White & Case wins race to relaunch Russian eurobond

White & Case has beaten three English magic circle firms to work on the first Russian corporate eurobond since the country's financial crisis in 1998.
The return of the corporate eurobond – where money is raised outside the domestic market – signifies a great renewal of international confidence in Russian companies. The $150m (£105.8) eurobond loan went to the 100 per cent state-owned oil company Rosneft. White & Case acted for the two banks that arranged the loan, ABN AMRO and Dredsner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Allen & Overy acted for Rosneft.
According to Alexandra Rutstein, head of White & Case's capital markets practice in Russia, Clifford Chance Pünder, Linklaters & Alliance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer all had an eye on this deal. According to Rutstein each firm already works for the two banks in Russia.
“Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Freshfields all work for these banks in Moscow. We all have the same clients. At the end of the day, it's a question of money,” Rutstein said.
The corporate eurobond comes hot on the heels of the first eurobond since the crisis, which was a municipal borrowing by the City of Moscow at the end of last month. Linklaters advised the City of Moscow, which Linklaters partner Nick Eastwell pointed out has never defaulted on bond payments in the past.
There are at least three other corporate eurobonds in the pipeline, which Clifford Chance is working on. Clifford Chance's Moscow partner John Balsdon is working on a planned $250m (£176.3) eurobond issue for Russia's sixth-largest oil producer Sibneft. He expressed regret at not being in White & Case's position, but put the situation down to timing.
“Of course, everyone wants to be in the vanguard and burst onto the market, but our deals are yet to close,” he explained.