UK firms take lion's share of Euro debt work

Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance are consolidating their dominance of work helping companies and countries around the world tap the expanding global market for Euro-debt.

Figures produced by the International Financial Law Review of Euro Medium-Term Note (MTN) issues also show that Linklaters and Allen & Overy are particularly advancing in Latin America, at the expense of US firms.

Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have a heavy reliance on programmes originating from European governments and companies, while Linklaters is weaker in Europe but much stronger than its two rivals in Latin America.

Since the UK firms have taken on American lawyers, the US firms have lost ground to them in Euro debt issues originating in Latin America, even when these debt programmes are arranged under New York law by US banks.

For example, in January 1997, US bank Chase Manhattan used Sullivan & Cromwell to advise it on arranging the Mexican government's $7.5bn Euro MTN programme.

But it later instructed Linklaters to advise it on drawdowns from this issue.

It is usual for a bank to use the same adviser for both transactions.