Magazine - September 1998

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

Cover Story

  • US firms continue to dominate European issues

    US firms have maintained their lead in European equities, particularly in the privatization issues. But those UK firms which have invested are beginning to reap the benefit and close the gap. Richard Forster reports

Features

  • Canada decides comfort letters are not binding promises

    In a recent case in Ontario, a judge ruled that comfort letters are in general not contractually enforceable. However, liability could run for negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation. By Michael Stephenson of Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Toronto

  • The collective representation clause

    In the last of three articles considering possible changes to bond documentation to ease debt problems, Lee C Buchheit of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, New York, considers collective representation clauses

  • New Indonesian bankruptcy rules mark first step

    Faced with a severe economic crisis, Indonesia has heeded western calls for tighter bankruptcy regulation. It may be the first step to serious systemic reform. By Robert Cartwright of Baker & McKenzie, New York and Catherine Boggs, Baker & McKenzie Consultants, Jakarta

  • High-yield debt — facing up to US investors

    In the second part of a round table on high-yield issues in Europe, practitioners, investors and bankers discuss due diligence and the disclosure requirements for companies coming to the market.

  • Irish legal issues affect credit derivatives

    Uncertainty in Irish legislation and case law has been unhelpful to the development of the Irish credit derivatives market and clarification is needed. By Judith Lawless of McCann FitzGerald, Dublin

  • West African states aim for legal harmonization

    The Ohada Treaty marks an ambitious project by 16 central and west African countries to harmonize their commercial law. They hope to extend the project across the continent and so help boost economic growth. By Rebecca Major of Herbert Smith, Paris

  • Comment

    The traditionally separate businesses of commercial banking, securities and insurance are increasingly merging. An overall approach to supervision is required. By Philip Wood and Paul Phillips of Allen & Overy, London

  • Expanding in Latin America

    Gary Spiess, general counsel at BankBoston, Boston, talks to Shane Sorenson

  • Danish firms consider international links

    Hampered by a small domestic market, Danish firms are probably as big as they can get, and there is little scope to open overseas. But firms are thinking of links with firms abroad. Barbara Galli reports

  • Estonia

    In December 1997, the EU acknowledged Estonia’s efforts to build a thriving economy in just six years of independence: the country is now the first former Soviet state negotiating EU membership. Since 1992, enthusiastic governments have acted fast to dismantle the old structures, privatize state-owned companies and set up a monetary reform based on a currency board.

  • Finnish lawyers enjoy a quiet boom

    With an ambitious privatization programme and a thriving economy, Finland’s lawyers welcome outside interest in their country’s quiet success. Nick Ferguson reports from Helsinki

  • Latvia

    The key to Latvia’s future lies in Brussels. Membership of the EU would speed the country towards greater political and economic stability. Exclusion from the latest round of EU enlargement discussions was a major setback. Latvia failed to make sufficient progress with economic and other reforms for entry, but there are many good indicators. Inflation is the lowest in former communist states. Growth is expected to exceed 5% again in 1998 and the budget is in surplus. The national currency, the lat, is kept stable by an independent central bank.

  • Lithuania

    “Estonia is ahead of us in marketing itself, but when you compare the actual figures we are on a similar level,” says Giedrus Stasevicius, associate partner at Lideika Petrauskas Valiuñas & Partners. Lithuania’s situation has improved significantly since last year, raising hopes for EU membership. Foreign investors are extremely active, attracted by the intense privatization programme and the good economic situation.

  • Norway’s big four under pressure

    The four firms which traditionally dominate the Norwegian market are maintaining their strong position, but new players are ready to enter the arena. The legal markets of the Baltic States continue to develop. Barbara Galli reports

  • Sweden’s Lagerlöf enters a brave new world

    Despite resistance from rivals and internal opposition, Lagerlöf & Leman has chosen European integration over independence. Nick Ferguson reports from Stockholm on a market divided by Lagerlöf’s vision for European legal services

News analysis

International briefings