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UK Guide

Asset Finance: Shipping Finance — UK-wide

From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Market-leading asset finance practice with outstanding capability across aviation, shipping and rail finance matters. Advises clients on sophisticated structures including EETCs, JOLCOs and ECA-backed bonds. Regularly works with banks and corporates on industry-leading deals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Allen & Overy are always aware of our needs and have assisted us with success in our most important deals. They are very aware of the financial structures and they understand the rationale of the market."

"We always feel in very safe hands on every single deal, they work relentlessly hard for us and are always available to provide advice, no matter how urgent."

Work highlights Worked with UKEF on the first ECA-supported sukuk issuance of USD913 million for the purchase of four Airbus A380-800 aircraft to be leased to the operator, Emirates.

Acted for Turkish Airlines on its first EETC financing secured against three new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Notable practitioners  

Harry Upcott enjoys "a reputation for being excellent," according to impressed sources. He has experience in a range of aviation financing structures including ECA-supported bonds, purchase agreements and warehouse facilities.

Dylan Potter has significant experience in a wide variety of asset finance structures for aviation clients. He can offer expert advice on ECA-supported deals and on aircraft acquisition and leasing.

Mario Jacovides is an asset finance specialist who regularly works with clients in the aviation and shipping industries. He enjoys an outstanding reputation in the market, being described by commentators as "the cleverest, the best and the brightest" and an "exceptionally top-quality lawyer."

Paul Nelson is commended by interviewees, who say: "He is absolutely committed to you as a client, to getting things done on time and to making sure everyone is on standby and ready to go." He has significant expertise in aviation asset financing, particularly in EETCs, JOLCOs and ECA transactions.

Jonathan Bevan "has a strong background and a balanced commercial view," reports a client. He has strong capability in rail financing matters, with experience of large national and cross-border deals.

David Smith is an expert in shipping finance who regularly works with large international clients on leasing and debt-based transactions. A source reports that he is "extremely thorough."

Significant clients ECGD, Euler Hermes, IAG, Lloyds, J.P. Morgan. 

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 36 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Go-to practice for aviation finance matters, with additional capability on rail and shipping-related transactions. Works with global aviation clients in complex ECA-supported financings, portfolio transfers and bank financings. Shipping clients include charterers, shipowners and financial institutions, while the rail team works with government agencies, manufacturers and operators on large rolling stock and infrastructure deals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The team is very strong, they are responsive, work hard and are reliable in the advice they provide."

Work highlights Worked with BOC Aviation on an USD807 million notes offering backed by a 24-aircraft portfolio sold to Shenton Aircraft Investment.

Acted for CA-CIB and CBA on USD817 million of new credit facilities for the financing of aircraft acquisitions for AerCap.

Notable practitioners 

William Glaister is lauded by a client for his "highly impressive technical skills and competence alongside a very detailed industry knowledge. He is incredibly quick to understand the client's objectives and to respond to them."

Paul Carrington is "very good and bright, someone who negotiates hard, knows when to fight and when to give," according to a source. He has capability in a range of financing, leasing and restructuring matters.

Gavin Teague has expertise in rail financing matters, regularly acting for financiers, ROSCOs, operators and consortiums. He has expertise financing rolling stock and infrastructure using capital markets structures, debt finance and PFI. 

Rob Burley is described by a client as "thorough in approach, thoughtful and diligent." He has experience in ECA-backed financing, portfolio acquisitions and aircraft sale and purchase.

Significant clients GE Capital Aviation Services, Investec, SMBC Aviation Capital, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations: Guildford, London, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford

What the team is known for Established shipping finance practice regularly engaged by well-known international clients including lessees, lessors and lenders. Demonstrates specialist ability in matters relating to financing of tankers, yachts and cruise ships.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They do a lot of deals and therefore know what they are talking about and where the issues lie. They are always available and deliver what they promise."

Work highlights Acted for Dynagas Holding in the USD1.6 billion purchase of five ARC 7 ice class LNG carriers.

Worked for Principal Maritime Management in the sale of a tanker fleet; matters included bid negotiations.

Notable practitioners 

According to a client Mark Bisset is "very knowledgeable in business aviation financings, and has a strong international network and a good pragmatic approach to get the deal done." His work includes advising on financings for business jets.

Stuart McAlpine has considerable experience working for shipping and offshore clients including shipowners, trading houses and energy companies on a wide variety of cross-border financing transactions.

Paul Turner works for clients on a broad range of sophisticated commercial shipping and offshore matters, as well as on cruise ship-related mandates. His client list includes large corporates, debt and equity financiers and shipyards.  

John Leonida is valued by a client for his "outstanding competence and reputation within our industry. He follows a practical and pro-business approach, having a deep understanding of the commercial needs of his clients." He is a superyacht finance expert with extensive experience in the industry.

Significant clients Norwegian Cruise Line, Sinotrans Shipping LNG, Oceanco, Petrosaudi International, China LNG Shipping.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations: London, Milton Keynes 

What the team is known for Works with clients on a variety of aviation and shipping finance matters. Aviation expertise covers procurement, portfolio transactions and operating leases for a range of major industry participants. Shipping work is focused on the cruise and yachts sectors.

Work highlights Advised DGN Corporation and the Atlantic Gateway consortium on a purchase order for 53 Airbus Neo aircraft.

Worked with TUI Cruises in the EUR500 million purchase and chartering of three cruise vessels.

Notable practitioners 

Nick Chandler works on cross-border transactions and ECA-supported structures, among other matters, for banks and airlines. He has notable knowledge of the Russian market.

Serge Sergiou works on a range of aviation-related matters for clients including banks, lessors and manufacturers. He regularly undertakes work on acquisitions and operating leases.

William Gibson is described by a source as "sensible, calm, collected and someone who gets the deal done with minimal fuss." He has ability in commercial aviation matters including ECA-backed structures and tax-based financings.

Sarah Dyke has experience in secured lending and cross-border financing structures for aviation clients. She regularly works with borrowers, operators and financiers.

Significant clients BLME, Qatar Airways, Airbus, AirAsia, Cheung Kong Holdings.

Since publication, William Gibson has joined Vedder Price

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Experienced practice with significant expertise in shipping finance matters covering work for clients including shipyards, owners, operators and financial institutions. Particular expertise in the yacht, cruise and LNG sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The team has a strong focus on quality and delivery and is always available for questions."

"The team is experienced, flexible and responsive."  

Work highlights Worked with HSBC as co-ordinating arranger and bookrunner in relation to an ECA-supported loan facility of EUR315 million for Saga Cruises V to assist in financing the acquisition of a passenger cruise vessel.

Acted for DNB Bank as agent regarding Korean and Norwegian ECA-supported USD178.5 million secured credit facilities to refinance the project cost of an offshore accommodation vessel for Østensjø Rederi.

Notable practitioners  

John Forrester has significant experience in shipping and offshore finance matters including specialist knowledge of LNG, cruise ship and ECA-supported financing. A client says he is "very good in both verbal negotiation and putting the results into writing."

Tony Rice "has a broad knowledge of ship finance with particular expertise in ECA-related transactions. He is very personable and approachable and maintains a balanced approach," according to clients. He works on high-profile matters for banks and insurance companies, as well as owners and operators.

Significant clients Danske Bank, Investec, Nordea, Tsakos Energy Navigation, Waypoint Leasing.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Well-known specialist shipping and offshore finance practice that regularly works with lenders and shipowners on a variety of financing structures. Leverages strong firm-wide industry knowledge and an international network of offices to support large cross-border deals.

Work highlights Advised Fugro on a USD130 million sale and leaseback agreement with Icon Investments for two geotechnical drill ships.

Worked with Golar on a USD1.2 billion financing of a floating LNG gas export project in Cameroonian waters.

Notable practitioners 

David Baker is "very accessible and very knowledgeable," according to clients. He acts for banks and shipowners on a host of financing matters for assets including ships, rigs and offshore facilities.

Significant clients DNB Bank, United Arab Chemical Carriers, UniCredit, Commerzbank, GasLog.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Skilled shipping asset finance practice that advises on cross-border transactions, ECA-supported structures and Islamic financing. Regularly acts for large banks, lessors and operators in the commercial shipping sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The level of service they provide is great with immediate response times, their industry knowledge is great with great commercial acumen and they always find a creative solution."

Work highlights Acted for Eni on a USD30 billion LNG project in Mozambique.

Notable practitioners 

Olga Petrovic is described by a client as "very responsive, clear, commercial and pragmatic." Her experience covers a broad range of shipping financing matters for large industry clients.

Significant clients UBS, VistaJet, Citibank, HSBC, Hertz.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Houses a deep bench of practitioners who provide leading expertise in shipping and aviation finance and significant ability in rail financing matters. Regularly acts for clients including banks, financial institutions, shipowners, airlines and ROSCOs on complex cross-border deals including EETCs, JOLCOs and portfolio transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their strengths include hands-on knowledge and experience, availability and being driven towards deal closure. They understand client needs and commercial positions exceptionally well." 

"It is a very strong team that can handle sizeable, complex projects in a very professional and tactful manner."

Work highlights Worked with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, and a syndicate of banks, in setting up a USD624 million JOLCO facility for the financing of six Boeing 787-9 aircraft for British Airways.

Acted for Saga Cruises on the acquisition of a new 236-metre luxury cruise vessel and the associated ECA facility provided by HSBC and KfW.

Notable practitioners 

Giles Brand is valued by clients, who report that he "combines technical excellence and knowledge with practicality and a wide industry knowledge." He works with clients on a variety of cross-border financings including ECA-backed facilities.  

Simon Chamberlain undertakes work on a range of financing matters and has considerable regulatory expertise. A client says: "He has vast knowledge and experience in the aviation sector. He is very detailed and thorough in his analysis and understands the client's needs exceptionally well."

Owen Mulholland is well regarded by the market, with one source reporting that he is "very commercial and client-focused." He has experience in aviation asset finance matters including ECA-backed financing, cross-border structured deals and aircraft sale and leasebacks.

Duncan Batchelor is described by a client as an "extremely strong, professional and responsive partner, able to provide a clear, balanced view on complex subjects." He acts for clients including airlines and banks on syndicated loans, pre-delivery payment financings and complex leasing structures.  

Clients say James Collins "shows solid technical skills and excellent transaction leadership." Widely praised by clients, he has experience of a variety of asset finance matters.  

Tom Johnson "is a very good negotiator, very strong and massively experienced," according to a source. His clients include financiers, rolling stock operating companies and manufacturers. He regularly acts on rail asset finance transactions.

Simon Hartley is commended by a client who says he "is always extremely calm when negotiations are at tricky points, and he is always focused." He works on ECA-backed financings, capital raisings and leasing structures for shipping companies, banks and financial institutions.

Harry Theochari is a leading figure in the shipping finance market with extensive experience of vessel and offshore asset financing. A client says: "I find Harry to be one of the best shipping lawyers around and he knows most of the people worth knowing in the industry. He is not only technically good as a lawyer, he has always had a commercial view on matters that proves very helpful."

Simon Lew is described by sources as "a very commercial and straightforward lawyer to deal with." He works with clients in the offshore and shipping industries on cross-border leasing, secured debt financings and portfolio sale and purchase.

Sources say Eleanor Martin "is an extremely knowledgeable lawyer; she is sharp, pragmatic and thinks outside of the box," and "she is a great negotiator and very good in managing relationships with the other side." She has expertise in financing offshore assets including FPSOs, drilling rigs and support vessels.

Catherine Johnson is valued by clients because "she delivers very high-quality work." She handles syndicated debt facilities, chartering transactions and vessel sale and purchase.

Significant clients easyJet, Monarch, Bombardier, S7 Group, Gulf Energy Maritime.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Notable shipping practice that works with private equity funds and financial institutions on offshore and shipping finance matters. Offers expertise in areas including shipbuilding-related financing issues and loan portfolio transactions.

Work highlights Acted for Metrostar in the USD380 million sale and transfer of construction contracts for four VLCCs including refund guarantees, supervision arrangements and options for further sales and transfers.

Worked with Hayfin Capital, as lender, on a USD100 million refinancing of a number of Genco-owned vessels.

Notable practitioners  

Philip Rymer is highlighted by sources for being "very commercially minded" and "eminently sensible." He works with clients on a range of shipping and offshore financing matters including vessel acquisitions and disposals, loan restructurings and sale and leasebacks.

Significant clients Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Icon Capital, Sovcomflot, CarVal Investors, Barclays.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 50 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Impressive asset finance practice with ability across shipping, rail and aviation matters. Notable rail finance practice advises on rolling stock procurement and leasing structures. Strong shipping finance work with international banks and shipowners on tax leasing, restructurings and ship sale and purchase. Experience in aviation deals includes financing for commercial aircraft and corporate jets.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"A strong, knowledgeable team. They are hands-on, precise and resourceful."

"They are able to remain flexible, they produce good-quality documents and they are calm and pleasant to work with."

Work highlights Worked with Nordea in relation to a syndicated loan to finance 36 tankers for Teekay.

Advised Rock Infrastructure on its bids to provide financing for each of the East Anglia, Moorgate, Northern and TPE rolling stock procurement competitions.

Notable practitioners 

Richard Parsons is "very diligent and focused with huge breadth of experience and knowledge," according to clients. He advises on aviation financing matters covering debt structures, acquisitions and disposals for both lenders and borrowers.  

Graeme McLellan "is very pragmatic and knows his way around projects and transactions," according to sources. He has significant expertise in asset finance, particularly in rail finance for rolling stock.

Lisa Marks has experience in a variety of rail financing matters and regularly works for new market entrants. A client says: "We enjoy working with Lisa; her strong technical skills allied to a calm demeanour makes her a trusted business partner."

Mark Russell is praised for his commerciality and experience, with sources noting that he is a "very strong name in the market." He is a shipping finance expert with extensive experience working for large banks and shipowners on a variety of structures including debt finance, sale and leasebacks and LNG financings.

According to clients, Ian Mace "helps to find solutions when negotiations stagger; he is very helpful in finding different routes to reach common goals." He works with banks and shipowners in debt finance and ECA-backed transactions.   

Dean Norton joined Stephenson Harwood from Clyde & Co in May 2017. He advises on shipping finance matters including syndicated loan financings, bonds and ECA-backed structures. He represents owners, operators and offshore clients. Sources describe him as "a good technical lawyer."  

Significant clients DVB Bank, ABN AMRO, Guggenheim Aviation Partners, Macquarie European Rail, SQN Asset Finance Income Fund.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 35 other qualified lawyers
- Office location: London

What the team is known for Highly regarded shipping finance practice with additional capability in aviation financing matters. Works on large cross-border financing structures for shipping and offshore clients including asset sales, structured securitisations, and sale and leasebacks. Aviation financing expertise includes work relating to commercial aircraft, corporate jets and helicopters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"There is strength and depth across the firm, experienced lawyers and a client-focused approach."

"They have all the necessary skills to advise us in a detailed and timely manner."  

Work highlights Advised Tanker Investments on the acquisition of six second-hand Suezmax tankers from Cardiff Marine for USD315 million, financed through a secured revolving credit facility and a secured loan facility.

Acted for UK Export Finance on behalf of a number of banks and ECAs as facility agent relating to an ECA-backed 12-year operating lease between CALC and Air India relating to the financing for an Airbus A320 aircraft. 

Notable practitioners 

Nigel Thomas "has a deep understanding of shipping finance and is one of the most experienced lawyers in the field today. He is commercial with an ability to find a fair and amicable solution in every situation," reports a client. He is an expert in shipping finance, and works on matters relating to offshore, cruise and commercial shipping.

Rex Rosales is described by a client as "excellent, very commercial, pragmatic and someone who knows the importance of getting the deals done for the benefit of both parties." He is highly regarded for expertise in aviation finance matters including capital markets structured financing, aircraft acquisitions and leasing structures.

David Osborne "has extensive knowledge of all legal aspects in relation to ship financing matters, and he is pragmatic and commercially oriented," reports a client. He works on asset finance matters for clients in the shipping and offshore industries. 

Significant clients Macquarie Bank, COFACE, CIT Maritime Finance, BNP Paribas, Teekay.

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Band 1

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers UK guide

Simon Hartley is commended by a client who says he "is always extremely calm when negotiations are at tricky points, and he is always focused." He works on ECA-backed financings, capital raisings and leasing structures for shipping companies, banks and financial institutions.

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Band 1

Stephenson Harwood LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Mark Russell is praised for his commerciality and experience, with sources noting that he is a "very strong name in the market." He is a shipping finance expert with extensive experience working for large banks and shipowners on a variety of structures including debt finance, sale and leasebacks and LNG financings.

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Band 1

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers UK guide

Harry Theochari is a leading figure in the shipping finance market with extensive experience of vessel and offshore asset financing. A client says: "I find Harry to be one of the best shipping lawyers around and he knows most of the people worth knowing in the industry. He is not only technically good as a lawyer, he has always had a commercial view on matters that proves very helpful."

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Band 1

Watson Farley & Williams

From the Chambers UK guide

Nigel Thomas "has a deep understanding of shipping finance and is one of the most experienced lawyers in the field today. He is commercial with an ability to find a fair and amicable solution in every situation," reports a client. He is an expert in shipping finance, and works on matters relating to offshore, cruise and commercial shipping.

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Band 2

Ince & Co

From the Chambers UK guide

David Baker is "very accessible and very knowledgeable," according to clients. He acts for banks and shipowners on a host of financing matters for assets including ships, rigs and offshore facilities.

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Band 2

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

John Forrester has significant experience in shipping and offshore finance matters including specialist knowledge of LNG, cruise ship and ECA-supported financing. A client says he is "very good in both verbal negotiation and putting the results into writing."

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Band 2

Allen & Overy LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Mario Jacovides is an asset finance specialist who regularly works with clients in the aviation and shipping industries. He enjoys an outstanding reputation in the market, being described by commentators as "the cleverest, the best and the brightest" and an "exceptionally top-quality lawyer."

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Band 2

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers UK guide

Simon Lew is described by sources as "a very commercial and straightforward lawyer to deal with." He works with clients in the offshore and shipping industries on cross-border leasing, secured debt financings and portfolio sale and purchase.

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Band 2

Clyde & Co LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Stuart McAlpine has considerable experience working for shipping and offshore clients including shipowners, trading houses and energy companies on a wide variety of cross-border financing transactions.

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Band 2

Stephenson Harwood LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Dean Norton joined Stephenson Harwood from Clyde & Co in May 2017. He advises on shipping finance matters including syndicated loan financings, bonds and ECA-backed structures. He represents owners, operators and offshore clients. Sources describe him as "a good technical lawyer."  

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Band 2

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Tony Rice "has a broad knowledge of ship finance with particular expertise in ECA-related transactions. He is very personable and approachable and maintains a balanced approach," according to clients. He works on high-profile matters for banks and insurance companies, as well as owners and operators.

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Band 2

Allen & Overy LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

David Smith is an expert in shipping finance who regularly works with large international clients on leasing and debt-based transactions. A source reports that he is "extremely thorough."

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Band 2

Clyde & Co LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Paul Turner works for clients on a broad range of sophisticated commercial shipping and offshore matters, as well as on cruise ship-related mandates. His client list includes large corporates, debt and equity financiers and shipyards.  

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Band 3

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers UK guide

Catherine Johnson is valued by clients because "she delivers very high-quality work." She handles syndicated debt facilities, chartering transactions and vessel sale and purchase.

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Band 3

Clyde & Co LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

John Leonida is valued by a client for his "outstanding competence and reputation within our industry. He follows a practical and pro-business approach, having a deep understanding of the commercial needs of his clients." He is a superyacht finance expert with extensive experience in the industry.

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Band 3

Stephenson Harwood LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

According to clients, Ian Mace "helps to find solutions when negotiations stagger; he is very helpful in finding different routes to reach common goals." He works with banks and shipowners in debt finance and ECA-backed transactions.   

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Band 3

Watson Farley & Williams

From the Chambers UK guide

David Osborne "has extensive knowledge of all legal aspects in relation to ship financing matters, and he is pragmatic and commercially oriented," reports a client. He works on asset finance matters for clients in the shipping and offshore industries. 

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Band 3

Linklaters

From the Chambers UK guide

Olga Petrovic is described by a client as "very responsive, clear, commercial and pragmatic." Her experience covers a broad range of shipping financing matters for large industry clients.

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Band 3

Reed Smith LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Philip Rymer is highlighted by sources for being "very commercially minded" and "eminently sensible." He works with clients on a range of shipping and offshore financing matters including vessel acquisitions and disposals, loan restructurings and sale and leasebacks.

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Up and Coming

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers UK guide

Sources say Eleanor Martin "is an extremely knowledgeable lawyer; she is sharp, pragmatic and thinks outside of the box," and "she is a great negotiator and very good in managing relationships with the other side." She has expertise in financing offshore assets including FPSOs, drilling rigs and support vessels.

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