Projects report: Camerons and Freshfields go nuclear

The major projects sector has been dominated by energy and aviation work of late.

CMS Cameron McKenna and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have been instructed on a long-term joint venture between RWE and E.ON, with a view to the German utilities building nuclear power stations in the UK.

The energy companies have teamed up on a 50:50 basis to purchase and develop sites being sold by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as the UK moves to replace defunct nuclear power stations.

Camerons won the potentially lucrative RWE mandate after working opposite the client on an earlier trans-action. Corporate, energy, competition and tax partners are involved.

E.ON is being assisted by long-term adviser Freshfields through corporate partner Andrew Hutchings, with assistance from real estate, dispute resolution, antitrust, competition and trade and tax partners.

Both firms are also involved in another potential megadeal – the disposal of Gatwick airport. Freshfields and Herbert Smith are advising BAA. The airports authority is hoping to prevent the Competition Commission from forcing it to break up its monopoly around London, while making £2bn from the sale of the UK’s second-largest airport.

The deal is at an early stage and five consortia have submitted bids. Those understood to be advising include Camerons (for a consortium including Deutsche Bank’s RREEF and a Babcock & Brown fund), Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May (for Global Infrastructure Partners – a consortium comprising GE and Credit Suisse), and Ashurst and Sullivan & Cromwell (for 3i, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan).

Although there is a real estate element to many infrastructure deals, large deals led by real estate partners have been somewhat thin on the ground in recent months. There is one that has stolen the headlines, though.

Eversheds, Norton Rose and Rosenblatt Solicitors have taken the key roles on a deal to secure a new funding package for the construction of Europe’s tallest building – the £2bn Shard of Glass at London Bridge.

Development consortium LBQ was represented by Eversheds real estate partner Nicholas Bartlett. LBQ is working with Sellar Property Group, which called on Rosenblatt corporate partner David Fairfield, while Ogier advised Sellar on Jersey law, led by partner Christopher Byrne.

The loan was provided by Qatari Diar, which is owned by the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund and was advised by Norton Rose finance partner Lucy Wolley Dod.