Firms: Allens (consortium including the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) Board, Hastings Managed Infrastructure Funds Utilities Trust of Australia and The Infrastructure Fund), Gilbert & Tobin (lenders), Baker & McKenzie (Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan), Osler (Canadian advisers to OTPP), King & Wood Mallesons (NSW Government and the Sydney Water Corporation)
Deal: Binding offer to refinance the Sydney Desalination Plant
Value: $2.3 billion
Key players: Partner Robert Clarke co-led the Allens team with finance partner Simon Lynch (pictured). Allens partners Ted Hill, Anthony Arrow, Michael Graves, Bill McCredie, James Darcy and Martin Fry also acted, along with Allens senior associates Nicholas Ng, Geoff Sanders, Charlie Harrison, Michael Ryan, Frances Dunn, and lawyers Fergus Green and Eleanor Khor. Bakers partners Michael Kunstler and Lewis Apostolou acted for Ontario. The team from G+ T was led by partners John Schembri and Alexander Danne from a project finance and acquisition perspective, and supported by lawyers Katherine Best, Adela Smith, Daniel Yim, Catherine Zara, Abigail Haseltine and Angela McDonald.
Deal significance: Located in Kurnell, the desalination plant is the largest desalination plant operating in Australia and is fully powered by renewable energy. It has a maximum capacity of 250 million litres a day. The deal, which was signed on 11 May, involves a long-term lease of the desalination plant, pipeline and site, and a 50-year water supply agreement with Sydney Water Corporation. Lynch said the people of NSW will benefit from the NSW Government's decision to select the consortium for the long-term lease of the plant. “This is the best prepared bid I have seen in my 20 years of experience,” said Lynch. The speedy transaction process was not without its challenges and involved a number of complexities including the regulatory risks relating to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, licensing under the Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (NSW) and the regime under the Essential Services Act 1988 (NSW).