Minter Ellison’s role in one of the biggest debt restructuring deals of 2008 has been recognised at the annual CFO Awards.
Lead partner John Mosley said the success of the transaction will put Minter Ellison in good stead when confidence is restored to the financial markets.
“Normality will return at some point to the system [and] we will be well placed, because we were fundamentally involved in the last major complex syndicated bank transaction before the market went into its state of malaise.”
Minter Ellison advised lead banks Credit Suisse, nabCapital, ABN AMRO, Calyon, and Deutsche Bank on the restructuring of Primary Health Care’s $2.4 billion bridging facility — with the final deal winning the 2008 CFO Syndicated Bank Loan of the Year Award.
Primary Health Care’s $3.56 billion hostile acquisition of Symbion Health Limited involved complex financial re-structuring, and was finalised on 30 April 2008.
Mosley said the deal was a standout in the market because of its size, complexity and the rapidly deteriorating debt market conditions. Additionally, it was framed against the backdrop of an aggressive hostile takeover bid.
“It was an extremely competitive hostile takeover situation that went on for quite some time, probably a couple of years in the making, and in a very, very intense environment for 12 months because Healthscope was also bidding for Symbion,” he said.
He credited the successful outcome to a number of factors, including the structuring of the deal by Primary Health Care CEO Dr Edmund Bateman, and the handling of the debt package by the various banks.
“I guess what it says about the transaction is that the lead mandators and underwriters were very accurate.
“They structured a complex transaction in a manner that made it attractive even against the backdrop of a deteriorating situation … so they got it right and one would hate to think what would have happened if they had got it wrong.”
Mosley added that the deal, which required each of the banks involved to take on a short-term debt capacity of more than $400 million, could be the last of its kind for some time.
“This sort of transaction, we’re not seeing many of these today, if any, because people just can’t take the risk,” Mosley said.
“ … the banking markets are in a state of suspension at the moment… many bidders need finance and they will be relying on normality returning to the debt market before they can make bids for publicly listed companies.”
The CFO awards also recognised Minter Ellison lawyers and fund manager Macquarie Capital for involvement in the “IPO of the Year” — the Northern Iron ASX listing.