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Who Represents Who

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Bell Gully has ‘top-quality people who consistently deliver exceptionally commercial legal advice’. The firm’s broad practice encompasses debt issuances, securitisation, public-private partnerships (PPPs), loans and acquisition finance. The team in Auckland, led by derivatives expert and key adviser to international banks David Craig, includes securitisation partner Murray King and ‘brilliant commercial lawyerDavid McPherson. All three advised HNA Group on financing its NZ$660m acquisition of UDC Finance. Also recommended are the ‘smart and experiencedRachel Paris, who ‘can turn her hand to a broad range of finance matters’, the ‘highly respected and pragmaticHugh Kettle, who advised the Treasury on its Social Housing Reform Programme, and special counsel Elizabeth Lim, who ‘consistently delivers strong and clear advice’. Paris acted for First State Investments on the financing of its NZ$335m acquisition of the Maui natural gas pipeline and the NZ$952m acquisition of Vector Gas transmission and distribution businesses.

Buddle Findlay has ‘one of the leading banking and finance teams in New Zealand’ and is known for ‘prompt, practical and tailored advice from a team with specialists in many sectors and industries’. In Auckland, team head Paul Farrugia is ‘a “go-to” lawyer for property and leveraged finance transactions’ and Peter Owles is ‘a recognised industry leader in project finance, who makes complicated legal issues easy to understand’. The ‘prompt, practical and technically excellentMiriam Andrews, aviation team head Frank Porter and, in Wellington, payments specialist Simon Jensen are recommended. Owles advised a syndicate of lenders on the financing of new wind farm operator Tilt Renewables, which was formed as part of the demerger of Trustpower. Farrugia’s highlights included assisting Bank of New Zealand with acquisition financing for the proposed management buyout of assets from Tenon Limited, which included complex derivatives documentation.

Chapman Tripp is ‘exemplary – the advice always has the ideal balance between commercial and legal acumen’. The firm is a leader in international capital markets transactions (including covered bond issues for banks and trustees), securitisations and the financing of key domestic infrastructure projects. Its growing roster of bank clients includes Bank of China and Westpac Banking Corporation. The ‘astute, creative, intellectualRoss Pennington and ‘trusted adviserEmma Sutcliffe lead the eight-partner team. Cathryn Barber is also recommended. Pennington acted for the Export-Import Bank of Korea as lead manager on a NZ$350m Kauri bond issue and a subsequent NZ$50m tap, and advised The Korea Development Bank on its NZ$200m debut floating rate Kauri bond offering. The ‘reliable and trustworthyMark Reesealways delivers high quality and focuses on the right issues’. He advised Chorus New Zealand on a NZ$400m bond issuance.

Mayne Wetherell in Auckland is ‘a very competent firm’ that has a longstanding reputation for high-quality work in the banking and finance space. Practice head Will Tipping as well as Dave Wetherell, Daniel Meikle and Mei Nah are highly respected practitioners and cover the full spectrum of capital markets, structured finance, securitisation, leveraged finance and syndicated lending. Nah regularly acts for Auckland Council in treasury matters, which last year included the NZ$180m issuance of fixed-rate bonds under its domestic MTN programme, and AUD225m under its Australian MTN programme. She also acted for Fonterra Co-operative Group on notes issuances with a total value of NZ$520m. Highlights for Tipping and Meikle included acting for Westpac New Zealand on the financing of Maui Capital’s NZ$81m acquisition of Hellaby’s equipment business. Transpower New Zealand, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New Zealand are also clients of the firm.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has ‘a strong team that provides clear and well-considered advice’ and is described by one client as ‘one of the leading firms for complex lending and structured finance’. The ‘concise and pragmatic’ Michael Langdon in Auckland leads a seven-partner banking and financial services team. Tom Fail and Steve Gallaugher ‘have excellent project finance experience and a good understanding of banking issues’. Together they advised ANZ Bank, Bank of New Zealand, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia as mandated lead arrangers on the financing of Colonial First State Funds’ successful bids for the NZ$1.28bn acquisition of all shares in Vector Gas and the Maui gas pipeline assets. Also recommended are leading light Kate Lane, who advised a syndicate of US and European banks on the €1.5bn debt financing of Allnex Belgium’s take-private acquisition of Nuplex Industries, and Wellington-based Chris O’Brien.

Russell McVeagh has ‘a strong team that provides an excellent service and clear advice’. The team is led from Auckland by John Powell (who ‘has a good, practical approach to identifying the issues’) and is well known for debt capital markets, acquisition finance, financial markets regulation and project finance work. Deemple Budhia and ‘excellent junior partner’ Tom Hunt (who is ‘a very smart lawyer – calm and clear’) lead on financial markets matters. Powell’s highlights included acting for Westpac on acquisition finance for the NZ$270m purchase of Stride Property assets by Investore. Budhia acted for ANZ Bank New Zealand in the NZ$660m sale of UDC Finance, which included the winding up of a NZ$1.8bn debenture programme. Hunt advised WEL Networks on the financing of its acquisition of the government’s shareholding in Ultrafast Fibre Limited. John-Paul Rice (who ‘is passionate and ensures his team delivers a top-quality service’) and Wellington-based Guy Lethbridge are also recommended. Rice advised Trustpower on its demerger, which included a NZ$385m bond offer.

DLA Piper New Zealand is ‘outstanding – knowledgeable, helpful, commercial and excellent value for money’. Clients praise its ‘timely and pragmatic advice’ on asset finance, business and corporate banking, project finance, domestic capital markets issues and securitisations for banks, finance companies, local authorities and corporates. Its clients include Foodstuffs North Island and Bank of New Zealand. A key highlight saw it act for Bank of China (New Zealand) Ltd in a NZ$15m loan to Kauri Ardmore. Brendan Meech, Terence Ng and new recruit Katie Carson, who joined from Kensington Swan, lead the team in Auckland. Carson receives praise for her ‘superior knowledge and ability to service clients effectively’. Ng leads a strong Asia practice that frequently acts for Chinese banks and corporates on inbound investment transactions, as well as outbound investments into Asia. Meech’s highlights included acting for Westpac on the NZ$53m funding of a health group on the South Island, and a NZ$20m loan to a charitable trust.

Simpson Grierson is ‘consistently excellent, very commercial and efficient’. Auckland-based banking and finance litigator Michael Robinson leads the group, which also includes Andrew Harkness and Stuart Evans, who ‘have deep experience in banking and finance law and are great at building relationships and adding value’, and newly promoted Wellington-based partner Josh Cairns, who is ‘responsive, articulate and a pleasure to work with’. Senior associate Dominic Toomey stands out for his ‘great attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile’. Harkness advised Nomura Singapore on a NZ$15m mezzanine facility for a residential development. He also assisted Accident Compensation Corporation, which invests the levies collected to fund the country’s no-fault accidental injury scheme, on the finance elements of its investment in state-owned financial institution Kiwibank. Evans acted for ASB Bank on a NZ$53m loan to Augusta Capital to purchase the NZME building in Auckland.

Anderson Lloydprovides excellent service from a strong and very responsive team’. Clients remark that the ‘service, industry knowledge and depth of the practice are excellent and it provides good value for money with plenty of partner time’. ‘Pragmatic dealmaker’ and team head Geoff Busch in Auckland is the firm’s standout practitioner in the finance space and clients describe him as ‘an excellent operator who has worked exceptionally hard to establish a finance practice on a par with the largest players in the market’. The firm has a dominant position in the project finance space and Busch advised the consortium Northern Express Group on the NZ$709m financing of the Puhoi to Warkworth Road PPP, which is the second road PPP to be procured by the New Zealand Transport Agency. He also acted for the ShapEd Consortium on the NZ$220m financing of the Schools 3 PPP, which included an innovative accordion structure to accommodate financing for the introduction of new schools into the project in the future.

Anthony Harper is ‘quick to respond, has good business acumen and is highly commercial’. Christchurch-based team head Nigel Oliverhas clear and insightful knowledge and pre-empts issues before they arise’. Clients also recommend Auckland-based partner Grant Goldsmith, who is ‘hardworking and commercial by nature’, and associate Pip Breitmeyer in Christchurch, who ‘does a lot of heavy lifting and makescomplex legal issues easy to understand’. The team advised the statutory supervisor of Summerset Holdings on restructuring NZ$600m in syndicated facilities. Another highlight saw Goldsmith act for ASB Bank in the NZ$220m financing of the purchase of the Millennium Centre, which is one of the largest office building acquisitions in the country’s history. Oliver’s key transactions included the NZ$67m refinancing of client Hilton Haulage Limited following the company’s restructuring after a significant investment by Ngai Tahu.

At Kensington Swan, Nicole Xanthopol, who is co-head of the Auckland office, has more than 25 years’ experience advising banks, corporates, trustees and local authorities on banking and finance matters. She specialises in complex transactions including leveraged acquisitions, projects, restructurings and debt capital markets issuances. Key partner Katie Carson joined DLA Piper New Zealand, but Xanthopol has support from Wellington-based partners Gerald Fitzgerald and David Shillson, whose practices cover finance, restructuring, insolvency and corporate work. She recently acted for ANZ Bank on the NZ$22m financing of a retirement village development for Northbridge Lifecare Trust, and advised a leading bank on the leveraged financing of the acquisition of a laboratory supply business by a scientific technology solutions provider.

Michael Anderson leads the team at Lowndes – Corporate & Commercial Law Specialists in Auckland and he advised Public Trust as trustee on a NZ$25m convertible note issuance and as security trustee on a NZ$60m financing. The firm has recommended practitioners in Jacqueline Lethbridge, who specialises in contentious banking and finance matters, and principal Jennifer Tunna, who regularly advises banks and borrowers on banking, finance and insolvency matters. Paul Hartland, who is also a chartered accountant, also handles banking and finance transactions for large corporates. Anderson’s highlights included acting for Public Trust as trustee for a NZ$25m convertible notes issue.

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