European law firm Fieldfisher has advised London AIM-listed energy infrastructure developer InfraStrata plc on the successful completion of its deal to buy insolvent Belfast shipyard operator, Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd, for £5.25 million from its administrators, BDO Northern Ireland.
Completion of the acquisition, which occurred today (5 December 2019), marks the culmination of more than two months of intensive negotiations with Harland and Wolff's administrators, debt providers, Harland and Wolff employees and various other stakeholders in the iconic shipyard.
Partners from BDO were appointed as administrators to dispose of the company's assets on 6 August 2019, after the shipyard's Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, filed for bankruptcy in June.
InfraStrata, which is developing the Islandmagee Gas Storage Project on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, decided to bid to take over Harland and Wolff in a strategic move to bring in-house a large part of the engineering and fabrication requirements for Islandmagee.
As well as enhancing InfraStrata's ability to deliver Islandmagee, a pioneering underground natural gas storage facility that will significantly boost UK energy security, the successful conclusion of the deal safeguards the future of Harland and Wolff, a shipyard made famous for building the Titanic between 1909 and 1911, and its 70+ highly skilled staff.
Fieldfisher assisted InfraStrata on the preparation of its bid, which was accepted by BDO and announced on 1 October 2019.
The firm subsequently advised InfraStrata on arranging a short-term bridging facility to fund the £500,000 deposit on the acquisition, due diligence, transfer of leaseholds and a final asset purchase agreement with the administrators through a newly incorporated Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is 100% owned by InfraStrata.
Fieldfisher also advised the company on an equity placing to raise £6 million and a further £1 million fundraise via an offer to shareholders to help fund the acquisition and ongoing working capital requirements.
The firm is recognised as a leading adviser to AIM-listed clients, many of which are in the energy and natural resources sector, due to its expertise in delivering critical M&A and fundraising transactions, often in demanding circumstances.
Fieldfisher will continue to assist InfraStrata with all its AIM-related requirements as well as providing relevant specialist assistance as the company commences construction of Islandmagee next year; finalises offtake agreements for its gas supply; and deals with regulatory issues affecting energy infrastructure in the UK (and potentially Ireland).
Michelle Shean, insolvency and restructuring partner at Fieldfisher, who led the team advising InfraStrata, said:
"We are delighted to have helped InfraStrata successfully conclude its purchase of Harland and Wolff and we look forward to assisting them with the next phases of developing Islandmagee.
"Fieldfisher is fortunate to be at the forefront of many critical UK energy developments, but we are particularly pleased to have been part of this unique project that simultaneously protects the future of an historic British asset and national energy security."
Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market leading practices in many of the world's most dynamic sectors. We are an exciting, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on energy & natural resources, technology, finance & financial services, life sciences and media.
Fieldfisher's dedicated energy team advises companies, commodity trading houses, banks and investment funds on a wide range of matters. We have been active in the energy and natural resources sector for over 50 years and have a team more than 100 lawyers internationally.
The firm is also one of the leading legal advisers to companies listed on London's AIM market, many of which are in the natural resources sector.
Our network has more than 1,550 people working across 25 offices providing highly commercial advice based on an in-depth understanding of our clients' needs.
We operate across our offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Turin, Venice and Silicon Valley.
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