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Ashurst

LEVEL 26, 181 WILLIAM STREET, MELBOURNE VIC 3000, AUSTRALIA
Tel:
Work +61 3 9679 3000
Fax:
Fax +61 3 9679 3111
Web:
www.blakedawson.com
Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Brisbane, Brussels, Canberra, Dubai and 19 more

Australia

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

As 'a go-to firm in the region', Ashurst 'provides timely, accurate and well-considered advice' that 'consistently puts the client first'. The firm's global network ensures strength in cross-border mandates; the team is also recognised for its substantial strength in acquisition and leveraged finance, corporate finance, real estate finance and asset finance work. Shawn Wytenburg and Jamie Ng jointly lead the department, which counts acquisition and corporate finance expert Steve Smith, senior associate Paul Zanelli and Martin Coleman as key practitioners. Coleman recently advised multiple financiers including Bank of China and National Australia Bank (NAB) on the financing of a A$2.6bn bid to operate the NSW Land and Property Information by a consortium including Hastings Funds Management, First State Super and Royal Bank of Scotland pension fund. Other work includes Wytenburg assisting several lenders with unitranche facilities provided to KKR for its acquisition of Laser Clinics Australia, Jock O’Shea advising NAB, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) on a A$1.1bn syndicated construction facility to fund Brookfield's Wynyard place development, and Kenneth Nguyen acting for Tronox on the refinancing of its existing term loan and asset based lending facilities. Graeme Tucker joined Clayton Utz in 2018.

Leading individuals

Shawn Wytenburg - Ashurst

Steve Smith - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Paul Zanelli - Ashurst

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Capital markets
Capital markets: debt - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

Capital markets: equity - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst stands out as 'easily one of the best in Australia for capital markets' with 'market-leading expertise' handling the full spectrum of work across ECM, DCM, securitisation, derivatives and structured finance. The group's recent high-profile DCM work includes assisting Santos with the establishment of a $10bn EMTN programme and the issuance of $800m in notes, advising Rabobank on the issuance of A$150m floating rate notes, and acting for the issuer and guarantors on the update of Anheuser-Busch subsidiary FBG Finance's existing A$3bn medium term note programme and the further issuance of four tranches of notes totalling A$1.95bn. Jamie Ng is 'a top securities lawyer with a unique combination of commercial acumen and deep legal knowledge', newly promoted partner Caroline Smart is 'excellent', managing partner Paul Jenkins handles corporate finance and DCM work, and Bruce Macdonald leads the ECM practice, which also includes Sarah Dulhunty, Stuart Dullard, Elspeth Arnold, Anton Harris and senior associate Andrew Kim. ECM highlights include advising the lead arranger and joint lead managers on MCP Master Income Trust's IPO, assisting Lattice Energy with its proposed IPO by Origin Energy through a dual track process, and acting for nib Holdings on the financing of its acquisition of Grand United Corporate Health from Australian Unity via an underwritten institutional placement and a non-underwritten share purchase plan.

Leading individuals: Capital markets: debt

Jamie Ng - Ashurst

Paul Jenkins - Ashurst

Leading individuals: Capital markets: equity

Elspeth Arnold - Ashurst

Sarah Dulhunty - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers: Capital markets: debt

Caroline Smart - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers: Capital markets: equity

Andrew Kim - Ashurst

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Competition and trade
Competition and trade - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘pre-eminent’ practice is ‘highly experienced and provides clear, concise and relevant advice tailored to the business’. Angie Ng, who joined from Clifford Chance's Hong Kong office, adds depth in multi-jurisdictional merger transactions. The team also frequently acts on cartel matters, market enquiries and unilateral conducts. 'Competition expert' Justin Jones has been promoted to partner and the ‘professional and engaging' Ross Zaurrini and practice head Bill Reid advised AIA on securing ACCC clearance for its A$3.8bn acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance business CommInsure. Peter Armitage ‘provides excellent support’ even ‘under tight deadlines’. He acted for Advance Energy on its A$7.62bn acquisition of 50.4% of Endeavour Energy.

Leading individuals

Bill Reid - Ashurst

Peter Armitage - Ashurst

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘highly responsive’ team possesses ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and ‘ensures access to partners at all times’. The team adeptly advises on front- and back-end construction matters in the transport, social infrastructure, and energy and resources sectors. It regularly acts for Commonwealth and state government agencies as well as private sector clients such as retailer Woolworths, a longstanding client. In the busy infrastructure sector, a large team led by Lee McDonald continues to advise TfNSW on the £11bn Sydney Metro project, Australia’s largest-ever public transport project, and Grant Rowlands assisted V/Line with the Murray Basin rail project, an extensive upgrade to improve Victoria’s rail freight network. The latter also acts for the City of Melbourne on the ongoing restoration and renewal of its 19th-century Queen Victoria market. Rowlands and McDonald jointly head the 16-partner practice, which has grown significantly with new appointments at senior associate and counsel level. A number of partners come in for praise, among them Gareth Sage for his ‘excellent knowledge of government practices’, construction and infrastructure disputes specialist Georgia Quick, and Mark Disney.

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘high-calibre team’ is ‘excellent in all areas, including investment in future practitioners’; its lawyers are ‘proactive and agile and provide practical, commercial advice tailored to clients’ needs’. Significant private equity work included advising Blackstone on its acquisition of the ASX-listed Astro Japan’s property portfolio, and in the insurance sector the team assisted AIA Group with its multibillion-dollar acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The ‘excellent’, 'engaging' Phil Breden, who ‘quickly formulates appropriate strategies’, and Mark Stanbridge co-lead the 24-partner practice. Breden acted for Crown Resorts on selling its 27.4% interest in Melco Crown Entertainment, a transaction completed via a multiple-tranche structure spanning several jurisdictions. Also recommended is the ‘very commercial’ Bruce Macdonald, who ‘works tirelessly and always with good humour’; he and Stanbridge advised Nine Entertainment on its acquisition of the issued share capital in Fairfax Media by way of scheme of arrangement, creating Australia’s largest integrated media corporation. Dan Yang joined from Colin Biggers & Paisley, now spearheading the firm’s China practice in Australia. Ratha Nabanidham joined from MinterEllison.

Next generation lawyers

Samantha Robson - Ashurst

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst's ‘invariably first-rate’ team acts for a wide range of high-profile clients; John Pavlakis is representing BMW Australia in Supreme Court of New South Wales class action proceedings in relation to vehicles fitted with faulty airbags. Wen-Ts’ai Lim represents Hyundai Mobis in litigation with the insurers of Mobis Parts Australia following a warehouse collapse in 2015 and defended the Commonwealth of Australia in a misfeasance in public office action. Georgia Quick and Andrew Carter are key practitioners. The team, led by Sydney-based Mark Elvy, has been bolstered by Melanie McKean, who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright. Catherine Pedler has been promoted to partner.

Leading individuals

Andrew Carter  - Ashurst

Wen-Ts'ai Lim - Ashurst

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Dispute resolution: class actions
Dispute resolution: class actions - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

'Excellent in all areas', Ashurst excels in the financial institution, energy, resources and infrastructure sectors; clients include ANZ, KPMG, the New South Wales government and RBS. Mark Elvy leads the group and is the key name for cross-border litigation. John Pavlakis is 'an excellent strategic thinker and knows where to focus to strengthen weak points and shore up defences'; his recent work includes representing the Commonwealth of Australia in proceedings in Indonesia brought by 115 plaintiffs alleging negligence and violation of human rights arising out of the detention of Indonesian juveniles accused of people smuggling, and acting for BMW in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in the high-profile Takata airbag class action. Clients also praise the 'excellent' Andrew Carter, financial services and infrastructure specialist Mark Bradley and the 'highly knowledgeable' Ian Bolster.

Leading individuals

John Pavlakis - Ashurst

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

Ashurst

Ashurst’s 26-partner team is jointly headed by Peter Vaughan, who leads on the oil and gas side, and Shane Kyriakou, who heads the firm’s power and utilities practice. It maintains a busy practice across the oil and gas, power, renewable energy, water, waste and regulated gas industries, and has been involved in novel matters such as waste-to-energy projects, an area of expertise for Richard Guit and Michael Harrison. Government sector work included advising the Victorian government on the sale of its 29% share in Snowy Hydro to the Commonwealth government. Tanya Denning advised government-owned electricity generator CS Energy on a joint venture with electricity retailer Alinta Energy, and Paul Newman’s work in the gas infrastructure sector included advising Jemena Gas Pipelines on its acquisition of Origin Energy’s Darling Downs pipeline. A number of partners come in for praise, but particularly singled out is ‘outstanding lawyer’ Vaughan, who ‘thinks across the legal, commercial and regulatory spectrum and consistently makes significant contributions to the commercial and legal outcomes that we achieve’; clients are 'very fortunate to have access to his services’.

Leading individuals

Michael Harrison - Ashurst

Paul Newman - Ashurst

Peter Vaughan - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Tara Graneri - Ashurst

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IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst’s seven-partner team is ‘agile in its service delivery, provides subject matter experts when required’ and is valued for its ‘good knowledge of industry-specific issues, particularly in banking payment systems’. Led by Amanda Ludlow and Tim Brookes, the practice regularly acts for government and private sector clients across the spectrum of IT and telecoms work. It has seen an interesting spread of work, recently acting for the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a submarine cable project linking Australia to PNG and the Solomon Islands; ANZ received advice on implementing an arrangement with CMC Markets in relation to ANZ’s Australian online stockbroking business. In a novel matter, the team assisted the Queensland government with establishing a digital archiving capability, the first of its kind for a government entity in Australia. Ludlow and counsel Clare Doneley ‘have excelled’; they are ‘pragmatic, sensitive to broader commercial issues’ and render ‘practical advice that is easy to read, with limited jargon’. The growing practice has been strengthened by the partner appointments of Karen Dwyer and Emma Butler.

Next generation lawyers

Clare Doneley - Ashurst

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 4

Ashurst

Ashurst's insurance offering is led by Rehana Box, who has an ‘extraordinary grasp of the insurance legal and regulatory environment’. Box advised AIA on its acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance business, including advising on associated reinsurance arrangements. London-based senior associate Tove Webster works closely with the Australian practice and assisted with devising a new, end-to-end insurance programme for the Australian Defence Force’s maritime acquisition and sustainment projects. Jamie Ng is also singled out. Philip Hopley left to join Herbert Smith Freehills.

Leading individuals

Rehana Box - Ashurst

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst's ‘business acumen, industry knowledge and appropriateness of advice is very high’. Practice head Lisa Ritson continues to act for Moroccanoil Israel in proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia regarding trade mark infringement, consumer protection issues and passing off claims against Aldi in relation to copycat products. Kellech Smith is representing a pharmaceutical company in relation to its challenge to Pfizer’s patents for pregabalin, and the team continues to act for Samsung Bioepis in preliminary discovery Federal Court proceedings against Pfizer and Wyeth regarding patents protecting Pfizer’s drug ENBREL. Peter Chalke is a ‘master technician'; Stuart D’Aloisio, who is ‘smart across all disciplines’, and Andrew Rankine have both been promoted to partner. Senior associate Elizabeth Ireland is also singled out. Ben Miller and Mary Padbury both retired from the partnership. Sophie Dawson left to join Bird & Bird.

Leading individuals

Lisa Ritson - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Elizabeth Ireland - Ashurst

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

A 'leader in the field', Ashurst has 'outstanding capabilities in labour and employment, particularly in the public sector'; it counts the Commonwealth government, the NSW government and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as clients. The practice covers the full gamut of employment issues including industrial relations issues, employment litigation and remuneration mandates. Stephen Woodbury leads the group globally; he recently advised a client on its bargaining for a new enterprise agreement and management of a protected industrial action. Other highlights include James Hall representing a variety of companies including Anglo American and Wesfarmers in an inquest by the Queensland parliament into incidences of coal worker pneumoconiosis, Woodbury advising FedEx and TNT on an enterprise agreement and the combination of the two companies' Australia operations, and Jennie Mansfield assisting the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) with various issues including the transfer of employees following its acquisition of eChoice. Clients also praise the 'highly responsive and practical' Ian Humphreys, the 'outstandingly technical' Jon Lovell, 'analytical lawyer' Paul Vane-Tempest and the 'brilliant' Robert Lilburne. Kathy Srdanovic made partner, Stephen Nettleton is now a consultant and counsel Julia Sutherland is also recommended. Steven Amendola joined K&L Gates.

Leading individuals

Stephen Woodbury - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Julia Sutherland - Ashurst

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

Ashurst

Ashurst stands out for its work managing major safety incidents including fatalities and workplace accidents alongside strong expertise in prosecutions, work-related coronial inquests, legal compliance and risk management work. Lea Constantine heads up the department and is 'a leader in the field'; other noteworthy practitioners include Marie-Claire Foley in Perth and Brisbane-based James Hall. Hall recently advised multiple members of the coal mining industry on submissions to and appearances before a Queensland parliamentary inquiry into incidences of coal work pneumoconiosis.

Leading individuals

Lea Constantine - Ashurst

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Media and entertainment
Media and entertainment - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst's breadth of expertise extends to all areas of media and entertainment law and it acts for an enviable client list on commercial transactions, branding and advertisement, copyright issues, pre-publication and regulatory matters. Defamation is another specialist area in which Robert Todd represents a global technology company in two notable contentious matters relating to defamatory material displayed online, with the outcome expected to be of wide-reaching significance for the industry. Practice head Lisa Ritson assists publisher Condé Nast with its intellectual property matters in Australia. Anita Cade is experienced in complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions and part of a team that advised Trusted Media Brands on the sale of its Asia Pacific Reader’s Digest businesses. Sophie Dawson departed to join Bird & Bird.

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 broad practice comprehensively covers the sector, ‘using small, specialised teams to deliver, which ensures quality while keeping costs down’. The team regularly handles cross-border work, with recent highlights being Shane Kyriakou’s advice to gold producer Newcrest on the divestment of its 89.9% interest in the Bonikro mine in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, as well as Murray Wheater’s advice to Japanese trading company Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania on the divestment of its 50% interest in the South Yamarna project in Western Australia. Paul Newman and Ben Warne advised Mitsubishi on Yancoal’s offer to acquire Mitsubishi’s 32.4% interest in the Hunter Valley operations joint venture for $710m. Asia-Pacific head of mining Lorenzo Pacitti has ‘a sharp focus on client service’ and ‘consistently impresses with the quality of his advice’. Tony Denholder provides native title advice in the resources sector. Gavin Scott left to join Norton Rose Fulbright.

Leading individuals

Lorenzo Pacitti - Ashurst

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Project development
Project development - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst is ‘particularly good at working from different jurisdictions to leverage the national practice’. The team, which is led by Lee McDonald, covers an impressive range of projects in the transport, infrastructure, and energy and resources sectors and has been further strengthened by the arrival of Dan Brown and Alex Guy from DLA Piper. Transport-sector credentials include advising TfNSW on all aspects of the multibillion-dollar Sydney Metro project, Australia’s largest public transport project, a matter handled by McDonald. Notable mining work has seen Richard Guit advise CleanTeQ on the Sunrise Nickel Cobalt Scandium project development, one of the largest sources of cobalt outside of Africa, and in the energy sector the team acted for Edify Energy on a number of large-scale renewable energy projects. Harvey Weaver, who has ‘good knowledge of the student accommodation market’, acted for several major Australian universities on their student accommodation projects, most recently for the University of Tasmania on its innovative partnership to grant a 30-year licence for accommodation properties to Spark Living. Michael Harrison is ‘first-class on matters requiring structuring and deep thought’, ‘engenders trust in everyone in the market’ and has ‘a great ability to guide people’s thinking’. The team also includes the highly regarded Angus Foley, Mark Disney and David Jardine. Krista Payne has been promoted to the partnership.

Leading individuals

Angus Foley - Ashurst

Lee McDonald - Ashurst

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Project finance
Project finance - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst's ‘strong commercial focus makes it stand out’; the strong team, led by Global Division Head of Finance, Funds and Restructuring, Jamie Ng, includes Chris Redden, who is ‘respected by sponsors and lenders’ and ‘drives transactions forward’. It advised Sydney Trains and the state of New South Wales on the $1.5bn recapitalisation and refinancing of Reliance Rail, and Simon Irvine led advice to Sydney Motorway on the project financing for stage 1 of WestConnex, involving senior debt, and stage 2, involving debt from the federal government, with a combined value of several billion Australian dollars. Outside the public transport sector, David Mason acted for an insurance company on the refinancing of corporate debt facilities, and Ng assisted Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group and NCIG Holdings with updating its long-term funding strategy and simplifying its financing structure as well as with refinancing matters, with a total value of $1.13bn. The ‘commercial and sensible’ Matthew Bubb is also recommended.

Leading individuals

David Mason - Ashurst

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 3

Ashurst

Ashurst has been strengthened by the arrivals of Diane Skapinker, Vicki Aron and Rola Khourly from K&L Gates and Andra Lang from Connor O’Meara. Damian Salsbury and Pauline Tan jointly head the team, which focuses on developments, real estate transactions and infrastructure projects. It has niche expertise in the hotel and tourism industry and assisted Capital Alliance Investment with multiple mixed-use developments, one of which will consist of 132 residential apartments and 211 hotel rooms. In a further highlight, the team acted for Australia Post and Cbus Property in relation to the design, construction and leasing of the new 65,000sqm Victoria Police precinct to the state. Perth-based Andrew Gay has been promoted to partner; John Stawyskyj is another name to note.

Leading individuals

John Stawyskyj - Ashurst

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

Ashurst

The ‘outstanding, very responsive and well-resourced team’ at Ashurst provides ‘targeted advice’ and possesses ‘exceptional industry knowledge’. Its key focus area is financial services regulatory work. Recent highlights include Jonathan Gordon's advice to The Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays in relation to the closure of their banking operations in Australia. Disputes partner Mark Bradley advised a large bank in relation to the Banking Royal Commission. Lisa Simmons advised a life insurance group on its high-value acquisition of a substantial life insurance business. Financial services regulatory experts Cory McHattan and Ian Bolster are also singled out; Philip Trinca is noted for his fintech experience. Recent additions to the team include associate Dominic Tran, who joined from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Senior associate Nicky Thiyavutikan also receives praise.

Leading individuals

Jonathan Gordon - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Nicky Thiyavutikan - Ashurst

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Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 1

Ashurst

Ashurst's 'first-class' department is a key name in the market for scheme of arrangement structures, distressed investing and insolvency litigation. In a recent highlight, practice head James Marshall advised CPH as a shareholder guarantor of Ten Network Holdings on all issues relating to  the appointment of receivers and managers and its sale to CBS via DoCA; other key mandates include Tony Ryan and Emanuel Poulos assisting ANZ and Wells Fargo respectively with their roles in the restructuring of Bis Industries Group, Ross McClymont acting for KordaMentha as voluntary administrators of trading entities in Aussie Farmers Direct Group, and Michael Sloan representing Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative in litigation against Legend International Holdings relating to the interplay between US Chapter 11 and Australian insolvency proceedings. Camilla Clemente made partner in 2018 and Jason Salman joined the Perth office from Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Senior associate Michael Murray is also recommended.

Leading individuals

James Marshall - Ashurst

Ross McClymont - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

Michael Murray - Ashurst

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 2

Ashurst

Ashurst’s ‘pre-eminent’ team possesses ‘excellent technical knowledge’ and is able to ‘distill complex issues in a way that is relevant to commercial outcomes’. It provides the full range of tax advisory services and deploys its ‘detailed understanding of the workings of state revenue authorities’ when advising on domestic and cross-border matters. Peter McCullough has ‘superior technical and analytical abilities’ and is representing The Bell Group and its liquidator in a Federal Court challenge to assessments for income tax made by the Commissioner of Taxation. Tax controversy is a particular strength for the group which also includes the ‘calm persona’ Barbara Phair; she advised Jemena on the tax aspects of its Darling Downs pipeline acquisition from Origin Energy. Vivian Chang heads the practice; Sanjay Wavde has been promoted to partner. BHP Billiton, Macquarie and ANZ count among the team's clients.

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