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Global Fletcher deal top honours at Sydney awards

Auckland waterfront and global Fletcher deal take top honours at Sydney awards

Fletcher Building’s $1 billion acquisition of the Formica Group and the project to revitalise Auckland’s waterfront topped many other major deals to win two of the prizes at the Australasian Law Awards in Sydney last night.

Bell Gully received the premier award of New Zealand Deal of the Year for the third year running – this year for its work advising Fletcher Building on its acquisition of Formica Group, the global leader in high pressure laminates.

The firm’s involvement in the project to redevelop prime Auckland waterfront land was also recognised – beating off large Australian deals to win the Commercial Property and Construction Deal of the Year.

Bell Gully Chairman, Roger Partridge, who was at the awards, says that while the firm is delighted to receive these awards, “if it was not for our clients – in this case Fletcher Building, Auckland Regional Holdings and Auckland Regional Council – entrusting us to work with them on these major projects, then these awards would not occur. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work on such challenging and interesting projects. We thank our clients and share the awards with them”.

Brynn Gilbertson, the head of Bell Gully’s corporate practice and the lead partner on the Fletcher deal, was also in Sydney to receive the Deal of the Year award. With fellow Bell Gully partners Jayne Kirton and Murray King, and senior associate Louise Hill, the Bell Gully team worked closely with Fletcher Building to successfully complete the most significant outward investment transaction on the New Zealand corporate landscape in 2007.

Roger Partridge says the logistics and multiple skills required in working across the many time zones and jurisdictions involved in the transaction cannot be underestimated.

“I know Brynn and the team received their greatest satisfaction from being able to deliver a successful outcome for Fletcher Building, our long-standing and valued client – but this award is a testament to the expertise and commitment of all involved. It is without a doubt very well-deserved.”

Bell Gully partners Garry Downs and Andrew Petersen played a major role in the property award-winning project advising Auckland Regional Holdings as the owner of the prime waterfront land and partner Tom Bennett was also involved, advising the Auckland Regional Council. The redevelopment will see the creation of significant new public spaces and amenities.

The award judges noted the multibillion dollar project involved an 18 hectare redevelopment - an area greater in size than the current Auckland CBD. “It stands apart from most other significant scale waterfront projects around the world because it has been achieved by way of contract, as opposed to the need for special purpose legislation.”

The ALB Australasian Law Awards recognise the key transactions, firms and lawyers in Australia and New Zealand in 2007. The finalists in each category were assessed against criteria including deal value, complexity, innovation, timeframe and significance to the market.


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