CC tops global infrastructure league

Clifford Chance

topped the league tables for global legal advisers on infrastructure projects in the first half of 2006, advising on 17 deals worth some $24.5bn (£13.38bn).

The research, compiled by the Infrastructure Journal website, also shows magic circle rival Allen & Overy (A&O) was the most active firm in the sector in the timeframe, closing 19 deals worth a total of $10.9bn (£5.95bn).

Six UK firms featured in the top 10 in the global league table. Herbert Smith was placed third with five deals worth $12.5bn (£6.83bn), while Linklaters placed seventh with 11 deals worth $8.8bn (£4.81bn).

Norton Rose, with 10 deals worth $6bn (£3.28bn), and Ashurst, with eight deals worth $5.7bn (£3.11bn) rounded out the top 10 entries.

US firm White & Case had a role on the second and fourth-biggest deals of the half-year, landing it second overall position with seven deals worth $15.7bn (£8.58bn).

Jones Day and Sullivan & Cromwell both made appearances in the top 10, based largely on their work on Spanish infrastructure and transport giant Abertis’s $10bn (£5.46bn) acquisition of French toll road company Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France.

The table ranks firms based on the total value of deals that have reached financial close in which they have had an involvement. Several deals included more than one firm.

The figures make no allowance to gauge their clients’ contributions. For example, if two firms advised separate lenders providing half the finance each, both firms are credited with the total value of the deal.

Globally, 103 firms closed deals with a total market value of $196.3bn (£107.22bn).

An analysis of the figures shows A&O has an average value per completed deal of $576m (£314.6m), just more than half less than the average value of Clifford Chance’s completed deals at $1.4bn (£760m).

The figures confirm A&O’s approach of targeting smaller deals for more volume work.

A&O had one appearance in the top 10 transactions of the first six months, advising the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and a group of 10 lenders on a $3.7bn (£2.02bn) petrochemical project in Saudi Arabia opposite LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae.

A breakdown of the regions shows A&O was most heavily active in Western Europe, including the UK, with 13 of its 19 deals completed in the region, 11 of them PPPs.

A&O, Ashurst and Clifford Chance had their figures bolstered by the $1.8bn (£980m) St Barts & Royal London project.

Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson was the most prolific firm in the PPP market, with 12 completions worth $2.5bn (£1.37bn), while Pinsent Masons completed seven worth $2.9bn (£1.58bn). Pinsents was the only firm to break the $1bn (£550m) barrier for the education sector, confirming is strength in the UK’s Building Schools for the Future project.

White & Case, with four deals worth $5.5bn (£3bn), and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, with two deals totalling $5.2bn (£2.84bn), were the only US firms to feature prominently in the list of firms completing PPPs, ranking second and third respectively.

Herbert Smith completed four of its five deals in Western Europe, but was boosted up the tables on the back of its role advising Sumitomo Chemicals in the $9.8bn (£5.35bn) Rabigh Petrochemical Project in Saudi Arabia. Its client was a joint venture partner with Saudi Aramco, advised by White & Case.

Norton Rose was the only UK firm to complete a deal in North America, with one $900m (£491.57m) transaction closing.

A&O, Ashurst and Clifford Chance all had multiple deals close in Latin America, with Norton Rose and Linklaters also active in the market.

top 10 global finance deals – first six months
Project name Advisers Value (£bn) Country
Abertis Acqusition of Sanef Jones Day, Sullivan & Cromwell 5.46 France
PetroRabigh Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, White & Case 5.35 Saudi Arabia
APRR privatisation Clifford Chance, Shearman & Sterling 4.99 France
Indiana Toll Road Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, White & Case 2.54 US
SHARQ Petrochemicals expansion Allen & Overy, LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae 2.02 Saudi Arabia
Yansab Petrochemical project Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance 1.91 Saudi Arabia
Allenby Connaught Ministry of Defence Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, 1.63 UK
accomodation Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Saudi Integrated Petrochemical Project Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Linklaters 1.37 Saudi Arabia
LS Power acquisition of North Latham & Watkins, Shearman & Sterling, 1.24 US
American Plants Vinson & Elkins
Greater Equate Petrochemical Ashurst, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, 1.20 Kuwait
Linklaters, Norton Rose
top 20 global legal advisers
top 20 western european legal advisers