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A&L Goodbody is widely regarded as ‘top tier’ for banking and finance matters. Its work for major lenders including Danske Bank, HSBC, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Cerberus Capital Management reflect this heavyweight reputation. It consistently acts on cross-border financings; recent highlights include advising a syndicate of banks including Barclays Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Credit Suisse and HSBC as initial purchasers, arrangers, agents and lenders, on the Northern Ireland law aspects of Perform Group Financing’s £175m senior notes issuance. The practice has also acted on several large-scale sales and refinancings of property loan portfolios. Judith Brown leads the practice, which includes Louise Bailey and Ciaran McAlinney.

In keeping with its position at the forefront of finance-related legal trends, Arthur Cox Belfast has been highly active in loan portfolio related leveraged financings of distressed debt purchases as well as refinancings; in a highlight, the team acted for Promontoria Eagle – a special purpose vehicle established by Cerberus Capital Management following its acquisition of £4.5bn of loans from NAMA – on the sale of loans owed to it by MAR Group. The firm also acts as exclusive legal adviser to Lloyds Banking Group on secured recoveries in Northern Ireland. Kieran McGarrigle heads the team.

Carson McDowell LLP advises on major financings for local and international banking groups. The team recently advised Bank of Ireland on the financing of a management buyout of a medical equipment business. Other clients include Ulster Bank, Danske Bank, several international investment funds, and First Trust Bank, which appointed the firm to its panel in July 015. Sinead McGrath leads the team, which includes Tom Adair.

Avril McCammon leads the banking team at John McKee Solicitors, which has acted for several banking groups on large-scale loan portfolio sales. Acquisition and renewable energy project financings are also key areas of strength. Julie Huddleston and Alison Reid are also recommended.

The ‘highly professional’ team at Tughans advises a range of borrowers and lenders including Ulster Bank, Barclays Bank and Diageo. The team recently acted for Bank of Ireland on a syndicated loan facility for Lookers PLC to fund the acquisition of Addison Motor Group. Other clients include investment funds and government bodies including the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for Northern Ireland. Refinancing and project financing are also areas of expertise. Fearghal O’Loan heads the practice.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin regularly acts for major banks and investment funds, and recently acted for Danske Bank on the financing of the acquisition of the business and assets of William Sinclair by Westland Horticulture. The group is also acting on a number of residential mortgage portfolio reorganisations and securitisations, as well as working capital fundraising for international investment companies. HSBC is another key client. Practice head Stephen Cross and Christopher Neill are recommended.

In an illustration of its track record in large-scale refinancings and loan sales, Millar McCall Wylie LLP acted for global real estate company Jeffries LoanCore on the purchase of a loan portfolio from Kilmona Holdings. The practice has also been advising on several property acquisition financings in central Belfast. Andrew Kerr leads the team.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP acted for CCP IV Erneside, a special purpose vehicle established by UK-based real estate investment fund Tristan Capital Partners, on a term loan to finance the client’s inaugural real estate acquisitions in Northern Ireland. The team has also been acting for the banks in refinancing transactions for large property companies. Santander UK is another key client. John MacIver heads the banking practice for Northern Ireland and Scotland, with Caroline MacLaughlin leading the team in Belfast.

C & H Jefferson works with major banking groups and local companies on numerous litigation matters. The practice have represented bidders and purchasers, as well as lenders and borrowers on loan sales. Project finance is another important area for the practice. Ian Stanfield heads the practice.

Highlights for Elliott Duffy Garrett’s banking practice included advising financial institutions on covered bond programmes, loan portfolio sales, and loan facilities to housing associations. The group is also active in banking litigation. Christopher Duffy heads the practice.

Richard Houliston leads the team at TLT, which is currently acting for Danske Bank on the provision of £35m facilities to Choice Housing Ireland to finance new development and refurbishment works. Other clients include Eatonville Investments, AIB and Keys Premium Finance. Kathryn Forde is another key name.

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