International law firm Denton Wilde Sapte has advised Altadis S.A., the leading European tobacco company, on two substantial financings.
The Altadis Group, created through the business combination of Seita and Tabacalera, is one of the leading European tobacco companies, as well as a major player in the wholesale distribution sector.
The first financing, a €2.4 billion bridge facility, closed in July 2003. This facility was structured as two tranches. The first tranche financed the acquisition of an 80 per cent stake in Moroccan state-owned tobacco company Regie de Tabacs Marocains (RTM). The second tranche underpinned Altadis’s ultimately unsuccessful bid for Italian state-owned tobacco company ETI.
Following Altadis’s acquisition of RTM, the bridge facility was refinanced this October by a €1.1 billion Luxembourg-listed eurobond issued by Altadis Finance B.V. and guaranteed by Altadis S.A. The bond was divided into two tranches: €600 million 4.25 per cent guaranteed notes due 2008 and €500 million 5.125 per cent guaranteed notes due 2013.
The Denton Wilde Sapte team included Banking partner James Curtis, with support from Richard Garvan, Matthew Sapte, Helen Duffy and Jeremy Cape.
James Curtis commented: “Completion of these substantial financings marks the achievement of a significant milestone in the company’s growth. The bridge facility was complicated by the fact that it had to be structured so as to finance the planned acquisitions in two separate jurisdictions. The company’s bond issue – its capital markets debut – has now secured the refinancing of the Moroccan acquisition on a long-term basis.”
Loyens & Loeff, Rotterdam, and Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, provided Dutch and Spanish legal advice in relation to the bond issue.
The lead arrangers of the bridge facility were Société Générale, HSBC CCF, BBVA and Credit Lyonnais, who were represented by White & Case (Paris).