Hogan Lovells looks to build in Mongolia with transfer of City partner

Hogan Lovells is sending London-based corporate partner Chris Melville to its Ulaanbaatar office in a bid to extend its reach in Mongolia.

Melville, who has worked on a number of Russian transactions including Onexim’s $200m (£138m) takeover of a US basketball team in 2010, will continue to focus on cross-border M&A and infrastructure while working closely with the firm’s Ulaanbaatar managing partner Michael Aldrich.

The relocation brings partner numbers at the Ulaanbaatar office to two, along with five associates and three other fee-earners.

“It’s exciting to be supporting the development of the Mongolian practice at this point in time when foreign investors are really taking notice of the investment opportunities and the country’s need for additional capital and infrastructure investment,” Melville told The Lawyer. “The focus will still very much be on inbound corporate investment work and joint ventures. I expect my experience in infrastructure and natural resources M&A to prove invaluable, as growth will be driven to a significant extent by these sectors.”

Hogan Lovells gained an Ulaanbaatar presence when it entered a formal association with Mongolian outfit GTs Advocates in August 2010 (3 August 2010).

Since then, DLA Piper has entered the Mongolian market via a local tie-up with C&G Partners (12 March 2011).

Soon after, Australian firm Allens Arthur Robinson opened a representative office in Ulaanbaatar (10 November 2011), before fellow Australian firm Minter Ellison followed suit in a bid to capitalise on the country’s emerging resource-based economy (1 February 2012).

“The Mongolian economy’s growing at an incredibly fast rate such that foreign investors are now taking a serious look at investment opportunities across a wide range of sectors, particularly infrastructure and natural resources,” adds Melville.