White & Case has been sidelined in the restructuring of French engineering giant Alstom, which has generated a hugely lucrative workload for the Paris legal market.
The US firm advised on an earlier restructuring attempt in the spring, but has lost out on the bulk of the new work to Lovells, Shearman & Sterling and Alstom’s in-house team.
Clifford Chance has also strengthened its relationship with the French government. Corporate partner Domi-nique Bompoint led a multi-skilled team advising the government on the restructuring.
The French government and Alstom originally proposed a plan to save the conglomerate in August, but the European Commission (EC) outlawed the deal on the grounds that the French state would be taking an irreversible stake in Alstom’s share capital.
With the company’s creditors baying, negotiations between the government, Alstom and the EC had to be quick and were concluded in less than two months, with the government contributing E800m (£560.8m) to the engineering company, of which E300m (£210.3m) will be converted into shares subject to EC approval. “It’s a classical refinancing,” said Bompoint. “The key issue was state aid.”
To that end, Bompoint was assisted by associate Remi Sermier, while Lovells partner Jacques Derenne advised Alstom on the competition issues. Lovells also advised on banking issues while Shearman & Sterling’s Sami Toutounji advised the company on the capital markets aspects of the deal.
As The Lawyer went to press, EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti vowed to widen his investigation into the amount state aid Alstom is re- ceiving.