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Pinsent Masons advises UCL on £300m sustainability bond

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised University College London (UCL) on its debut issue of £300m 1.625% sustainability bonds due 2061 – the first publicly listed sustainability bonds in the higher education sector.

The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s and were priced at a spread of 0.50% over the relevant reference gilt.

UCL will allocate an amount equivalent to the net proceeds of the bonds to the acquisition, financing, or refinancing of new or existing eligible sustainable projects in accordance with its sustainability finance framework.

The team at Pinsent Masons was led by debt capital markets and sustainability bond finance expert Alexis Hayworth, with governance advice from partner and higher education expert Gayle Ditchburn and assistance from higher education finance solicitor Katy McBride.

Commenting on this, Alexis Hayworth said: “We are delighted to have advised on UCL’s debut sustainability bond, which showcases the strength and depth of Pinsent Masons’ higher education finance practice. It is great that we are seeing higher education providers positively embrace sustainability products and we anticipate this trend continuing within the sector given the focus on the environment across campuses and the momentum of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) as an asset class in the market this year.”

Commenting on the issue, Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, said: “We are delighted by the success of this issue, and by the strong support shown by investors in UCL’s history and future. I am particularly proud that this is the sector’s first Sustainability Bond. It demonstrates our deep commitment to sustainability as an organisation and to addressing the global impact of climate change through our world-leading research.”

Pinsent Masons advises KATEK SE on IPO in Germany

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons advised KATEK SE and Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG on KATEK SE’s initial public offering (IPO) on the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Led by corporate partner at Pinsent Masons Dr. Alexander Thomas, the firm prepared the IPO prospectus and assisted in the prospectus approval process. Hauck & Aufhäuser acted as Sole Global Coordinator and together with M.M.Warburg & CO as Joint Bookrunners for the IPO.

Commenting on the listing, Dr. Alexander Thomas, said: “We are delighted to have joined the Joint Bookrunners in the successful IPO of KATEK SE. KATEK is a very dynamic and high-growth company that addresses global trends such as the rise of electric vehicles and the need for e-mobility charging stations, the increasing demand for solar energy and innovative healthcare solutions. By going public, KATEK is taking the next step in its growth story.”

KATEK SE is the parent company of the KATEK Group, a leading European electronics company offering hardware and software development, prototyping and manufacturing, and related services. The range of services covers the entire life cycle of electronic assembly projects and devices.

All 3,948,042 shares were placed at a price of EUR 23.00 per share. The offering comprised 3,433,080 newly issued shares from a cash capital increase and 514,962 shares from the holdings of existing shareholders as part of an over-allotment in line with market conditions.

KATEK SE plans to use the circa EUR80 million proceeds of the IPO to advance its growth strategy.

The team at Pinsent Masons included capital markets partner Dr. Susanne Lenz, capital markets senior associate Dušan Stojković and associate Sara Šepac.

Pinsent Masons named as a Top 50 Employer for Women by The Times

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has been recognised for its commitment to achieving gender equality, being named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women report for the fifth consecutive year.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women annual listing identifies companies which embed gender equality into their business strategy. Businesses are assessed on a range of areas, including their approach to recruitment, family friendly policies and how they have championed gender equality in the context of the pandemic.

Pinsent Masons has enhanced its commitment to inclusion and belonging in recent years to further support its people and promote equality across its business. Earlier this year, the firm brought forward the launch its Global Carers Policy to support families and individuals with caring responsibilities affording additional annual leave and launched several new network groups including its Fertility Support Group and Fan Club, its menopause awareness group.

Senior partner at Pinsent Masons, Richard Foley, said: “Equality in all forms is critical if business is to work better for people. While it’s clear that significant progress has been made across the profession over the last decade, I am fully aware that more can and should be done to build on the positive changes we have made at Pinsent Masons such as support for working families and the continued rollout of agile working.

“There are no quick fixes to achieving equality and recognising the challenges and how far there is still to go ensures that we continue to listen to our people and collaborate with other businesses to improve and adapt in a way that promotes equality in its broadest sense.”

Gender Equality Director at Business in the Community, Charlotte Woodworth, said: “COVID-19 has shone a light on how far we have to go on gender equality: by having to pick up things like the bulk of extra caring responsibilities, women have been disproportionately affected by lockdown.

“We congratulate the many employers who have maintained their efforts towards gender equality at this time, often introducing innovative policies to support their workforce during this period. This year’s application process for The Times Top 50 Employers for Women was the most competitive one we have seen in five years. Employers like Pinsent Masons haven’t forgotten women at work and they are committed to making gender inequality a thing of the past.”

Pinsent Masons provides legal advice in breakthrough data trust report

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has provided the legal advice in a set of new reports recommending the latest innovation in the burgeoning technology of data trusts.

The reports, ‘Food Data Trusts: a framework for sharing information’, produced by the Internet of Food Things team at the University of Lincoln and Food Data Trust – Legal, Structuring and Governance, written by Pinsent Masons, both commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) propose a breakthrough technology to resolve longstanding issues of consumer confidence in food labelling, origins and authenticity and the legal framework to support this.

The proposal is for a data trust framework under which businesses at all points in the food supply chain, from growers and manufacturers to retailers, can safely share selective in-house data. This could significantly improve supply chain processes while boosting consumer confidence about where foods come from, how sustainably they’re sourced and their authenticity.

The legal report, written by a team of data experts from Pinsent Masons including Andrew McMillan, Sarah Cameron, Michele Voznick, Lauro Fava, Chris Martin, Angelique Bret and Brendan Ryan, sets out the necessary collaboration agreements underpinning a data trust framework.

Professor Simon Pearson, Professor of Agri-Food Technology at the University of Lincoln, said: “It’s easy to understand why businesses are reluctant to share such commercially sensitive information. No one wants to reveal their advantages to their competitors. But, in the data age, this reluctance is holding up much-needed advances. Sharing data in a secure and limited way can help to expose and tackle problems from incorrect labelling and widespread food fraud to tracing contaminated food, as well as speeding up product recalls.

“The data trust framework provides a structure under which data, including real-time and time-critical, ever-changing data, can be supplied to and held securely by independent and trusted repositories, with strong governance ensuring that data providers can trust that their data will only be used as specified while recipients of data and analysis can trust the accuracy and authenticity of what’s provided.”

Julie Pierce, Director of Wales, Information and Science at the Food Standards Agency said: “The food industry needs to be able to trust that if it exchanges vital knowledge to improve what it does, its sensitive knowledge will be secure. Governments and consumers need to be able to trust what the industry and individual companies are doing and telling them. The data trust framework aims to tackle both requirements.”

Importantly, the framework is not a data trust itself: it is a mechanism to manage data trusts, which might be decentralised, diverse data collections. It is designed to control the way that data may be exchanged across data trusts that are linked temporarily, to ensure that information can be shared securely for example between regulators and other government departments that need to exchange secure and trustworthy data.

It also provides great potential to connect with AI services in order to provide access to dynamic and fresh data in return for immediate AI-derived information that could benefit the interconnected participants in the supply chain.

Andrew McMillan, Head of Technology & Digital Markets at Pinsent Masons said: “The secure and selective sharing of data is critical in further creating and advancing opportunities for societal, economic and environmental good. Even though the value of data is uncontroversial, many organisations could do more to maximise the value they derive from data they hold. They will only do so, however, within a trusted framework for data-sharing and this is where we have focused our efforts – to assist in designing and implementing a robust and efficient framework that will allow industry to realise the true value of its data.”

The report follows Pinsent Masons’ work on the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) and Government Office for AI’s (OAI) ground-breaking data-trust pilots, looking at how data trusts can be used to tackle major global challenges.

Pinsent Masons hires corporate partner Chris Green in Johannesburg

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has boosted its corporate capabilities by recruiting Johannesburg-based partner Chris Green.

Chris advises domestic and multinational clients in various sectors, including infrastructure and energy, on matters in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions.

Head of Pinsent Masons Johannesburg, Apicksha Patel, said “Chris brings invaluable transactional experience across Sub-Saharan Africa and his skillset is well aligned to our sector focus. Chris’ appointment compliments our commitment to growing our transactional practice in South Africa, providing invaluable support to investors, funders and developers alike across the continent.”

Chris has advised a number of high-profile clients during his career including AB InBev, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, CDC Group Plc, BASF Group, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and Brambles Limited. Recently, Chris has advised BASF Group in relation to various corporate and competition aspects of the separation and sale of its Construction Chemicals business to Lone Star Funds. Chris has also recently advised Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in relation to its acquisition of a majority interest in Kenyan Coca-Cola bottler, Almasi Beverages Limited.

Commenting on this move Chris said, “I’m extremely pleased to join the team at Pinsent Masons and look forward to working alongside a global team advising on high profile matters including significant global energy and infrastructure projects.”

Chris joins from African firm Bowmans, where he had been a partner since 2014.

Pinsent Masons advises Teva Pharmaceuticals on €84mn sale

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Teva Pharmaceuticals’ subsidiary, Actavis Group PTC, on the successful €84m sale of a suite of consumer healthcare products to Karo Pharma AB (Karo).

The transaction transfers ownership of the brand portfolio, comprised of Flux®, Decubal®, Lactocare®, Apobase®, Dailycare® and Fludent® from Teva to Karo. The transaction is is expected to close on April 1.

The Pinsent Masons team was jointly led by partners Allistair Booth and Thilo Schneider and included senior associate Ciaran Wilkinson.

Commenting on the transaction Thilo Schneider said: “I am so pleased that we have been able to support Teva and to have brought this transaction to a successful conclusion. The sale is significant for both parties and we are proud to have achieved a successful outcome for Teva. We worked closely with them to understand what they wanted to achieve and helped to determine the best options available to them.”