22 Dec 2010

Clayton Utz congratulates parties on Valemus sale

Sydney, 22 December 2010: Clayton Utz congratulates long-term client Bilfinger Berger on the announcement yesterday of the A$1 billion sale of its iconic Australian construction business, Valemus.

Continuing the firm's long association with Bilfinger Berger and having worked with the company on the proposed Initial Public Offering of Valemus earlier in the year, Clayton Utz assisted Bilfinger Berger through the entire sale process. Clayton Utz corporate partner Stuart Byrne led the transaction, with partners David Landy and Simon Truskett.

Commenting on the transaction, Stuart Byrne said: "We are very pleased to have been able to assist Bilfinger Berger in the sale of Valemus this calendar year, particularly after the disappointment of the IPO being withdrawn in August due to then-prevailing market conditions.

"Lend Lease clearly identified a number of attractive features in Valemus, including its diversified operations, broad customer base, large-scale engineering and construction platform, and strong senior management team. In many ways the sale process was representative of the way transactions proceeded in 2010 – execution was not straight forward, but opportunities existed for high quality assets such as Valemus if parties were willing to keep their heads down and work things through."

Mr Byrne said dual-track processes can be more involved to manage, requiring experienced advisers, but the market could expect to see more of this activity in 2011 as vendors tested an improved market sentiment which nevertheless remained picky. "We are still a long way from the point that vendors can push any old asset out the door with just a lick of paint and a silky marketing story."

Clayton Utz's appointment on both the earlier IPO process and the eventual sale of Valemus reflects the marketleading reputation of the firm's Equity Capital Markets and Mergers and Acquisitions practices, which have had advisory roles on many of the year's highest-profile transactions.

These include the A$6.7 billion IPO of rail freight company QR National (advising the Joint Lead Managers); the proposed merger of the Singapore Stock Exchange and Australian Stock Exchange (advising SGX); AMP Limited's bid to acquire AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited's Australian and New Zealand businesses (advising AMP Limited), and; Origin Energy's successful bid to acquire Country Energy and Integral Energy as well as gentrader rights to the Eraring power station.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.