Hogan Lovells secures ENRC mandate for Brazil acquisition

Hogan Lovells has landed a role advising Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), a client close to Herbert Smith, on the acquisition of a Brazilian minerals company.

The firm won the instruction after pitching unsuccessfully for an earlier piece of work.

Corporate partner Steven Bryan, who led the Hogan Lovells team alongside fellow corporate partner Ben Higson, commented: “We were approached on a potential job that we pitched for and didn’t get, but they were impressed with what we put in front of them and said they’d come back to us.”

The deal saw ENRC, which already owned a 50 per cent stake in the Brazilian target Bahia Minerals, buy the remainder of the business from Ardila Investments, a subsidiary of South American mining company Zamin.

The seller was advised by Slaughter and May corporate partner Andy Ryde.

Under the terms of the deal ENRC paid a cash sum of $670m (£423.08m) and also wrote off a $65m Ardila debt.

While Hogan Lovells had not won any major instructions from ENRC prior to this deal, the company’s general counsel and company secretary Randal Barker was previously an of counsel at legacy firm Lovells.

He left the firm in 2004 to become general counsel at General Electric subsidiary Genworth Financial before joining closed life fund business Resolution as its first-ever head of legal at the beginning of 2006.

While at Resolution Barker developed a strong relationship with Herbert Smith corporate partner Malcolm Lombers, who advised the company on a drawn-out takeover battle that eventually saw the ­business bought out by arch-rival Pearl. Following the acquisition Barker left the business, becoming ENRC’s legal chief in September 2008.

Lombers remains close to Barker and in September last year advised ENRC on its £584m bid for Central African Mining & Exploration Company.

On the Bahia deal ENRC turned to Cleary Gottleib Steen & Hamilton Cologne partner Romina Polley for competition advice. The company also received advice from associate Marcelo Maria Santos at Brazilian firm Ulhôa Canto, Rezende e Guerra.