Sovereign debt

A&O Shearman has one of the world’s leading sovereign debt practices. 

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Our lawyers have participated in the most significant financing transactions and other matters for sovereigns, central banks, and state-owned enterprises. We advise these institutions as well as commercial and investment banks, multilateral development banks, export credit agencies, and other creditors on matters ranging from unsecured loans and bonds, structured and project financings, liability management, and restructurings; to disputes before national courts, arbitrations, and regulatory matters.

Our practice is anchored on our representation of commercial and investment banks on a broad variety of matters spanning public and private credit deals and secured and unsecured transactions. We also advise borrowers and issuers throughout the world (including sovereigns) and across industries on the restructuring and enforcement of credit and on regulatory regimes. 

We understand the role of bilateral creditors, multilateral development banks, other international financial institutions, and export credit agencies, and regularly advise them or act alongside them in new financings and restructurings. We also have deep insight into the role of organizations including the IMF and the Paris Club – and mechanisms such as the European Stability Mechanism – in situations where sovereigns are illiquid or need to restructure their finances. 

Our lawyers have been at the forefront of legal innovation for decades, both in transactions and policy proposals. Our track record includes designing the “Brady” bonds to restructure the commercial sovereign debt of Latin American and Asian countries, state contingent instruments such as GDP-linked warrants in the context of sovereign restructurings, natural disaster clauses in the context of new financings, and innovative instruments such as GDP-linked bonds; structuring privatizations and public private partnerships; and structuring debt for nature swap transactions.  

Our lawyers have played a leading role on the most complex sovereign distress and insolvency crises in recent history, including in the Eurozone (Greece,  Ireland, and Cyprus), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, among others), and Asia (Iraq and Vietnam). 

Our advice is driven by our deep expertise in the two principal pillars of the global financial markets, English and New York law, as well as public international law.  

Through our global network and close relationships with select firms across the world we can advise in all jurisdictions, including in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. 

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