Australian News Roundup: Pilbara purchase the latest billion-dollar Chinese play

by Peter Godfrey12 May 2014
Pilbara purchase latest billion-dollar Chinese play

Firms: Minter Ellison, King & Wood Mallesons,  Ashurst

Chinese hunger for Australian resources continues to provide rich seams of lucrative work for the nation’s top law firms.
Chinese state-owned Baosteel Group Corp is joining forces with rail haulage company Aurizon to make a $1.3bn bid for Perth-based Aquila Resources. Minter Ellison, led by partner Adam Handley is advising Baosteel, while King & Wood Mallesons, led by partner Nigel Hunt, is representing Aquila Resources. Ashurst is advising Aurizon.
The deal will give Baosteel, a leading iron and steel producer in China, access to Aquila’s 50% share in iron ore and coking coal projects in Western Australia and Queensland, respectively. Aurizon will help to develop rail and port infrastructure for the iron ore project located in the Pilbara region.
Firms seal commercial property deal

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills, Lander and Rogers

Herbert Smith Freehills, led by partner Luke Simpson, has advised Leighton Properties and Devine Limited on the sale of their jointly-owned KSD1 and Central Retail Buildings in Brisbane to 360 Capital Office Fund for $62m.  Lander and Rogers advised 360 Capital Office Fund on this transaction.
The buildings offer a combined 9,300sqm lettable area within the Hamilton Harbour development­ in Brisbane’s inner north. Tenants include Woolworths, Flight Centre, The Coffee Club and the corporate headquarters of both Domino's Pizza and Devine.
KWM advises on resources investment

Firms: King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons has advised funds managed by global energy & resources private equity sponsor, Denham Capital, on its recent investment in Pembroke Resources. The KWM private equity team was led by partner Mark McNamara.
Pembroke Resources has been established to invest in and develop metallurgical coal projects in both Australia and Indonesia.
Clayton Utz advises on $12 million uranium placement

Firms: Clayton Utz

Clayton Utz has acted as legal counsel to Forrest Family Investments, an Andrew Forrest entity within Minderoo Group, in relation to a proposed $12 million placement of shares in ASX-listed uranium developer Energy & Minerals Australia. Clayton Utz Perth corporate partner Mark Paganin and senior associate James Clyne led the firm's team.
The placement is part of a transaction which will result in a net $36 million balance sheet improvement for EMA.
Canberra ‘dog-eat-dog’ as lawyers eagerly await budget

Canberra-based firms relying on government work will eagerly be looking for signs in tomorrow’s federal budget that the post-election slowdown is coming to an end.
Firms in the capital have been suffering from a longer-than-usual election ‘hangover’ period, in which the Abbott government has been spending a long time determining its programs since it came to power last September.  

Firms are expecting work to pick up, as is typical in government post-election cycles, and professional services firms will be looking for clues about exactly when this will occur in the federal budget.

Joe Hockey’s first budget is expected to give firms clarity about which projects the government will decide to pursue, and hence which areas will result in an increase in outsourced legal work.

The budget will be of keen interest to both in-house and external lawyers.

“Everyone will be pouring all over the budget looking for where the opportunities might be,” Simonetta Astolfi, partner-in-charge of Maddocks’ Canberra office, told NZ Lawyer sister publication, Australasian Lawyer.

Limited opportunities have also created a high level of competition between firms. Astolfi describes it as a “dog-eat-dog” situation.