Banking & Finance: Russia
THE FIRM Clients point to Allen & Overy's exceptional worldwide network of banking lawyers as a defining attribute of the firm's renowned financial practice. The Russian team remains very active, advising a wealth of high-profile domestic and international banks, including BNP Paribas, VTB, ING, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. The outfit's stellar reputation remains high despite the recent departure of managing partner Tony Humphrey.
Sources say: “In this firm everyone knows what the transaction is about. All the lawyers co-operate extremely well.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Irina Mashlenko is a key figure within the department and a well respected individual in the wider market. Her practice serves both borrowers and lenders, extending to credit-linked notes, repurchase transactions, both syndicated and bilateral loans, and derivatives. UK and Russian-qualified Elena Tchoubykina provides valuable insight thanks to her considerable banking and capital markets expertise. She recently advised a consortium of major banks in a USD1.5 billion loan to Vnesheconombank. London-based Peter Timchur remains a regular feature on the Russian banking landscape, lending his many years of experience to this dynamic team. Clients describe him as a “fantastic transactional lawyer.” Stephen Matthews attracts praise from commentators for his impressive negotiation skills. According to clients: “He knows how to interact with all parties and find the best compromise.” He recently applied his skills to a landmark triple export credit agency-backed financing for borrower Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant, advising BNP Paribas, Gazprombank, SACE and UniCredit. Igor N Gorchakov recently moved to Moscow from Baker & McKenzie's St Petersburg outpost, and is considered an “excellent specialist” in his field. He has particular expertise in financial restructurings and bankruptcy proceedings, as well as in loan and leasing transactions.
THE FIRM This prominent magic circle firm has a long history of serving clients in the Russian market, experience that results in its continued presence on some of the most important, headline-grabbing transactions. The team is particularly noted for its hands-on approach, time management and creative solutions. It is a regular favourite with high-profile banks such as Sberbank, UniCredit, RBS and Société Générale.
Sources say: “Whenever I have a transaction to close, the first firm I think about is Clifford Chance.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Logan Wright is a much sought-after figure in the market and wins recommendations for his ability to “understand the commercial objective behind what a company is trying to do.” He recently acted as lead partner in relation to a USD950 million pre-export finance credit facility for Evraz, representing RBS, Deutsche Bank and ING. According to clients, Victoria Bortkevicha is “always extremely helpful at finding the right solutions.” Drawing on her extensive experience, she recently advised Sberbank in relation to a USD2 billion syndicated loan to refinance the bank's external debt. The “fast, effective and attentive” Vladimir Barbolin specialises in insolvency, workouts and cross-border finance.
THE FIRM With a wealth of resources on which to draw, the Moscow branch of Linklaters continues to set the standard for financial expertise. Market sources note the firm's commitment to client care, pointing to the banking team's impressive commercial nous. Amongst its impressive array of clients can be counted ABN AMRO, Commerzbank, EBRD, Barclays and Deutsche Bank.
Sources say: “With its impressive knowledge base, this firm attracts the best lawyers.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Bott “is definitely one of the most experienced lawyers in the market,” according to sources. His vast legal knowledge, combined with business acumen, make him one of the most desirable figures for cross-border finance. He recently advised a consortium of banks, including Commerzbank, HSBC and UniCredit on a USD2 billion pre-export facility for Mechel.
THE FIRM In addition to the firm's phenomenal reputation in corporate and PPP transactions, it also commands an impressive team of banking and finance practitioners. Recent work includes advising a consortium of lenders on the USD2 billion construction of the first section of the Moscow-St Petersburg toll road. Other clients include Credit Suisse, VTB Capital and the City of St Petersburg.
Sources say: “The lawyers at Freshfields have been really extraordinary.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Mikhail Loktionov draws on a wealth of international experience and is a defining force in all manner of project finance transactions. He recently advised Credit Suisse International in connection with a USD100 million syndicated facility agreement to VEB-Leasing. Robert Lang-Anderson impresses clients with his fervent dedication and ability to deliver high-quality work within a limited timeframe. He recently advised TFC Eurotrans with regard to a USD250 million secured syndicated facility agreement to refinance the company's existing debt.
THE FIRM Herbert Smith continues to go from strength to strength in this practice area, as reflected by the outfit's growing presence on some big-ticket transactions. For example, the team recently advised Gazprom Neft on a USD1.5 billion landmark transaction involving a pre-export finance facility arranged by Société Générale, Natixis and BTMU. This deal also reflects the firm's commitment to energy finance, a field in which it holds an impressive reputation.
Sources say: “Herbert Smith's excellent team has a broad range of expertise, advising on anything from acquisition finance to workouts.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS With an impressive portfolio of banking and finance transactions under his belt, Edward Baring is a recognised force in the Russian market, being highlighted as a “great guy to have in a negotiation.” He was recently instructed by UniCredit in relation to an USD800 million dual currency facility to Russia's largest food retailer, X5 Group. Artjom Buligin recently advised WestLB, along with various other syndicate banks, in connection with a USD2 billion dual tranche facility to TNK-BP. Market commentators appreciate his forthright approach, describing him as “highly efficient, smart and always to the point.” Senior associate Ragnar Johannesen has built a firm reputation amongst clients, who praise him for his drafting and negotiation skills. “He is as good as any partner – a real star in the team,” say impressed market sources. John Balsdon brings his exalted reputation to bear on much of the work passing through the Moscow office. He recently advised Gazprom and its joint venture partner with regard to a USD1 billion project financing to develop the Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field.
THE FIRM Sources highlight this firm's dedicated approach to client care, as well as its business orientation and time management, as key to its ongoing success. The banking practice attracts a range of eminent clients, including Rusnano, UniCredit and VTB Capital. The team regularly draws on the expertise of its vast international network, enabling it to handle the most complex of transactions with confidence.
Sources say: “The lawyers at this firm really understand the role of the client, what to do and how to do it.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Irina Nesvetova heads the banking and finance practice, with her skills in this domain prompting one client to enthuse: "I give her 11 out of ten for her technical and detailed service." She recently advised EN+ with regard to the company's complex USD1 billion restructuring involving over 30 financiers. Maya Melnikas possesses a diverse repertoire of legal skills and focuses her practice on bank finance and M&A in the financial sector. Pleased clients suggest that “she is a delight to work with.” Up-and-comer Natalia Nikitina used her skills to advise Rusnano, assisting the nanotechnology corporation with a bridge financing from Alfa-Bank. “She is very thorough and highly effective,” according to market sources.
Since publication, Irina Nesvetova has moved in-house.
THE FIRM The Moscow branch of this renowned global firm remains an important player in banking and finance matters. The team serves both borrowers and lenders, providing expert advice on loans and credit facilities, real estate, project finance, and structured finance. The group recently acted on behalf of Mechel, advising the Russian giant with respect to a USD471 million multi-currency loan facility to finance the construction of a universal rolling mill.
Sources say: “Prompt, flexible and an enjoyable working experience.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Vladimir Dragunov is well regarded for his top-rate knowledge of securitisation issues, as well as his significant banking transactional prowess. In his capacity as department head, he is praised by clients for his organisational skills and client-centred service. Max Gutbrod is a well known personality in the Russian market, offering a broad practice covering M&A financing and restructuring. His German background proves valuable when handling European clients.
THE FIRM With over 20 years of exposure to the Russian market, the Moscow branch of Chadbourne & Parke continues to be an important player in banking and finance matters. The team recently advised Nomos Bank with regard to granting sub-participation in a USD260 million facility to a corporate borrower. Clients appreciate the hands-on approach of the firm's partners and further highlight the team's scrupulous dedication to detail.
Sources say: “This firm is very attentive to client needs and is able to work quickly under pressure.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS The “fast and responsive" Konstantin Konstantinov earns strong recommendations from the market for his transactional prowess. His broad practice encompasses secured finance, debt restructuring, M&A, project finance and securities regulation.
THE FIRM This firm is held in high esteem for its expertise in real estate matters and, as a result, much of its financial work is drawn from this sector. In one of the year's standout transactions, the team advised Aareal Bank on the sale of five office buildings by Horus International to Lenmar Capital. Other clients include EBRD, Sberbank and Crédit Agricole.
Sources say: “They put the right amount of time into the job; they were always there for us.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS The “unique” Karen Young heads the banking and finance practice at the Moscow office and receives strong recommendations for her ability to blend local know-how with international standards. She specialises in project and property finance, trade, restructurings and workouts. She is admirably supported by Anna Malanova, an associate of considerable talent, who is described by sources as “extremely dedicated and smart.” Malanova recently assisted client Eurohypo in a financing arising from Capital Group's sale of Capital Plaza to VTB.
THE FIRM With offices in St Petersburg and Moscow, in addition to its extensive European network, Salans is well placed to serve clients throughout the CIS region. The team's banking reputation continues to grow and this is reflected by mandates of increasing size and scope. Amongst the firm's clients can be counted EBRD, Barclays, Vnesheconombank and Citibank.
Sources say: “Salans' lawyers have exceptional understanding of the Russian banking and finance sector, as well as perfect knowledge of legislation.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Timothy Stubbs heads the banking and finance team and commands an impressive understanding of the Russian market. Renowned for his rhetorical prowess, clients highlight him as a “really tough guy in negotiations.” He recently advised UniCredit Bank Austria on a USD72.8 million amended facility for construction and development of the Yuzhni shopping centre in Kazan.
THE FIRM With access to a wealth of European resources, Gide's Moscow branch offers clients an experience of international quality. The banking and finance team continues to grow in stature, this year seeing a marked increase in mandates. For example, a syndicate of global banks recently instructed the firm in connection with a USD250 million structured pre-export facility to a Russian oil producer. Amongst its clients can be found VTB, Gazprombank, EBRD and IFC.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Grigory Marinichev is a well-known figure for banking and finance matters and his practice extends from structured finance and secured lending to debt restructuring and insolvency. He recently advised Mechel in relation to a USD2 billion pre-export facility arranged by an international banking syndicate.
THE FIRM This broad and accomplished practice group is a key player in many Russian markets and the banking department is an integral part of the local landscape. Clients point to the firm's creativity and willingness to find workable solutions as key components of its success. In its capacity as lead arranger, VTB recently instructed the team in connection with a USD275 million syndicated trade-related loan facility for Bank URALSIB. Other clients include ING, Deutsche Bank and Raiffeisen.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alexander Rymko leads the banking and finance team and is noted for his expertise in trade and export finance, whether on the side of the borrower or the lender. He recently acted as borrower's counsel to X5 Retail Group in connection with an USD800 million dual currency facility for X5 Retail, Russia's largest retail chain. Andrew Gamble provides support from London and holds an impressive portfolio of achievements in the Russian market. Sources note his ability to blend local know-how with a stern adherence to international standards.
THE FIRM This strong domestic outfit is regularly listed amongst the best Russian law firms, with its banking and finance team being touted for its strong understanding of the local market. OTP Bank Nyrt recently instructed the firm with regard to the restructuring of facilities valued at USD150 million. Other clients on the roster include Pharmacy Chain 36.6, EDB, Alfa-Bank Ukraine and Capital Group.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Alexander Zharskiy is the principal contact for banking and finance matters.
THE FIRM Whilst its oil and gas practice continues to be the mainstay of the Moscow office, the firm also provides support with related banking and finance mandates. Clients note the firm's commitment to excellent client service, as well as its reliably fast turnaround time. It has recently worked with Gazprom and EBRD.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Maxim Levinson is a rapidly rising star, described by a client as “an outstanding individual who provided excellent service.” His broad practice also covers M&A and corporate restructuring in the energy, telecommunications and financial sectors.
THE FIRM In addition to the firm's acknowledged reputation in capital markets, it also enjoys a significant share of the banking and finance sphere. Drawing on the strength of its international network, the team is often to be seen on the most high-profile transactions in the market. For example, Weather Investments recently instructed the firm in its combination with VimpelCom in a deal that will see the emergence of the world's fifth largest mobile telecommunications carrier.
Sources say: “Excellent quality lawyers.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Senecal wins praise from peers for his deep understanding of the local market. His broad practice covers both financial and corporate law, encompassing M&A, syndicated loans and capital markets transactions.
THE FIRM This outfit's stellar reputation in corporate and aviation matters helps attract a broad range of clients with banking and finance concerns. With over a decade of experience in the local market, the team has built a solid borrower-driven practice, with aircraft finance at the forefront. The firm recently acted on behalf of Aeroflot in the airline's USD2 billion acquisition of 11 A330 aircraft from Airbus.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Kartashkin is a major market player and a key contact at the firm.
THE FIRM A key player in the Russian market, this firm continues to represent an array of high-profile clients in a wealth of financial transactions. For example, the team recently advised a subsidiary of Raven Russia on a limited recourse financing of a Moscow logistics centre by Marfin. Amongst its other clients can be counted HSBC, EBRD, Bank of America and Raiffeisenbank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS With over 25 years of experience in the Russian market, Alexander Barmin is highly regarded for his ability to blend local know-how with international expertise. He advises on a variety of cross-border financial and commercial matters, including trade and project finance, infrastructure projects and aviation and shipping finance. Myles Mantle is noted for his impressive grasp of project, trade and asset finance. He draws on his multinational experience to advise on finance for matters ranging from real estate, shipping and aircraft, infrastructure and oil and gas to pre-export and commodities. Dmitry Shiryaev recently joined the firm from Allen & Overy, and continues to build on his glowing reputation. He is regularly cited for his broad knowledge base and extensive understanding of banking and finance transactions.
THE FIRM In May 2012 the entire team from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in Moscow joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All clients and work highlights mentioned in our editorial took place whilst the firm was operating as Dewey & LeBoeuf.
The eight-strong finance team of Dewey & LeBoeuf continues to grow in size and stature, winning key mandates from prominent local and international players like Vnesheconombank, VTB, Raiffeisenbank and Deutsche Bank. Clients appreciate the firm's flexibility and receptiveness, citing its commitment to client-driven service as a defining element of the practice.
Sources say: "Very responsive to our needs."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bruce Johnston provides regular support from the London office, recently lending his services to Sberbank with regard to an intercreditor agreement with Glencore, subordinating USD6 billion of debt owed to the bank and Glencore, by Russneft.
THE FIRM Norton Rose is a growing presence in banking matters, having expanded the team in recent years. The firm focuses on key areas of strength, including asset, structured, trade and commodity finance, as well as project finance. Market sources praise the firm for its rapid turnaround time. The team represents a wealth of local and international clients, including Société Générale, VTB, Gazprom Neft and VEB-Leasing. A recent highlight saw the Moscow office joining forces with the London team to advise a syndicate of 16 banks on the provision of a five-year USD1.3 billion loan to the Russian coal company, SUEK.
Sources say: “Norton Rose provides an excellent service.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Theodoros Zafiropoulos cultivates recommendations from clients for his ability to handle challenging negotiations. He was recently instructed by Horizon Air Investments with regard to the company's joint venture agreements with both VTB and Fraport relating to Northern Capital Gateway, the vehicle chosen to develop Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg.
of Orrick (CIS) LLC is a noted presence in the banking sphere and cultivates excellent client relations. His varied practice covers banking, finance and capital markets matters, including trade finance, corporate finance, project finance and derivatives. The multilingual Fredrik Svensson
of Mannheimer Swartling impresses clients with his attentive service and astute legal insight. He recently advised Bank of Moscow with regard to an amended USD60 million financing of a prominent energy company, including the establishment of a security structure. Laura Brank
of Dechert LLP is head of Dechert LLP's Russian office and splits her time between Moscow and London. Having advised on Russian matters since 1995, she wins praise from clients "for her expertise and knowledge of the legal landscape.”
The former head of Salans' global banking and finance practice group, Philip Prowse
, joined Clyde & Co LLP this year, bringing many years of Russia-related experience to the firm. This London-based Russian specialist wins enthusiastic praise from commentators: "He is extremely hard-working and has extraordinary patience to go with his technical excellence."
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