A&O has advised the banks, led by Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, in connection with the issuance of EUR400m 5.75% Senior Notes due 2028 by Azelis, a Belgium-based distributor of speciality chemicals and food ingredients. The deal marks the first debut issuance in the European high yield market since October of last year, when A&O advised Hunkemöller on the last debut issuance of 2022.
Azelis achieved stellar demand for its high yield debut, with proceeds partially intended to finance M&A, in a market thus far dominated by refinancings.
High yield partner Marc Plepelits, who led the A&O team on the Azelis deal, commented: “This highly anticipated and successful debut issuance is another encouraging sign for the European high yield market. These landmark transactions require close collaboration across jurisdictions and show our ability to deliver innovative financing solutions for our clients.”
A&O also advised on the final debut high yield bond issuance of 2022 when it acted for Hunkemöller on its issuance of EUR272.5m 9.00% Senior Secured Notes due 2027 as part of the financing for its acquisition by a consortium of leading Dutch investors earlier that year.
High yield partner John Kicken, who led the A&O team on the Hunkemöller deal, commented: “We are pleased to have advised on the first debut high yield bond of 2023 after closing the market in 2022, demonstrating our market-leading expertise and agility in this dynamic space. The reopening of the debut issuer market further supports our cautiously optimistic outlook for European high yield in 2023.”
The Azelis deal team included partners Marc Plepelits and Adam Wells, senior associates Angela Ryu and Baxter Schooley, and associates Qi Xie and Ariel Aiash. A&O lawyers in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain also advised on the transaction.
The Hunkemöller deal team included partner John Kicken and associates Sampada Bannurmath, Katrien Wilmots, Jeff Xu and Amirali Azinfar. A&O lawyers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany also advised on the transaction.
An A&O team led by partners Adam Wells and Dirk Meeus and counsel Sophie Rutten previously advised the underwriters on the EUR6.1bn IPO of Azelis on the Euronext Brussels in 2021, which marked the largest Belgian IPO in 14 years, as well as on a sale by funds advised by EQT of a portion of their Azelis shares in January 2023.
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