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Baker & McKenzie has advised the European Investment Bank (EIB) on leasing company Locat's euro400m (£243.2m) securitisation to fund leasing projects for small and medium-sized enterprises
This is the first securitisation that the EIB has done in Italy since the new securitisation law came into effect in 1999. Baker & McKenzie won the work in a pitch over a year ago. This is the second deal where the firm has advised the EIB in Italy - in 1996 it advised the bank on the Sarlux Power PFI. The firm is also doing work for the EIB in Hong Kong and Latin America, but it hopes that this securitisation will consolidate the relationship in Italy. The lead partner on the deal Marco Padovan was in-house counsel at the EIB for 14 years before moving to Baker & McKenzie last May. However, Padovan denies that he is responsible for Baker & McKenzie winning the deal and says the pitch took place before he made the move. The new legislation creates a favourable climate for securitisation and is expected to increase Italy's activity in the market. Through modifying the insolvency code, the assets in the special purpose vehicle (SPV) can be insulated, and therefore each bond issue can be assessed on its own merits. The deal is unusual in that the EIB used its involvement to give the money to Locat and therefore the money is going back to the originator. The condition for the arrangement is that the money going to Locat is marked for EIB projects. Padovan, who is based in Milan, says that the transaction went smoothly. "What was interesting was that the Bank of Italy needed to approve the SPV and we managed to get approval in a matter of days when it normally takes a couple of months. "In this deal, the EIB took advantage of the recent Italian securitisation law, but we had to work hard to find the right equilibrium between the market practices and the special needs of a multilateral development bank." Euro Capital Structures was advised by Chiomenti Studio Legale and the team was led by partner Roberto Ghio. Locat was advised in-house.