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HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS ADVISES MARUBENI-BACKED FUND ON SUCCESSFUL ACQUISITION OF STAKE IN LATVIA'S AS CONEXUS BALTIC GRID

04 April 2020 | London
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Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised MM Capital Infrastructure Fund I (MMCIF) on the successful acquisition of a 29.06% stake in AS Conexus Baltic Grid (CBG), a unified natural gas transmission and storage operator in Latvia, from the Marguerite Fund.

AS Conexus Baltic Grid is Latvia's unified natural gas transmission and storage operator. It was created in December 2016 by the spin-off of the country' gas transmission and storage systems ahead of the liberalization of the Latvian gas market in April 2017.

Managed by MM Capital Partners, MMCIF was formed in 2018 by Marubeni Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Asset Management One Co., Ltd. to operate and manage funds specialising in equity investments in overseas infrastructure assets.

"We are delighted to have supported MMCIF on the closure of its first acquisition in Europe, which is strategically significant for MMCIF as it looks to expand its overseas infrastructure asset portfolio," said global head of energy Lewis McDonald, who led the team advising MMCIF with senior associate Eliza Eaton.

"The sale was triggered by EU unbundling rules and included complex Latvian Government approval requirements and tight deadlines for completion. Our experience of similar markets and transactions worldwide was highly beneficial and helped to close the deal on time and to requirements, notwithstanding the additional practical difficulties of closing in the current environment."

MMCIF intends to utilise Marubeni’s knowledge and expertise from existing investments in order to contribute to the successful operation of CBG. MM Capital Partners can also offer to support CBG in procuring a long-term financing by leveraging its relationship with Japanese financial institutions. 

Andrew Blacoe, Herbert Smith Freehills' relationship partner for Marubeni Corporation said, "Marubeni is a very important, longstanding client and so we are very pleased to have had the opportunity to support its European growth ambitions, through its interest in MMCIF."

Marubeni Corporation is a Japanese trading and investment firm, engaged in a broad range of global business activities including infrastructure, energy, metals and mineral resources, chemicals and food.

Latvian local counsel Sorainen advised on local law aspects of the transaction.  

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