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Portrait ofCharles Currier

Charles Currier

Partner
Co-head of Corporate, UK

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom
Languages English

Charles is the Co-head of Corporate at CMS UK. For nearly 20 years he has advised utilities, generators, developers, funds and other financial investors on transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Charles has advised on some of the highest value and most complex transactions in the energy sector, and for many years he has been recognised as one of the leading energy and infrastructure lawyers in the UK. He has advised on transactions with a cumulative value in excess of £100bn.

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"Charles Currier is a fantastic lawyer."

Chambers, 2024

"He's a superb lawyer who really knows the space."

Chambers, 2024

"He has a very good following and clients like him."

Chambers, 2023

"He is 'commercially very astute and a real help in working through practical options in a deal'."

Legal 500, 2020

a "strong corporate law partner who provides impressive commercial support and brings a common sense attitude to getting a deal done."

Chambers, 2019

Relevant experience

  • A consortium of infrastructure investors, led by AMP Capital, on its acquisition of a majority stake in Angel Trains, the UK’s largest railing leasing company, for an enterprise value of over £3.5 billion.
  • National Grid on a number of transactions that have helped shape the energy sector in the UK, including the restructuring of Great Britain’s gas distribution industry and the GBP 5.9bn auction and sale of a number of National Grid’s gas distribution networks, the GBP 14.8bn recommended merger with Lattice Group Plc and the USD 3bn acquisition of Niagara Mohawk.
  • CKI and Power Assets Holdings (formerly Hong Kong Electric) on the acquisition of Wales & West Utilities, the gas distribution network in the UK, for an enterprise value in excess of GBP 2bn.
  • Arcapita Bank on its acquisition of Freightliner, the UK freight rail business.
  • NIE on the sale of SONI Limited to EirGrid Plc.
  • CKI, CKH and PAH on the EUR 940m acquisition of AVR Afvalalwerking B.V., the largest energy from waste business in the Netherlands, from a consortium of funds.
  • National Grid on its joint venture with Statnett to develop, construct and operate the UK/Norway interconnector.
  • National Grid, SSE and Scottish Power on their joint venture to develop the Eastern Link transmission project.
  • A consortium comprising Borealis Infrastructure and SSE on their proposed acquisition of EDF’s UK electricity transmission networks.
  • RWE on the disposal of its 50% stake in Horizon Nuclear Power, its joint venture with E.ON to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK, to Hitachi for GBP 696m. Charles had advised RWE on the formation of the joint venture in 2009 and its successful participation in the auction process to acquire nuclear sites from the NDA and EDF.
  • CKI, CKH and PAH on their bid to acquire Fortum’s electricity distribution network in Finland.
  • Vattenfall on its GBP 12bn bid to acquire British Energy, the UK nuclear generation company, in a consortium with RWE.
  • RWE Innogy on the sale of stakes in the EUR 2bn Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm project to Stadtwerke Munchen GmbH and Siemens AG and on the resulting joint venture.
  • AMP Capital on its acquisition of a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport from Macquarie and on the resulting joint venture with the LA7.
  • Siemens and Mainstream Renewable Power on the disposal of the Hornsea Zone 3 offshore wind projects.
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Publications

  • Charles contributed the chapter on M&A in the book “Wind: Projects & Transactions” published by Globe Law & Publishing.
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Education

  • 1995 – LLB, King’s College, London
  • 1996 – LPC, College of Law, London
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Feed

29/01/2024
CMS advises Equinor as it takes full ownership of Empire Wind following...
International law firm CMS has advised Equinor, one of the world’s largest offshore wind developers, on its swap transaction with bp in the US, which will see Equinor take full ownership of the Empire...
02/10/2023
CMS advises Ocean Winds on Moray East Offshore Wind Farm partnership
International law firm CMS has advised Ocean Winds, a 50-50 joint venture between EDP Renewables and ENGIE, on the sale of a 16.6% stake in the 950 MW Moray East Offshore Wind Farm (“Moray East”)...
15/08/2023
CMS advises Legal & General on the UK’s biggest investment in ground source...
CMS has advised Legal & General Capital (Legal & General) on its further investment in The Kensa Group (Kensa), together with Octopus Energy (Oc­topus). Kensa is the UK’s leading manufacturer and installer...
21/06/2023
Success for CMS at The Lawyer Awards
International law firm CMS was named Private Equity Team of the Year at the 2023 Lawyer Awards ceremony held in London, alongside being Commended and Highly Commended in two further categories.CMS won...
24/03/2023
CMS advises Brookfield on acquisition of stake in X-ELIO
International law firm CMS advised Brookfield Renewable (Brookfield), one of the world’s largest publicly traded, pure-play renewable power platforms, on its acquisition of a further 50% stake in global...
10/11/2022
CMS advises Hydro Rein on its 50/50 joint venture with Commerz Real to...
International law firm CMS has advised Hydro Rein on its agreement with Commerz Real to establish a 50/50 solar joint venture which will acquire a Danish solar portfolio. Completion of the joint venture...
31/10/2022
CMS advises Octopus Energy on takeover of Bulb Energy
CMS has advised Octopus Energy Group (Octopus), the British renewable energy group specialising in sustainable energy, on its takeover of Bulb Energy’s (Bulb) 1.5 million customers, following an almost...
05/08/2022
CMS advises consortium on acquisition of interest in world’s largest offshore...
International law firm CMS has advised a consortium comprised of GLIL Infrastructure and Octopus Energy Group on its agreement to acquire a 12.5% interest in the Hornsea One Offshore Wind Farm from Global...
04/04/2022
CMS advises a Consortium on acquisition of 60% stake in National Grid gas...
International law firm CMS has advised a Consortium comprising Macquarie Asset Management, a global asset manager and the world’s largest infrastructure manager, and British Columbia Investment Management...
31/03/2022
CMS advises Kansai on its participation in a consortium acquiring a 50%...
International law firm CMS has advised The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (“Kansai”) on its participation in a consortium led by Glennmont Partners and comprising other institutional investors from...
31/01/2022
Time for transition: Energy M&A 2022
While world leaders have been gathering for COP meetings for decades, what made COP26 perhaps particularly notable is that the private sector also gathered in force, and with a commitment and determination to be a key driver in the decarbonisation of the world’s economies.  In previous years, there have been murmurings from various corporates that to make social or environmentally driven investment decisions may not align with their fiduciary duty to act in the interests of shareholders. As shareholder activism has driven the debate into boardrooms from above, this attitude is rapidly reversing direction. While returns are generally seen as lower in the clean sector compared to, say, the oil & gas sector, being invested in the green transition is increasingly seen as a key route to preserving and protecting shareholder value. At the same time, voluntary and mandatory climate related disclosures are aligning the drivers for investors across the board so that capital is increasingly driven by the metrics they produce.  This is being reflected in, among other things, the plummeting cost of capital for green investments. At the same time high carbon intensive investments, such as coal based projects and businesses, are struggling to secure funding, with many facing in­solv­ency. In­vest­ments in the energy transition, a key part of the green transition, will principally take the form of M&A. The outcome of COP26 and the momentum it has generated means that European dealmakers in the energy sector will be even busier in 2022. Europe leads the world in the energy transition and the race to net zero is driving near-record levels of dealmaking – notably in wind and solar photovoltaic generation.At the same time, the energy transition is both expanding and fragmenting the energy sector. For many, it has traditionally been focused on energy generation. The transition is bringing to the fore less visible technologies. Everything from traditional hydropower to grid-scale batteries, electrification of transport and hydrogen. It is also bringing into the mix sectors that have not traditionally been focused on energy, such as industrial decarbonisation, shipping and mining for the natural resources needed for the energy transition. In parallel with this, there is a huge and growing story around energy transmission and distribution. Electricity networks will need to expand massively to facilitate electrification and new technologies. They are also becoming smarter with the use of digital technology to optimise the way power is distributed, traded and consumed. Further, new types of networks may provide investment opportunities for those looking for stable long term assets, such as hydrogen and carbon networks.Against this background, traditional fossil fuel-based players are decarbonising their operations. For the oil and gas majors, this means acquiring or significantly enhancing their capabilities in renewables, including wind, solar and hydrogen, while simultaneously divesting selected carbon-intensive assets in response to mounting ESG pressures. This may be one of the reasons why 50% of respondents in our study point to distress-driven deals as a top sell-side driver.Change is endemic in the energy sector, but the current transition makes the years since liberalisation of energy markets in the late 1980s seem almost steady-state in comparison. Despite the momentum and push for capital to be invested in the energy transition, there remain obstacles, not least the limited pipeline of good quality investment opportunities, continuing concerns over lockdowns and COVID-19 variants, financing difficulties arising from potentially unstable long term revenue streams and diminishing rates of return. Notwithstanding these challenges, our study finds that energy sector M&A will increasingly be an engine driving capital into propositions that match social and political ambitions for the green transition. Key findings  Energy remains a premium asset class for most institutional investors, with its performance during the pandemic and impetus from COP26 further enhancing its at­tract­ive­ness75% of energy companies are considering an acquisition and/or divestment in 2022Alongside premium assets, in some subsectors there are undervalued targets driving buy-side activity, with sellers shedding distressed assets as the sector shifts in response to the energy transition45% think COVID-19 will be a major M&A obstacle in 2022, but this remains a fluid situation that can change rapidly
09/12/2021
Climate-friendly future strategy: International CMS team advises SWM and...
Spirit Energy, the gas production company in which Stadtwerke München GmbH (SWM) and Bayerngas GmbH jointly hold 31 percent and the UK-based Centrica holds 69 percent, has signed an agreement to sell...