Natalia Nikitina

Partner, Moscow

Biography

Natalia Nikitina “has an ability to see the overall picture, she is very responsive and committed. She is a good negotiator and pleasant to deal with.”
Chambers Global, Banking & Finance, Russia 2020

Overview

Natalia Nikitina is the head of Moscow Debt Finance practice. She advises on a wide range of finance transactions, including traditional commercial lending and structured and acquisition finance, as well as asset-based financings and project and pre-export finance.

With over 20 years of on-the-ground experience in Russia, Natalia is able to offer her clients particular insight into the nuances specific to this market. She has also been the driving force behind a number of first-of-their-kind and award-winning deals, and her clients describe her as a "real expert." (Legal 500 2020). Clients praise her commercial approach to handling complex finance transactions: "She has an ability to see the overall picture" (Chambers Global, 2020). She has also been mentioned in The Best Lawyers in Russia Edition since 2014 in Asset Finance Law, Banking and Finance Law, Corporate/M&A and Project Finance and Development Practice.

Natalia regularly works with a wide range of participants active in the Russian market, who benefit from her commitment to finding made-to-measure fixes, and she seeks innovative ways to secure her clients' interests. In addition to her transactional work, Natalia is also a leading figure in numerous important legislative projects, including the pledge law reform and standardized Russian loan agreements for syndicated lending.

She has worked on many of the major deals in Russia and the CIS, where her experience and knowledge helps her clients to proceed confidently with their transactions. She was instrumental in a power plant financing deal which has been described as "creating a Russian project finance template" (Trade Finance Magazine).

Natalia is also highly respected in the transportation sector, having earned recommendations from both clients and legal benchmark publications. She was recently appointed an Executive Member of the prestigious Aviation Working Group's Legal Advisory Panel in recognition of her work with the Russian Federation's ratification of the Cape Town Convention and her dedication to the development of the aviation sector in Russia. She has advised on a vast number of aviation finance and leasing transactions, including the first export credit financing of the Sukhoi Superjet aircraft, which paved its way to the western market.

Bars and Courts
Qualified to practice law in the Russian Federation
Education
JD
Moscow State Institute of International Relations
LLB
College of Management and Law
Languages
English
French
Russian

Experience

Banking and Finance:

Landmark restructuring of Mechel
Representation of VTB Bank on a landmark US$1.7 billion restructuring of Mechel PAO, one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies.

Major acquisition finance in Russian energy sector
Representation of a major Russian financial institution in connection with US$580 million financing of acquisition of shares in a Russian energy company in 2019.

Major mining LBOs
Representation of a major Russian financial institution as new lender under a US$430 million loan facility utilized for a leveraged buy-out and refinancing of the existing indebtedness of a major Russian mining group in 2019.

Natalia also advised a leading Russian bank as lender under a US$2 billion loan facility utilized for a leveraged buy-out of a major Russian steel group. This was at the time the largest LBO in Russia, with an acquisition price more than US$4 billion.

Summa Group
Natalia represented Russian investment and trading group Summa on the multi-stage acquisition of a stake in Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) and related acquisition financing obtained from a syndicate of international banks. The financing structure involved a US$800 million senior loan from a syndicate of foreign and Russian banks, as well as a US$150 million financing structured in the form of a REPO. This was the largest LBO in Russia in 2012.

Legislation changes
White & Case Moscow team led by Natalia Nikitina has been intensively working at the invitation of the Association of Regional Banks of Russia on drafting and commenting on groundbreaking legislation regulating syndicating lending in Russia, the relevant law was passed through in December 2017 and became law in early 2018.

 

Project Finance:

Urea Plant in Togliatti
Natalia represented the lenders and export-credit agencies on the project financing of the Urea Plant in Togliatti, Russia (2019).

Rusvinyl
Natalia advised RusVinyl and the sponsors, SIBUR Holding and SolVin GmBH & Co KG, on the €750 million project financing of a 330,000 tonnes pa polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Kstovo, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, which has been described as "creating a Russian project finance template" by Trade Finance Magazine and was named "European Petrochemical Deal of the Year" by Project Finance and Project Finance International (2011).

Credit Suisse
Natalia represented Credit Suisse as coordinator and mandated lead arranger on a US$675 million project financing to Rosneftbunker in connection with the construction and development of an oil product terminal in the Ust-Luga port, located along the Gulf of Finland.

 

Asset Finance:

Avia Capital Services
Natalia represented Avia Capital Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Russian Technologies State Corporation, in the acquisition, export credit finance and leasing to Russian airlines of 50 new Boeing 737 aircraft.

Sukhoi Superjet 100
Natalia advised leading global financial institutions in connection with the export credit financing and parallel financing for deliveries of Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft to a Mexican airline.

Publications

Banking Law: Ways to Improve Syndicated Loans Legislation, The Banking Law Journal, February 2020 (co-author)

Lending & Secured Finance 2014: A practical cross-border insight into lending and secured finance, The International Comparative Legal Guide, Chapter 53 – Russia, April 2014, (co-author)

Awards and Recognition

Mentioned in Banking & Finance in Russia: Chambers Global, 2020 and Legal 500, 2020 (acting for borrowers and lenders)

Natalia Nikitina "has an ability to see the overall picture, she is very responsive and committed. She is a good negotiator and pleasant to deal with." Chambers Global, 2020

Natalia Nikitina "always has good control over the matters, an excellent understanding of the market and helps navigating through complex matters." Chambers Global, 2019

Leading Individual in Transport sector in Russia: Legal 500, 2020

Appointed Executive Committee Member of the Legal Advisory Panel of Aviation Working Group (AWG), January 2019