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Pinsent Masons advises NTR group on €370 million refinancing

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised NTR on the €370 million refinancing of its 220MW onshore wind portfolio.

NTR plc is a leading renewable energy company based in Dublin and has transacted more than €3 billion of sustainable infrastructure investments in wind, solar, bioenergy, water treatment, energy storage and recycling over the past 15 years.

The transaction concerned the group’s NTR Wind 1 LP fund’s portfolio of twelve operational onshore windfarms across the United Kingdom and Ireland and saw the replacement of the individual project financing arrangements with new facilities totalling around €370 million, made available by five lenders.

The Pinsent Masons team acting on the transaction was led by Partner Gillian Frew and Senior Associate Michael Duffy, alongside a multi-discipline, multi-jurisdiction team.

Commenting on the deal Gillian Frew said “Reaching financial close on this transaction demonstrates robustness and resilience in the renewable energy sector during the pandemic and shows that well-structured deals can still be financed on flexible terms. We were delighted to support our long standing clients, NTR, through the process.”

Dentons hires leading Irish lawyer Shane O’Donnell in Dublin

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, is pleased to announce the hire of Shane O’Donnell as partner at its new Dublin office.

Shane joins from William Fry, where he served as Head of Corporate for the last five years, running some of the most complex and big-ticket mandates in the market. Shane also served as Head of William Fry’s Food, Beverage and Agribusiness department and brings extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, fundraisings and take-private transactions on behalf of Irish and international clients.

Eavan Saunders, Managing Partner, Dentons Ireland said: “I’m delighted that Shane is coming on board. Attracting such a high calibre partner demonstrates the ambitions we have for the Dublin office. Shane is an acknowledged leader in his field and will be a tremendous addition to the Dentons offering in Ireland. With genuine leaders as part of our team, Dentons can offer the scale, quality and in-depth sector specialisation that no other firm in Dublin can match. This is the latest edition to our elite team that will offer the highest quality advice in the market.”

The hire follows the announcement of Dentons’ expansion plans into the Irish market with the appointments of Eavan Saunders and Peter O’Brien as founders.

Dentons’ Dublin office will initially focus on transactional work for clients particularly in the financial services, real estate, energy, infrastructure and technology sectors, areas where Dentons has market-leading expertise around the world.

Dentons provides clients with access to more than 10,000 lawyers in 181 locations across 73 countries around the globe. In 2019 the firm won 270 awards – more than any other law firm.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe. Dentons is a leader on the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client Service 30 Award winner and recognized by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Enterprise, Dentons’ wholly owned subsidiary of innovation, advisory and technology operating units. Dentons’ polycentric approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client interests in the communities in which we live and work.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.dentons.com/

Retail body appoints legal advisory team

Leading Dublin firm Sherwin O’Riordan has announced a new partnership with Retail Excellence Ireland. Sherwin O’Riordan will provide a legal advisory service to Retail Excellence Ireland’s 2000 members.

The service will take the form of a full employment, commercial and property consultation service to members and offer advice on legal queries by phone or email.

Business law

Established in 2002, Sherwin O’Riordan is a firm of highly-experienced solicitors specialising in advising growing SMEs in Ireland on commercial and business law, employment, commercial litigation, dispute resolution and commercial property.

Co-founding partner David O’Riordan said “We are delighted to have joined forces with Retail Excellence Ireland.

“This is what we specialise in and the service we’re providing will help the members of REI deal with their legal queries quickly and efficiently.”

Retail Excellence is a not for profit company which supports Irish retailers to be the best they can be.

Retail Excellence involves 2,000 leading retail companies who operate in the Irish market. Our members are the most progressive and innovative in the market. We make every effort to deliver activity which is wholeheartedly based on member needs. Retail Excellence is by far the largest retail industry body in Ireland.

Established in 1995, Retail Excellence is owned by the Members, for the Members and is the largest retail industry trade body in Ireland. Our aim is to enhance the consumer’s retail experience by developing top class retail standards and skills and promote a vibrant and competitive world class retail industry in Ireland.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.retailexcellence.ie/

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Facebook to add 1,000 jobs in Ireland in 2019

Facebook is to hire an additional 1,000 people in Ireland over the course of 2019. The extra roles will be created across 60 teams, including the social media giants’ engineering, safety, legal, policy, marketing and sales teams.

The roles will based on its Ballsbridge campus which was previously home to AIB.

The expansion will bring the total number of people employed across its centres in Cork, Dublin and Meath to 5,000.

The announcement was made in Dublin today by the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, while she attended Facebook’s Gather event in Croke Park.

More than 500 small and medium businesses from Ireland and across the EMEA region attended the event.

Speaking on one of Facebook’s priorities in 2019 to earn users’ trust, Ms Sandberg said: “Facebook is a very different company to what it was in 2016 or even a year ago”.

She detailed the steps the company has taken, and will be taking, in key priority areas including “the safety and security of Facebook’s users; the commitment to cracking down on fake accounts and false news; strengthening defences against election interference; and being even more transparent in how it operates and makes decisions, to make itself more publicly accountable”.

Meanwhile, Head of Facebook Ireland, Gareth Lambe, admitted today that the company is concerned about the current housing crisis gripping the country.

However, he says it is not something which has stunted Facebook’s growth, and insists he has faith in how the government is tackling the problem.

“We’re concerned, of course; to date, it hasn’t been a blocker for us hiring, we have over 4,000 people here in Ireland and announcing another 1,000 today is a big investment,” he said.

POP OUT We support all the government’s initiatives, we think they’re doing all the right things around planning, reform and cost benchmarking and all the infrastructure reform that we’re doing.

“We think that will release this glut in a few years, we see it being not as bad in a few years,” he said.

It was also announced today that Facebook would triple its investment in online safety programmes run by the National Anti-Bullying Centre (ABC) and SpunOut.ie, bringing the total investment to €1m.

The funding will go towards research and an online training program for teachers and parents of secondary school students.

An online safety resource for teenagers will also be created in partnership with SpunOut.ie.

Rugby PHOTO

Why do rugby players make such good business people?

Former New Zealand All Black Sean Fitzpatrick and ex-England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward explain why rugby and business go so well together.

George Gregan, Australia’s talismanic former scrum half, is one of the country’s most successful rugby union players. His international career spanned 13 years and saw him win 139 caps. Only two people have represented their countries more in the history of rugby – New Zealand’s Richie McCaw and Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll.

Yet just five years into his international career and at the peak of his powers – the same year, in fact, that Australia won the Rugby World Cup – Gregan started his own business: GG’s Espresso shop, based in Sydney’s bustling business district.

To a football fan this might sound like an odd move, a bit like David Beckham drawing up a business plan for a greasy spoon café. But there lies, in a nutshell, one of the major differences between a game in which you throw the ball and one in which you kick it.

Rugby union went professional in 1995, and although the amount of money pumped into the sport has steadily increased, players’ wages are still small compared to that of football.

All-Black Dan Carter will become rugby’s highest-paid player after the World Cup, yet even on his new wages it would take him more than 20 years to amass the annual salary of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo also enjoys bonuses and endorsements that take his earnings beyond £50 million a year – exactly 100 times more than the fourth highest-paid rugby player, Sam Burgess.

Rugby’s historical frugality is a major reason for its close and practical ties to business, says Sean Fitzpatrick, who recently spoke at Grant Thornton’s Inspiring Business event, part of a series dedicated to stimulating ideas among business audiences.