Clifford Chance beats Chadbourne to top global project finance rankings

Clifford Chance has overtaken Chadbourne & Parke at the top of the global project finance rankings for 2015.

According to research compiled by IJ Global, Clifford Chance worked on 72 transactions last year worth a total of $42bn. This compares to second place White & Case, who jumped four positions with 35 deals worth $40.5bn, and third place Chadbourne & Parke’s 46 transactions totalling $38.5bn. In the first half of 2015, Chadbourne leapt 15 places in the rankings to take the top spot.

The largest proportion of Clifford Chance’s deals were in the renewables sector, with the magic circle firm working on 24 transactions worth $8.4bn. However the firm’s 19 transport deals were worth considerably more at $17.5bn.

“Renewables transactions are not big deals and you get a big body count quite quickly,” explains Clifford Chance energy and infrastructure partner Russell Wells. “But it’s an active sector, along with brownfield and greenfield infrastructure projects of which we’re seeing a lot.”

Over the past year, Clifford Chance has been advising on the Yamal LNG project in Russia, as well as the $825m financing of a power generation project in Zambia. Africa and Latin America are singled out by Wells as being two particular growth areas, and he plans for the magic circle firm to balance out its client base further so it acts for a mix of sponsors and lenders.

Linklaters, Ashurst and Latham & Watkins were all new entrants in 2015’s top 10 project finance rankings, in seventh, eight and ninth positions respectively. Linklaters and Latham both worked on 43 deals each, although Linklaters’ were worth more at £23.3bn.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the only magic circle firm not to feature in the top 10, with Allen & Overy just coming ahead of Linklaters in sixth spot. The firm, however, has fallen down the table in the last few years. It was ranked in top spot in 2013, but had lost its position by 2015 dropping to eighth place. Last year, A&O’s 59 deals were worth $29.4bn, while the value of its 2013 deals were over three times higher at $94.87bn.

Rank FY 2015 Rank H1 2015 Firm Total ($bn) Transactions
1 3 Clifford Chance 42.1 72
2 6 White & Case 40.5 35
3 1 Chadbourne & Parke 38.5 46
4 2 Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy 38 48
5 4 Norton Rose Fulbright 32.3 66
6 5 Allen & Overy 29.4 59
7 NA Linklaters 23.3 43
8 NA Ashurst 21.7 36
9 Latham & Watkins 20.7 43
10 9 DLA Piper 20.7 34

Source: IJ Global