Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland’s experience in domestic and international natural resources benefits clients in the execution of investments and operating strategies.
Natural resources play a vital role in both the United States and global economies. Demographic trends will make natural resources even more important in the coming decades. At Sutherland, we have represented participants in the natural resources sector since opening our doors nearly 90 years ago. Our clients are timber, forest products, water, aggregates and agribusiness companies, as well as landowners, land managers, investment funds, investors and lenders in all facets of their businesses.
In recent years, we have become very active in mergers and acquisitions, capital formation and other transactions involving natural resources assets, as transactional activity in these areas has grown.
Our Natural Resources Practice is comprised of four primary areas: timber, water, aggregates and agribusiness. In each of these areas, we offer the full range of legal services necessary to serve our clients.
Practical solutions. We work with our clients and all other parties to get deals done in a timely manner. We strive to beat deadlines, not just meet them.
Wide-ranging client base. We represent all segments of the industry, including landowners, land managers, investment funds, investors and lenders.
Business sense. In addition to our complex transaction experience, we are fully versed in the day-to-day operations of our clients’ businesses and how this affects their overall strategies.
International scope. We assist both foreign investors pursuing and structuring U.S. investments and U.S. investors pursuing and structuring foreign investments.
Personal service, firm-wide resources. We assign a partner to each transaction, so that clients always know who to call with questions and concerns. But we also have the strength of more than 400 attorneys when our clients need more assistance.
Regulatory guidance. We understand the regulatory challenges presented by operating in local markets, including environmental, permitting and zoning issues.
Nuts and Bolts
- Timber and forest products
- Sutherland is a nationally-recognized legal innovator in the timber and forest products sector.
- Sutherland attorneys represent investment managers, investors, borrowers, institutional lenders and forest products companies in complex timber acquisitions, disposition, finance and restructuring transactions. Our timber and forest products practice has played a role in every significant U.S. timber transaction during the last 20 years, representing buyers, sellers or lenders in transactions totaling nearly $15 billion.
- We are fully versed in the day-to-day operations of our timber clients’ businesses, regularly negotiating and documenting supply agreements, cutting agreements, timber deeds, management agreements, conservation easements, recreational leases and other land use agreements.
- We thoroughly understand the legal requirements affecting emerging uses of timberlands, including wetlands mitigation and other types of conservation banks, wind farms and for carbon sequestration.
- Timber investments have income tax-favored status. Our early experience with timber’s tax attributes led to later successes when we secured several key private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service. These rulings played an important role in the growth of the timberland investment management industry, and we have been fortunate to represent many of the nation’s leading timber investment management organizations in their operating and regulatory matters.
- Our timber and forest products practice is international in scope and includes both the representation of foreign investors pursuing and structuring U.S. investments and U.S. investors pursuing and structuring foreign investments.
- As the pressure intensifies to address global water and wastewater management requirements, Sutherland assists leading water and wastewater companies, investors and governmental entities in addressing new challenges unique to their industry, particularly with respect to the acquisition and disposition of assets, project financing, construction, operation and maintenance of water-related infrastructure and the development and licensing of new technologies.
- We help clients take advantage of, and navigate, today’s global water and wastewater market by resolving environmental issues and managing infrastructure and procurement needs. Sutherland regularly works with clients engaged in water and wastewater arrangements with the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal, state and local government agencies.
- Sutherland has played an integral role in helping to develop today’s water and wastewater industry. Our industry knowledge and legal skills enable us to provide timely, relevant legal advice delivered in clear business language. Sutherland has served as lead counsel in more than 150 acquisitions and dispositions in the water and wastewater industry over the past 15 years totaling more than $10 billion.
- Sutherland represents industry leaders such as CEMEX and Martin Marietta Materials in the commercial and regulatory aspects of their operations. In particular, we have significant experience in the acquisition and disposition of aggregates businesses, including the formation of joint ventures.
- The aggregates industry is intensely local, because the cost of transporting the product is a major component of the delivered price of the product. We understand the regulatory challenges presented by operating in local markets, including environmental, permitting and zoning issues. We are thoroughly versed in the real property issues faced by operators which, coupled with our industry knowledge, allows us to negotiate leases and other land use agreements efficiently. We negotiate supply, contract crushing, transportation and other commercial agreements that are fundamental to the industry.
- Our Agribusiness team represents both institutional and private owners in highly complex national and international transactions. We navigate quickly through issues that are unique to agribusiness, such as the challenges presented by the permanent planting of crops versus row crop farms. We have negotiated a variety of operational agreements that are critical to the success of an agribusiness investment, such as viticulture contracts and other supply agreements, forward sales, and management and leasing agreements.
Clients trust Sutherland for advice on strategic, complex transactions in the natural resources space.
Sutherland assists client to form international joint venture with agricultural properties in five countries.
We represented a large insurance company in forming an international joint venture to acquire properties in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Subsequently, the venture was converted into an international agribusiness investment fund.
Sutherland advises on acquisition of 104,000 contiguous acres of Belize timberland.
To double our client's holdings in Belize, Sutherland advised on the acquisition of 104,000 contiguous Belize timberland acres.
Sutherland counsels United States Filter Corporation on nearly 150 M&A deals.
Sutherland served as primary U.S. mergers and acquisitions counsel for United States Filter Corporation, which at the time was the world's largest and fastest growing water and wastewater management company. Sutherland completed more than 150 acquisitions and dispositions for this client over a 15-year period.