Lovells finds new client in Kazakhstan’s BTA bank

09 July 2009. Legal Week

by Jeremy Hodges

Lovells has won a new client, with Kazakhstan’s largest bank BTA appointing the City firm for asset recovery advice following its nationalisation earlier this year.

The bank has appointed the firm to act on all of its asset recovery work, with Lovells fielding a team made up of lawyers from across its international network.

BTA, which was nationalised in February, has announced plans to restructure $15bn (?9.2bn) of its debt after defaulting on $550m (?336.9m) in bilateral loans.

The bank said that the restructuring would be completed by mid-July. It initially appointed Goldman Sachs and UBS as financial advisers, but subsequently parted with Goldman. US firm White & Case is the bank’s lead adviser on the restructuring.

The team from White & Case is being headed up by the co-head of the firm’s European capital markets group, Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, and banking and capital markets partner Stuart Matty.

White & Case has acted on a number of deals in the region in recent months. It advised Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund on the recapitalisation of four of the largest banks in Kazakhstan and a related debt restructuring. Overall, Kazakh banks owe more than $40bn (?24.5bn) to foreign lenders.