Ashurst bags North West Electricity Networks on United Utilities selloff

Ashurst is advising North West Electricity Networks, a joint venture made up of JPMorgan Infrastructure Fund and its long-standing client Colonial First State Global Asset Management, on the acquisition of United Utilities’ electricity network. The acquisition cost £1.78bn.

Corporate partner Eavan Saunders led the deal alongside banking partner Jane Fissenden, regulatory partner and director of economics Matthew Hughes, senior pensions associate Neal Bhan and energy, transport and infrastructure partner Louise Eccleston. Fissenden advised on due diligence in the key contract, while Bhan dealt with the complexities related to the spin off of United Utilities’ pension.

Ashurst came on board through its relationship with Colonial First State, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which it has advised on two other infrastructure deals over the past two years.

Norweb’s assets will continue to be serviced by subsidiaries of the sellers, leading to extensive regulatory and contractural risks, said Saunders.

Slaughter and May corporate partner Peter Brien is advising United Utilities. Finance is being provided by HSBC, advised by Clifford Chance partner John Wilkins.