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The ‘professional and precise’ project finance group at Ashfords LLP is especially well regarded for handling waste and renewable energy projects, IT infrastructure, and transportation projects, as well as renegotiating PFI contracts for public and private sector clients. In one particularly high-value matter, Brian Farrell advised a joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty and Urbaser on the Gloucestershire County Council Waste PPP. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Ruth Murray heads the Exeter projects team and is acting for a local authority on the procurement and contractual documentation for an IT infrastructure project. Murray is also advising on a support contract for the development and operation of a highly publicised energy project in the UK. Clare Brewer, a project finance specialist with experience of both banking documentation and commercial contracts, acted for public and private sector clients in relation to the funding aspects of transport and waste energy projects. Nicholas McGrenra has experience acting for funders, sponsors and procurement authorities.

Burges Salmon LLP’s project finance team is a ‘market leader in the South West’, and is considered by some to be ‘in the upper echelon of legal advisers in this sector nationally’. The firm is renowned for its transportation-sector expertise and also handles a range of renewable energy, defence and nuclear projects. Mark Paterson advised the Ministry of Defence on the acquisition strategy, development and negotiation of the build, and test and commissioning contracts for the Successor class and Astute class submarines, which form the replacement for the Trident programme. Similarly, Keith Beattie advised Ascent Flight Training Management regarding a contract for a military-backed training system and delivery of new aircraft through a PFI/PPP finance model, in which the client acted as project integrator. A ‘pragmatic problem solver’, Nathan Curtis advises lenders in relation to biomass projects, offshore wind farms and energy storage transactions. Practice head Ian Salter is well known for his nuclear law expertise. Brioney Thomas is providing ongoing advice to Transport for Wales and the Welsh Government on multiple aspects of the Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro.

Michelmores LLP is known in the South West and nationally for its non-contentious and contentious expertise in the healthcare and education infrastructure arenas. The team has also been increasingly involved in energy project financing and works closely with the firm’s emerging markets practice. Highly regarded practice head Carol McCormack splits her time between the Exeter and London offices and is especially well known for social infrastructure mandates. She is acting for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust on the contractual procurement strategy in connection with the client’s £190m redevelopment programme. On the education side, McCormack is acting for Aberystwyth University in relation to a large strategic PPP. In another highlight, Ben Hogan advised a London educational company in connection with a PFI project to amend one of the group’s sites, which was required to enable the local authority to construct a new facility. Also recommended are senior associate Michail Papadakis, who is experienced in public procurement and state aid law, and associate Hannah Slater.

Osborne Clarke’s sizeable projects team provides ‘a consistently excellent service’ across a wide range of infrastructure projects. The group’s ‘expertise in this specialist area’ covers national and international energy and social infrastructure projects, telecoms projects, PFI and PPP refinancing, and advice concerning infrastructure funds. Chris Wade, who heads the practice, is acting for a leading UK healthcare provider in relation to a successful bid to run parts of a council’s social infrastructure. The ‘exceptional’ Simon Hancock and Catherine Wolfenden are assisting Estover Energy with every aspect of its involvement in a £1bn programme to deliver a next-generation communication system to UK emergency services. Additionally, Wolfenden represented Siemens in relation to a public procurement challenge against Abellio concerning a £900m rolling stock contract for the new East Anglia franchise. Omar Al-Nuaimi specialises in structured acquisitions and project finance and advised Nord LB as lender to the Stoke & Staffordshire Fire PFI. Carl Thompson and Philip Davies are also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP fields specialised partners that provide a ‘level of service that rivals that of larger firms’. The Bristol team, which regularly handles operational and finance issues related to projects, in addition to construction issues related to PFI and PPP schemes, advises on a steady pipeline of contractual issues and refinancings in the energy and healthcare sectors. The ‘commercial and professionalGiles Taylor splits his time between the firm’s Bristol and London offices and advised Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council and John Laing Infrastructure Fund in relation to the refinancing of the Kirklees Housing PFI scheme, which involved replacing the original senior lender with two new senior lenders. Taylor is also providing ongoing assistance to a large city council on its portfolio of operational PFI projects. Bristol-based senior associate Alison Martin handles the contractual and operational issues of PPP and PFI projects, and Ben Thornycroft and senior associate Benjamin Thomas focus on the construction aspects of PPP and PFI schemes.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s projects team has deep expertise in procurement and state aid law, where it acts for clients in the education and health sectors as well as for local authorities. The team acted for Bath Spa University on the procurement issues in connection with the development of a large student accommodation. Ben Holt assisted Hills Waste Solutions with a multimillion-pound procurement challenge against Wiltshire Council, brought by FCC Recycling alleging breaches of the Public Contract Regulations 2006. The Bristol office was joined by Mark Heath from Southampton City Council. David Hansom joined Clyde & Co LLP

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