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Allen & Overy and White & Case Advise on NET4GAS Bond Issuance

Allen & Overy and White & Case Advise on NET4GAS Bond Issuance

Czech Republic
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Allen & Overy has advised Ceska Sporitelna, serving as dealer manager, lead manager, delivery agent, listing agent, fiscal agent, and paying agent, on exchange and tender offers and the issuance of Czech koruna-denominated and Czech law-governed domestic bonds by Czech gas transmission operator NET4GAS. White & Case advised NET4GAS on the deal.

NET4GAS issued a CZK 2.64 billion (USD 119.43 million) bond due in 2025 in a deal which partially refinanced its outstanding debt and prolonged its liabilities, while the total outstanding debt remained unchanged. Investors swapped out of a 2021 bond via the exchange and tender offer managed by Ceska Sporitelna, the Czech subsidiary of Erste Group Bank.

According to Allen & Overy, the transaction is unique and truly innovative as it represents a first-of-its-kind exchange offer involving a switch from international notes (issued on the Eurobond market with ‘XS’ ISIN and cleared through Euroclear and Clearstream) into domestic bonds (issued and primarily settled locally into the Czech Central Depository with a ‘CZ’ ISIN and cleared as well as held outside the international clearing systems). This, Allen & Overy reported, combined with the fact that a cash offer and issuance of additional new bonds were also involved, added significant complexity to the transaction and, in particular, to the way the participation and settlement mechanics were designed and structured. The new bonds were admitted to trading on a regulated market of the Prague Stock Exchange. 

The A&O team was headed by Prague-based Senior Associate Petr Vybiral, supported by Associate Jana Chwaszcz and Junior Lawyer Tomas Kafka. The A&O London team was led by Senior Partner Philip Smith, assisted by Senior Associate Louise Hennessey.

The White & Case team was led by Local Prague Partner Petr Hudec, Prague-based Partner Vit Stehlik, and London-based Partner Stuart Matty and included Prague-based Associates Petr Smerkl, Jan Vacula, and Erik Illmann and London-based Associate James Clark.

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HAVEL & PARTNERS, attorneys-at-law, with offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Ostrava, has a team of 220 lawyers, tax advisors and 500 employees in total, is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe.

Our clients include large international companies, leading Czech and Slovak firms, including strategic state-owned companies and public sector authorities, as well as medium-size businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and investors. We advise approximately 100 of the Fortune 500 companies, and almost 50 of the Czech Top 100 companies. HAVEL & PARTNERS currently provides its services to a total of 2,000 clients. We have the most comprehensive international support available to both Czech and Slovak law firms. We provide legal and tax advice in 12 world languages in more than 90 countries around the globe. Up to 70 % of the transactions we deal with involve an international aspect.

HAVEL & PARTNERS was named the best law firm operating in the Czech Republic by the prestigious British rating agencies Chambers and Partners (2020) and Who’s Who Legal (2018, 2019). It is also the most successful law firm, providing the most comprehensive legal services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based on the total number of all nominations and awards in all years of the Law Firm of the Year awards. The firm became the absolute winner of this competition four times in the last six years, receiving the main award Domestic Law Firm of the Year in the Czech Republic (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and ranking as one of the most recommended law firms in all categories of law. Our company is also a three-time winner of the Law Firm of the Year award for Best Client Services (2015, 2016, 2019). In the field of M&A, HAVEL & PARTNERS is the best law firm in the Czech Republic based on the annual International Advisory Experts awards (2018, 2019). In Slovakia, it also won the prestigious global M&A Today Awards (2013–2018) for Mergers & Acquisitions six times in a row, and repeatedly won first place in the ranking by Lawyer International Legal 100 (2017, 2018). Prestigious international rating agencies EMIS DealWatch and Mergermarket have ranked HAVEL & PARTNERS among the leading law firms by the number of transactions completed in the entire CEE region since 2009. Based on annual awards of the Acquisition International magazine, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become the Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the M&A category in the CEE region.

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