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Graham Vinter… the man who wrote 'the book'

August 14, 2019, IJGlobal

IJGlobal recently featured Graham Vinter in article about his career in project development and finance. Called “the man who wrote ‘the book,” Vinter drafted the definitive treatise on project finance, Project Finance, A Legal Guide, which has now run into four editions.

Regarding current PFI project negotiations in the U.K., Mr. Vinter suggests that local authorities need more help in negotiations with private entities. He argues for a new Treasury taskforce to prioritize projects, and suggests revisiting plans dating back as far as the early 1990’s for PFI vehicles to be jointly owned by the public and private sectors. “You don’t do infrastructure in fits and starts. You can’t say 'it’s all done now, so let’s move on to something else'. It is a process of constant renewal and upgrading. We need to get back on the wagon. Otherwise we will end up in the same situation the Labor Government found itself in 1997 – infrastructure was literally falling to pieces. Whatever you say about the financing, stuff got done,” he says.

 

Mr. Vinter told IJGlobal the three reasons he chose to come out of retirement and join Covington are: The chance to build a project finance practice from scratch; the firm’s focus on Africa; and its unique policy team. Covington’s long-term approach and willingness to invest was a huge draw. “Covington understands Africa could be ‘the next big thing’ and expanding its business in that region is a key objective of the firm. We want to be able to do corporate M&A, litigation, arbitration, as well as project finance in Africa. But project finance is a way for us to penetrate that market.”

 

In the article, he provided advice to young lawyers. He says the law is often inaccessible to the layman because it is so technical, he says, but the lawyer’s job is to make it accessible. The sector is changing fast but the skill of negotiation and the personal touch will still remain essential.

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