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

Chambers, 2019

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

Legal 500, 2020

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

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...
01/09/2021
CMS ad­vises SSE on £1.225bn sale of stake in SGN
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised SSE on the sale of its en­tire 33.3% stake in gas dis­tri­bu­tion op­er­at­or Sco­tia Gas Net­works Ltd (SGN) to a con­sor­ti­um com­pris­ing ex­ist­ing SGN share­hold­er Ontario...
26/05/2021
CMS wins award for Equi­nor’s land­mark US off­shore wind trans­ac­tion with...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is pleased to an­nounce that it has won the Off­shore Wind Deal of the Year award at the Wind In­vest­ment Awards 2021 for its for its role ad­vising Equi­nor on the sale of its stake...
16/09/2020
CMS ad­vises Equi­nor on its part­ner­ship with BP in US off­shore wind
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is de­lighted to an­nounce its role as leg­al ad­viser to Equi­nor on its agree­ment with BP to sell 50% of its non-op­er­ated in­terests in the Em­pire Wind and Beacon Wind as­sets on...
01/05/2020
CMS ad­vises Oc­topus En­ergy on 20% stake by Ori­gin En­ergy
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised Oc­topus En­ergy, the UK en­ergy tech­no­logy group, in re­la­tion to a 20% in­vest­ment in the com­pany by Aus­trali­an en­ergy com­pany Ori­gin En­ergy. The deal val­ues Oc­topus...
18/12/2019
CMS ad­vises GLIL In­fra­struc­ture on ac­quis­i­tion of 49% stake in op­er­a­tion­al...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised GLIL In­fra­struc­ture LLP (GLIL), the £1.8bn in­fra­struc­ture fund backed by North­ern LG­PS and Loc­al Pen­sions Part­ner­ship, on its 49:51 equity part­ner­ship with glob­al...
13/12/2019
CMS ad­vises ESB on ac­quis­i­tion of 50% stake in £2bn off­shore wind farm
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised lead­ing Ir­ish en­ergy com­pany Elec­tri­city Sup­ply Board (ESB) on its 50:50 equity part­ner­ship with EDF Re­new­ables to jointly de­vel­op the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe (NnG)...
06/11/2019
CMS Re­new­ables We­bin­ar: Where next for Sec­ond­ary Mar­ket Deals
Fol­low­ing our very suc­cess­ful sem­in­ar held in Lon­don on Septem­ber 11th and due to pop­u­lar de­mand, we are run­ning the sem­in­ar as a we­bin­ar for those that were un­able to join.The CMS re­new­ables we­bin­ar...