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  • Tuesday, 26 September 2017 | Hosted by Dechert's International Trade and EU Law Team with the support of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
    London

Laura M. Brank, the head of Dechert’s Russia practice, has been advising corporations, investment funds, banks, multinational institutions, and high net worth individuals on complex corporate and finance transactions in emerging markets for over two decades. She has provided strategic legal advice to clients on their business activities in Russia and throughout the Former Soviet Union (“FSU”) since 1995 when she first moved to Russia, supervising major local and cross-border M&A, joint venture, and debt and equity financing transactions, and counseling clients on commercial contracts, compliance and sanctions matters. She has particular expertise in the mining and energy sectors and has advised extensively on TMT, life sciences and real estate matters.

Ms. Brank has been ranked by The Legal 500 EMEA and Chambers Global since 2007. In the 2017 editions of Chambers Global and Chambers Europe, Ms. Brank is noted for her corporate/M&A work in Russia and for her "pragmatic, business-oriented and astute advice." In 2016 and 2017, she is noted by The Legal 500 EMEA for her work in Russia in the categories of banking and finance, corporate/M&A, dispute resolution, energy & natural resources and TMT, among other categories. Ms. Brank is recognized in Chambers Global, 2015 for corporate/M&A and banking and finance in Russia. Chambers Global, 2012 highlighted that she is “quick and pragmatic, skillful at negotiating positions and good at proposing excellent solutions,” with the 2013 edition noting that she “has established herself as one of the best-known corporate lawyers in the market.” According to The Legal 500 EMEA, Ms. Brank is a “great professional” (2014) and “excellent lawyer and deal manager(2012).”

Fluent in Russian, Ms. Brank has been recognized in the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in Russia for banking and finance, corporate, government relations, M&A, project finance and development, and real estate. She is recognized by Who’s Who Legal for her work in energy in 2017. She has been consistently listed in Legal Media Group’s Banking, Finance and Transactional Guide and Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law since 2012. Along with just eight other lawyers, she was also listed in the corporate section of The Lawyer’s Hot 100 survey (2010), a list of 100 lawyers to have excelled in their field. The survey described her as “one of the best-known ... and best-connected lawyers in the [Russian] market.” She was also recognized with the 2014 Leadership Award for her significant contributions to cross-border M&A at the 6th Annual M&A Advisor International M&A Awards. She has served as a director on the US-Russian Business Council's Board of Directors since 2010.

Significant Representations


Corporate/Joint Ventures
  • PepsiCo on its US$3.8 billion acquisition of 66% of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC, a leader in both traditional and value-added dairy products in Russia, with a solid position in juice.
  • Kinross Gold Corporation on its acquisition of the high-grade Dvoinoye deposit and the Vodorazdelnaya property in the Chukotka region of the Russian Far East for a total purchase price of US$368 million comprising US$165 million in cash and approximately US$10.56 million newly issued Kinross shares.
  • Travel Leaders Group on its indirect acquisition of 50% of class A shares and 100% of class B shares in a major travel retailer in Russia, which included the restructuring of the company and resolution of a shareholders’ agreement and restructuring of debt of the Russian entity.
  • A leading global business consulting firm on a highly complicated management buyout by partners in its Russian subsidiary.
  • An international business travel management company on the sale of its travel services business in Russia to a Russian buyer.
  • A leading European satellite provider on a joint venture with a Russian partner.
  • Court Square Capital Partners on its acquisition of the Russian operations of Rocket Software Inc., a global software development firm that builds and services enterprise infrastructure products for the world’s leading OEMs, networks and software companies and enterprises.
  • OAO Mechel, the Russian metals and mining conglomerate, on its acquisition of the U.S. privately owned Bluestone Coal Corporation, for US$425 million plus shares, which involved the issuance of preferred shares totaling 15% of Mechel’s charter capital.
  • OAO Mechel, via its wholly owned subsidiary, Oriel Resources, on its US$425 million disposal of the Voskhod Mining Plant (in Khromtau, Kazakhstan) and Tikhvin Ferroalloy Plant (in Tikhvin, Leningrad Region, Russia) to Turkey’s Yildirim Group.
  • A private investment company on its acquisition of a controlling stake in a major Russian insurance company.  
  • JSC KAMAZ, the major Russian automotive corporation, on joint venture transactions.
  • A private investment company on its divestiture of a significant stake in an oil and gas joint venture company.  
  • PepsiCo and the Pepsi Bottling Group on their US$1.4 billion acquisition of a 75.53% stake in JSC Lebedyansky, a juice producer in Russia.
  • Daimler AG on its US$250 million acquisition of a 10% stake in Russian truck manufacturer KAMAZ, which involved a comprehensive due diligence of approximately 150 companies in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
  • A hedge fund on its acquisition of a significant minority stake in a Russian mining company.
  • OJSC Vimpel-Communications (VimpelCom) on its approximately US$226 million acquisition of a 49.9% stake in the Euroset Group, Russia’s largest mobile handset retailer.
  • Golden Telecom, Inc. on its US$4.2 billion acquisition by VimpelCom, marking the largest acquisition by a U.S. publicly listed Russian company of a U.S. public company.
  • Kinross Gold Corporation on the sale of its interest in Omolon Gold Mining Company and Omsukchansk Gold Mining Company in Russia.
  • Kinross Gold Corporation on its US$3.1 billion acquisition of and merger with Bema Gold Corporation, which included the acquisition of the Kupol and Julietta mines in Russia and spin-off of related assets, and the restructuring of a project finance facility for the Kupol mine.
  • VimpelCom on its €341.9 million acquisition from Hellenic Telecommunications Organization of 90% of CJSC Armenia Telephone Company (Armentel).
  • The Boeing Company on its US$60 million joint venture with OAO “Corporation VSMPO-Avisma,” the world’s largest titanium producer, for use in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, including on the establishment of the company.
  • The Boeing Company on its acquisition of the C-MAP group of companies, which provide digital maritime cartography, data and other navigational services.
  • Alfa-Bank, as agent and organizer of an auction to sell a 100% equity stake in OAO Taimyrenergo, the large power utility in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, as part of the restructuring of RAO UES, Russia’s former state electricity monopoly.
  • Holcim Auslandbeteiligungs GmbH, one of the largest suppliers of cement and aggregates in the world, now Lafarge Holcim, and some of its Russian subsidiaries, on a number of acquisitions of cement producers in the FSU.
  • General Motors on its US$350 million joint venture with AvtoVAZ, Russia’s largest automotive manufacturer.
  • EBRD on its acquisition of a minority equity stake in TGK-9, a regional generating company powering some of Russia’s key industrial areas, and of equity stakes in numerous other Russian entities in the banking and manufacturing sectors.
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC) on equity investments in numerous Russian entities in the banking and manufacturing sectors.
  • A Russian gold company on its acquisition of a majority stake in another Russian gold company, which also involved an assignment of indebtedness and guarantee arrangements by the sellers.

Financing Transactions -- Borrowers/Issuers

  • Interpipe Group on the financing and construction of a state-of-the-art electric-arc furnace steel smelting complex (EFSC) in Dnepropetrovsk, Eastern Ukraine, including: the negotiation of a US$187 million pre-export finance loan facility lead managed by Barclays Bank and Citibank; and an up to US$344.2 million financing lead arranged by Barclays Bank and Citibank, and guaranteed by SACE, the Italian export credit agency, related to the project to design and construct the EFSC.
  • Astelit, a Ukrainian telecommunications company majority directly controlled by Turkish GSM operator Turkcell, on a US$540 million financing. The deal marked one of the largest private financings in Ukraine to date.  
  • Turkcell on a US$3 billion syndicated loan facility.
  • Astelit on the build-out of its mobile network and three vendor financings in the amount of nearly US$300 million with Nokia, Ericsson and Sysdate, respectively.
  • Transneft, the Russian pipeline company, on a US$250 million loan agreement with a syndicate of 19 western banks.
  • Transneft on its first syndicated loan facility in the amount of US$150 million, which was secured by ruble receivables.
  • A major Russian company on its restructuring of over US$100 million in debt to multiple banks.

Financing Transactions -- Lenders

  • EBRD and IFC on their €100 million project financing of a flat glass manufacturing facility in Russia and on an additional related facility.
  • EBRD on its €72 million project financing of ZAO Air Liquide-Severstal, a joint venture between Severstal, the Russian steel company, and Air Liquide, the major French industrial gas producer. The project comprised financing and construction of a plant to produce and supply industrial gas to Severstal for its steel manufacturing processes.
  • EBRD on its US$90 million project finance facility provided to Severgal, a joint venture company owned by Severstal, the large Russian steel company, and Arcelor, the large French steel company, and on the restructuring of the loan following Arcelor’s withdrawal from the company.
  • EBRD and ING Bank on their US$60 million financing of an iron ore mine in Russia, which was supported by offtake arrangements and secured by an offshore collateral account.
  • IFC and EBRD as purchasers of mezzanine debt on the securitization of assets (consumer loans) of Russian Standard Bank. IFC/EBRD purchased €70 million notes. The aggregate amount of the notes was €300 million.
  • Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on swaps, hedging transactions and other matters requiring compliance with Russian banking transactions.
  • EBRD on numerous financings to Kazakhstan, Moldovan, Ukrainian and other FSU-based entities.

Real Estate

  • Karo Film, the leading network of cinema houses in Russia, on structuring, management and lease of its entire Russian property portfolio (comprising dozens of cinemas in Russia), including acquisition, opening and lease of new cinema houses, their reconstruction/ redevelopment, etc.
  • Hyatt International (Europe, Africa, Middle East) on numerous management agreements and new hotel projects throughout the FSU including in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don.
  • ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria on its US$67 million multicurrency secured loan from ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria to Downtown Development B.V. to refinance the construction of Znamenka Business Center in Moscow.
  • ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria on its US$43 million syndicated loan to a Russian developer to finance the construction of an office complex in Moscow.
  • IFC on its US$65 million financing of the acquisition by Orient Express Hotels of a 93.5% stake in St. Petersburg’s historical Grand Hotel Europe, the largest property acquisition in Russia and the first acquisition financing by IFC in Russia.
  • IFC on several tranches of loans to a major supermarket chain to finance the construction of four hypermarkets and numerous supermarkets in Russia.
  • Clients in negotiating various lease and contract agreements.

Includes matters handled at Dechert or prior to joining the firm.

Education

University of Maryland, Munich, B.A., 1986, cum laude
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1991
Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, M.S., Foreign Service, 1991

Bar Admissions/Qualifications

Connecticut
District of Columbia
New York
Registered Foreign Lawyer, England and Wales

Languages

English
Russian