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Allens advises BAE on $35bn Australian Navy shipbuilding program

19 December 2018

Allens has advised BAE Systems on its involvement in the Commonwealth’s $35 billion Hunter class frigate (HCF) shipbuilding program for the Royal Australian Navy.

Signed by the Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, on 14 December, the program will provide the Navy with world-class anti-submarine warfare capability, creating thousands of jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the Australian economy.

It is the second-largest defence procurement in Australian history.

The transaction involved two streams: the transfer of ASC Shipbuilding to BAE Systems Australia; and the acquisition contract to provide for nine state-of-the-art anti-submarine warfare frigates.

The transfer will see ASC Shipbuilding - previously part of government-owned submarine sustainment and naval shipbuilding company ASC Group - construct the fleet as a subsidiary of BAE Systems.

The transaction involved the issue by ASC Shipbuilding of Australia's first ever 'Sovereign Share' which will be retained by the Australian Government and carries rights designed to protect Australia’s national interest in relation to ASC Shipbuilding.

The Allens team worked with BAE Systems to navigate the transfer of ownership, which also included the Australian Government retaining a call option to reacquire ASC Shipbuilding at the end of the program.

Allens also assisted BAE Systems in the negotiation of the HCF head contract, which involves the build of ships modified from BAE Systems' 'Type 26' frigate design in build for the Royal Navy in the UK.

'We are delighted to have assisted BAE Systems with the many complex aspects of this nationally significant transaction by incorporating expertise from across our firm,' said Partner Kate Towey, who led the ASC transfer team.

'This $35 billion program and the contract which underlies it will provide a significant boon for both Australia's defence capabilities and the national economy more broadly,' said Partner Nicholas Ng, who led the HCF negotiation team.

Allens has extensive experience in the defence sector, with a particular focus on representing defence contractors, and has advised on some of the largest transactions in the market.

Allens legal team ASC transfer: Kate Towey (lead Partner, Corporate), Charles Ashton (Managing Associate, Corporate), Sikeli Ratu (Managing Associate, Employment), Jessica Selby (Managing Associate, TMT), Andrew Wiseman (Partner, IP), Kaelah Ford (Senior Associate, IP), Lauren Chamberlain (Associate, Corporate), Jewel Zhu (Associate, Corporate) and Elise Blume (Lawyer, Corporate)

HCF negotiation: Nicholas Ng (lead Partner, Projects), Sarah Matheson (Partner, IP), Chris Case (Senior Associate, Projects), Nadia Diaz (Senior Associate, IP)

Ends

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Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.