Ashurst’s M&A team sees two deal mandates in Abu Dhabi close

29 June 2021 2 min. read

M&A consultants from law firm Ashurst have over the past two months seen two of its deal mandates in the Middle East achieve successful closure.

Last week, Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners (a joint venture between Mubadala Investment Company and Falcon Edge Capital) announced that it has invested in Alphastream Partners, a new venture set up in Abu Dhabi Global Markets. Also backed by UK-based Portman Partners, Alphastream Partners will provide debt and equity funding to companies developing mines for precious metals, industrial metals and rare earth elements.

According to reporting by The National, Alphastream Partners has targeted $500 million over the next three to five years both in the form of debt and equity. “We do not plan to finance exploration projects, and instead will focus on ventures with proven reserves,” said Alphastream co-founder Prashant Francis.

Ashurst’s M&A team sees two deal mandates in Abu Dhabi close

Alphastream will focus on investment in mines in Africa, Asia and South America producing precious metals and technology metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt – metals for which demand has soared over the past years, in particular due to their use in batteries for electric vehicles.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency, demand for such metals is set to boom going forward. Demand for lithium is expected to grow over 40 times by 2040, while demand for graphite, cobalt and nickel is likely to grow about 20-25 times vis a vis current levels.

Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners was advised during the deal by M&A consultants from Ashurst, with a team led by Abu Dhabi based partner Stuart James, assisted by associate Rushal Noor, with support from partner Jonathan Cohen in London and tax partner Sharon Kim in New York.

The closing came roughly one month after Japan-headquartered Sojitz announced it had completed a 20% equity acquisition of Mirfa International Power and Water Company, an Abu Dhabi based company that operates a 1600MW power and 52.5MIGD desalination plant in the Al Dhafra region. 

Ashurst – one of Sojitz’s in-house advisors for deals and legal matters in several countries – and advised the Japanese throughout the deal lifecycle. The firm’s team was led by partners Simon Fraser and David Charlier, assisted by senior associates Matt Hartsuyker and Grant Batten and associates Rushal Noor, Will Keen and Sara Malek.

Globally, Sojitz has over $20 billion of assets across a number of sectors, including 40 power projects in 10+ countries globally. 

According to data from PwC, the Middle East’s merger & acquisition market has come through the crisis relatively well, with the outlook for 2021 bright as corporates, private equity and sovereign funds ramp up their investments to prepare for a changing environment and capitalise on distressed opportunities.