Bakers and White & Case advise on £11bn BTA Bank restructure

Baker & McKenzie and White & Case bagged leading roles on the $16.7bn (£10.8bn) restructuring of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank.

Michael Foundethakis
Michael Foundethakis

The multimillion-dollar restructuring, which is among the largest ever completed in the region, was recognised by the Special Financial Court of Almaty on 31 August and, barring an unlikely appeal against the agreement, it will take legal effect on 15 September.

BTA Bank defaulted in April 2009 and at the time was the largest lender in Kazakhstan. Following its default the bank was taken over by Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna, which now owns 81.4 per cent of the bank.

The restructured debt, which included bonds, structured finance securities, derivative transactions and bilateral and syndicated loans, has reduced the bank’s debt to $4.2bn.

Bakers head of European banking and finance Michael Foundethakis co-led the team advising the creditors’ steering committee, along with London-based partner Ian Jack and Almaty partner Curtis Masters. 

The firm landed the mandate thanks to its historic relationship with two of the creditors, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Standard Chartered Bank.

The steering committee features 11 banks and a mix of four creditor classes: commercial banks, bond holders, exchange credit agencies (ECAs) and trade finance banks.

Foundethakis said it was a unique situation to have different creditor classes sitting around the same table and admitted that there was conflict at times.

He added that without transparency it would have been difficult to “structure a balanced, diverse and reasonable restructuring package within a very tight timescale”.

The cross-border Bakers team also included capital markets partner Roy Pearce and Moscow partner Mikhail Turetsky.

A White & Case team led by European capital markets co-head Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes was lead counsel to BTA Bank, while Hogan Lovells CIS disputes partner Cary Kochberg provided special counsel to the bank.

Allen & Overy partner Lorraine Ball provided additional advice to export credit agencies.