BANKING & FINANCING
We have an extensive presence in this sector for at least 35 years. Our practice covers the following areas:
Banking & Financing Regulatory
We have particular experience in banking regulatory matters; we have carried out several projects involving the establishment of banks, banking M&As, the selling of banking assets, and on regulatory controls of banking and financing establishments, both on behalf of banks, but also on complaints on behalf of transacting parties.
We advise a leading multinational Payment Services and Payment Services Technology Provider in regard to the implementation in Greece of EU and Greek Legislation and Regulation, Competition law, Movement of Capital and the Capital Controls scheme which applies for the time being in Greece.
A major (Central Bank driven) wave of consolidation in the Greek banking sector has been completed, leaving four systemic banks, recently recapitalized through the Greek Financial Stability Fund; most international banks have wound down their Greek activities. It follows that there is not much M&A activity in the Greek Banking sector at the moment.
This having been said, Greek banks are in the process of selling non-core assets and loans, and arranging associated securities, an activity which is expected to thrive in the next couple of years. We have significant experience in the selling of loan assets and regularly undertake transactions on behalf of lenders, but also affected borrowers.
We have devoted many years of our banking practice to Greek banks with country-wide networks, in almost every banking discipline; also in representing two major international banks for as long as they maintained operations through branches and networks or representative offices in Greece.
Our practice is focused to corporate banking, mostly large borrowers, therefore we have ample experience in the drafting and negotiation of complex loan agreements and facilities, including big syndicated bond loans, as well as in refinancing - restructuring projects, tailored for big borrowers.
We represent banks or borrowers, in new lending, in restructuring of existing loans, also in restructuring and refinancing of non-performing loans (NPLs). Our work includes legal due diligence on the lenders side or preparatory due diligence on the borrowers side, the drafting and negotiation of complete sets of transaction documents for loans, bonds issues and facilities agreements, on behalf of lenders or NPL managers or borrowers; our work also includes opinion giving and advice.
Credit & Payment Services
We advise a leading multinational Financial Services Provider and Payment Services Technology Provider, on Greek and EU regulatory issues, competition and consumer law; also on complex legal and monetary - regulatory issues that arose in Greece after the imposition of capital controls.
We are one of few firms specialising in payment services technologies and associated legal and regulatory issues and we regularly advise technology providers, banks and payment services providers on these matters.
After a wave of large domestic LBOs, as well as ODIs in the telecommunications, energy and banking sectors (in which we had a fair share of work), post crisis leveraged transactions are few, difficult and slow. This is mostly due to the limited financing resources, the ever-shrinking market and the small size of the targets (mostly SMEs). Nevertheless, there is still some activity focusing on ODIs, which are perceived mostly as preservation/ survival tools/opportunities. There are also several OBO efforts, with much smaller success rates.
Being renown for our experience, creativity and business spirit in this practice area, we manage to ride the tide and put viable transactions together, especially for corporate clients refocusing their income and borrowing profile and sources. Our clients appreciate our capability and determination to get the deals through.
Private Equity & Venture Capital
Due to our excellent record in TMT, combined with our banking - financing practice, we have been very well positioned in the Greek PE & VC and equity finance universe for the past 25 years. We maintain a long - term cooperation with most investment banking units and most major VC and private equity units, including those controlled by banks. We also represent several individual private equity investors, with financial or strategic investment interests, “‘angels” for start-ups and green field projects and -on the opposite side- enterprises seeking investment or negotiating with VCs and equity investors.
In many cases, when it comes to VC or private equity investment, understanding technological issues is a key factor for a successful deal. This is where we stand out; we understand and address the concerns and risks associated with investments in technology, we provide a reasonable legal risk assessment and can forge an agreement which will work. We have particular experience in, IT and especially both in hardware and in software development, telecommunications, scientific instruments, hardware and software “tools”, medical appliances, pharmaceutical technology and biotechnology. Our work implies a variety of services, including due diligence, negotiating and drafting shareholders agreements, sale – purchase agreements, sweat equity arrangements, source code and other escrows, IP protection and other intellectual property issues, put & call options, redemptions, financing arrangements and other specific commercial tools, such as carried interest arrangements, ratchets etc.
Our expertise also covers creating and structuring investment funds, drafting and negotiating memoranda of investment, fund management agreements, shareholders’ agreements, guarantee agreements, issuing compound securities such as ABSAs, warrants, convertible bonds, convertible debentures, etc., setting up management packages and investment tax strategies, assisting in relations with supervisory authorities, etc.
Our practice covers both lenders and borrowers. We excel when it comes to complex technical projects in the fields of TMT and Energy and large multi - party construction projects.
Our TMT practice has endowed us with the expertise and skills necessary for assisting banks and bank suppliers, in adopting and integrating bank specific technology. We represent major banking software developers worldwide, also multinational hardware/software/payment services’ integrators, specializing among others in ATM sales, ATM outsourcing, installation and maintenance, payment systems, security equipment, secure printing hardware and consumables, etc.
Our work includes the negotiation and drafting of frame (bank-wide) agreements for the supply and or leasing and/or maintenance of equipment, sale of consumables, software licensing, application of security protocols, outsourcing agreements, a.o.