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François April

Projects Partner, Paris

“I have some 20 year’s experience as a projects lawyer, advising on major projects in France and globally. As a lawyer qualified in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, I aim to provide technical expertise, deep sectoral knowledge and have a strong ability to assist clients to finalise complex projects, wherever the jurisdiction.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

François is widely regarded as a leading renewables and project finance practitioner in France. A partner in the projects practice in the firm’s Paris office, François focuses on project financing in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. He also has in-depth knowledge of infrastructure assets, including airports, ports and roads and power distribution.

 

François advises sponsors, investors (including investment funds) government entities and lenders on all aspects of projects, including finance and contractual arrangements, as well as regulatory issues, on projects in France, Francophone Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. He is actively involved with the firm’s initiatives surrounding Canada, including developing and maintaining Canadian client and institutional relationships.

 

Before joining Linklaters, François worked as an associate, Office of the General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He worked for four years in the firm’s London office before moving to Paris in 2002.

 

François is ranked as a leading lawyer in all major professional directories, such as The Legal 500 EMEA, IFLR1000 and Chambers quoting that he is “technically strong and persuasive whether representing a sponsor or a bank. He's a real deal maker” and that he is “highly commended by sources for his "impressive knowledge of renewables".


Work highlights

François has led on an array of global project transactions. These include advising:

  • Glencore relating to the development and financing of the multibillion integrated nickel mining and metallurgical project and related infrastructure, including dedicated port facilities and coal-fired power plant, in Koniambo, New Caledonia
  • Platinum Power as sponsor on the development of four hydropower projects in Ivory Coast and Cameroon
  • the lenders on the financing and refinancing of the solar plant in Cestas, France, the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe and one of the biggest worldwide to have been financed on a limited recourse basis
  • Siemens in relation to its merger with Gamesa, including on Gamesa’s 50/50 joint venture in offshore wind power with Areva
  • Natixis as arranger and lead underwriter on the structuring, issuance and placement of a €189m amortising bonds to refinance a portfolio of 12 broadband network concessions operated in France by Axione Infrastructures (owned by FIDEPPP, CDC and Bouygues Energies & Services). The bond was the first European project bond in the telecoms sector and the first use of EIB’s PBCE (Project Bond Credit Enhancement) instrument in France
  • a group of French banks on the €300m project financing of a wind and solar portfolio in France developed by Valeco, the largest renewable energy project to close in the French market in 2016

Professional experience

François is a member of France Energie Eolienne (the French Renewable Energy Association), which brings together experts and industry members to promote wind energy in France, and the Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (Renewable Energies Professional Association). He is also a member of the Paris Regional Council of the University of Ottawa.

He regularly speaks at conferences and seminars on a range of subjects, including on the liberalisation of the French energy markets and on renewable energy topics.

François is the author of Fostering Investment Law in Transitional Economies: A Case for Refocusing Institutional Reform, The Parker School Journal of East European Law, Columbia University, 1997, with John Taylor.

Education and qualifications

François studied law at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and holds a master’s in law from University College, London.

He speaks English, French and Spanish.