Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie, has advised  the international water and waste management company SUEZ and trading and investment firm ITOCHU as the successful sponsors on a €300 million 25-year Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to develop a new system to treat the municipal waste of Belgrade. Following an international tender process, the agreement, which is the largest PPP ever signed in Serbia, was signed on 29 September by the City of Belgrade and the SUEZ/ITOCHU joint venture. Baker McKenzie worked on the transaction with Wolf Theiss as Serbian counsel. 

The project will involve the remediation of the municipal waste landfill and the financing, construction, and long-term operation of modern waste management facilitates for the Serbian capital. 

The Baker McKenzie team was led from London by Head of Corporate, Mike Webster and Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Partner Marc Fèvre, together with Senior Associates Rhiannon Williams, Mark Richardson and Associate Andrew Hope. The Wolf Theiss team was led by Partner Miroslav Stojanovic, with Iskra Lazic, Senior Associate and Andjelka Todorovic, Associate.

Mike Webster, Head of Baker McKenzie's London Corporate practice and the EMI Practice Group for EMEA, said: "We're pleased to have advised on this landmark Public-Private Partnership which is of vital importance to Serbia and the broader region. This is a ground-breaking project and marks a step forward in transforming Belgrade's environment."

Marc Fèvre added: "With our industry specialisation and experience in first-in-kind projects of this nature, we were uniquely positioned to advise SUEZ and ITOCHU on this strategically important transaction. Not only will the project improve the environment for the Belgrade region, but it will also provide renewable energy and heating for citizens in the City. The project is the first of its kind in SE Europe developed by a municipal authority".

Under the agreement, SUEZ and ITOCHU’s 50/50 joint-venture will raise over €300m financing to build a 340,000 tons p.a. waste-to-energy facility with installed power production capacity of 25 MW and heat production capacity of 56 MW. In addition, a dedicated facility will process 200,000 tons of construction and demolition waste per year at the Vinca landfill. Finally, a new waste disposal designed in accordance with European standards will dispose of residual waste pending the development of the recycling policy currently rolled out by City authorities.

The Belgrade waste PPP is another strategically important transaction on which Baker McKenzie has advised SUEZ. It follows the announcement last week of Baker McKenzie advising  SUEZ in relation to the $3.4 billion acquisition of GE Water.

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