Lovells secures major RBS, SocGen instruction

Lovells is celebrating after advising the lenders on Canada’s landmark ‘Sea to Sky’ project.

The firm secured the instruction to advise the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Société Générale (SocGen), despite not being on RBS’s legal panel.

Project finance partners Andrew Gallagher and Gavin McQuater advised the lenders on the C$500m (£222.6m) project, with local law advice from Borden Ladner Gervais.

Australia’s Macquarie Bank, advised by Canadian firm Blake Cassels & Graydon, acted as sponsor to the deal.

Macquarie will oversee the upgrade of the highway between Whistler and Vancouver as part of the preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The deal is the first Canadian public-private partnership (PPP) to be funded on the international market and follows the unveiling in 2003 of Canada’s ‘P3’ PPP programme, which has paved the way for a raft of deals in the rail, roads and hospital sectors. British Columbia has been particularly active in pursuing the PPP model for infrastructure development and upgrade.

A number of UK firms, including Bristol’s Bevan Brittan and CMS Cameron McKenna, are targeting Canada’s nascent PPP market. Camerons has seconded partner Ian Bendell to Davis & Co in a bid for market proximity, following the firm’s decision last year to end its Canadian alliance with Power Budd.

Camerons is currently closing Canada’s largest PPP deal to date, advising the lenders – SocGen, Nord and Bank of Ireland – on the C$1.8bn (£800m) Richmond-Vancouver light rail project.