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Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper UK LLP’s practice head Kirstie Allerton specialises in real estate finance, investment and development finance, and complex structural lending deals involving mezzanine finance. Her recent highlights include advising Threesixty Developments, the student accommodation arm of Oaktree Capital, on the sale of a portfolio of 15 student accommodation and two private rented sector assets to Global Student Accommodation and GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. The ‘very experienced and highly regardedSarah Dayis good at managing deal tension’ and has expertise in structured lending; she advised RBS Invoice Finance on structuring and documenting a facility for a new company to enable it to fund solicitors’ practices, and assisted LSL Property Services with its £100m syndicated revolving credit facility. Anna Robson, who provides ‘an excellent level of partner interaction, and has very strong knowledge of what is important to a lender’, specialises in debt finance and asset based lending. Robson assisted Emerald Group on its £27.5m refinancing and advised Barrett Steel on its £80m refinancing.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s group ‘works well as a team’. Practice head Kathryn Walters focuses on advising senior lenders on funding transactions involving offshore SPVs and other tax structuring. Newly promoted partner Paul Castle specialises in corporate, leveraged and real estate finance and heads up the national education finance team, acting for banks, universities and further education colleges. Associates Susan Ledger and David Parry act for banks and corporate borrowers and also have expertise in real estate finance. The team advised HSBC on the provision of sterling term facilities to Coppergreen Developments relating to acquisitions of Piperdam Golf & Leisure Resort and Blacklaw Estates. Walters also advised Yorkshire Bank on the provision of sterling term and revolving facilities to Project Republica Bidco, an SPV set up to acquire Sumo Digital Holdings, and assisted Santander with refinancing and acquisition financing provided to Southerns Office Interiors. Castle assisted Cranswick with refinancing its facilities, the financing amounted to £160m with a further accordion option of up to £40m. Jason Wurzal is now based in Manchester.

Pinsent Masons LLP advises corporate borrowers, banks and other financial institutions on M&A funding, property finance transactions and general corporate financings. Team head Philip Scott acts for senior and mezzanine lenders and private equity houses on acquisition transactions; legal director Stephen Woods, who heads the derivatives practice, advises on debt capital markets, structured finance and securitisation transactions; and legal director Sean Houlihan handles real estate finance. The team recently advised SIG on the refinancing of its £350m revolving credit facility with Lloyds, Barclays, Commerzbank, HSBC and RBS and also handled the English, German and French elements of the refinance of the client’s £130m US private placement notes. Other highlights include advising Beechbrook Capital on its mezzanine financing of the CBPE Capital-assisted MBO of ABI Group.

Addleshaw Goddard’s practice is known for its strengths in debt portfolio acquisitions, unitranche transactions and corporate banking issues. The team is advising HSBC as lender to Adare Group on a cross-border matter involving Ireland; assisted a consortium of banks on the restructuring of loans to the Network Housing Group (now Network Homes); and is advising RBS, Santander, Barclays, Dexia and Lloyds on the refinancing of £303m in loans and associated ISDA documentation concerning the rationalisation of Together Housing Group, which involves the merger of four former standalone housing associations into a new registered provider. Leveraged finance expert David Handyan undoubtable heavyweight’ in the local market. Ruth Snell retired. Rosalind Mason is now a consultant. Karen Sewell moved in-house with WSP and Chris Drabble joined Devonshires Solicitors LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs’s practice head Andrew Fordham advises on acquisition, private equity and real estate finance, and general corporate banking in the UK and overseas. Paul Anderson covers financial services and regulatory matters, and newly promoted partner Jeremy Ladyman focuses on derivatives and investment management. Fordham advised Santander on the provision of a senior term loan and revolving facility loan to the Barber of Sheffield, and advised Lloyds on a series of affordable housing development transactions in conjunction with the Greater London Authority, which involved the restatement and amendment of an existing facility to permit an increase and creation of a new SPV to acquire an additional property outside of the Lloyds’ security net.

Walker Morris LLP has ‘an experienced team that understands clients’. Practice head Michael Taylor has expertise in bilateral and syndicated transactions, including acquisitions, property finance, development funding, debt restructurings and refinancing companies in distress. He assisted Santander with a £50m trade finance line to provide capital to British Steel following its acquisition by Greybull Capital from Tata Steel. Other highlights include advising Strata Homes on the provision of a £60m facility, and assisting Desford Acquisition with a £55m fundraising by way of guaranteed senior secured floating rate notes secured on a property owned by SPL, a Delaware company, for the purposes of funding the logistics business of Neovia Logistics.Ian Akitt, who handles leveraged finance, asset-based lending, the funding of corporate transactions and complex group financings ,and Peter Considine, who has strengths in leveraged finance, trade finance and restructuring transactions, are the other names to note.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s practice stands out for its ‘prompt responses, good banking and commercial knowledge, and an ability to analyse and come up with practical commercial solutions to tricky issues’. The team is known for handling a broad range of work, including acquisition finance, property finance, corporate finance, debt restructuring and asset-based lending. Practice head John Connor is well-regarded and managing associate Mark Casey advises on financial transactions in the education, real estate, education, hospitality and chemical sectors. Recent highlights include assisting the Department for Education on the financing elements of its £900m, three-year restructuring project for the entire further education and sixth-form college sector, and handling the refinancing of HSBC’s banking group, which involves negotiating a multi-currency revolving and engagements facility agreement for a property developer.

The ‘solid’ practice at Irwin Mitchell is recommended for matters concerning the financing of acquisitions and buy-outs, and largescale refinancing work. The ‘commercial and supportive’ Patrick Sturman is ‘an experienced and very capable lawyer, he has a good breadth of capability, is quick to respond, offers clear advice’ and provides ‘value for money’; he jointly heads the practice with Dean Gormley, who has expertise in syndicated and club financings, and advising on complex structures, such as senior notes and super senior facilities, conduit and securitised loans. John Flathers focuses on property finance and Martyn Holland is also noted. Recent highlights include advising HSBC and HSBC Invoice Finance on the provision of a funding package to Home Decor for the acquisition, by way of shares, of Optiplan Kitchens and the simultaneous refinancing of the Home Decor Group.

DWF’s practice is led by Chris Ramage, who advises lenders and borrowers on a range of domestic and international debt-related transactions. The team also includes real estate lending specialist John Fox, who advises lenders and borrowers on domestic and European property financings and acts for clients including clearing banks and non-bank lenders; Lucinda Peters, who advises banks, lenders and buildings societies and has expertise in secured lending, and housing, development and investment funding; and Simon Elphick, who specialises in property finance.

Ward Hadaway Mark Smith’s acts for clients including UK and overseas banks, building societies and insurance companies, and has notable expertise acting for lenders and investors involved in student accommodation developments. Highlights included advising a Yorkshire-based property company on the £17m refinancing of a term-loan facility from HSBC relating to an industrial investment property in Sheffield, and assisting a UK lending bank with a £7m revolving credit facility to a quoted property group to be used to part fund a major development. Other work includes advising a Leeds-based regeneration developer, as the borrower, on a term loan development facility from Leeds City Region Revolving Investment Fund for a residential regeneration project, and assisting Assetz Capital with a loan for a residential property in Cheshire.

Andrew Funnell leads Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP’s practice, which is known for its strengths in corporate and real estate finance and a niche focus on ship finance, which Andrew Oliver handles. Nicholas Scott and Philip Ashworth focus on corporate financing with particular expertise in M&A matters. Geoff Phillips, Adrian West and Paul Barker focus on property finance. Ashworth recently advised Kexgill on the provision of loan facilities from ICG-Longbow relating to the purchase of 87 student houses from the University of Hull, and also advised Pickering & Ferens Homes on a £10m secured loan agreement with Affordable Housing Finance. Scott assisted HSBC with the financing terms of a management buy-out of Coachman Caravans.

Managing associate David Stanbridge leads CMS’ practice, which has strengths in acting for borrowers, lenders and investors on facility agreements, development financing and corporate acquisitions. Recent highlights include advising Lloyds on a three-year £50m revolving credit facility and ancillary facilities provided to Strata Homes to refinance its existing debt with RBS; assisting HSBC with its Libor term loan to Amtrans Properties, which included taking property security as part of an intra-group property restructuring and taking security over subordinated debt; and advising Titan and its SPVs on facility agreements and security documents relating to various short-term property acquisition and development facilities provided by Titlestone Real Estate, Amicus Finance and Ingenious Real Estate Finance. Other clients include Palace Capital, Lendinvest and Broadway Malyan.

Clarion’s team is ‘very commercial in its approach and a pleasure to deal with’. Co-heads Ben Slack and Marie Pugh ‘are very professional, always available and understand clients’ business’. Slack is an insolvency specialist, who acts for clearing banks, asset-based lenders, stakeholders, creditors and accountants, and Pugh specialises in real estate and development finance, as well as handling bridging loans and debt restructuring assignments. The team recently advised Reward Invoice Finance, as a lender, on funding a debt restructuring deal with the borrower’s existing bank, which involved a complex structure of three facilities across its corporate group. It also assisted a retail bank with the provision of £15m of cash-flow finance facilities to an insurance group.

HLW Keeble Hawson’s team ‘provides efficient, effective and affordable solutions and cost-effective and realistic advice; partner accessibility is a strong point and industry knowledge is high’. Practice head Roger Dyson advises lenders and borrowers on a range of matters, including loans, development funding, corporate transactions, and invoice discounting and equity investments. ‘Affable and approachable’ Nick Goulding ‘has good technical knowledge and his advice is down-to-earth and readily understandable’. Managing partner Paul Trudgill focuses on mainstream refinancing work and general banking matters and Richard Smith handles property finance. Recent highlights include assisting Hill Care Group with its £26m refinancing loan from Barclays and advising HSBC as lender to the management team on the £3m MBO of Acorn Web Offset.

Richard Field leads Rollits LLP’s practice and has expertise in development finance, negotiating grant arrangements, and refinancing, particularly in the care home sector. David Hextall is another key partner; he has strengths in property finance and loans pertaining provided to charities. Recent highlights include advising a developer on PRS funding relating to the refinancing of a significant apartment block in West Yorkshire; assisting a property investment group with a syndicated loan facility provided to a group of investors; and advising a care home group on refinancing several of its properties.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited is best known for handling high-value transactional work for national banks and drafting bespoke facility agreements and security documents. Practice head Duncan Shepherd handles general banking facilities work and corporate refinancing, Neil Salter focuses on retail investments and regeneration finance and John Baddeley advises on property refinancing work. Recent highlights include advising a property investor on a £1.6m distressed property portfolio refinancing; assisting a lending back with £4.5m of development funding for a mixed-use, Sheffield-based development; and advising Yorkshire Bank on a new £1.6m funding package to expand a chain of dental practices.

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Legal Developments in Yorkshire and the Humber 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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