Norton Rose beats A&O to advise UK-Netherlands electricity tie-up

Norton Rose has scooped the advisory role for a multimillion-pound tie-up between the UK’s National Grid and Dutch electricity supplier TenneT.

The deal, which will need an investment of e600m (£406.69m), will see BritNed Development construct a new interconnector between the National Grid and TenneT.

The 260km subsea link will provide energy to the UK and the Netherlands depending on the demand for and price of electricity in the two countries.

Norton Rose fought off Allen & Overy (A&O) at a beauty parade for the advisory role. A&O was thought to have been a shoo-in for the role due to its long-established practice in electrical interconnector deals, as well as an established relationship with National Grid.

The magic circle firm advised on the Basslink deal in 2003, which saw a subsidiary of National Grid in Australia link electricity supplies in Victoria and Tasmania.

In the latest deal, however, A&O is acting for sub-contracted construction company ABB Sweden. In addition, the BritNed deal is sponsored finance as opposed to private finance, and if it had been the latter A&O may have had a better chance.

Norton Rose construction and energy partner Richard Hill, acting for BritNed, said this was a significant win for his firm.

“On the majority of deals of this nature we’ve found ourselves on the other side of the table from the National Grid,” said Hill. “There are a number of interconnector deals on the drawing board and we hope that the BritNed link will help pave the way for us to move forward on these opportunities and cement our position.”

National Grid was represented by in-house counsel Damian Bach and Mark Tomlinson. In-house counsel at TenneT was Ancella Anssems.