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Ashurst

LEVEL 11, 5 MARTIN PLACE, SYDNEY NSW 2000, AUSTRALIA
Tel:
Work +61 2 9258 6000
Web:
http://www.ashurst.com
Abu Dhabi, Adelaide, Beijing, Brisbane, Brussels, Canberra and 20 more

Australia

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘commercial’ practice is well known for its strength in depth and cross-border capabilities. It handles the full range of leveraged and acquisition finance and corporate, asset and property finance, and has been active on several of the most high-profile transactions of 2016-’17. David Mason led a team that acted, along with Herbert Smith Freehills, for a consortium comprising IFM Investors and AustralianSuper on its A$16bn privatisation of New South Wales’ Ausgrid assets. Also on the privatisation front, Martin Coleman assisted an 11-bank syndicate with the financing elements of New South Wales’ 35-year concession of its land titling and registry operations to a consortium led by Hastings Funds Management. Department head Shawn Wytenburg advised China Construction Bank on a very large facility to refinance the bridge facility for State Power Investment’s A$3bn acquisition of Pacific Hydro. Steve Smith, John Field and Brenton Key are also recommended. Senior associate Amela McPherson joined from Minter Ellison in February 2017; three months later, Kenneth Tang made partner and Nichola Shaw was promoted to counsel.

Leading individuals

John Field - Ashurst

Shawn Wytenburg - Ashurst

Steve Smith - Ashurst

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Capital markets
Capital markets - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s excellent relationship with large global and domestic financial institutions means it frequently handles cutting-edge DCM work; it also has a deep bench of ECM practitioners. On the ECM side, the team mostly acts for underwriters, such as Goldman Sachs, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and UBS; it also acts for issuers, with Anton Harris and Bruce Macdonald assisting Range International with its A$50m IPO. Harris and Phil Breden advised Crown Resorts on numerous strategic ECM matters, including the potential IPO of a subsidiary REIT worth billions of dollars. Elspeth Arnold and Sarah Dulhunty are also recommended for ECM work. On the debt side, the ‘knowledgeable, commercial, responsive’ and ‘experiencedJamie Ng advised Deutsche Bank on the Australian law aspects of Valin Mining Investments (Singapore)’s issuance of $357m-worth of exchangeable bonds, and assisted Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ with its issuance of billions of Australian dollars’ worth of certificates of deposit. Ng and securitisation expert Jennifer Schlosser assisted various financiers, including J.P. Morgan, NAB and HSBC, on the securitisation financing of the A$1.9bn acquisition of GE Capital’s commercial finance assets in Australia and New Zealand by Sankaty Advisors and Deutsche Bank. ‘Extremely hardworking’ senior associate Andrew Kim ‘gets documents turned around quickly’; new partner Caroline Smart is ‘knowledgeable and commercial’. Global managing partner Paul Jenkins is also active in capital markets.

Leading individuals

Elspeth Arnold - Ashurst

Jamie Ng - Ashurst

Paul Jenkins - Ashurst

Sarah Dulhunty - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Andrew Kim - Ashurst

Caroline Smart - Ashurst

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Competition and trade
Competition and trade - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

Ashurst’s four-partner competition team handles transactions, investigations, prosecutions and provides regulatory advice to clients such as Coca-Cola Amatil, Mitsubishi and Samsung under the leadership of Bill Reid in Sydney. With the support of senior associate Melissa Fraser, Reid successfully defended Woolworths in unconscionable behaviour proceedings filed by the ACCC, and Ross Zaurrini led the advice to a global energy and commodities company on its bid for Woolworths’ retail petrol network in Australia. Another key name is Peter Armitage, who assisted Komatsu with securing merger clearance for its $3.7bn acquisition of Joy Global, and is currently advising a bidder on the competition issues arising from the proposed acquisition of the Darling Downs pipeline system. Other names to note are Alyssa Phillips in Brisbane and Justin Jones in Melbourne.

Leading individuals

Bill Reid - Ashurst

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘large, flexible’ team ‘provides prompt first-class service’ and covers a broad range of front-end and back-end work across the transport, social infrastructure, energy and resources, sports and telecoms sectors for both public and private sector clients. The team, whose key figures are Grant Rowlands and Lee McDonald, has been able to secure roles on major projects such as advising Transport for NSW on the A$11bn Sydney Metro City & Southwest Project – Australia’s largest public transport project, as well as the country's largest construction project. It also acted for the successful Evolution Rail consortium joint venture consisting of Downer EDI Rail and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles on the A$2bn High Capacity Metro Trains Project. The Pilbara Ports Authority received advice on the development of a new A$1.5bn port, which will be Western Australia’s first transhipment port for iron ore export. On the disputes side, the team is rated as ‘top-level with deep experience and skill in the application of all methods of dispute resolution, including international arbitration’. Georgia Quick ‘provides a very high level of service’ and is ‘highly attuned and responsive to client objectives’; Richard Guit and Michael Harrison are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Joseph Mulcahy - Ashurst

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s practice provides ‘outstanding service’, and frequently handles high-profile, high-value M&A; energy and mining are areas of particular activity. Murray Wheater acted for IFM Investors and AustralianSuper on their purchase of a 50% stake in a 99% lease of electricity distribution network Ausgrid. Anton Harris, Mark Stanbridge and Sarah Dulhunty assisted Downer EDI with its A$1.3bn takeover bid for Spotless Group Holdings. Harris and Phil Breden acted for Crown Resorts on the demerger of its global operations and the A$3.2bn sale of its interests in Melco Crown Entertainment to Melco Leisure. Simon Fraser is also recommended. The ‘calm, experienced and well-organised’ Elspeth Arnold has ‘excellent technical skills’, is ‘great at building relationships with clients’ and shows ‘excellent judgement’; she, Con Tzerefos, Nick Terry and Kylie Lane, who all provide ‘fantastic client service’ and are ‘a treat to work with’, are the key partners at the ‘market-leading’ Melbourne office. Roger Davies is the name to note in Perth. ‘Extremely hardworking’ senior associate Andrew Kim ‘gets documents turned around quickly’, while Samantha Robson is another senior associate to note. In 2017, Shane Kyriakou, Nigel Deed and John Brewster arrived from Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright and Clayton Utz respectively.

Next generation lawyers

Samantha Robson - Ashurst

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

With excellent strength in depth and international capabilities, the department at Ashurst’s ‘large, flexible’ and ‘very commercial’ practice provides ‘prompt, first-class service’, and is ‘very switched on to the practicalities of modern litigation and alternative dispute resolution’. Practice head Mark Elvy advised Crown in a challenge brought by Millers Point Fund regarding planning approval for a new hotel in Barangaroo. Financial services disputes expert Mark Bradley, who also often handles energy and infrastructure disputes, defended Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in three class actions (involving 170,000 claimants and A$223m-worth of claims) regarding allegedly unfair bank fees. James Marshall, Adrian Chai and Wen-Ts’ai Lim acted for the deed administrators of Griffin Energy Group in proceedings brought by Lanco Infratech regarding allegedly misleading conduct around the sale of Griffin Coal in 2010. Georgia Quick is recommended for construction and infrastructure disputes, and Peter Voss counts energy, natural resources and infrastructure disputes as specialisms. The ‘strategic, commercialAndrew Carter, who is ‘technically outstanding, very hardworking, hands-on and on top of the detail’, is highly regarded in the market; international arbitration expert Jeremy Chenoweth and class actions and indemnity specialist John Pavlakis are also recommended. At a more junior level, ‘committed, practical’ senior associate Susan Goodman is ‘totally reliable, and capable of running large and complex matters’.

Leading individuals

Andrew Carter - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Susan Goodman - Ashurst

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Energy (transactions and regulatory)
Energy (transactions and regulatory) - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst remains ‘best in class’, rendering ‘very high-quality, considered advice; its team works ‘tirelessly around the clock to provide thorough and comprehensive counsel’. Murray Wheater, who ‘completes enormous amounts of top-notch work in a very short space of time’, advised IFM Investors and AustralianSuper on their A$16.2bn acquisition of a 50.4% interest in a 99-year lease of Ausgrid, the largest distribution network in Australia’s national electricity market. In the renewables space, the team advised buyer Alinta Energy on a long-term power purchase agreement, which will underpin the construction of the 130MW Badgingarra Wind Farm. The practice is headed by utilities expert Paul Newman and ‘exceptional’ global co-head of oil and gas Peter Vaughan, who ‘consistently provides very pragmatic, thorough and targeted advice that covers all key commercial and legal aspects’. Michael Harrison, Tanya Denning and Richard Guit are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Michael Harrison - Ashurst

Paul Newman - Ashurst

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IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s offering is spearheaded by Tim Brookes and Lisa Ritson, who leads the firm’s global intellectual property, media and telecoms group from the Sydney office. In Brisbane, Amanda Ludlow is currently acting for a utilities provider in the outsourcing of several of its core ICT services, and assisting a public sector client with a major ICT contract with a computer manufacturing company covering professional services, maintenance, hardware and software. In other highlights, Brookes was supported by Rebecca Cope to advise the IFM consortium on the telecoms regulatory issues arising from its takeover of Ausgrid, the state-owned electricity network; he has also been representing NBN Co in negotiations with Telstra as part of its involvement in Project Taurus and in connection with several proposals to accelerate the client’s rollout of HFC technology. In Melbourne, the name to note is Emma Butler, and the Sydney-based Sophie Dawson and Anita Cade are also singled out.

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 4

Ashurst

Ashurst’s insurance offering is led by Rehana Box and mainly handles non-contentious work for policyholders as well as insurers such as regulatory compliance, establishing general insurance operations in Australia and outsourcing agreements. Senior associate Philip Hopley is currently assisting Box with advising AIA on its takeover of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance business in Australia and New Zealand.

Leading individuals

Rehana Box - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Philip Hopley - Ashurst

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurstis well resourced to handle large, complex litigation’ and the team is ‘pre-eminent in the intellectual property space with regards to legal skills, application and consideration of the desirable commercial outcomes’. In the Sydney office, Lisa Ritson heads the department with the support of the Melbourne-based Mary Padbury, who acts as the firm’s global vice-chairman and advises clients such as BP and Rolex. Kellech Smith also sits in Melbourne and is representing The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co in a trade mark opposition and infringement case revolving around the Dunlop trade mark in Australia, while Andrew Rankine – who was recently promoted to partner in the Sydney office – acts for Samsung Bioepis in preliminary discovery Federal Court proceedings against Pfizer and Wyeth regarding patents protecting Pfizer’s drug Enbrel. Moroccanoil also appointed Ritson and her team to handle a three week hearing in the Federal Court against Aldi following allegations of trade mark infringement, consumer law breaches and passing off offenses in connection with ‘copycat’ products. Clients also recommend Anita Cade, who is ‘well regarded for licensing issues’, and the ‘highly skilled and extremely approachable’ litigator Sophie Dawson. Ben Miller retired from the partnership to become a consultant.

Leading individuals

Lisa Ritson - Ashurst

Mary Padbury - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Elizabeth Ireland - Ashurst

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

The ‘reliable’ department at Ashurst is called upon for ‘difficult, complex matters’, and is ‘held in very high regard’. It frequently acts for well-known multinational corporates on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Paul Vane-Tempest and the ‘timely, reliable and business-focused’ Jon Lovell, who are both based in Canberra, assisted various Australian government agencies, including the Department of Finance and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs). Lovell and ‘knowledgeable, practical’ group head Stephen Woodbury advised Qantas Airways on an enterprise agreement covering almost 5,000 employees, and defended it in a case brought by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) regarding Qantas’ introduction of labour hire in customer delivery. Other clients include Alcoa of Australia, Anglo American and the University of Sydney. Trent Sebbens made partner in Sydney in April 2017. Steven Amendola is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Steven Amendola - Ashurst

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Media and entertainment
Media and entertainment - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s five-partner team is led from Sydney by Tim Brookes and Lisa Ritson and is able to ‘provide invaluable resources for high-stakes litigation’. The recommended Robert Todd is representing clients Nationwide News, one of its former editors as well as journalist Christian Kerr in Supreme Court defamation proceedings filed by Holocaust denier Frederick Toben. Anita Cade oversaw several transactions such as Trusted Media Brands’ sale of its Australian and New Zealand Reader’s Digest business to Direct Group and PMP’s acquisition of IPMG Group. Also noteworthy is Sophie Dawson who counsels major global technology companies on regulatory compliance, privacy and terms of use issues, and is defending a public sector entity in defamation proceedings. Other key clients include the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Nine Entertainment, Thomson Reuters and Condé Nast.

Leading individuals

Robert Todd - Ashurst

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Natural resources (transactions and regulatory)
Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s market-leading practice comprises 23 partners and regularly acts for global resource houses, large multinational corporations, and junior exploration and mining companies; key clients include Adani, Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore. BHP Billiton receives ongoing advice on its strategic operating assets, as well as transactional support relating to farm-in agreements and the sale and purchase of assets. The team advised Alcoa, a global bauxite and aluminium producer, on the Australian law aspects of its global $3.4bn demerger, which separated it into two independent, NYSE-traded companies. Esco International, a subsidiary of K+S, the world’s leading salt producer, received advice on its acquisition of Ashburton Salt. A large number of partners come in for praise, among them Roger Davies, Michael Harrison and Richard Guit. Global co-head of mining and practice head Lorenzo Pacitti has ‘exceptional knowledge of the resources space’, is ‘highly efficient’ and ‘engages well with senior internal stakeholders’.

Leading individuals

Lorenzo Pacitti - Ashurst

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Project development
Project development - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst displays ‘very good responsiveness, good business acumen and good value for money’. The broad practice covers a wide range of transport, infrastructure and energy projects. It advised Sydney Motorway Corporation and Roads & Maritime Services on the A$16bn WestConnex motorway project, and acted for Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) on the A$11bn Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, Australia’s largest public transport project. It remains the lead project adviser on BHP Billiton’s $100bn iron ore business, a role the firm has had for over ten years. A large number of partners come in for praise, among them Richard Guit, Angus Foley, Grant Rowlands, Lee McDonald and Mark Disney; Harvey Weaver is ‘responsive, experienced and knows the project development space well’, and counsel Melinda Harris ‘is very familiar with the student accommodation space’.

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Project finance
Project finance - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurstpicked up some very good work’ in 2016-’17. The widely capable practice has particular expertise with matters involving export credit agency and multilateral financing support; it also handles domestic and offshore capital markets solutions. It advised Sydney Motorway Corporation and Roads & Maritime Services on stage 1 of WestConnex’s project financing via A$1.8bn-worth of senior bank debt, as well as on stage 2 via A$1.5bn-worth of senior debt and A$2bn-worth of subordinated debt from the federal government. A consortium comprising IFM Investors and AustralianSuper received advice on financing its acquisition of a 50.4% interest in a 99-year lease of Ausgrid, the largest distribution network in Australia’s National Electricity Market. Jamie Ng, who is ‘responsive, experienced and knows the project finance space well’, heads the practice jointly with Simon Irvine; the team also includes David Mason.

Leading individuals

David Mason - Ashurst

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 3

Ashurst

Damian Salsbury heads Ashurst’s regional real estate offering from the Brisbane office jointly with John Stawyskyj in Sydney. BP, Mitsubishi and the University of Canberra recently joined the firm’s client roster. Among the team’s recent caseload feature high-value infrastructure share and asset transactions, Jason Cornwall-Jones’ current work for the city of Melbourne in connection with its investment to preserve, renew and expand the Queen Victoria Market precinct, and the Sydney-based Olivia Lau and Andrew Deane’s advice to the NSW government in connection to the Sydney metro project which aims to provide a new stand-alone rail network. Recent work has also involved significant matters in the retail sector, where Deane assisted a leading global brand with the opening of flagship stores across the country, and the healthcare sector, where Melbourne partner Richard Brooks advised the Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust on the development of the Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre after its appointment by the state government. Senior associates Carol Kahler and Gaby Stach are based in Brisbane and Melbourne, respectively, and play a key supportive role.

Leading individuals

John Stawyskyj - Ashurst

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Regulatory compliance and investigations
Regulatory compliance and investigations - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

The ‘technically strong, very responsive and highly committed’ practice at Ashurst provides ‘amazing service’, has ‘very detailed market knowledge’ and is ‘deeply experienced’. Its key pillar is financial services regulatory work; it also advises clients on regulatory investigations into wealth management, stockbroking, insider dealing and consumer finance practices. Litigator Andrew Carter heads the team jointly with Jonathan Gordon, who is ‘very good’ at advising well-known financial institutions on cutting-edge and cross-border regulatory matters: he advised RBS on the closure of its Australian branch, and its subsequent ability to service the Australian financial markets from abroad. Financial services regulatory experts Cory McHattan and Ian Bolster are also recommended; Philip Trinca is noted for his fintech experience.

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Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘strong, cost-effective’ team, which is especially active in Sydney but has commendable strength in Melbourne, is well known for its expertise in debtor-side restructuring and schemes of arrangement and for its excellent creditor-side track record, particularly for funds and alternative lenders. Though active across a wide range of sectors, the practice’s ‘excellent knowledge of the energy and finance industries’ is singled out for particular praise: James Marshall and Emanuel Poulos advised KPMG as liquidators of BBY, and Marshall assisted Boart Longyear with its $589m restructuring. Ross McClymont acted for a lending syndicate that included Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Barclays with the restructuring of Slater and Gordon via a creditors’ scheme of arrangement. The ‘incisive, well-connected’ Michael Sloan is ‘well-respected by financiers and insolvency practitioners alike’; Tony Ryan and Lionel Meehan are also recommended. In 2017, Joseph Scarcella and Timothy Sackar left to join Johnson Winter & Slattery and Clayton Utz respectively.

Leading individuals

James Marshall - Ashurst

Ross McClymont - Ashurst

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 3

Ashurst

At Ashurst, ‘the partners are directly approachable and very accessible’. Peter McCullough heads the national tax team, which services a blue-chip client base in international tax mandates, manages litigation and disputes, and is comprised of five partners including the ‘extremely knowledgeable and reliable’ Barbara Phair. In Melbourne, Geoffrey Mann and Ian Kellock advised Alcoa on its global demerger into two independent companies, and Tronox on its acquisition of Cristal’s TiO2 business. The University of Melbourne is a key client who appointed the team to handle all tax issues related to its plan to construct, operate and maintain new student accommodation. Contentious work also features in the group’s recent caseload; Phair and Vivian Chang represented clients in disputes arising from payroll tax and insolvency proceedings.

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Australia: Dispute resolution

Class actions
Dispute resolution: class actions - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Though especially strong in representing financial institutions, including major banks and accounting firms, Ashurst’s practice also acts for the Australian government in high-profile cases. John Pavlakis defended the Commonwealth in a A$100m class action concerning its liability for the equine influenza outbreak in 2007. Pavlakis and financial services regulatory litigator Ian Bolster defended KPMG in a class action brought by the shareholders of Allco Finance Group regarding alleged non-disclosure, while Deloitte instructed department head Mark Elvy in proceedings regarding its alleged negligence and deceptive conduct as auditor of Tamaya Resources, which went into liquidation. Mark Bradley and consultant Ashley Wharton successfully defended Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in three related class actions regarding its imposition of a range of particular fees. Tony Ryan is recommended for insolvency-related class actions. Fiona Hudgson left for the Bar in January 2017.

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Australia: Labour and employment

Workplace health and safety (WHS)
Labour and employment: workplace health and safety (WHS) - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

The team at Ashurst handles major safety incidents and assists high-profile clients with investigations, prosecutions and coronial inquests. The Brisbane-based James Hall represented all the major coal mining companies in Australia in a Queensland parliamentary inquiry into the incidence of coal worker pneumoconiosis. Marie-Claire Foley, who is based in Perth, acted for Alcoa of Australia in proceedings brought against it after a fatality at its Kwinana refinery. Other clients include Fletcher Building, Newcrest Mining and the government of New South Wales. The group’s key offices are in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, though George Cooper and Jon Lovell are recommended in Melbourne and Canberra respectively. Lea Constantine heads the department out of Sydney. Trent Sebbens made partner in Sydney in April 2017.

Leading individuals

Lea Constantine - Ashurst

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