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  1. Corporate and M&A
  2. Leading individuals

A&L Goodbody’s team is noted for its ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’ and for its ‘exemplary levels of client care’. Its wide-ranging M&A experience spans the agri-food, real estate, transport and manufacturing sectors; notable highlights included advising Ballyrashane Co-operative Agriculture and Dairy Society on its merger with the Town of Monaghan Co-operative and Dairy Society, based in the Republic of Ireland. In another cross-border highlight, the firm advised Danish manufacturer Micro Matic on its acquisition of the Valpar group of companies. Other clients include Aperture Debt Solutions and Deloitte. Alastair Keith heads the practice. Belfast office chair Peter Stafford and head of office Mark Thompson are also recommended.

The ‘extremely brightAlan Taylor leads Arthur Cox Belfast’s ‘market-leading’ team, which acts for a number of household names in the agri-food, transport, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sectors. Recent highlights include advising AGRO Merchants on its acquisition of Sawyers Transport Limited, a major haulage company based in Northern Ireland. Competition law is another area of expertise for the group. Other clients include Dunbia, one of Northern Ireland’s largest suppliers of red meat products. Alan Bissett left the firm in March 2016.

2015 highlights for Carson McDowell LLP’s corporate team included advising McKesson Corporation on its €407.5m acquisition of UDG healthcare’s Irish pharmaceutical distribution businesses. The group’s sector expertise covers manufacturing, construction and healthcare and its client roster includes H&J Martin, Irish Energy Investments and Graham Investment Projects. Neasa Quigley and Richard Gray head the six-partner team, which includes managing partner Michael Johnston and Gerard Armstrong.

In an illustration of Tughans’ presence in high-profile and high-value transactions, 2015 saw the firm advise longstanding client Totalmobile Holdings on its sale to Lyceum Capital. The team also has a strong following among private equity clients and recently advised Kernel Capital on its investment into Cirdan Imaging Limited. Other highlights included advising the shareholders of Sawyers Transport on its sale to AGRO Merchants. John-George Willis heads the department, which includes Ciara Lagan, who advised Lagan Construction Group on its acquisition of H&J Martin.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s workload in 2015 covered a broad range of M&A transactions in the construction, hospitality and insurance sectors, as well as advice to several private equity firms. Highlights included advising Just Eat on its acquisition of Nifty Nosh Limited, and acting for Invest Northern Ireland on its equity investment into Titan IC Systems, a hardware engine development company. Scott Kennedy heads the team.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP’s client base includes manufacturers, medical devices companies, and digital content businesses. In 2015 the firm acted for ConveyorTek, a Northern Ireland logistics manufacturer, on an investment in the client by Broadlake Capital. The practice also works on property acquisitions. The ‘creative and technically excellent’ Damian McParland (who is also noted for his competition law expertise) leads the practice, which includes newly promoted partners Abbie Long and the ‘commercially minded and practical’ John Turley.

Mills Selig’s client base includes insurance and construction companies as well as private equity firms such as Whiterock Capital and Crescent Capital. Highlights included advising First Derivatives, a Northern Ireland software company, on six international acquisitions in countries including the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK with an aggregate value of £28.3m. The ‘brightChris Guy heads the practice, which includes IT and IP specialist Kathryn Walls and John Kearns, who has extensive insolvency and restructuring expertise.

Paul McBride and Hilary Griffith head the group at Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP, which has particular strength in private equity and energy deals. In an illustration of the latter, Richard Murphy led the advice to TCI Renewables on its disposal of Crockbaravally Wind Farm. Other clients include Portman Healthcare.

Ken Rutherford leads the practice at C & H Jefferson, which advises on company, partnership and LLP formations, corporate governance, commercial contracts and joint ventures, as well as M&A. The team also has a particular focus on commercial litigation including professional negligence matters and banking disputes.

Elliott Duffy Garrett is noted for its ‘expert knowledge combined with high-level client attention’. The practice acts for a wide range of sellers, buyers and financiers on transactions spanning the agri-food, construction and financial services sectors. Highlights included advising Nifty Nosh Limited on its sale to Just Eat. Practice head Kevin McVeigh is noted for his knowledge of competition law, corporate reorganisations and joint ventures.

Johnsons Solicitors has advised on several high-value company purchases of own share. The firm also stands out for its track record in corporate reorganisations and local company acquisitions. Rhys Jones heads the practice.

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