Norton Rose advises on Lithuanian deal

Norton Rose has advised on the largest-ever private loan made in the Baltic state of Lithuania.

The $100m (u62.5m) loan was for partially-privatised Lithuanian telecoms company AB Lietuvos Telekomas, advised by Swedish firm Mannheimer Swartling.

Norton Rose banking partner Stephen Parish was assisted by Dominic Pritchard in advising documentation agents Merita Bank. He says Norton Rose is keen to cash in on further opportunities, particularly in relation to telecoms and energy-related work. But he says Norton Rose has no plans at this stage to set up a Lithuanian base.

Swedish telecoms company Telia and Finnish telecoms company Sonera hold a 60 per cent share in the Lithuanian company.

They were advised by Swedish firm Mannheimer Swartling partner Andre Andersson, assisted by Lars Ericsson.

Parish says: “This shows that banks are interested in this sort of deal.

“The attraction for the banks was that the current shareholders are Sonera and Telia. The lending banks were familiar with them. This deal embodies Norton Rose's high-profile involvement in the increasing number of pan-European deals tapping into the burgeoning eastern European and former Soviet Union markets.”

The loan is to meet the telecoms company's existing short-term debt.

But money will also go towards funding investment in technology in anticipation of the liberalisation of the Lithuanian telecommunications industry in 2003.