John Conlan

Partner Kaiurungi

John is Head of Wellington Corporate and Commercial and co-leads the Energy practice. He is an experienced corporate lawyer, specialising in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate advisory, and complex commercial contracting and restructuring.

John assists New Zealand and international corporates and financial institutions, as well as the New Zealand Government, to structure complex domestic and cross-border transactions and restructures. John is a very experienced energy lawyer having acted for both upstream and downstream energy clients as well and a number of low carbon projects. He also has significant Overseas Investment Act experience, having advised on the OIO applications for large overseas investments/ divestments by New Zealand funds and companies.

An expert in commercial contracting, John regularly advises companies on the establishment of limited partnership investment models and joint ventures. He has particular expertise in the carbon and renewable energy sectors, large and complex supply contracts and asset sale agreements.

John’s clients include Z Energy, Firstgas, Flick Energy, Fullers360, AMP Capital Investors, Brookfield Global Asset Management, and Souter Investments as well as a number of listed energy companies. He has a very strong reputation in the downstream energy sector. He led Z Energy through its $785 million acquisition of Chevron New Zealand (including the retail site divestments) as its acting General Counsel (on secondment).

His experience working inside a large, listed company gives John a great understanding of client needs. Combining his in-depth knowledge of corporate law, his international experience from his time at Herbert Smith Freehills in London, and his financial expertise, he provides prompt, specific advice for his clients’ unique circumstances. Clients praise John’s ability to find solutions to difficult problems and his skill in structuring, project managing, and executing large multi-party transactions.

John’s expertise has been recognised by leading legal directories, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and IFLR1000.

Career highlights

Advising Tokyo-listed global insurer Dai-ichi Life on its circa NZD 1 billion acquisition of 100% of the shares in Partners Life, Blackstone was the largest shareholder (52.57%).

Advising Entain PLC on its selection as the preferred partner to TAB NZ for a 25-year strategic arrangement to operate the TAB New Zealand business.

Assisting Z throughout the divestment process of its non-core business units, including providing strategic advice before 'going to market', managing due diligence, as well as drafting and finalising the sale and purchase agreements.

Advising AMP Capital Investors on the purchase of a 70% stake in the Wiri prison public private partnership (PPP).

Advising Souter Investments on the sale of the Mana Coach and Howick and Eastern bus businesses.

Advising Brookfield Asset Management on its shareholding arrangements with Infratil on the $3.4 billion acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand.

Advising Z Energy Limited, Air New Zealand Limited, Genesis Energy Limited, and Contact Energy Limited on the establishment of the Drylandcarbon Partnership – a limited liability partnership that invests in a geographically diversified forest portfolio to sequester carbon. Forest Partners was founded in 2022 and its four investors are Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Todd Corporation and Z Energy.

Assisting Alpine Energy with the sale of the New Zealand business of Infratec Limited to WEL Networks Limited, a company which specialises in the design, construction and installation of renewable power systems.

Achievements and recognition
  • Next Generation Partner, Corporate and M&A, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Corporate and M&A, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1, Energy, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1 team, Corporate/Commercial, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Notable Practitioner, Banking and Finance, Capital Markets (Equity) and M&A, IFLR1000