Banking and finance
Banking and finance
Dickson Minto WS is a quietly dominant presence in the Scottish marketplace, with a leading reputation for leveraged and acquisition finance. Practice co-heads Colin McHale and Allan Fraser are highly recommended.
‘One of the top legal firms in Scotland for banking and finance’, Dundas & Wilson CS LLP ‘routinely outperforms others on both service and value’. Caryn Penley’s team advised Barclays Bank on providing £150m of facilities to Guernsey-based property fund UK Commercial Property Trust. Alan Fulton is ‘good at focusing on what is important’.
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s finance team is noted for its ‘expert knowledge and useful, constructive advice’, particularly its ‘detailed knowledge of PFI projects and bank requirements’. In 2011 it acted for a club of six banks in the refinancing of John Wood Group’s £800m revolving credit facilities. Practice head Susan Kelly is ‘a very accomplished finance expert’, and Robert Laing is ‘very good at explaining the detail’. Chris Dun is also recommended.
The merger between McGrigors LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP created a team with ‘first-class knowledge’ in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors. Recent work for the McGrigors team includes advising Forth Ports on the £760m financing of its acquisition by Arcus European Infrastructure Fund, while its counterparts recently acted for Aareal Bank regarding a £350m facility provided to Hercules Unit Trust. John Maciver heads the practice.
Brodies LLP is ‘first choice for renewable energy projects in Scotland’, and also has deep resources to cover property and acquisition financing as well as debt restructuring. In 2011 it acted for Credential Investment Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries in the £200m restructuring of its facilities. Energy and infrastructure finance head Michael Stoneham is ‘able to understand the opposing solicitors ’ point of view and come up with solutions that get the deal done’, and Alan Knowles is ‘hands-on and responsive’.
Renewable energy, real estate and fund finance are core areas for Burness LLP’s ‘prompt and commercial’ banking practice, which includes the ‘exceptionally bright and very hardworking’ Jonathan Heaney and Alan Soppitt, who is ‘the fountain of all legal knowledge’. Highlights for 2011 included advising Bank of Scotland on the £300m debt restructuring of mezzanine facilities provided to Mint Hotels.
Paul Hally’s ‘superb team’ at Shepherd and Wedderburn remains well known for its expertise in energy, real estate and infrastructure finance, despite the departure of energy financing specialist Gordon Hay to CMS Cameron McKenna LLP. In 2011 it acted for Lloyds Banking Group and BNP Paribas on a reserve-based facility and exploration finance facility to Faroe Petroleum. Patrick Bell is ‘a great and affable lawyer’, and Andrew Kinnes is ‘extremely knowledgeable and responsive’.
DLA Piper Scotland LLP has continued to develop its leveraged and acquisition capability since the arrival of David Morton in 2010, supplementing the expertise of Stuart McMillan, who is now joint UK-wide head of project finance. The team represented Lloyds Banking Group in the £22m acquisition financing of IDOX’s acquisition of four companies in 2011.
The team at DWF Biggart Baillie is ‘always prepared to go the extra mile’ to provide its clients with ‘extremely knowledgeable, robust advice’. It has particular experience in the social housing and hospitality sectors, and in 2011 advised Apex Hotels on its £126m refinancing. Grant Docherty is recommended for leveraged finance work, and property finance partner Geoff Stansfield is ‘very assured and outward looking’.
HBJ Gateley made a bid to strengthen its real estate finance offering in 2011 by recruiting Iain Grieve from Burness LLP. This added to the firm’s notable corporate restructuring and shipping finance expertise. Highlight deals for 2011 included acting for Topaz Energy & Marine Limited in its $56m murabaha arrangement with Standard Chartered. David Kirchin heads the team, which includes the ‘especially supportive and calm’ Tom Speirs and shipping finance specialist Alan Shanks.
MacRoberts LLP’s strengths span project, property and corporate finance, and in 2011 it was reappointed to panels of Barclays Bank and Clydesdale Bank. The ‘very knowledgeable and helpful’ Norman Martin leads the practice.
McClure Naismith LLP provides ‘great value for money and considerable experience’ in secured lending matters, including property and asset finance. It has made a concerted effort to develop specialist strength in insolvency, recruiting Mark Parkhouse from McGrigors LLP in 2011. John Blackwood leads the team, which includes Paul Kenneth, who has ‘an excellent understanding and provides great service’.
Morton Fraser’s banking practice combines ‘excellent experience, competitive pricing and pragmatic advice’, and is considered to be ‘in a class of its own when it comes to asset-based lending’. It has secured a place on the majority of the UK retail bank panels, most recently winning appointment to Santander’s UK-wide panels for asset and corporate finance. Practice head Susan Younger is ‘excellent at looking after the client’s interests’, and Hugo Allan has ‘great drive’. John Lunn heads the retail banking team, and asset finance specialist Bruce Wood has ‘the ability to find resolutions to challenging problems’.
Paull & Williamsons LLP’s ‘very experienced team has a wide breadth of knowledge’. It has strong expertise in reserve-based lending, and in 2011 represented Sterling Resources in providing a £105m senior secured loan facility to fund phase one development of the Breagh gas field. Practice head John Kennedy is ‘the leading banking lawyer in the Aberdeen market’, and is supported by Jamie Stark, Alasdair Smith, Helen Dickson and John Strachan, who are ‘all very good at assessing commercial and legal points’.
Tods Murray LLP’s banking team ‘combines legal expertise and a sensible, pragmatic approach’, and is particularly active in the securitisation and capital markets arenas, completing over 40 transactions in 2011. In a reflection of its real estate financing prowess, the team also acted for Bayerische Landesbank on the refinancing of St James Shopping Centre. Graham Burnside leads the team, which includes Hamish Patrick, who has ‘a great depth of knowledge and a constructive approach’, and Roddy Maclennan.
Anderson Strathern’s ‘breadth of expertise and consistent quality of service’ makes it a go-to firm for property-related finance transactions. In 2011 it represented Co-op Bank in £25m of commercial loans to businesses and independent schools. James Blair heads the team, which includes John Kerr and Gillian Anderson, whom clients recommend ‘for the way they move matters forward’.
CMS Cameron McKenna LLP recruited Gordon Hay from Shepherd and Wedderburn, who added his energy sector expertise to ‘a dynamic team with excellent sector experience both at a local and global level’. In 2011 it acted for First Oil in a borrowing base facility from a club of three banks.
Eversheds’ banking practice received a boost with the arrival of senior associate and renewable energy specialist Andrew Fleetwood from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in 2011. Property finance and restructuring continued to dominate the practice, with highlights including acting for Barclays Bank on the acquisition financing of a Scottish mixed office and industrial property portfolio by Highcross.
Harper Macleod LLP draws praise for its ‘strong customer ethos coupled with a high degree of technical capability’. In 2011 it advised HSBC on its £14m refinancing of Bruichladdich Distillery Limited and Lochindaal Distillery Limited. Practice head Lorne Crerar is very highly regarded, and the team was bolstered by the arrival of John Meehan from Semple Fraser LLP.
Lindsays’ banking team was appointed to the regional panels for Clydesdale Bank, Edinburgh University and Kingdom Housing Association. Practice head David Lindgren is ‘very solutions-focused and adept at handling multiple matters’.
Semple Fraser LLP’s ‘attention to detail and willingness to discuss and provide guidance is second to none’, particularly when it comes to the corporate real estate arena. It recently acted for Deutsche Postbank in the refinancing of several Standard Life owned UK development funds. Alex Innes and Douglas Gourlay both have ‘the ability to work to tight timescales and offer impartial judgements’.
Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery
DWF Biggart Baillie(Glasgow, Edinburgh)
Harper Macleod LLP(Glasgow)
- MacRoberts LLP (Glasgow, Edinburgh)
Brodies LLP’s leading corporate recovery practice ‘combines sound advice with a realistic approach to fees’. Ten partners and 14 other lawyers provide dedicated expertise for a broad spectrum of clients, and in 2011 it acted for Ernst & Young in the politically sensitive administration of Skylon Campbeltown Limited. Practice head Colin McIntosh and Rachel Grant have ‘sound technical knowledge combined with a practical and common-sense approach’.
Burness LLP fields ‘a small but strong team, particularly when it comes to contentious matters’. It gained as new clients Royal Bank of Scotland Global Restructuring and Santander, which join existing clients such as Grant Thornton and Lloyds Banking Group. Practice head Gary Moffat is ‘experienced and approachable, and gets to grips with the issues quickly’.
DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s clients particularly appreciate the team’s ‘heavy partner involvement and great depth of expertise’. Its client base encompasses major financial institutions such as Barclays and Clydesdale Bank, and accountancy firms such as KPMG. Practice head Yvonne Brady is ‘commercial and practical, and manages complex cases with ease’.
Dundas & Wilson CS LLP’s Claire Massie provides ‘outstanding technical advice and innovative ideas on transaction structuring’. The firm has one of the largest dedicated insolvency teams in Scotland, and in 2011 acted for Clydesdale Bank on the debt and equity restructuring of businesses forming part of the Festival Inns Group. Craig Darling joined HBJ Gateley.
Shepherd and Wedderburn’s track record in the Scottish market runs long and deep, and practice head Paul Hally has 26 years’ restructuring experience. The team continued to act for a banking client in a long-running, multimillion-pound dispute with a borrower.
Anderson Strathern’s restructuring team provides ‘appropriate and commercial advice’. It handles restructuring work for key government agencies including HMRC and The Insolvency Service. Practice head Katrina Lumsdaine ‘provides sound legal advice tinged with commerciality’.
HBJ Gateley’s ‘excellent, partner-led service’ was further strengthened in 2011 with the arrival of Craig Darling from Dundas & Wilson CS LLP and Tim Cooper from the Manchester office of Squire Sanders LLP. It is one of only three firms on the Scotland corporate recovery panels for Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Clydesdale Bank and Barclays, indicating its strength in complex restructuring matters. Practice head Graeme Henry is ‘a first-class commercial lawyer and project manager’, and is supported by the ‘responsive and experienced’ Jamie McIntosh. Douglas Blyth joined Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP boosted its contentious offering in 2011 with the recruitment of litigation specialist Douglas Blyth from HBJ Gateley, supplementing its existing capability in high-value insolvency matters. In 2011 it acted for a syndicate of German and British banks regarding their exposure to property-owning unit trusts based offshore. Practice head Michael Hughes is recommended.
Pinsent Masons LLP gained a strong restructuring team from its merger with McGrigors LLP, which recently acted for AssetCo plc in its administration and scheme of arrangement, including advising on its debt restructuring. Six partners across the firm’s commercial, real estate, pensions and dispute resolution practices concentrate on restructuring matters.
The restructuring team at Semple Fraser LLP has a long track record in the market, particularly in the retail and construction sectors. It represented KPMG as administrator of Dunfermline Building Society on recoveries from its contractors. Gordon Hollerin and John Meehan have joined Harper Macleod LLP.
Tods Murray LLP represented Credit Suisse on the structured workout of a substantial securitised property portfolio in 2011. Hamish Patrick leads the team.
DWF Biggart Baillie’s team is highlighted for its ‘ability to quickly address fairly critical issues’. Highlights included advising on the Scottish law aspects of JJB Sports’ second voluntary arrangement. Practice head Derek Ellery is ‘outstanding’.
Harper Macleod LLP’s insolvency practice is the sole provider of legal services to the organisation Account in Bankruptcy, and was joined in 2011 by John Meehan, formerly of Semple Fraser LLP.
MacRoberts LLP acted for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the appointment of an administrator to a clothing retailer and distribution company. Practice head Alan Meek is recommended.
Morton Fraser acted for Deloitte LLP on the sale of 121 tenanted pubs arising from R+L Properties’ administration. Insolvency expert Joy Barnard is well respected.
Unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts
Unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts
Dickson Minto WS’ leading corporate finance practice extends to work for investment fund managers such as Artemis and Baillie Gifford. Bruce Minto and Douglas Armstrong are the key figures.
Dundas & Wilson CS LLP provides ‘excellent overall service’ in the investment trust arena, encompassing fund formation and regulatory matters for managers such as Franklin Templeton Global Investors and institutional clients such as Lloyds Banking Group. In 2011 it acted for Clyde Bowers Capital IM LLP in the establishment and marketing of its £420m private equity fund. Regulated funds specialist Philip Mackay is recommended.
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP represents some 30 listed investment funds as well as a broad range of alternative, onshore and offshore retail funds. Highlights included acting for Dalmore Capital Limited on the establishment and restructuring of the asset management group and an initial capital raise for an infrastructure fund. Edinburgh-based David Young is recommended.
Brodies LLP’s funds group advised Barclays Bank on the Scottish law aspects of its $740m sale of private equity assets to AXA Private Equity, and also acted on the second round of fundraising for FIM Services Limited’s Sustainable Timber and Energy LP fund. Alistair Campbell is recommended, as is venture capital expert William McIntosh.
Burness LLP’s funds practice focuses on Scottish limited partnership structures, and provides ‘technically faultless advice always given in a timely fashion’. In 2011 it acted on the Scottish law aspects of the AXA Private Equity’s fifth secondaries fund formation, which was structured as two parallel Scottish limited partnerships. Practice head Alan Soppitt is recommended for his ‘responsiveness and business-oriented approach’.
Shepherd and Wedderburn’s investment management practice provides ‘unfussy service’ with ‘good sector knowledge and understanding of commercial issues’. ‘Highly capable’ practice head Michael Wylie leads the team, which advised Nucleus Financial Group on its £15m capital raising. Other clients include Aberdeen Asset Management.