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Essar Energy Plc bags Freshfields lawyer as first GC

Sheena Singla
Sheena Singla
London-headquartered Essar Energy Plc has hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior associate Sheena Singla as its first London-based general counsel (GC) to oversee future M&A and regulation at the FTSE 100 company company.

"They approached me with the job offer which was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down," said Singla. "It will be focussed on the compliance and regulatory aspect of being a listed company, advising the board, and also advising on mergers and acquisitions."

Singla (pictured) said she would be looking to build up a larger group in-house legal after starting in mid-October, reporting to the CEO of Essar Energy Plc. “The Plc legal function is separate to the Indian legal team but we obviously have to work very closely with them and [Essar Group general counsel] Mukesh Bhavnani.”

The company, which is a unit of India's Essar Group, raised 1.27 billion pounds ($1.95 billion) in its 30 April London Stock Exchange listing giving it a market capitalisation of 5.47 billion pounds. Freshfields alongside Amarchand Mangaldas had advised on the IPO, while Linklaters and its Indian best-friend firm Talwar Thakore & Associates had advised the underwriters.

"It's a very ambitious company, lots of capital they've raised in their IPO being deployed on projects," said Singla, adding that she would build a larger in-house legal team in future.

Singla is a solicitor qualified in England and Wales and had started her career at Freshfields' London office in 1998 as a trainee, focussing on corporate law. “Most recently I have been working with the India practice at Freshfields and have worked on a number of Indian transactions in the last couple of years,” she said.

A Freshfields spokesperson said that Singla had made an excellent contribution to the firm. “We are sad to lose her and we wish her well in her new role.”

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