Nigel Thomas


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Nigel Thomas

Summary Open

Nigel has been a Partner at Watson Farley & Williams since 1988. He is also Chairman of the firm. He specialises in international finance with an emphasis on shipping finance, commercial shipping and the offshore and cruise industries. He advises a number of players in, and financiers to, the shipping industry and has previously been Head of the firm’s offices in Singapore and Oslo.

Nigel continues to be ranked as an expert in Who’s Who Legal – Shipping 2017 and as a leading individual by Legal 500. He has most recently been described in Chambers 2017 as having “a deep understanding of shipping finance and is one of the most experienced lawyers in the field today. He is commercial with an ability to find a fair and amicable solution in every situation”.

Experience Open

  • Nigel’s experience includes advising:
    • Virgin Voyages on its entry into the cruise sector by placing orders with Fincantieri for three 110,000gt cruise ships, financed by >US$2bn SACE-backed loans, the largest ECA-backed non-recourse deal for a start-up cruise line to date
    • Reliance Industries Ltd on shipbuilding, charter and financing contracts for the world’s first Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLEC), six vessels built at SHI in Korea and financed under a US$572m Korean ECA-backed financing
    • Teekay Offshore Partners and Teekay Corporation on the debt aspects of their 2016 recapitalisation
    • ING Bank as lead arrangers for a syndicate of banks on several loans to Sovcomflot including a US$416m Finnish ECA-backed loan for four icebreaking supply vessels and a US$319m term loan facility for two newbuild ice class LNG carriers
    • Various private equity funds on both debt and equity investments in secondhand vessels and newbuildings
    • Teekay LNG Partners on a group of six Chinese sale and leaseback transactions for MEGI LNG carrier newbuildings under construction at DSME in Korea for delivery in 2017 and 2018
    • Petroserv Marine on a US$1.7bn ECA-backed term loan and revolving credit facility relative to its drilling unit and FPSO fleet operating principally in Brazil
    • The owners of cruise ship newbuildings under construction in Finland on debt financings supported by the Finnish and German ECAs
    • DNB on multiple ECA-backed syndicated financings for offshore drilling units built in Korea, including for the Ocean Rig group and for Odfjell Drilling
    • Teekay on the US$815m ECA-backed financing for the construction of the FPSO Petrojarl Knarr
    • A Nordea-led syndicate on the ECA-backed US$288m financing of two semi-submersible accommodation rigs built in China for the Prosafe group
    • ING on a series of financings exceeding, in aggregate, US$750m to a privately-owned Russian transportation group for the financing of newbuildings, other ships and port and terminal assets in Russia
    • The Shipping Corporation of India in relation to its LNG transportation activities

Education Open

  • St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University, MA
  • London Business School, Diploma in Corporate Finance

Author/Speaker/Awards Open

Nigel has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars in the UK, Europe, Asia, the USA and Latin America on shipping, offshore, cruise and finance topics, as well as contributing articles to various publications in the maritime, offshore and cruise sectors.

Nominated as one of the top three Transatlantic Finance Dealmakers of 2015 by The American Lawyer, Nigel is well-respected in the market. Recent commentators Legal 500 and Chambers have referenced that Nigel is “user-friendly and commercial”, “market sources are particularly complimentary” and “his clients appreciate his adeptness in dealing with the most sophisticated and difficult transactions”.

Nigel has led the WFW advice on each of the following Marine Money ‘Deals of the Year’:

  • 2016 ECA Deal of the Year (East) – $572m financing for Reliance Industries’ six Very Large Ethane Carriers under construction in Korea
  • 2016  Recapitalization Deal of the Year – Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. and Teekay Corporation
  • 2014 ECA Deal of the Year (Offshore) – $815m for Teekay’s FPSO Petrojarl Knarr, supported by KEXIM, K-Sure, GIEK and EKN
  • 2014 Project Finance Deal of the Year – SCF financing for two LNG carriers for charter to Shell: ING and others
  • 2013 Bank Debt Deal of the Year (Offshore) – OCR $1.35bn ECA financing: DNB
  • 2013 Project Finance Deal of the Year – SCF financing for two LNG carriers for charter to GazProm: ING, KfW and SMBC
  • 2013 Structured Finance Deal of the Year – Malt LNG $608m financing for Teekay and Marubeni: DNB
  • 2012 Editor’s choice award (Offshore) – $55m financing of Skandi Botafogo: DVB
  • 2012 Editor’s choice award – SCF $700m fleet financing: Citi
  • 2012 Bank Debt Deal of the Year (Offshore) – Petroserv Marine $1.17bn ECA financing: Nordea and others
  • 2011 Dealmaker of the Year – Teekay’s Peter Evensen and Friends – including Teekay and Marubeni acquisition of Maersk LNG and Teekay acquisition of three FPSOs and a stake in Sevan Marine
  • 2011 Restructuring Deal of the Year – Frontline: Nordea, SFI and others
  • 2011 Leasing Deal of the Year – CMA CGM: Credit Agricole and SFI
  • 2011 Structured Finance Deal of the Year – SCF/Glencore JV: Citi as Senior MLA

Membership of Professional Societies Open

  • Law Society of England & Wales

Employment Record Open

  • 1988 – Present:  Watson Farley & Williams, Partner
    (including Head of the firm’s Oslo office 1988-1993, establishing the firm’s Singapore office and heading the firm’s Asia Practice 1998 – 2002)
  • 1982 – 1987:  Lazard Brothers, London and Paris – Investment Banker
  • 1979 – 1982:  Norton Rose, Trainee and Associate


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