Firm tops 1H16 deal leader-board

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Herbert Smith Freehills has maintained its position as top deal making firm for the Asia-Pac region, having advised on 15 of the 104 deals closed in the first half of this year.

The results have been revealed in the latest MarketMerger report.

High activity in the transport and power sector continued, State Power Investment Corporation’s $3bn acquisition of the Pacific Hydro renewable energy portfolio in January marked the entry of several of China’s major utilities entering the Australian market.  Canberra’s Light Rail secured $630m in debt funding.

“With the transition of the Australian economy from the resources boom, we are seeing the ‘gap’ filled by the state privatisation programme - where we acted for the successful bidder for instance on TransGrid - infrastructure deals and a renewed commitment of the Australian government towards renewables,” Herbert Smith Freehills partner Brendan Quinn told Australasian Lawyer.

King & Wood Mallesons was second on the leader-board by count, coming in third on value.

Partner Craig Rogers said the firm has been very active in the infrastructure space over the last quarter.

“There remains a very strong flow of capital from superannuation and pension funds, both Australian based and international,” Rogers said.

“As we look towards future quarters the market is closely watching the Ausgrid outcome, in many respects, including how it affects the make-up of the field for Endeavour Energy, as well as external factors such as the result of the 2017 state election in Western Australia – which will play a major part in the number of deals in the pipeline.”

The report predicts Australia will have a significantly stronger second half of the year, with the $9.1bn Asciano takeover is expected to reach a financial close and that tenders for the Port of Melbourne and Fremantle Port is set to open.

Despite reports that the region is in a relatively strong position, the report found that Australia has had a relatively quiet first half of the year.  Deal values were down in the Asia-Pac region overall compared with 1H15, this year the value was at USD35.28bn, compared with USD44.61bn last year.

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