Norton Rose expands East Europe practice

Norton Rose expands East Europe practice” />Norton Rose is consolidating its presence in Eastern Europe with a raft of high-profile deals as part of its ongoing push on international projects in EU accession countries and beyond.

The firm is advising both the Romanian and Bulgarian governments on deals collectively worth more than €1bn (£700m). Campbell Steedman, head of Norton Rose’s Central European practice based in Frankfurt, said that although Norton Rose has no plans to open new offices in the region, it works closely with an informal network of local firms and plans to continue doing so.

“We’ve been working hard on raising our profile in the region,” Steedman said, adding that the firm sees Turkey as the next major opportunity.

Most recently, Norton Rose was instructed by the Romanian Ministry of Transport, Constructions and Tourism on the country’s first major public private partnership (PPP) project – the first section of a new motorway that will stretch from the capital Bucharest to Brasov in central Romania.

The deal, due to be presented to the government for approval soon, involves complex financing arrangements to reduce risk to the state. Promissory notes will be issued by the government, but any shortfall in the project will be met by performance-related bonds, thereby shifting the risk to the private sector.

Norton Rose’s team included Steedman and London banking partner Andrew Newbery, with London-based senior associate Vince Mulvey leading negotiations in Romania. Romanian firm Simona Neagu provided local advice. The Israeli developers are advised by Tel Aviv firm Naschitz Brandes.

In Bulgaria, Norton Rose advised the government on the disposal of a 67 per cent stake in seven electricity companies, with an aggregate value of €693m (£484.9m). Munich finance partner Simon Cox led the team, with local support from Borislav Boyanov & Co.