Paule Biensan | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Paule Biensan
Paule Biensan

Paule Biensan

Partner, Paris

T +33 1 55 04 15 05

T +33 1 55 04 15 15


“Clients give outstanding feedback on renowned practitioner Paule Biensan, describing her as ‘very experienced, confident and knowledgeable.’”

Chambers Global 2014


Paule Biensan is the head of the Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance, Privatizations Group of the Paris office. She is a multi-award-winning lawyer with a number of industry firsts to her name. Her principal areas of focus include project finance, acquisition finance, general corporate transactions and mergers and acquisitions.

Her list of clients is wide-ranging and eclectic. It includes borrowers as well as senior and junior lenders in a variety of both domestic and international financings. These are often complex and innovative transactions, generally based on concession agreements, PPP, BOT or similar agreements, structured and leverage financings and infrastructure projects.

Clients value her knowledge of advising financial institutions, sponsors and government authorities on public projects and utilities such as major infrastructure projects (railways, roads and bridges), cable networks, telecommunications, waste treatment facilities, energy projects, chemicals, hospitals and prisons.

As a result of her international experience, Paule has developed a thorough understanding of the delicate and complex structuring required for Anglo-Saxon-type international financings (including those from multilateral sources) for projects based in civil law countries. She also advises on the corporate aspects of such transactions, including in relation to matters such as shareholders' agreements and equity contributions.

To give a sense of the diversity of her work, notable recent successes include an innovative finance deal for a desalination plant in Morocco, the first project bond in France (listed in France) enhanced by EIB, and an award-winning scheme to finance a toll bridge in the Ivory Coast.

Paule has guided Bank Advisory Committees on sovereign debt restructurings of certain West African countries. She also regularly advises French subsidiaries of international groups and French and international companies on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings in France. She has also been involved in projects relating to municipal transportation schemes, pipelines, aluminium and paper in France; power projects and export oil financings in Ivory Coast; GSM licenses in Tunisia and Cameroon; mining facilities in Venezuela; aluminium projects in South Africa; privatization, telecommunication and power projects in Morocco; as well as projects in Romania and Tunisia.

Bars and Courts

  • Paris Bar


  • DEA, Post-master's (DEA) in Business Law, Université de Droit de Paris II
  • Master's (Maîtrise) in Business Law, Université de Droit de Paris X


  • French
  • English


European Investment Bank's project bond issuance for the refinancing of Axione Telecoms, 2014

Paule led the international team which represented the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the project bond which refinanced 11 French telecoms concessions owned by Axione Infrastructures in July 2014. This matter was awarded European Telecoms Deal of the Year by IJ Global in January 2015. This was the first project bond with EIB credit enhancement to be issued in France, and the first in Europe to be issued for digital infrastructure. It was also the first project bond listed on Euronext Paris.

BMCE Bank's innovative financing for Moroccan desalination plant, 2014

Paule led the international team that advised BMCE Bank as the sole lender supporting a consortium composed of Abengoa Water and InfraMaroc on the financing of a desalination plant in the Moroccan city Agadir. Financed under an innovative public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, the large scale project is the first delegated management contract of this importance in Morocco under the Law N° 54-05, and also the first for the production of drinking water, which will contribute to the major development taking place in Greater Agadir, particularly in the tourism, agrifood and industrial sectors.

The financing of the expansion of a power plant in Ivory Coast, 2012 and 2014

Paule advised CIPREL, an Ivorian independent electricity producer controlled by Eranove (formerly Finagestion S.A.), itself a subsidiary of pan-African investment fund Emerging Capital Partners, on the financing of the second phase of the expansion of its power unit. The second phase, amounting to €200 million, was financed by IFC (World Bank group), the African Development Bank and Proparco (Agence Française de Développement group). We also advised the company on the first phase of the project (Phase A), which closed in May 2012. Phase B reached closure in July 2014.

The financing of a toll motorway in Senegal, 2010 and 2014

Paule advised the project company formed by Eiffage in connection with the concession, financing, building and operation of a €121 million new section of the Dakar toll road to be fund by the Senegalese government, AFD, Eiffage and its lenders. These additional 16.5 km will connect the first section of the Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Road to the new Blaise Diagne international airport. We also advised the project company on the first section of the Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Road project which transaction was awarded "Africa Road Deal of the Year" by Project Finance 2010.

Shipping, 2013

Paule represented a group of leading French banks on this particularly complex, two-stage multisource financing transaction, which was granted to a French yard for the construction of a cruise vessel, and to a buyer for the acquisition of this vessel, with COFACE support.

Bordeaux University Renovation, 2012

Paule jointly led the team that advised the Caisse des dépôts et consignations as lenders (acting through Direction des fonds d’épargne and Section générale) on the renovation and rehabilitation of 16 buildings belonging to Bordeaux University. This was part of "Operation Campus", launched by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research to refurbish selected academic campuses.

The Abidjan Toll Bridge in Ivory Coast, 2012

Paule led the team that represented a group of lenders including AfDB, FMO, BOAD, BIDC, BMCE Bank and AFC, for the financing, design, construction and operation of the Riviera Marcory toll bridge in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, under a concession scheme. A Bouygues-led consortium was the successful bidder for the 30-year concession in 1995, but the financing never closed due to political events. At that time, White & Case LLP represented other lenders, including IFC and Proparco. The project finance structure was amended when the project resumed in 2008. This transaction was awarded "African Transport Deal of the Year" by Project Finance 2012.

InfraMed's acquisition of a minority equity stake in the Iskenderun Port, 2012

Paule led the international team of lawyers that advised InfraMed Infrastructure SAS, InfraMed's flagship investment fund, on its acquisition from Limak of a minority equity stake in the Iskenderun port project company. The Iskenderun port is a strategic asset on the south-east coast of Turkey. The entire investment programme for the refit of the port requires approximately US$700 million, of which US$425 million was project-financed in December 2011 by a group of Turkish and international banks, including UniCredit, Garanti and Finansbank. InfraMed is an investment vehicle dedicated to providing long-term equity and quasi-equity funding to sustainable urban, energy and transport infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean region.

€8 billion high-speed railways between Tours and Bordeaux, 2011

In a ground-breaking project that represented a number of firsts, Paule provided joint leadership to the team that advised the lenders, led by Vinci Concessions, on the construction, development and maintenance of a high-speed railway between Tours and Bordeaux in France. The financing, in excess of €8 billion, was one of the most complex infrastructure financing deals to date, involving state and state-owned entities guarantees, commercial bank debt, EIB financing (including a LGTT tranche) and the French CDC long term financing. This transaction was awarded "Rail Deal of the Year" by Project Finance International 2011, "High-Speed Rail Deal of the Year" by Project Finance 2011 and "Deal of the Year – Transport" by Infrastructure Journal 2012.

Financing a new tolling system, "Ecotaxe", 2011

Paule worked as part of the team that represented a consortium composed of Atlantia (Autostrade per l'Italia) and six of its partners in a public-private partnership (PPP) project for the design, construction, financing and operation of a new tolling system, "Ecotaxe". This experimental project was first implemented in Alsace and subsequently all over France for the heavy-weight vehicles using the French national road network. Jacques and his team were awarded "PPP Deal of the Year" by Project Finance International 2011 and "Technology Deal of the Year" by Project Finance International 2011.

Speaking Engagements

Paule spoke at the EY & AFD conference on the Financial instruments for the Financing of Renewable Energy Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, in June 2014.

Paule discussed transforming infrastructure and power at the ECA/DFI Africa French exporter roundtables, in June 2014.

Paule spoke at an AFC legal department seminar about aspects of project finance transactions in civil law jurisdictions (notably on EPCs and Ohada Security Documents), in March 2014.

Paule spoke at the BUILD Africa Forum organized by Africa50 on " Success Stories in Infrastructure in Africa" held in Brazzaville in February 2014.

Awards & Recognition

Best Lawyers in France 2014, Project Finance and Development

Leading Lawyer (Band 1), Chambers Global 2015, Chambers Europe 2014

Projects: International Projects – France

Leading Lawyer (Band 1), Chambers Europe 2014

PFI/PPP – France

Leading Lawyer (Band 3), Chambers Global 2015

Projects and Energy– Africa-wide

Leading Lawyer (Band 4), Chambers Global 2015

Corporate/ Commercial – Africa-wide