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MELA-2018_Winners-19April2018-18_Banking+Finance

Finalists: Afridi & Angell; Al Tamimi & Company (Highly Commended); Baker McKenzie; Clyde & Co; Dentons; Eversheds Sutherland; Shearman & Sterling; Trowers & Hamlins.

Stephenson Harwood’s work advising Iraq’s Ministry of Finance on an economic plan to reduce the government’s reliance on oil revenues earned it the Banking, Finance and Restructuring team of the Year title.

The firm was instructed at a time of heightened tensions for Iraq, which was facing the twin pressures of falling oil prices (at a time when it needed to increase spending to deliver public services) and sustained fighting in many parts of the country with the Islamic State. What Iraq needed was twofold: support with several financings and refinancings, and an economic restructuring that would help plug its budget deficit.

To achieve that, Stephenson Harwood negotiated a standby arrangement with the IMF (which included having to redraft several laws), advised on a series of international bond deals (raising a total of $2bn) and assisted with the financing of several electricity projects.

Those efforts have already generated results: one financing project with General Electric helped boost electricity production by 2,500 megawatts (a 20% increase in capacity). Given this success, the firm has received further work from the government on assorted infrastructure projects in the country.

“Timely and professional financing for a government which had a positive effect on the populace of that nation,” said a judge.

 

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