A&O acts for Imperial on bond issue

Allen & Overy (A&O) has consolidated its relationship with new client Imperial Tobacco, advising on the company's bond issue, which raised e2.8bn (£1.8bn).
A&O won the work on the back of the advice it provided on the £3.2bn acquisition of Hamburg-based tobacco company Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken. A&O capital markets partner Stephen Miller said the bond issue represented the “closing chapter” of the Reemtsma work.
This was the third part of the Imperial work, with A&O corporate partner Jeremy Parr advising on the acquisition, Stephen Gillespie leading the team on a jumbo loan and Miller advising on the bond issue.
In a three-tranche deal, the company sold a e750m (£484.2m) three-year bond, a e1.5bn (£968.4m) five-year bond and a e550m (£355m) 10-year bond in the largest Baa-rated financing ever attempted in the bond market.
The Imperial work, traditionally farmed out to Ashurst Morris Crisp, originally came to A&O because of Imperial's relationship with Parr. Parr moved from Ashursts to A&O at the beginning of 2001 and has a strong relationship with Imperial's chief executive officer Gareth Davis.
Imperial's group treasurer John Jones said it made sense to give the bond issue to A&O because the firm already had background knowledge of the acquisition. “A&O was able to help the company achieve what it needed to achieve in a seemless manner,” Miller added.
Further business for A&O should follow on the back of the Reemtsma deal. “I was very impressed with their work,” said Jones. “I see no reason not to use them again.”
Ashursts, however, will also continue to act for Imperial and was involved in the Reemstma deal, advising on the related rights issue.
The lead managers were JP Morgan, HSBC and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, with some other banks as co-managers. Linklaters acted for the financiers with capital markets partner Nigel Pridmore leading the deal.