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Most innovative law firms in Finance Law 2012

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Firm
Award level
Innovation
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total
Description
DLA PiperStand-outJoint venture between Tanzania and Sichuan Hongda of China78722The firm's cross-cultural sensitivity was instrumental in securing a $3bn mining joint venture between Tanzania's state-run National Development Corporation and the Chinese chemicals manufacturer. The lawyers drove negotiations in this biggest ever investment in east Africa, which is a cornerstone in the wider redevelopment plans for the Mtwara Corridor.
Allen & OveryStand-outAdvising private sector bondholders in Greek debt restructuring77721Lawyers secured the largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring. Creating a steering committee of bondholders and using the UK's new low-interest, long-term bonds were crucial to achieve private sector sign-off. The deal required a careful balancing of interests between the firm's clients, the Greek government and the EU.
Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerStand-outCommerzbank's hybrid-for-equity swap transactions77721Enabled the bank to raise €1.4bn in core Tier 1 capital in the first use of a hybrid-for-equity structure in Germany. Effectively resuscitated Germany's second-largest banking institution.
Shearman & SterlingStand-outFederal framework law for United Arab Emirates' financial services industry68721Requiring both a deep knowledge of western regulatory norms and an understanding of the UAE's cultural and religious sensitivities, the firm drafted a legislative package modernising the UAE system of financial regulation and promoting the UAE as a global financial centre.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & HamiltonHighly CommendedCollective action clause for the Greek public debt management agency67720Developed a collective action clause that was crucial to achieving a successful liability management transaction in the Greek sovereign debt restructuring. Took a leading role in promoting its use in the Greek context.
EvershedsHighly CommendedGreenfield renewable energy and agriculture project in Sierra Leone77620Advised Addax and Oryx Group on a €142m project finance loan facility to Addax Bioenergy for a benchmark project that will supply approximately 20 per cent of Sierra Leone's national power output. Lawyers were critical to devising a model for land use that meets both the official and traditional land systems.
Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerHighly CommendedFirst-ever enforcement of a share pledge under Catalan law77620Led the out-of-court restructuring of Panrico, enabling senior lenders to take control of the leading Spanish baked products company. Using a "fast-track" private sale process, the lawyers helped ensure a smooth handover of the business without damaging its overall value.
White & CaseHighly CommendedFinancing for the Barzan gas project in Qatar67720Inverting the usual financing model for gas projects, the firm used "on-shore" structures to achieve the $10.3bn financing of the Barzan gas project in Ras Laffan Industrial City. Clients say the lawyers enabled the deal to close one year earlier than other firms could have done, leading to an annual saving of approximately $2bn.
Allen & OveryCommendedOver-the-counter derivatives client clearing agreement67619Established the first standardised OTC derivatives client clearing arrangements for use outside the US, producing a single set of documents that works across every jurisdiction in Europe. Lawyers were instrumental in getting the clearing houses on board for this industry reform, which will help the market uphold commitments made by G20 leaders.
Gómez-Acebo & PomboCommendedRefinancing template for Spain's struggling real estate sector67619Pioneered a ground-breaking debt refinancing model to convert the syndicated loan of Quabit Inmobiliaria, the listed real estate company, into equal-sized individual bilateral loan packages. The lawyers used a lottery format to allot specific assets as collateral, speeding up decisions from lenders.
Latham & WatkinsCommendedHybrid financing for European businesses76619Advised the lead arrangers in Vista Equity Partners' purchase of Misys, the London-listed software company, and created a US borrower finance vehicle to access US financing. Overcame the relative lack of liquidity in the UK and European leveraged finance markets. The structure has been replicated in subsequent deals.
Matheson Ormsby PrenticeCommendedReverse invoice discounting facility for Ireland's dairy industry67619Designed the deal structure for the first reverse invoice discounting facility in Ireland to fund the working capital requirements of the Irish Dairy Board's members and suppliers by paying them in advance for the value of invoiced sales.
Uría MenéndezCommendedLiability management for Banco de Sabadell66719Devised a novel structure involving the cash buyback of hybrid securities and reinvestment of the proceeds in shares. Enabled the Spanish bank to meet higher regulatory capital ratios and has provided a template for subsequent transactions.
Weil, Gotshal & MangesCommendedModel for Special Administration Rules bankruptcy cases66719Established the model for future Special Administration Rules bankruptcy cases in the MF Global bankruptcy, the largest European collapse since Lehman Brothers. The firm was critical in enabling an interim dividend of 26 per cent within a few months.
White & CaseCommendedAdvising private sector bondholders in Greek debt restructuring66719Assisted in creating a steering committee of bondholders and bringing the new low-interest, long-term bonds under UK law. Alongside Allen & Overy, the firm was crucial to getting the private sector sign-off on this largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring.
DLA PiperCommendedHybrid financing for the Nottingham Express Transit66618Advised Nottingham City Council on the £570m extension to the Nottingham Express Transit scheme, the UK's largest local authority transport deal. Involved terminating the existing private finance deal while enabling the procurement and negotiation of a new concession that transferred revenue risk to the private sector. Clients say the firm's challenging role was pivotal to the deal's success.
Latham & WatkinsCommendedPrivatisation of IDO Ferries in Turkey57618Used a first-of-its-kind leveraged finance structure in Turkey for the $861m privatisation of the ferry group. The firm was crucial in getting the predominantly Turkish lenders to agree to change the agreement from Turkish to English law.
Mills & ReeveCommendedTrinity College Cambridge's acquisition of a stake in Tesco66618Devised a complex discretionary trust structure to ensure that the college could benefit from its status as a charity in its acquisition of a £440m stake in a portfolio of 11 Tesco stores. Other charities have expressed interest in replicating the structure.
Simmons & SimmonsCommendedBP Capital Markets renminbi bond issuance65718Led the first-ever issue of renminbi-denominated bonds on the London Stock Exchange. The deal is in a measurable step towards the wider use of Chinese currency for major cross-border transactions.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & FlomCommendedRedomiciliation of Evraz from Russia to the UK56718Worked for the two sponsors in the redomiciliation of the Russian group, one of the world's largest steel production and mining companies. Helped persuade the UK Takeover Panel that the Takeover Code did not apply.
Vieira de Almeida & AssociadosCommendedDeutsche Bank European cross-border merger66618Assisted the bank in converting its Portuguese subsidiary into a branch of the German parent company. It was the first European banking cross-border merger conducted in Portugal, and first-ever cross-border merger transaction involving credit institutions from three EU jurisdictions.
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