Ashurst and Dechert land roles on Kazakh bond as banks switch adviser

Ashurst and Dechert have scooped lead roles advising on a €1.1bn (£890m) bond issued by the finance arm of Kazakh national rail company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy.

The issue by Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Finance comes in two tranches issued four months apart. The first was issued in July in the form of $800m (£492m) notes in a 30-year paper, with the second in the form of $300m (£244m) notes in November.

Ashurst advised the issuer on US and English law aspects of both parts of the deal, with a team consisting of London finance partners Anna Delgado and Ray Fisher, senior associate Conor Funston and of counsel Ethan Perry.

A team from VSB Partners, a Kazakh spin-off of the Almaty office of Texan firm Bracewell & Giuliani, is understood to have advised Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Finance on Kazakh law.

Barclays, HSBC and JPMorgan acted as joint lead managers for both parts of the transaction. Dechert advised them on the second tranche, having taken over the role of underwriters’ counsel from White & Case which advised on the first tranche of the deal in July.

Capital markets partner Louise Roman Bernstein led the Dechert team from London, with the support of associate Giles Belsey. An Almaty team led by Ken Mack, head of the US firm’s office in the Kazakh capital, also provided advice on Kazakh aspects of the deal, alongside corporate finance partner Victor Mokrousov and associates Yevgeniya Nossova and Yelena Pestereva.

White & Case London capital markets partners Melissa Butler and Michael Doran and Almaty partner Maxim Telemtayev advised the underwriters on the first tranche.

The deal also comes as Dechert acted on a separate transaction as counsel to the Development Bank of Kazakhstan in connection with an intermediated exchange offer by VTB Capital for $500m (£406m) of DBK’s $777m (£631m) eurobond due in December 2015. Bernstein led the Dechert team, while it is understood that White & Case acted for the banks.

Both transactions come off the back of a number of state-owned companies in Kazakhstan looking to issue bonds as part of a broader initiative by the Kazakh government to raise funds to finance several industrial and infrastructure projects in the country.

Background to this deal:

Over the course of the last few months the banking syndicate decided to turn to Dechert to conclude the deal, but the reason for the banks’ change of adviser is unclear.

Dechert hired Bernstein alongside fellow Dewey & LeBoeuf capital markets partner Camille Abousleiman earlier this year (16 April 2012).

Texan firm Bracewell launched in London in 2007 after poaching Funston and capital markets specialist Adam Mozel from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (21 June 2007). Funston, who worked on a large number of Kazakh finance deals during his stint at Bracewell, joined Ashurst in October 2011. The City firm has acted for Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Finance since then.