Francesca Odell Named an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year” for Petrobras SEC-Registered Notes Offering

April 1, 2014

Francesca Odell was named a 2014 “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer for her role leading the Cleary team that completed the record-breaking $11 billion SEC-registered notes offering by Petrobras over a weekend in May 2013, described by the magazine as “the largest debt offering ever by an emerging markets company.”

The article describes Francesca’s and Cleary’s close working relationship with Petrobras, the Brazilian state-controlled oil and gas company. “Odell, who has acted for Petrobras for more than a decade and is now Cleary’s relationship partner for the client, is at least partly to thank for the fact that the company can turn deals around so quickly,” author Chris Johnson wrote. “When Odell drew up Petrobras’ Securities and Exchange Commission shelf registration in 2002, she built flexibility into the documentation in order to allow the company to issue a wide range of financial instruments.”

AmLaw detailed the challenges the Cleary team faced in completing what Francesca described as a “monumental” offering for Petrobras in such a short time frame. “The notes were issued in six different tranches by Petrobras’ Dutch finance subsidiary, Petrobras Global Finance B.V., and listed on the New York Stock Exchange,” the article noted. “The tranches comprised four series of fixed-rate notes and, for the first time in a Petrobras issue, two series of floating-rate notes—each with different terms, and with maturities ranging from three to 30 years.”

In the end the offering was nearly four times oversubscribed, a tremendous success for the client. Theodore Helms, executive manager for investor relations at Petrobras told AmLaw: “Francesca is great. She’s worked with us for 15 years, so really understands us.… Sometimes issues do come up at the last moment but she’s a great problem solver and always finds practical solutions. We rely on her and Cleary, and they’ve never let us down.”

The American Lawyer is a monthly magazine covering the business of law and lawyers, with an emphasis on the top 100 grossing law firms in the United States. “Dealmakers of the Year” is an annual feature published by The American Lawyer that spotlights a handful of lawyers who played pivotal roles in some of the most notable transactions of the previous year. Francesca’s inclusion in the 2014 edition of “Dealmakers of the Year” marks the sixth consecutive year that a Cleary partner has been honored for its work by the magazine.

View Francesca’s profile in The American Lawyer.