Banking & Finance: Greece
THE FIRM This well-established domestic firm continues to enjoy a stellar reputation for its banking and finance work. It is particularly noted for its regulatory practice and its impressive restructuring portfolio. The group receives instructions from major internationals such as BlackRock, Credit Suisse and RBS, as well as leading domestic banks including the National Bank of Greece. It covers the full range of financial matters, from secured and syndicated loans to various capital market products, including bonds, derivatives and other OTC products.
Sources say: "A very capable firm with big experience." "Karatzas is one of the best."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees rate Alexander Metallinos as one of the standout names in the field, highlighting his deep knowledge of the industry and "his ability to spot the key issues." Recent highlights include the securitisation of credit card receivables of EFG Eurobank Ergasias. Sources also highlight his thorough knowledge of the interaction between Greek and English law. Managing partner Catherine Karatzas is applauded for her extensive experience in banking and finance. She recently worked on behalf of BlackRock in the assessment of provisions of Greek credit institutions. Clients praise Christina Faitakis for her business-oriented and efficient advice, especially on project finance mandates. In this field she represented a set of lenders in a range of motorway projects, and the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank in the financing of several large wind parks.
THE FIRM KGDI enters the top band this year having earned some excellent feedback from market commentators. The team's deep bench strength and experience in a range of financial services make it an attractive choice for clients, many of which it advises on a continual basis. A prominent deal was the EUR5 billion covered bonds issue by the Bank of Cyprus Public Company. Other important mandates include aiding Coca-Cola HBC with a EUR2 billion note issue, and assisting the National Bank of Greece with its role as financial adviser for KORRES's share capital increase. In conjunction with the tax department, the team also acts on issues such as pool assets.
Sources say: "The team is very easy to work with and has a lot of really experienced people. I would recommend it."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Konstantinos Vouterakos's practice covers a range of transactional and regulatory issues, from M&A transactions to capital markets and securities. He works with a wide spectrum of international clients, including RBS, which he assisted with the integration of one of its Greek subsidiaries. Christina Papanikolopoulou is noted for her expertise in securitisation and has recently acted as legal counsel to HSBC and JPMorgan Securities on a USD500 million bond loan issued by the Black Sea Trade & Development Bank.
THE FIRM This full-service domestic powerhouse retains its position as one of the forerunners in banking and finance law. It has been busy of late in restructurings and mergers, representing a consortium of Greek banks in one restructuring and the arrangers of another. Other areas of activity are securitisation, acquisition finance, project finance, debt acquisition and assorted capital markets matters. The team continues to grow, whilst remaining committed to providing a partner-focused service. The firm is also a popular choice for referrals from both domestic and international firms.
Sources say: "We think it's very good as well as very organised, and provides a scientific point of view."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nikos Koritsas impresses observers with his extensive knowledge and expertise in the banking sector, and with his excellent track record in multi-jurisdictional deals. Practice head Nikos Salakas has broad experience in cross-border transactions, with clients describing his advice as "knowledgeable and straightforward." He is considered one of the leading names in Greece for capital markets work.
THE FIRM This large team is universally affirmed as a top choice in this practice area. It specialises in banking and finance, capital markets and project finance mandates, attracting big-name clients such as Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and HSBC. Clients appreciate the team's high-quality advice, speedy delivery and know-how in all financial areas, especially equity matters. A recent highlight was advising a multitude of banks as lead arrangers of the EUR900 million revolving credit bond loan issued by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation. Other prominent deals include advising Alapis on a EUR100 million rights issue and a EUR300 million convertible bonds issue. On the project finance side the team is currently assisting a syndicate of banks with the restructuring of the Maliakos-Kleidi motorway project.
Sources say: "The team produces outstanding work." "It understands the market and business terms, and how to translate these into legal clauses."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say Nikos Papachristopoulos stands out thanks to his "impressive knowledge of law and the economy as a whole" and his understanding of capital markets instruments. He advised a consortium of international banks in connection with the National Bank of Greece capital strengthening plan, consisting of a rights and convertible bond issue. Clients praise banking and finance practice head Athanasia Tsene for "identifying the issues and facilitating the transaction." Sources also admire her international transactional experience, and she is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on securitisation. She led on the Hellenic Telecommunications bond loan issue. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas is one of the pre-eminent names in the Greek legal market, with "the experience to run any sort of transaction," according to peers. His focus lies in project finance, where he has advised on several infrastructure projects. Yannis Kourniotis is highly respected for his banking and finance practice, chiefly for his project finance work in the energy and infrastructure fields.
THE FIRM This Athens firm remains one of the premier names for banking and finance work in Greece, servicing a strong banking clientele that includes BNP Paribas, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank. Clients can rely on the firm's expertise in a range of issues, from structured and mezzanine finance to acquisitions as well as securitisation and regulatory matters. It is also strong in banking M&A and assisting with the establishment of banks and financial institutions, and has been particularly active with various restructurings of late. The group advised Cardico on the refinancing of EUR70 million loans, and also restructured the loans for a listed construction company.
Sources say: "The negotiations involved long hours and the team was available and responsive round the clock."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources applaud Stathis Potamitis for his work in capital markets, M&A and, more recently, restructuring. He is well known for his international experience, particularly on issues pertaining to both US and Greek law. Department leader George Bersis impresses sources with "his excellent ideas on how to overcome problems" and his commercially oriented and creative approach. He advises on a range of matters, including capital markets and general financing, recently advising a syndicate of international banks on the Piraeus Bank rights issue in 2011. Euripides Ioannou has an excellent track record in project finance mandates and focuses closely on infrastructure projects.
THE FIRM This compact firm predominantly acts on the lender side, assisting clients such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The office is consolidating its banking and finance practice. Recent activity has centred on syndicated loans and project finance, where it advised Emporiki Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias on a EUR115 million corporate/project loan to a Greek construction company. As well as acting for the agent and arrangers, the team advised a syndicate of other banks. It also advised Emporiki Bank and HSBC on the issue of a EUR25 million bond loan by Housemarket to finance its acquisition of an SPV holding property.
Sources say: "The firm stands out due to its absolute dedication and commitment to deliver solutions in time and of the highest quality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate Alexandros Kosmopoulos's practical legal advice, "expertise and meticulous approach." He advised a group of international banks, including HSBC and Bank of America, in connection with a forward start facility for Titan Global Finance. He handles a range of finance mandates, especially general lending.
THE FIRM This boutique firm has a fantastic reputation and is respected across the board for its experience and in-depth knowledge of the banking sector. Although not such a presence on transactions, it is known for providing top-quality general banking advice. It acts for clients on high-yield and covered bonds issues, consumer finance and structuring new products. The firm's wealth of experience and commercial approach make it a popular choice with both domestic and international clients, including Citibank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources agree that George Moratis has a solid reputation in the field and describe him as a "landmark personality." He has extensive experience of working in the banking sector, advising some of the most important names in the Greek market, including Citibank.
THE FIRM The Athens branch of this international firm benefits from an extensive global network upon which it can draw to assist clients in large cross-border deals. One such notable transaction was advising the bank lenders to Maillis Group on its EUR300 million financial restructuring and recapitalisation. In other mandates, the team is acting for various lenders on restructuring syndicated facilities related to shopping malls in South-East Europe, and assisted RBS with the debt restructuring of the Helesi group of companies. As well as representing clients in transactional work the group advises on financial instruments, risk management and regulatory compliance matters. The team's strength in project and shipping finance is noted across the market, as are its strong UK links.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Yianni Cheilas is best known for his work in shipping finance, but has established a strong presence in general banking and finance cross-border mandates as well. He is qualified to practise under both English and Greek law, and frequently advises on transactions and restructurings.
THE FIRM This firm has long been a robust presence in the market, winning acclaim for its efficient, thorough and well-prepared service. It assisted with private and investment banking, regulatory matters and banking-related dispute resolution. It advises the European Investment Fund on the drafting of security documents and assists with implementing facility agreements with local credit institutions on a EUR250 million project. The team also has excellent working relationships with several leading international law firms, and recently acted for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank as lenders on a EUR265 million senior revolving credit facility and bond issue.
Sources say: "As a team it is very strong and supported us very well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dimitris Paraskevas is a well-established market player who is particularly noted for his strong commercial approach and international expertise. He has recently worked with an array of international clients, including Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, where he acted as local counsel on a senior revolving credit facility.
THE FIRM One of the oldest law firms in Greece, Lambadarios is lauded for its wealth of experience, modern approach and skills in finding innovative solutions. Highlights include advising Dresdner Landesbank on establishing its Greek enterprise, covering both regulatory matters and performing a review of all loan documentation. The team also assisted Alpha Bank with the acquisition of American Express' Greek loan portfolio.
Sources say: "This firm provides sage, sensible and measured advice." "Lambadarios definitely delivers an excellent product."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients highlight Prokopios Dimitriades's "clear, commercial and client-focused advice" as well as his "excellent knowledge base." He primarily advises international clients, who are impressed with his solution-finding skills and his knowledge of both Greek and international law. He has recently completed a global credit facility for a US multinational, worth USD1.2 billion.
THE FIRM Satisfied clients praise this firm's experience of cross-border deals, its responsiveness and its expertise in myriad legal areas. It advises many international and domestic corporates and banks, with a recent increase in restructuring mandates. In a prominent case, the group advised several overseas funds regarding share sales on the Athens Stock Exchange. Significant names in the portfolio include First Business Bank and Goldman Sachs International.
Sources say: "The team is characterised by its deep knowledge of banking and finance, litigation and restructuring laws and practical issues, and offers an impressive and thorough service."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Spyridakis is a highly reputable name in this field, both as a practitioner and as an emeritus professor at the Athens University Law School. Eleni Tsoukala enjoys an excellent market reputation and is praised for the effective management of her working relationships with banks.
THE FIRM This long-established firm has a respected banking and finance practice that is strengthened by the firm's outstanding reputation for tax work, with capital markets tax advice being a core focus area. The team is also notably active in assisting UCITS and non-UCITS umbrella funds. The team advised American Express on the payment services directive, and was instructed by Morgan Stanley to advise on securities lending and derivative transactions with Greek banks, with a focus on the credit default risk.
Sources say: "The quality of the lawyers is very high. They all have a lot of experience and international knowledge."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicholas Kontizas is the main contact for this practice area.
of Karamanolis & Associates is respected throughout the market for his banking and finance practice, and particularly for his capital markets advice. Sources report that he "facilitates transactions"
and highlight his strong academic background.
16th May 2013: GC Seminar, London Sponsor-backed IPOs: IPO Exits of Portfolio Companies
21st May 2013: GC Seminar, New York Hackers Are After Your Data!: Practical Ways To Reduce Data Security Breach Exposure
23 May 2013: Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2013, New York
24 May 2013: Launch of Chambers USA 2013, New York and online
29th May 2013: GC Seminar, New York Going Mobile: IP and Privacy Considerations
4th June 2013: GC Seminar, Houston Challenges in Creating An Effective and Coordinated Global Compliance Program
9 September 2013: Chambers Latin America Awards 2013, Miami
10 September 2013: Launch of Chambers Latin America 2014, online
3rd October 2013: Chambers Bar Awards 2013, London
10 May 2012: Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence, Amsterdam