James Hardy

Partner, London



James Hardy is a partner in the Firm's Debt Finance Group in London. He is an emerging markets specialist with an established track record of advising both lenders and borrowers on a diverse range of financing arrangements in mature and (especially) developing or frontier markets throughout the financial cycle.

Product coverage includes: corporate lending; sovereign lending; sustainability-linked and green or social proceeds loan products; the full spectrum of structured trade and commodity finance (including: commodity prepayments; pre-export finance; borrowing base; receivables purchase); export credit; other structured finance (including margin loans); acquisition-driven financing; restructuring; and refinancing.

James has been (since their original formation) on the LMA's documentation committee for both Developing Markets and Commodity Finance and was heavily involved in the original production of both suites of industry documentation.

James' personal track record covers loan market financings with a value of: over US$136 billion in the emerging markets, of which approximately US$24 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa; over US$24 billion in the CIS; over US$43 billion in Ukraine and over US$23 billion in Latin America; over US$65 billion in the commodities sector (of which over US$31 billion is structured trade and commodity finance); over US$57 billion sovereign or sovereign-linked; and over US$45 billion of acquisition-driven financings.

Bars and Courts
England and Wales
College of Law, Guildford
College of Law, Guildford
BA (Hons)
Modern Languages (French and Russian)
Oxford University


Representative transactions include advising:

Corporate lending

Africa Finance Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank as global co-ordinators on €1 billion term loan financing to Bank of Industry Limited, guaranteed by AFC.

Afreximbank on:

  • multiple syndicated term loan financings to Bank of Industry Limited, structured with credit support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (Debt Deal of the Year, African Banker Awards 2020; International Syndicated Loan Deal of the Year, Bonds & Loans Africa Awards 2021-2022).
  • US$650 million and US$250 million secured corporate loan financing into the multi-source Project Nitro structure supporting the Dangote Group's oil refinery and fertiliser plant project in Lekki, Nigeria.

Puma Energy on substantially all of its annual core corporate syndication loan facilities processes since 2015.

Sovereign lending

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on substantially all of its international sovereign loan borrowings or sovereign guaranteed loan financings since 2018.

a West African sovereign on the restructuring of an approx. US$500 million debt position linked to receivables for civil engineering work.

Creditors on sovereign loans to Argentina, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana*, Montenegro*, Mozambique*, Tanzania* and Zambia*.

Sustainable finance

A corporate borrower in the downstream oil and gas sector on up to US$800 million loan and non-cash facilities comprising its first ever sustainability-linked loan financing (ongoing).

EBRD on its flagship Sustainable SCF program, which applies sustainability-linked financial incentives into the payables finance product.

A major international financial institution on its ESG policy framework.

FSN Capital as borrower on €241.5 million sustainability-linked revolving loan facility for its new equity fund VI.

Structured trade and commodity finance

Petrobras on a wide range of English law trade finance matters, both ordinary course and strategic, for their crude oil offtake flows generally. The scope of products includes: commercial contract and contract rights monetisation advice; documentary and standby LCs; URDG based performance and advance payment guarantees; parent company guarantees; payment undertakings; bilateral trade finance facilities; silent guarantees.

Puma Energy on a US$225m hybrid off balance sheet insured trade receivables purchase program; various borrowing base financings; other structured trade and commodity financings.

Noble Group on the trade finance aspects of its financial restructuring, including its up to US$700 million committed structured trade finance facility. Finance Deal of the Year: Insolvency and Restructuring, 2019 Asia Legal Awards, The Asian Lawyer

The arranger on a structured commodity financing intermediation including physical offtake over nearly a quarter of an African mining company's forecast production and a financial derivative comprising both commodity price derivative and loan-style advance.

Trafigura on: confidential oil and metals prepayment financings for commodities sourced in Russia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere; and on secured borrowing base and other structured trade financings (including their up to US$2 billion refined metals borrowing base financing from a syndicate co-ordinated by Deutsche Bank. "Best Commodity Working Capital Deal of the Year 2015", Trade & Export Finance).

Export credit

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine as borrower on buyer credit facilities supported (both direct lending and indirect support) by European ECAs, including BpiFrance and UKEF.

Petrobras as borrower on an up to US$400 million term loan facility from CACIB and supported by a UKEF guarantee.

Standard Chartered Bank on Sinosure covered EUR238,160,000 facilities to the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, represented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance for the purposes of financing a water project.

Structured finance

Lenders and borrowers on over US$15 billion margin loans by value (both "conventional" and "exotics / hybrids").

The UN Liquidity and Sustainability Facility DAC as borrower on the funding side of its inaugural transaction by way of up to US$100 million loan financing from Afreximbank.

JP Morgan on the 'POEMS' transactions, innovative £3.5 billion financings that used mandatory exchangeable bonds issued by Volcan Holdings plc to finance the purchase of shares in Anglo American plc.

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on a US$250m capital markets funded conduit structured term loan financing to Energoatom to fund nuclear storage facilities on the Chernobyl site.

Nostrum Oil & Gas group on up to US$3 billion structured financing arranged by VTB Capital plc.

Awards and Recognition

Leading Individual, The Legal 500 UK 2024, Trade Finance

Notable Practitioner, The Legal 500 UK 2024, Acquisition Finance, Bank Lending: Investment Grade Debt and Syndicated Loans

Winner, Debt Deal of the Year, African Banker Awards 2020

Winner, International Syndicated Loan Deal of the Year, Bonds & Loans Africa Awards 2021-2022)

Winner, Finance Deal of the Year: Insolvency and Restructuring, 2019 Asia Legal Awards, The Asian Lawyer

Winner, "Best Commodity Working Capital Deal of the Year 2015", Trade & Export Finance