Merrill Lynch makes use of Ashurst’s CDO nous

Ashurst has advised Merrill Lynch on a collateralised debt obligation (CDO) involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) issuing bonds as security for notes.

The PULS CDO 2006-1 PLC was issued in five tranches of fixed and floating-rate notes and had a total value of £260m. It was the first deal for portfolio manager Capital Securities Group and is one of the few deals on the market to involve German, Austrian and Swiss SMEs issuing senior and subordinated bonds as security.

Ashurst acted for the arranger Merrill Lynch, with structured finance partner Erica Handling leading a multijurisdictional team, which included Frankfurt partner Nikolaus von Jacobs and US corporate partner Eric Stuart.

Ashurst has one of the busiest CDO practices in the City. Recent tables from Thomson Financial showed that it acted on 19 deals in the first six months of 2006 for both issuers and arrangers.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, led by Frankfurt finance partner Andreas Bartsch, represented Capital Securities and recovery manager Advisum. Partner Garry Ferguson at Irish law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice advised the issuer PULS CDO 2006-1 PLC. Allen & Overy partner Simon Hill acted for the trustee, HSBC Trustee.