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Mason Hayes & Curran announces 8% Increase in Turnover - €82m for 2018

25 January 2019

Leading business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran has reported a rise in revenue of 8% to €82 million in 2018.

The firm’s growth was broadly based with transactional services, such as corporate and real estate, being particularly busy. Demand was also very strong in the technology, energy and financial services’ sectors where the firm has leading practices.  Litigation services were also very active with investigations, boardroom disputes, intellectual property disputes and healthcare litigation to the fore. The firm appointed 12 new partners across a variety of practice groups bringing the total number of partners in the firm to 87.

Commenting on the results, the firm’s Managing Partner, Declan Black, said “We are pleased that our service to clients has led to solid and sustainable growth in 2018. Obviously external conditions always impact on outcomes and in 2018 they were largely positive - although the Brexit risk looms large. But we can only control what we do, so our focus is giving our clients first-class expertise and deep experience and doing that in an unstuffy, innovative and collaborative way. It was gratifying that our emphasis on innovative service won us the FT’s top award for ‘Innovation in Legal Expertise’ but even more so that our innovations generate real value for our clients both in terms of cash savings and time efficiencies.”

Declan added, “Brexit continues to be a very significant risk but it does also create some opportunities for Ireland. The migration of financial services and other jobs is an obvious one. The increased competitiveness of Ireland as an FDI location relative to the UK is another. More recently, it is good to see the Government recognise that promoting and investing in the efficiency of the Courts Service is not just good for society as a whole. It is also a factor in attracting and anchoring both bricks and mortar and transactional business to Ireland with the corresponding economic benefit. With our common law system, EU membership and being native English speakers, we are very well placed to persuade firms to choose Irish law and the Irish courts to regulate their transactions and this leads to increased business in Ireland. But these natural advantages do need active support by Government policy and investment to be fully exploited.”

The firm has also continued to maintain its international presence in 2018, sending additional staff to its San Francisco office to support international clients who benefit from the availability of lawyers advising on Irish legal issues in both their own and the Irish time zones, which helps speed of service delivery.

Technology, Media & Communications 

Mason Hayes & Curran has Ireland’s leading Technology, Media & Communications Law practice, working with most of the world’s leading technology companies. In 2018, the team further expanded their working relationships with the existing clients and started working with a number of new, innovative and cutting edge companies in the technology space.

The introduction of the new GDPR regime in May 2018 continued to be a significant area of activity. The team acts as lead GDPR European counsel for many of the world’s biggest companies, and provided in-depth counsel and advice on readiness and compliance.  The team is now acting on most of the largest GDPR investigations being carried by the Data Protection Commission.

Key matters from 2018 include:

  • Representing Facebook in the High Court action brought by the Irish Data Protection Commission, which sought a referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses. This case generated an enormous amount of press coverage on both sides of the Atlantic due to its potential economic implications for businesses, but also because of its importance from a national security perspective.

  • Advising the Commission for Communications Regulation on its 5G spectrum award involving the 700 MHz band and other bands. The 700 MHz band is a hugely valuable spectrum band given its ability to facilitate wide area coverage in less populated areas.

  • Continuing to advise the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on all aspects of its National Broadband Plan, the most high profile communications project in Ireland for many years.

  • Continuing to advise a range of UK broadcasters seeking to relocate to Ireland due to Brexit.  We also advised on the first television licence application to be submitted to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in light of Brexit.

  • Acting as advisor to Virgin Media Ireland, one of the largest digital cable television providers in Ireland and the second biggest player in the Irish broadband market, including advice on the launch of its B2B mobile service in 2018.

Dispute Resolution

The firm’s Dispute Resolution team is one of the largest in the country. The team has unrivalled experience in all types of high value dispute resolution in the financial services, construction, real estate, technology, energy, insurance and healthcare sectors. Their specialist litigators focus on boardroom and shareholder disputes, intellectual property, Government and regulatory inquiries, employment and benefits, procurement and competition and asset recovery. The team brings huge experience to managing disputes with international and reputational aspects and is adept at using arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Highlights from 2018 included:

  • Representing the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities in judicial review proceedings with electricity generators relating to the transition to the Integrated Single Electricity Market (“I-SEM”).

  • Acting for CNH Industrial, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Iveco Magirus and Iveco in their defence of proceedings issued against them for follow-on damages for alleged breach of EU competition law. These proceedings arose out of a finding by the European Commission that certain truck manufacturers allegedly broke EU antitrust rules by coordinating prices at gross level for medium and heavy trucks and passed on to customers the costs of emission technologies required to ensure compliance with stricter emission rules.

  • Representing SPV OSUS Limited in proceedings against HSBC and other services providers relating to losses suffered by Optimal Strategic U.S. Equity Limited following the collapse of the Madoff Ponzi scheme. The overall value of the claim is $3 billion.

  • Acting for the International Transport Workers’ Federation in proceedings against the Irish State seeking various declarations that the constitutional and human rights of several non-EEA migrant fishermen had been breached in their participation in a work scheme introduced by the government in 2016. Allegations of trafficking and exploitation have been made by the fishermen involved. The case is proceeding to an early plenary hearing.

Real Estate 

Mason Hayes & Curran has the largest and most dynamic Real Estate team in the country. The market-leading practice operates across areas such as hotels & leisure, energy, institutional investment and occupiers and real estate development. In 2018, the innovative work of the team in developing a technology solution to speed up the residential conveyancing process which has supported some 5,000 transactions to date was recognised with the “Innovation in Legal Expertise” award at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards in London.

Significant transactions in 2018 included:

  • Advising IRES, the State’s largest private residential landlord, in connection with the acquisition by share sale of a number of apartments being developed by the Dalata Hotel Group on the site of the former Tara Towers site.

  • Advising US investment firms Hines and King Street in the sale of a 175 acre development site in Cherrywood, Co. Dublin. The entire Cherrywood project is expected to cost €2bn and will ultimately become home to 30,000 people.

  • Acting for the Irish Rugby Football Union in the sale of lands at Newlands Cross to Hibernia REIT and agreement for additional payments to the IRFU if the lands are re-zoned from agricultural use.

  • Advising easyHotel (part of the easyJet Group) on the purchase of a site in Smithfield and construction of its first Irish hotel on that site.

Financial Services

In 2018, the firm’s Financial Services team continued to work with domestic and international financial institutions and investment funds across areas such as portfolio loan sales, structured finance transactions, investment fund establishment and secured loan transactions. The appointment of partner Daragh O’Shea to lead the Structured Finance practice, further strengthened the team’s reputation as expert financial services lawyers who provide legal and business advice that is strategically informed and aligned with their business objectives.

Key transactions in 2018 included:

  • Acting as lead transaction advisors for Permanent tsb plc in the sale of Project Glas, a €2.1bn non-performing loan sale, the largest sale of its kind in the Irish market.

  • Advising Fineco Asset Management on the establishment of a number of Irish investment funds on its UCITs platform, which is one of the largest fund establishment projects in the EU in 2018.

  • Advising a syndicate of banks (Santander, Commerzbank, Royal Bank of Canada and BNP Paribas) led by AIB as Agent, funding Greencoat plc’ s revolving credit facility of up to €250 million.

  • Acting for Panelto Foods Unlimited Company on the first corporate loan provided by the ISIF/NTMA.  The facility was funded to part-finance the redevelopment of the Panelto Foods manufacturing facility in Longford.

  • Advising Tetrarch on the high-profile purchase and financing of the Citywest Hotel and Golf complex and 220 acres of associated real estate interests.

  • Acting for NTM Capital LLP on the restructuring of NTM’s ownership interests in four substantial student housing developments at various stages of construction, which will add a total of 1,325 new student accommodation beds in Dublin and Cork.

Corporate

Mason Hayes & Curran has one of Ireland’s leading corporate practices, and in 2018 the team continued to represent international, blue chip corporates and leading Irish businesses on many of the most significant M&A transactions occurring in the Irish market. New partner hires Robert Dickson and William Dillon-Leetch further strengthened the international expertise of the team.

Key transactions from 2018 included:

  • Representing French Recruitment giant Group Adéquat in its acquisition of Irish recruitment business Sigmar Recruitment.

  • Advising Mark Little on his new venture Kinzen, an online news service.

  • Acting for Global Shares plc, a leading international provider of equity compensation management solutions, on a significant private equity transaction with US Fund Motive Partners, backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

  • Acting for LetsGetChecked on its funding round from Optum Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley based VC firm which backs high-potential health tech firms.

  • Representing RCI Bank and Services in its acquisition of a majority stake in icabbi, a taxi software firm.

  • Advising the ExcelRedstone on the acquisition of Ireland’s largest IT network infrastructure solutions company, Kedington Limited. 

  • Advising SciSys plc on its Brexit related establishment of a new Irish holding company and the replacement of its exist listing on UK’s AIM market with a listing of the new holding company on AIM and the ESM market of Euronext Dublin.

  • Acting for Element Power in the sale of its Irish and UK onshore wind development operations, including approximately 1,550 MW of projects, to Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft AS.

  • Acting for NTR in the acquisition for its onshore NTR Wind 1 LP fund portfolio of the 28 MW Aeolus Wind Farm from private project developers in the Irish market.  Once operational, the project will provide enough clean energy to power approximately 19,000 homes.

Read more in The Irish Times

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