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Claire Williams leads asb law LLP’s ‘excellent’ team, which acts for a mixed client base of borrowers and lenders including HSBC, Big Box Storage Centres and Lloyds Bank. Nigel Wigin advised Lloyds Bank on a £3.5m refinance deal. Also recommended are Andrew Hoad, Chris Worthington and consultant Shaun Kelly.

Blake Morgan LLP is on the lending panels of all of the UK’s clearing banks and also has a significant presence on banks’ retail and investment panels. Kath Shimmin, who is noted for her ‘strong commercial mindset’, is leading on the finance aspects of the £120m redevelopment of Gatwick Airport Station for the Department for Transport. Guy Constant and senior associate Steve Cole, an Islamic finance specialist, are also recommended.

Practice head Ian Mabbutt at EMW Law LLP advised Riverside Capital on the acquisition financing of its purchase of a property portfolio. Joe Soul leads on healthcare financing.

At Osborne Clarke, practice head Hugh Jones has historically advised Barclays Bank on refinancing and real estate matters. Legal director Rebecca Scott and associate Victoria Clarke are other names to note.

Pitmans LLP’s ‘excellent’ team provides ‘exemplary and trusted’ advice and has a ‘wide skillset’, including a developing Islamic finance capability which saw the firm’s appointment to the legal panel of Habib Bank AG Zurich. Department head Patrick Long is ‘very responsive’ and ‘appropriately supported by a suitably qualified and knowledgeable team’, which includes Stephanie Perry and director Mark Metcalfe. Other clients include Santander and Handelsbanken.

Lender-side highlights for Shoosmiths LLP’s ‘excellent’ team included assisting HSBC with a £40m facility provided to ITSU to refinance existing indebtedness and fund working capital. Practice head Rebecca Mauleverer led the advice. On the borrower side, Linda Williams advised 23.5 Degrees North on the financing of the first Starbucks franchise in the UK. Sean Wright is a key name for private equity-backed acquisition financing.

Bond Dickinson LLP has a strong track record in borrower-side work and is a go-to firm for energy financing. Clients include Chemring Group and Renewable Energy Systems. The ‘expertGraham Jeffries has ‘real command of deals’.

The ‘professional’ team at Cripps LLP is ‘skilled in all areas of commercial banking’. It particularly stands out for its real estate capabilities, which it utilised in advising Millwood Designer Homes on a £20m revolving credit facility with Santander. James Beatton, Nigel Stanford and healthcare specialist Nick Austen are the key names.

DMH Stallard LLP’s ‘excellent’ team was reappointed to several banking panels in 2015 and further strengthened its footprint in the region through its merger with AWB Partnership. Gwen Godfrey leads the team, which provides ‘sensible and timely commercial advice’ and includes Anne Milne, a key name for property finance and Ralph Crane, who has a following in the healthcare industry.

Irwin Mitchell’s absorption of Thomas Eggar LLP gave it a strong foothold in Crawley. Highlights for the team included advising RBS on financing the management buyout of the London arm of a shipping brokerage firm. Practice head Sarah Naylor led the advice. David Fanchi is a key name for property finance.

Mundays LLP’s practice is led by dual UK and US-qualified partner Mark Andrew and includes Neale Andrews, who specialises in corporate financing. Clients include Close Brothers and Jordan International Bank, and the team is experiencing an uptick in instructions from non-banking lenders involved in mezzanine lending. George Georgiou left the firm in 2016.

Paris Smith LLP has noted a substantial uptick in instructions to handle property financing. The ‘very good’ James McNeil leads the team, which advises clients including Santander, Lloyds Bank and Alfred Homes.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s team, led by Jonathan Porteous, is noted for its ‘good level of knowledge and advice’ and has been particularly active in refinancing and vendor finance matters. Also recommended are Joe Bedford, who works across the firm’s corporate and finance teams, and senior associate Andrew Dodds. Clients include Santander and Kia Motors.

Birketts LLP has restructured its team following the departure of Richard Payne to an in-house position; the ‘knowledgeableAdam Jones is taking a greater role on lender-side mandates and Duncan Williamson joined from Laytons. Mark Henry leads the team from Ipswich. Clients include Santander and HSBC.

At Dentons, Peter Coximpresses with his strong industry knowledge’. Highlights included advising Knight Therapeutics on English term loan documentation drafted by the borrower.

At Field Seymour Parkes LLP, ‘outstanding’ practice head John Barker advised Ultimate Capital and its sister company Ultimate Opportunities on mezzanine and bridging finance facilities.

Highlights for IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s team included advising AIB Group on financing the restructuring of Harlequins RFC. Ross Johnstone and David Clark are recommended.

Rich Eldridge leads Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘professional and diligent’ team, which includes associate John Chater. The team advised Northumberland Development Land, part of the Carebase group, on two term loan facilities.

At Trethowans LLP, the ‘knowledgeableNick Gent advised Santander on two separate refinancing deals for the same client. Sophie Eales joined from Bond Dickinson LLP in 2015.

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Legal Developments in South East for Banking and finance

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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