White & Case scoops major Kazakhstan banking clients

White & Case scoops major Kazakhstan banking clients” />White & Case has cemented its place at the forefront of Kazakhstan capital markets after the firm won mandates to advise the lead managers and trustees on two of the country’s major bond issues in the banking sector this year.

The firm advised ABN Amro and JP Morgan Securities as lead manager and JPMorgan Corporate Trustee as trustee on the issue of $300m (£164.7m) of notes issued by leading Kazakh bank TuranAlem. Due to high demand, the issue was tapped with a further $100m (£54.9m) of notes.

Partner Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, head of the firm’s European capital markets group, led the team for White & Case, alongside Almaty-based partner Yuriy Maltsev. Texas-based firm Bracewell & Patterson, led by Greg Vojack, advised the issuer.

Last month, the firm also advised ING Bank as lead manager and Bank of New York as trustee on the issue of $100m (£54.9m) of notes by second-tier Kazakh bank JSC ATF Bank. It was the first international bond issue by any of Kazakhstan’s second-tier banks. The debt issue was offered only to investors outside the US and saw a significant portion of the issue placed in Asia. JSC ATF Bank issued the notes directly rather than through a Dutch finance subsidiary, in order to enable Kazakh pension funds to purchase the notes.

White & Case has had an office in Kazakh capital Almaty for more than a decade and advised on the Kazakh government’s first ever bond issue in 1996, as well as representing ING as lead manager on last year’s $500m (£274.5m) bond issue for another of Kazakhstan’s big three banks, Kazkommertzbank. The firm also acted for UBS Warburg on the establishment of the first ever European medium-term note programme in Kazakhstan – a $400m (£219.6m) programme for the Development Bank of Kazakhstan.

The note issues have reinforced Kazakhstan’s growing status as a target for international investment, with the country strengthening its reputation as a nuclear waste dump.

This year saw the upgrade of the former Soviet state’s rating by Standard & Poor’s. Kazakhstan is now rated investment grade by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.