Norton Rose appoints two new partners in the Middle East

12 June 2008

International legal practice Norton Rose (Middle East) LLP, today announced that Andrew Abernethy will join the Dubai office as a partner and Jonathan Brufal, a London-based projects partner, will move to the Abu Dhabi office to lead the Middle East infrastructure practice. Andrew is joining from leading New Zealand law firm Bell Gully in Wellington where he is currently a corporate finance partner.

Andrew specialises in mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings. His experience includes advising on international and domestic fund structuring, mergers and acquisitions particularly cross border transactions and a range of securities offerings. Andrew has also acted for both purchasers and sellers in acquisition and disposition transactions, including stock and asset sales, recapitalisations, restructurings, joint ventures, partnerships and other structured solutions.

Andrew is a New Zealand and New York qualified solicitor. Before working with Bell Gully, Andrew spent six years at Shearman & Sterling in New York, focussing on public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity and structured finance.

Tim Marsden, Global Head of Corporate finance commented:
“We undertook an extensive search in New Zealand and Andrew’s experience was an excellent fit with our expansion plans for the Gulf. We have some of the best M&A clients in the region and we are currently benefiting from the buoyant market there, especially from sovereign wealth funds and private equity. Clients demand a M&A presence on the ground and Andrew will be a strong addition to our M&A capability in Dubai.”

Andrew Abernethy commented:
“I am delighted to be joining Norton Rose (Middle East) LLP. In particular, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Middle East to deliver outstanding solutions and value to our clients around the world. I'm obviously privileged to be doing so from such a strong existing platform of corporate finance experience and market leading expertise.”

Andrew was named as a leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Asialaw's 2007 guide to Asia's leading lawyers, citing market feedback that “Andrew brings a very strong commercial perspective to transactions and has a natural flair for negotiation strategy”. In 2007, Australasian Legal Business identified Andrew as a leading New Zealand lawyer in the energy and resources sector with clients commending the “great expertise he brings to all tasks”.

This follows the recent promotion of two new partners in Dubai, the arrival of Karl Rogers, a new partner in Dubai, the announcement that Norton Rose Group is in the process of opening an office in Abu Dhabi and an association with the Abdulaziz Al-Assaf Law Firm in Saudi Arabia which was formed at the end of 2007.

London-based projects partner Jonathan Brufal is set to move to Abu Dhabi where he will lead the Middle East infrastructure practice. His infrastructure expertise will complement the already strong construction practice in Bahrain and Dubai. Jonathan has a breadth of experience advising governments, sponsors, lenders and contractors on the concession, construction, and operation and maintenance aspects of a variety of infrastructure projects across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has a particular focus on the PPP, urban regeneration and water sectors.

Norton Rose Group has been active in the Middle East since 1979, and has offices in Bahrain, Dubai and an associated office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with law firm Abdulaziz Al-Assaf. Norton Rose Group’s client base comprises of regional and multinational corporations, financial institutions, government, quasi-government entities and sovereign funds.