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DLA Piper's infrastructure projects team wins this award for its work on the biggest privately financed passenger rolling stock deal in global history. The team advised the Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing Investments consortium Agility Trains on the £4.5bn contract to construct and maintain the new ‘Super Express’ trains. One member of the judging panel praised the team's commitment to the project, describing it as “a major and complex transaction in which DLA Piper clearly played a major role”. The firm's work on the cross-border Intercity Express transaction helped the borrower to secure the bid using a novel form of contractual structure. The team was led by partner Colin Wilson and included partners Paul Hirst, Kathy Sharp and Nigel Drew from the London office and Koji Ishikawa from the Tokyo office.

According to the judges, this structure accommodated the “use of a PPP structure for procuring rolling stock, taking into account political and commercial interests of all the parties. They used a no-train, no-pay structure, which is the first time it has been used, to drive 'exceptional' performance.” The method of PPP structuring used by DLA Piper attracted £2.5bn of financing in what continues to be a challenging market. The team focused on stimulating the job market through this deal, which will create 730 rail industry jobs, 200 construction jobs and thousands of employment opportunities throughout the supply chain. One judge pronounced the team's work, “a high-profile and extremely important transaction for the train industry and indeed for the UK economy”.

About Noble Legal

Noble Legal specialise in legal recruitment with the great and the good in London and internationally. We are well connected with the Magic Circle (we have preferred supplier status with all 5 Magic Circle firms), Silver Circle, top US firms, high ranking City and West End firms, and a number of Fortune 100 & FTSE 100 blue chips.

We also place lawyers in Brussels and Paris (especially within EU/Competition), the Middle East and South East Asia, and Australia.

Through our selective, targeted approach our consultants consistently provide a high-quality, low-volume service of exceptional standard.

Having sponsored the Energy and Infrastructure award in 2012, we at Noble Legal are delighted to put our name to the Infrastructure Projects Team of the Year 2013 as a mark of our continued commitment to this exciting area of law.

2ND: Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell's role advising project company Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) on a monumental liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the financing for which was worth $8.5bn, sees it snare the runner up position in this category. APLNG is a joint venture between ConocoPhillips, Origin, Australia's largest integrated energy company, and Sinopec, one of China's largest petroleum products suppliers and crude oil and gas producers. Once processed, the LNG is mostly destined for China, with the balance going to Japan. The project is part of a larger $20bn development in Queensland and was selected due to its innovative financing methods. It is the first unconventional gas-to-LNG project globally, the first to receive financing from both the Export-Import Bank of China and of the US and was the first Australian coal seam gas LNG project to achieve financial close. Heralded as a landmark deal by one judge, it is likely that this template will be used as the model going forward for unconventional resources.

3RD: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Also working on the Intercity Express transaction, like DLA Piper (above) Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer worked closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the biggest privately financed rolling stock deal ever. Work began in 2007 and the Freshfields team has since negotiated a change in government, the financial crisis, two value-for-money reviews, a change in governmental policy regarding the electrification of the network and the government's comprehensive spending review in 2010. The team also had to negotiate on several fronts to make sure the deal reached financial close. It worked with parties including Lloyds, HSBC, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi Trust Bank, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and the Devlopment Bank of Japan. The project represented the first lending into a UK PFI by Japan Bank for International Co-operation. Judges praised the team's work, calling it “a fine example of a law firm leading a hugely important transaction and working collaboratively with other firms”.