Ashurst and LG scoop lead roles on £756m CGNPC offer

Ashurst and Lawrence Graham (LG) have snared the lead roles on a deal that marks one of the first incursions into the listed UK market by a state-owned Chinese company.

Ashurst is acting for state-owned energy group CGNPC Uranium Resources on its £756m recommended possible cash offer for Kalahari Minerals. The City firm won the mandate for its new client after a beauty contest and with a recommendation from local firm Guantao, which is also advising on Chinese law. Australian firm Minter Ellison is acting on Australian aspects of the deal.

LG is advising Kalahari on the transaction, which is still dependant on Chinese government approval for outbound investments.

For Ashurst, Hong Kong corporate partner Robert Ogilvy Watson led the team. He was assisted by London corporate partner and former corporate head Adrian Clark. Ashurst finance partners Mark Vickers in London and Matthias Schemuth in New York are acting on financing matters while Hong Kong-based US partner Stuart Rubin is offering US law advice.

LG fielded a team led by Middle East corporate chief Tim Casben, while the Minter Ellison team was led by corporate partners Andrew Thompson and Bart Oude-Vrielink.

Clark said that Ogilvy Watson’s credentials as a former Takeover Panel secondee helped the firm secure the prize mandate.

“To have a Hong Kong partner who has that kind of exposure puts us above anybody,” said Clark.

He added that he thought there was now “plenty of scope” for Chinese companies to make similar types of investments in the UK.

“I would expect to see more deals of this nature involving UK-listed targets, since the London Stock Exchange is home to some of the world’s leading natural resources companies,” Clark added.