Istanbul and Ankara's year in review

Author: | Published: 27 Apr 2016
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Turkey’s leading firms have had a strong 12 months. Here IFLR’s sister publication, the IFLR1000, assesses their contribution

Yegin Ciftci


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Yegin Ciftci, the Turkish partner of magic circle firm Clifford Chance, has had a strong year, acting on a number of mandates. One notable change to the team this year saw senior associate Berna Güngenci leave the firm in October 2014 to take up an in-house position with GDF Suez.

"The Yegin Ciftci team in Istanbul is very experienced," says one banking client. "The team contributed considerably in the transaction, especially in terms of providing valuable input with respect to the local Turkish laws and regulations. Even though the transaction progressed rather quickly, the team was responsive, showing dedication and hard work. Their presence in the negotiations also facilitated the process. Our overall assessment is very positive."

One example of the firm's recent work saw Mete Yegin leading a team advising on the Turkish aspects of an international effort acting for Türkiye Garanti Bankası and Türkiye İş Bankası, as lenders, in connection with a refinancing of the €410 million senior facilities for UN Ro-Ro İşletmeleri in conjunction with the acquisition of UN Ro-Ro by a partnership of Turkish equity firms. Yegin was also the lead Turkish partner as the team assisted Credit Suisse as mandated lead arranger in relation to a term loan facility for Aktif Yatırım Bankası, secured by pensioner loan receivables.

On the project side Yegin acted as Turkish lead counsel as the firm acted for UniCredit Bank Austria, Yapı ve Kredi Bankası and Denizbank, as mandated lead arrangers, in connection with the public-private partnership (PPP) €272 million financing for the Mersin Integrated Health Campus.

Again, it was Yegin acting as lead counsel advising Türkiye Garanti Bankası, Denizbank, Denizbank Bahrain Branch, Finansbank, Ankara Branch, Siemens Bank, UniCredit Bank Austria and Yapı ve Kredi Bankası and Başkent CorporateBanking Center Branch, as lead arrangers on the €890 million financing for the Bilkent PPP project.

On the capital markets side, Yegin and Müfit Arapoğlu led the way as the firm acted as Turkish counsel to CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, Citigroup Global Markets and HSBC, as joint lead managers, with regard to the $1 billion sukuk (Islamic bond) issue by the Republic of Turkey. Elsewhere, Yegin and Müfit Arapoğlu were the lead counsel as the team advised TurkExim Bank, the official export credit agency of Turkey, on its $500 million eurobond issuance.

There were some changes in the M&A team this year, with Aslı Karagözoğlu leaving the firm in October 2014 to go in-house at Novartis. The firm also welcomed senior associate Kemal Aksel on board in December 2014 from Kolcuoğlu Demirkan Koçaklı.

One example of the firm's work this year saw Itır Sevim-Çiftçi and Yegin, taking the lead of the Turkish team advising Goldman Sachs International's $300 million structured equity investment of 30% in Petlim Limancılık from its parent Petkim, an affiliate of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, together with a put option in respect of these shares. Itır Sevim-Çiftçi, meanwhile, was the lead partner as the team represented the IFC on the acquisition of a minority stake in Gama Enerji for $183 million.


Paksoy


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Paksoy is one of the leading names in the Turkish legal market, with clients and peers agreeing that it merits a place at the top of the tree across the financial and corporate spectrum.

The banking team welcomed two new faces to the line-up this year, with partner Sera Somay joining from Somay to lead the banking and finance team and senior associate Nilufer Turkcu arriving from Birsel Law Office, both in August 2014.

Somay has already managed to make an impact, leading the team in one of the more significant matters of the year as it advised ABC Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, Kuwait International Bank, Noor Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank, as lead arrangers, on the Turkish legal aspects of a $268 million syndicated murabaha (deferred sale) facility for AlBaraka Türk Katılım Bankası. Somay also advised Ziraat Bankası in securing a more than $1 billion syndicated loan in dual tranches of $373 million and €666 million from a consortium of 41 banks from 19 different countries.

On the project finance side, Zeynel Tunc led as the firm advised Commerzbank in connection with the financing of two wind power plants with a total installed capacity of 72MW.

The capital markets team had another strong year, which saw Somay once again taking the lead as the firm advised The Turkish Treasury on its $1 billion sukuk (Islamic bond) issuance, the third shariah-compliant bond issue made by the Turkish Treasury in foreign markets. Practice head Omer Collak, meanwhile, led as the firm assisted Citigroup and Goldman Sachs International, as bookrunners, on the debut enhanced equipment trust certificate offering by Turkish Airlines, a $328 million deal secured against three new Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts.

The competition practice this year welcomed a new counsel to the team when Derya Genc joined the firm in October 2014 from Esin Attorney Partnership.

It has been another strong year for the team, acting on some of the most prominent matters in the market. For example, Turan led a team advising Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad on all aspects of competition law and the Competition Board filing in Turkey regarding the acquisition of sole control of Sabiha Gökçen, the airport terminal services company. Turan was also the lead partner when the firm acted for Cepsa Química on competition law aspects and competition board filing in relation to its $12.4 billion acquisition of Sinarmas Oleo.

The market-leading M&A practice continues to perform impressively, with one recent example of its work seeing Elvan Aziz leading a team acting as Turkish legal counsel to Bekaert on its acquisition of Çelikord as part of its €240 million purchase of assets from Pirelli. The company was renamed Bekaert Kartepe Çelik Kord Sanayi ve Ticaret. Aziz was also in charge as the team advised WSP Global on the Turkish aspects of its $1.32 billion acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff.


Elig


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The banking team at ELIG Attorneys-at-Law has had a strong year this year. One example of its work saw S Tunç Lokmanhekim leading a team acting as the Turkish legal counsel to ABB Elektrik Sanayi in relation to a $42 million term loan facility agreement provided by Svensk Exportkredit. Lokmanhekim was also the lead partner as the firm advised Cevher Jant Sanayii and Cevher Döküm Sanayii, as borrowers and guarantors, and Cevher International, Özyavuz Holding and Haluk Özyavuz, as guarantors on the amendment to a term loan facility with Türkiye İş Bankası and Akbank to increase the existing value to €74 million.

The competition team this year welcomed a new senior associate as Eda Duru joined the team from what was then called Ismen Günalçin (now just Günalçin). One example of its recent work saw Gönenç Gürkaynak leading a team acting for 3M Sanayi ve Ticaret in relation to an investigation initiated by the Turkish Competition Authority against the company, which the firm managed to successfully argue.

Gürkaynak was again in charge as the team advised Mauri Maya Sanayi in relation to an investigation initiated by the Turkish Competition Authority against the client, Pak Gıda Üretim ve Pazarlama and Dosu Maya Mayacılık to determine whether there had been any collusion in terms of the sale price of fresh bread yeast. The firm successfully managed to reduce the potential fine levied against the firm by instituting leniency proceedings.

"I have been working with ELIG for 10 years," says one senior in-house counsel. "In that time I have received a good service in terms of M&A and competition law."

One of the key matters the M&A team worked on this year saw Lokmanhekim acting as lead partner in advising Medtronic International Technology in connection with a deal that saw Medcall, the client's distributor in Turkey, transfer all assets and employees of this sector to Biostar. Medtronic then acquired 80% of Biostar for $10 million.

Lokmanhekim was also in charge as the team assisted CRH Turkey, Eren Holding, Hamdullah Eren, Emir Emrullah Eren, Emre Eren, Elif Eren and Ahmet Hilmi Eren, acting as the sellers, and CRH Nederland, as guarantor in the sale of Denizli Çimento Sanayii Türk and Modern Beton Sanayi ve Ticaret to Ordu Yardımlaşma Kurumu.


Egemenoğlu


"We have been working with the firm for numerous years," says one client. "The firm's corporate practice is reliable, with a high standard of legal acumen and corporate knowledge. They offer practical and comprehensive research, which enables us to swiftly complete projects."


"The firm offers practical and comprehensive research, which enables clients to swiftly complete projects"


One recent example of the firm's work saw Bülent Gül taking the lead in advising Çağ Grubu Sağlik İnşaat Turizm Taşimacilik Sanayi Ve Ticaret in connection with the company's $35 million insolvency. The team managed to secure a postponement of bankruptcy, which allowed the company to keep trading.

Another saw Şeniz Uluköklü in charge of a team representing Hakan Kıran Mimarlık ve Yapı Hizmetleri Ticaret in relation to three separate construction projects in the Göktürk region of Istanbul. The firm is also advising the client in connection with a €60 million Çiftalan project, which sees the construction of a new town.

"They are very helpful," says one senior client. "They are practical and understand our needs and always try to find solutions."

On the M&A side, the firm has again had a busy year. One recent example of its work in this area saw Uluköklü leading a team assisting GNCR Holding on the sale of 50% of the shares of GNCR Enerji to a German holding renewable energy company. The team was also involved in advising Genel Energy on its $7.5 million acquisition of Göztepe Football Club.