Sydney, 24 September 2007 LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Clayton Utz has acted as sole Australian legal adviser to Russian conglomerate the Norilsk Nickel Group on its unsolicited all cash offer of C$5.3bn (US$4.8bn) to acquire LionOre Mining International, the company’s second major acquisition this year involving an Australian element.
The deal closed this month with Norilsk Nickel moving to compulsory acquisition of the target. It represents the largest investment by a Russian company outside Russia.
Clayton Utz Corporate and Energy & Resources partner Susan O’Rourke led the firm’s team on the deal, which brought together lawyers from the firm’s Corporate, Finance and Competition teams including partners Michael Parshall, David Landy, Bruce Lloyd, Linda Evans, Graeme Gurney, Brad Wylynko, Paul Humphreys, Simon Brady, John Loxton, Matt Anderson and Faith Taylor and special counsel Stuart MacGregor.
Ms O’Rourke, whose global experience in resources & energy deals spans 25 years, said the transaction was an example of the increasing internationalisation of mining asset transactions, which required a co-ordinated approach to the provision of legal services.
“This acquisition of Australian mining assets shows the dominant trend of assets globalising in terms of their ownership, management and the interconnection of market. It also shows the increasing Russia-Australia trade linkage,” said Ms O’Rourke.
“It also illustrates the fact that Australian lawyers are definitely practising in a global marketplace, particularly in the resources sector. The challenge for Australian law firms is how they respond to and service clients in a global timeframe. It also means our knowledge has to be “global”. At Clayton Utz, we meet this challenge by fielding tightly managed, client-focused teams with the commitment and capability to get the deal done.”
Norilsk Nickel is the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, and a leading producer of platinum and copper.
LionOre is Australia’s third largest nickel producer, with operations in Western Australia, Botswana and South Africa.
Earlier this year, Clayton Utz represented Norilsk Nickel as Australian counsel on its US$408 million acquisition of the global nickel business of OM Group, Inc. The deal closed on 1 March 2007.