Head of Greece; Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright Greece***
Related services and key industries
Yianni Cheilas is a banking, finance and restructuring lawyer based in London and Athens. Yianni has significant experience of advising across a broad range of finance transactions, including: syndicated facilities; secured, structured and unsecured facilities; international and cross-border transactions; ECA-backed facilities (Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Norway); bond issues; Greek 'bond loan facilities'; sale and lease backs; sovereign debtor finance; sale of loan portfolios; securitisations; and structured and complex banking products.
Yianni represents lenders in restructurings, work-out arrangements and monitoring 'problem' loans. He has been involved in numerous distressed debt and enforcement cases and regularly handles joint ventures and shareholder agreements, including transactions involving funds, management investors and financial investors.
Yianni advises clients across various sectors and industries, including: shipping, offshore and asset finance; asset-based lending; property finance; energy finance; hospitality; corporate lending in general; infrastructure; restructuring and insolvency; and financial institutions.
He has significant knowledge of the global shipping market, particularly the LNG space, where he has been involved in the construction, acquisition, chartering and financing of more than 150 LNGCs, FSRUs, FSUs and similar units.
Yianni represents a number of first-class international banks, financial institutions, multi-laterals and large corporates, including companies conducting business in Greece and in Central and Eastern Europe.
Yianni was appointed as head of Greece in 2022. He spends his time between our offices in London and Athens.
- Lawyer, qualified in Greece (Athens Bar)
- Solicitor, qualified in England & Wales
- Attorney at Law, admitted in L.A., USA
Recent highlights of Yianni's asset finance mandates include:
- Acted for the lenders in the €400m project financing of a FSRU and connected terminal in Europe
- Acted for the commercial lenders and ECAs of all commercial facilities of the NYSE-listed LNG carrier operator GasLog and GasLog Partners group, in relation to the publicised merger of GasLog with an affiliate of BlackRock. Bank syndicates were led by Citi, ABN AMRO, Nordea, DNB, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and NBG and included several other European, North American and Asian commercial banks as well as Korean ECAs KEXIM and K-Sure.
- Acted for Citi and NatWest in the $815m syndicated facility for Danaos Corporation, refinancing all of the debt of Danaos and secured on 48 container vessels.
- Acted for Citi in the US$1.25bn syndicated financing of eight LNGCs for a leading shipping operator with K-Sure backing and charters to major energy companies
- Acted for Citi and Nordea in the US$1.3bn triple-ECA backed syndicated financing of eight LNGCs for GasLog, with charters to major energy companies
- Acted for ABN Amro in the circa US$400m KEXIM-backed syndicated financing of four VLGCs for DryShips, with charters to major energy companies
- Acted for DNB in the US$250m KEXIM-backed syndicated financing of four oil tankers for a leading Greek shipping company
- Acted for BNPP Paribas and KfW in the circa US$580 KEXIM-backed syndicated financing of 4 LNGCs for a leading Greek operator with charters to major energy companies
- Acted for a leading Greek LNGC operator in the US$1.5bn financing programme of its 8 LNGC newbuilds, all charter to major energy companies and financed by leading commercial lenders and ECAs
- Acted for ABN Amro in the US700m syndicated financing of six LNGCs and FSUs for GasLog
- Acted for Credit Suisse, HSBC and Citi in the US$450m syndicated financing of six VLCCs for a leading shipping company, with charters to major energy companies
- Acted for Nordea in the US$300m syndicated financing of 20 bulk carriers and tankers for a major Greek operator
- Acted for Citi and Nordea in the US$1.3bn triple-ECA backed syndicated financing of eight LNGCs for a leading Greek shipping operator, with charters to an oil major
- Acted for BNP Paribas and KfW in the US$150m ECA-wrapped syndicated financing of four aframax LR and two tankers for a major shipping company
- Acted for National Bank of Greece in the US$150m syndicated financing for a GasLog LNGC
- Acted for Citi and Nordea in the US$1bn syndicated financing of eight LNGCs for GasLog
- Acted for BNP Paribas and Citi in the US$200m syndicated financing of six VLCCs for a major shipping company
- Acted for DNB in the US$130m CEXIM-backed syndicated financing of four dry bulk carrier new builds for a major shipping company
- Acted for Credit Suisse in the circa US$360m syndicated financing of two LNGCs for a major shipping company, with charters to an Australian energy company and an oil major
- Acted for DNB in the US$150m CEXIM-backed syndicated financing of two tanker new builds for a major Greek shipping company
- Acted for Société Générale in the US$160m syndicated financing of one LNGC for a major shipping company with a charter to a leading energy company
- Acted for Nordea, SEB and BNP Paribas in the US$450m refinancing facility of 26 dry bulk, tankers and LNGCs for a major shipping company
- Acted for Credit Suisse in the US$340m syndicated refinancing of 18 tankers and dry bulk carriers for a major shipping company
- Acted for DVB in the US$400m KEXIM-backed syndicated financing of four LNGCs for a major shipping company
- Acted for DEKA and KfW in the US$150m syndicated financing of four cape-size new build dry bulk carriers for a major Greek shipping company
- Acted for Citi in the US$200m financing of five VLCCs for a major Greek shipping company.
Yianni has led our international teams in numerous significant restructuring mandates, usually representing secured lenders and often involving private equity investment. Recent work includes the following:
- US$2.2bn restructuring of Danaos Corporation, a NYSE-listed container operator
- €600m recapitalisation of Maillis group, a leading multi-national industrial packaging group
- US$2bn restructuring and subsequent Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Toisa Limited
- US$1.5bn restructuring and subsequent Chapter 11 plan of Excel Maritime
- €300mn debt restructuring of a leading hospitality company with presence in Greece and the CEE
- €1bn debt restructuring of Marfin Investment Group
- the recapitalisation of a leading casino operator in Greece
- the refinancing and restructuring of the €200m bank debt of a leading hospitality company held by Greek banks
- the restructuring of Notos Holdings Group, a leading retail player in Greece
- the restructuring of Marinopoulos Holdings and Famar Group, a leading international retail and pharmaceutical group
- the €400m restructuring and insolvency of an international shipping fuel and bunkering group
- the debt restructuring of practically all major Greek ferry operators (Minoan Lines, Blue Star Ferries, Attica Holdings and Hellenic Seaways)
- the debt restructuring of a number shopping malls, hotels and trading centres in Greece and Central and Eastern Europe
- representing Folli Follie in its attempted recapitalisation in 2018.
Recent highlights of Yianni's latest general finance mandates include:
- Advised Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and BNP Paribas on the reflagging of Maillis Group (multinational packaging company), from Greece to Luxembourg, involving the restructuring of its secured facilities of €300m
- Supported Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and EBRD with the €40m syndicated secured EBRD and parallel facilities for Loulis Mills, a leading Greek flour milling company
- Acted for Piraeus Bank in the €20m syndicated secured facility for the construction of a five-star hotel in Corfu
- Acted for Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece and EBRD in the €120m syndicated secured EBRD and parallel facilities for the financing and investment plan of a leading Greek hotel operator.
Chambers, 2018 describes Yianni as "very diligent, careful, experienced, meticulous and able to give solutions." He is praised for his capital markets experience, project finance skills and for "coordinating complicated multi-jurisdictional transactions." A client notes he is "the most business-oriented lawyer I have worked with."
Chambers further notes that clients single him out for his "understanding of important issues, thoroughness and timeliness," as well as his ability to "always [be] able to find a solution to a problem."
Legal 500, 2018 describes Yianni as "highly recommended" for restructuring and insolvency, adding that for shipping finance, "Norton Rose Fulbright boasts some of the best-known lawyers in the field, including banking partner Yianni Cheilas."