MINTER Ellison has made two senior appointments that it says will help international clients deal with regulators.
Geoff Carter will head the competition group's mergers unit and Paul Schoff the cartels unit, the firm announced today.
Australasian regional practice head, Russell Miller AM, said these appointments respond to the growing demand, especially by international clients, for high-level strategic competition assistance when dealing with regulators in these areas.
"In 2008-2009, more than 400 informal merger clearance applications were made to the ACCC, a growing number of which involved global mergers," Miller said.
"On the cartels front, our caseload in immunity applications is growing. With serious cartel conduct now a criminal offence in Australia, the focus on cartels is at a very high level – our team is currently handling three significant international cartel cases before Australian courts."
Carter, a partner based in the firm's Melbourne office, is a member of the Law Council of Australia's Trade Practices Committee. He has experience in merger clearance work in a broad range of industries, having acted on the Toll Holdings takeover of Patrick Corporation and Boral's attempted takeover of Adelaide Brighton Limited.
The team has previously worked on Nippon Paper's A$700 million acquisition of Australian Paper, Aurora Energy's A$370 million acquisition of Tamar Valley Power Station, Suntory's A$1.2 billion acquisition of New Zealand's Frucor Beverages Group, Parmalat's proposed acquisition of Dairy Farmers, and the Zuellig Group's acquisition of Symbion Pharmacy Services from Primary Healthcare Ltd.
Schoff, based in the Sydney partnership, is the lead partner defending Singapore Airlines Cargo in its prosecution by the ACCC for alleged air freight cartel conduct. He also led the recent settlement of the ACCC's prosecution of paper supplier, April Fine Paper Trading.