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Meriel Bennett
 Bennett Meriel

Position: Partner
Company: Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Legal
Projects:

Details:

Meriel trained at the firm and has worked in the Projects team for over ten years.  She primarily advises sponsors and lenders on PPP projects in a range of sectors but also advises central government on strategically important PPP procurements.  Recently she has also advised on a number of high profile secondary markets deals.

Meriel is rated as a PFI/PPP expert in the latest edition of Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and frequently chairs IPFA seminars on key PPP policy developments.  She also speaks across the CEE region on PPP market issues and opportunities.

Meriel's experience includes:

Southwark BSF - Led the BLP advising the Vinci/Barclays Private Equity consortium on all aspects of its shortlisted bid on this on this Wave 3 BSF project.

Doncaster Schools - Led the BLP team advising the Vinci/Barclays Private Equity consortium on this grouped schools project which reached financial close in 2007.  Meriel is the client partner for the Vinci/ Barclays Private Equity consortium and managed a multi-disciplinary team of over 15 lawyers providing project finance, joint venture, real estate and construction advice.

London Olympics International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre - Advising the Olympic Delivery Authority on the PPP procurement and legacy use of the IBC/MPC for the London 2012 Olympics, supplying facilities for over 20,000 accredited journalists, broadcasters, photographers and providing the long term legacy use of the site by the private sector for regeneration purposes.  Meriel is the lead partner and key contact for the ODA.  Internally she co-ordinates a team of twenty lawyers across the firm providing real estate, planning, construction, state aid/procurement, funds and real estate finance/project finance advice.

Project Vulcan - Led the BLP team providing due diligence to Land Securities Trillium on its purchase of the Secondary Markets Infrastructure Fund, one of Europe’s largest infrastructure investment and management groups, for consideration in excess of £927m.  Meriel introduced the deal to the firm and led the client’s due diligence on the 65 signed projects in the portfolio, which included roads, education, health and custodial projects.

Cabinet Office - Led the BLP team advising the UK government on the development of the procurement documentation and contract documents for the complete refurbishment of a complex of prestigious, Grade 1 listed buildings in Central London.

East Sussex Care Homes - Leading the BLP team advising the Kier/LST consortium, a short listed bidder on this aged care PFI project.

North Middlesex University Hospital - Led the BLP team advising the Bouygues/HSBC Infrastructure consortium on the £111m redevelopment of the hospital.  Meriel is the client partner for the Bouygues/HSBC Infrastructure consortium and managed a team of fifteen BLP lawyers across the firm providing joint venture, construction, real estate, planning, project finance and tax advice.

Derby Social Housing PFI - Advised Barclays Bank as funder to Derwent Housing Association, a short listed bidder on this non-HRA project.

Home Office Headquarters - Advised the UK government  in relation to the provision of new HQ office accommodation for the Home Office on the site of the former Department of the Environment building at Marsham Street, London, one of the largest single site government accommodation projects ever undertaken.

Garrett Anderson Centre, Ipswich Hospital - Led the BLP team advising the Kier/HSBC Infrastructure Consortium on a major extension to Ipswich Hospital.  The project involved complex interface issues with the existing facilities and the provision of medical equipment.

Medway Police Headquarters - Led the BLP advising the Vinci/Barclays Private Equity consortium on its winning bid to develop new headquarters facilities and associated service in Chatham, Kent.

Stanhope Estate Social Housing - Advised the senior funder to a shortlisted bidder on this Housing Revenue Account scheme in Kent.  The project involved complex interface issues with the related disposal of surplus land  for mixed private and affordable housing development.

Project Bravo - Advised AMEC plc on the disposal of its PFI business, including 10 of its signed PFI projects for consideration in excess of £163m.  Meriel managed all the advice to the client on asset specific disposal matters across twelve projects across sectors as diverse as roads, rail, health and water.  The portfolio ultimately realised consideration in excess of £163m for AMEC plc.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority - Advised UKAEA in relation to the proposed  decommissioning of the Harwell site.  Meriel led a multi-disciplinary legal team and acted as the client contact for the UKAEA in respect of the proposed PPP procurement of the new Waste Encapsulation and Treatment Plant at Harwell.

Central Middlesex Hospital - Advised the Bouygues/HSBC Infrastructure consortium on the redevelopment of Central Middlesex Hospital in North West London.

Tri-Services Whitefleet Project - Advised Lex Vehicle Services in relation to the supply of the Ministry of Defence’s  total non-combatant vehicle requirement.  The project involved a complex funding arrangement involving corporate finance, vehicle leasing and bank finance.  Meriel acted as senior associate on the deal.

"receives praise for being able to distil relevant information to its essence, while demonstrating an intuitive understanding of the bigger picture." (Chambers 2008)

"great attention to detail" (Chambers 2007)

"an extremely good technical lawyer who works hard to get the deal done" (Chambers 2006)


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