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Freshfields continues defence work advising on £1.1bn Project Allenby Connaught extension

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, CMS Cameron McKenna and Pinsent Masons are advising as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has gifted a £1.1bn construction contract to Carillion, extending what is already the largest accomodation Private Finance Initiative the Ministry has undertaken.

Freshfields is advising longtime government client the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the extension of the 35-year contract for Project Allenby Connaught, opposite CMS Cameron McKenna which advised Aspire Defence, the special project vehicle set up for the project.

Pinsent Masons is advising the joint venture (JV) between Carillion and KBR which has been awarded the construction and facilities management contract for the army barracks.

The project is already worth £8bn and the development will provide 130 new buildings of single living accommodation for soldiers to provide modern, purpose-built living and working accommodation for some 18,700 soldiers, including resettlement personnel who will return from Germany in 2019.

Freshfields’ team is being led by London head of infrastructure and energy Alex Carver alongside of counsel Max Cairnduff.

The Magic Circle firm previously advised the MoD on the original Project Allenby Connaught transaction in 2006, as well as its competition to appoint a strategic business partner for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in 2014 for a 10 year contract worth £400m. The team was previously led by partner Nick Bliss before his retirement from the firm in April this year.

Bliss had a led on a number of projects for the Ministry, including the letting of a concession to Solent Gateway to manage Marchwood Military Port in 2015. He was viewed as the strongest projects partner in Freshfields’ practice, although the Magic Circle firm has recently brought on Shearman & Sterling partner Tim Pick in 2013.

CMS Cameron McKenna fielded a team led by Robert Gray and Jonathan Dames. The firm has been acting for Aspire Defence since the project started in 2006.

Gray told Legal Business: ‘This was a really important deal for the MoD and the army in terms of the accomodation and a great addition to what has been very succesful project over 10 years.’

Pinsents team was led by Jonathan Hart. The firm was re-appointed to Carillion’s panel in 2015, with a mandate expected to last until December 2017 and also acted on a 50:50 joint venture of Carillion and Equitix on the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) Midlands, the fourth batch of the Education Finance Agency’s (EFA) Priority Schools Programme.

For more on City project teams see: ‘Price of debt – austerity and the plight of a project finance partner’