LONDON (19 June, 2012) - International law firm McDermott Will & Emery has acted for Ambienta SGR, the largest European private equity fund focused on the growth environmental sector, on the acquisition of 35 percent of the equity in FoundOcean, a leading global provider of foundation grouting services to the offshore global energy construction sector.
FoundOcean, which counts Shell, Hereema and Saipem amongst its oil and gas clients and, RWE, Scaldis and Geosea amongst its offshore wind clients, has grown revenues by over 100 percent in the last two years to become a truly global player with activities spanning from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean. The investment by Ambienta will enable FoundOcean to pursue an ambitious growth strategy, with revenues expected to grow by over 50 percent this year alone.
The deal offers further evidence of ongoing private equity interest in clean energy as Europe strives to meet its targets of sourcing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, global investment in renewables rose to a record $280bn in 2011 and the biggest private equity names in the US and UK now have significant stakes in clean energy companies. Buyout funds demonstrate a particular appetite for businesses that service offshore wind farms, as Europe installs turbines at sea to curb emissions.
London Head of Private Equity Mark Davis and partner Russell Van Praagh led the McDermott Will & Emery team advising Ambienta, assisted by Eleanor West and Caroline Thackeray. The first deal completed by Mr Davis and his team since joining McDermott Will & Emery in May, this transaction underlines the firm’s strengths in the renewable energy sector.
Commenting on the deal, Ambienta partner Rolando Polli said: “FoundOcean presents a compelling opportunity to invest in an attractive company with a robust foundation in the oil & gas sector, combined with access to the rapidly growing offshore wind sector. I would like to thank the team at McDermott Will & Emery for their role in making this transaction possible.”
Mark Davis continued:“We are delighted to have assisted Ambienta on this transaction, our first closing since joining McDermott in May this year. FoundOcean is a perfect fit with Ambienta’s focus on European companies with a proven track record for technical innovation and process excellence, which can be effectively applied in the renewables and energy efficiency sector.
“The deal demonstrates that despite continued market uncertainty and related concerns about availability of debt funding, there are still real opportunities for growing businesses in the renewables space and real appetite for the right sort of private equity investment. Our strong private equity and energy offerings in London and the rest of Europe enable us to make the most of these opportunities for our clients.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Studio Grimaldi and Burges Salmon also advised Ambienta. BP Collins and David Fawcus acted for the selling shareholders and FoundOcean.
About McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in London
McDermott Will & Emery in London is long established and many of our partners are recognised as leaders in their fields. McDermott’s London office complements the Firm’s capabilities in Belgium, France, Italy and Germany. McDermott in Europe has a strong industry focus with clients in sectors such as commodities, energy, healthcare and life sciences, information technology, food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing, media, sports and entertainment.
The closing of the Ambienta transaction comes during a period of significant growth in Europe. Over the last nine months McDermott has moved to expand its international transactional capabilities, with a focus on private equity, energy and cross-border M&A. Most recently, the Firm announced the following new hires:
In London: Tax partner Tom Scott and private equity partner Mark Davis;
In Paris: Corporate partners Bertrand Delafaye, Tax partner Antoine Vergnat, Trial partner Anthony Martinez, International Arbitration partner Jacob Grierson and Regulatory partner Sabine Naugès;
In Munich: Energy partner Michael Ruoff and Intellectual Property partner Alexander Harguth;
In Dusseldorf: Corporate partner Holger Weiss and Corporate counsel Oliver Lieth and Jan Hueckel;
In Milan: Corporate partner Giovanni Nicchiniello.
About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, the Firm has offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., and a close strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai