Ben Hickson

Ben is a Partner in the Corporate and Commercial Team.

Originally trained in Hesketh Henry’s commercial property team, Ben re-joined the firm’s commercial group after 7 years working as a corporate lawyer in South East Asia.  Prior to his return to New Zealand, Ben was a senior associate in the Singapore corporate and M&A practice group of international law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP, specialising in cross border M&A and foreign direct investment deals into Myanmar and the wider region.  Ben’s legal experience and extensive business network in South East Asia compliments and adds depth to Hesketh Henry’s growing Asia Practice.

Ben advises on a range of corporate and commercial transactions including M&A transactions, foreign investment, joint venture arrangements, corporate governance matters, commercial licencing and other business regulatory issues.  He has particular expertise in the telecommunications and forestry sectors.  Ben also works closely with Hesketh Henry’s Trade & Transport practice group, regularly providing commercial and transactional legal advice for clients operating within the logistics, maritime and aviation sectors.

In addition to his corporate and cross border M&A expertise, with an early grounding and extensive experience in NZ property law, Ben has advised real estate developers, hotel operators and other property investors on acquisitions, commercial development, disposals, leasing and other property related work across New Zealand and South East Asia.

Ben also advises clients with commercial operations across the Pacific Islands.  He is an executive committee member of the New Zealand-Fiji Business Council.

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Examples of work completed by Ben include:

  • Advising BW Group with respect to New Zealand law and regulatory aspects (including obtaining regulatory clearance from the Overseas Investment Office) for BW Digital’s acquisition of shares in Hawaiki Submarine Cable and International Connectivity Services.
  • Advising a European company on its acquisition of New Zealand forestry interests and emissions trading scheme compliance matters.
  • Acting on the sale and purchase of helicopters and other aircraft within New Zealand.
  • Advising a Hong Kong listed premium hotel owner/operator on land due diligence, regulatory consents, lease negotiations, and drafting of substantive project documentation for a US$144m hotel redevelopment of a 1920s historic colonial train station in downtown Yangon.
  • Advising a NYSE listed insurance company on its market entry, corporate structuring, licencing, and ongoing operations in Myanmar, being one of 5 successful foreign insurers to tender and receive a life insurance licence following the opening of the insurance market for the first time in modern history to foreign participants.
  • Advising an energy corporation based in Singapore with its due diligence and investment in an Auckland biotechnology company.
  • Advising owners of a global hospitality consultancy on the sale of its Singapore and Dubai businesses to a Florida based consultancy.
  • Advising a Malaysian state-owned telecommunications company, on Myanmar aspects of its proposed merger with a Norwegian telecommunications operator (including due diligence and advice on transactional documents).
  • Advising a joint venture (backed by prominent Japanese trading houses) on loan facilities from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), used to develop a US$65m port in Yangon, Myanmar.

Insights & Opinion / Ben Hickson

Construction Framework Wide BW
OIO Spotlight:  Government issues new directive on foreign investment for build-to-rent housing developments
Earlier this year, the coalition Government announced that it would be introducing a new streamlined consent pathway for build-to-rent developments by way of amendments to the Overseas Investment Act ...
16.04.2024 Posted in Business Advice & Property
Forestry Unsplash ruben hanssen wl ylTCM
Forestry: Regulatory Roundup March 2024
The challenging economic environment for New Zealand’s forestry industry continues, with China’s demand for our logs remaining subdued. Moreover, in addition to the change in Government, t...
25.03.2024 Posted in Forestry & Property
OIO Spotlight: Solar projects, exempted interests and farmland considerations
As New Zealand renewable energy developments continue to attract interest from global investors, we take a look at some recent approaches of the Overseas Investment Office in assessing consent require...
Fern forest NZ
Bioenergy in New Zealand: Fuels for the Future?
The energy transition from combustion fuels to low carbon alternatives is viewed as critical in the race to cut global CO2 emissions and reach climate targets.  We look at some of the opportunities p...
14.11.2023 Posted in Business Advice & Climate Change & Forestry
Developer Alert: OIO indicates discretionary exemptions may be possible for holders of Transitional Exemption Certificates
Developers of large apartment developments holding transitional exemption certificates (which are set to expire in August 2023) may be able to get a discretionary exemption from the OIO, which would a...
28.07.2023 Posted in Business Advice & Foreign Investment & Property
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Pathways for Foreign Investment in NZ Forestry
Forestry is a strategically important industry for New Zealand and one which has traditionally received substantial amounts of foreign investment.  In recent years, changes have been made to the over...
18.07.2023 Posted in Foreign Investment & Forestry & Property
ETS Scheme Consultation Commences
On 19 June 2023 the Government launched a consultation process around possible changes to New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme.  Our Forestry Team looks at key features. Cyclones, flooding and ot...
04.07.2023 Posted in Business Advice & Climate Change & Forestry & Property