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France

Freshfields in France

Freshfields is one of the leading law firms in France. With a presence in the country dating back over 40 years, we are involved in some of the most strategic transactions in the French market.

Our clients come from a wide range of sectors including energy and natural resources, infrastructure and transport, consumer goods, healthcare, telecommunications, technology and media, general industries, and financial services. As well as French and foreign public and private companies, financial institutions, we advise private equity funds, states and state entities, governments and non-governmental organisations.

Clients rely on us for strategic advice on their domestic and international transactions and disputes. They also seek our help when expanding their operations, consolidating their market positions and planning for the future.

We have deep knowledge and have built strong relationships with French regulatory authorities and public bodies such as the agency for state participations (Agence des Participations de l’Etat), the stock market authority (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), the competition authority (Autorité de la Concurrence), the data protection authority (Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés), the energy regulator (Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie) and the rail regulator (Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires et Routières).

Client successes

This included its divestment of assets to CRH for €6.5bn and the sale of Lafarge India to Nirma for an enterprise value of $1.4bn

These include the acquisition of:

  • the 42 per cent stake owned by Unimilk in the Danone–Unimilk joint-venture, further to a co-operation initiated in 2010 by both companies in the fresh dairy sector in the CIS; and
  • Halayeb for Dairy Products and Juice, an Egyptian company specialising in the production of fresh cheese.

The case involved a dispute that arose over Total’s investments in Argentina’s gas transportation, hydrocarbons exploration and production, and power generation industries.

The dispute related to the breach by Egyptian authorities of contractual and investment-treaty obligations incurred in connection with the ‘peace pipeline’, which was constructed and operated by our clients to sell Egyptian natural gas to Israel.