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Mason Hayes & Curran LLP announces turnover results for 2020

29 January 2021

  • DEMAND IN KEY SECTORS OF TECHNOLOGY, ENERGY AND LIFE SCIENCES STILL STRONG DESPITE CHALLENGING YEAR
  • 6% DECREASE IN TURNOVER - €80 MILLION FOR 2020
  • 6 NEW PARTNERS APPOINTED IN 2020, BRINGING TOTAL PARTNER NUMBER TO 95
  • SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF CSR PROJECTS CONTINUED IN 2020 DESPITE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN 

We have released details of our turnover for 2020, with a decrease in revenue of 6% to €80 million in 2020. Despite the Covid pandemic and consequent economic crisis, we still reported strong demand in the technology, energy and life sciences sectors. We also appointed 6 new partners across a range of practice areas, bringing the total number of partners to 95. 
 
Commenting on the results, Managing Partner Declan Black said, “We are pretty satisfied with this outcome for the year that was in it. Professional services were comparatively insulated from the worst effects of the pandemic. We were able to change our work practices, have our lawyers work from home, and still deliver first class client service. Nonetheless we were impacted, particularly in the second quarter, by a pronounced slowdown in transactional activity. Also, contentious work was, and continues to be, impacted by significantly reduced court hearings. However, we are pretty optimistic for 2021 given the prospect of safe and efficacious vaccines, the Brexit agreement and a Biden administration in the US. That sentiment is bolstered by the fact that transactional activity picked up sharply in Q4.” 

We also continued to support the wider community throughout 2020, particularly in the area of access to education for disadvantaged groups. Key projects are: 

  • The UCD Sutherland Opportunity Fund, which provides financial resources for students from under-represented groups to pursue a career in law
  • The Engage & Educate fund with Rethink Ireland in 2021, a €1.2 million fund over 3 years for community educational projects 

In 2020 the firm was also one of the founding signatories of the Pro Bono Pledge, which commits the legal profession to promoting access to justice by providing free legal assistance to those in need. 

Technology

We continue to have Ireland’s largest technology team, as well as one of Europe’s leading privacy and data security teams. Our lawyers provide highly specialised advice to leading technology companies, acting as standing counsel to more tech companies with their EMEA headquarters located in Ireland than any other Irish law firm. The firm also continued to be active in the area of AI, as the EU further progresses its plans for AI regulation. The end of 2020 saw a flurry of activity at a European level, with the European Commission publishing its proposals for the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. Our corporate lawyers have also advised on several high profile deals in the technology space, demonstrating the resilience of this sector throughout the pandemic. 

 
Notable matters from 2020 include: 

  • Acting for Facebook in the seminal Schrems II case before the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the transfer of personal data from Europe to the US. This case is arguably the most significant technology dispute anywhere in Europe in the past year

  • Advising Virgin Media Television in seeking an injunction to restrain the defendant, Eircom, from infringing Virgin’s copyright by broadcasting, displaying, or disseminating our client’s television channels on the defendant’s Apple TV product

  • Advising on the merger of iQuate, a Dublin based global software leader in application mapping, with HyperGrid, a Silicon Valley based provider of cloud management, to form Cloudsphere, and on a $15m funding of Cloudsphere led by Atlantic Bridge Capital

  • Acting for Workvivo, a Cork based employee communications software company, in a $16 million Series A fundraising led by US investment firm, Tiger Global Management and Irish VC, Frontline Ventures.

Financial Services

Our Financial Services group is one of the largest and most dynamic financial services teams in Ireland. The team includes lawyers with extensive industry and transactional experience who are focused on servicing a broad range of companies operating in the sector including banks, insurers, service providers and payment and fintech companies. The team advises in key areas of financial services, such as domestic and international banking; debt capital markets; financial services regulation; investment funds, asset finance, equity capital markets and corporate transactional and governance. The sector responded to huge challenges caused by the pandemic. This was particularly felt in asset, especially aviation, finance. The regulatory regime also continued to evolve with the pandemic further driving the digitisation of banking. This is set to continue in 2021 with the proposed EU legislation on digital operational resilience for the financial services sector.  Other European Commission moves will impact on the capital markets and how non-performing loans might be dealt with post-pandemic. 

Key transactions from 2020 include:

  • Acting as lead advisor to Permanent TSB for its non-performing loan deleveraging programme and on the sale of a portfolio of €1.4 billion of performing buy-to-let loans known as Project Glenbeigh II

  • Acting for Export Development Canada (EDC) in relation to the examinership of Cityjet

  • Advising Goldman Sachs International in connection with the €718 million offer by way of recommended scheme of arrangement by Causeway Consortium Limited for Applegreen plc

  • Advising Pioneer Point and Davidson Kempner on the terms of a €1bn investment into Irish data centre company Echelon, to support Echelon’s 184MW IT load across two data centre locations

  • Advising Cashel Compliance BidCo on the acquisition of MDO Management Company (MDO), a Luxembourg based manager with assets under management exceeding €31 billion

Energy 

We have the market-leading practice in advising on energy and natural resources matters and transactions in Ireland. The practice reflects the trends in the Irish energy market and covers a wide range of energy projects ranging from wind (onshore and offshore), solar, battery storage, data centres and EV charging infrastructure. In 2020 the sector saw increased focus on energy transition and decarbonisation of the economy underpinned by the EU’s action plan to make a more sustainable economy throughout the Union, with the ultimate goal of being climate neutral by 2050. 
  
Key matters from 2020 include: 

  • Advising Norwegian State utility company Statkraft (which is Europe's largest generator of renewable energy) on the acquisition of a portfolio of wind farms and a separate portfolio of solar photovoltaic projects (including Ireland’s largest – Ballymacarney solar farm). The firm also advised Statkraft on the forward sale of two RESS 1 wind farms to Greencoat plc. for €123 million

  • Acting as lead counsel for AIB plc. and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale on the project financing of the Tullahennel wind farm which has a maximum export capacity of 61.6MW and battery storage assets of over 23MW

  • Advising Pioneer Point Partners and Davidson Kempner on their combined investment into Echelon Holdings group, a company developing energy and data centre assets in Ireland. The investment is part of a €1 billion investment programme which includes two sites in Ireland (Clondalkin and Arklow) totalling around 184MW in capacity, with additional pipeline capacity. 184MW represents more than 10% of all data centre capacity, either operational or under construction, with planning permission or in the planning process across Ireland. The energy element of the project will, in time, comprise one or more natural gas fired peaker plants and solar photovoltaic projects

  • Continuing to advise SSE Renewables Ireland Limited on the offshore lease, consenting, development and procurement of Phase II of the Arklow Bank Windfarm with projected capacity between 500 and 800MW  

Healthcare & Life Sciences 

Our Healthcare & Life Sciences team is one of the leading practices in Ireland, with a wealth of expertise in advising hospitals, medical practitioners and indemnifiers, local and international companies, as well as research and third level institutions in the healthcare, pharma, biotech, medical device, digital health, cosmetics and food sectors. The team also has a highly-regarded life sciences regulatory practice with a specialist focus on medical devices and health related wearables.  
 
Key matters from 2020 include: 

  • Acting for one of the world’s leading fitness wearable device manufacturers in obtaining EU regulatory clearance for the company's first software medical device

  • Advising a global West Coast US technology company on the European medical device regulatory framework and associated legal implications of its development of a software product focusing on sleep

  • Acting for Quest Diagnostics Incorporated in defence of clinical negligence actions and contractual and other matters

  • Acting for LetsGetChecked, the home-based diagnostics company on its $71 million Series C Funding round which was led by Illumina Ventures and HLM Venture Partners

  • Acting for IdentiGEN, a private equity-backed company which specialises in DNA-based animal traceability solutions, on the sale to MSD Animal Health, a business unit of Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company

Built Environment

Our advice in this sector spans the full lifecycle of the development and evolution of this environment in all its forms. The Built Environment team advise on projects, ranging from national infrastructure to integrated developments to bespoke buildings. The team’s experience runs from acquisition, through planning, financing, construction, occupation and disposal in all their forms. 2020 saw significant disruption to the commercial property market, as sectors such as retail and hospitality bore the brunt of the COIVD-19 restrictions. Construction was also constrained during the year, which is continuing into 2021. However, infrastructure development was largely unaffected and transactions in areas such as data and distribution centres and health related facilities continued. The appetite for private housing development was also largely unaffected.  
 
Key transactions from 2020 include: 

  • Acting for Kennedy Wilson, a global real estate investment company, on the sale of the Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links to the Northland Properties Group

  • Advising Irish Residential Properties REIT plc. on real estate aspects of its recent private placement of notes of €200 million 

  • Advising SCPI Pierval Santé, a French property fund dedicated to healthcare real estate assets, on the acquisition of over €128 million of nursing home assets throughout Ireland

  • Advising tech giant Slack Technologies on the lease and fit-out of Fitzwilliam 28 which will comprise 135,000 square feet of grade-A office accommodation over eight floors when completed

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