3 firms act as world’s largest asset manager makes first renewable play in Australia

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Three top firms have acted as the world’s largest asset manager makes its first renewable power investment in Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF), Ashurst, and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) advised as BlackRock, which has US$5.68tn in assets under management, acquired a majority stake in two large-scale solar projects in Queensland.

NRF advised BlackRock, which took a 90% stake in the 150MW Daydream and 50MW Hayman solar farms in Collinsville, Queensland. Ashurst acted for Edify Energy, the developer of and owner of the remaining stake in the project. This is the largest transaction undertaken by Edify Energy to date, Ashurst said.

HSF advised Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and French bank Natixis on the project financing for the portfolio.

“BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager. This investment by BlackRock demonstrates the attractiveness of Australia as a destination for renewable energy investments,” said Simon Currie, who heads NRF’s global energy group.

“It was a pleasure to assist BlackRock with its first renewable power investment in Australia. The transaction is reflective of the continued transformation of the Australian renewable energy landscape and the intense global interest in the Australian energy sector,” said NRF special counsel Chris Mitchell, who also led on the equity investment.

In addition to Currie, and Mitchell, special counsel Kelly Davies also led the NRF team. They were supported by associate Chanel Mercurio, with senior associates Kathy Prince, Juliette King, and special counsel Steven Choi. Australian partners Noni Shannon, Emanuel Confos, Michael French, and Shane Bilardi also advised on the deal.

Ashurst’s team was led by partners Paul Newman Paul Newman, Ben Warne, and David Mason. They were assisted by partners John Briggs, Gavin Scott, and Mark Disney; senior associates Paul Wilson, Rebecca Roach, Lillian Yeung, Kate Robertson,  Carol Kahler, and Harry Stone; counsels Lucy Bretherto and Tim Macmillan; lawyers Tristan Shepherd, Joey Chan, Jowa Chan, and Wilson Lu; and graduate Eliza Brierley.

The HSF team was led by partner Elizabeth Charlesworth, who was supported by executive counsel Alison Dodd; special counsel Madeline Simpson; senior associates Melissa Solomon and Lisa Di Marco; and solicitors Arnica Mullins, Nicholas Toth, Daniel Lau, and Claire Meiklejohn.

Expected to be fully operational by 2018, the projects will provide energy to 73,000 homes. It is supported by an offtake agreement with Origin Energy until 2030 and merchant-based agreements.


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