Clifford Chance drops as A&O soars in project finance global rankings

Clifford Chance has toppled six spaces in this year’s global project finance rankings as Allen & Overy (A&O) rises to pole position with $94.9bn worth of deals.

Last year Clifford Chance beat its competition in a three-year low for deal volumes and values to come out top. The firm outperformed its rivals in 2012 with 47 transactions worth $36.3bn (£24bn) according to trade publication and data provider Infrastructure Journal’s (IJ) league tables (4 March 2013).

In comparison, A&O has stormed to the top of the league for 2013 with 68 transactions worth almost $95bn compared to 41 deals for Clifford Chance.

The stakes were markedly higher than 2012, when the top 10 firms inked 276 deals worth a total of $228bn.

Though that amount was hardly insignificant, it compares to 2013’s top 10 total of $399.5bn and a total top 20 deal value of $543.6bn.

In a trend echoing the growing strength of US firms in finance, Latham & Watkins, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Shearman & Sterling and White & Case all climbed the tables. Linklaters was the greatest faller after Clifford Chance, dropping from fourth place last year to eleventh.

Latham & Watkins, which in 2012 worked on 35 deals worth $32bn, posted 43 deals worth $45.9bn in 2013, ranking second. Meanwhile White & Case, on a total of 25 deals worth $15.37bn last year almost doubled the value of its deals to $36.5bn despite working on only 18 transactions.

The third most successful firm in deal value was Allens which leapt from fifth place in the table. Linklaters’ Australian ally added only two more deals to its record but boosted the value of those deals to $40bn up from $26.8bn. 

A duo of Nigerian firms also made the top 20 this year. Olaniwun Ajayi and Banwo & Ighodalo both advised on transactions worth a total of over $60bn last year.

The boosted deal volumes could leave lawyers breathing a sigh of relief as project finance teams continue to clambour out of a tricky period. The past few years has seen a slow climb back to a recent high of 2010, when the top 10 firms totted up $336bn in deals. In 2011 that fell to 355 deals valued at $262bn. 

Top 20 project finance firms by deal value
RANK 2013 RANK 2012 FIRM TOTAL $bn NUMBER OF DEALS MARKET SHARE (%)
1 2 Allen & Overy 94.87 68 13.01
2 3 Latham & Watkins 45.91 43 6.3
3 5 Allens 40.0 29 5.49
4 13 Herbert Smith Freehills 37.26 38 5.11
5 6 White & Case 36.46 18 5
6 10 Milbank 35.31 29 4.84
7 1 Clifford Chance 32.39 41 4.44
8 12 Shearman & Sterling 29.62 24 4.06
9 14 Norton Rose Fulbright 24.11 59 3.31
10 7 Baker & McKenzie 23.55 19 3.23
11 4 Linklaters 22.26 32 3.05
12 11 Chadbourne & Parke 19.11 18 2.62
13 NA Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira 17.60 2 2.41
14 NA Al Fahad Law 17.25 1 2.37
= NA Hatem Abbas Ghazzawi & Co 17.25 1 2.37
16 NA King & Wood Mallesons 15.09 24 2.07
17 17 Ashurst 14.58 18 2
18 19 Andrews Kurth 79.0 1 1.08
19 NA Olaniwun Ajayi 69.34 3 0.95
20 NA Banwo & Ighodalo 61.50 1 0.84
    Totals: 543.6 469