Infrastructure advisers enjoy business boom

Law firms which advise on private infrastructure developments, such as power stations, pipelines and airports, enjoyed a business boom in 1993-1994, according to a new financial survey.

Firms earned legal fees worth hundreds of millions of pounds advising on a thousand billion dollars' worth of projects, says the report in Privatisation International magazine.

Baker & McKenzie led the field, working on 183 projects – US$76 billion worth of business in 50 countries. This was a huge growth in business over the previous year, when the firm advised on $27 billion worth of projects.

A close second in terms of value was Linklaters & Paines on $74 billion, up from $29 billion the previous year, spread over 52 projects in 21 countries.

Baker & McKenzie construction partner Tim Steadman says his firm is particularly proud to have broken into eastern Europe with the M1/M15 Project in Hungary.

“In terms of value that wasn't such a large project, only $350 million, but it was a ground breaking deal because it proved you can use private fin-ance for infrastructure in eastern Europe.”

Steadman says the firm placed particular emphasis on its infrastructure work by creating a major projects group two years ago and predicts business in this sector will continue to grow.

Chris Manners, spokesman for Norton Rose, ranked fifth in the survey, says: “As markets emerge there is more work for lawyers, accountants, banks and construction firms.”

Power projects accounted for most of the work undertaken by firms – 589 of the total 1,394 jobs. Roads, bridges and tunnels accounted for 208 developments, rail 134, pipelines 99, telecommunications 92, airports 66, water 56 and waste 61.