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Editorial

Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals

DLA Piper UK LLP’s two-partner team includes head of finance Stephen Bottley, who is ‘very knowledgeable in terms of LMA positions’, and real estate finance specialist Brian Woolcock. In a standout deal, Bottley advised HSBC and Lloyds on financing the MBO of Gateley Plc, which facilitated its IPO. The team benefits from the firm’s international reach and, as well as advising all the main UK banks, counts Deutsche Bank and Silicon Valley Bank among its clients.

Eversheds LLP’s practice has an ‘extensive breadth of legal expertise and a comprehensive grasp of key business/transaction drivers’. Head of practice Patrick Davis specialises in multi-lender corporate refinancing work and acquisition finance, and advised Lloyds Development Capital on the debt finance required for the acquisition of the NEC Group. Newly appointed partner Richard Davies leads on real estate finance.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice covers the full spectrum of banking work, including syndicated lending, real estate finance, acquisition and leveraged finance, and asset-based lending. The team advised RBS, HSBC and Santander on their new £160m syndicated revolving credit facility to Clinigen Group in connection with the acquisition of Idis Group. Practice head David Doogan, and national head of asset-backed finance and debt capital markets Edward Sunderland, are the names to note.

At Gateley Plc, Andrew Madden is regularly involved in complex structured finance and corporate lending matters, including leveraged buyouts, project finance and restructuring. Senior associate James Dyson specialises in banking and debt restructuring transactions.

Gowling WLG’s practice handles finance in a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, social housing and insurance. Chris Brierleyunderstands the bigger picture’; recent work for him includes advising HSBC on providing £26m of loan facilities to a borrower to acquire 200 Domino’s pizza franchises. Principal associate Navin Prabhakar is commended for his ‘thoroughness and attention to detail’. The team is led from London by Kirsty Barnes.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘very good knowledge across the ABL market’ was in evidence once again, with the team working on numerous transactions, including advising Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance on providing £60m in lending facilities to Spicers and OfficeTeam. Jon Bew and senior associate Natalie Barnes ‘bring a very rounded and detailed resource to the deal team’.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘proactive’ team is led by Naomi Tudor and Vicki Simpson, with Mohammed Saqub taking charge of real estate finance. Tudor has particular sector experience in charities and education and wins plaudits for ‘efficiency and working to tight deadlines’. Simpson specialises in acting for challenger banks on real estate finance matters. The team assisted Dudley College of Technology with its £20m refinancing and restructuring package from Santander.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice scores highly for ‘response times and business acumen’ and is particularly strong for real estate finance. The ‘practical and approachableDavid Adams heads the team and was active on a number of multimillion-pound financings, including advising RBS on the facilities provided in connection with the acquisition of the steel division of EDS by Arc Specialist Engineering. James Needham specialises in real estate finance.

At Squire Patton Boggs, newly promoted partner Roy Grist ‘represents himself well in the local market place and always provides appropriate advice’. Highlights included advising RBS and Lloyds in connection with the merger of Shakespeares and SGH Martineau, and assisting Ranc Care Homes with a £24m restructuring of its property portfolio and attendant restructuring of its funding arrangements with Barclays.

Paul Ray and Emma Hinton at Browne Jacobson LLP divide their time between the firm’s Birmingham and Nottingham offices and handle an even split of lender and borrower work. The team was particularly active in the healthcare sector and advised Yorkshire Bank on the refinancing of Heathcotes Group. Key clients include Lloyds, HCAI and Finance Birmingham.

At DWF, practice head Alice Broadfield is ‘highly experienced and has a good understanding of loan facility agreements and market norms’. The team has handled financing and refinancing arrangements for borrower and lender clients.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s practice is led by Hugh Strickland, who was active on a number of significant refinancings for Santander.

Brethertons LLP’s team focuses on real estate finance and has particular expertise acting for lenders and borrowers in relation to large property redevelopment schemes, care homes, healthcare centres and hotels. Mary Anderson is the key contact.

Principal associate David Varnham is in charge at Mills & Reeve LLP and advises lenders and borrowers on secured and unsecured corporate lending, real estate finance, acquisition finance and project finance.

Wright Hassall LLP’s practice has particular expertise in social housing funding, real estate development funding and financial restructuring work. Key players are head of practice Keith Ainsworth and senior associate Christopher Jones, who ‘gives good guidance on commercial property finance agreements’.


Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals

DLA Piper UK LLP’s practice focuses on non-contentious restructuring and insolvency work and the team was active on a number of significant mandates, including advising PricewaterhouseCoopers on the administration of the Caparo group of companies. In another important piece of work, the team assisted with the wind-down of the activities of the McCambridge Group. Huw Dolphin’s team includes real estate insolvency specialist John Jeffreys, whose ‘depth of knowledge is outstanding’.

Eversheds LLPcreative and responsive’ team continued to be involved in most of the high-profile restructurings and insolvencies in the region. Examples include advising KPMG on the pre-packaged sale of Mira, and acting for Deloitte in relation to the restructure and sale of UKDN Waterflow. Practice head Andrew Jordan is ‘not afraid to give harder messages to achieve the right result’, and principal associate Laura Taylor, who joined from DLA Piper UK LLP, is a ‘go-to professional’.

Hailed by one source as ‘simply the best in the business for contentious insolvency’, the practice at Gateley Plc is led by Mark Wilson, who ‘brings a fantastic commercial acumen to litigation’. On the non-contentious side, Daniel French acted for the administrators in the administration of a group of hotels and advised City Link and City Link Properties on rescue strategies prior to the appointment of an administrator.

Gowling WLG’s team continued to play a key role in restructuring matters emanating from Ireland’s financial crisis. Jasvir Jootla acted for Grant Thornton on the pre-packaged administration and sale of Mastertronic Group. London-based Julian Pallett heads the department.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s lender-focused practice was boosted by the arrival of new practice head Amy Flavell, who joined from Squire Patton Boggs; Flavell focuses on distressed lending and restructuring. Also of note is Edward Sunderland, who advised Barclays and RBS Invoice Finance on the restructuring of asset-based lending facilities provided to Caparo Industries.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s three-partner practice covers contentious and non-contentious work for clients such as Lloyds Banking Group, Rcapital and KPMG. Andrew Taylor leads the team and acted for KPMG in relation to the administration of Cermatco. Other key players are Sam Payne*, who is ‘very good to have on your side’, and Stuart Taylor, who has ‘a good blend of technical knowledge and commercial advice’. *Sam Payne joined Harrison Clark Rickerbys in June 2016.

At Shoosmiths LLP, national practice head James Keates provides a ‘very personal approach’ and acts for banks, asset-based lenders, insolvency practitioners, and private equity holders and directors on a range of insolvency matters. Keates advised Wachem Statestrong in connection with the acquisition of the business and assets of Statestrong Products from its administrators. Senior associate Aaron Harlow is ‘a very capable and responsive lawyer’.

Squire Patton Boggs’ practice underwent some restructuring with the arrival of Russell Hill from Eversheds LLP and the departure of Amy Flavell for Pinsent Masons LLP. The team has ‘very good bank relationships’ and particular sector expertise in retail, automotive and manufacturing. In one recent highlight, Hill advised Ernst & Young on the administration of BSA Machine Tools. Head of practice Devinder Singh is ‘always available with sensible, no-nonsense advice’.

At Beswicks Legal, Richard Preston focuses on insolvency work for clients such as Begbies Traynor, RSM and Moore Stephens. Preston reported an increase in work defending directors in disqualification proceedings.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s practice wins praise for its ‘very good, all-round insolvency knowledge’. As well as continuing to act for key client the Insolvency Service, the team advised the administrator on the sale of a well-known estate agency. Practice head Stephanie Slinn and the ‘very thorough and tenacious’ Sheena Tandy are the key contacts.

DWF’s practice is led by Sean McGrath, who divides his time between the firm’s Birmingham and Manchester offices. Senior associate Richard Holmes specialises in transactional and property-based assignments and acted for the administrators of Minshall Construction on the sale of the company’s business and assets.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ team saw an increase in restructuring assignments and also secured new clients such as Quantuma and SKG Capital. Cheltenham-based practice head Jonathan Whitbread and senior associate Hayley Hooper, who is based in Worcester, represented private equity clients on a number of insolvent acquisitions. Sadly, Dan Cambridge passed away in January 2016. Sam Payne joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP in June 2016.

At Higgs & Sons, ‘business acumen and response times are always extremely good’. David Ellis’ team includes contentious specialist Carl Garvie, who arrived from St Philips Chambers, and associate Oliver Ward Jones, who has particular expertise in the charities and not-for-profit sector. The team saw an increase in deceased insolvency.

At Irwin Mitchell, non-contentious specialist Stephen George works closely with the asset-based lending team and, in one highlight, advised Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance, Lloyds and Deloitte in relation to the administration of the Laidlaw group of companies.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s practice continued to be instructed by lenders and insolvency practitioners on various multimillion-pound administrations, including pre-packaged arrangements. Kamal Majevadia and Leanne Schneider-Rose are the names to note.

At The Wilkes Partnership, head of practice David Cleary is ‘commercially savvy and well connected’ and John Cooper is ‘highly competent’. The team has experience in advising a range of insolvency practitioners, financiers and other stakeholders.

Senior associate Emma Easton leads the team at Wright Hassall LLP, which handles, among other things, personal insolvency and directors’ duties, wrongful trading and misfeasance. The team has also been advising insolvency practitioners on recovery outside the jurisdiction.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is singled out as being ‘number one in Shropshire for insolvency advice’. Wolverhampton-based Gareth Ruddock and Shropshire-based Brian Aikman specialise in insolvency disputes and defended a client against a search and seizure order made by an administrator.

At Freeths, commercial litigator Mike Gilmour focuses on handling insolvency disputes for clients such as Baker Tilly and BDO. Gilmour has particular expertise in bankruptcy.

Key mandates for Thursfields Solicitors’ team included advising Mazars on the procedural aspect of a voluntary scheme of arrangement for RB Evans Electrical, and successfully acting for Manolete on the recovery of assets from a former director of a company in liquidation. Associate Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard heads the team and gives ‘good, solid commercial advice’.


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