Lovells and Freshfields in landmark Euro deal

Lovells and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have completed the lion's share of the work on a landmark Alstom deal – the first pan-European real estate sale and leaseback.

The e120m (£81.9m) deal saw Alstom, advised by Lovells, sell 15 industrial and office sites situated in France, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland to CDC Ixis Capital Markets, which was advised by Freshfields.

But while Lovells' Paris office got the nod to coordinate the deal across Europe, Alstom opted for its usual counsel in other jurisdictions, instructing Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick & Cerfontaine in Belgium, Garrigues & Andersen in Spain, and Swiss notary Erich Ruegg. French notary Monaffier was also instructed.

This was the first property instruction for the Paris office, but others are likely to follow. “There are more sites which Alstom is considering for sale, including Germany and Italy,” said Corinne Knopp, the Lovells partner who coordinated the transaction.

French power and transport engineering group Alstom first appointed Lovells to carry out a review of its Western European property at the beginning of 2002. At that stage it was hoped that the pan-European outsourcing deal could be completed encompassing all Alstom's Western European sites. But ultimately the transaction was completed as a sale and leaseback, and a number of European buyers have now had to be found.

In January a team led by property partner Catherine Watts advised on the sale of Alstom's UK-based property portfolio to Key Property Investments.

While there are added complexities to a sale and leaseback transaction which covers more than one jurisdiction, such further deals are likely to follow.