DLA Piper and DWF building bridges

Isn’t it great when a plan comes together? After almost a decade of hard work, a raft of firms has finally managed to reach financial close on the Mersey Gateway Project – solidifying plans for a shiny new toll bridge linking Runcorn and Widnes.

Natalie Stanton
Natalie Stanton

DLA Piper, Ashurst, DWF and Freshfields were among the firms to score a role on the giant infrastructure effort, which had to deal with more than its fair share of first’s.

Not only is the build likely to become the country’s first toll road to adopt Open Road Tolling – imagine London’s Congestion Charge, but on a bridge, and in the North West. It also needed to take a novel approach to insurance due to the contamination risk in the area.

Last but not least, the project marks the UK’s first-ever public bond issuance to benefit from the UK Guarantees Scheme, designed to kickstart crucial infrastructure projects.

The Mersey Gateway effort was not the only piece of fancy financing footwork to emerge today. On the other side of the globe, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has invested $692m in Hong-Kong listed Intime Retail, with Slaughter and May, Fangda Partners and Davis Polk scoring advisory roles.

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