DWS scoops lead role advising govt on Northern Irish road project

A raft of firms has landed roles on a road development project in Northern Ireland that has seen Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) win its second mandate acting for the Northern Irish Department of Regional Development.

The firm is advising the Northern Irish department on its £250m bond finance PFI project, which will improve three major trunk roads in the region.

Energy and infrastructure partner Robert Turner said: “Advising on a design bond finance project such as this is always complex. They tend to be pretty large projects and are accompanied with a lot of detailed and lengthy documentation.”

Turner added that DWS’s work in the PFI sector has been successful for the firm, which has advised high-profile clients, such as the UK Highways Agency, on a number of deals.

Turner said: “We’ve done a lot of work in the UK on the government and lender side. When we launched the group in 1994 we advised on about eight deals in the UK at the same time. The market has obviously slowed since these early days, but we’ve done well.”

DWS teamed up with Northern Irish firm Carson McDowell to draw on local law expertise.

Ashurst advised the contractor Amey Lagan Roads with a team led by head of energy Mark Elsey.

McGrigors partner Michael Watson led the team advising the bond trustees. Herbert Smith partner James Slessenger advised lender Sumitomu Mitsui, while Clifford Chance associate Jenny McIvor led the team advising the lender European Investment Bank.

In 2006 DWS advised the Northern Irish Department of Regional Development on the £100m development of a trunk road in Belfast.