The Bank of Cyprus recently turned to Sidley for assistance in admission to the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The listing occurred on January 19, 2017; it represents a significant milestone in the Bank’s recovery and increases its visibility among potential investors.
“This was a very gratifying opportunity to work with a longstanding client at an integral point in their growth and to provide assistance from many of the legal disciplines that Sidley offers,” said partner Stephen Blackshaw, co-leader of Sidley’s Corporate practice in London.
The London-based Sidley team was led by Blackshaw and Capital Markets counsel Shireen Khoo and included lawyers from the firm’s Capital Markets, Corporate, Banking and Financial Services, Tax, Litigation, Global Finance and Employment practices.
Sidley’s work on the matter involved advising the Bank on corporate governance and London listing requirements. The firm also structured the transaction by using a Cypriot scheme of arrangement to insert a new holding company in Ireland so that the Bank would be eligible for the UK FTSE Index.
The Bank is the largest lender in Cyprus, and its headquarters, management and operations will all remain in Cyprus. In addition, the Bank will maintain its listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange. The Bank was keen to ensure that its international and domestic stakeholders understood its continuing commitment to and focus on Cyprus despite its plans to list on the exchange in London. “Having worked with the bank since 2013, we have a good understanding of what the Bank values and wants,” said counsel Shireen Khoo. “We were able to bridge the gap between what is “market” in London versus what is “market” in Cyprus. It certainly helps that both the Cyprus and UK legal systems are rooted in common law.”
The Bank has also announced its intention to pursue a premium listing in the long-term. In addition, several members of the Sidley team have provided training in the areas of corporate governance, London listing rules and market abuse regulation to more than 80 Bank of Cyprus employees. “Sidley’s multidisciplinary capabilities and pragmatic advice were important to the Bank not only in its London listing, but in many other regulatory matters,” said Khoo.