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Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised China Power International Holding Limited on its acquisition of Zuma Energia, Mexico’s leading independent renewables generator.

A subsidiary of China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), China Power’s generation assets include both conventional and renewable power assets. SPIC has an installed capacity of more than 165GW, 53% of which comprises clean energy plants.

Established in 2014, Zuma Energia develops, finances and operates a renewable generation portfolio of more than 800MW, making it the leading independent company in the Mexican market.

“This is another notable investment by an Asian investor in global renewables projects, part of a dramatic uptick in green energy investment we’re seeing during 2020,” said Singapore counsel Irina Akentjeva, who led the team advising China Power.

Additional complexity came from regulatory changes to the Mexican power market throughout the negotiations. “In common with many countries, Mexico has been upgrading its energy regulations to cope with renewables growth and as an incentive for investment,” said Irina.

“As laws and regulations changed at every step of the negotiations, we had to take careful account of the longer term impacts on business operations for our client.”

“Closing a cross-border deal of this kind remotely during the pandemic is not new, but always presents additional challenges for all parties involved – we’re delighted to have guided our clients to a successful conclusion,” said Hilary Lau, Asia Head of Energy.

Irina led the team advising China Power working with energy partners Hilary Lau, David Clinch and Ignacio Paz, finance partner Adrian Cheng, disputes partner Gitta Satryani and contentious insurance partner Sarah McNally.

They were assisted by associates Alice Li, Jessica Loy, Salonika Kataria, Grace Wong, Jessica Leow and Angelia Ong in Singapore; by Jen Ru Wong and John Patrick Angus in Kuala Lumpur; Emilie Soust and Stephanie Chan in Hong Kong; and Miguel Fraga and Beatriz Plaza in Madrid.

Hong Kong consultant Susan Leung advised on tax law aspects of the transaction.

Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. advised on Mexican law aspects of the transaction, while Stibbe advised on Netherlands law.

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