CC advises arrangers on giant Norilsk mining deal

Clifford Chance has scooped the lead role on its second mega-deal in the past three months, advising on the financing of Norilsk Nickel’s acquisition of LionOre Mining International.

The firm advised lead arrangers BNP Paribas and Société Générale on the $6bn (£2.95bn) loan to fund the acquisition of the Russian nickel giant.

The deal comes after global head of finance Mark Campbell led on the $40bn (£19.7bn) loan facility for Rio Tinto’s bid for Canadian aluminium company Alcan.

Lead partner on the Norilsk acquisition Jom MacHale said: “These deals are significant because of the size. It’s very hard to get these jumbo deals away in times of market uncertainty. No one knows what will happen in the markets over the next few months and we needed to be aware of this when structuring the deal.”

The deal win is a result of an existing relationship that Clifford Chance’s Moscow office has with Norilsk.

The financing package is divided into three tranches incorporating a $2bn (£984.99m) five-year syndicated finance facility, a $1.5bn (£738.74m) three-year syndicated facility and a $2.5bn (£1.23bn) one-year non-syndicated loan.

MacHale said: “The deal was tense at points because of a counter-bid from Xstrata. The uncertainty this creates makes the process more pressured.”

The Clifford Chance team worked out of London as well as Moscow, with partner Victoria Bortkevicha leading the Moscow team.

Hogan & Hartson advised Norilsk, led by Colin Craik, while Canadian firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt advised the banks on Canadian law.