Finance Team of the Year

Sidley Austin

Who to go to in a crisis? After relying on Sidley Austin London global finance partner and client relationship partner Matthew Cahill during its bailout by the Troika in 2013, the Bank of Cyprus picked Cahill again.

The plan was simple, yet the execution complicated. The bank wanted to raise 1bn new share capital through a series of equity offerings in 2014 to help it pass a stress test, despite intense public scrutiny and strict EU-wide banking regulation.

After the bailout in 2013, the bank’s depositors had involuntarily become shareholders.

This new deal involved the company offering unlisted shares privately to a large group of potential investors while having contending with sensitivities arising from the bailout. The Bank of Cyprus was still subject to the listing requirements on the Cyprus and Athens stock exchanges, even though its listed shares were suspended for trading.

This meant that the bank was subject to restrictions and disclosure obligations but did not have the benefit of a liquid and tradeable market in its shares.In order to resolve this issue, Cahill’s team created an innovative hybrid deal structure combining a secondary equity offering by a listed company with private equity and M&A elements.

It increased the pool of shareholders by 40 per cent and provided new capital to the bank to allow it to pass the stress test.

Runner up
  • Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May represented Scotland-based INEOS Grangemouth Group in a €285m five-year public bond offering guaranteed by Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT).

The objective was to finance the construction of an ethane storage tank and import terminal, which would guarantee a future pipeline for the beleaguered energy company. Slaughters finance partner Guy O’Keefe, supported by partner Andrew Johnson, led this deal arranged through the UK Guarantees Scheme. As a result of historical financial difficulties dating back to losses of around £150m in 2013, INEOS would struggle to find traditional borrowing without credit support. With the backdrop of the Scottish independence and increased political tensions as crucial factors to navigate around and achieve success, one judge described this entry as “absolutely outstanding”.

Third place
  • Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills’ standout finance project last year was a $2bn prepayment financing arrangement between BP and Rosneft that finalised in June 2014. The firm represented Deutsche Bank in the transaction, conducted against the backdrop of a constantly evolving sanctions landscape in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy