Magazine - June 1999

In publication since 1982, IFLR has become the trusted source for in-house counsel and law firms specialising in financial law.

Cover Story

  • China unveils unified contract law

    China’s new contract law is a historic piece of legislation for investors and their counsel as China builds towards a market economy. Lam Wing Wo of Deacons Graham & James, Hong Kong examines the regulations which come into force in October

Features

  • SEC solicits industry comment for global fund rules

    On April 29 1999, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed once again rule amendments and a new proposed rule governing the custody of mutual fund assets outside the US. At the same time, it extended the date for complying with the amendments to the foreign custody rules until May 1 2000. The proposed new rule would govern the use of foreign securities depositories and in recognition that the previous standard of care was unworkable, the proposal drops the requirement that a fund’s board, adviser or domestic custodian find that fund assets will be subject to reasonable care if held by a foreign depository.

  • How to structure Italian securitization

    The new regulations on securitization in Italy allow for more flexible structuring of deals. Raffaele Rizzi of Baker & McKenzie, London explains how to match the right structure to the securitized assets

  • France addresses market concerns on private placements

    Serge Durox of Coudert Frères, Paris, assesses the impact of new regulations on private placements and identifies the outstanding issues for prospective borrowers

  • Czech lawyers profit from government reforms

    As the Czech Republic concentrates on getting privatization right — at the second attempt — lawyers can look forward to a glut of banking and M&A work. Rob Mannix reports

  • TPSA sale revives Polish market

    The $920 million sale in November of a 15% stake in state telecoms company TPSA doubled the capitalization of the Warsaw exchange overnight and affirmed the new government’s commitment to privatization. Ben Maiden reports as lawyers compete for further deals in banking, airlines, oil and steel

  • Local hires the key to success in Hungary

    With the biggest privatizations over, international law firms in Hungary can no longer rely on highly profitable deals which require western legal know-how. As the market matures, the emphasis is on local law expertise. Rob Mannix reports

  • Vietnam shows new face to foreign investors

    After meetings with foreign investors, the Vietnamese government has introduced a series of measures to attract foreign capital. Tony Foster and Dang Duong Anh of Freshfields, Hanoi discuss the changes for new and existing investors

  • The Commission and the EBRD launch new financing facility for small and medium-sized enterprises in central and eastern Europe

    As part of their joint effort to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in central and eastern Europe, the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have reached an agreement to establish a euro125 million SME Facility for the 10 central and eastern European countries that are candidates for European Union (EU) accession.

  • Commission approves Deutsche Bank takeover of Bankers Trust

    On April 23 1999, the Commission approved the takeover of Bankers Trust Corporation by Deutsche Bank.

News analysis

  • Inside-Cameron McKenna confirms new European alliance

    UK law firm Cameron McKenna has joined with five European firms to form an alliance covering 19 countries and 31 offices.

  • Inside-Heard at the bar

    New York-based firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has appointed a firm chairman for the first time, with the aim of focusing on long-term issues and studying international opportunities. Alfred Youngwood, who is both chair of the firm and chair of the firm’s management committee, reveals that the first option being considered is a London office.

  • Inside-Bermuda firm expands in BVI

    Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, a San Francisco firm, has lost its executive director, a substantial group of compensation and benefits lawyers, and has had to fire another nine partners.

  • Inside-New Cairo office bolsters Trowers’

    UK firm Trowers & Hamlins has opened an office in Cairo. The creation of the new office will allow Trowers to develop its role as a Middle Eastern regional counsel for multinational corporations.

  • Inside-Curtis Mallet to open Stamford office

    US firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle is opening an office in Stamford, Connecticut. The firm hopes to build on its corporate and litigation work. George Kahale, firm managing partner, comments: “Stamford is a growing area with a lot of corporate activity, several firms have offices there.”

  • Inside-Pillsbury hits rough waters

    Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, a San Francisco firm, has lost its executive director, a substantial group of compensation and benefits lawyers, and has had to fire another nine partners.

  • inside-China confirms WTO membership

    A senior Chinese official has confirmed that the country’s expected future membership of the WTO will lead to a relaxation of restrictions on foreign law firms. In particular, the rule that firms may open only one office would be dropped, but joint ventures between local and foreign firms will not be permitted.

  • Denton Hall acquires Kazakhstan office

    UK firm Denton Hall has opened an office in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

  • Eversheds looks to Bulgaria

    Eversheds’ associated Bulgarian office in the capital Sofia is to have a full time English qualified lawyer based there. Until now the UK firm has been represented in the jurisdiction by local firm Georgiev Todorov & Co, which has 32 lawyers.

  • Inside-Fifty three per cent of UK firms

    Over 50% of UK law firms would consider forming a multi-disciplinary partnership (MDP) in the next five years. Accountants are the preferred partners, followed by barristers’ chambers.

  • Cutting Edge-Telecom Italia to merge

    Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia are to form the world’s second largest telecommunications company in what they describe as a merger of equals. The merger will be achieved through a stock swap with Deutsche Telekom shareholders owning 57% of the new company. The German government is selling part of its 72% stake in Deutsche Telekom and will hold a 40% stake in the merged company.

  • $2.2 billion Pepsi Bottling Group IPO

    The Pepsi Bottling Group has issued 100 million common stock shares in an initial public offering worth $2.2 billion. The New York-based group manufactures and distributes Pepsi-Cola drinks.

  • $1 billion Brazilian gas privatization

    A consortium including British Gas and Shell has bought a $1 billion controlling stake (53%) in Gas de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest natural gas distributor*. This was the Brazilian government’s first privatization since the devaluation of the real in January. Gas de Sao Paulo serves around 300,000 mainly industrial customers in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state. The consortium’s bid was chosen in preference to several rival consortia, including one led by Enron and Agip of Italy.

  • GEC in $4.5 billion acquisition of Fore Systems

    The UK’s General Electric Company (GEC) is buying Fore Systems, a Pittsburgh-based Internet equipment supplier. GEC recently agreed to sell its defence business to British Aerospace and is now concentrating on building up its telecoms and Internet capabilities. This acquisition follows GEC’s purchase of US telecoms company, Reltec.

  • Renault and Nissan in $5.4 billion merger

    France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan are combining to create the world’s fourth largest car maker. Renault is taking a 36.8% stake in Nissan Motor, and a 22.5% stake in Nissan Diesel, the company’s truck division. All funds will have been transferred by the end of May. The new company will produce five million vehicles per year.

  • Barilla buys Wasa from Novartis

    Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis is selling its Wasa crispbread unit to Italy’s Barilla Alimentare. The Italian food company is paying Sfr475 million ($315 million) including debt. The deal is part of Novartis’s move to refocus its consumer health division.

  • Advisers on Canada’s Mutual Life $1.9 billion demutualization

    The demutualization of Mutual Life of Canada, the first by a Canadian life insurance company, is likely to give the company an initial value of between C$1.9 billion and C$2.9 billion ($1.2 billion to $1.9 billion). Mutual’s 900,000 members vote on the plans to demutualize on June 10. Their windfalls will be in the form of either cash or shares. Any bonuses are contingent on two-thirds of members voting in favour of the plans.

  • Sweden’s first junk bond

    US firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley on Sweden’s first ever high-yield bond issue.

  • Lehman unit to buy Blount International

    The merchant bank unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings is to buy Blount International, a manufacturer of tree-harvesting machinery, for $1.4 billion in cash and assumed debt.

  • Book Review

    The Capital Markets: Irish and International Laws and Regulations By Agnes Foy (Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell, 1998) Reviewed By Mark Walsh, Partner, Brown & Wood, London and New York*

International briefings