Credit Suisse turns to Linklaters on $8bn CoCo deal

Linklaters has claimed a key mandate acting for Credit Suisse on the bank’s issuance of $8bn (£4.98bn) worth of contingent convertible bonds, the Basel III compliant capital instrument known as CoCos.

The offering was split into a $2bn tranche sold at public auction and a $6bn private placement with Middle East investors Qatar Holding and the Olayan Group.

Carey Olsen, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Swiss firm Homburger also advised the bank on offshore, US disclosure and Swiss aspects respectively.

Capital markets partner Carson Welsh led the transaction for the magic circle firm. He said that he expected to see more similar bond issues in the future as the regulatory landscape becomes clearer in the wake of the Basel III agreement.

“After a successful deal like this one, many banks will look at the benefit of CoCos to meet their new capital requirements,” he said. “These instruments are loss-absorbing and an efficient complement to ordinary shares in the capital base of a bank.”

Linklaters also acted on the first CoCos issue for Lloyds Banking Group in 2009, valued at £9bn, with current corporate chief Jeremy Parr leading (24 November 2009) and the more recent Rabobank issue in the US.

Welsh added: “There have only been three deals so far and we’ve been involved in all of them. For us, it’s a key area where we’re optimistic we’ll see more deals in the future.”

Corporate partner Tom Carey led for Carey Olsen, New York corporate finance partner Michael Volkovitsch led for Cleary, while capital markets partner René Bösch took the lead for Homburger.

Allen & Overy capital markets partner Stephen Miller advised Qatar Holding on English law, while Sidley Austin acted for Olayan, featuring a team led by capital markets partner David Howe.

Baker & McKenzie and Niederer Kraft & Frey advised Olayan and Qatar Holding respectively on Swiss law.

The Linklaters instruction comes just a week after The Lawyer revealed that the magic circle firm could be facing a £115m claim from the bank over advice relating to a 2001 transaction involving Parmalat (11 February 2011).