Akin Gump and Dechert win roles as Kazakh oil group restructures debt

US firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Dechert won roles on the debt restructuring of Kazakhstan-focused oil and gas group Max Petroleum through a new $90m (£56m) credit facility.

Camille Abousleiman
Camille Abousleiman

Akin Gump advised the AIM-listed exploration and production company, with a team led by London corporate partner Harry Keegan and finance partner Robert Aulsebrook.

Dechert, which recently opened an office in Almaty after raiding Chadbourne & Parke’s energy practice (5 April 2012), acted for the bondholders. London-based corporate and capital markets partners Camille Abousleiman and Graham Defries and senior corporate associate Giles Belsey were on the team.

Kazakh law firm Grata was also drafted in to act for Sberbank SB JSC, the Kazakh subsidiary of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, which is providing the new senior secured five-year $90m credit line.

The company previously had a senior credit facility with Macquarie Bank, which was advised on the refinancing by White & Case. The team was led by London restructuring partner Stephen Phillips and Almaty energy partner Maxim Telemtayev.

The transaction will also see Max Petroleum restructure $85.6m of convertible bonds.

It is thought that the deal will enable the company squeeze its total debt down from around $140m (£87m) to $90m (£56m) and will free up a further $30m (£18.7m) to invest in drilling and exploration projects.

Background to this deal:

Akin Gump is a longstanding adviser to Max Petroleum and acts as the firm’s permanent corporate counsel. Oil and gas partner James Langdon, who splits his time between the firm’s offices in Washington DC, Texas and Moscow, also sits on the group’s advisory committee.

Grata was one of the few firms that successfully pitched for the Kazakh law sub-panel of Sberbank’s inaugural panel review (24 October 2012).