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Gide Loyrette Nouel
Gide Loyrette Nouel is well established in Hungary and has been present in the market since 1993. In 2010, the firm sought to become one of the top firms in Hungary as it supplemented its move to make Budapest its Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) hub with a spate of hires. Unfortunately as the Hungarian market soured, the firm lost Gábor Felsen, György Katona and István Kovári. It had to reorganise and this led to Ákos Kovách taking over the M&A department. Most recently in June 2012, the firm hired Csaba Ember who was previously an associated partner at the correspondent law firm of Deloitte Hungary. Ember takes over the firm's banking and finance practice, and the firm will be looking to reassert the Budapest office's role as Gide Loyrette Nouel's regional hub serving clients in the Western Balkans, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.
The M&A team acted for EDF and GDF Suez on the sale of its stake in a joint venture performing ancillary services. It continued to advise Lego in its decision to maintain its production site in Nyíregyháza, East Hungary. A new production site at €200 million is set to be developed alongside a privately held renewable energy power plant.
Gide Loyrette Nouel opened its Bucharest office in 1998 and is a solid fixture in Romania's legal market. It acts for international investors in Romania and for companies looking to setup in the country. From Bucharest the firm regularly operates in Bulgaria.
Andreea Toma heads the firm's banking and finance practice that serves clients like the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Raiffeisen Bank and BNP Paribas group. The firm has had a strong year in real estate, acquisition and project finance matters. The firm acted for lenders – including Société Générale, UniCredit and NBG Bank – on a €268 million club deal for the development, construction and extension of a project comprising a shopping centre and office buildings. "Christina [Togan] is able to anticipate legal issues and provide workable solutions," one client says. "She is detail oriented and on occasion has pleasantly surprised us by going the extra mile in her due diligence."
Toma and Bruno Leroy lead the firm's M&A practice. The team is made up of Romanian and foreign M&A lawyers who work closely with the firm's competition, tax, real estate, banking and finance teams. In a cross-border matter, the firm advised the French food retailer Groupe Auchan on its €1 billion acquisition of Real Eastern Europe, a hypermarket chain, from Metro Group, one of the largest German retailers. Apart from Romania, there were real estate assets in Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
The big news for Gide Loyrette Nouel this year is the departure of a large part of the banking team to Morgan Lewis & Bockius. The team, including a partner and seven other lawyers, left the Russian office of the French firm in July 2013.
Grigory Marinichev was the head of the banking department before his move and was the lead partner on the majority of the firm's significant transactions. His departure, along with managing associate Konstantin Kochetkov and six other associates, leaves the team with a significant lack of experience. Peers agree that the loss of the team has a major impact on the firm's capabilities in this area and it does indeed drop in the rankings this year to tier 4.
There is better news for the corporate team which saw the addition of senior associate Alexander Akhmetbekov in July 2012 from Squire Sanders. The team is particularly strong in offering advice to international clients coming into Russia, thanks to its global network, but also advises domestic companies too. An example of the latter is advising Acron in the development and expansion of the Talitsky section of the Verkhnekamsk potash-magnesium salt field.
The project finance team is focused on public-private partnership (PPP) work. It retains its tier 3 ranking this year thanks to some impressive transactions which encompass work in the regions and CIS.
Because Gide operates its banking and restructuring work from a single team the restructuring and insolvency practice is equally affected by the departure of Marinichev and his team. A majority of peers suggest the firm should not retain its tier 3 ranking and it does indeed drop a tier this year.
Özdirekcan Bilgic Dündar – Gide Loyrette Nouel
In Turkey Gide Loyrette Nouel, the independent French law firm, is represented by Özdirekcan Bilgic Dündar Attorney Partnership. It has been present in the market for more than 15 years. The Istanbul team benefits from the firm's global expertise and works in close cooperation with Gide's London, New York and Paris offices. The local office has even developed strong Asian clientele, thanks to its cooperation with the firm's Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. "GLN is the biggest French law firm, having an extensive international practice. Locally it has a small but efficient team covering various fields of law," one client says.
In July 2012, Matthieu Roy was elected head of Gide Istanbul and the former head, Jean-Gabriel Flandrois, returned to Paris. In Istanbul itself, Haluk Bilgic heads the banking practice and Bulent Özdirekcan fronts the M&A practice. The firm is ranked in tier 4 of the M&A table. Also, the firm's M&A team members are regularly seconded to its M&A departments in different jurisdictions. "It's hard working and has a high capacity for multitasking, good client relations, and perfect linguistic skills," one client says.
In the past 12 months, the firm has been active in aviation finance, project finance, structured finance and regulatory work. It advised Turkish Airlines in the financing for the purchase of over 40 Airbus aircrafts and three Boeing aircrafts at an aggregate amount of €2 billion.
In the last year, the M&A department has been active in the financial, energy and retail sectors. For example, the firm advised Yves Rocher, a cosmetics company, in its purchase of shares in two Flormar companies, a Turkish cosmetics corporation.
France's leading firm, Gide Loyrette Nouel, has a wide international network encompassing a branch in Kiev. A lot of its larger deals are for French clients whose transactions have local or CIS aspects. Typically the firm's transactional work falls into one of two categories: banking or M&A. Deals in the former area usually see the firm advising international lenders.
Partner Bertrand Barrier heads the Kiev office, but shares the responsibility of leading the banking and finance and M&A teams with Igor Krasovskiy and Illya Tkachuk respectively.
Clients who have worked with the pair individually were pleased with their service. "Above, all, we appreciate the pragmatic approach of Gide. They were always up to speed with the latest legal developments under Ukrainian law," says one who worked with Krasovskiy. Another, who was assisted by Tkachuk, appreciated his responsiveness and that he catered to his client's individual needs. "It is always important to receive timely advice, tailored to your needs," he says.
A major transaction for the firm which straddled banking and M&A was Barrier's advice to Société Générale on its exit from Ukraine which saw it sells it local shares and portfolios for €87 million.
Another key French client of the firm is Auchan, the multinational retail group, which the Kiev office assisted with its €1 billion acquisition of a retail network in Eastern Europe.
© Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC