practitioner at boutique firm Attorneys-at-Law Trust, provides specialised advice on complex, high-level banking and finance mandates for a range of clients, who appreciate him as a lawyer who "performs very well."
is an increasingly visible and respected banking associate at Bird & Bird, working with clients such as Forchem and Altia.
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