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Who Represents Who

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Jointly led by Conrad Andersen and Tim Conduit, Allen & Overy LLP’s water team is part of the global infrastructure group and is involved in high-value and high-profile projects in the UK market. Andersen recently advised, alongside Richard Evans, two infrastructure management clients on their acquisition of interest in a major water and wastewater entity. Other highlights included advising on the European aspects of a UK contractor’s takeover by an independent investment firm, and Nigel Pritchard acting for Biwater in the complex and politically-sensitive construction arrangements with the Kurdistan regional government for the Erbil and Sulaimani water project in Northern Iraq. On the regulatory side, Mark Friend assisted Severn Trent with its joint venture agreement with United Utilities, which will combine both companies’ non-household retail operations. Jonathan Melton is also a key contact and represented a leading bank as the arranger on the maintenance of a Euro medium-term note programme for a household name UK water company.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘a first class service’ and conducts ‘very high quality work’, according to one client. The group was appointed by Tideway, Anglian Water and Severn Trent to contribute to a report looking at how best to implement Ofwat’s proposals on the most efficient use of direct procurement in projects exceeding £100m. Head of infrastructure Patrick Mitchell continues to assists Tideway with the high-profile Thames Tideway Tunnel project, which involves complex financing arrangements and regulatory issues, while Julia Pyke leads the advice on the negotiations of the key economic contracts for the sponsor of the Tidal Lagoon project in Swansea Bay. In the transactional space, David Wyles and Steven Dalton acted for funds managed by Hastings on their acquisition of 50% of South East Water from CDPQ, while Andrew Roberts, Kristen Roberts, Stephen Wilkinson and Robert Moore are advising Severn Trent on its takeover bid for Dee Valley. Clients also recommend associate Stacey Pang and competition partner Tim Briggs.

Linklaters LLP has ‘deep and broad relationships across the sector’, handling M&A, finance, regulation and competition matters. Practice head Julian Davies recently worked with Mark Nuttall to advise six water companies on the opening of the non-household retail market as part of Ofwat’s move towards a competitive market at retail level. Managing associate Elisabeth Johnson is part of the team assisting Thames Water with all aspects of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, and also recently acted for Anglian Water, Southern Water and Yorkshire Water on issuances of debt to US investors. Michael Cutting heads the water regulatory unit and counsel Reza Taylor also plays a key role in the department.

Baker McKenzie’s key contacts in this area include major projects and construction law specialist Mike Webster and Tim Sheddick, who focuses his practice on private and public M&A and corporate financing transactions. Recently made partner Kate Corby represented a water treatment and processing company in ICC arbitration proceedings against a joint venture partner with regards to which party should bear the excess costs incurred by the delays in the venture, while associate Tom Pound is part of the team assisting an international investor with the auction sale of shares in a UK water entity. A leading global infrastructure fund instructed the team to oversee the sale of its interest in a major UK infrastructure project. Energy, mining and infrastructure unit head Hugh Stewart is also a key contact.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP services water companies, such as Thames Water, as well as investors in corporate, financing, regulatory, construction and environmental matters. It has recently been active in competition and regulatory work, including handling the sale of a non-household retail businesses to a new market entrant and advising on the liberalisation of the market. Projects, energy and infrastructure practice head Mark Richards advised, with James Marshall and corporate partner Nick Myatt, Ancala on the merger and regulatory issues arising from its public takeover offer for Dee Valley. Other highlights include assisting Bazalgette, the new vehicle created by Tideway to finance and deliver the Tideway Thames Tunnel project, with the development of this mega-project. Oliver Glynn-Jones is a key contact for contentious matters.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s practice is jointly led by Gillian Sproul, who has deep experience in defending regulated water companies in investigations into alleged regulatory breaches, and by regulatory expert Lisa Navarro, who regularly handles competition and merger control matters. Having successfully settled Ofwat’s competition investigation into Bristol Water, the team continues to advise the utility company with regards to compliance through quarterly monitoring reports. Senior associate Simon Harms supported the partners in their work for two leading water companies in connection with the potential regulatory and competition issues surrounding their proposed joint venture agreement. The practice also assisted clients with the opening of the non-household retail market by providing training sessions to ensure compliance with Ofwat’s competition regulations. Associate Addiped Cheng recently joined the practice from Mayer Brown International LLP and specialises in competition law.

The water team at Hogan Lovells International LLP sits within the broader projects department and handles work across the globe in established as well as more challenging jurisdictions. Andrew Gallagher and practice head Andrew Briggs advised a leading international investment bank on its proposed financing of a major UK infrastructure project. In the Middle East, the team worked alongside the Dubai office to guide a consortium of banks as lead arrangers on the Sohar independent potable water project in Oman, and Steven Bryan is acting for an infrastructure asset manager in its proposed acquisition of 50% interest in a South American water and sanitation company from a Japanese public-private partnership. Counsel Charles Ford also assisted Briggs in advising a leading bank on its acquisition of a minority stake in a UK water company.

The cross-disciplinary water department at Pinsent Masons LLP acts for clients such as Severn Trent, Veolia and Water Plus, covering desalination, waste water, resource management, dispute resolution and water infrastructure projects. While the team is spread across the UK, the London branch consists of, among others, construction and regulatory expert Sarah Thomas, who specialises in infrastructure projects including waste water treatment, water management and industrial outsourcing schemes; department head Adrian Eakin, who is currently advising an infrastructure fund on the development of a desalination facility in Southern Europe; and consultant Mark Lane, who formerly headed the department and has extensive experience. The team is currently handling several complex disputes, including a Coroner’s Inquest defence for new client Yorkshire Water in connection with a fatal road accident that occurred after a flooding incident in Sheffield. Anne-Marie Friel is also a key contact and recently led the advice to a joint venture in relation to its successful bid to build a portion of a major water infrastructure project.

Addleshaw Goddard’s recent merger with HBJ Gateley has significantly bolstered the water practice through the additions of Andrew Walker in Edinburgh and David Anderson in Aberdeen. Leeds-based David Shaw is advising United Utilities on the procurement of the Cumbria Super Pipe scheme and the Blackburn waste-water treatment work scheme, and Richard Goodfellow, who also sits in the Leeds office, acted for a water company in its application to Ofwat for a water supply and sewerage license to participate in the new retail market. On the contentious side, regulatory expert Rona Bar-Isaac, who leads the department with Shaw, is assisting a utilities regulator with new potential strategic cases related to environmental breaches by a number of companies, and handled, on behalf of a leading utilities supplier, a contract renegotiation following allegations of abuse of dominant position. Other key names in the department include M&A and private equity expert Guy Winter and Paul Dight in the Leeds office.

Gowling WLG’s new practice head Andrew Newbery, who joined after having run his own consultancy, acts for clients such as Ofwat, Severn Trent and the municipality of Dubai. Stephen Kenny, who leads the UK projects practice, assisted MUJV with the sub-contracts for utilities works and services with Aspire Defence for the extension of the Connaught PFI with the ministry of defence, and head of the EU, trade and competition department Bernardine Adkins is representing a manufacturer and distributor of water storage tanks in a civil investigation into cartel behaviour. For environmental law, the team can rely on regulatory expert Lee McBride and Andrew Litchfield, who specialises in defending claims brought by the Environment Agency and civil bodies; they are both based in the Birmingham office.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s water team, primarily based in Scotland, provides ‘a bespoke service, industry-specific knowledge and expertise, and consistently strong and accurate advice’ under the leadership of Gordon Downie, who ‘has a wealth of experience and is greatly respected in the field’. Liz McRobb and competition law expert John Grady also attract praise from clients. The team was recently appointed to the advisory panel of Water Plus, a joint venture between Severn Trent and United Utilities, and has also been advising Wessex Water and Water2Business on the opening of the non-household retail market. The Glasgow-based George Boyle acted for Albion Water on the sale of 51% of its shares to Wessex Water and in related joint venture agreements. Other highlights included assisting 2020 Renewables with obtaining consent and planning permission from the Scottish Ministers for the development of the Glenmucklock pumped hydro storage project. Edinburgh-based senior associate Fiona Parker is noted as strong ‘in the interpretation of knotty new regulations’ and works in the Edinburgh office.

Global co-chair of project finance and infrastructure James Simpson and of counsel Katharine Sonneborn are the senior individuals in Winston & Strawn London LLP’s London water team, acting for public companies such as the Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority. Working closely with the Dubai office, the team has represented a water and waste water management company in several high-profile infrastructure projects with a range of government-owned and private developers, including a port development. Simpson led the advice on the refinancing of two sewage treatment plants in the Middle East, and acted for a public body in connection with regulatory issues, contractual disputes, funding agreements and broadcasting rights for a documentary film about a major government capital investment programme.

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