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Pinsent Masons advises Flogas Ireland on latest acquisition

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Flogas Ireland, a subsidiary of DCC plc, on its entry into Northern Ireland with the acquisition of Budget Energy.

It marks the largest investment that Flogas has made in Ireland into the growth of its energy business and will enable its expansion into the residential and commercial electricity market in Northern Ireland where it has been operating for over 30 years in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and more recently, the commercial natural gas market.

Budget Energy is one of Northern Ireland’s leading electricity suppliers. In recent years it has contracted with a strong portfolio of local renewable energy generation across solar, wind and anaerobic digestion sources. This renewable generation will be a key contributor to Flogas’s sustainability strategy. Budget Energy, which trades as BE Energy in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) has over 90,000 customers.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Kerr said, “A deep rooted understanding of Ireland’s highly competitive energy retail sector and increasing regulatory demands enabled us to successfully bring this transaction into fruition. This is an extremely significant acquisition for Flogas and is closely aligned with its long term strategy to become one of Ireland’s leading all-island energy suppliers.”

Pinsent Masons advised Flogas on all aspects of the acquisition and was led by Andrew Kerr and Lisa Early with support from Danielle McKeefry, Dorian Rees, Laura McCrea and Craig Patterson.

The deal marks another important milestone in Pinsent Masons’ long standing relationship with DCC plc. Last year, the firm advised DCC Vital in its sale of Kent Pharmaceuticals.

Pinsent Masons advises WElink on 133 MW Puerto Real 1 sale

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised WElink Group, a leading international provider of renewable energy and low-carbon construction solutions, on its sale of the 133 MW Puerto Real 1 project in Spain.

Asset manager Capital Dynamics acquired a 100% equity stake in the project through its subsidiary Clean Energy Infrastructure business located in Cadiz, southern Spain.

The project site is located in Cadiz province in the Spanish southern region of Andalusia, and the solar farm is scheduled to start commercial operations in the first quarter of 2021. Once operational, the Puerto Real 1 project is estimated to reduce greenhouse emissions by over 175,000 metric tons– the equivalent of emissions produced by 38,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year or the electricity to power almost 30,000 homes for a year. Over the lifetime of the project, the site will employ up to 300 workers, many from the local area.

Pablo Dorronsoro, Head of Energy at Pinsent Masons Madrid office who led the sale, explained, “It’s been a pleasure for us to have supported WElink on this strategic transaction in the Spanish market. This transaction represents the relevance of Spanish renewables for the international investors and the growing interest within such an active market.”

Andrew Dodge, Director of Investments and Transactions Europe at WElink, commented that, “Puerto Real is a significant transaction for WELink as it represents a key milestone in the Spanish market as a subsidy free project. The performance of Pinsent Masons Madrid team has been exemplary especially in light of the significant restrictions imposed by the global pandemic. Their commitment, hard work and resourcefulness was instrumental in ensuring this transaction completed just prior to the lockdown.”

The Pinsent Masons Madrid team advised WElink in all related matters of the project, including: (i) preparing and updating due diligence report, (ii) regulatory advice necessary for the development of the project and the project agreements, (iii) interconnection agreement and incorporation of EIG; (iv) expropriation procedures, (v) real estate matters. The firm also advised WElink in its previous acquisition of the project from Ansasol, and its development until RTBS.

Partner Pablo Dorronsoro led the transaction working closely with Partner Idoya Arteagabeitia; Senior Associates Marta Salazar and Gabriela Camuñas; Associates Javier Alagón, Olimpia Ortega and Mar Cabrera and Lawyer Pedro Gila.

Information and data privacy law heavyweight joins Pinsent Masons

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired partner Jonathan Kirsop as a key addition to its leading data privacy and information law offering.

Jonathan advises a wide range of clients on data privacy with particular focus on the financial services sector. His range of expertise spans contractual and regulatory advice, data subject access requests, international data transfers as well as providing broader technology, data and commercial expertise.

He joins the firm from Stephenson Harwood where he established and led the information law practice within their commercial, outsourcing and technology team.

Jonathan will assist in the further development of Pinsent Masons’ information and data privacy law capabilities in London, particularly to the firm’s financial services clients, as well as working with partners within the rest of the UK, across Europe and Asia Pacific offices.

Simon Colvin, Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice at Pinsent Masons said “Data and privacy is at the heart of the business for most of our clients. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Jonathan brings valuable expertise to support clients, particularly in the heavily regulated financial services sector, as their needs for support and advice on all things information and data privacy law grow and become more complex.”

Laura Cameron, Head of Risk Advisory Services at Pinsent Masons said “The demand for data and privacy advice has increased exponentially and it has become a boardroom issue for businesses. Jonathan is a key addition to the firm at this time, as the continued development of technology and indeed the strategic use of, and protection of, data is a business critical issue for all organisations.”

Multiple wins for Pinsent Masons at China Business Law Awards

International law firm Pinsent Masons has won in three categories and two Belt and Road Deal of the Year awards at China Business Law Journal’s annual awards.

The categories the firm won for were:

  • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Industrials & Manufacturing

Helena Chen, Joint Head of China said, “We are extremely proud to have received this recognition – which demonstrates the strength of our legal expertise in the Chinese market. We’ve been offering a complete range of legal advisory services to clients for more than 37 years, supporting businesses in both international and domestic operations. These awards reflect this, as well as our market leading position.”

Wei Liu, Head of China Corporate team said, “We have many long-term clients in these sectors, showing the trust they have in us and the services we provide. We are very delighted to be recognized in such a wide breadth of specialities.”

China Business Law Journal’s annual China Business Law Awards are judged on a number of criteria, including nominations received from in-house counsel and other qualified observers.

Pinsent Masons has also received two “Deal of the Year – Belt and Road” awards by China Business Law Journal for its work on the Greece MINOS 50 megawatts concentrated solar power project, and a Nigerian railway and port project.

Mark Hu, partner of Beijing office and the lead partner of the two winning projects, said, “We are thrilled to win the Belt and Road Deal of the Year awards again this year. We have been supporting Chinese clients on their outbound investments in Belt and Road countries since the inception of the initiative. We provide a chain of services throughout the life cycle of projects, including the investment, contracts, project development and financing, disputes resolution, compliance, and our experience spans across infrastructure and energy sectors.”

Pinsent Masons has been operating in China since 1983, and has three offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Recent highlights in China include advising China Education Group on its AUD $128 million acquisition of King’s Own Institute, which was China Education’s first overseas acquisition, and one of the few overseas acquisitions by Chinese investors in the education sector. The team has also advised BP Ventures on its investment in R&B Tech, which was BP’s first investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technology in China.

Pinsent Masons announces 2020 partner promotions

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has announced 17 new partners in its 2020 promotion round as it promotes outside of traditional legal services for the first time.

Hayley Boxall has been made partner in Forensic Accounting Services while director of Client Solutions David Halliwell has also been promoted to partner as the firm strengthens its capabilities as a professional services business with law at its core.

The remaining 15 new partners are from the firm’s five core global sectors; Energy, Financial Services, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Advanced Manufacturing & Technology.

The promotions, which take effect on 1 May, bring the total number of partners to 474 with female representation across the partnership reaching approximately 28%. This year, almost half of those promoted are women signalling the firm’s continued progress towards a position where promotions demographics reflect the pool from which candidates are drawn.

Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, says: “We are incredibly proud of the talent, skill and dedication of all of our people. As we all take stock and adjust to the challenges we face prompted by COVID-19, it’s heartening to have some positive news that helps us look to the future. Those promoted strengthen our position as a leading sector-focused, multinational legal services provider and mark an important step in our transition to become a professional services business with law at its core.

“The firm’s commitment to provide its clients with innovative, solutions-based legal services is the touchstone of our business. Now, more than ever, developing talent that supports this is critical as our clients grapple with the challenges posed by coronavirus.”

Pinsent Masons was one of the first law firms to establish an in-house forensic accounting team, offering clients a multi-disciplinary approach to disputes, consultancy services and investigations.

As the partner leading Client Solutions, David Halliwell works with a wide range of professionals across the firm to help clients transform the way they deliver legal services to their businesses, both through the firm’s existing portfolio of process, resourcing and technology solutions and through collaboration to create new ones.

The full list of those promoted to partner is as follows:

  • Dawn Allen (Financial Services, UK)
  • Simone Alphonse (Energy, Infrastructure, Australia)
  • Catherine Bendeich (Energy, Infrastructure, Australia)
  • Hayley Boxall (Forensic and Accounting Services, UK)
  • Matthew Brewer (Financial Services, UK)
  • Andrew Brydon (AMT, Infrastructure, UK)
  • Oliver Crowley (Financial Services, UK)
  • David Halliwell (Client Solutions, UK)
  • Karah Howard (Energy, Infrastructure, Hong Kong)
  • Gemma Kaplan (Financial Services, UK)
  • David Lancaster (Advanced Manufacturing & Technology, UK)
  • Nick McDonald (Energy, Real Estate, UK)
  • Ann-Marie Salmacis (Real Estate, UK)
  • Michael Smith (Real Estate, UK)
  • David Stoppelmann (Energy, Germany)
  • Alasdair Weir (Energy, infrastructure, UK)
  • Kathryn Wynn (Financial Services, UK)

If you would like to find out more information about Pinsent Masons, please visit: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/

Pinsent Masons Named Stonewall’s Scotland Diversity Champion

Pinsent Masons has been crowned Scottish Diversity Champion for a second year by equality campaign charity Stonewall.

The first law firm to be included in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index back in 2008, Pinsent Masons has consistently ranked in the Top 100 British employers. This year marks the fifth consecutive year the firm has been placed in the British top five and the second successive year as Top Employer Private Sector in the Stonewall Scotland Workplace Awards.

With more than 500 staff based at offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Pinsent Masons has been consistent in supporting LGBT issues in the workplace and out with the business.

Construction sector specialist and senior associate, Craig Macphee, collected the award on behalf of colleagues at a celebration dinner at the Virgin Money Banking Hall in Glasgow.

Craig Macphee said: “The willingness of the firm to embrace diversity and inclusion has benefits across the firm. It encourages a more inclusive atmosphere and even for those staff not directly affected by diversity issues, they will feel a parallel benefit if other colleagues are able to come to work and be genuine or authentic.”

“More often now, we are being asked by clients, and even third parties who supply services to Pinsent Masons, to share information on the approach we are taking on diversity issues, and we are happy to be able to positively contribute to the wider equality agenda.”

One initiative which has made a significant contribution to promoting diversity within Pinsent Masons has been the formation of an LGBT Allies network. Staff can privately discuss with an Ally, who are visible and known throughout the firm, matters they may feel they are unable or unwilling to raise with managers.

Craig added: “The Allies network has gained a lot of traction with staff and they are available for anyone, working at any level, who would benefit from have a confidential sounding board or is looking to seek advice on a range of issues. There is also a strong partnership across the firm with other forums such as our Disability and Wellbeing Network and Female Futures Network, because often those groups share common issues and experiences.”

Pinsent Masons’ Chair of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Katharine Hardie, said: “Diversity and inclusion is a central tenet of our business and we are delighted that Stonewall has again recognised the work being done across the firm, and particularly in Scotland, on these vitally important issues.

“Law graduates are increasingly selective when it comes to deciding which firms they will work for and resting on our laurels and past reputation will not cut it when it comes to attracting the best legal talent. Being highly regarded by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index provides potential future employees with a valuable benchmark and an assurance that diversity and inclusion is treated seriously at Pinsent Masons.”

Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Pinsent Masons are playing a huge role in improving the lives of LGBT people in Scotland, and should be very proud of their work.

“We still don’t live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than a third of LGBT staff (36 per cent) hide who they are at work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, these organisations are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”

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