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Covington Boosts Global Project Finance Offering with Senior Hires

March 15, 2018

LONDONRobin Mizrahi has joined Covington as a partner and Laure Berthelot as special counsel in the firm’s Project Development and Finance practice. Based in London, Mr. Mizrahi and Ms. Berthelot will work closely with the firm’s project finance lawyers in Dubai, Johannesburg, London, New York, Seoul, and Washington. Their arrival follows the firm’s opening in Dubai and Johannesburg in Spring 2017.

Mr. Mizrahi’s practice is focused on project development and finance and privatizations and acquisitions in the power and renewable energy industries, as well as the water, transportation, oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors. He advises sponsors, lenders, and government entities in connection with the development and financing of large projects and has over two decades of experience in emerging markets, including Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Ms. Berthelot advises developers, lenders, multilateral agencies and governmental organizations on international project financing, privatizations and acquisitions. Her practice has an emphasis on emerging markets, electricity (conventional and renewable power) and infrastructure, including in anglophone and francophone Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Mizrahi and Ms. Bertherlot have played an instrumental role in a number of landmark deals, including:

  • The Bujagali hydropower project in Uganda, the most powerful hydroelectric energy source in Uganda at the time of construction and one of the largest power sector project financings in Sub-Saharan Africa, named “African Power Deal of the Year” by Project Finance Magazine;
  • Representation of the Morocco state-owned utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) in connection with the US$2.6 billion Safi project, a 1320 MW clean-coal-fired IPP in Morocco, named “North African Power Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International and “African Power Deal of the Year” by IJ Global and Project Finance Magazine; and
  • Representation of the Morocco state-owned utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) in respect of the US$590 million, 300 MW Tarfaya Wind Project, the largest wind project in Africa.

“We provide our clients with an experienced and broad-based team capable of executing project development and finance transactions in a number of sectors and jurisdictions,” said Graham Vinter, chair of Covington’s international Project Development and Finance practice. “Robin's and Laure’s particular skills and practice focus, combined with our existing capabilities, will allow us to serve clients in energy and infrastructure projects throughout Africa and the Middle East, including French-speaking countries.”

“I am attracted to Covington’s strong footprint and profile in Africa and the Middle East and look forward to re-joining many former colleagues,” said Mr. Mizrahi. “Covington’s ability to provide project clients with holistic legal advice that addresses not only their fundamental project finance needs, but also helps navigate the associated public policy and government affairs environment, is an attractive platform to clients.”

A native French speaker, Mr. Mizrahi is a graduate of the Université Libre de Bruxelles and The London School of Economics and Political Science and is qualified to practice in England and Wales. Ms. Berthelot graduated from Université Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and King’s College London and is qualified in England and Wales, as well as New York.

Covington’s global Project Development and Finance team has been shortlisted at the PFI Awards 2017 and IJ Global Awards 2017 for their work on projects in the EMEA region, including in the Best Legal Advisor MENA category. The team also won the Bond Deal of the Year category for the ACWA APMI One transaction at the PFI Awards 2017.

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