Posts

Infrastructure new PHOTO

National Infrastructure Awards winners announced

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has announced the winners of the 2019 National Infrastructure Awards.

Convened annually, the Awards recognise excellence in public administration and business, across major projects.

The Awards were overseen by an independent judging panel, comprising:

  • Ms Leilani Frew, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Project and Financing Agency (Chair)
  • Ms Kim Curtain, Interim Deputy Secretary, Trade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts, NSW Treasury
  • Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Mr Jason Loos, Director, Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria
  • Mr Neil Scales, Director-General, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

The winners and finalists for each category in the 2019 Awards are as follows:

Project of the Year: Westconnex

Winner/s: NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW (Roads and Maritime Services) and their advisors Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Goldman Sachs, Newgate Australia, Turner & Townsend, and PwC. Sydney Transport Partners (Transurban, AustralianSuper, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and Tawreed Investments) and their advisors; Advisian, Aquasia, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and WSP.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra) and their advisors; Arup, Clayton Utz, EY, HASSEL Studio, RPS Group, Sparke Helmore, Turner & Townsend, and WSP. Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL) and their advisors; AECOM, Architectus, CAF, Herbert Smith Freehills, R-Co, and SMEC.
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Arcadis, Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.
  • Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline – GHD, Jacobs, John Holland, MPC Kinetic, TRILITY, and WaterNSW

Advisory Excellence Award: Sydney Metro Martin Place integrated development

Winner/s: Advisors to Transport for NSW; Ashurst, CBRE, KPMG. Advisors to Macquarie Group; Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Capital, MinterEllison, PwC, and Arup.

Finalists:

  • Infrastructure Victoria’s Advice on Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure – Infrastructure Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Northwest OTS – Turner and Townsend
  • WestConnex Transaction – Advisors to the NSW Government; Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Newgate Australia, PwC, and Turner & Townsend. Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Advisian, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, and WSP

Financial Excellence Award: Westconnex transaction

Winner/s: Financial Advisors to the NSW Government; Goldman Sachs, and NSW Treasury. Financial Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Aquasia, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.

Finalists:

  • Agribo, Centre for Agribioscience Refinancing – Plenary Group
  • for Darling Harbour Live Refinancing – Capella Capital
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Macquarie Capital

Government Partnership Excellence Award: The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project

Winner/s: The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra), and Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL)
  • Metro Tunnel Project: Rail Projects Victoria and PwC Indigenous Consulting Partnership – PwC’s Indigenous Consulting and Rail Projects Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Martin Place Integrated Station Development – Macquarie Group, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW

Contractor Excellence Award: Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline

Winner/s: John Holland and MPC Kinetic

Finalists:

  • Bruce Highway Boundary Road Interchange – BMD Constructions
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – CPB Contractors and Lendlease
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Fulton Hogan

Operator and Service Provider Excellence Award: TasWater for the Regional Towns Water Supply Program – Stages 2 and 3

Winner/s: KBR, TasWater, and TRILITY

Finalists:

  • Queensland Schools Project – Plenary Schools Consortium (Plenary Group, DeltaFM and Watpac) and Queensland Department of Education
  • Incident Management Response – Transurban and Ventia

Innovation Excellence Award: uninterruptible power supply for Melbourne’s railway signalling network

Winner/s: AECOM, AEG, Metro Trains Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria, and Thycon

Finalists:

  • Dynamic Speed Management Trial – Transurban and VicRoads
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Acciona, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Keppel-Seghers, Macquarie Capital, Phoenix Energy Australia, and Veolia
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Cowri and Fulton Hogan

In addition, John Holland’s Simon Lehman won the Future Infrastructure Leader of the Year Award. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said that Mr Lehmans’ profile stood out to the judging panel amongst all the other entries because of his extraordinary commitment to the infrastructure sector.

The judges found that Mr Lehman has proven to be a major asset and path-breaking engineer for the John Holland rail team. His on-the-job mentoring of younger team members and his exceptional work at the forefront of infrastructure delivery was exemplary.

Moreover, Major Road Project Victoria’s Alexis Davidson won the Award for Women’s Achievement in Infrastructure.

Ms Davidson has had a long and successful career in infrastructure over the last two decades. The judging panel said they were particularly impressed by her strong leadership and mentorship of other female engineers in the sector.

The judges praised Ms Davidson for consistently delivering outstanding business cases for Major Road Project Victoria and developing an impressive reputation for her innovative thinking and professionalism as a female engineer at the forefront of infrastructure delivery.

CLPlive PHOTO

Finalists announced for the China Law & Practice Awards

Herbert Smith Freehills, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom are among the firms nominated for International Law Firm of the Year at the China Law & Practice Awards.

Vying for the showcase category for indigenous Chinese players are firms that include King & Wood Mallesons, Fangda Partners, JunHe, and Han Kun Law Offices.

China Law & Practice is set to host the awards in association with sister publications The Asian Lawyer, The American Lawyer and Legal Week on Sept. 13 at The St. Regis hotel in Beijing.

The awards recognize top matters inside and outside China, and best-performing law firms and standout partners. The September ceremony will also honour initiatives in pro bono work, technology innovation and an in-house team of the year.

Shortlisted deals feature some of the largest and most high-profile transactions in China. Video streaming site iQiyi’s $2.25 billion Nasdaq listing and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn’s A-share listing are among deals competing for equity securities deal of the year. Alibaba’s acquisitions of Sun Art Retail and meal delivery app Ele.me are both nominated for the M&A category.

Fangda, JunHe, Han Kun and Tian Yuan are competing for Capital Markets Firm of the Year as well as M&A Firm of the Year in the domestic categories, while Davis Polk & Wardwell and Skadden are vying in both categories for global firms.

Last year’s big winners included JunHe and Clifford Chance, which took home China and International Firm of the Year, respectively; King & Wood Mallesons was named Most Innovative Firm.

CC PHOTO

Clifford Chance to hire ‘tech trainees’

Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has set-up an alternative training contract for would-be solicitors with a specialised focus on technology. The firm claims the IGNITE contract will offer applicants with an ’aptitude for tech’ a route to qualify as solicitors. It is designed for people that have an interest in areas including fintech, coding and artificial intelligence, and an interest in how law tech and digitisation are changing the legal working environment. It will run separately to the firm’s usual trainee programme, which takes place twice a year.

Trainees will be given time away from fee-earning to gain the necessary training, support and expertise the firm said. They will be paid £46,600 in their first year, £52,500 in their second and up to £91,000 as a newly-qualified solicitor, including bonus.

Michael Bates, regional managing partner, said: ‘Law tech is changing the face of our industry and we want to be at the forefront of that change. We’re committed to driving a culture that embraces digital thinking across each of our practice areas and we hope that these trainees will go to make significant change in their practice areas upon qualifying.’

The firm said it hopes to hire five individuals to join the firm in 2021.

Meanwhile international firm Withersworldwide said today it had acquired tech law firm JAG Shaw Baker to create Withers tech, a dedicated team advising on tech.

JAG Shaw Baker was established in 2013 to advise UK and US entrepreneurs, companies and investors across high-growth technology sectors including life sciences and digital technology. Withersworldwide said the new legal offering would fully meet the needs of entrepreneurs, investors and technology companies.

World PHOTO

International law firm networks flex their cross-border muscle

What do international firms and law firm networks have in common? Most would agree the main similarity is their cross-border appeal. The success of both relies in great part on international networks of firms which become a hook for clients searching for multi-jurisdictional capability.

For many networks, the average number of partner firms involved in a deal is still two, but a look at the key deals and projects involving major input across the piece prove that this is not a failure of the system.

“We anticipate that more jurisdictions will be involved in future deals,” Meritas president and CEO Tanna Moore says. “One of our member firms is working on a deal involving 20 of our member firms. Increasingly, businesses must not only be able to perform locally, but also on a global scale. For this to be feasible, they will require legal advice from other jurisdictions.”

“GCs are starting to see through the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ approach from global law firms.” ~ Michael Siebold

Interlaw chair Michael Siebold says that any change in this number will be entirely client-led, depending on the requirements of each deal or project.

“In some instances there could be a dozen jurisdictions involved in a piece of work, or it could be specific to just one location,” he says. “In our experience it averages out at around two to three jurisdictions, but that’s almost immaterial. What matters is that elite independent networks can flex to the needs of the client with the reassuring depth of expertise wherever they need legal advice.”

Referral systems, and referral tracking, has become the norm for both international firms and independent law firm networks seeking to improve the relationship between lawyers from different jurisdictions.

“Tracking referrals is just one piece of the ­puzzle – we want a clear understanding of how clients’ needs are evolving and how we can deliver a seamless service across continents,” Siebold says. “A robust process for tracking referrals has always been in place, but we are now monitoring and analysing more data to build a detailed picture of how work flows around the network. We have invested in an online digital directory with the capacity to hold more than 10 million individual data records, along with a bespoke client management and feedback system .”

“Every firm’s performance and feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score.” ~ Tanna Moore

Moore adds: “We measure our success with Meritas’ referral reporting program, which has been a core part of our network since its inception. We track all referrals, get peer review feedback from referring firms and clients, and every firm’s performance and feedback is reflected in a Satisfaction Index score. Each firm’s score is available on our website.”

Origination

Deal origination is also changing for networks, with more referrals coming directly from in-house rather than a partner firm.

Lex Mundi, the only network to claim that most of its work involves more than five partner firms, says 50 per cent of its referrals come from clients and 50 per cent from partner firms.

“Tracking repeat business within the network is done by staying in touch with the clients and the firms they work with.” ~ Carl Anduri

“Our member firms provide aggregated referral information,” Lex Mundi president Carl Anduri says. “Tracking repeat business within the network is done by staying in touch with the clients and the firms they work with. More times than not the clients will continue to work with our firms and have new instructions.”

For others, clients are slowly gaining ground.

“Historically, deals originated from the clients of our network firms but this is changing,” Siebold explains. “General counsel are looking for quality-assured local expertise in every jurisdiction in which they operate and are starting to see through the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ approach from global law firms who take little more than a logo to some parts of the world. Whereas, the elite networks offer consistent quality throughout the world.”

That is not the rule for all.

“Most new deal work originates from member firms,” Harry Trueheart of TerraLex says. ­“TerraLex teams work together to identify opportunities and make collaborative responses to requests for proposals (RFPs). This will probably remain the case for some time considering the close relationships our members have with their clients, but TerraLex has an ever-growing community of corporate counsel we work with directly.”

Moore echoes this sentiment.

“Most deals at Meritas originate from our member firms and we don’t expect this to change,” she says. “Our firms are looking for a safe place to refer business, and we ensure this with our network’s culture, professionalism and tight quality controls.”

To see these referrals in action The Lawyer has tracked some of the biggest deals from the most prominent networks from point of origination to closing date.

Asia Investment

Interlaw firms represented Asia-based investors Hera Capital Partners Holdings II Pte Ltd and DSG Consumer Partners II in a two-week deal process to expand its business into South East Asia through franchise and/or licensing agreements with business partners in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

The deal, which was originated by Singapore firm Colin Ng & Partners and managed by partner Bill Jamieson, involved three network firms; Indonesia’s Mochtar Karuwin Komar, Japanese firm Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba, and Philippines firm Quasha Ancheta Pena Nolasco.

The turnaround was quick, with firms completing the deal in two weeks with individual agreements with the final client. This was not the first time that Hera Capital Partners and DSG Consumer Partners used an Interlaw firm – they had a previous relationship helping them with their fund formation and investments.

A Cross-Border Sale

TerraLex firm Eugene F Collins acted for long-time client Ross Meadow Holdings on its acquisition of the entire issued capital of RIC Publications Pty Ltd, an Australian-based education publishing business. Their instruction on this matter was thanks to the firms’ involvement in the TerraLex network.

The firm called on Lander & Rogers in Australia, Duncan Cotterill in New Zealand and Fairbridges Wertheim Becker in South Africa to help lead on the transaction.

Eugene F Collins partner Eileen Grace, Lander & Rogers partner Deanna Constable, Duncan Cotterill partner Mark Cathro and Fairbridges Werthaim Becker partner Peter Watts led on the deal from their own jurisdictions.

The deal, which took six months to negotiate and was agreed in early February 2016, involved sales agreements in Australia and Ireland. The acquisition was also debt-financed by both senior and mezzanine debt.

Complexity arose in co-ordinating the legal firms and their time zones; the purchaser entity being controlled by an existing shareholder in the target; and the deliberately ‘light’ legal representation for the remaining shareholders who were selling to the purchaser, requiring Lander & Rogers (as purchaser’s lawyers) to design the seller’s data room and then extract the disclosure from the sellers to a level satisfactory to permit due diligence.

Ireland’s McEvoy Partners and Clifford Chance acted for the other party.

Tech Divestment

Lex Mundi firms acted for tech company NCR Corporation on the sale of its interactive printer solutions division (IPS), with worldwide operations, assets and employees.

Long-time adviser Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice tapped into its Lex Mundi network to offer legal advice on several continents. The Lex Mundi line-up also included Bass Berry & Sims in the US, Basham Ringe y Correa in Mexico, Ciaro & Cia in Chile, Gide in France, Afridi & Angell in the UAE, and Simpson Grierson in New Zealand.

The matter required complex advice due to the transaction structure and multi-jurisdictional nature of the operations. Each jurisdiction required documents including specific provisions. The team addressed the transfer of the assets and real estate, employment and various merger laws.

The first phase was successfully closed in 2016 and included all IPS operations worldwide other than in the Middle East and Africa.

“I think going more and more online, reaching out to internet and social media offerings is probably the way to go in terms of development.” ~ Julia Charlton

Freshfields PHOTO

Q1 rankings see resurgence of UK firms, as Freshfields rises up tables

UK law firms have returned to dominance in the Q1 M&A tables after playing second fiddle to the US elite last year, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer rising up the rankings following a busy quarter for the firm.

Figures from Mergermarket show Freshfields topped the European deal value ranking for the first quarter of the year, after acting on 37 deals worth a total of $121bn (£86bn).

While last year the Q1 European M&A rankings were dominated by US firms, this year the top five spots were taken by four magic circle firms and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF).

Freshfields’ strong showing also saw the firm rise to second in the global M&A rankings, up from ninth last year, after acting on 45 global deals worth a total of $141bn (£100bn).

Skadden topped the global and US deal value tables for Q1, after advising on 47 global deals worth a total of $194bn (£137bn) and 39 US deals worth $170bn (£121bn).

Slaughter and May came top for UK M&A by value, having acted on 12 deals worth a total of $37bn (£26bn), with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) second and Clifford Chance (CC) third.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper took the top spot for European deal volumes, acting on 50 deals worth a total of $52bn (£37bn). Kirkland & Ellis took first place for global deal count, acting on 112 deals worth $67bn (£47.5bn) during the quarter, with CMS top for UK volumes with roles on 21 deals.

Total global deal value increased by 18% on Q1 last year to $891bn (£632bn), although global deal volume dropped 19% to 3,774, the lowest quarterly figure since Q3 2013.

Deal count in Europe also fell by 22% year on year to 1,409, the least active quarter since Q1 2013. Despite the fall in deal numbers, total deal value across the continent rose to $256bn (£182bn), a 22% increase on last year’s Q1 total of $211bn (£148bn).

The same trend was seen in the UK, with a fall in the total number of deals coming against an increase in deal value. UK deal numbers for Q1 fell 31% year on year from 386 to 266, alongside a 41% increase in total deal value across the same period to $59bn (£42bn), up from $42bn (£20bn).

HSF M&A partner Caroline Rae said: “Several of the issues we faced in Q1 2017, including Brexit, remain unresolved, but many UK corporates now have the confidence to plough on and execute their M&A strategies despite the ongoing uncertainty.

“One of the key trends in 2018 will be technology as an important factor for M&A strategy. Technology is having an impact across sectors and we are seeing a lot of clients who are looking at how they are going to keep up with their competitors. They are looking to M&A as a way to acquire technology.”

Allen & Overy (A&O) global co-head of corporate Richard Browne added: “The market is strong across a broad base, and we are not seeing any sign of it slowing up. Quite a lot of significant deals have been announced in the quarter, including a lot of good-sized private M&A deals. There are a lot of political macro events out there that can affect the market, but the fundamental dealmaking environment is still strong.”

The rankings are notable for the resurgence of UK firms in the top 10 European advisers by value, with six making the top 10.

Freshfields, Linklaters, CC, A&O and HSF ranked first to fifth respectively, with DLA Piper in eighth. For 2017, the Q1 rankings saw just three UK firms make the top 10 European and UK advisers by value.

The largest UK deal of the quarter was GlaxoSmithKline’s $13bn (£9bn) purchase of a 36.5% stake in its consumer health joint venture with pharma giant Novartis. Freshfields advised Novartis while Slaughters represented GSK.

Slaughters also won a role on the second largest UK deal, representing FTSE 100 engineering business GKN on its bitterly contested takeover by Melrose. Its initial £7bn bid was rejected, but Melrose won support of more than half of GKN’s investors and its subsequent $12.1bn (£8.6bn) bid was accepted last week (29 March).

Meanwhile, the biggest European deal this quarter was E.ON’s €46.6bn (£33bn) deal to acquire a controlling stake in renewable energy business Innogy from German rival RWE. That deal handed key roles to Freshfields for RWE, Linklaters for E.ON and Hengler Mueller for Innogy.

Going forward, partners believe activity levels will continue to hold up, despite Brexit looming on the horizon.

Skadden M&A partner Scott Simpson says: “Everyone saw a slowdown of M&A activity during the time of the Brexit vote and thereafter, but M&A activity has returned. It doesn’t mean the uncertainty is behind us, but people are getting on with their plans and probably concluding Brexit is not going to disturb their long-term investment plan for Europe.”

GPG PHOTO

Linklaters bows to pressure and restates gender pay gap figures

Linklaters has revealed the gender pay gap within its partnership, amid growing calls for law firms to be more transparent about pay disparities among their senior ranks.

The firm, which last month became the first of the magic circle to file its gender pay gap report, revealing a pay gap of 23% for non-partner employees, has now announced that when including partners, the overall gender pay gap for all employees and lawyers rises to 60.3%.

However, when looking at partners in isolation, the pay gap is just 2.2% in favour of men.

The move comes after fellow magic circle firm Clifford Chance (CC) became the first magic circle firm to include partners in its pay gap reporting earlier this week, while Allen & Overy (A&O) is among a number of other firms now considering restating their figures to include partners.

In a statement, Linklaters said: “We appreciate the need to be as transparent as possible. Ensuring gender equality and achieving gender balance is a global strategic priority. It is embedded in our strategy and reinforced by our gender targets, which this year we exceeded, in appointing 37% new female partners. We will work hard to keep up the momentum on achieving this, and our other diversity goals.”

Linklaters’ decision to issue revised pay gap figures comes after CC revealed that the mean gender pay gap for the whole of its London workforce, including all partners and employees, is 66.3% in favour of men. The firm said that it hoped that other firms would ”demonstrate their commitment to addressing gender issues by adopting an equally transparent approach”.

Of the other magic circle firms, both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have told Advisory Excellence they will not release partner data.

Pinsent Masons also recently restated its figures to include partners, and said that it would be “engaging with the Law Society and other City law firms to seek their support in making representations to government to make changes” to what law firms are required to disclose.

Linklaters’ initial pay gap report was published in early February, and, like many of the other law firms to report early, did not include partner data. The report revealed that male staff received on average 58% more in bonuses than women, although marginally more women (78%) than men (76%) received a bonus in the year to April 2017.

There is no statutory requirement for law firms to include partners in their gender pay gap reporting, but a growing number have now made the decision to, including Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Reed Smith, Irwin Mitchell and Norton Rose Fulbright.

A&O and CMS have confirmed to Advisory Excellence that they are also considering issuing revised figured.

The big four accounting firms led the way by restating their figures to include partner earnings following criticism from high-profile figures such as Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who said that by not including partners, firms were “taking advantage of a loophole” and “abiding by the letter of the law, but not the spirit”.