Global reach is the order of the day among all of the best-represented firms on our list. Those with a large network, especially in developing countries, are not only able to meet demand for expertise in many jurisdictions, they are showing greater ability to weather economic pressures.
|Most highly regarded individuals|
|Alan Rae Smith||Allen & Overy LLP, London|
|Cyril Shroff||Amarchand Mangaldas, Mumbai|
|William H Voge||Latham & Watkins LLP, London|
|Frederic C Rich||Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York|
|Nicholas Buckworth||Shearman & Sterling LLP, London|
|Bimal Desai||Allen & Overy LLP, Dubai|
|Stuart R Salt||Linklaters LLP, London|
|Anne Baldock||Allen & Overy LLP, London|
Three hundred and forty-five lawyers appear in this year's survey of the project finance market and they are based in 61 countries. No other firm comes close to the large numbers of Allen & Overy LLP and White & Case LLP lawyers on our list; an indication of the quality and breadth of expertise possessed by these firms.
A&O's launch in São Paulo in September 2008 is the firm's latest branch opening and project finance will form one of the office's core practice areas. New York partner Bob Kartheiser, who appears for the first time in this guide, is at the helm of this new venture, which will broaden the firm's impressive network. Alongside the "fabulous" Japan-based lawyer Aled Davies, he advised on Petrobras' REVAP modernisation project, which involved the complex structuring of a loan to a Brazilian company owned by Mitsui & Co and Itochu Corporation, financing the construction of new assets and machinery at one of Petrobras' refineries. Kartheiser's colleague in the New York office David Slade also appears. A "great deal facilitator", his work includes advising Banco Santander and the syndicate of lenders to the US$3.3 billion financing of the first package of the FARAC road reprivatisation programme in Mexico.
While the firm's international expansion is grabbing headlines, its London base remains firmly at the heart of its operations. Five partners from that office feature in this book, two of these appear in our round-up of the most highly nominated individuals. Alan Rae Smith is an "incredibly competent and knowledgeable player" whose projects work covers a wide range of jurisdictions from the UK to Nigeria and India. He formed part of a team advising Export-Import Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation on the financing of a natural gas liquefaction plant in Qatar.
Global PFI/PPP head Anne Baldock was recommended for her "calm and resourceful" approach and expertise in the projects, derivatives and lending markets. Andrew Trahair's practice was praised for its broad international focus, and is complemented by his banking expertise. Christopher Rushton's "thorough knowledge of the Asia and Middle East projects market" attracted plaudits and the "very active" Christopher Andrew's work, such as advice to lenders regarding the financing and restructuring of Drax power station, also won admiration.
Contributors highlighted A&O's strong positioning in the Middle East. This year, the projects group acted for the export credit agencies and commercial lenders financing the US$10 billion Saudi Kayan petrochemical complex in Al-Jubail Industrial City. Based in the firm's highly regarded Dubai office, Bimal Desai earns a place in our list of most highly nominated practitioners for his "professionalism, dedication and enviable area expertise". He recently advised the project company on the Qalhat LNG project and competitors rate his Islamic financing expertise as outstanding. Fellow Dubai partner Duncan Macnab attracted praise for his advice to sponsors, governments and lenders.
Europe is a busy area for the firm, with projects in established and developing regions forming a respected part of the practice. The Frankfurt office's Peter Stenz has "a busy and popular practice", according to sources. Recent work includes the Trianel gas and steam-turbine power plant and gas cavern storage projects, and most recently he advised WestLB on the financing and operation of a coal-fired plant with a financing volume of around €1.331 billion for Trianel.
In the Netherlands, Bart Meesters is "great for renewables projects" and renowned for his representation of finance providers in national and international matters. He recently completed the financing for the Netherlands' first offshore wind park. Paris practitioner Tim Scales won praise for his work in the emerging French PPP market as well as in other major project sectors. He advised on the Chad-Cameroon pipeline and power projects for sponsors AES and Globeleq. Contributors see the "first-class" Catia Tomasetti as a "real star". She recently advised on the first integrated water project in Italy under the Water Services Reform Law. The "excellent" Marcell Németh represents the Budapest office.
In addition to A&O's Aled Davies in Japan, five other Asia-based lawyers feature in this chapter. In Singapore, Kayal Sachi and Nicholas Crossin are listed. A "fabulous player", Sachi's back catalogue includes acting as lead partner on the C2C submarine cable financing and the ShinSat. Crossin is "a very able lawyer" who was noted for his oil and gas financing work such as in the Oman and Qalhat LNG projects. He also worked on the financing of the Emirates stadium for Arsenal Football Club.
Hong Kong-based lawyer Thomas Brown "ticks all the right boxes", according to sources. Asia managing partner Brown has "seen it and done it" - his work includes the largest-ever hydro project in Laos, Nam Theun 2, and the first internationally project-financed port deal done in Vietnam, the Saigon Premier Container Terminal. Simon Black completes the firm's contingent. Based in China and Hong Kong, he is "established, respected and great to work with." He recently advised the CSPCL joint venture on the refinancing of the Nanhai Project petrochemical plant.
Contributors to the survey compliment this New York-based firm's international outlook, which for projects work can be "unusual in a US firm." In this edition, it achieves a presence in eight countries and three US states.
In June 2008, the firm's New York, London, Brussels, Mexico City and Washington, DC offices represented GMR Infrastructure in the largest acquisition of a global utility by an Indian company, in which it purchased a 50 per cent stake in power company InterGen, which is expected to substantially increase GMR's scope for large infrastructure projects around the world.
From the New York office, the "top flight" duo Arthur Scavone and Troy Alexander co-head the firm's projects practice. Scavone has recently worked on the STP 3&4 Project involving the financing of a 2,700MW nuclear power plant in Texas, representing joint venture Nuclear Innovations. Alexander's experience includes energy, telecommunications, mining and pulp and paper projects in the US and abroad. He represented the sponsors on the $112 billion Qatargas 2, 3 and 4 LNG projects in Qatar.
Alexander Kritzalis has "great Middle East knowledge" and heads up the firm's regional practice group. He has spent over 20 years in the Middle East and helped establish the firm's Riyadh and Abu Dhabi offices. He has been involved in several projects for the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority including power generation and seawater desalination plants. Eugene Goodwillie is "a senior and respected member of the Bar," and recent work includes representing the international lenders to the Kutubu oil field development project. Nandan Nelivigi is a "very bright lawyer" who represents both lenders and developers and has special expertise in cross-border matters involving India.
A trio of lawyers form the firm's contingent in Washington, DC. Sources rate Victor DeSantis "very highly", especially for complex project finance projects. According to one competitor, "he is excellent at keeping his team together." He represented lead arranger ABN Amro in the financing of the Odebrechte Norbe VI offshore oil drilling platform, chartered to Petrobras. The "outstanding" Edward Neaher is noted for his national and international work - one source said he is "one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked with." He represented Société Générale among other lenders in a $300million secured refinancing for Bahia-Coelba State Electricity Company. George Crozer's experience in Asia projects attracted praise, especially in the oil and gas, power and telecommunications areas. He has represented state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina and the Indonesian government on Pertamina's refinery, petrochemical and pipeline projects. Florida-based Carlos Viana is "well positioned to carry out Latin American and Spanish transactions", and his work includes representing joint bookrunners BBVA, Calyon and Citigroup in the senior secured US$1.7 billion term and revolving loan facilities provided to Iberdrola's Mexican project subsidiaries.
White & Case's London office is well represented in our book, led in the nominations by co-head of the EMEA project and infrastructure group Philip Stopford, whose "excellent industry knowledge" is much admired, as is his work on LNG projects. He has also participated in infrastructure projects such as the Cross-Israel Highway Project, representing the Cross-Israel Highway Authority. Peter Finlay is "highly capable," and recommended for his representations of Acergy, Coca-Cola and Williams, among others.
Craig Nethercott co-heads the firm's Islamic financing unit. Peers consider him "an authority on Islamic project financing." His representation of Saudi Aramco in the financing of the US$9.9 billion Rabigh refinery and petrochemical project in Saudi Arabia included a US$600 million Islamic refinancing. John Bellhouse and Jason Kerr also feature. Bellhouse is "fabulous as a projects lawyer and an arbitrator", according to sources. He has combined this expertise on many occasions, including as a party-appointed arbitrator in relation to a hydroelectric project in Malawi. Kerr has just returned from a two-year stint in Asia, including a secondment as principal in-house counsel to the KAFCO urea and ammonia project in Bangladesh.
"At the forefront of deals in China", Xiaoming Li is "extremely highly regarded". He represented Guangdong Nuclear Power in its proposed financing of a new power plant. The "senior and respected" Brian Miller appears from the Singapore office.
European practitioners Paule Biensan - who advised on a €1.1 billion financing for the construction of a new fertiliser plant in Algeria - "top flight" Witold Jurcewicz and "well respected" Asli Basgoz represent the French, Polish and Turkish offices respectively, while John Janks flies the flag for the firm in South Africa. Two lawyers from White & Case's Mexican offices complete the picture. Juan Manuel González is, according to one impressed contributor, "one of the most creative lawyers we've ever seen; a great person to have on your side." Ariel Ramos is involved on "many big projects" and is "one of the very best in the country."
This firm has 16 partners in the publication and Milbank's contingent has grown in California, Hong Kong and New York since the last edition. The firm's reputation for renewables project financings is "second to none", according to sources; the firm closed $4.9 billion of clean energy financings in 2007. LNG constitutes another area of strength and in 2008 the projects group advised all the lenders in the US$2.8 billion financing of the Yemen LNG plant: the largest limited recourse financing of a project in the country.
At the New York HQ, head of the leveraged finance group Jonathan Green is "in the top tier in New York", and admired for his Latin America practice as well as his renewables work. He represented the lenders in ArcLight Capital's acquisition of 18 solar, geothermal and wind projects from Caithness Energy. The "very knowledgeable" Richard Brach also has considerable experience in Latin America, with a focus on mining, pipeline, energy and industrial projects. Eric Silverman "has a great relationship with clients," according to contributors. His work includes a number of LNG projects in Mexico, the US and Nigeria. He also advised on the monetisation of power and gas hedging positions for the Deer Park refinery in Texas. Competitors consider Douglas Harris "a dean of the New York Bar" and newcomer to the list, Carolina Walther-Meade, won praise for her infrastructure, energy and mining projects work, especially in Latin America.
California-based lawyer Ed Feo is co-chair of the firm's project finance and energy practice and "absolutely top notch", according to sources. His work on sustainable energy projects is highly regarded. He recently advised Bluewater Wind in its agreement to be acquired by investment firm Babcock & Brown. Karen Wong debuts in this edition and is noted for her projects work in the Asia and Latin and North America regions, especially in the energy sector.
DC partners Glen Gerstell and Jonathan Maizel are "great practitioners", according to peers. Gerstell is the office's managing partner and he also heads the global communications practice. He has worked on many telecommunications projects including a $360 million financing for Brazilian telecom operator Norte Leste, representing lead arranger and administrative agent Citibank Japan. Maizel heads the DC project finance practice and recent deals include representing the senior lenders in phase one of the $3.2 billion Nigerian Satellite oil fields financing sponsored by ExxonMobil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The three lawyers from Milbank's London office on our list received a raft of endorsements. Philip Fletcher is managing partner of the firm's European offices and his projects experience includes power, natural resource and infrastructure project, including a special focus on multi-sourced financings. John Dewar works on projects in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia such as the 586MW Uch power project in Pakistan. Cathy Marsh is "experienced and a great person to have on the other side", say competitors. Her recent work includes advising lenders on the US$1.8 billion financing of the acquisition and expansion of the Umm Al Nar power and water project in Abu Dhabi. Frankfurt-based Rainer Magold also attracted plaudits.
In Asia, three of the firm's practitioners stand out. Gary Wigmore, senior partner of the Tokyo office, is also head of the Asian project finance practice. He recently represented ECAs such as JBIC, and KEXIM on the project financing of the Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar. In Singapore, the "high-profile" office managing partner David Zemans was praised for his broad-based practice. "Focused, helpful in getting the deal done and well-liked by clients," was the verdict from one contributor to the survey. He represented the project sponsors BP, SembCorp, Kyushu Electric and Nissho Iwai on the 715MW Phu My 3 power project in Vietnam.
Young Joon Kim represents the Hong Kong office in this edition. His recent work includes representing the lead lenders in the US$180 million loan financing of KEPCO Shanxi International for its acquisition of a 34 per cent shareholding in a Sino-foreign joint venture purchasing interests in power plants and coal mines in China.
"A well-coordinated team with deep local knowledge and global coverage" makes Clifford Chance's project finance practice stand out. In 2008, the firm advised SABIC and Saudi Kayan on the signing of a US$6 billion financing package for a US$10 billion petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia - the largest in the world - which includes the largest Islamic Ijara facility provided in a project financing. Sixteen practitioners represent the firm in nine jurisdictions.
Chris Wyman is highly recommended for his work on projects in Europe, Africa and Asia, and he has particular expertise in India and Pakistan. Russell Wells's oil and gas projects work representing oil companies, power developers and banks stood out. He recently acted for sponsors to the Jabung LPG aggregation project in Indonesia. Jeremy Connick is "a real workhorse", according to one correspondent. Recent work includes projects in Africa and Europe.
In Washington, DC, the firm's group is considered "extremely successful." The "fabulous" joint head of the Americas energy and projects group Christopher McIsaac leads in terms of voting; he is noted especially for his work on complex infrastructure projects. Catherine McCarthy's work spans the power, telecoms and energy sectors and her work on multilateral matters attracted praise. David Evans also stands out.
The firm's Dubai office provides three "well-regarded" practitioners for our list. Recommended for his "positive attitude and proactive approach", Peter Avery's work includes projects in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Malcolm Turner is "first rate - a real professional", according to sources. Robin Abraham represents lenders and sponsors on work that includes petrochemicals, metals and infrastructure projects.
A strong Asia practice is another of the firm's strengths. Huw Jenkins in Hong Kong is "a legend in the area", according to sources. His experience in Europe and Asia includes infrastructure and power projects. Managing partner of the Shanghai and Beijing offices Stephen Harder received praise from contributors, who pointed to his experience in water, power, infrastructure and oil and gas projects.
The firm's European lawyers received plaudits from respondents to the survey: the "superb" Anthony Giustini represents the Paris office. Amsterdam-based Jaap Koster and Péter Köves from the Budapest office are highly rated, as was Madrid practitioner Carlos Hernandez-Canut. Nicholas Wong was noted by sources as "extremely talented" in Frankfurt.
Home to some of the most highly nominated practitioners in the edition, Linklaters' projects team is "of the highest calibre", according to sources. The firm has also developed a ‘hybrid project finance' group, which advises on projects combining different finance techniques, for example, Islamic-funding techniques and monetisations. One example is the financing and refinancing of portfolio projects such as the Breeze One and Two windfarm portfolios. Other work includes advising Areva NC on a joint venture with the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission and Jordan Energy Resources for the exploration and development of uranium reserves in Jordan - the Central Jordan Uranium Mining Project.
Fresh from his transfer from the Hong Kong office to Linklaters' London heartland, Stuart Salt is one of the most nominated practitioners in the edition. "Highly expert in the Asia area", his recent work also includes projects in Russia: he formed part of the team advising Sakhalin Investment on the financing of the US$20 billion Sakhalin 2 LNG project. Contributors "can't say enough good things" about Bruce White, head of the PFI/PPP team. He recently led the team that closed the Portsmouth PFI hospital project and is noted for his work on defence and education projects. One contributor said, "he is my first port of call for UK-based projects." The "effective" Clive Ransome recently acted for JBIC and a consortium of lenders on the US$1.8 billion Sohar Refinery project in Oman.
Alan Black is a "serious contender," experienced in a wide range of projects. His energy project work includes acting for the sponsors on the ORYX Gas to Liquids project in Qatar. Fiona Hobbs is a "leader in the field," according to contributors who note her LNG and energy project experience. She advised BG in relation to LNG purchases from Egypt and sale to ENEL. Jeremy Gewirtz is noted for his energy sector experience. He advised lenders to the Saltend power project in the UK - the first merchant IPP in Europe since the collapse of Enron.
Jonathan Inman from the Dubai office has "a great global practice", according to sources, coupled with "a wealth of local knowledge". He advised the Saudi Railways Organisation on the Makkah-Madinah Rail Link and Saudi Landbridge projects. In Thailand, the "excellent" Wilailuk Okanurak advises on telecommunications, power and petrochemical projects, among others. Budapest-based partner Csilla Andrékó completes the firm's showing on these pages.
Shearman & Sterling's recent highlights include advising the mandated lead arrangers on the US$750 million financing for the Gheco-One independent power project in October 2008.
Although the firm is headquartered in New York, the London office is highly regarded internationally; three of its UK team represent it here, including Nicholas Buckworth, who makes it onto our list of most highly nominated lawyers. This "hugely impressive lawyer" has experience in infrastructure, oil and gas, petrochemical and power projects, both in the UK and abroad. He advised the lenders to the £200 million financing of the Croydon Tramlink.
Credited with "great deals, great client loyalty and a great practice," Kenneth MacRitchie also stands out. Sources noted his domestic and international work. His CV includes representing a European investment bank on a £1.26 billion financing of the London Underground. David Platt has "a fabulous Middle East practice" and also handles matters in the Asia-Pacific region on power, transportation and infrastructure projects among others. These include advising the lead arrangers on the financing of the Manila Airport Terminal.
In New York, Cynthia Urda Kassis combines work in North and Latin America and co-heads the firm's project development and finance group. She recently advised on the US$763 million project financing for the Canaport LNG regasification terminal being developed in New Brunswick by Repsol and Irving Oil.
In Asia, we identify two "fantastic" Shearman & Sterling lawyers. Singapore-based Bill McCormack is "very well respected." He acted for the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank regarding the financing of Suez International Energy's acquisition of the Calaca coal-fired power project in the Philippines. The "very active" Andrew Ruff practises in Shanghai and has a special focus on infrastructure projects. He advised sponsors such as BASF and Sinopec on the ongoing refinancing and expansion of the Nanjing petrochemical plant.
Abu Dhabi practitioners Tim Pick and Philip Dundas complete the picture for the firm. Pick's work includes advising Marafuq in the procurement of an IWPP to serve the Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. Dundas is managing partner of the office and heads up the firm's Middle East practice. He advised the United Arab Emirates Offsets Group as sponsor of the US$ 6 billion Dolphin gas project.
This West Coast powerhouse is making moves to bolster its offices around the globe and has moved several high-profile practitioners to branches in London and the Gulf - where it launched in early 2008 - exploiting the links between the UK capital and the Middle East.
As part of this expansion outside the US, William Voge, one of the highest nominated practitioners in the edition, moved to London in July 2008. "Cool, calm and very experienced", Voge was praised for his Middle East experience, especially his representation of Qatar-based joint ventures as well as a raft of other clients including JPMorgan Chase Bank and Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas. He recently represented the sponsors of the Q-Chem II petrochemical project on a US$2 billion petrochemical project in Qatar. Dennis Nordstrom also drew praise, especially for his expertise in energy sector work including power, water and oil and gas projects.
In New York, Jonathan Rod is "very well known" and "a big competitor". Recent work includes the $3.5 billion Hamaca crude oil project in Venezuela, representing Ex-Im Bank. David Gordon is "one of the top in the city", according to sources. Representing banks, financial institutions and private companies such as Energy Capital Partners, LS Power and CoBank, he advises on project structuring, financing and due diligence.
"Among the very best on the regulatory side", John Sachs's practice also encompasses other elements of US and international projects, especially oil and gas, water and transportation projects. He has advised the governments and national utilities of countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Poland and Jamaica on establishing private power programmes and regulatory frameworks. In San Francisco, Kenneth Blohm's recent work includes representing the lead arrangers in the financings of J-Power's Orange Grove Project in San Diego and TG Power's Hot Sulphur Springs geothermal project in Nevada. His practice also has an international focus, especially projects in Turkey.
In Hong Kong, office managing partner Joseph Bevash represents lenders, underwriters and owner-developers in projects all over Asia. Michael Yoshii is at the Tokyo office and leads the high-tech practice, and is involved in a variety of projects.
A "projects stalwart", Chadbourne & Parke LLP was highly recommended for its presence in Africa. The firm is advising the Moroccan state-owned National Electricity Office in connection with a revived IPP tender for a 1.32MW coal-fired power project in Safi.
New York-based head of the global project finance practice Chaim Wachsberger is an "excellent practitioner". As the head of a "very proactive and resourceful team", he works on projects in the US and abroad. He represented a consortium in its tender to finance, build and operate the first Tel Aviv Metro line. The "extremely efficient" John Baecher from the same office joins him in this book.
The firm's office best represented here is the one in Washington, DC. Contributors complimented "terrific" Noam Ayali's experience on energy projects representing sponsors and lenders in financing and related political risk insurance matters. He is representing Gazprom on the planned Shtokman Project, a multi-phased gas project that includes LNG transportation, upstream development and production of the Stokman natural gas fields and obtaining regasification capacity at LNG receiving terminals in North America.
Peter Fitzgerald represents multilateral agencies, commercial bank lenders and project developers. "Experienced and well regarded", his work in the emerging markets was particularly noted. Kenneth Hansen focuses on representing bilateral, multilateral and commercial lenders as well as developers. He recently represented Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in the restructuring of the Dabhol Power Project in India. Managing partner of the Los Angeles office Edward Zaelke is "a renowned authority on alternative energy projects", especially wind power projects.
A strong New York trio represents the firm in this publication: head of the global project development and finance group Frederic Rich features among our most highly regarded list. An "outstanding" practitioner who has worked on projects in North and Latin America, Australia, Europe and Asia, his experience includes energy projects as well as infrastructure work including canals, ports and roads. Christopher Mann is "really going places", according to sources that tip him as "one to watch". He worked on Anglo American's acquisition of a 49 per cent interest in the MMX Minas-Rio iron ore and port facility in Brazil. Sergio Galvis heads the Latin American group from New York and is "the one to call for projects in Latin America", according to one source. He advised Marcobre on the development and financing of the Marcona copper project in Peru. In London, respondents to the survey were full of praise for Jamieson Logie. He represented the borrower-issuer on the Tengizchevroil upstream financing in Kazakhstan.
In addition to the international firms listed prominently, contributors to the survey identified several firms perfectly placed to exploit the Australasian, Asian and Latin American markets as particularly worthy of mention. The "tremendous" Cyril Shroff at Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co heads a busy practice in Mumbai, dealing especially with telecoms, power and infrastructure projects and representing both lenders and borrowers. He recently advised on the financing of the Bharat Oman Refineries project. He is joined by the "top flight" Shardul Shroff and L Viswanathan, who completes a group of "international renown."
Australian firm Allens Arthur Robinson scores highly in the research. Credited with a "great Asia practice", increasingly it is advising on deals in countries such as China and Indonesia. At home, the firm recently worked on the Mitcham-Frankston toll road and the acquisition financing and refinancing of Sydney Airport. Phillip Cornwell is considered by some as "the top name in the business", praised for his "vast experience as well as a great reputation with the banks." His financi