Utilities

Key industry sectors

All your work will happen within our six global industry sectors. They lie at the heart of our strategy and we are determined to remain at the forefront of all of them. So whichever sector you end up focusing on, you can journey with us into new areas while getting involved in pioneering and intellectually challenging work.

Learn more about what each sector has to offer by exploring the dropdowns below.

Financial institutions

Our reach in this sector is global, as is our regulatory knowledge and experience of acting on high profile, cross-border transactions and disputes. With 1100 dedicated lawyers worldwide, we have strong relationships with the world’s leading financial institutions, providing advice across the full range of their legal requirements.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • Financial institutions are adapting in the aftermath of the financial crisis. They face new regulations, as well as a greater focus on cost control and risk management
  • Litigation against financial institutions has increased sharply following a series of high profile investigations and fines
  • The sector has seen significant corporate activity in response to new regulatory and capital requirements
  • Key growth markets include Africa, Latin America and Asia
  • Cyber-security is a key issue, as financial institutions become increasingly reliant on new technologies.

Case study: Goldman Sachs International

We advised Goldman Sachs International on the successful R5.482bn (US$525m) rights offer of African Bank Investments Limited. The rights offer was fully underwritten by Goldman Sachs International and saw over 685 million new shares issued to the bank’s existing shareholders.

Recent accolade

Leading brand for favourability among financial institutions, Acritas Sharplegal Global Survey 2014

View from the inside

"Driven by regulatory change and technological innovation, the financial sector evolves by the day. Few industries are changing as significantly, or quickly, as this. And few legal practices are reacting as rapidly as we are. Our insight, experience and far-reaching global platform mean that we can help our clients not only navigate these challenges, but also embrace the opportunities they present."

James Bateson
Global head of financial institutions

Energy

We have one of the largest global energy practices in the world, with over 850 energy lawyers in every major energy market. Our team works together to deliver sophisticated and forward-thinking advice worldwide – tackling complex issues in areas such as climate change, oil and gas, power and renewables.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • The shale gas revolution in the US has completely transformed the global energy map and continues to be the most talked about development in the sector
  • The energy sector is seeing more and more investment from equity players
  • Africa is one of the fastest growing regions and energy development is central to this growth
  • Asia is investing in US shale gas resources and the infrastructure needed to export this gas to Asian markets
  • Latin America continues to be of major international interest as investors and developers aim to strike the balance between prospectivity and political risk.

Case study: Increasing energy capacity in Rwanda

In 2014 we advised on East Africa’s first utility-scale solar project located in Rwanda. The project will increase Rwanda’s power generation capacity by approximately 8 per cent and is a model for the region. It is also going to make a big impact in the region: employing and training people, increasing energy capacity and providing affordable, reliable energy.

Recent accolade

Global energy law firm of the year, Who’s Who Legal Awards 2014

View from the inside

"One of the biggest challenges in this sector is the pace of its development. More than ever, our clients look to us to be industry lawyers as well as practice lawyers. This means that we are part of the sector’s innovation, from helping our clients with advanced renewable energy projects to the exploration of completely new technologies and products."

Simon Currie
Global head of energy

Infrastructure, mining and commodities

We work on major infrastructure, mining and commodities projects in almost every country in the world, including emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America. We have worked on some of the largest and most innovative deals in recent years, and are one of the few global practices able to advise on every aspect of this sector.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are dynamic growth markets, as well as exciting and challenging jurisdictions in which we operate
  • Population growth will demand at least US$50tn of global investment in energy, water, transport and telecoms by 2030. Our leading reputation means we advise on significant projects within these sectors
  • One of the biggest issues facing mining companies is access to funding. We are at the forefront of advising on alternative solutions
  • Food and agribusiness is one of the world’s largest industries, representing over 8.5 per cent of the world’s economy.

Recent accolades

Ranked Tier 1 by Chambers 2015, Energy & natural resources: mining

Ranked Tier 1 by Chambers 2015, Commodities: trade finance & commodities: derivatives & energy trading

View from the inside

"The sectors we operate in are broad, dynamic and challenging. Not only do we have real depth in developed markets such as Australia, Canada and the US, we also have a leading emerging markets practice. Consequently, you can be advising on the financing of a diamond mine in Canada one day and working on a greenfield port project in West Africa the very next. The opportunities are endless."

Martin McCann
Global head of infrastructure, mining and commodities

An associate's perspective

"We were advising a lender whose borrower, an African mining company, was trying to obtain emergency funding from potential new investors in order to avoid defaulting on the loan. I helped research the interaction between the insolvency laws of the three relevant jurisdictions – an interesting mix of well-established and emerging markets. For me, the best part was learning how to turn the client’s complex legal scenario into practical and commercial advice on their financial strategy."

Jamie Greenwood
Associate

Transport

We have a leading reputation in the transport sector. Our 350 transport lawyers concentrate on aviation, rail and shipping, and focus on making sustainable connections between transport, energy and infrastructure. Transport is diverse, so our work ranges from asset finance and M&A to dispute resolution and private equity.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • Growing passenger numbers and freight volumes are driving demand for aviation, rail and shipping
  • Africa and Latin America’s emerging markets present many opportunities across the sector
  • Trade between developed and developing Asia is also a rich source of opportunity
  • The amount of traditional debt finance available to the sector has reduced, so our clients are seeking advice on alternative sources of finance
  • Our clients face challenges such as increasingly stringent environmental regulation; sanctions; and the increased focus of global competition authorities.

Recent accolade

Shipping law firm of the year 2014, Global Transport Finance

View from the inside

"Transport is an exciting and fast-moving sector. Transport companies are putting in place plans to expand their businesses in order to meet growing passenger numbers and rising freight volumes. We are seeing increased demand for finance, with new investors entering the market. At the same time, the regulatory burden for the transport sector is becoming heavier, with environmental laws, health and safety, and sanctions now a key focus for our clients."

Harry Theochari
Global head of transport

An associate's perspective

"I had not been in transport long before I became involved in a €71m refinancing for the acquisition of 350 rolling stock assets. It was a huge deal and I was drafting documents and involved in calls from the beginning.

One of the hardest aspects was assessing legal risks across 10 European jurisdictions and liaising with local counsel. Due diligence was really complex too, but being there from the start made it a lot more understandable. I feel lucky to have worked with such a great team on a deal like this. I learned lots – not just about asset finance, but about working with people too."

Georgie Field
Associate

Technology and innovation

Our global technology and innovation group advises a number of the world’s leading corporations throughout the technology, business services, communications, media, entertainment and consumer markets sectors. With 500+ lawyers worldwide, we provide a truly global service to clients in both established and emerging markets.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • The amount of data processed globally rises exponentially every day. Companies are becoming ever more aware of the value and power of data.
  • Businesses are increasingly using cloud services. This is forcing many dominant companies to change their business models.
  • Market changes mean that enhanced content and value-added services are in growing demand.
  • Digital growth continues to impact consumer behaviour. Brands need to react.
  • Clients are facing more regulatory pressure to ensure that they have adequate security and data privacy regulations in place.

Recent accolades

TMT deal of the year 2014, The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets Awards

African Telecoms deal of the year 2014, Global Europe & Africa Award (Euromoney/Project Finance Magazine Awards)

View from the inside

"Technology and innovation are core components for the competitiveness of almost any business. Exponential growth in data volumes, storage and processing power has spurred on the development of technologies able to unlock the value in vast amounts of data. Technology is moving up the value chain – once technology facilitated the way business was undertaken. Now, increasingly, it simply is the business."

Mike Rebeiro
Global head of technology and innovation

An associate's perspective

"The team was advising a mobile network provider on the sale and leaseback of its Tanzanian tower network to and from one of Africa’s leading tower companies. This was a complex deal with many different agreements. We also had to deal with the practical and legal issues associated with doing business in an emerging market. My involvement came towards the end. I drafted documents and managed the collection of the final pieces of information needed for completion. Client contact was also a real highlight. I enjoyed corresponding with them on a daily basis, and built up a good relationship with their team."

Frances Chapman
Associate

Life sciences and healthcare

We act for global pharmaceutical, bioscience and technology companies in every stage of the product lifecycle, from intellectual property protections to commercial transactions, and mergers and acquisitions. It is no surprise that many of our life sciences and healthcare lawyers have degrees and advanced degrees in science and technology.

Key sector trends that may well impact on your work

  • Some of the biggest advancements are happening in the emerging markets, especially those in Asia – this is where the real growth is
  • Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide
  • Greater scrutiny from local regulators is making the global landscape ever more challenging
  • As it can cost up to US$5bn to develop a new medicine, patent litigation is one of the most important services we offer to clients trying to protect their investments
  • Emerging technology and increasing competition makes this a hugely innovative field.

Case study: Major biotech deal

In 2013 we helped with the competition law aspects of a major acquisition deal between two biotech companies. It was one of that year’s largest M&A deals, and teams across our global network worked to secure regulatory clearance. Competition authorities wanted to ensure the combination would not impact choice or prices across a huge range of research and scientific products. We had to understand what these products and technologies involved, and then explain the science, and the market dynamics, to the regulators.

Recent accolade

Canadian life cycle firm of the year 2014, LMG Life Sciences

View from the inside

"This is a fascinating and truly global area. Our clients have to innovate to stay ahead. We’re seeing more mergers, more collaboration and more regulatory changes – every one of which presents new commercial and legal hurdles. We have to innovate, too, if we are to remain able to guide our clients through this complex landscape. If you are intellectually curious, you will find some compelling challenges here."

Mélanie Thill-Tayara
Head of life sciences and healthcare, EMEA

 

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