The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Pinsent Masons LLP

30 CROWN PLACE, LONDON, EC2A 4ES, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 020 7418 7000
Fax:
Fax 020 7418 7050
DX:
53313 CLERKENWELL
Email:
Web:
www.pinsentmasons.com

Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

AIM TEAM AT PINSENT MASONS ENDS YEAR ON A HIGH

January 2007. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A specialist AIM team at the London offices of law firm Pinsent Masons have capped a busy year by acting for the brokers on two AIM admission fundraising placings in tandem.

Phaunos Timber Fund Limited, a new company established to invest in timberland and timber-related investments, raised US$115 million in a placing by Shore Capital Stockbrokers Limited and LCF Edmond de Rothschild. The company has been admitted to AIM with a market capitalisation of US$115 million.

Verdant Holdings PLC, a new company set up to invest in the burgeoning environmental industry, raised ?3.137 million in a placing by Fairfax I.S. PLC and Grant Thornton Corporate Finance. The company has been admitted to AIM with a market capitalisation of ?3.4 million.

Verdant will be seeking acquisition opportunities in an environmental sector whose UK value alone is estimated at in excess of ?25 billion. Phaunos, whose historical interests have focused on US timberlands, is seeking to expand into the timber market globally and provide its investors with long-term returns.

The Pinsent Masons team acting on both deals was led by Corporate Finance Partner and AIM specialist, Jon Harris, assisted by Fiona Morris and Ross Dawson.

Herbert Smith LLP acted for Phaunos Timber Fund Limited and Norton Rose advised Verdant Holdings PLC.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai and is a founder member of the PMLG international network with offices in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary and the Baltic States. We also have key strategic alliances in other European countries, India and the USA.

Read more…

SABIEN TECHNOLOGY GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON AIM ADMISSION

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Energy efficiency company, Sabien Technology Group plc, has been advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on its admission to AIM, with a market capitalisation of ?13.8 million.

Sabien Technology owns the commercial rights to the M2G system that is proven to help reduce energy consumption by up to 35% in commercial and industrial boilers, as well as reducing harmful carbon emissions. The UK company is already achieving success in the commercial, banking and health sectors and anticipates growing demand as more and more businesses seek to cut energy costs and develop their green credentials.

As part of its AIM admission, Sabien Technology has raised ?4 million in a fundraising comprising a ?3.2 million placing at 52 pence per share and ?0.8 million through the issue of loan notes. The nominated adviser and broker has been Bell Lawrie (a division of Brewin Dolphin Securities).

Sabien Technology's M2G system is Carbon Trust approved and qualifies for the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme. It can be used with a range of fuels.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Sabien Technology has been led by London Corporate Partner Russell Booker, working with Manmohan Panesar, Arif Mawany and Mark Timms.

The solicitors to the placing were Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS AND LUTHER FORM A 1300 LAWYER-STRONG EUROPEAN ALLIANCE

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

In a move to build one of the leading associations of European law firms, Pinsent Masons in the UK and Luther in Germany are spearheading the creation of the Pinsent Masons Luther Group (PMLG). The pan-European network will provide a formidable cross-border legal services resource for clients doing business in the region.

As the driving force behind the association, founder members, Pinsent Masons and Luther represent the largest firms in PMLG. Pinsent Masons is a top 15 UK law firm, with over 250 partners and 1,000 lawyers worldwide; Luther is the 13th largest law firm in Germany and the second biggest independent in the German market. Formerly associated with Ernst & Young, Luther and Ernst & Young relinquished formal ties in December 2006, post Sarbanes-Oxley, but still retain a strong working relationship.

PMLG also includes, in France, Granrut, in Austria, Karasek Wietzryk, in Hungary, Luther Fest & Kajli, and three firms based in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania trading under the banner 'Baltic Legal Solutions'. In total, the association comprises over 360 partners operating out of 33 offices across Europe. PMLG is further augmented by well established 'best friends' arrangements with lawyers in Italy, Holland, Poland and The Czech Republic.

Members firms have a strong track-record of collaborative working, with particular synergies in Corporate, IP/IT, PPP/ Projects, Competition, Employment and Real Estate. The association formalises existing relationships between the participating firms, which will henceforth work together on an exclusive basis.

Tony Bunch, Pinsent Masons' International Operations Partner, comments: 'Following the Pinsent Masons merger, the firm has increasingly been involved in cross-border work, driven by our clients' imperative to grow their operations globally. PMLG's offering in Europe is a compelling proposition for clients seeking the best local know-how, combined with an extensive international capability.'

Chris Mullen, Pinsent Masons' Senior Partner adds: 'The association adds another dimension to Pinsent Masons' international reach, complementing our burgeoning operations in Asia Pacific and the Middle East and firmly establishing us as a credible option for clients seeking a cross-border legal resource. Our shared strengths in key sectors, commitment to quality and client service excellence ensure that PMLG will be greater than the sum of its parts.'

Stefan Kraus, Managing Partner of Luther, says: 'The cultural and professional synergies between PMLG member firms have been apparent for some time. It seemed the natural step for our informal relationships to evolve into a strong and coherent offering. Put simply, we're a great fit.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Chris Mullen, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons

or Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications, on:

Tel: 0845 300 32 32

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON DEAL PIVOTAL TO FUTURE GROWTH OF DENNIS EAGLE

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised on a deal which has created Europe's no.1 player in refuse collection vehicle (RCV) production with the purchase by Spanish company, Ros Roca S.A of Midlands-based Dennis Eagle.

The combining of specialist vehicle manufacturer, Dennis Eagle and Ros Roca, a market leader in municipal manufacturing and environmental engineering, also creates a global leader in the field of environmental waste equipment with the new business forecast to have an annual turnover of ?400 million. It will also form part of a larger ?600 million turnover group.

A Pinsent Masons team led by Birmingham private equity partner Joanne Ellis, advised the selling shareholders of Dennis Eagle, including equity investors ABN Amro Capital and LDC. Her team also advised management on its re-investment in Ros Roca and on tax-related issues. The Dennis Eagle management will continue to run the UK business.

Dennis Eagle?s, Chief Executive, Mike Molesworth, believes the development will bring ?substantial benefits? to customers of both organisations, and will enable Dennis Eagle to fulfil its long-term corporate strategy by delivering more to its ever-expanding global customer base.

?The Ros Roca and Dennis Eagle businesses are complementary. Not only are both organisations domestic market leaders for RCVs in their own right, they are profitable and two of the most successful companies within the waste equipment sector in Europe. It has long been our stated intention to develop Dennis Eagle into a truly leading international concern and this latest development will help accelerate this process.

?Everyone involved at Dennis Eagle, including the management team that has now been together for six years, is looking forward to taking the business to its next level of development internationally. Becoming part of an equally successful global group leader in waste equipment for collection, transport, processing and treatment will be pivotal to this.?

The full Pinsent Masons' team was Joanne Ellis, Ann McCarthy, Paul Harkin, Lee Clifford and Alex Edmondson (corporate), Lisa Parisi (tax) and Esther Parkes (banking & finance).

Joanne Ellis commented: 'It has been exciting to work alongside Dennis Eagle during six years of successful development and to be involved now in advising on a deal which offers the company a fantastic opportunity to realise more of its potential with greater European and global reach'.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Birmingham provided corporate finance advice to the shareholders.

Ros Roca was advised by ING London and Taylor Wessing.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Timeform advised by Pinsent Masons on sale to Betfair

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The shareholders of Portway Press Limited, which trades as Timeform, have been advised by a team from Pinsent Masons on the sale of the company to betting exchange Betfair for an undisclosed sum.

Halifax-based Timeform, which employs 70 people, is a world-renowned brand publishing horseracing ratings, form guides and analysis. The company, founded by Phil Bull in 1948, is an iconic brand in racing form and is used daily by the sport's professionals and punters as an essential source of reference. Channel Four Racing pundit Jim McGrath is the firm's managing director.

It is intended that Timeform will retain editorial independence, whilst benefiting from Betfair's capital investment, as well as technology, marketing and communication skills. Betfair will seek to incorporate some of Timeform's existing services into its own offering and utilise its resources to develop new products and further extend Timeform's global brand.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Judith Greaves, national head of the firm's tax group and longstanding client partner for Timeform, and by corporate partner Andrew Black, assisted by John Clegg (Corporate), Suky Tour (Employment) and Kerry Wardle (Banking).

Reg Griffin, Chairman of Timeform, said: 'The partnership with Betfair, a company which shares our principles of integrity and trust, will open new outlets for Timeform's content, securing the brand both at home and internationally.

'Existing users of Timeform are more than customers; many are longstanding members of a fanatical readership which expects the highest standards. Those standards, along with Timeform's editorial independence and impartiality, are part of a rich heritage that will continue much as before.'

The shareholders of Timeform also received financial advice from Dow Schofield Watts LLP and tax advice from DTE Group. Betfair were advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

D1 Oils Plc Advised By Pinsent Masons On Major ?48+ Million Fundraising

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK-based global biodiesel producer, D1 Oils plc, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on a ?48 million fundraising to assist it in growing its business to meet the increasing international demand for renewable fuels.

Since its admission to AIM in 2004, D1 Oils has developed significantly its international business, concentrating on three core areas ? agronomy, refining and trading ? with the ambition of becoming one of the leading global players in its field. D1 Oils is pioneering the science, planting and production of inedible vegetable oils. The company also designs, builds, operates and owns biodiesel refineries.

D1 Oils has conditionally raised ?48 million, with the potential (via an over-allotment option) to raise a further ?10+ million, through a placing of up to 35,151,515 new ordinary shares. The placing is a very significant one for D1 Oils as it represents a near-doubling of the company's market capitalisation, at a price that does not represent a significant discount to the market price. The transaction is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting to be held on 28 December 2006.

The Pinsent Masons team advising D1 Oils comprises corporate finance partner, Robert Moir, senior associates Hanh Jelf and Rory Cray, and Andy Green. Pinsent Masons has acted for D1 Oils since its admission to AIM and in September advised the Company on the acquisition of a major 47-acre refinery site in the North West of England which will be converted to a biodiesel production and distribution plant.

Elliott Mannis, Chief Executive Officer of D1 Oils said: 'The outcome of this placing and the significant levels of interest shown by the investment community demonstrate the market's confidence in the company and its strategy to build a leadership position in the global biofuels industry. The Board would wish to thank the team at Pinsent Masons for their ongoing advice and support in helping the company to achieve its ambitions.?

Robert Moir commented: 'We are delighted to have advised D1 Oils on this key strategic fundraising which will enable the company to grow significantly over the coming years.'

Dresdner Kleinwort, Nominated Adviser and broker to the placing, was advised by Norton Rose, led by Nick Adams.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / Mob: 07884 110173

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Pinsent Masons advises on multi-million pound North-West LIFT scheme

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A multi-disciplinary team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons have advised both Partners 4 Lift Limited and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS) on the multi-million pound re-development of three primary care health centres as part of the St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Warrington LIFT scheme.

The three sites earmarked for development under tranche three of the scheme with a capital value of ?17 million include :

 Newton Community Hospital

 North Huyton Primary Care Resource Centre

 Garswood Primary Care Centre.

The scheme aims to modernise existing premises and accommodation, better integrate health and social care delivery in the area and place greater priority on primary care provision on the three sites.

Pinsent Masons is one of the country's largest providers of legal services to the UK healthcare sector. The firm has advised on one-third of the first three waves of LIFT projects nationally.

This latest LIFT deal brings to 13 the number it has completed on behalf of RBS. It is the first time that Partners 4 Lift Limited, a private limited consortium consisting of St Helens and Halton, Knowsley and Warrington Primary Care Trusts, Partners 4 Care Limited and William Pears Group, has been advised by the firm.

Richard Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Partners 4 Lift Limited, said :

'We are delighted to be taking forward these three projects that will have a significant impact on the delivery of primary health care in Newton, Garswood and Huyton. We have been very pleased with our legal advisors, Pinsent Masons, and we believe that employing them to act on behalf of Partners 4 Lift and the Royal Bank of Scotland has enabled us to reduce the period of time to achieve financial close as well as achieving a significant reduction in cost over previous schemes. We certainly intend to use Pinsent Masons again on our next projects.?

The Pinsent Masons team was led by property partner Arthur Lovitt. He was assisted by Jane Morden, Samantha Oldale, Daniel Hargreaves and Jonathan Riley (property), Nick Bell and Rebecca Wilcock (banking), John Bruce (projects) and Helena Grundell (construction).

Addleshaw Goddard acted for Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust and for Knowsley Primary Care Trust, who will be the end users of the 3 properties. Eversheds acted for Kier Managed Services Limited, the service provider.

ENDS

Note to editors :

LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) projects are designed to transform the provision of primary care with new facilities and enhanced service delivery, structured as public private partnerships.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HM GOVERNMENT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ('Defra') and the Department of Trade and Industry ('Dti') on their joint disposal of the issued share capital of United Kingdom Nirex Limited ('Nirex'). Nirex is the company originally set up by the UK nuclear industry in 1982 to research, develop and operate radioactive waste disposal facilities for the industry and others.

As part of the arrangements for securing the geological disposal of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste announced in Parliament on 25 October 2006, the ownership of Nirex was to be transferred to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority ('NDA'). Completion of this disposal took place on 29 November 2006.

Senior corporate partner, Martin Shaw, who led the Pinsent Masons team, commented: 'We are delighted to have brought this deal to a successful conclusion after several months of interesting and challenging work, involving a number of structuring arrangements, as well as corporate, constitutional, employment, pensions and tax issues'.

Martin Shaw, Leeds head of corporate at Pinsent Masons, was assisted by Catherine Hemsworth and John Clegg (corporate), John Christian (tax), Matthew de Ferrars (pensions), Jon Fisher and Philip Titchmarsh (employment).

The NDA was advised by Fiona Hammond (in-house) and Burnetts and Nirex was advised by Burges Salmon.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISED ON GROUNDBREAKING SCHOOLS BUILDING INITIATIVE

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The government's flagship 21st century initiative to renew or rebuild every secondary school has been given a major boost with a specialist public sector team at law firm Pinsent Masons breaking new ground.

The firm has advised VT Education and Skills as the Strategic Partner Organisation (SPO) to Greenwich Council on its agreement under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative to work with the authority on a long-term project which promises to transform every secondary school in the south London borough.

With the BSF initiative at such an early stage few agreements between authorities and SPOs are in place. Pinsent Masons has worked closely with VT to structure an agreement which lays the foundation for a 15-year relationship with Greenwich. The BSF programme will be tackled in waves, with wave one seeing five schools in Greenwich undergoing a major physical overhaul.

The BSF programme represents the single biggest investment ever made in Greenwich?s schools. It will enable schools to offer an extended, flexible curriculum that meets the needs of each individual student, allowing them a wider range of options in their education, including more choice over the type of school they wish to attend. The new schools will also provide new facilities for the wider community, for learning and community use both during and beyond the school day.

VT Education and Skills Managing Director Simon Withey said: ?We are delighted to be partnering Greenwich in delivering this flagship BSF programme for London. These are exciting times in Greenwich and VT is fully committed to playing its part in helping the borough with its development plans. We will utilise our considerable experience in education to ensure that the BSF programme provides a catalyst for raising the standards of secondary school education in Greenwich.?

Hazel Nickless of Pinsent Masons added: 'This is a groundbreaking agreement between VT and Greenwich which establishes the relationship between the authority and its strategic partner under the BSF initiative and paves the way for an enduring collaboration.'

Partnerships for Schools? Chief Executive Tim Byles said: ?It is excellent news that Greenwich ? a pathfinder BSF local authority ? and their preferred bidder VTES have reached financial close on Greenwich?s BSF projects. This is another great step forward for the progress of the national BSF programme and will benefit the schoolchildren of Greenwich for years to come.?

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Building Schools for the Future (BSF)

Pinsent Masons has been closely involved in advising the 4ps and LEAs and bidders embarking upon the first wave BSF projects by examining what the standardised BSF documents and entry into long-term partnership arrangements will mean for them. Building upon our expertise in NHS LIFT, which is the model upon which BSF has been developed, Pinsent Masons seeks to ensure that LEAs and their selected partners are well equipped to provide the educational needs of their communities.

Greenwich Council has been advised by law firm Bevan Brittan on its BSF agreement with VT Education and Skills.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons advises on multi-million pound North-West LIFT scheme

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A multi-disciplinary team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons have advised both Partners 4 Lift Limited and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS) on the multi-million pound re-development of three primary care health centres as part of the St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Warrington LIFT scheme.

The three sites earmarked for development under tranche three of the scheme with a capital value of ?17 million include :

 Newton Community Hospital

 North Huyton Primary Care Resource Centre

 Garswood Primary Care Centre.

The scheme aims to modernise existing premises and accommodation, better integrate health and social care delivery in the area and place greater priority on primary care provision on the three sites.

Pinsent Masons is one of the country's largest providers of legal services to the UK healthcare sector. The firm has advised on one-third of the first three waves of LIFT projects nationally.

This latest LIFT deal brings to 13 the number it has completed on behalf of RBS. It is the first time that Partners 4 Lift Limited, a private limited consortium consisting of St Helens and Halton, Knowsley and Warrington Primary Care Trusts, Partners 4 Care Limited and William Pears Group, has been advised by the firm.

Richard Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Partners 4 Lift Limited, said :

'We are delighted to be taking forward these three projects that will have a significant impact on the delivery of primary health care in Newton, Garswood and Huyton. We have been very pleased with our legal advisors, Pinsent Masons, and we believe that employing them to act on behalf of Partners 4 Lift and the Royal Bank of Scotland has enabled us to reduce the period of time to achieve financial close as well as achieving a significant reduction in cost over previous schemes. We certainly intend to use Pinsent Masons again on our next projects.?

The Pinsent Masons team was led by property partner Arthur Lovitt. He was assisted by Jane Morden, Samantha Oldale, Daniel Hargreaves and Jonathan Riley (property), Nick Bell and Rebecca Wilcock (banking), John Bruce (projects) and Helena Grundell (construction).

Addleshaw Goddard acted for Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust and for Knowsley Primary Care Trust, who will be the end users of the 3 properties. Eversheds acted for Kier Managed Services Limited, the service provider.

ENDS

Note to editors :

LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) projects are designed to transform the provision of primary care with new facilities and enhanced service delivery, structured as public private partnerships.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HM GOVERNMENT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS

December 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ('Defra') and the Department of Trade and Industry ('Dti') on their joint disposal of the issued share capital of United Kingdom Nirex Limited ('Nirex'). Nirex is the company originally set up by the UK nuclear industry in 1982 to research, develop and operate radioactive waste disposal facilities for the industry and others.

As part of the arrangements for securing the geological disposal of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste announced in Parliament on 25 October 2006, the ownership of Nirex was to be transferred to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority ('NDA'). Completion of this disposal took place on 29 November 2006.

Senior corporate partner, Martin Shaw, who led the Pinsent Masons team, commented: 'We are delighted to have brought this deal to a successful conclusion after several months of interesting and challenging work, involving a number of structuring arrangements, as well as corporate, constitutional, employment, pensions and tax issues'.

Martin Shaw, Leeds head of corporate at Pinsent Masons, was assisted by Catherine Hemsworth and John Clegg (corporate), John Christian (tax), Matthew de Ferrars (pensions), Jon Fisher and Philip Titchmarsh (employment).

The NDA was advised by Fiona Hammond (in-house) and Burnetts and Nirex was advised by Burges Salmon.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CONSTRUCTION GROUP SIAC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON CORPORATE DEAL

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

SIAC Construction Limited (SIAC), one of Ireland?s largest multi-disciplinary construction groups and a long-standing Pinsent Masons' construction client, has been advised by the firm for the first time on a corporate deal with its strategic acquisition in the UK.

Dublin-based SIAC, which has a turnover of ?165 million and employs a permanent workforce of 700 people, acquired Bison Structures Limited for an undisclosed sum from Bison Group, the pre-cast concrete and composite structures producer.

Bison Structures Limited specialises in the fabrication of steel structures for use in retail, industrial and commercial buildings, car parks, leisure facilities and other private and public sector projects. Its acquisition adds to SIAC's capabilities in this area and complements the work of its own Irish steel fabrication business SIAC Butlers Steel, as well as its existing UK subsidiary, SIAC Facades Limited.

SIAC's Business Development Manager, Aidan Guinan, commented: 'There is a very good fit between the Bison Structures business and our existing activities. The acquisition gives us additional capability in the UK market and we can now offer our UK clients an integrated structural steel, roofing and cladding and glazing solution. This approach has been implemented in Ireland and has resulted in very successful working relationships with major international companies. An added bonus for us has been being able to continue to work closely with Pinsent Masons. The firm has been our adviser on PFI schemes since 2001 and now, with its depth of corporate capability and specialist expertise in areas such as pensions, it has proved it has the resources to service all of our legal requirements. Working with a firm that knows our business made the acquisition of Bison easier.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Manchester Corporate Partner, Howard Gill. Additional specialist advice on pensions was provided by Stephen Scholefield and Paul Corris, with employment advice from Louise Burn.

The vendors were advised by Burness LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

TWO KEY PARTNER APPOINTMENTS FOR GROWING BANKING AND FINANCE GROUP

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons' Banking and Finance Group has announced two key appointments with partners joining its Restructuring and Banking teams in London and Birmingham respectively.

The Group's market-leading Birmingham Banking team is to be joined by Matthew Heaton from Eversheds. He will work alongside partners Stephen Miles and Alice Broadfield and the rest of the Midlands Banking team at Pinsent Masons to further develop the complex financing work for which the team has achieved its top ranking from independent market watchers.

Seamas Gray is joining the Group's Restructuring team in London from DLA Piper and will work alongside fellow London Restructuring Partner, Richard Williams, and the London Banking team led by Martin Bishop to develop the firm's bank-led restructuring practice.

The appointments reflect the overall growth of Pinsent Masons' Banking and Finance Group nationally, which now has more than 50 lawyers. The Group has seen major investment in London in recent years, as well as investment in its rated regional teams in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester with the appointments of Heaton and Gray following closely on the appointments of Graeme McClellan as an asset finance partner in London and Clare Foster as a project finance partner in Edinburgh.

Matthew Heaton spent six years working in Allen & Overy's Global Loans and Restructuring Department before moving to join the Midlands banking team at Eversheds in December 2004 where he has concentrated on acquisition finance and general corporate banking work. Seamas, a restructuring specialist, has worked with DLA Piper's London Restructuring team for the past seven years.

Stephen Miles, National Head of the Banking and Finance Group, said: 'Banking and Finance is one of the core areas targeted for growth at Pinsent Masons. The success of this commitment is demonstrated by the year-on-year growth in the turnover and profitability of the Group. As we push to grow our London practice and develop our institutional relationships, we are keen to maintain and build on our regional strength. Matthew and Seamas will help us to do both and we are delighted that they are joining us.'

Jonathan Jeffries of Pinsent Masons' Restructuring team commented: 'We are committed to strengthening our offering in London and to the general expansion of the team. We are building on the strength of our reputation in other parts of the UK and the quality of our relationships which suggests that we can make great gains with the right team in place.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

EUROPEAN COMMISSION CLOSES HOLYROOD PROCUREMENT CASE AGAINST THE UK

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The European Commission has announced its intention to close its infringement case against the UK in respect of the design and construction of the new Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood.

This decision follows an acknowledgment by the Scottish Executive and Parliamentary authorities that tender processes may not have been consistent with EU public procurement law or the EC Treaty principle of equal treatment that underlies the process.

Moreover, the Scottish Executive has taken a number of pro-active measures to ensure that similar difficulties do not occur in relation to future projects. This began with the establishment of the Fraser Inquiry and was followed by the introduction of new construction procurement guidelines and new requirements for the review of major projects. Another important step taken by the Scottish Executive is the ongoing training programme on the new EC Public Procurement Directive and implementing Scottish Regulations, which has benefited over 200 public sector employees to date.

Under contract to the Scottish Executive's Procurement Directorate Pinsent Masons has played a key role in delivering this training programme which played a part in the Commission's decision to close its investigation.

Ends

Read more…

STRATEGIC PARTNER APPOINTMENT TO PINSENT MASONS' NATIONAL PROPERTY LITIGATION TEAM

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Property Litigation team at UK law firm Pinsent Masons has announced the appointment of Alicia Foo, formerly joint head of Property Litigation at Denton Wilde Sapte, as partner.

Alicia will be based at the firm's Birmingham office and joins a vibrant, expanding national team which boasts one of the largest dedicated property litigation teams in the UK.

Stuart Wortley, national head of Property Litigation, commented: 'We are delighted to welcome Alicia whose appointment reflects the rapid growth of our team. During 2006 we have already seen the promotion of Matthew Baker to partner in our Leeds office and the recruitment of five lawyers ? four in London and one in Leeds. We are currently considering further recruitment opportunities.

'Property Litigation is a key area of growth and investment for Pinsent Masons - with a team of five partners and 16 lawyers, we are already one of the largest teams in the UK. In the Midlands, Alicia will be working with Paul Kent to develop and grow a practice which is already well positioned in the market.'

The Property Litigation team is part of the wider Property Group at Pinsent Masons, the largest single practice group in the firm with over 150 lawyers around the country.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS CONTINUES MANCHESTER GROWTH WITH COMMERCIAL PARTNER HIRE

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has announced a further partner hire in Manchester with the appointment of commercial law specialist Scot Morrison, as the firm continues its expansion and strategic investment in the North West.

Scot will play a key role in developing the commercial law practice in Manchester of Pinsent Masons' successful national Outsourcing, Technology and Commercial (OTC) group. He is a specialist in commercial contracts, regeneration and real estate based joint venture structures. He is joining from Eversheds in Manchester where he is a partner.

His move to Pinsent Masons will see him reunited with corporate partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill both of whom moved to the firm from Eversheds this year. Pinsent Masons also recently announced the partner appointments in Manchester in Corporate of heavy-hitters Stephen Levy from Hammonds and Chris Moss from Halliwells.

OTC is one of the flagship areas of practice nationally for Pinsent Masons which boasts an award-winning IP/IT law team. 'We need someone in the North West to spearhead the development of our commercial law practice to match the quality we have elsewhere and to enable us to expand the work we do for clients across the board,' said Clive Seddon, national head of OTC. 'Scot Morrison has all the right credentials. He has a proven ability of developing business, building strong teams and growing good client relationships. He will be a great addition to our operations in the North West and a valuable member of the group nationally.'

Carl Garvie, Head of Office in Manchester, added: 'There is a real buzz now around our North West team with each new arrival underscoring the dynamic and progressive force that Pinsent Masons is coming to represent in the North West.

'We are delighted to be welcoming Scot whose skills will add to the full service capability we offer to clients in this region and beyond. This is a good move for Pinsent Masons and good for regional competition which ensures the North West has a top-quality vibrant legal market.'

Scot Morrison joined Eversheds upon qualification in 1995 and became a partner in 2003. He helped to set up the successful commercial department at Eversheds in Manchester in 1999, working with colleagues to grow its influence. In the past two years, he has also developed a cross-disciplinary practice in regeneration and real estate joint venture structures ? significant areas of practice for Pinsent Masons.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HEYWOOD WILLIAMS GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SCHEME OF ARRANGEMENT AND CAPITAL REORGANISA

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Heywood Williams Group PLC, a leading specialist distributor of building products, is being advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on a Scheme of Arrangement and capital reorganisation.

This will create distributable reserves of ?42.2 million and enable the company to pay dividends and make share buybacks if the Board deems it appropriate to do so. Under the Scheme all shares in the capital of the company will be cancelled. The proposed reorganisation will involve the introduction of a new listed company as the parent company of Heywood Williams.

The shareholders of Heywood Williams will receive one new parent company share for each Heywood Williams share cancelled. The new parent company shares will be listed on the London Stock Exchange and the new company will also be known as Heywood Williams Group PLC.

The proposed Scheme and capital reorganisation is subject to approval at a Court Meeting and an Extraordinary General Meeting which are scheduled to take place on 17 November. It is expected that the Scheme will become effective on 11 December.

Mark Wild, Company Secretary at Heywood Williams, commented: 'This has been a complex process during which we have valued the advice and expertise provided by the Pinsent Masons' Manchester team. We were also advised by the same team on our recent acquisition of the Carlisle Brass Group. Once again, Pinsent Masons? Manchester corporate team has performed extremely well.?

The Heywood Williams Scheme of Arrangement is the second such transaction to be advised upon by Pinsent Masons in quick succession. Last month the firm advised brewer and pub owner Hardys & Hansons p.l.c on its ?272 million recommended takeover by Greene King PLC, effected by way of two simultaneous Schemes of Arrangement. In a complex deal, the Pinsent Masons team advised the company on the two Schemes of Arrangement and on the interests of family and non-family shareholders in the public and private companies involved in the recommended bid.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Heywood Williams Group comprised corporate partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill and senior associate, Farook Khan.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

TOP WEALTH MANAGER TILNEY ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON DEUTSCHE BANK DEAL

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the UK's largest independent wealth managers, Tilney Group Limited, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on the sale of the company to Deutsche Bank for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition from Bridgepoint and Tilney management is a key element in Deutsche Bank's private wealth management strategy. This strategy anticipates the bank expanding its onshore presence in certain markets and with certain client groups, including Independent Financial Advisers. Tilney, with its 15,000 domestic and international clients and assets of ?6.7 billion under investment, provides the bank with the ideal growth platform.

In the last four years Tilney has transformed itself diversifying its product base via a series of strategic acquisitions including, earlier this year, the purchase of the private client division of Clydesdale Bank / Yorkshire Bank, upon which Pinsent Masons also acted.

Pinsent Masons worked closely with Travers Smith, legal advisers to exiting investor Bridgepoint, to see the deal through to a successful conclusion. David Innes led for Travers Smith while corporate partner, Andrew Masraf led the Pinsent Masons team which comprised Joanne McNeill, Gareth Rees and Jeremy Impey (corporate); Rebecca Power (tax) and Wyn Lewis (employment).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BLACK & VEATCH ON ACQUISITION OF MJ GLEESON'S WATER BUSINESS

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading global engineering, consulting and construction company, Black & Veatch, has been advised by a team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of the water business of MJ Gleeson Group plc. The acquisition for a total consideration of ?36 million (on a debt and cash free basis) and with annual revenues of nearly ?200 million more than doubles the size of Black & Veatch's existing UK water operations.

Commenting on the transaction Dan McCarthy, CEO of Black & Veatch's water business said: 'Black & Veatch is committed to a rigorous growth programme in its core business lines of energy and water. The completion of this agreement allows Black & Veatch's global water business to move to nearly US$1 billion in revenue.'

Dave Kerns, Executive Vice President and Treasurer at Black & Veatch added: 'Critical to the success of this deal has been the quality of the support and advice that we have had from our professional advisers. The team assembled by Pinsent Masons and led by Darius Lewington exhibited the highest levels of commitment and professionalism throughout the transaction, enabling Black & Veatch to bring this transaction to a successful close within a short timeframe.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Black & Veatch was led by Corporate Partner, Darius Lewington with support from Fiona Morris, Iain Butler, Anais Spacey and Raymond Chan (Corporate), Mark Roe, Sarah Thomas, Edward Butler, Brad Fearn, Karen Vera, Melanie Grimmit, Michael Lyon and Julian Brooksbank (Construction and Energy), Edward Goodwyn and Sarah Banatvala (Employment), Anne-Marie Winton and Carol Jones (Pensions), Russell Sykes, Richard Keddilty and Maryam Rahman (Property), Paul Rice (Environmental), Claire Smith (IP/IT) and Michael Hunter and Alison Walker (Tax).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR &Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Read more…

PROTON POWER SYSTEMS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ADMISSION TO AIM

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

PROTON POWER SYSTEMS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ADMISSION TO AIM

Fuel cell system developer, Proton Power Systems PLC, is being advised on its admission to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) by a specialist team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons. The company is expected to have a market capitalisation of ?25 million.

Proton, which has concentrated on designing and developing modular fuel cell systems capable of use in volume manufacturing, is now focused on the commercial exploitation of this environmentally friendly source of power chiefly in the industrial application sector of the power systems market.

Proton is the parent company of Proton Motor GmbH, a German-based leading independent fuel cell system developer which produces systems used by OEMs in a range of applications from forklift trucks to buses. Proton Motor's customers include Linde AG, the second largest global manufacturer of material handling and forklift trucks.

Alongside Proton's admission to AIM, the company will be raising ?4.67 million gross through a placing of 5,842,925 ordinary shares of 5p per share at a price of 80p per ordinary share. Bell Lawrie is the NOMAD and broker to the placing and admission.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Proton has been led by national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards, working with Hanh Jelf and Sadhbh Kavanagh (corporate).

Pinsent Masons is one of the UK's top legal advisers for AIM acting for more than 50 AIM-quoted companies. The Proton flotation is the eighth AIM admission this year upon which the firm has advised.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

MEDICX FUND ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON LONDON MAIN MARKET FLOAT

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Specialist healthcare property investment company, MedicX Fund Limited, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on its IPO on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange and ?55.9 million placing and offer for subscription.

MedicX Fund is to concentrate its investment in a portfolio of mainly modern purpose-built primary healthcare properties in the UK where there is a growing demand for modern premises which can be rented by GPs, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Local Health Boards.

The Fund is self-managed and has engaged MedicX Adviser Ltd, a member of the MedicX Group (a specialist developer, investor and manager of primary healthcare properties), as its property adviser. Panmure Gordon has acted as sponsor, financial adviser and broker to the flotation. Dealings in the shares commenced today (2 November).

With an estimated 80% of GPs' surgeries being too small for current needs, MedicX Fund sees an increasing need for modern purpose-built premises from which medical advice and services can be dispensed effectively. Of existing surgeries only 40% were purpose-built, with 50% being adapted houses or shops. The MedicX Group has a development pipeline of approximately ?73 million worth of projects, in 21 of which it is the preferred developer for GPs or PCTs.

Pinsent Masons, which has a market-leading healthcare practice embracing both private and public sector activity and a dedicated IPO and funds team, acts for MedicX Fund. Corporate Finance Partners Jay Birch and Robert Moir led the team, with advice from health sector head Barry Francis on healthcare aspects.

Panmure Gordon was advised by O'Melveny & Myers, led by Eilean Couper. Morgan Cole, led by Robert Cherry, advised on the property aspects.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTED TO ADVISE GLEESON CAPITAL SOLUTIONS ON TWO SOCIAL HOUSING PFI PROJECTS

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed to advise Gleeson Capital Solutions on two social housing PFI projects, further cementing the firm's leading position in this sector.

Gleeson Capital Solutions is part of the Chrysalis consortium, together with Nationwide, Moat and Denne Group. The consortium is the preferred bidder on the Stanhope Housing PFI Project in Ashford. Gleeson and Nationwide are also, with Harvest Housing Association, part of the AvantAge consortium which has just been appointed preferred bidder on the Cheshire Non HRA Housing PFI Project. Financial close on both projects is expected by March 2007.

Stanhope Estate project involves the demolition of 410 flats, the provision of 222 houses and flats for general housing need, 90 houses and flats for intermediate rent and Homebuy (formerly known as Shared Ownership); 144 houses and flats for open market sale; the demolition of the old shopping centre; and the transformation of a new commercial centre together with new and improved community facilities for Ashford Borough Council.

The Cheshire project will provide 400 extra care housing units across five sites in Cheshire involving a mix of flats for sale, rent and Homebuy, and forms the first phase of a pan-Cheshire strategy to facilitate 2000 units within the next ten years.

The Pinsent Masons team is led by Robin Baillie assisted by Navjeet Virk, Anna Le Jehan and Didar Dhillon in the Projects Group.

Robin Baillie, Senior Associate in the Projects Group at Pinsent Masons, said,

'Having already been involved in seven of the nine social housing schemes which have closed to date, as well as Islington Housing PFI which we closed only last month, our instructions on Cheshire and Ashford demonstrate the confidence the market has in Pinsent Masons as the leading legal advisor in this market. The Cheshire and Ashford projects will be two of four schemes which we will be closing this financial year leaving little time to rest!'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named 'Best Legal Adviser' at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006.

Read more…

WATER GIANTS LOSE STRANGLEHOLD ON GLOBAL MARKET

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The five largest water companies in the world are losing their grip on global domination according to Dr David Lloyd Owen, Director of Envisager.

Dr Owen, who was speaking at the launch of the Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook 2006-07 this month, outlined many of the changes recently witnessed by the industry: 'Over the past three years the entire nature of the global water industry has changed. The major players have a less dominant position. With RWE selling Thames Water to Macquarie, the ??big five?? now account for less than half of the people served. We haven't seen that for a long time', he said.

According to Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook in 2002 the five largest operators (Suez, Veolia, RWE, SAUR and Agbar) accounted for 75% of people served. In 2006 this fell to 47%.

Dr Owen added : 'Against this backdrop there is a sizeable shift in the number of locally based companies emerging in the sector in developing economies and eating away at the global share of the heavyweights. Many of these companies are relatively small but collectively they are playing a significant role.

'Their presence is aided by the shift away from awarding contracts to multinational companies in favour of local and expatriate businesses. Much of this has to do with the problems encountered by multinational companies since the mid 1990s, especially regarding political and foreign exchange risk.'

However Dr Owen issued a word of caution :

'This is not necessarily a positive development as while local or expatriate funding obviates exchange rate risk, it plays a limited role in mobilising new sources of funding needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals.'

Mark Lane, Head of the Water Group at Pinsent Masons, said : 'The global water picture is becoming increasingly complex and urgent .The challenges are growing , but the opportunities are correspondingly developing .This eighth edition of the Yearbook focuses on the current issues in 36 countries and 99 companies in North America, South America, and the Far East.'

Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook offers a unique review of the dramatic changes that have affected both companies operating in the sector and its investment climate. Copies of the Water Yearbook are now available on CD or can be downloaded for free by visiting : www.pinsentmasons.com/wateryearbook.aspx

ENDS

Note to editors :

?X Pinsent Masons is one of the world's leading infrastructure law firms and a specialist in water and wastewater projects.

?X Envisager Limited was formed in 2003 and provides strategic management services for the water and wastewater industry.

?X The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 and nearly 190 countries have subsequently signed up to them. The Goals range from halving global poverty and hunger to protecting the environment, improving health and sanitation and tackling illiteracy and discrimination against women.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

WMG PICKS TOP PINSENT MASONS TEAM FOR MAJOR STRIKE ON FOOTBALL TALENT POOL

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Wasserman Media Group picked a top team at law firm Pinsent Masons for advice as the US group made a UK acquisition which has propelled it to pre-eminent status in the field of football talent representation.

Wasserman has acquired SFX Sports Group (Europe) Limited, the agency that represents stars such as Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Andriy Shevchenko, from Live Nation Inc for an undisclosed sum.

The company, strong in basketball and baseball in the US, has now leapfrogged rivals in Europe to gain a dominant position in football with the SFX acquisition. In addition to representing leading names in football, which also include Alan Shearer, Jamie Carragher and Jermaine Jenas, SFX has world rugby stars, Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Martin Johnson as clients.

Casey Wasserman, the group's founder, has been quoted as saying: 'One thing that has become clear over the last few years is that, on a global basis, football is unquestionably the most important sport. For us to operate at the highest level of sports marketing, we have to have a significant presence in football.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Wasserman was led by Corporate Partner, Jonathan Reardon, with Lucy Glyn, (corporate), Geoff Tyler and Velma Eyre (employment), Mark Cawthron (tax) and Kim Walker (media and sports). Kevin Masuda of Los Angeles-based Munger Tolles and Olson LLP provided US advice to Wasserman.

Live Nation Inc was represented by Mike Rogers of Houston-based Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP with UK advice provided by Hammonds.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DORSET COUNTY COUNCIL ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SECOND COUNTY-WIDE STREET LIGHTING PFI PROJECT IN

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised Dorset County Council on the second county-wide street lighting PFI project in the UK to date. The ?100 million project reached financial close on 3 October 2006.

The project involves the refurbishment, replacement and maintenance of public lighting across the County of Dorset over a 25 year term. This will ultimately involve the replacement of around 36,000 columns which equates to approximately 80% of the street lighting stock in the county. As well as public lighting, the project also includes illuminated road signs and bollards and will contribute to Dorset County Council's key objectives of improving road safety and reducing crime.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Patrick Twist assisted by Duncan Halliwell, Oliver Mangiapane and Elise Gillians in the Projects Group. Additional support was given by Pippa Read (Pensions), Pam Sidhu (Employment), James Bryan (Competition), and Ruth Packwood (Banking and Finance).

Patrick Twist, National Head of the Projects Group at Pinsent Masons, said: 'This major street lighting project will provide many benefits for Dorset notably in helping reduce night time accidents, crime and light pollution. It is ground breaking being only the second county-wide contract of its nature and we are delighted to have assisted the Council to bring it to a successful conclusion.'

Colonel Geoff Brierley, county council cabinet member for transport, said: 'This contract is great news for the people of Dorset. Many of our street lamps are due for renewal and this contract offers a great opportunity to provide top-quality, modern street lighting facilities around Dorset's highways, towns and villages for years to come.'

Stephenson Harwood acted for EDF, the contractor, and Tods Murray advised Dexia, the funder.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named 'Best Legal Adviser' at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006.

Pinsent Masons have unrivalled strength in depth in providing legal services on Street Lighting PFI's, having directly advised either the public sector or preferred bidder in 10 of the 15 projects to close to date. A team of 15 specialist projects lawyers continues to advise both the public and private sector on the street lighting projects still in procurement.

Read more…

ANISA GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MARKET LEADING MOVE

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team from law firm Pinsent Masons has advised its client Anisa Group on a deal which has helped to create the UK's market leader in warehousing and distribution.

Anisa has acquired certain business and assets of FWL Technologies Limited (Liverpool) comprising warehousing and distribution, enterprise resource planning and facilities management operations and related staff.

FWL Technologies counts as its customers many of the world's leading logistics, supply chain and transportation companies. The company specialises in providing proprietary software and support services to over 200 customers worldwide, including in the UK leading logistics companies such as DHL, Exel and TNT.

Ross Telford, Anisa Group Chairman, commented: 'Bringing these two businesses together creates the largest UK-based market leader in warehousing and distribution. FWL Technologies has an excellent range of products and expertise to offer customers the most comprehensive solutions portfolio and technology offerings in the UK.

'This is an important strategic acquisition for Anisa Group which more than doubles our position in the warehousing and distribution market where we already enjoy a high profile and considerable success. We now have over 400 customers in 700 locations worldwide.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Anisa Group has been led by Corporate Partner, Joanne Ellis, working with Russell Hill and Alex Darbyshire (Banking and Finance).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CARETECH HOLDINGS PLC ADVISED BY UK LAW FIRM PINSENT MASONS ON COUNTICARE ACQUISITION

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading UK learning disability care provider, CareTech Holdings PLC, has been advised by the specialist healthcare team at law firm Pinsent Masons on an acquisition which will see the company almost doubling its bed capacity since its flotation in 2005.

The ?15 million acquisition of 13 freehold homes from Counticare Holdings Limited plus the entire issued share capital of Counticare Limited and Hazeldene UK Limited, gives CareTech 12 new homes in Kent, with 101 beds and a 150-place day centre. These facilities will be integrated with CareTech's existing 15 homes in Kent.

CareTech Executive Chairman, Farouq Sheikh, commented: 'The acquisition demonstrates the group's progress in achieving the growth strategy outlined at flotation. CareTech has now increased bed capacity since then by some 93% through organic and acquisition initiatives.'

With the latest acquisition, CareTech now operates 127 residential care homes with a total capacity of 840 residential places, together with five day centres with a capacity of 229 day services places.

Pinsent Masons acted for CareTech on its flotation and has advised the company throughout the post-float growth period. The team advising on the Counticare acquisition has been led by Corporate Relationship Partner, Joanne Ellis, a healthcare sector specialist, working with Ann McCarthy and Kimmy Sokhi.

Counticare Holdings Limited was advised by Kingsfords.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CREW CLOTHING CO ACHIEVES GOOD FIT AS PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON EQUITY-BACKED INVESTMENT

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A specialist retail sector team at UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Crew Clothing Co., the quintessentially English casual wear brand, on a ?7.75 million fundraising which has seen ISIS Equity Partners take a 25% stake in the business.

The investment gives Crew Clothing a strong platform for growth and allows managing director Alastair Parker-Swift to realise part of his shareholding in the business which he founded in 1993. From that first store in Salcombe, the company has grown to have 34 UK retail outlets as well as wholesale and direct sale channels.

The investment by ISIS Equity Partners, which has a good track record in the retail arena, followed a review of the strategic options for Crew Clothing and its founder by retail and consumer products consultancy, Argyll Partners. Crew Clothing has also secured the services of high profile retailer Peter Davies as its chairman. Peter is chairman of footwear retailer Clarks and was chief executive of Rubicon Retail (Warehouse and Principles fashion brands).

Alastair Parker-Swift commented: ?I am extremely pleased to be working with ISIS as our partner to take the business forward. Their pedigree in working with retail brands, particularly in the active wear market, will greatly assist our development as a company, whilst we will also benefit from the knowledge that Peter Davies has gained from many successful years developing retail businesses?

Crew Clothing was advised by a private equity team from Pinsent Masons which specialises in retail sector transactions led by Gareth Hughes with Roger Fink and Harmender Kalirai. The team has also acted for major retail investors and retailers including Kaupthing, Baugur, Rubicon Retail, Jane Norman and Elvi Limited.

ISIS Equity Partners, led by Andrew Garside, were advised by Wragge & Co. Lloyds TSB, which provided debt facilities alongside the investment, were advised by Osborne Clarke.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / Mob: 07884 110173

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons Retail Sector deals in 2006 include:

? Elvi Limited - acting for the selling shareholders of the UK's largest independent plus size women's fashion retailer in its acquisition by Langholm Capital and Oliver Spark

? Flying Brands Ltd - advising the Jersey-based listed company on the acquisition of Greetings Direct, including Greetings Direct Trading Limited of Jersey and Greetings Direct International Limited of Malta. Greetings Direct, which trades as 'Cards for All Occasions' will form an enlarged division for Flying Brands

? Sweaty Betty - advising the founders on the secondary buy-out of their business and subsequent development capital investment by Wittington Investments

? Miller Brothers Electrical Group - advising on the buyout of the business and assets of Miller Brothers Electrical Group involving a retail unit and the Group's internet business

Read more…

SIG PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ACQUISITION OF NEW CORPORATE HQ

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading international specialist supplier to the construction and building industry, SIG plc, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of new corporate headquarters at Sheffield Business Park.

The new building will comprise approximately 20,110 square feet of space, with completion of construction due to take place in June next year. The building will house the management and administrative operations for the SIG group. SIG will continue to occupy the site of its current headquarters at Hillsborough. The new premises in Sheffield Business Park will give SIG the space to cope with future expansion and growth of the SIG group.

SIG plc has four core business sectors, Insulation, Roofing, Commercial Interiors and Specialist Construction & Safety Products and supplies the construction and building industry at over 490 trading locations across the UK, Ireland, Mainland Europe and the USA.

The Pinsent Masons team advising SIG plc was led by Property Partner, Richard Daffern, Construction Partner, Fran Button and by Property Senior Associate, Susan Samuel.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DORSET COUNTY COUNCIL ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SECOND COUNTY-WIDE STREET LIGHTING PFI PROJECT IN

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised Dorset County Council on the second county-wide street lighting PFI project in the UK to date. The ?100 million project reached financial close on 3 October 2006.

The project involves the refurbishment, replacement and maintenance of public lighting across the County of Dorset over a 25 year term. This will ultimately involve the replacement of around 36,000 columns which equates to approximately 80% of the street lighting stock in the county. As well as public lighting, the project also includes illuminated road signs and bollards and will contribute to Dorset County Council's key objectives of improving road safety and reducing crime.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Patrick Twist assisted by Duncan Halliwell, Oliver Mangiapane and Elise Gillians in the Projects Group. Additional support was given by Pippa Read (Pensions), Pam Sidhu (Employment), James Bryan (Competition), and Ruth Packwood (Banking and Finance).

Patrick Twist, National Head of the Projects Group at Pinsent Masons, said: 'This major street lighting project will provide many benefits for Dorset notably in helping reduce night time accidents, crime and light pollution. It is ground breaking being only the second county-wide contract of its nature and we are delighted to have assisted the Council to bring it to a successful conclusion.'

Colonel Geoff Brierley, county council cabinet member for transport, said: 'This contract is great news for the people of Dorset. Many of our street lamps are due for renewal and this contract offers a great opportunity to provide top-quality, modern street lighting facilities around Dorset's highways, towns and villages for years to come.'

Stephenson Harwood acted for EDF, the contractor, and Tods Murray advised Dexia, the funder.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PROTON POWER SYSTEMS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ADMISSION TO AIM

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fuel cell system developer, Proton Power Systems PLC, is being advised on its admission to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) by a specialist team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons. The company is expected to have a market capitalisation of ?25 million.

Proton, which has concentrated on designing and developing modular fuel cell systems capable of use in volume manufacturing, is now focused on the commercial exploitation of this environmentally friendly source of power chiefly in the industrial application sector of the power systems market.

Proton is the parent company of Proton Motor GmbH, a German-based leading independent fuel cell system developer which produces systems used by OEMs in a range of applications from forklift trucks to buses. Proton Motor's customers include Linde AG, the second largest global manufacturer of material handling and forklift trucks.

Alongside Proton's admission to AIM, the company will be raising ?4.67 million gross through a placing of 5,842,925 ordinary shares of 5p per share at a price of 80p per ordinary share. Bell Lawrie is the NOMAD and broker to the placing and admission.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Proton has been led by national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards, working with Hanh Jelf and Sadhbh Kavanagh (corporate).

Pinsent Masons is one of the UK's top legal advisers for AIM acting for more than 50 AIM-quoted companies. The Proton flotation is the eighth AIM admission this year upon which the firm has advised.

Shepherd + Wedderburn have advised Bell Lawrie.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

MEDICX FUND ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON LONDON MAIN MARKET FLOAT

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Specialist healthcare property investment company, MedicX Fund Limited, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on its IPO on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange and ?55.9 million placing and offer for subscription.

MedicX Fund is to concentrate its investment in a portfolio of mainly modern purpose-built primary healthcare properties in the UK where there is a growing demand for modern premises which can be rented by GPs, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Local Health Boards.

The Fund is self-managed and has engaged MedicX Adviser Ltd, a member of the MedicX Group (a specialist developer, investor and manager of primary healthcare properties), as its property adviser. Panmure Gordon has acted as sponsor, financial adviser and broker to the flotation. Dealings in the shares commenced today (2 November).

With an estimated 80% of GPs' surgeries being too small for current needs, MedicX Fund sees an increasing need for modern purpose-built premises from which medical advice and services can be dispensed effectively. Of existing surgeries only 40% were purpose-built, with 50% being adapted houses or shops. The MedicX Group has a development pipeline of approximately ?73 million worth of projects, in 21 of which it is the preferred developer for GPs or PCTs.

Pinsent Masons, which has a market-leading healthcare practice embracing both private and public sector activity and a dedicated IPO and funds team, acts for MedicX Fund. Corporate Finance Partners Jay Birch and Robert Moir led the team, with advice from health sector head Barry Francis on healthcare aspects.

Panmure Gordon was advised by O'Melveny & Myers, led by Eilean Couper. Morgan Cole, led by Robert Cherry, advised on the property aspects.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HEYWOOD WILLIAMS GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SCHEME OF ARRANGEMENT AND CAPITAL REORGANISA

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Heywood Williams Group PLC, a leading specialist distributor of building products, is being advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on a Scheme of Arrangement and capital reorganisation.

This will create distributable reserves of ?42.2 million and enable the company to pay dividends and make share buybacks if the Board deems it appropriate to do so. Under the Scheme all shares in the capital of the company will be cancelled. The proposed reorganisation will involve the introduction of a new listed company as the parent company of Heywood Williams.

The shareholders of Heywood Williams will receive one new parent company share for each Heywood Williams share cancelled. The new parent company shares will be listed on the London Stock Exchange and the new company will also be known as Heywood Williams Group PLC.

The proposed Scheme and capital reorganisation is subject to approval at a Court Meeting and an Extraordinary General Meeting which are scheduled to take place on 17 November. It is expected that the Scheme will become effective on 11 December.

Mark Wild, Company Secretary at Heywood Williams, commented: 'This has been a complex process during which we have valued the advice and expertise provided by the Pinsent Masons' Manchester team. We were also advised by the same team on our recent acquisition of the Carlisle Brass Group. Once again, Pinsent Masons? Manchester corporate team has performed extremely well.?

The Heywood Williams Scheme of Arrangement is the second such transaction to be advised upon by Pinsent Masons in quick succession. Last month the firm advised brewer and pub owner Hardys & Hansons p.l.c on its ?272 million recommended takeover by Greene King PLC, effected by way of two simultaneous Schemes of Arrangement. In a complex deal, the Pinsent Masons team advised the company on the two Schemes of Arrangement and on the interests of family and non-family shareholders in the public and private companies involved in the recommended bid.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Heywood Williams Group comprised corporate partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill and senior associate, Farook Khan.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BLACK & VEATCH ON ACQUISITION OF MJ GLEESON'S WATER BUSINESS

November 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading global engineering, consulting and construction company, Black & Veatch, has been advised by a team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of the water business of MJ Gleeson Group plc. The acquisition for a total consideration of ?36 million (on a debt and cash free basis) and with annual revenues of nearly ?200 million more than doubles the size of Black & Veatch's existing UK water operations.

Commenting on the transaction Dan McCarthy, CEO of Black & Veatch's water business said: 'Black & Veatch is committed to a rigorous growth programme in its core business lines of energy and water. The completion of this agreement allows Black & Veatch's global water business to move to nearly US$1 billion in revenue.'

Dave Kerns, Executive Vice President and Treasurer at Black & Veatch added: 'Critical to the success of this deal has been the quality of the support and advice that we have had from our professional advisers. The team assembled by Pinsent Masons and led by Darius Lewington exhibited the highest levels of commitment and professionalism throughout the transaction, enabling Black & Veatch to bring this transaction to a successful close within a short timeframe.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Black & Veatch was led by Corporate Partner, Darius Lewington with support from Fiona Morris, Iain Butler, Anais Spacey and Raymond Chan (Corporate), Mark Roe, Sarah Thomas, Edward Butler, Brad Fearn, Karen Vera, Melanie Grimmit, Michael Lyon and Julian Brooksbank (Construction and Energy), Edward Goodwyn and Sarah Banatvala (Employment), Anne-Marie Winton and Carol Jones (Pensions), Russell Sykes, Richard Keddilty and Maryam Rahman (Property), Paul Rice (Environmental), Claire Smith (IP/IT) and Michael Hunter and Alison Walker (Tax).

MJ Gleeson was advised by Simmons & Simmons.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR &Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Read more…

TOP WEALTH MANAGER TILNEY ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON DEUTSCHE BANK DEAL

October 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the UK's largest independent wealth managers, Tilney Group Limited, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on the sale of the company to Deutsche Bank for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition from Bridgepoint and Tilney management is a key element in Deutsche Bank's private wealth management strategy. This strategy anticipates the bank expanding its onshore presence in certain markets and with certain client groups, including Independent Financial Advisers. Tilney, with its 15,000 domestic and international clients and assets of ?6.7 billion under investment, provides the bank with the ideal growth platform.

In the last four years Tilney has transformed itself diversifying its product base via a series of strategic acquisitions including, earlier this year, the purchase of the private client division of Clydesdale Bank / Yorkshire Bank, upon which Pinsent Masons also acted.

Pinsent Masons worked closely with Travers Smith, legal advisers to exiting investor Bridgepoint, to see the deal through to a successful conclusion. David Innes led for Travers Smith while corporate partner, Andrew Masraf led the Pinsent Masons team which comprised Joanne McNeill, Gareth Rees and Jeremy Impey (corporate); Rebecca Power (tax) and Wyn Lewis (employment).

Deutsche Bank has been advised by Freshfields.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

BREWER HARDYS & HANSONS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?272 MIILLION BID

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Brewer and pub owner Hardys & Hansons p.l.c has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its ?272 million recommended takeover by Greene King PLC, effected by way of two simultaneous Schemes of Arrangement.

In a complex deal, the Pinsent Masons team advised the company on the two Schemes of Arrangement and on the interests of family and non-family shareholders in the public and private companies involved in the recommended bid.

Hardys & Hansons, established in 1832, is the East Midlands' leading independent regional brewer and pub operator, well known for its Olde Trip ale, named after its pub Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem in Nottingham. The takeover sees Greene King's 200-year-old business, headquartered in Suffolk and famed for ales such as Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, united with the 174-year-old business of Hardys & Hansons.

Greene King Acquisitions (No. 3) Ltd, a subsidiary of Greene King, has paid around ?212 million for Hardys & Hansons' ordinary share capital, plus around ?58 million for the issued share capital of Hardy Hanson Holdings Limited (HHHL), the family holding company. The offer comprised of cash consideration with a loan note alternative. In addition, Hardys & Hansons' shareholders receive in cash the declared interim dividend of 7.6 pence per Hardys & Hansons' share, worth around ?2 million in total.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Hardys & Hansons p.l.c. was led by Corporate Partners, Rob Hutchings and Simon Gronow, and by Senior Associate, Alison Starr.

Rob Hutchings commented: 'This has been an interesting transaction with the interests of the family, which had a controlling stake in the public company, and of other classes of listed and non-listed shares all needing to be addressed simultaneously. We are delighted that there has been a successful outcome for all concerned.'

Greene King was advised by Linklaters, led by partners Jeremy Parr and Robert Cleaver.

The financial advisers to the company were Hawkpoint Partners Limited, to the family holding company were MacArthur & Co and to Greene King were Citigroup and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

BIODIESEL PRODUCER D1 OILS PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MAJOR REFINERY PURCHASE

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Global biodiesel producer, D1 Oils Plc, has been advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons as it pursues its strategic growth plans with the acquisition of a major refinery site in the North West of England.

The 47-acre site at Bromborough on Merseyside, which will be acquired from a subsidiary of Lubrizol Corporation (US) for ?3 million, will be converted to a biodiesel production and distribution plant. It is expected to have an initial refinery capacity of 100,000 tonnes when it goes into biodiesel production in 2007, achieving a production capacity of 420,000 tonnes by the end of 2008. Completion of the transaction is expected by year-end.

AIM-quoted D1 Oils is to invest up to ?8 million in the project during 2007 and in the initial phase of site development some 45 new jobs will be created. The site offers distribution access to large urban markets in the North and Midlands, as well as seaborne delivery to potential UK west coast refinery customers and to Ireland.

D1 Oils Chief Executive Elliott Mannis said: 'Refining is a major part of D1's strategy alongside agronomy and trading, and this transaction has the potential to make us the UK's largest biodiesel refiner within two years.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising D1 Oils was led by Corporate Partner, Robert Moir, with specialist legal advice from Neil Whitaker and Jonathan Moore on property, Helen Keele on environmental and Lisa Patmore on employment. Pinsent Masons has acted for D1 Oils since October 2004 when the company was admitted to AIM.

Commenting on the transaction, Robert Moir said: 'We are delighted to have acted for D1 Oils on this significant strategic acquisition, in what is an exciting period in the development of biofuels as a viable alternative fuel in the UK and abroad.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES GLOBAL AGROCHEMICAL COMPANY, UNITED PHOSPHOROUS LIMITED, ON ?43 MILLION ACQUI

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

United Phosphorous Limited (UPL), India's largest agrochemical company, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the acquisition of the IP and production rights of crop protection products from Bayer Cropscience AG for a total consideration of ?43.50 million, including the rights to the leading herbicide Asulox and two insecticide products.

The acquisition is part of UPL's strategy of widening its product portfolio offering to its customers. Earlier this year Pinsent Masons acted for UPL, which ranks globally in the top five of agrochemical companies, on the ?100 acquisition of Advanta, a leading seed and seed technologies supplier, from Dutch company, Advanta Netherlands Holdings NV.

The London-led Pinsent Masons team advising on the latest acquisition worked with the firm's German relationship partner Luther, which provided German law advice and negotiation support in Germany. The Pinsent Masons team was led by Client Relationship Partner Martyn Hann, assisted by Vivien Gray and Claire Smith, with Carston Senze and Michael Rath of Luther.

Bayer Cropscience was advised of by an in-house team.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), which is listed in India, is the largest Indian agrochemical company and among the top five generic companies globally in this industry. It is engaged in research, manufacture and distribution of agrochemicals and specialty chemicals across the globe.

Through acquisitions, strategic alliances and network of over 36 subsidiaries, UPL has built a marketing network across the globe and its international revenues account for over 70% of its total revenues. It exports to over 100 countries, with primary markets in Europe and North America.

UPL has over 2400 employees and has 10 operating plants (8 in India and 1 in UK and Argentina) all of them are ISO compliant to the highest standards of Quality, Safety, Environment and Occupational Health.

Read more…

SOUTH EASTERN EDUCATION AND LIBRARY BOARD ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?38M BANGOR AND COMBER SCHOOL

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised the South Eastern Education and Library Board on the ?38m Bangor and Comber Schools scheme. The project is the first schools PFI to close in Northern Ireland for the past five years and is the first legacy school to close.

The financing has a gearing of 90:10 with NIBC providing the debt. Tenor is 30 years. Subordinated debt was provided as follows; 40% by Barclays Private Equity, 40% by the facilities management provider Hochtief PPP Solutions (UK) which also provided the equity, and 20% by the project contractor McLoughlin & Harvey. Construction is set to begin immediately.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board is the local authority for education in the district council areas of Ards, Castlereagh, Down, Lisburn and North Down in Northern Ireland. The Bangor and Comber project involves the development of a new 1,420 pupil school for Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College and the new build of Comber High School for 400 pupils on its existing site.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Hazel Nickless (Senior Associate) assisted by Oliver Mangiapane (Solicitor) in the Projects Group.

Commenting on the project Patrick Twist, Head of Projects at Pinsent Masons, said, 'This represents an important milestone for PFI in Northern Ireland and we look forward to working with the South Eastern Education and Library Board on future projects.'

Anne Hanratty, Head of the Northern Ireland PPP Education Service and Project Manager, commented, 'I am absolutely delighted that the Project had completed and looked forward to seeing the first children stepping through their new school gates.'

McGrigors acted for Hochtief and Dundas and Wilson advised the funder. PWC acted as financial advisers to the authority.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. It was named 'Best Legal Adviser' at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 and 'Global Construction Law Firm of the Year' at the Who's Who Legal Awards 2006.

Read more…

Heywood Williams Group Plc advised by Pinsent Masons on Strategic Acquisitions

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading specialist distributor of building products, Heywood Williams Group PLC, is being advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on a ?48 million strategic acquisition which will act as a springboard to its next phase of growth in the UK and internationally.

Heywood Williams is acquiring Carlisle Brass Limited and Dawnforest Limited, together the Carlisle Brass Group comprising a UK-based privately-owned designer and specialist distributor of high quality architectural hardware and a China-based manufacturing facility located in Hangzhou.

The acquisition of Carlisle Brass Group represents part of the next phase of growth for Heywood Williams and will achieve a step-change in the size, balance and earnings potential of the Group. The new product ranges offered by Carlisle Brass complement Heywood Williams' external door and window hardware range and provide scope for cross-selling of products. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting to be held towards the end of September.

Heywood Williams has two existing divisions - LaSalle Bristol, a market leading specialist distributor to the North American manufactured housing, recreational vehicle and modular housing markets, and The Hardware Division, a specialist distributor of hardware and door panels to the UK and certain other European window, door and conservatory markets.

Richard Whiting, Finance Director of Heywood Williams, commented: 'At this important stage in the development of our Group it has been vital to have legal advisers who know us and our business well. The team at Pinsent Masons has worked with us for some years and their understanding has been invaluable in achieving a successful outcome for this complex deal with its mix of UK and international aspects.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Heywood Williams on the acquisition, putting in place new debt facilities and the class one circular has been led by Manchester Corporate Partner, Helen Ridge and includes Howard Gill, Farook Khan and Eleanor Tinnelly (corporate), Mark Yates and Joanne Robinson (banking); Pam Young (property).

The vendor, Robin Graham, is being advised by Dickinson Dees (Simon Watts).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM REAPPOINTS PINSENT MASONS AS LEGAL ADVISER

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Following a competitive tender process, Pinsent Masons has been reappointed to Durham University's panel of legal advisers to provide a full range of legal services. The firm has advised the University since 1989, the new contract is for a four year period until August 2010.

Durham University has a long tradition of excellence in research and teaching, was placed tenth in the 2005 Times League Table and is among the top universities in the World and Europe in the Times' ranking. It has a strategic plan to consolidate its position in the UK, Europe and globally, whilst continuing to have a strong regional impact.

The Pinsent Masons team for the re-tendering of the contract was led by Chris Mordue (Employment Partner) and also included Nicola Hart (National Head of Pinsent Masons' Universities Group), Louise Fullwood (Outsourcing Senior Associate) and Andrew Pedley (Property Associate).

Alison Holmes, Director of Procurement at Durham University, said: 'The University is delighted to have re-appointed Pinsent Masons to our Legal Panel, following a detailed competitive tendering exercise. This will allow the excellent working relationship established during the current contract period to be further developed to the benefit of both parties.'

Chris Mordue, Pinsent Masons Client Partner for Durham University, commented: 'Durham University is a long-standing and highly valued client of the firm and we are delighted to be able to continue and build on that existing relationship. This is another success for our Universities Group and demonstrates our ability to not just win new clients, but sustain long-term relationships with those we already advise.'

This reappointment is the latest in a string of successes for the National Universities Group, which in the last twelve months has been appointed as sole legal advisers to University of London and the London School of Economics and Political Science, to the University of Manchester's legal panel and reappointed to the University of Wolverhampton's legal panel.

The other firm on the panel is Dickinson Dees which was also re-appointed.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

THE COMEDY UNIT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SALE TO RDF MEDIA GROUP

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Television production company, The Comedy Unit Limited, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its sale to AIM listed production company RDF Media Group PLC for a price of up to ?11 million.

The Comedy Unit is Scotland's premier production company involved in the production of sitcoms, sketch shows, comedy quiz shows, entertainment programmes, children's comedy programmes and short films. Its successes include Still Game, The Karen Dunbar Show, Chewin' The Fat, Only an Excuse? and Rab C. Nesbitt. New shows in the production pipeline include a children's sketch show pilot for Channel 4 called Freshly Squeezed, and a new six-part reality comedy show called Comedy Gold for BBC 1 Scotland.

The company has won numerous awards for its programmes, has mounted sell-out live tours and has released most of its shows on DVD and Video. It also makes radio programmes for Radio 4, Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 5 Live.

RDF Media Group is one of Britain's leading independent television production companies and the winner of Broadcast magazine's 'Best Production Company of the Year' in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Its key shows include Wife Swap, Location Location Location and Late Night Poker for Channel 4 and Ladette to Lady for ITV1.

April Chamberlain, managing director and joint founder of The Comedy Unit said 'We are delighted to be linking up with RDF Media Group. They have demonstrated their commitment to the production of innovative and high quality media entertainment over the years, and their success mirrors that of The Comedy Unit, by attracting and retaining relationships with key writing, performing and producing talent to ensure that it continually refreshes its output and ideas.'

The Glasgow-based Pinsent Masons team advising The Comedy Unit has been led by corporate partner Derek Stroud and media lawyer Yvonne Dunn. Specialist advice was provided by Jon Robinson (tax), Robyn McIlroy (employment), Pippa Read (pensions) and Richard Keddilty (property).

Olswang (William Sharpe), acted for the purchaser RDF Media.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Derek Stroud, Partner

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: derek.stroud@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DERMASALVE SCIENCES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ACQUISITION OF HEALTHY AND ESSENTIAL LIMITED

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate finance specialists at Pinsent Masons have advised Dermasalve Sciences on its acquisition of Healthy and Essential Limited for up to 9 million ordinary shares.

Dermasalve Sciences produces lifestyle and healthcare products for dry and sensitive skin sufferers focussed on the UK?s ?440 million medicated skincare market. It was formed in July 2003 by Dr Mark Randle, the Chief Executive, Karl Watkin and Steven Katirai and was floated on AIM through a reverse takeover on 4 January 2006. Dermasalve Sciences is chaired by Dr. Clive Morton OBE, the Chairman of Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Finance Director, Philip Pattison, was Global Risk and Commercial Finance Leader for General Electric prior to joining Dermasalve Sciences.

Healthy and Essential Limited is a UK distributor for a range of omega-3 products, specifically fish and flax seed oils. This acquisition is in line with Dermasalve Sciences' strategy of expanding revenue channels from the skin healthcare market.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Senior Associate Hanh Jelf assisted by Sadhbh Kavanagh and Julian Brooksbank in the Corporate Finance Group, Emma Peacock (Employment) and Matthew Rowbotham (Tax).

The vendors were advised by Harrison Clark led by Arpinder Dhillon.

Dr Mark Randle, Chief Executive of Dermasalve Sciences, commented: ?We believe that in Healthy and Essential we have identified a company which complements Dermasalve Sciences? range of skincare products and will lead to a number of brand extensions. The acquisition will deliver an instant potential market for Dermasalve Sciences existing range of products and a fully established e-commerce platform.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES HSBC AND BARCLAYS ON ?52 MILLION FACILITIES FOR FURTHER INSPICIO ACQUISITIONS

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons has advised HSBC Leveraged Finance as Agent and Security Trustee and, together with Barclays Corporate Leveraged Finance, as Mandated Lead Arrangers and Original Lenders under ?52,000,000 loan facilities to global testing group Inspicio Plc and its subsidiaries.

Funding of ?22,000,000 in addition to the existing bank facilities of ?30,000,000 was provided to the Inspicio Group to enable it to acquire the food and pharmaceutical testing group Eclipse Scientific Group for approximately ?47,000,000. Eclipse Scientific Group was acquired by Inspicio from Clearbrook Capital Partners, the private equity firm set up by Robin Saunders. The remaining funding required was provided by the issue of new ordinary shares.

The Pinsent Masons team also recently advised HSBC on another Inspicio Group financing which enabled the Inspicio Group to acquire the Environmental Services Group of companies from Mowlem plc at the end of April for approximately ?16,000,000.

Commenting on the transaction, Stuart Mills, HSBC director, said, 'In a rapidly growing global testing market it is very rewarding to assist Inspicio to expand and harness the opportunities available through these acquisitions.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Martin Bishop, Tony Anderson, Liam Terry and John Coghlan (all in Banking), Emma Harvey (Corporate), and Tom Eastwood and Charlotte Underwood (Property).

Inspicio were advised by Jones Day led by Michael Nouril assisted by Patrick Stafford and Daniel Partori (Corporate) and Bryony Widdup (Banking).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Niche Hotels Advised by Pinsent Masons on ?6 million Hotel Sale

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Niche Hotels, specialists in contemporary, intimate, period hotels, have been advised by Pinsent Masons on the sale of A1 Hotels Limited, owners of a 26 bedroom hotel in South Kensington, for in excess of ?6 million to five star Concorde El Salam Hotels in Egypt.

The property was the first to be purchased by Niche Hotels in November 2002 for ?4.4million.

Niche Hotels is continuing to focus on acquisitions of period properties that can be developed into cool interior designed hotels in key city or up-and-coming locations and is close to announcing such an acquisition in London.

Niche is committed to developing the core brand and later this year will see the completion of a ?3million investment made to its Wyckhill House property in Gloucestershire to bring it in line with the remainder of its core portfolio in Gloucestershire, Newcastle and Cardiff.

Alan Corlett, Managing Director of Niche Hotels, said: ?The Niche Hotels portfolio has grown according to the business plan. The properties in our collection going forward have more bedrooms with iconic conference facilities?.

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Peter Wood, Catherine Hemsworth and Michael Kidd (corporate), Kerry Wardle (banking), Alison Walker (tax), Anne Bowden and Guy Rusling (property).

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DUNEDIN CAPITAL PARTNERS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SECONDARY BUY-OUT OF SPECIALIST IT BUSINESS

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK mid-market private equity house, Dunedin Capital Partners, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the ?30 million secondary buy-out of Capula Limited, the UK's leading independent provider of real-time IT solutions to the energy and utilities market. Dunedin has backed the management team led by Group CEO Roger Turner.

The buy-out, which sees Dunedin provide ?15.6 million for a 70 per cent equity stake in the business, alongside a debt facility of ?14.5 million provided by Barclays Leveraged Finance.

Capula provides real time automation systems to the nuclear, power generation and utilities markets, a specialised business which involves complex software programming and systems engineering. The company employs more than 180 staff at offices in Staffordshire, Gloucester and Cumbria. The IT systems it provides control much of the electricity distributed across the UK. It also provides IT services to the majority of the plants at the Sellafield nuclear site. In addition, it is the only UK company with a 100% track record of on time delivery of IT systems to the UK's coal fired power stations.

The London-based Pinsent Masons team advising Dunedin has been led by private equity partner Jonathan Reardon with Olivia Phalippou and Gareth Hughes (corporate). Specialist advice was provided by Rebecca Power (tax), Frances Mallender (banking) and Sarah Thomas and Michael Lyon (energy/utilities contract work).

CMS Cameron McKenna (Niall McAlister, Tom Page and Richard Campbell) acted for the vendor Sintem Limited, backed by Bridgepoint. HBJ Gateley Wareing (David Kirchin) acted for Barclays, the debt provider. Hammonds (Gregg Davison) acted for management.

Dunedin Directors John Hudson and Dougal Bennett led and completed the transaction. Hudson commented: ?We are delighted to be supporting Roger Turner and the management team in this secondary buyout. Capula is a clear market leader in its field and the accomplishments of the management team were a key factor in our decision to make this investment. The nuclear and utilities sectors are poised for considerable growth and we look forward to working with the Capula management team in developing the business.?

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

NIKKO PRINCIPAL INVESTMENTS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON CLARITY ACQUISITION

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Nikko Principal Investments Limited (NPIL) has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of the rapidly growing debt collection agency, Clarity Credit Management Solutions Limited (Clarity).

NPIL, the European investment arm of Nikko Cordial Corporation of Japan, has bought 85% of the company with Clarity founders Garry Stran and Richard Griggs retaining a minority interest. Garry Stran will continue as the company's Chief Executive, with Richard Griggs assuming the new role of Director of Corporate Development.

Clarity was formed just over a year ago to provide high quality, cost effective solutions to all aspects of the credit management process. The company specialises in working with financial institutions to maximise the effectiveness of their collection, recovery and litigation strategies, to aid customer retention, minimise losses and provisions, and maximise profit. As part of its service, Clarity provides credit management consultancy as a value added facility.

The purchase of Clarity continues NPIL's investment in the financial services sector and follows its acquisition earlier this year of Cabot Financial, the UK?s leading purchaser of non-performing debt. NPIL?s David Jeffery and Simon Oakland, both of whom were involved in the Cabot transaction, will take up Board positions at Clarity.

The Pinsent Masons team advising NPIL has been led by Private Equity Partner, Roger Fink, working with a team including Hannah Brader, Lee Clifford and Jonathan Snade.

Garry Stran and Richard Griggs were advised by Eversheds, and the other Clarity shareholders were advised by Gordons.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

NEW HIRES REFLECT DEMAND FOR PINSENT MASONS' LITIGATION GROUP

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has expanded its Dispute Resolution & Litigation Group with the appointment of four Senior Associates.

Tom Stocker, Sean Elson, Emma Flower and Chris Wheeler have all joined the team. Tom is dual qualified in English and Scots law with extensive experience acting for companies involved in high profile Health & Safety and Environmental prosecutions joins in Scotland; Sean joins Tom in our Corporate Defence and Regulatory team, heading up the Birmingham unit; Emma advises businesses on a wide range of commercial claims in Manchester and Chris, a Chartered Accountant, joins in London from BDO.

In addition Tom Pincus, an Australian qualified litigator, joins the firm's London office from Olswang as a solicitor.

Nigel Kissack, Head of Dispute Resolution & Litigation - the team that deals with commercial disputes at Pinsent Masons, said : 'Tom and Sean add significant strength to our national team of Corporate Defence lawyers representing clients at odds with 'red tape' from Health & Safety through advertising, environment, finance, food safety and trading standards to waste.

'Emma and Tom Pincus specialise in resolving commercial disputes and product liability issues and Chris joins as a senior member of our forensic team in London. We look forward to the added value they will all bring to our dispute resolution work.

'These high calibre individuals and the five more junior recruits joining the Group over the next month are giving welcome support to a very busy Group.'

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and some 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester and is home to over 300 dispute resolution specialists.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CASH INJECTION FOR OFFSHORE OIL PROJECT AS PINSENT MASONS ADVISES EQUATOR EXPLORATION ON LOAN

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate and Banking specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons have advised oil exploration company, Equator Exploration Limited (EEL), on a US$65 million loan which will help to fund the development of an offshore oil field in Nigeria.

AIM-listed EEL is already underway with the development of the offshore Bilabri oil field and is confident that, with the injection of additional cash resources provided by the loan, the operation should be in production by the third quarter of 2007.

Advised by Pinsent Masons, the company has signed a two-year loan agreement with certain of its shareholders, which is secured on its shares in its wholly owned subsidiary, Equator Exploration (OML 122) Limited. The loan is repayable within 24 months of first drawing and carries with it options for the lenders to take additional shareholdings in the company.

The Pinsent Masons team comprised London Partners Russell Booker (Corporate) and William Oliver and Martin Bishop (Banking & Finance).

The lenders were advised by Stuart Brinkworth and Andrew Hughes at McGrigors.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES SECOND HIGH-TECH CHINESE COMPANY ON AIM FLOAT

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons' leading position as an AIM adviser, its combined UK and Asia Pacific corporate capability and its industry sector strength have resulted in it successfully bringing a second high-tech Chinese company to the alternative investment market of the London Stock Exchange this year.

An international team led by Corporate Partner and AIM specialist, Jon Harris and Senior Associate Sean Page, is advising fast-growing and highly profitable high-tech manufacturer of solar wafers, ReneSola Ltd and its Shanghai-based trading subsidiary, Zhejiang Yuhui Solar Energy Source Co., Ltd, on its admission to AIM.

ReneSola, whose principal operating business is the manufacture of solar wafers for integration into photovoltaic cells, the principal component of crystalline solar panels, is expected to have an initial market capitalisation of US$150 million, when it is admitted to AIM on 8 August.

The extensive Chinese interests of ReneSola mean that Pinsent Masons has drawn heavily on its international strengths with its experienced Shanghai corporate finance team working alongside corporate finance AIM specialists in London to achieve the flotation.

Anticipated net proceeds from a placing of approximately US$46 million, which will accompany the float, will be used primarily for equipment purchases and to expand ReneSola's R&D capabilities and its plant construction.

The Directors of ReneSola consider that admission to AIM is an important step in the development of the group that will raise its profile and provide flexibility in financing its future growth.

'Our knowledge of the technology and energy sectors, particularly alternative energy, combined with our extensive AIM experience played a significant part in our success in winning ReneSola as a client and smoothing the passage to flotation,' said Jon Harris. 'AIM is an increasingly attractive environment for Chinese companies that are looking to grow and make an impression internationally.'

In addition to Jon Harris and Sean Page, the Pinsent Masons team advising ReneSola comprises Manmohan Panesar and Jolene Chan, and in Shanghai, Consultant Amanda Yao and Rachel Xie.

The Nominated Adviser and Broker to the float is Westhouse Securities LLP, which is being advised by Steptoe & Johnson.

In March, Jon Harris led a team which acted for leading developer and provider of software and IT solutions to Chinese regional and national government agencies, Sinosoft Technology plc, on its US$ 55 million admission to AIM.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CORPORATE HEAVY-HITTER STEPHEN LEVY IS KEY PARTNER APPOINTMENT FOR

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the leading heavyweight corporate lawyers in the North West, Stephen Levy, is joining Pinsent Masons' Manchester team in a move which underscores the top-level reinvigoration of the firm's regional corporate practice.

Stephen Levy, independently rated as 'technically excellent', will move from Hammonds, where he has lead the Corporate Finance team in Manchester, to head up Pinsent Masons' Corporate team in the region.

Stephen will be working with partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill, who joined Pinsent Masons from Eversheds in Manchester earlier this year, and Anna Whetham. Helen and Howard have already generated a significant amount of work in the short time they have been with Pinsent Masons and the firm is recruiting further to service strong client demand for its corporate services in Manchester.

'Stephen Levy's move to Pinsent Masons speaks volumes about our commitment to becoming one of the North West's leading corporate players. He is a high calibre lawyer, respected by clients and peers alike, who has a deal-doing track record that many envy. Importantly, he is also a great team player and with Helen, Howard and Anna will build a formidable practice for Pinsent Masons in the region,' said Gareth Edwards, National Head of Corporate.

Helen Ridge added: 'This is the crowning moment for us as a new team. Stephen is an acknowledged heavy-hitter in the region, whose reputation for outstanding quality and client service goes before him. We are all looking forward to working together. Our combined experience and expertise gives the region's corporates, private equity houses, other investors and intermediaries a genuine new alternative.'

Stephen Levy is an M&A and private equity practitioner. He joined Hammonds in 1994 from the London office of Nabarro Nathanson, becoming a partner two years later. He has been a recognised client winner growing successful relationships with leading UK and international corporates and private equity houses. In recent times he has advised Montagu Private Equity on the ?145 million MBO of Survitec Group as well as advising on the ?230 million buy-out of Pets at Home, Affinity Healthcare's ?75 million disposal to private equity investors and management and the disposal of Altair Filter Technology for Gresham and management.

Carl Garvie, Head of Manchester office, said: 'Stephen's decision says everything about Pinsent Masons in Manchester. We're serious about Corporate, we're serious about further developing the excellent and broad service offering we already have in the North West and we're the ones to watch.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Names Head of Information Law Team

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons announced today that Rosemary Jay will head the firm?s Information Law practice, one of the largest and most experienced in the world. Its expertise includes privacy, confidentiality, data protection, human rights, freedom of information, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and general information law compliance for UK, European and global clients.

Rosemary Jay has been with Pinsent Masons since 1999 having headed the legal department of the Office of the Information Commissioner (then the Data Protection Registrar) for 12 years prior to joining the firm. She is the co-author of Data Protection Law & Practice published by Sweet & Maxwell, an editor of the White Book, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Freedom of Information and the Examination Committee of the ISEB/BCS Data Protection Certificate Board. Rosemary regularly speaks and writes on data protection and access to information, both nationally and internationally. Rosemary has also recently been appointed as the legal representative for the Freedom of Information User Group, chaired by Baroness Ashton.

She has been a partner with the firm since 2003. Although based in Manchester, Rosemary services a national and international client base in her specialist area.

In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the information law team, further developing Pinsent Masons? information law offerings, its extensive training course portfolio and other services covering all aspects of UK, European and international information law.

Clive Seddon, partner and head of Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing, Technology and Commercial Group commented, ?Rosemary is the obvious choice for us to succeed Shelagh Gaskill as head of our highly regarded Information Law practice. Rosemary is a leading practitioner in this area. This appointment will ensure the continuation of our unparalleled services in the information law area as well as developing new and innovative ones for our UK and global client base.?

Pinsent Masons? Information Law practice is also one of the foremost information law trainers in the UK, providing a wide range of accredited training courses covering Data Protection, Freedom of Information, IT law and other regulatory areas. The firm has also developed an e-learning programme produced in association with Video Arts, combining lively, interactive teaching with subject expertise.

Read more…

DOUBLE HIRE FOR PINSENT MASONS' MANCHESTER ARM

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has boosted its Employment and Dispute Resolution & Litigation practices in Manchester with the appointment of Senior Associates Simon Horsfield and Emma Flower respectively.

Simon, formerly of Addleshaw Goddard, will be joining the firms highly regarded employment team. Simon has extensive experience of conducting employment tribunal proceedings and tribunal advocacy.

Emma, who joins the firm from the Manchester office of Eversheds, has a proven track-record of advising businesses on a wide range of commercial claims and complex technical disputes. She has particular expertise in product liability issues.

Carl Garvie, Head of Office for Pinsent Masons in Manchester, said :

'Both Simon and Emma's experience will play an important role in strengthening two of our key practice areas and we are confident both will contribute significantly to our aggressive growth strategy for Manchester.'

Ends

For media enquiries contact:

Debbie Green

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0161 250 0159

Mob : 07786 738931

E : deborah.green@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

IP GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON QUEEN MARY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PARTNERSHIP

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Intellectual property commercialisation company, IP Group plc, has been advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons on a 25-year partnership with Queen Mary, University of London, the latest in a series of such agreements to be made with some of the country's top universities.

Queen Mary is one of the leading colleges in the federal University of London and has a strong research base with over 80 per cent of research staff working in departments where research is of international or national excellence (RAE 2001). It has an annual turnover of ?175 million and research income exceeding

?40 million (2005).

Under the terms of the partnership, IP Group has agreed to work with Queen Mary to identify and facilitate the formation of spin-out companies and to invest an initial fund of up to ?5 million in such companies in return for equity stakes in them. Spin-out companies from Queen Mary will also have access to capital from the IP Venture Fund, IP Group's recently launched venture capital fund in partnership with the European Investment Fund. This additional capital will not dilute IP Group's equity stakes in spin-out companies.

IP Group will also receive 13.3% of the equity in spin-out companies from Queen Mary at the time that the company is established prior to investment. IP Group will also work on licensing opportunities across Queen Mary and will receive 10% of any income which Queen Mary receives from licensing during the lifetime of the partnership.

The Pinsent Masons team advising IP Group has been led by Corporate Partner, Russell Booker.

Queen Mary, University of London has been advised by Lawrence Graham

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON THE SALE OF AFX NEWS LIMITED TO THOMSON FINANCIAL

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Agence France Presse, the world's oldest established news agency, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on the sale of its subsidiary, AFX News Limited, to Thomson Financial for an undisclosed sum.

AFX News Limited is a leading European independent real-time financial news agency providing equity-focused business, financial and economic news to the investment community. The acquisition will complement Thomson Financial's existing focused news and analysis services and builds on the success of Thomson Financial News for investment professionals in North America. The service will be integrated with Thomson's proprietary content, and delivered through the Thomson ONE application suite and to existing AFX clients.

Agence France Presse is a long-standing client of Pinsent Masons. The oldest of the three major global information companies, the international news agency has more than 2,200 full-time reporters and photographers. Its presence in 165 countries gives it unparalleled coverage of international business, sports and entertainment news. Delivered in six languages to 7,000 subscribers around the world, its reports are translated into dozens of other languages and are read by more than one billion people.

Pierre Louette, Chairman and CEO, Agence France Presse, said: 'We are extremely pleased that Thomson Financial will acquire AFX. As a leading financial information services provider, Thomson Financial is in a unique position to help build and further develop AFX. This deal cements our long-term relationships with Thomson Financial and will enable clients of both our companies to receive a superior service.'

The Pinsent Masons team included Tom Leman, Darius Lewington, Jo McNeill (Corporate), Susan Biddle, Claire Smith (OTC), Ian Clark (Property) and Mark Cawthron (Tax).

Thomson Financial was advised by Kemp Little.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS KIRSTY AYRE AS EMPLOYMENT PARTNER IN SCOTLAND

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Kirsty Ayre has been appointed by Pinsent Masons as Employment Partner to lead and grow the employment team in Scotland, bringing the number of partners in its national Employment Group to 16. She will join the firm on 28 August 2006 from Brodies and will work in both the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices.

Kirsty joined Brodies in 2002 from Pinsent Curtis (as it was then) and became a partner in 2003. She played a role in the firm's rise to its current top tier ranking in both Legal 500 and Chambers directories for employment law. She is the Scottish representative on the Employment Lawyers' Association management committee.

Kirsty has expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Whilst at Brodies she regularly appeared in tribunals throughout the UK on behalf of clients. Recent cases she has advised on include some of the first cases under the legislation governing fixed-term workers, religious and sexual orientation discrimination. She also has extensive experience in mass litigation acting for FTSE 100 clients.

Her non-contentious experience includes advising a government department in one of its largest TUPE transfers from the public to the private sector, drafting employment provisions in corporate transactions and HR policies, advice on large-scale redundancies and contractual change, negotiating senior executive exit arrangements and dealing with requests for trade union recognition.

Chris Booth, National Head of the Employment Group at Pinsent Masons said, 'Kirsty brings with her extensive experience, particularly in the financial sector. Her appointment further strengthens our national practice, bringing the number of partners to 16. As an Employment Group we have genuine coverage across the UK with teams in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. We are delighted to welcome her back to the team.'

Vincent Connor, Head of Pinsent Masons' Scotland office, commented: 'This appointment, together with our recent appointments in recent weeks in our Projects, Banking, Health & Safety, IT/IP and Transactional Construction teams, underscores the growth, dynamism and success of Pinsent Masons in Scotland.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS' HONG KONG CORPORATE TEAM CELEBRATES FIRST FLOAT

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The newly-formed Corporate team in the Hong Kong office of Pinsent Masons has completed its first flotation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange advising Taifook Securities Limited, the sole bookrunner, on the listing of Fortune Sun (China) Holdings Ltd, one of China's leading providers of property consultancy and agency services.

Pinsent Masons took the significant strategic step nine months ago to develop its international operations with the hire by its award-winning Asia-Pacific practice of two heavyweight corporate partners and a highly respected senior China-qualified lawyer from other firms in Hong Kong and China.

The appointment of the two partners, Dale Fischer from Clyde & Co and Andrew Lui from DLA, and consultant Amanda Yao from Boss & Young, all highly-rated individuals with over 35 years' combined experience in the local marketplace, represented a major strengthening of Pinsent Masons' corporate capability in the Asia-Pacific region. The addition of these three senior individuals has been complemented by a number of other hires, bringing the size of Pinsent Masons' corporate team in Asia to a total of 14 lawyers.

Now Andrew Lui, an IPO specialist, has led the team advising on Taifook Capital Limited on the listing of Fortune Sun on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock exchange. Fortune Sun has an initial market capitalisation of HK$ 212 million. Taifook Capital Limited and Rexcapital (Hong Kong) Limited together are the joint sponsors. Taifook Securities Limited is the sole bookrunner and one of the lead managers. Polaris Capital (Asia) Limited is the other lead manager.

Fortune Sun is one of China?s leading providers of property consultancy and agency services. Its services comprise consultancy, planning, marketing and sales execution. It was established in 1997 and headquartered in Shanghai and it has an extensive business network of 11 branches.

Fortune Sun owns a well-developed business network, and the projects it handles cover the four major municipalities in China, namely Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing, as well as nine provinces on the mainland, including Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Inner Mongolia and Hebei. Most of them are prosperous regions with a huge demand for housing. Fortune Sun has been outshining its peers in profitability. In 2005, the group?s net profit margin was 35%. The group was ranked No. 5 in the ?2005 Top 10 China?s Real Estate Consulting Company Brand Value?, and No. 5 in the Eastern China Area in the ?2005 The PRC Real Estate Consultancy and Agency Top 100 Enterprises Research Report?.

The Pinsent Masons team supporting Andrew Lui comprised associates Cindy Li and Wilson Bae.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Lui said: 'The corporate team in Hong Kong and China is fast establishing itself as a significant player. It is good to get our first flotation away successfully. We hope it will be the first of many in this vibrant and dynamic marketplace.'

Fortune Sun (China) Holdings Ltd was advised by Chiu & Partners.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS PARTNER TO SCOTTISH CONSTRUCTION PRACTICE

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has appointed construction transaction specialist Michael Allan as a new partner.

Michael left his position as a Director in the Construction Procurement team at Scottish firm McGrigors to join Pinsent Masons' UK Construction & Engineering Group in early July 2006.

Dual qualified in Scotland and England, Michael has extensive experience in advising on both regional and national high profile engineering, energy, property development and PFI & PPP projects including the Royal Bank of Scotland's world headquarters in Edinburgh and the huge Silvertown Quays urban regeneration project in East London.

His appointment brings the number of construction lawyers for Pinsent Masons in Scotland

to 16.

Fraser McMillan, Head of UK Construction & Engineering for Pinsent Masons in Scotland, said :

'Michael is an outstanding lawyer with first class credentials. He has a stellar reputation regionally having advised on a number of flagship projects. It?s a top drawer appointment for our Scottish arm and will strengthen the existing capabilities of our practice group both regionally and nationally.'

Michael Allan, added :

'Pinsent Masons are the top ranked construction law firm in Scotland. I am delighted to be part of that and be given the opportunity to work with the quality transactional team we have here to grow the business.'

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons is recognised both nationally and internationally as the leading adviser to the construction and engineering, energy and infrastructure industries. Its clients include 18 of the top 20 UK contractors and 34 of the top 50 contractors. Internationally, the firm's clients include over 50% of the top contractors in the world, as well as major procurers of assets, such as governments and government agencies.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

SECURE MAIL SERVICES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON PASSPORT TO NEW FUTURE

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shareholders of the privately-owned specialist mail company, Secure Mail Services (SMS), have been advised by lawyers at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the sale of the business to Candover Partners for an undisclosed sum.

Candover will be merging SMS with DX Services, which is in the process of being taken private, forming a new company which is set to give Royal Mail a run for its money in selected areas of mail delivery.

DX Services is focused on providing specialist delivery services between businesses, particularly law firms, while SMS provides secure mail services for time- and value-sensitive documents, such as passports, credit cards and cheque books, to residential addresses. Together the two businesses are seen as creating a new competitive force in the UK mail delivery market.

In addition to advising the institutional and other selling shareholders of SMS, Pinsent Masons also advised SMS managing director, James Greenbury, on his equity investment in the new business of which he is to become CEO.

DX, which is being bought for ?349 million, handles some 250 million pieces of business mail a year, while SMS delivers 18 million items. The new company will have a staff of over 1,800 and an annual turnover in the region of ?175 million.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for SMS shareholders and for James Greenbury, has been led by Private Equity Partner, Paul Harkin, working with Ann McCarthy and Alex Edmondson (corporate) and Lisa Parisi (tax).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES VEOLIA ON ?1.2 BILLION NOTTINGHAMSHIRE WASTE PFI PROJECT

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised Veolia Environmental Services on a ?1.2 billion PFI project with Nottinghamshire County Council. The project, which is the first waste PFI to be signed for over two years, reached financial close on 26 June 2006.

The 26-year project covers the integrated management of municipal waste in Nottinghamshire. It will involve increasing recycling and energy recovery by the development of alternative solutions to land filling, in line with European Union directives and the British government?s statutory targets.

The project will include the construction and management of complementary new treatment and recycling facilities. This approach will maximize the recovery and recycling (and minimising landfilling) of 460,000 metric tons of waste produced annually by the County Council?s 750,000 residents.

Veolia Environment Services is a leader in environmental solutions. It is currently operating substantial integrated waste management contracts in the UK in areas including Hampshire, East Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Bromley and Sheffield.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Simon Mumford, Projects Partner, and included Neil Tindall, Julia Carver, Carly Caton, John Trevethan, Kevin Boa, Bob Mecrate-Butcher, Dean Larder, Stacey Collins, and Helen Keele.

Simon Mumford commented, 'PFI is growing very strongly in the waste management sector and our leading involvement with this significant project underlines our strength in the market. It has been over two years since the last waste PFI project, in West Sussex, was signed and the Pinsent Masons team advised the successful bidder on that as well. The experience we have gained working on the majority of significant waste management contracts let by local authorities over the past ten years has proved vital in enabling us to understand the key issues involved in this project.'

Nottinghamshire County Council's legal advisers were Sharpe Pritchard whose team was led by Nicola Sumner and Sheila Storey.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named as the Best Legal Adviser at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 in May 2006.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS DRAFTS NEW DCLG GUIDANCE TO HELP LOCAL AUTHORITIES DELIVER EFFICIENCIES

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

In light of the growing impetus for authorities to deliver efficiency savings and explore ways in which collaboration can help to deliver such savings, a small team of experts, including Alan Aisbett, a Projects Partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, have revised and updated key components of the Department for Communities and Local Government's ('DCLG') Strategic Partnering Knowledge Programme; a step by step guide to how local authorities can implement service delivery partnerships.

This practical toolkit, commissioned and published by the DCLG, contains practical guidance for local authority officers and members examining;

? Service Transformation Through Partnerships ? what authorities can do and how

? Shared Services and Public Private Partnerships ? structures for collaborative and joint working arrangements with other authorities, other public bodies, private sector entities and/or voluntary organisations; and

? Employees and Strategic Service Partnerships ? how to ensure employee issues are addressed effectively and sensitively throughout any process.

This new guidance provides an accessible and easy to use, step by step guide, providing advice on what to do and what not to do based on the experience of a wealth of existing local authority partnership projects. Through such guidance, DCLG hope authorities will learn from best practice and devise models and approaches which best fit their unique local needs.

The DCLG appointed Alan, together with consultants Enid Allen and John Layton, all former lead executives of the Department's Strategic Partnering Taskforce ('SPT') to produce such guidance. The SPT was a two year research programme into local authority service delivery partnerships. One of the principal benefits of the SPT was the Knowledge Programme of best practice guidance covering procurement, partnerships, developing business cases, managing risk and many other challenging areas of new ways of working in local government. All the guidance is available free of charge on the DCLG website: www.communities.gov.uk.

Assisting Alan at Pinsent Masons were Navjeet Virk (Projects Solicitor), Pam Sidhu (Employment Associate) and Gavin Paul (Pensions Solicitor).

Alan Aisbett, Projects Partner, said, 'We are delighted to have been involved with developing this pioneering guidance which will be invaluable to authorities as they continually strive to achieve their annual efficiency targets. Authorities hear about the advantages of working together with other authorities but until now there has been no guidance on how to do it. This guidance provides authorities with all key information at their finger-tips.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Sunderland Football Club Advised by Pinsent Masons on Niall Quinn Takeover

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A 20-strong legal team at Pinsent Masons is celebrating the successful conclusion of an intense 18 months with the announcement today of the takeover of Sunderland by a consortium led by Niall Quinn. The offer values Sunderland's share capital at approximately ?10 million. In addition, the bidder will assume Sunderland's net debt of approximately ?38.2 million.

The independent directors of Sunderland, the recently relegated Premiership football club, advised by Zeus Capital Limited, have unanimously recommended that Sunderland shareholders (currently numbering 4500) accept the offer once it is made. The bidder has received irrevocable undertakings to accept the offer in respect of 72.59% of the existing issued ordinary share capital.

The takeover has followed a decision by 57% shareholder and Chairman Bob Murray to sell his controlling stake. He said: 'I believe that the time is right for someone to kick-start the Club and move it to the next level, and I recognise that new investment is needed to do that'.

Pinsent Masons Leeds head of corporate Martin Shaw, who has advised Sunderland for 22 years including the takeover process which started in the summer of 2005, commented 'We are delighted to have brought this deal to a successful conclusion after many months of interesting and challenging work. We gave strategic advice on identifying possible interest in Sunderland in Europe, the USA and the Middle East, and ultimately the key negotiations with the consortium led by Niall Quinn'.

The Pinsent Masons team for the takeover negotiations was jointly led by partners Martin Shaw and Philip Goldsborough. They were assisted by John Clegg (corporate), Victoria Goddard and David Bowman (property), Jonathan Robinson (tax), Matthew Ambler (pensions) and Jon Fisher (employment).

The offer is being made by KC Capital Limited on behalf of Drumaville Limited, a company incorporated by the consortium. They were advised by SJ Berwin.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR BE SHAREHOLDERS IN ?50 MILLION TAKEOVER BY O2

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shareholders of Be Un Limited, one of the UK's most innovative broadband providers, have been advised by a legal team at Pinsent Masons on the ?50 million takeover of their company by mobile network operator O2.

Launched two years ago, Be has become a highly successful company and was the first internet service provider to use the latest ADSL2+ technology which greatly increases operating speeds. It has rolled its network out to more than 150 local exchanges and has plans to be in more than 400, providing approximately 50% population cover in the UK by the end of this year.

The acquisition of Be gives O2 immediate leading edge broadband capability in the UK and a base from which to develop integrated mobile and internet services in the future.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Be shareholders, who comprised Rensburg Investment Management Services Inc, Dana Pressman and Novator, was led by corporate partner Andrew Masraf, with Lucy Glyn and James Weaver (Corporate), Charles Park (IT) and Rebecca Power (tax).

O2 was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

About Be

Be Un Limited ('Be') is the UK's first Internet service provider (ISP) to harness the latest ADSL2+ technology to maximise the potential of BT phone lines at a highly competitive price. The company is deploying its own network in the UK, utilising the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) EU directive, which allows independent operators to lease incumbent's (British Telecom in the case of the UK market) last mile access infrastructure.

Be is backed by Novator, a financial investor that has a specialist focus in the telecommunications sector.

Read more…

INTERQUEST GROUP MAKES INROADS INTO PUBLIC SECTOR ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

IT recruitment specialist, InterQuest Group plc, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of Sand Resources Limited for a consideration of up to ?5.2 million.

The purchase of Sand Resources Limited, a specialist provider of IT recruitment services to the public sector and one of a select band of companies to be accredited by the Office of Government Commerce to supply IT contractors to public sector organisations, broadens the scope of services provided by InterQuest Group.

InterQuest Chairman, Gary Ashworth, commented: 'We are pleased to welcome this high quality, well run, niche business to the InterQuest Group. We believe the inclusion of Sand Resources in our group broadens our presence in the Central Government IT staffing arena and provides a strong platform for growth.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising InterQuest comprised Linda Crow, Emma Harvey and Rebecca Maxwell (corporate), Veronia McMahon (tax) and Katy Wanless (property).

The individual vendors of Sand Resources Limited was advised by Vertex Law.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

IP GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MOVE FROM AIM TO OFFICIAL LIST

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fast-developing intellectual property commercialisation company, IP Group PLC, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its move from AIM to the Official List of the London Stock Exchange.

The company's board believes that joining the Official List will be of benefit by enabling the company to attract a wider range of shareholders and by raising its profile domestically and internationally. IP Group appointed KBC Peel Hunt Ltd as its sponsor for the Admission and as joint broker along with Lehman Brothers International (Europe).

IP Group works with many of the UK's leading research universities as a partner in commercialising the products and services that result from their work. Pinsent Masons has acted as the company's leading adviser on partnering arrangements with universities such as Bristol, Oxford, Southampton, King's College London, York and Surrey.

The Pinsent Masons team advising IP Group on its transfer to the Official List was led by Corporate Partner, Russell Booker. Russell Booker was also the company's lead legal adviser when, as IP2IPO Group, it was originally admitted to AIM in October 2003.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR THREE NHS TRUSTS ON PIONEERING PROCUREMENT PROGRAMME

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has acted for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on a pioneering partnership with service provider B Braun to overhaul services for cleaning and sterilising surgical instruments in West Yorkshire. The agreement was signed on 12 June 2006.

The agreement is the pathfinder for a procurement programme developed and overseen nationally by the Department of Health's commercial directorate, with advice from Pinsent Masons, Ernst & Young and Gleeds. Many more projects are now expected to move towards contract finalisation using the experience gained on the pathfinder transaction. The project will see the replacement of outdated cleaning and sterilising facilities currently situated within the hospitals managed by the three trusts. A new dedicated facility for the decontamination of surgical instruments will take their place.

A new processing 'supercentre' is being adapted at Grangefield Estate, Pudsey, Leeds, which will not only provide this service to the three trusts but will have capacity to provide services to other NHS trusts, primary care trusts and independent sector hospitals in the area. The contracts include new provisions to protect the rights of current and future employees and ensure equitable employment terms. The Pinsent Masons team drafted and negotiated these terms, working with specialist Department of Health HR adviser Anne-Marie Bond and the Government Actuary's Department.

The programme, which received the Public Sector Joint Working Award at the PP Finance Awards 2005, involves clusters of NHS bodies procuring independent sector service providers to clean and sterilise surgical instruments. It was established to make major improvements to the quality of the decontamination of surgical instruments in the light of serious health threats such as vCJD and hepatitis. The project has involved the need to develop intricate procurement and contract structures with a multiplicity of stakeholders, whilst securing a straightforward interface between users and providers. It is expected that some 21 further deals will follow as new contracts are concluded across the UK.

Pinsent Masons' national programme team is led by Barry Francis supported by James Watson and Rowena Moss. The closing of the pathfinder was led by James Watson, supported by Alastair Dale, with property law support from John Trevethan and Richard Collett, planning law support from Dawn Blackwell, pensions and employment support from John Hanratty and Emma Peacock and procurement and competition law advice led by Katherine Eddon and James Bryan.

The pathfinder's project director, Len Wright said, 'From the trusts' perspective this will provide a very important service, directly supporting clinicians. It is crucial that patients' interests are properly protected in the longer term as well in the immediate transition. The contracts, which have been developed by Pinsent Masons in close collaboration with the trusts, provide that protection. I am very pleased and impressed with the service that Pinsent Masons have given us on this project.'

The Department of Health's commercial programme director commented, 'Pinsent Masons have been a key member of the national team since inception providing legal advice covering the development of the legal contracts, procurement, HR and property advice. The contracts have also been developed in conjunction with the pathfinder team and are now the basis for all 21 decontamination supercentre collaborations. A key feature of this new service model is that it works within the current cost of service, utilising efficiencies from the collaborating trusts.'

Barry Francis, the head of Pinsent Masons' health sector and projects partner said, 'This has been a fascinating project, working with an excellent team to develop another approach to collaborative working between the public and independent sectors to the benefit of patients. The programme has presented significant challenges and we are delighted to have helped bring the pathfinder to an effective solution.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named as the Best Legal Adviser at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 last month.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?690 MILLION BIRMINGHAM NEW HOSPITALS PFI PROJECT

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has acted for both University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust on a jointly procured ?690m PFI Project which reached financial close today.

The Project will see the construction of a new 1,213 bed super hospital and a new psychiatric facility on the site of the existing Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Edgbaston and the delivery of a new 32 bed mental health unit at Showell Green Lane.

Michael Boyd, a Partner in the firm's award winning Projects Group said: 'This is a highly complicated project and we are delighted to have played a major role in seeing it through to financial close. It will have a significant and positive effect on the provision of high quality healthcare to the people of the West Midlands and beyond and will make a major contribution to the wider regeneration of Birmingham.'

Some distinctive characteristics of the scheme included joint procurement, the construction of a new Royal Centre for Defence Medicine for the Ministry of Defence, clinical science and education facilities for the University of Birmingham, the involvement of a Foundation Trust, an innovative sharing arrangement for car parking revenues and the inclusion of an IT service. All this meant that new solutions had to be developed and included in the Project Agreement.

This brings to 16 the total number of all major NHS Projects in which Pinsent Masons has advised the NHS with a combined capital expenditure of ?2.1bn, the capital value of NHS projects under procurement and being advised by Pinsent Masons is ?1.4bn. The Pinsent Masons team included Carl Watson, Fran Button (Construction), Richard Ford (Planning), Colin Oakley (Property), Jo Toft (Service issues), Robin Baillie (RCDM/University) and Jon Coane (Funding).

The equity providers for the special purpose vehicle set up for the purpose of the Project (Consort Healthcare (Birmingham) Limited), comprise Balfour Beatty Projects Limited, RBS and HSBC. The Project is to be funded through the issue of bonds guaranteed by FGIC UK Limited. Consort Healthcare (Birmingham) Limited was advised by Tods Murray (William Simmons) and FGIC by Allen & Overy (Anne Baldock).

Michael added, 'We have a lot of experience of acting for the NHS on major and complex procurements. This was one of the most challenging that we have been involved in and we were able to draw on our NHS experience in order to complete it. It is especially pleasing to have finished such a significant project so soon after the firm was awarded 'Best Legal Adviser' in the Public Private Finance Awards 2006.'

Peter Shanahan, Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer and Project Director for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust commented: 'The financial close of this Project means that, by 2010, we will have an internationally recognised centre of clinical excellence providing modern and dependable acute adult healthcare. It will be a focus for leading-edge education, training and research and will create world-class healthcare facilities for the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands region. Pinsent Masons worked closely with us and became an integral part of the Project Team. We are grateful to Pinsent Masons both for the help they gave in resolving the often complex issues we have faced and for the contribution they have made in assisting us to meet this important milestone.'

Alison Simpson, Project Director for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health National Health Service Trust commented: 'BSMHT are delighted the BNHP has reached financial close. This represents a major milestone for the Project and for BSMHT, and is the culmination of years of work between a number of key partners. The expertise, diligence, attention to detail, and creativity brought to the Project by the Pinsent Masons team (which demonstrated excellent partnership working with BSMHT) has played a major part in this achievement.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTED BY REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY ONE NORTHEAST

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed to the legal panel of regional development agency One NorthEast following a review of its external legal advisers. The firm will advise on property and planning, corporate and regulatory. This is the third appointment by a regional development agency for Pinsent Masons.

One NorthEast is the regional development agency for North East England, covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley. The new contracts became effective on 1 June 2006 and are set to carry a two-year term with an option to extend.

The review is the first since the inaugural line-up of external advisers was appointed in 2000 and is part of a move to integrate the agency?s new in-house legal team.

Mark Owen, Property Partner at Pinsent Masons, said, 'One NorthEast will be a major client for us and we are delighted to secure our third regional development agency as a client. We are keen to engage with them to help them create jobs and to realise their ambitions in the North East.'

Peter Judge, Head of Legal Services at One NorthEast, commented: 'I am delighted with the new panel of legal advisers that One NorthEast has appointed. The process of designing this panel has allowed the agency to engage with both large and small companies and procure great value for money and service. These firms will assist One NorthEast's in house legal services team in dealing with a range of strategic and operational issues affecting the agency and the region.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PROPERTY INVESTOR CIREF LIMITED ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SPECIAL

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A specialist real estate finance and property team from Pinsent Masons has acted for Jersey-based property investment and development company, CIREF Limited, on its admission to AIM, with a market cap of ?49.7 million.

The company, which has significant property interests concentrated in the retail sector throughout the UK and in Switzerland, also successfully raised ?28.2 million, before expenses, through a placing of 20.15 million new ordinary shares at 140p per share.

Mike Watters the MD stated: 'CIREF already has a very strong portfolio of investments and development opportunities. The money that we raise and the visibility afforded by AIM will allow us to expand and apply our active management strategy to additional opportunities in the UK and throughout Europe. This is a very exciting time for the company and we are looking forward to joining AIM, the world?s most successful market for fast growing companies.'

Real estate finance and banking partner at Pinsent Masons, William Oliver, co-ordinated the team which carried out the specialist property due diligence and general property advice required for the float. Also in the team were: Frances Mallender (banking), James Crookes, Property Partner, and Neil Hogg, Glasgow-based Property Associate who advised on Scottish property matters.

CIREF's policy is to invest in a diversified portfolio of commercial properties, property securities and PCIVs in the UK and Europe. The underlying philosophy is for CIREF to make investments into entities concentrating on the retail, industrial and office real estate sectors.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS FINALISES BBC SCOTLAND TECHNOLOGY CONTRACT FOR

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised on a major technology project between BBC Scotland and Siemens Business Services Limited ('Siemens'). The project involves Siemens handling all aspects of technology implementation and management for the new state of the art Glasgow headquarters for BBC Scotland. The agreement is part of a ten year overall Technology Framework Agreement between the BBC and Siemens.

The Pinsent Masons technology team, led by John Salmon in the firm?s Glasgow office, successfully negotiated the contract on the behalf of BBC Scotland in partnership with the BBC in-house legal team and working closely with Siemens? in-house lawyers.

BBC Scotland?s new Glasgow headquarters, due to open in the summer of 2007, will be a technology showcase, utilising new technologies such as tapeless digital broadcasting to improve processes involved in the production of digital TV and radio programming and internet based broadcasting services. The project involves the design, procurement and delivery of the technology for the new building and an agreement for Siemens to manage BBC Scotland's technology support requirements across Scotland on an ongoing basis.

?This is one of the most exciting technology projects in Scotland currently, and we are proud to be a major component of its success. The agreement will help to ensure that both parties benefit from a close and long-term partnership,? commented John Salmon, Partner, Pinsent Masons.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

HSBC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON FUNDING FOR INSPICIO GROUP

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

HSBC Leveraged Finance has been advised by the Pinsent Masons London Banking team in relation to its ?30,000,000 loan facilities to global testing group Inspicio Plc and its subsidiaries.

Under the mandate, HSBC extended a further ?10,000,000 to Inspicio under its existing bank facilities to enable Inspicio to acquire Environmental Services Group Limited, the leading building and environmental testing group, from Mowlem plc. In addition, the majority of the debt obligations to HSBC were novated to a new US company within the Inspicio Group.

Stuart Mills, a director of HSBC Leveraged Finance commented: 'It was particularly satisfying to help Inspicio to achieve its acquisition and internal restructuring objectives in a growing, multi-disciplinary sector. It was also good to complete another transaction with the Pinsent Masons team.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Senior Associate Tony Anderson and Partner Martin Bishop, with assistance from solicitor Liam Terry and trainee John Coghlan.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS CLOSES $1.9 BILLION GLOBAL OUTSOURCING CONTRACT FOR

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

International law firm Pinsent Masons has completed a major global IT outsourcing agreement between BAE Systems and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). The five year agreement is valued at approximately $1.9 billion and is the third renewal of BAE Systems' outsourcing arrangements with CSC which originated in 1994.

The Pinsent Masons outsourcing team, led by partners David Isaac and Bridget Fleetwood, successfully negotiated the contract on behalf of BAE Systems. Working closely with BAE Systems' in-house lawyer, Edward Gelsthorpe, the eight strong Pinsent Masons team advised on all aspects of the transaction. CSC was advised by its in-house team led by Mike Phillips and Michael Woodfine.

CSC?s relationship with BAE Systems began in 1994 when the companies signed a 10-year, $1.5 billion IT outsourcing contract. At that stage the contract was one of the largest commercial IT outsourcing contracts ever awarded to a single supplier in Europe. The relationship expanded to support multiple mergers and acquisitions in both the UK and the U.S. Through the existing agreement, CSC will provide IT services to support 13 BAE Systems businesses and joint ventures operating in more than 117 locations in the UK and North America.

?The negotiation of a third generation outsourcing arrangement presents new and interesting challenges. Customers are obviously keen to build upon past successes. Equally they are anxious to ensure that the new arrangements provide best value for money, are innovative and take into account a wide range of lessons learned. These were key drivers for the negotiation and I believe that that the contract will deliver these requirements,? commented David Isaac of Pinsent Masons.

The highly-innovative new arrangements mean that CSC will continue to manage a full range of IT operations for a number of BAE Systems businesses, from mainframe and midrange computers, servers and desktops, to local and wide area networking, Internet services, help desk, applications development and support, and procurement services.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?375M CAPEX ST HELENS & KNOWSLEY HOSPITALS PFI PROJECT

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised on the ?375m capex St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals PFI project which reached commercial close on 31 May 2006.

The project involves the financing, design, construction and provision of certain services at two sites for the St. Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust. The project was sponsored by Taylor Woodrow and Innisfree. Lead managers on the deal were Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Barclays Capital with Investec advising the SPV.

Pinsent Masons acted for Taylor Woodrow Construction Limited as construction contractor and hard facilities management contractor.

The construction team was led by Michael Mullarkey (Partner, UK Construction & Engineering), assisted by Brad Fearn and Emma Laverty, the hard fm team was led by Mark Sanderson (Partner, Projects), assisted by Joanne Toft, and Richard Williams (Partner, Banking & Finance) advised on performance security issues.

Michael Mullarkey said: 'Pinsent Masons are delighted to have advised one of the UK's leading contractors on closing this significant health project. The additional challenge of securing agreement on a significant mechanical and electrical subcontract in parallel with the construction contract underlines the importance TWC attaches to its supply chain in delivering a first class scheme.'

Addleshaws acted for the Trust; Lovells acted for the SPV; Clifford Chance acted for the funders.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

MAYBORN GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?116 MILLION TAKEOVER

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Mayborn Group plc, the company behind high street brands such as Tommee Tippee, Sangenic and Dylon, is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its ?116 million recommended takeover by 3i-backed Jake Acquisitions plc.

The transaction, which is being effected by a Scheme of Arrangement, will also involve the demerger of Mayborn subsidiary Tube Plastics to Mayborn's existing shareholders. Tube Plastics is valued at ?3 million.

Mayborn, which started life in the 1940s producing the dyes sold under the Dylon name, has grown to become a highly successful group producing a wide range of international brands, specialising in products for babies, children and households. The group has grown organically and by acquisition and has a turnover in excess of ?80 million.

Jake Acquisitions is a company formed by 3i, with Nish Kankiwala as its chief executive, to effect the acquisition of Mayborn.

Michael Samuel, Chief Executive of Mayborn, said: ?Over recent years, Mayborn has grown significantly, building its brands and businesses in the UK and overseas which is reflected in current shareholder value. I believe that 3i and Nish Kankiwala, working together with the dedicated management team and employees of the Mayborn Group, in a rewarding environment, will successfully take Mayborn forward and accelerate the growth of its core brands in international markets.

'I was delighted with the work which Pinsent Masons did on this complicated transaction. Mayborn has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Pinsent Masons for a number of years.'

It is currently anticipated, assuming the resolutions to be put to the Court Meeting* and EGM are passed, that the acquisition and demerger will become effective by the end of July 2006.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Mayborn Group is being led by corporate partners Roger Fink and Jeremy Phillips, assisted principally by Gareth Rees and Gareth Hughes.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES SERCO IN LANDMARK RACE CASE

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Serco on its successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in what has been described as 'the high profile race discrimination case of 2006'. In the ruling, handed down today, the Court holds that Serco did not act unlawfully when it dismissed a BNP councillor.

Serco appealed against a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the logical conclusion of which appeared to be that an employer dismissing an employee for racially abusing another employee would itself be guilty of race discrimination, a startling consequence. In a decision which will be received with relief by employment lawyers and all those associated with promoting race relations, Lord Justice Mummery, delivering the verdict of the Court, said: 'I am confident that this is not the kind of case for which the anti-discrimination legislation was designed.'

The Claimant, Arthur Redfearn worked for a Serco subsidiary which transports children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in the Bradford area. Following his election as a BNP councillor in June 2004, Serco responded to widespread concerns and concluded that his public association with the BNP posed a health & safety risk to users of the service, employees and to Mr Redfearn himself. His employment was terminated as a consequence.

Councillor Redfearn claimed that the decision to dismiss him amounted to discrimination 'on racial grounds' and therefore breached the Race Relations Act 1976. He lost in the Leeds Employment Tribunal but then came the EAT decision. This controversial and worrying decision received widespread criticism from, amongst others, the Commission for Racial Equality and the TUC, as it appeared to be completely at odds with the purpose of the Race Relations Act. As the Court of Appeal put it in overturning the EAT decision, 'any other result would be incompatible with the purpose of the 1976 Act to promote equal treatment of persons irrespective of race.'

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Michael Ryley (Partner) and Nick Thomas (Associate), who instructed David Pannick QC (Blackstone Chambers) and Chris Quinn (Cloisters).

Commenting on the case, Michael Ryley, Employment Partner, said: 'This is an important decision for the future of race relations law in this country. There was widespread concern that, if Serco had not successfully appealed the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the efforts of those seeking to promote best practice in tackling racial discrimination in the workplace would have been seriously undermined. The decision of the Court of Appeal will be warmly welcomed.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. Pinsent Masons has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. The firm is ranked first in the 2006 Hemscott table of legal advisers to support services companies, such as Serco, in terms of the number of FTSE 350 clients advised. The Employment Group is one of the most experienced teams of employment lawyers in the country. With over 65 employment lawyers, including 17 partners, it is also one of the largest in the country.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS WINS BUREAU VERITAS PITCH

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Bureau Veritas UK and Ireland, an independent service company specialising in safety, health, environmental and quality management and social accountability has appointed Pinsent Masons as its sole legal advisors in key areas of practice.

Pinsent Masons won the appointment as sole adviser for employment and property following a competitive pitch involving several other major national law firms. In addition to its exclusive roles, Pinsent Masons will be a joint adviser for corporate work alongside Lovells.

The key win is yet another gain which Pinsent Masons attributes directly to the increased scope and capability flowing from its merger. Lead partner for Bureau Veritas, Ed Goodwyn, commented: 'I am in no doubt that the depth of expertise we now have across all areas of practice and our cross-office strength helped us to win this work.'

Prior to the competitive pitch, Bureau Veritas had instructed legacy Masons for employment work. In the past year, property partner, Richard Daffern had also built a relationship with the client via mutual property agent contacts.

'We had definitely laid the foundation of a relationship but nothing is certain in this world and we pulled out all the stops on our pitch,' said Ed Goodwyn. 'Winning Bureau Veritas, particularly as a sole adviser in two areas, is very important to us. We aim now to build on this and hope to introduce the client to other areas of practice where we believe we can offer a service.'

Bureau Veritas UK & Ireland operates throughout a national network of regional offices and laboratories employing over 1,500 employees. The Bureau Veritas global network comprises 600 offices and 25,000 specialists in 140 countries. The company offers an extensive range of technical services and solutions in the fields of certification, conformity assessment, consulting and training. Renowned worldwide, the company boasts over 250,000 clients globally.

David Derrick, Risk and Performance Director of Bureau Veritas UK and Ireland commented: 'It is important to us for our business to be advised to the high standard that we set ourselves as professional advisers. Whilst we already knew Pinsent Masons, we took nothing for granted and tested the market. We were impressed by Pinsent Masons' pitch to us. This, combined with our good experience of the firm, secured the business.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS NAMED BEST LEGAL ADVISER AT PUBLIC PRIVATE FINANCE AWARDS 2006

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been named as Best Legal Adviser at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 which recognise best practice in public private partnerships (PPP) and reward teams that achieve excellence in delivering projects and programmes.

The aim of the Awards, which took place last night at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, is to promote innovation and quality in the rapidly expanding field of PPP.

The judges were particularly impressed with the range of Pinsent Masons' work. They noted the ?13 billion Airtanker project, the Docklands light railway and the firm's international work, notably the Larnaca and Paphos airports project in Cyprus, the first public private partnership on the island.

Since the merger of Pinsents and Masons in December 2004, the Pinsent Masons PPP practice has dominated the market with a track record of having closed more projects than any other law firm and is a major contributor to PFI/ PPP project document standardisation. There are now over 70 specialist lawyers advising full time on PPP projects acting for sponsors, contractors, financial institutions, government department and local authorities in the carrying out and financing of PPP/ PFI projects.

Patrick Twist, National Head of the Projects Group, said, 'We are delighted to have been named Best Legal Adviser. Having firmly established ourselves as leading advisers in the UK PFI/PPP market, we have been one of the most successful UK firms in promoting the development of the PPP model in other countries. The team goes from strength to strength and we continue to build on our expertise and experience in this hugely exciting area.'

Ends

For further information or a photo of the Projects team, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Speedy Hire plc advised by Pinsent Masons on Largest Acquisition

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised Speedy Hire plc on it largest acquisition to-date ? the ?59 million purchase of the entire issued share capital of LCH Generators Limited.

North West based Speedy Hire is the number one provider of equipment hire services in the UK, operating from over 300 depots throughout the country. The Group is focused primarily on tool hire, with complementary businesses specialising in portable accommodation, lifting equipment, surveying and measurement instruments and compressed air and power generating equipment.

With the addition of LCH to Speedy's existing power generation business, the combined operation will have over 4,000 generators available for hire to service construction and industrial customers throughout the UK.

Total consideration is ?59m, comprising ?54.5m in cash and ?4.5m satisfied by the issue of 512,626 new ordinary shares. Included in the transaction price is ?13.5m of debt that Speedy Hire will assume on completion.

To finance the transaction, Speedy Hire negotiated increased bank facilities of ?210m up from ?150m from its existing banking syndicate.

The acquisition of LCH is in line with Speedy Hire's stated strategic objective of expanding all areas of its operations to become number 1 or 2 in each segment of the hire market in which it operates. The acquisition will accelerate the development and formation of a specialist power generation business through the integration of LCH and Speedy's existing generator fleet within Speedy Power.

LCH Generators, a Glasgow-based generator hire company operating from six depots across the country, was formed in 1980 by brothers John and James Pirrie. The company employs 196 staff and also has an agency agreement based in Aberdeen providing services to the off shore market.

Mike McGrath, Commercial Director and Group Company Secretary at Speedy Hire, commented: 'Pinsent Masons provided us with first class support on this demanding transaction. They know our business well and the combined team in Manchester and Glasgow did an excellent job.'

The Pinsent Masons corporate team was led by corporate partner Andrew Black assisted by Farook Khan and a team of specialist lawyers based in Manchester. Mark Yates and Joanne Robinson of Pinsent Masons' Manchester banking team advised Speedy on its increased banking facilities.

Pinsent Masons' Glasgow office also provided support in relation to matters of Scots law. The vendors were advised by Brodies LLP in Edinburgh (Iain Young and Claire Stewart).

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS ON ?615 MILLION INTERNATIONAL AIRPOR

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

International Projects Law Firm, Pinsent Masons together with PricewaterhouseCoopers and EC Harris advised the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the Cyprus Airports PPP Project which achieved Financial Close on Friday 12 May 2006.

The Project is the first major PPP project for Cyprus leading the way for future development of the country's infrastructure through public private partnerships. In addition, the Project is one of the largest airport projects in Europe to date.

The contract is a 25 year concession between the Government and Hermes Airports Limited for the development and operation of the country's two international airports at Larnaka and Pafos. Hermes Airports Limited is a special purpose vehicle comprising shareholders such as French construction giant Bouygues Batiment, airport operators YVR (Vancouver), Aer Rianta and Nice Airports Ingeniere and a number of Cypriot partners including Cyprus Trading Corporation Ltd, Hellenic Mining Company and the contractors Iacovou Brothers Ltd and Charilaos Apostolides & Co.

Under the terms of the contract Hermes Airports Limited will take over the existing airports and will construct new passenger terminals and associated infrastructure at both airports at a capital investment of around ?615 million. Together, the enhanced airports will be able to handle over 10 million passengers annually to a high level of quality standard (in 2004, almost 6.7 million passengers passed through the airports). The company will undertake further expansion of the airports as demand requires.

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Catherine Workman (Projects Partner) and Carly Caton (Projects Solicitor). The sponsors were advised by Norton Rose and the banks by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Catherine Workman said: 'This is the first PPP project in Cyprus to achieve financial close and sets an important precedent for other infrastructure projects in Cyprus such as the Larnaka Port PPP project and the Pafos to Polis Road BOT project, both of which we are pleased to be engaged by the Government for. Our involvement in the these projects is a demonstration of the interest and commitment of Pinsent Masons to international PPP projects and supplements our ongoing work in South Africa (Gautrain Rapid Rail Link), India (Hyderabad International Airport), Ireland (Dublin Metro) and elsewhere. We wish the Government and Hermes well in the development of the Airports at Larnaka and Pafos.'

Barry Francis, Head of Projects in London, commented: 'We are delighted to have supported the Government of Cyprus in moving this project from concept to financial close and congratulate all involved on this achievement.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the airports sectors both in the UK and internationally, having worked on a variety of airport projects. These include;

? Hyderabad International Airport, India - advising the preferred bidder;

? Mukalla International Airport, Yemen - advising the consortium;

? SkyPlaza Project (facilities at the existing terminal at Chep Lap Kok), Hong Kong ? advising the contractor;

? Beruit Airport ? advising the Government of Lebanon;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Storage Farm ? advising consortium;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Hydrant System ? advising consortium;

? Birmingham International Aiport ? advising public authorities;

? Luton Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Gatwick Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Kuala Lumpur International Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Second Runway ? advising the authority.

Read more…

LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE APPOINTS PINSENT MASONS AS PRINCIPAL LEGAL ADVISER

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as principal supplier of legal services across the full range of its needs. The firm beat stiff City competition in winning the appointment, which is for a period of four years.

The LSE is one of the UK's top universities, holding 3rd place behind Oxford and Cambridge in The Guardian's recent league table. It is a world class centre for its concentration of teaching and research across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences.

Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, LSE has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and few university institutions in the world are as international. The study of social, economic and political problems covers not only the UK and European Union, but also countries of every continent. The legal work for LSE will include a substantial international element as well as a wide range of real estate, employment, constitutional and governance advice.

Nicola Hart, National Head of the Universities Group, who is leading the client team, commented, 'We are delighted with the result and excited at the prospect of working with such a unique institution. Our team are already working hard to build a very close working relationship with our colleagues within LSE to advise on the wide range of operations and activities in which they are involved.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The Pinsent Masons Universities Team acts on a full service basis for many of the UK's top institutions, including the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, London, Leeds, Liverpool and Durham, plus employment work for King's College London and UCL. The team also advised and continues to act for the University of Chicago in relation to the setting up of a branch of its Graduate School of Business in London.

Read more…

URBAN DINING PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?25 MILLION TAKEOVER

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Urban Dining plc, the owner of the Tootsies restaurant chain, has been advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons on its ?25 million recommended takeover by The Clapham House Group plc.

Clapham House, which also owns The Real Greek and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, has made a recommended cash offer for Urban Dining of 44p per share for all issued and to be issued share capital, valuing the company at ?25.3 million.

The acquisition provides a platform for Clapham House to develop the Gourmet Burger Kitchen business via the new range of outlets offered by the Tootsies chain.

Pinsent Masons advised Urban Dining on its admission to AIM in May 2004 and acted on its acquisition of Tootsies. The team advising on its recommended takeover was led by senior associate Hanh Jelf. KBC Peel Hunt Ltd was the nominated adviser to Urban Dining.

Clapham House Group was advised by Marriott Harrison, led by Jonathan Pearce. Their nominated adviser was Noble and Company Limited.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

CARETECH HOLDINGS ADVISED ON BACK-TO-BACK ACQUISITIONS BY PINSENT MASONS

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fast-expanding CareTech Holdings PLC, a leading UK provider of learning disability care services, has been advised on back-to-back acquisitions by a specialist healthcare team at law firm Pinsent Masons.

CareTech has acquired residential care services provider, Delam Care Ltd, which runs 14 homes in Stoke and South Staffordshire, for a net cash consideration of ?8.1 million. Delam Care caters for adults and children with mental and learning disabilities. CareTech also recently acquired Care Support Services Limited, which runs two homes in the South East.

Following the acquisitions, CareTech now operates 78 residential care homes with a total capacity of 536 residential care places ? an increase of 17 homes and 101 residential places since its AIM flotation last October. The company also has two day care centres offering 55 day services places.

Commenting on the acquisition of Delam Care, Farouq Sheikh, Executive Chairman, said: 'I am delighted with the completion of the Delam Care acquisition; this is a long established business with a proven team and a track record of delivering high quality services. This acquisition brings the total capacity of new beds

added in the year to 101 and demonstrates our ability to acquire quality assets at attractive valuations and so deliver the consolidation strategy outlined at flotation. There continues to be strong demand nationwide for our services and a visible pipeline of development and acquisition opportunities which the company continues to target.'

Joanne Ellis, Partner and Corporate Healthcare Specialist at Pinsent Masons, who has acted for CareTech on a number of acquisitions and advised on its flotation last year, added: 'This is a highly competitive and very dynamic sector. CareTech's expansion and success illustrates the opportunities that exist for ambitious, well-run companies.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising CareTech on the Delam acquisition comprised Joanne Ellis, Ann McCarthy and Tom Eastwood.

Delam Care was advised by Knight & Sons, Staffordshire.

Care Support Services was advised by LG Laurella Solicitors in London.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

OXFORD CATALYSTS GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ADMISSION TO AIM

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Innovative clean fuel company, Oxford Catalysts Group plc, has been advised by a specialist corporate team at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on its admission to AIM with a market capitalisation of ?65 million.

Oxford Catalysts Group specialises in developing catalysts with particular application in generating clean fuels from fossil fuels and certain renewable sources ? the outcome of 19 years of dedicated research at the University of Oxford's world-leading Wolfson Catalysts Centre.

Pinsent Masons also advised on the placing of 8,620,690 shares at 174p per ordinary share of 1p each which raised ?15 million (?14 million net of expenses). KBC Peel Hunt was the nominated adviser and broker to the float.

This is the fifth flotation of an IP2IPO spin out company. Pinsent Masons acts for IP2IPO, the AIM-quoted intellectual property commercialisation company, and for two of the other spin out businesses, Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping and VASTox, also AIM-quoted.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Oxford Catalysts Group was led by AIM specialist partner, Russell Booker, with Hanh Jelf and Julian Brooksbank (Corporate), Anna Wordsworth (Share Plans) and Brona Reeves (Employment).

KBC Peel Hunt was advised by Nabarro Nathanson led by Peter Williamson.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

TWO CORPORATE HEAVYWEIGHT LAWYERS JOIN PINSENT MASONS AS PARTNERS

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The national Corporate Group at UK law firm Pinsent Masons has received a triple boost with the arrival this week of two new partners and the promotion of one its rising stars to partner.

Midlands' heavyweight David Stevenson joins Pinsent Masons' Birmingham team and fellow Corporate Finance specialist Helen Ridge joins the Manchester team which she will lead. Both have joined from Eversheds. At the same time, senior associate, Robert Moir, who joined the firm from Allen & Overy in 2004, has been promoted to partner.

David Stevenson comes with 20 years' experience and has been one of the high flyers in Eversheds corporate group both nationally and regionally for some time.

A specialist PLC adviser, David's practice focuses on Stock Exchange new and secondary issues, Blue Book takeover work, corporate finance advice and mergers and acquisitions work for fully listed and AIM companies. David's career to date has seen him work on corporate transactions with some of the Midlands' best known major corporates including Lucas-Varity, Britax and MG Rover. He is also a regular adviser to the corporate broking community and plc practitioners in the Big Four accountancy firms.

Top-rated Helen Ridge is reunited with colleague Howard Gill who joined Pinsent Masons as a partner in March also from Eversheds. Helen specialises in Corporate Finance and has a particular strength in the building products sector having set up and then chaired Eversheds national building products sector group. She has over 17 years' experience. Howard, also a corporate finance specialist, is seen as a rising star.

Robert Moir, who is based in London, acts for a wide variety of corporates, investment banks and institutions advising on corporate finance issues generally and also mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, IPOs, joint ventures, reorganisations and procurement & outsourcing. He trained at Lovells, moving on qualification in 1997 to A&O.

The appointments give Pinsent Masons 36 corporate partners nationally who form part of a full Corporate Group of over 100 lawyers.

Gareth Edwards, National Head of Corporate at Pinsent Masons, said: 'We are committed to the expansion of our corporate group nationally at the highest level to ensure we capitalise fully on the opportunities a buoyant corporate market offers. The fact that we have been able to secure the talents of heavyweight personalities and knowledgeable market players such as David and Helen shows that Pinsent Masons is an attractive proposition.

'Last year our Corporate Group grew its client base and achieved record levels overall completing deals worth over ?6 billion nationally. We are ambitious to see those improvements continue and are building a national team capable of delivering that promise.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS OLSWANG PARTNER FOR GROWING IP PRACTICE

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has boosted its growing intellectual property practice with the appointment of Kim Walker from Olswang. Walker joins as a commercial IP partner from 1st May, and will be working alongside the firm?s nationwide network of IP lawyers, jointly headed by partners Martyn Hann and John Salmon. This follows the recruitment of two Scottish-based IP lawyers by the firm last month and the appointment of IP litigation specialist Deborah Bould to Partner in its recent round of promotions.

Walker specialises in commercial work involving IP work, with specific emphasis on technology, media and telecommunications businesses. During his 25 year career, he has advised on content, branding, licensing and IP protection issues as well as advising on the IP and technology aspects of corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.

Walker has been a partner at Olswang since 2000, and was previously a partner in Biddle & Co for 11 years. His role at Pinsent Masons will include furthering the growth of the firm?s national IP business, supporting the development of existing and new IP services and strengthening the interface between Pinsent Masons traditionally strong IT business and its growing IP business.

Clive Seddon, partner and head of Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing & Technology Group commented, 'It is no secret that we are committed to strengthening and growing our IP business and Kim is a significant, high level addition to an expanding national team. With the rapid march towards convergence which we have seen over the past 18 months Kim's focus on technology and media business fits well with the wide range of IT, IP and regulatory services we can offer clients in this broad sector.?

Ends.

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNER PROMOTIONS

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons has announced 12 new Partner promotions effective from 1 May 2006. The new partners are drawn from a number of the firm's offices and key areas of practices.

Chris Mullen, Senior Partner, commented: 'I am confident that we have a very talented group of new partners who will help drive our firm from strength to strength. The legal market is buoyant but increasingly competitive. In making all promotions, we have identified people whose ability and enthusiasm is already helping us grow our business, and have further reinforced our key strengths of core support for our major business clients coupled with our market-leading expertise in outsourcing and technology, construction, employment and pensions.'

The appointments will bring to 250 the number of Partners in Pinsent Masons worldwide as at 1 May 2006. At the same time, the firm has announced that 35 lawyers have been promoted from associate to Senior Associate and a further five solicitors have become Associates. These appointments are also effective from 1 May 2006.

The Partner-level appointments are as follows:

? Corporate ? Robert Moir

? Employment ? Lisa Patmore and Sara Sawicki

? International Construction & Energy ? Julian Cohen

? Outsourcing Technology & Commercial ? Deborah Bould and Simon Colvin

? Pensions ? John Hanratty*

? Property ? Matthew Baker, Anne Bowden and Jonathan Riley

? UK Construction & Engineering ? Simon Plunkett and John Salway

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

ABBOT GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?247 MILLION NORWEGIAN ACQUISITION AND MAJOR REFINANCING

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Major offshore drilling contractor, Abbot Group plc, is being advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on the ?247 million recommended cash offer for Norwegian drilling rig owner and operator, Songa Drilling.

Under the terms of the offer, which went live today (Monday) each Songa Drilling shareholder will receive NOK 41.75 in cash per share, valuing the existing issued share capital of the company at NOK 2.8 billion (?247 million).

In tandem with the takeover offer, Pinsent Masons is also advising FTSE 250-listed Abbot Group on a new finance facility of US$950 million (?535 million) which will be used the finance the offer, refinance some existing debt and pay transaction expenses.

The acquisition gives Abbot Group three newly refurbished, highly marketable jack-up rigs and expands its product offering in the jack-up and offshore development drilling markets.

Abbot Group Executive Chairman, Alasdair Locke, commenting: 'This acquisition is an exceptional opportunity for the Group to expand its drilling rig fleet. With our experience of successfully operating jack-up rigs and the existing demand from our clients for such rigs, we are confident that we shall achieve not only substantial additional cash-flows in the short term but a significant enhancement of our earnings in the medium to long-term.?

Mr Locke added: 'Critical to the success of this deal has been the quality of the cross-border support and advice that we have had from our professional advisers. The depth of knowledge that Pinsent Masons has built up about our business means that they are fine-tuned to our objectives and the way we like to work, and that has contributed to the successful conclusion of this prestigious deal.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Abbot Group has been led by Corporate Finance and Abbot relationship partner, Alan Farkas. The team comprises: Corporate - Hannah Brader, Sean Page, James Hutchinson, Raymond Chan and Jolene Chan; Banking ? Martin Bishop and Kate Halliwell; Tax & Share Plans ? Mark Cawthron and David Pett.

In Norway, Abbot Group was advised by a team from leading firm, Bugge, Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen (BAHR), comprising Bjorn Gabriel Reed, Morten P Sm?rdal, Jannicke Klemsdahl Orsteen, Anders Gullǻsen and Hakon Sandbekk.

The Songa Drilling deal is the latest in a series of high profile acquisitions upon which Pinsent Masons has advised Abbot Group including in 2005 the ?75 million+ purchase of Norwegian North Sea Drilling Contractor, Prosafe Drilling Services AS, and in 2004 the US$50 million acquisition of Gibraltar-based International Air Drilling Limited.

Songa Drilling has been advised by Wikborg Rein in Norway, led by Kelly Malone and Annette Haugland Andreassen.

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SCORES STREET LIGHTING HAT TRICK FOR ALLIED IRISH BANKS, BOUYGUES, INVESTORS IN THE C

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects lawyers at national law firm Pinsent Masons have advised on the simultaneous close of two Street Lighting PFIs for the London Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield respectively. The Projects successfully reached financial close on 21 April 2006.

The Firm performed a dual mandate on the deal. One team represented the project companies, Barnet Lighting Services Limited and Enfield Lighting Services Limited in respect of project and funding documentation. A second team acted for Allied Irish Banks in respect of the project documents.

Enfield Lighting Services Limited and Barnet Lighting Services Limited are special purpose vehicles formed by the consortium comprising of Investors in the Community, ETDE and David Webster Limited (both part of the Bouygues group). Pinsent Masons worked for the same team in relation to the Lambeth Street Lighting Project which closed in November 2005 and this close represents a successful streetlighting hat trick for the consortium.

Both projects are for a period of 25 years and have been let under the Government's Private Finance Initiative with a total capital value of nearly ?24 million for Enfield and over ?28 million for Barnet, to be spent on replacing and improving lighting apparatus in the two boroughs.

The Pinsent Masons team advising the two project companies comprised Partner Jon Hart, Associates Annie Blane, Stanley Lau and Tom Potbury, Projects Solicitor Devina Saha and Corporate Senior Associate Dominic Travers. Partner Catherine Workman led the team advising Allied Irish Banks.

Jon Hart, Projects Partner, commented, 'Pinsent Masons has been proud to be associated with these two challenging projects. Street lighting is being seen as an important growth area for PFI work and we are delighted to have been working with the stakeholders on these Projects in helping to develop market expertise in this field.'

Vincent Ladougne, PFI Director for David Webster Limited, said: 'Closing these two Projects is an important moment for us in commencing work with Barnet and Enfield Councils and working together to produce a safer and brighter street environment. On behalf of Barnet Lighting Services Limited, Enfield Lighting Services Limited and AIB we extend our sincere thanks to everyone at Pinsent Masons together with all our other advisors who all worked so very hard to achieve this major success for our consortium.'

In addition to advising on these two projects, Pinsent Masons is presently working with the same consortium on the Redcar and Cleveland street lighting project. Pinsent Masons is currently involved on the Derby, Dorset, Norfolk and Surrey Streetlighting PFIs and the Birmingham Highways Maintenance PFI.

The London Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and AIB in respect of funding documents was advised by Allen & Overy on the financing side.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the UK street lighting market, having worked on a variety of projects advising both authorities and contractors. Completed schemes upon which the firm advised include; Islington LBC, Manchester, Wakefield, Lambeth, Ealing, Newcastle and North Tyneside MBCs, Sunderland MBC and Walsall MBC.

The Investors in the Community Programme delivers socially responsible PPP and PFI projects that provide real benefits, through education and healthcare, to local communities.

Investors in the Community is committed to genuine, long-term partnership with the public sector, funding projects and managing them for the duration of their working life. Across the UK, the Programme is providing inspiring learning environments to 15,000 pupils; healthcare facilities to 2.5 million people; library services to 1 million people; and office accommodation for hundreds of council workers serving their communities. Many of its projects have been award winning including the Jubilee Library in Brighton ? winner of the Prime Minister?s Award for Better Public Buildings in 2005.

The Investors in the Community Programme is backed by long-term investment funds from public and private sector institutional investors. IIC Fund II is the UK?s first to have significant investment support from Local Authority pension funds.

Founded by Mill Group, Investors in the Community has recently been joined by Land Securities Trillium as a joint venture partner in the Programme. The new partnership, which builds upon a successful, ongoing collaboration between the two organisations, will capitalise on their complementary strengths to offer future public sector partners a compelling breadth of expertise, capacity, and resources.

Read more…

FURTHER RECRUITMENT FOR PINSENT MASONS PENSIONS TEAM

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has announced the appointment of Carol Jones as an Associate in the Pensions Group. She will be joining the London office from Hammonds on 8 May 2006. Her appointment follows the recent lateral hire of a new pensions team into Pinsent Masons' Leeds office.

Carol has worked as a solicitor since 2001. Her experience includes advising employers and trustees on day-to-day advisory work, dealing with the pensions aspects of corporate transactions and providing training on pensions issues.

Christopher Berkeley, National Head of Pensions at Pinsent Masons, said: 'We are delighted to welcome Carol to our London team which has now seen the recruitment of six additional pensions lawyers over the last 18 months. This demonstrates the continuing expansion of our practice, in terms of both personnel and increasing workload. Carol will be an excellent addition to the team.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The Pinsent Masons Pensions Group is one of the strongest pensions teams in the UK. Spanning our UK offices we have over 40 highly trained pensions lawyers (including 10 partners), pensions executives, paralegals and independent trustee administrators, as well as over 200 colleagues in other practice areas who can provide additional support services to trustee and corporate clients.

For over 20 years, the Pensions Group has been dedicated to providing clear, practical, cost-effective advice for its clients. Legal directories consistently rate the Pensions Group as one of the very best in the country.

Read more…

ARMOR HOLDINGS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON EURO ASPECTS OF US$755 MILLION DEAL

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

New York Stock Exchange-listed Armor Holdings, Inc, a leading security products manufacturer and distributor, has been advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on the European aspects of its US$755 million acquisition of Stewart & Stevenson Services, Inc.

Stewart & Stevenson Services is a leading manufacturer of tactical wheeled vehicles whose business fits well with Armor's armoured vehicle systems. The acquisition is subject to SVC shareholder approval.

The Pinsent Masons' team advising Armor Holdings comprised corporate partner Tom Leman and senior associate Gareth Hughes. The company, listed in Fortune Magazine's 2005 100 Fastest Growing Companies List, was advised in the US by Kane Kessler, P.C. and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP.

Stewart & Stevenson were advised by Merrill Lynch and Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SCOOPS GLOBAL CONSTRUCTION AWARD

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been named 'Global Construction Law Firm of the Year' in the Who's Who Legal Awards 2006.

Thirteen of the firm's partners from across four countries over three continents were singled out for particular praise, more than any other law firm.

The awards were announced in The International Who?s Who of Business Lawyers, and identify the pre-eminent lawyer and firm in each of the 27 practice areas covered by the Who?s Who Legal series. For the first time this year, the awards also recognise the overall leading firm in 46 countries around the world.

Martin Harman, International Construction & Energy Partner at Pinsent Masons said : 'We are delighted that once again our credentials as the leading construction law firm has been recognised through this award. We are fortunate to have an amazing pool of talent with some of the best construction lawyers anywhere in the world. It is a tremendous honour to be acknowledged as a world beater by both clients and our peers.'

The International Who?s Who of Business Lawyers 2006 is a compendium volume of the practice areas covered by Who?s Who Legal?s separate single volume publications. It is the result of ten years of independent research incorporating feedback from thousands of lawyers, and covering over 7,000 practitioners across 27 separate practice areas and over 100 countries.

Managing editor of Who?s Who Legal; The International Who?s Who of Business Lawyers Callum Campbell said: ?We are delighted to recognise Pinsent Masons with the Construction Law Firm of the Year Award. This is the first time that the firm has achieved this distinction and can truly be said to be the world?s leading firm for construction expertise?.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has over 160 construction lawyers globally specialising in construction law issues. The firm's clients include over 50% of top 50 contractors in the world, major procurers of assets such as governments and government agencies, utilities, power station operators, leading oil and gas companies, insurers and financial institutions.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is in the Global 100 of law firms.

For press enquiries call:

Lakhbir Rakar, CM PR Advisor, Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

LEADING INSURANCE LAWYER JOINS AS PINSENT MASONS STRENGTHENS PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY PRACTICE

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has announced that Jacquetta Castle will be joining the firm's Professional Liability practice on 24 April 2006. She was previously a partner at Charles Russell, where she was Joint Head of Professional Liability.

Jacquetta has particular experience in D&O, banking claims, financial advisers, insurance brokers, surveyors and barristers claims. She writes regularly in the legal press and lectures widely and is Vice Chairman of the British Insurance Law Association (BILA).

During her time at Charles Russell Jacquetta successfully developed a Professional Indemnity practice from a small base with a significant proportion of the work having an international element. The most recent edition of the Legal 500 directory includes a recommendation for her D&O work for insurers.

Jacquetta joins a long-established Professional Liability team noted particularly for its expertise in legal and broking claims and more recently, construction claims. She will work alongside Partner Fiona Heyes in further developing the practice.

Tim Burton, Head of the Insurance & Reinsurance Practice at Pinsent Masons, said, 'This appointment demonstrates our commitment to further developing our capability and experience within our Professional Liability team. Jacquetta is a highly rated and experienced professional indemnity expert who brings a number of influential clients and contacts and we welcome her to the firm.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The Insurance and Reinsurance Group at Pinsent Masons consists of over 30 lawyers advising both national and international risk carriers, intermediaries and corporate policyholders.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS BOOSTS IP & UNIVERSITY CAPABILITY IN SCOTLAND WITH DOUBLE HIRE

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has boosted its intellectual property and university practices in Scotland today with the appointment of Scottish law firm Lindsays' University IP team. Chris Martin and Joanne Stewart join the firm?s Edinburgh office, having extensive experience of working on IP-based projects with a specific focus on the Scottish university and spin-out market. Both have worked extensively with some of Scotland?s leading research universities.

Martin and Stewart join Pinsent Masons? 18-strong IT/IP team in Scotland. Their roles will include advising technology businesses, university spin-outs and universities in Scotland. They will support the firm?s National Universities Team which boasts a client base of more than 30 universities, including many of the UK's leading research institutions.

John Salmon, head of Pinsent Masons' IT and IP group in Scotland, commented, 'The IP and university markets are very important to us, and we are responding to an increasing demand for our services in these areas in Scotland. Chris Martin and Joanne Stewart are outstanding lawyers and their skills and experience will be hugely beneficial to our clients. These appointments will further enhance both our expertise and capacity in the provision of IP advice and in providing an excellent service to universities in Scotland and beyond.'

Ends.

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial law firm with 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm is one of the most highly regarded law firms specialising in technology, telecoms, outsourcing and information law.

Pinsent Masons Scotland runs OUT-LAW, an award-winning technology and e-commerce support service. OUT-LAW is a free service which includes a quarterly magazine, a weekly e-mail news bulletin and the out-law.com website, offering free information and checklists to help businesses. With more than 20,000 subscribers and 4,500 pages of content, out-law.com is believed to be one of the largest and most successful law firm websites in the world.

For further information, please visit Pinsent Masons? websites: www.pinsentmasons.com or www.out-law.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ASPIRE DEFENCE ON LARGEST ESTATES PFI PROJECT IN UK

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

PFI and construction specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons have advised Aspire Defence on Project Allenby/Connaught, the 35-year PFI for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the upgrade of accommodation and the provision of a range of services for the British Army?s garrisons at Aldershot and Salisbury Plain.

The MoD yesterday announced that Aspire Defence had been awarded the ?8billion contract, the largest estates PFI project undertaken in the UK to date. The project will provide modern living and working accommodation and facilities for 18,000 military and civilian personnel.

Pinsent Masons advised both the services joint venture (Aspire Defence Services) and the construction joint venture (Aspire Defence Capital Works). On the services side, a Leeds based team was led by Mark Sanderson assisted by Ken Cooke and John Bruce and on the construction side Annie Kilvington led a London based team, assisted by Matt Buchanan, Deborah Brown and Alan Woolston.

Mark Sanderson, Projects Partner, said, 'This has been a hugely challenging and rewarding project for all involved. Bringing it to a close involved the co-ordination of a multi-disciplinary team across different offices and the negotiation of eight work packages with four major service providers each of which was a deal within a deal. It has been especially rewarding to have had the opportunity to be part of a project team such as Aspire's which is so committed to delivering first class services to the armed forces at Aldershot and Salisbury for the next 35 years.'

Annie Kilvington, UK Construction Partner, said, 'This project is unique in this country in terms of both complexity and size. The nature and multiplicity of the sites and their day-to-day operations made the construction risk profile of the project a challenging one with the interests of all stakeholders to be balanced and sensitively addressed. It has been a privilege to add our own specialist construction legal skills to the commercial and technical teams from both Mowlem and KBR in helping to achieve financial close of this groundbreaking project.'

Freshfields advised the MoD and Cameron McKenna advised Aspire Defence Limited, the special purpose company specifically set up to deliver Project Allenby/Connaught for the MoD.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Aspire Press Office: 020 7242 7303

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and rnaks in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ROCHDALE COUNCIL ON ?200M STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised Rochdale MBC on a ?200m strategic partnership project between the Council, Mouchel Parkman and Agilisys. The Agreement was signed on 3 April 2006.

The partnership will operate through an innovative joint venture company, the 'Impact Partnership', in which the Council will hold a minority interest. This structure is intended to assist the Council to promote its wider regeneration objectives through the creation of at least 1,300 new jobs in Rochdale Borough over the next 15 years. The partnership is committed to delivering major investment in improvements to Council services that will include the construction of a new Customer Contact Centre in Rochdale town centre.

The partnership will be responsible for improving efficiency and service delivery in the Council's highways and engineering, property management, ICT and payroll services. Approximately 300 Council staff will be seconded to work for the Impact Partnership alongside staff from Mouchel Parkman, a professional support services group, and Agilisys, a technology and business process service provider.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Alan Aisbett (Partner) assisted by Didar Dhillon (Solicitor) and Navjeet Virk (Solicitor) in the Projects Group.

Alan Aisbett, Projects Partner at Pinsent Masons, said, 'We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the excellent in-house legal team at Rochdale MBC on this project, which will regenerate the whole Borough. Drawing on the firm's extensive experience in advising on strategic partnerships in the public sector, we were able to successfully bring this to financial close within the necessary timeframe.'

Anne Taylor, Assistant Borough Solicitor at Rochdale MBC, commented, 'This has been an exciting and innovative project to work on. It will play a key role in helping to create jobs and contribute to regeneration in Rochdale. This has been a good example of an external firm with specialist expertise working well with the in-house team with knowledge of the particular needs of the Authority.'

Wragge & Co acted for Mouchel Parkman, Agilisys were advised by in-house counsel.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378

Anne Taylor, Assistant Borough Solicitor

Rochdale MBC, on: 01706 924737

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The Projects Group has extensive experience in advising on strategic partnerships, acting for both public and private sector participants across a range of sectors. The team has been involved in developing standardised documentation for several categories of projects and one of our senior partners recently headed the ODPM's Strategic Partnering Taskforce (SPT) for a period of two and a half years.

Past projects on which the firm has advised include:

? The City of Bradford County Council ?300 million Facilities Management Strategic Partnership

? Devon County Council ?500 million property services Strategic Partnership

? Swansea City and County Council ?100 million cross service transformation Strategic Partnership

? Thurrock Council strategic partnering for numerous Council Services

Read more…

SEMBCORP SIMON-CARVES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON WORLD'S LARGEST SINGLE STREAM LOW DENSITY POLYETH

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised SembCorp Simon-Carves Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of SembCorp Engineers and Constructors, on a contract with Huntsman Petrochemicals (UK) Ltd to design and construct the world's largest single stream low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant based on technology provided by ExxonMobil Chemical.

SembCorp Simon-Carves is the world?s most experienced process engineering contractor for the design and supply of LDPE plants, having supplied 75 LDPE streams throughout the world. These include six of the last eleven LDPE plants to have been commissioned since 1997.

Huntsman is one of the world's most diversified producers of commodity and performance polymers with 57 operations in 22 different countries.

The plant will have an output of 400,000 tonnes per annum. Work is already underway and construction is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for SembCorp Simon-Carves was led by partner Edward Davies assisted by Rebecca Harvey and Paul Kenny. Partner Richard Williams advised on bonds and guarantees.

North East law firm Ward Hadaway advised Huntsman. Head of Construction, Ralph Wrighton, assisted by Solicitor Jamie Corcoran, was involved in all legal aspects of the construction deal for Huntsman, including drafting, negotiating and settling the engineering contract.

Alwyn Bowden, Managing Director of SembCorp Simon-Carves, stated: 'We are extremely proud and delighted to have been entrusted by Huntsman to deliver this high profile project in the UK, being the world's largest single-stream LDPE plant.'

Mahomed Maiter, Vice President of Huntsman European Polymers, commented: 'We see the signing of this contract as a critical step forward in delivering this ambitious project for Huntsman and ensuring our new LDPE facility at Wilton is operational by the end of 2007.'

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

LDPE is a versatile thermoplastic resin used in a variety of applications such as such as foils, trays and plastic bags for food and non-food purposes. It is also the material of choice in dispensing and wash bottles due to its excellent flexibility and the fact that it is virtually unbreakable.

SembCorp Engineers and Constructors

SembCorp Engineers and Constructors (SembE&C) is the largest engineering and construction group in Southeast Asia with core capabilities in process engineering for chemical, nuclear, plastic, fertilizer, food and pharmaceutical industries. The company employs 1,300 staff worldwide.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and rnaks in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

English Partnerships advised by Pinsent Masons on ?100m Oakington Barracks acquisition

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Property lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency, on its ?100m acquisition of Oakington Barracks, in South Cambridgeshire, from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) making this English Partnerships' biggest single acquisition.

As part of the deal the MoD has taken a leaseback of part of the property under an arrangement which runs until 31 December 2006.

The 288?ha site is deemed surplus to requirement by the MoD and has been designated a major component of the proposed new town development of Northstowe which will eventually comprise up to 10,000 homes.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for English Partnerships comprised Andrew Yates (Real Estate), David Meecham (Real Estate), Robert Pettigrew (Real Estate), Richard Ford (Planning) and Naomi Lindsay (Environmental).

Andrew Yates, Partner at Pinsent Masons, said :

'This is just one of many exciting redevelopment projects the team have been advising English Partnerships on over the last 18 months. The sale of Oakington Barracks will open the door to rejuvenating this surplus public sector brownfield site and transforming it into a sustainable community to include affordable housing.'

Berwin Leighton Paisner advised the MoD. Their team comprised : Philip Bretherton and John Kelsey (Real Estate) and Isabelle Laborde (Environmental).

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

RISK CAPITAL PARTNERS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MAYFAIR GAMING SALE TO HERMES PRIVATE EQUITY

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Risk Capital Partners and management have been advised by teams from law firm Pinsent Masons on the sale of bingo club operator Mayfair Gaming to Hermes Private Equity for an undisclosed sum.

Pinsent Masons acted for Risk Capital Partners in 2004 when they acquired Mayfair Gaming. The current management team of Simon Hannah and Paul Viner will continue to run the business which comprises eight bingo clubs in Aberdeen, Pudsey, Streatham, Bristol, Brighton, Newark and two sites in the Newcastle area. Mayfair Gaming had a turnover in 2005 of ?12 million.

Hermes Private Equity and management intend to grow the business looking for further suitable locations where Mayfair Gaming's size and style of operation can flourish.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Risk Capital Partners comprised private equity partner Tom Leman, senior associate Gareth Hughes and tax partner Janet Hoskin. Private equity partner Andrew Masraf acted for management.

Hermes Private Equity was advised by Linklaters and Deloitte Corporate Finance. Debt facilities were provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland's Thames Valley Corporate and Structured Finance team.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Read more…

Piverside Housing Association advised by Pinsent Masons on ?200 million housing PFI

April 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A cross practice team of lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised Riverside Housing Association on the successful completion of a ?203 million PFI housing initiative in the West Midlands.

The 25 year contract between Riverside Housing Association and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council will see the refurbishment and redevelopment of more than 1000 dwellings on the Harvills Hawthorn and Millfields housing estates in South Wednesbury. Construction works will be carried out by Mansell Construction Services.

The Sandwell Project, which is one of the final Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Pathfinder Schemes to close in the country, adds to Pinsent Masons' impressive PFI social housing credentials which also includes projects in Islington, Newham, Reading and Leeds.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Projects Partner Kate Peacock and assisted by Louise Duffy (Banking), John Christian (Tax), Janet Hoskin (Charities), Philip Titchmarsh (Employment), Kate Hudson (Construction), Nigel Wilson (IT), John Bruce (Projects), Kerry Wardle (Banking) and John Hanratty (Pensions).

Arthur Lovitt, Client Partner for Riverside, said : ''Riverside appointed Pinsent Masons in June 2000 on the Sandwell PFI Project after we had represented their funders on the first PFI Project they undertook in 1998. One of the many satisfying aspects of closing the Sandwell PFI Project is that Riverside appreciated the committed fully resourced stable team we allocated to the project. Members of the Team that closed the 1998 transaction were involved in closing the Sandwell Project.'

Kate Peacock, Projects Partner at Pinsent Masons, said : 'The structure of the Project meant that we had to consider a number of issues which took us outside the 'norm' of PFI projects and necessitated detailed discussions with all the key stakeholders on derogations from SoPC3 and standard PFI funding terms and structures. The whole Pinsent Masons team worked tirelessly to deliver the Project for Riverside and we are all delighted that they can now start service provision and that Mansells can commence the construction and refurbishment works which will make a huge difference to the people living on the Harvills Hawthorn and Millfields Estates.'

Dave Jepson, Deputy Chief Executive, The Riverside Group, said : 'When we embarked on the Sandwell Housing PFI Scheme in 2000, we naturally chose to appoint Pinsent Masons because of their excellent credentials in this field and the strength in depth of their team. Their support, tenacity and enthusiasm have been central to the success of the project. They have been an invaluable part of the Riverside Team.'

Addleshaw Goddard (James Stone) acted for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. Freeth Cartwright (Chris Holwell) acted for Mansell Construction Services Limited and Allen & Overy (Nick Williams) acted for Sumito Mitsui Banking Corporation.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar, Chosen Market PR Adviser, Pinsent Masons.

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Note to Editors:

The Government's HRA PFI programme is designed to improve local authority housing stock by allowowing private sector investment for managing, upgrading and providing homes for residents.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Read more…

Copper Resources Corporation advised by Pinsent Masons on ?4+ placing

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Copper Resources Corporation (CRC) is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on a placing which is expected to raise ?4.4 million to fund the planned restart of work at the Kinsenda copper mine in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CRC now holds a 75% stake in the company operating Kinsenda where mining was halted because of problems with flooding. Following a feasibility study, CRC believes with its dedicated engineering experience the ore-rich mine could be reopened within 18 months.

The company is placing 8,000,000 units with investors at a price of 55 pence per unit, with each unit comprising one common share plus one-half of one warrant exercisable over a two-year period at a strike price of 75 pence. Two half-warrants convert into one common share. The common shares are to be admitted to AIM on or about 4 April.

CRC is being advised by Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner and AIM specialist, Russell Booker.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is independently-ranked as one of the UK's top AIM advisers acting for some 50 AIM companies and has advised on well over 40 flotations.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS COMPLETES WORK ON ?75MILLION EAST LONDON REDEVELOPMENT

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London Borough of Newham, advised by Pinsent Masons' London Regeneration Team, has this month exchanged a Development Agreement on its planned ?75m redevelopment of Queens Market at Upton Park, East London in partnership with developers St Modwen.

The East End town centre regeneration includes proposals for 160 market stalls, 49 retail outlets, a 47,500 sq ft supermarket, a 11,000 sq ft library and community centre, car parking facilities and a mix of private and social housing.

Regeneration Partner Peter Stockdale, assisted by Dawn Blackwell (planning) and Amanda Atkinson (property development) advised the London Borough of Newham. St Modwen was advised by Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP (Partners Jeremy Clay and Caroline Taylor).

Peter Stockdale, said :'Our track record of working successfully with local authorities alongside major town centre developers such as St Modwen goes from strength to strength and this latest deal marks another success for our urban regeneration credentials.'

In recent months Pinsent Masons' urban regeneration practice has advised on a number of multi-million pound town centre regeneration projects across the country including Hatfield, Dudley, East Grinstead, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Amber Homeloans Limited advised by Pinsent Masons

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Amber Homeloans Limited has been advised by specialists in the banking team at Pinsent Masons on the sale of a c.?100m mortgage loan book to Infinity Mortgages Limited, a subsidiary of Investec.

This is the first acquisition by Investec's securitisation and principal finance unit since the launch of its new mortgage lending operation which aims to attract ?1bn of sub-prime home loans that can be securitised.

Amber Homeloans Limited (Amber), based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, is a mortgage lender operating in all key areas of lending, including the sub-prime market. Amber's products are only available through intermediaries. Amber also sells and purchases mortgage portfolios and has become one of the largest traders of mortgage assets in the UK.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Amber was led by Northern Head of Banking, John Cleland, assisted by Kerry Wardle.

Rosanna Bryant at Addleshaw Goddard acted for Infinity Mortgages

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

BROKERS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON FINDERS RESOURCES LTD AIM ADMISSION

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Specialist AIM legal advisers at Pinsent Masons have acted for brokers Westhouse Securities on the admission to AIM today (Wednesday) of mining business, Finders Resources Ltd.

Finders Resources, which operates advanced copper and gold-silver projects in Indonesia, has launched on AIM with a market capitalisation of approximately ?10.5 million. An associated placing of 17,500, 000 shares at 20 pence per share has raised ?3.5 million (before expenses) and will be used to promote the strategic development of the company.

Formed to harness the skills and experience of its founders in exploration and mining projects in the Asia-Pacific region, in its first year of operation Finders Resources has progressed a series of significant projects including, in Indonesia, the Wetar Copper Project and the Ojolali Gold-Silver Project. The company's intention is to develop into a mid-tier mining business. Managing Director, Chris Farmer, commented: 'With our highly experienced management team and an exciting portfolio of assets, we believe Finders is ideally placed to provide significant returns and growth as the projects advance.'

Westhouse Securities have been advised by Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris.

Finders Resources Ltd has been advised by Watson Farley & Williams.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is independently-ranked as one of the UK's top AIM advisers acting for some 50 AIM companies and has advised on well over 40 flotations.

Read more…

DOUBLE JOY AS PINSENT MASONS SECURES ENTIRE EVERSHEDS PENSIONS TEAM IN LEEDS

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has capped its success in the prize recruitment Eversheds' Head of Pensions in Leeds, Jacqui Timmins, and her colleague Anthea Whitton, by winning over the rest of Eversheds' pensions team in Leeds.

The six-strong legal team has given in its notice and will join Jacqui and Anthea at Pinsent Masons where Jacqui is to become the head of the expanded Pinsent Masons pensions team in Leeds.

The news of the team move comes just two days after the announcement that Jacqui, a highly experienced pensions partner who has grown pensions practice turnover in Leeds fourfold since moving there in 2001, and her colleague Anthea Whitton, would be joining Pinsent Masons as Partners.

Christopher Berkeley, who heads Pinsent Masons market-leading pensions group nationally, said: 'This is a further boost for us in Leeds and gives us a fantastic position in this very competitive market. We are delighted.'

Jacqui has grown the turnover in the pensions practice Leeds to a projected ?1.7 million this year with client wins such as Vaillant (formerly Hepworth) Pensions Scheme Trustees, British Vita Pension Funds and Wm Morrison 1967 Pension Scheme Trustees. On the company side, she acts for clients including Heywood Williams Group PLC and Nickerson (UK) Limited.

Pinsent Masons Managing Partner, David Ryan, added: 'In Jacqui we have recruited one of the brightest stars in pensions in the region. By bringing together Jacqui, Anthea and the rest of the team with our existing quality teams in the North we have consolidated our status regionally, and nationally, as one of the leading firms for pensions. This talented and hard working team represents a great asset to Pinsent Masons.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The firm's Pensions Group, regarded as one of the leading practices in the UK, currently has 10 partners and a full dedicated legal and trust administration team of 44.

Read more…

OUT-LAW GAINS SUPERBRAND STATUS

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Superbrands organisation, the global independent authority on branding, has announced that legal service OUT-LAW has joined an elite group of brands awarded eSuperbrand status. It is the only legal brand to gain this accolade, alongside brands including eBay, Google, bbc.co.uk and Friends Reunited.

Founded in 2000, OUT-LAW is the IT and e-commerce service from international law firm Pinsent Masons. The firm recently acquired the highly sought after Outlaw.com URL for US$25,000, a deal which protects and consolidates the OUT-LAW brand, which will remain at www.out-law.com. OUT-LAW.COM currently has more than 28,000 registered users, and experiences nearly 100,000 unique visitors every month.

OUT-LAW will also appear in a book featuring the honoured eSuperbrands, launched today at Embassy, London. This publication forms part of a programme that was founded with the aim of paying tribute to the UK?s strongest ebrands, whilst also providing insight and guidance into the best brands and sites within the huge online market.

Struan Robertson, editor of OUT-LAW and a senior associate with Pinsent Masons, said, ?OUT-LAW has been a huge commercial success for Pinsent Masons. It is our global calling card for IT and e-commerce legal information and issues impacting technology businesses. OUT-LAW has helped position Pinsent Masons as one of the UK's leading IT legal advisors.?

?In our six years of operation, we have produced more than 6,000 unique, plain English articles, covering every development in technology law, from intellectual property and privacy laws to outsourcing, e-commerce and employment,? Robertson said.

A dedicated eSuperbrands council was formulated in 2005, consisting of eminent individuals who are well qualified to judge which are the nation?s strongest ebrands. Each brand featured in the book qualified to do so based on the ranking of this council. The book includes full case studies on 46 of the 300 qualifying eSuperbrands; the full 300 appear in a comprehensive index within the book. More than 3,000 brands were initially considered.

Commenting on the launch of eSuperbrands a spokesman at the Superbrands organisation said, ?eSuperbrands is fascinating as it explores a diverse range of brands, from different industries and of difference sizes. The interesting thing is the success and strategy employed by the mix of traditional brands, that we have known and loved for years, with other younger pure e-brands that have been developed more recently. With the proliferation of websites both reputation and brand image are becoming ever more important in aiding consumer choice. Those brands featured in the eSuperbrands publication are a suitable benchmark of those that truly deliver.?

Ends.

For further information please contact:

OUT-LAW

Struan.robertson@OUT-LAW.com

T: 0141 249 5422

About OUT-LAW:

OUT-LAW is an award-winning technology and e-commerce support service, run by law firm Pinsent Masons, one of the most highly regarded law firms specialising in technology, telecoms, outsourcing and information law.

OUT-LAW is a free service which includes a quarterly magazine, a weekly e-mail news bulletin and the out-law.com website, offering free information and checklists to help businesses. With more than 28,000 subscribers and 6,000 pages of content, OUT-LAW.COM is believed to be one of the largest and most popular law firm websites in the world.

For further information, see: www.out-law.com and www.pinsentmasons.com

About eSuperbrands:

eSuperbrands

1JOB.co.uk,192.com, 50connect.co.uk, 888.com, allcures.com, Auto Trader, Avon, bbc.co.uk, Betfair, Boys Stuff, British Airways London Eye, confetti, crocus, DatingDirect.com, dubit, eBay.co.uk, Faceparty, Firebox, Friends Reunited, Google?, HalifaxHomeFinder, JobServe, Jobsite, Littlewoods even more, MAXIM, moneynet, Moonfruit, MyTravel.com, myvillage.com, Nectar, NetNames, OUT-LAW, PhotoBox, Primelocation.com, River Island, Streetmap, teletextholidays.co.uk, ThomsonLocal.com, Times Online, tiscali, TOPSHOP, toptable.co.uk, Totaljobs.com, UpMyStreet, What Car?, Yell.com

eSuperbrands Council 2006

Wayne Arnold, Managing Director, Profero

David Day, European Managing Director, EMEA Region Nielsen / NetRatings Inc

Jody Haskayne, Director of PR & Communications, Tiscali UK Ltd

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS CELEBRATES PRIZE PENSIONS APPOINTMENT

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has announced the prize recruitment of the highly experienced Eversheds' Head of Pensions in Leeds, Jacqui Timmins, and her colleague Anthea Whitton, who will both be joining the firm as Partners. Jacqui will become head of the expanded Pinsent Masons pensions team in Leeds.

The announcement gives Pinsent Masons, known nationally for the high quality of its pensions group, a massive lift in the north. Further recruitment is anticipated following the two partner appointments.

There is a perfect fit between Jacqui's private sector client portfolio and the private sector and burgeoning public sector practice of the highly-rated John Hanratty, the senior lawyer in Pinsent Masons' Leeds team. 'We couldn't ask for a better fit,' commented Pinsent Masons National Head of Pensions, Christopher Berkeley. 'This is fantastic news and underscores our national position as one of the country's leading pension law groups.'

Jacqui, who has grown pensions practice turnover in Leeds fourfold since her move there, qualified in 1991 and joined Eversheds in 1995. She became a partner in 2001 when she was asked to move from Manchester to Leeds to head up the pensions team there. In 2004, she was also asked to take over management of the wider employment and pensions group of some 30 fee earners in Leeds.

She has grown the turnover in the pensions practice Leeds to a projected ?1.7 million this year with client wins such as Vaillant (formerly Hepworth) Pensions Scheme Trustees, British Vita Pension Funds and Wm Morrison 1967 Pension Scheme Trustees. On the company side, she acts for clients including Heywood Williams Group PLC and Nickerson (UK) Limited.

Anthea Whitton is currently an associate at Eversheds. She specialises in private sector pensions work. Anthea has been a key player in the development of the Eversheds pensions practice.

Of her move, Jacqui commented: 'I am really looking forward to leading a well-resourced heavyweight team with a commitment to develop and grow. Pinsent Masons has one of the best reputations in this area of law, so I couldn't be in better company.'

Pinsent Masons' Managing Partner, David Ryan, added: 'This is an undoubted coup for the firm and gives us a compelling proposition in pensions in the north. Jacqui is one of the brightest stars in pensions in the region and together with Anthea makes Pinsent Masons a significant force in the region.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The firm's Pensions Group, regarded as one of the leading practices in the UK, currently has 10 partners and a full dedicated legal and trust administration team of 44.

Read more…

RFL appoints new legal panel

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The RFL - the governing body of Rugby League in the UK - has appointed two new firms to its legal panel in place of its previous advisers.

Following an extensive process, in which leading law firms were invited to tender for the business, the RFL has split its requirements into two separate areas.

Pinsent Masons have been awarded the general legal package which includes property law, employment law and general litigation.

London based firm Farrer & Co has been awarded the sports law package, covering areas such as sponsorship, intellectual property, company law and governance, disciplinary matters and anti-doping regulations.

Commenting on the tender process and the decisions, the RFL?s In House Lawyer Rod Findlay said: ?Rugby League is expanding and developing and faces new business challenges. It is therefore appropriate that we have appointed advisers with specific experience to assist the sport in this process.

?Pinsent Masons clearly has the technical ability to advise the RFL and their case management systems suggested a positive difference for clients compared to the traditional method of legal work. We were impressed with their existing local and national business links. They also showed a real keenness to act for the RFL?.

?Farrer & Co is a well recognised firm with a wealth of experience in acting for sports governing bodies on a whole range of issues. We were very impressed with their tender proposals and in particular their enthusiasm for the RFL work. We are looking forward to working with Serena Hedley Dent and her team over the next two years?.

Lead Partner for the RFL and Head of the Leeds office at Pinsent Masons, Nigel McClea commented: ?The whole firm is delighted. Whilst our Leeds and Manchester offices are at the heartland of Rugby League, the enthusiasm at our appointment expressed by our other national and international offices has been exceptional.

?We look forward to an exhilarating partnership with the RFL - not only as their legal advisers but as enthusiastic supporters of their forward strategy'.

Client partner for Farrer & Co, Serena Hedley Dent commented: ?The RFL has an exciting strategy to implement as the game develops both in England and abroad.

?Knowing the different requirements that the sport's own regulatory framework, statutory bodies and commercial partners place on sports governing bodies means that our Sports and Sponsorship Group is in a good position to help the RFL through this period of expansion and to realise their long term goals. We are delighted to be part of the team.'

Rod Findlay also praised Addleshaw Goddard, the law firm previously retained by the RFL, for their professionalism: ?Addleshaw Goddard has acted for the RFL for eight years and their work over that time on a number of different issues, including recent governance and anti-doping cases, has been a positive benefit to the sport.

?However, it is right to review external service provision from time to time. The retention of the two new firms reflects the changing requirements of the RFL and is in no way a negative reflection on Addleshaws, whom we anticipate will be invited to tender in future reviews.?

Sue Murdoch

Business Development Manager

Direct Dial +44 (0)113 225 5460

Ext 5560

E-mail sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Smart & Cook advised by Pinsent Masons on Acquisition

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Smart & Cook, the leading insurance broker based in Harrogate, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of the general insurance business of Berry Birch & Noble, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkeley Berry Birch plc.

Berry Birch & Noble, based in Kent, is an established national IFA and insurance broker with a strong market brand and excellent reputation amongst target consumer groups. BBN primarily markets through large companies such as BP, Nestle and Diageo as well as many national affinity groups.

This is the latest in a long series of acquisitions on which Pinsent Masons has advised Smart & Cook. The acquisition extends the company's footprint into the South East supporting its strategy of combining national coverage with local service delivery. The firm now has 19 offices and 550 staff.

The Group has developed through client recommendation, professional introduction and planned acquisition to become recognised as one of the UK?s leading independent insurance organisations. Its clients include professional practices, financial institutions and public limited companies.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Peter Wood assisted by Alison Starr (corporate aspects) and Guy Rusling (property aspects).

The vendor was advised by Putsmans, Birmingham

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Pinsent Masons recruits National Employment Law Client Trainer

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has appointed Trish Embley as an additional National Client Trainer for the Employment Group. Trish previously worked as Employment Law Trainer at Eversheds where she was responsible for setting up the employment law training business. She joined the firm on 27 February 2006.

Trish qualified at Eversheds in 1991 and was promoted to Associate in 1997 in recognition of the success of the training business which she developed for clients and targets nationwide. During this time she had responsibility for designing and presenting both public and in-house courses throughout the UK. Whilst at the firm she headed the team that was awarded PR Week magazine's award for 'Best Business Campaign' in 1997 in recognition of 'their clear, upfront presentation of legal issues'.

Trish will join Pinsent Masons to develop the Employment Group's employment law training offering, strengthen existing client relationships and create new ones. She will work closely with Selwyn Blyth who currently manages the training programme for companies including AVIVA plc, NEXT plc and Prime Focus.

Chris Booth, National Head of the Employment Group, said, 'Trish has an impressive amount of experience and expertise in preparing and delivering practical training on employment law issues to clients. She will be a great asset to our Group.'

Trish Embley, National Client Trainer, commented, 'I am excited about joining such a well-established and successful training business as that at Pinsent Masons. I look forward to developing the services to increase value for our clients.'

Selwyn Blyth, Employment Senior Associate, added, 'Our style of training maximises participation by delegates. Client feedback enthusiastically supports that approach. It will be great to work with Trish on the development and delivery of training in this style.'

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The Employment Group at Pinsent Masons is one of the most experienced teams of employment lawyers in the country. With over 50 employment lawyers, including 15 partners, it is also one of the largest in the country and offers genuine national coverage from offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES CH2M HILL ON GROUNDBREAKING UK NUCLEAR ALLIANCE

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised global full-service construction, engineering and operations company CH2M HILL on its recent ground-breaking strategic alliance with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and Amed

The new alliance, the first of its kind in the UK, has been set up to target nuclear clean-up opportunities amongst the country's 20 civil nuclear facilities following the Government's decision to open up the market to competition. The estimated cost of cleaning up the UK?s historic nuclear legacy has been estimated at ?56 billion and will be co-ordinated by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Pinsent Masons' lead partner and head of the firm's Energy & Utilities practice Mark Richards said : 'We are delighted to have been involved in advising CH2M HILL on their expansion into both the UK and European-wide nuclear decommissioning market through such a ground-breaking and formidable alliance.'

CH2M HILL is an international leader in construction and engineering operations. The company has a strong track record in decommissioning nuclear sites in the US which includes Rocky Flats, a 10 year project to clean up one of the US Department of Energy's most contaminated nuclear weapons sites. The company employs more than 15,000 employees across 200 offices globally.

The Pinsent Masons Team advising CH2M HILL was led by Partner Mark Richards, assisted by Partner Michael Ryley and Senior Associate Martin Priestley. UKAEA were advised by a team from Berwin Leighton Paisner led by Ken Addley. Amec were advised by their in-house legal team.

ENDS

Note for editors

In November 2005 Pinsent Masons advised Carillion on a ?118m contract with British Nuclear Group Sellafield Limited (BNGSL) for the construction of a new product and residue store at Sellafield, as well as Carillion's contracts with its sub-contractors for the project. Pinsent Masons continues to advise on the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan Project and are currently engaged in advising on a contract for the new safe confinement of the Shelter, which will provide the world's largest ever moveable structure.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

ANGLE PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?8 MILLION+ PLACING

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Specialist intellectual property commercialisation company, ANGLE plc, is aiming to raise ?8.1 million with an institutional share placing to further its development work, particularly in the area of early-stage investment opportunities.

ANGLE is being advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons on the placing, which is taking place in two waves this month and is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 29 March. In all, 10,205,288 new Ordinary Shares at 79 pence per share will be placed with institutional investors.

ANGLE is an AIM-quoted international venture management and consulting company which specialises in the commercialisation of technology and the development of technology-based industry. The company has created a process called Progeny? which provides its technology partners with the right package of skills, resources and experience to overcome the usual barriers to IP exploitation. The proceeds of the placing will, in part, be used to develop Progeny? companies and establish new Progeny? companies.

Collins Stewart is acting as the company's nominated adviser and broker to the placing. Merchant bank, Mulier Capital, which is assisting with the fundraising, is also taking a 2.23% stake in ANGLE by participating in the placing.

The Pinsent Masons team advising ANGLE is being led by Corporate Finance Partner and AIM specialist, Jon Harris with Hanh Jelf, Manmohan Panesar and Eloise Holland.

Collins Stewart and Mulier Capital have been advised by Anthony Clare at Ashurst.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is one of the country's leading, independently-ranked legal advisers on AIM, acting for more than 40 AIM-quoted companies.

Read more…

CHINESE E-GOVERNMENT SOFTWARE PROVIDER ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON AIM DEBUT

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A leading developer and provider of software and IT solutions to Chinese regional and national government agencies, Sinosoft Technology plc and its Chinese subsidiaries ('Sinosoft'), has been advised by UK and Asia legal teams at Pinsent Masons on its admission today to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange ('AIM').

Sinosoft, whose principal operating businesses capitalise on opportunities presented by the Chinese Government?s continuing drive for digitisation, particularly within export tax management and other areas of interaction between citizens and government, had an initial market capitalisation of US$55 million before increasing on the commencement of trading.

Sinosoft, already an established market leader in the provision of export tax rebate software in two provinces in China where it has over 28,000 users of its software, anticipates major opportunities for growth in China in the next four or five years having been awarded the Golden Tax Tender by the Chinese State Administration of Taxation. By the end of 2010, as part of the Chinese Government?s Golden Tax Project, all 31 provinces in China are scheduled to have digitised their export tax rebate systems.

The extensive Chinese interests of Sinosoft meant that Pinsent Masons drew heavily on its international strengths with teams in Hong Kong and Shanghai working alongside corporate finance AIM specialists in London to achieve the flotation. Net proceeds from the placing of approximately US$12 million, which accompanied the float, will be used primarily to expand Sinosoft's R&D capabilities and its sales and marketing network.

The Chinese Government?s drive to create centrally accessible administrative systems that collect and transport data to and from users (whether the public or national and regional government departments) extends beyond export tax. Sinosoft has designed a portfolio of e-Government software products to radically simplify interaction with local government across the country.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Sinosoft was led by Corporate Finance Partner Jon Harris and Senior Associate Dominic Travers, assisted by Manmohan Panesar and Eloise Holland, and in Hong Kong and Shanghai by Partner Peter Bullock and his team including Peter Tse and Amanda Yao.

The Nominated Adviser and Broker to the float was Westhouse Securities LLP, who were advised by Steptoe & Johnson.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is one of the country's leading, independently-ranked legal advisers on AIM, acting for more than 40 AIM-quoted companies.

Sinosoft Technology plc is the UK holding company of Infotech, a Singaporean holding company of two trading subsidiaries, Nanjing Skytech Co., Ltd and Nanjing Skytech Software Co., Ltd. The trading companies are registered and operate in the Jiangsu province of China and provide the following products and services to certain government departments and Exporting Enterprises in the Jiangsu and Hainan provinces of China:

? export tax software which enables export tax documentation to be completed and filed electronically, comprising a back-end product suite used by the tax bureaus and a front end product suite utilised by Exporting Enterprises;

? e-Government software which allows government agencies to automate processes at city and provincial level creating a virtual, real-time environment for citizens to access certain services provided by the government;

? information integration software which provides existing customers with the opportunity to manage large amounts of information and facilitates the distribution, consolidation and synchronisation of this information across complex, multi-platform, multi-vendor IT environments; and

? customised services to existing customers including software upgrades, systems integration, training, customer support and problem resolution and bug fixing.

Read more…

INTERQUEST GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON PEOPLECO WORLDWIDE ACQUISITION

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted IT recruitment specialist, InterQuest Group plc, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on its largest acquisition to date, with the purchase of PeopleCo Worlwide Limited.

InterQuest believes the ?5.4 million acquisition, its first in the north of England, will significantly enhance its niche presence in specialist IT contract and permanent recruitment services.

PeopleCo, based in Harrogate, specialises in finding people with specific skills to solve IT business problems and focuses particularly on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), software development and software testing. Its activities will sit well alongside InterQuest's core recruitment business which specialises in finding IT contractors, permanent staff and executive search and selection.

InterQuest Chairman, Gary Ashworth said: 'We are delighted to welcome this high quality, well run, niche business to the InterQuest Group. We believe that this acquisition represents a major step towards InterQuest becoming a leading supplier of IT services in the UK.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising InterQuest was led by Corporate Partner, Linda Crow, with Emma Harvey and Carolyn Shaw (corporate), Veronica McMahon (tax), Hannah Robbins (employment) and Katy Wanless (property)

PeopleCo Worldwide was advised by Lupton Fawcett (Leeds).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

InterQuest Group is a recruitment business specialising in the provision of IT contractors, permanent staff and executive search and selection. InterQuest listed on AIM in May 2005. The Group has grown principally by acquisition having bought six businesses which together provide IT staffing services to a range of blue chip clients, and currently employs 93 people.

InterQuest is managed as a group of independently branded divisions, each with a different market or candidate skill set focus. Each division operates on a day-to-day basis with a large degree of autonomy whilst benefiting from the key central services of the group such as accounting, legal and IT support, as well

as Group wide sales and management training programmes.

The Group currently consists of five operating divisions and an online database:-

Genesis: Focused on financial institutions in the City of London. Its client base includes Fidelity Investment, Nomura International plc, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Hudson Global Resources Limited.

Insight: Focused on IT infrastructure and voice and data communications rather than a particular industry group. This is reflected by its client base which is made up of businesses in a variety of sectors, including Pfizer, Dixons, Citibank and Swiss Re Health & Life Limited.

InterQuest (UK): Focused on the retail sector, in particular fast moving consumer goods businesses. Its clients include John Lewis plc, Screwfix Direct, Helphire Group plc and Play.com. The Group took on the InterQuest name in 2002.

SBS: Focused on the public sector, in particular, central and local government offices. Its clients include the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, FSA, and the London Borough of Camden.

FJB: Focused on the public sector, in particular the NHS and City-based financial institutions.

ITmail: An online candidate database search service used by all of InterQuest's divisions. This database consists of approximately 300,000 CV's and is an additional support tool for all the Group's recruitment consultants.

Read more…

INTEREST IN HEALTHCARE SECTOR BREAKS ALL RECORDS

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

All eyes are focused on the healthcare sector in 2006 following a record year for activity and investment in 2005 which saw ?4.5 billion being invested in the mid-market.

The year-on-year growth in the sector has attracted new investors and all indicators suggest more of the same is to be expected in 2006.

Latest figures from the Centre for Management Buyout Research (CMBOR) released last month (Feb) show a threefold increase in investment in the healthcare sector between 2004 and 2005 and an increase in done deals, up to 31 in 2005 from 25 in 2004.

Against this backcloth, two of the leading firms of professional advisers in the sector - law firm Pinsent Masons and advisers, PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance ('PwC') - brought together business leaders operating in mid-sized specialist care businesses to network and discuss future opportunities. Chief guest at the Pinsent Masons and PwC Specialist Social Care Dinner was Dame Denise Platt DBE, Chair of Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).

This was the second highly successful event of its kind to be run by Pinsent Masons and PwC, reflecting the high level of interest in the healthcare sector. The sector's power to generate cash, an increasing ageing population fuelling demand for care homes, increased outsourcing to the private sector of care facilities, and the debt market's willingness to fund transactions together are driving interest in the sector.

Joanne Ellis, Corporate Partner and healthcare sector specialist at Pinsent Masons commented: 'There are a great many opportunities in healthcare but as those already operating there know the sector requires operators and their advisers to have a clear understanding of the regulatory framework and financing structures and their practical application to ensure success through day to day organic growth and/or strategic acquisitions.'

And Andy Parker, Director at PwC, added: 'The desire to invest in the sector, for existing businesses, debt providers and private equity houses has never been greater. However, all niches within the specialist care sector are not the same. The right advisers understand the dynamics of each of those niches and can play an invaluable part in getting that investment strategy right.'

For further information please contact:

Joanne Ellis, Corporate Partner, Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 335 2914

Andy Parker, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance, on: 0121 265 5536.

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. The firm is strongly sector focused and has a leading practice in corporate and public sector healthcare.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.PricewaterhouseCoopers.com/uk) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients. More than 120,000 people in 144 countries connect their thinking, experience and solutions to build public trust and enhance value for clients and their stakeholders.

Unless otherwise indicated, PricewaterhouseCoopers refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP a limited liability partnership incorporated in England. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.

Dame Denise Platt DBE was Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate 1998-2004, and Director for Children, Older People and Social Care Services at the Department of Health 2001-2003. Dame Denise was also Head of Social Services at the Local Government Association and Director of Social Services at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES DP WORLD ON PROJECT FINANCING FOR EXPANSION OF ROMANIAN PORT

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

DP World's wholly-owned Romanian subsidiary Constanta South Container Terminal S.R.L. (CSCT) successfully signed the documentation for the financing by WestLB of the initial phase of its container terminal business expansion in Constanta, Romania.

Dubai's DP World, a leading global port operator, took over management of CSCT in January 2004, with operations commencing in April 2004. The terminal acts as a hub for the Black Sea, as trade continues to expand in Eastern Europe, and handles a mix of local cargo and transshipment cargo for many other countries in the Black Sea region. Barge services linking Constanta and Belgrade have recently been initiated, and there are plans for a rail link between CSCT and Budapest in Hungary.

Project Finance specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised DP World and CSCT on this financing. The team comprised Andy Normington (Partner), Livia Dumitrescu (Senior Associate) and Paula Macineiras (Associate) in the Projects Group. Local law advice was provided by David & Associates.

Commenting on the project, Andy Normington said, 'This has proved a challenging and rewarding project for all involved. It has been especially rewarding because this is the first time that the firm advised DP World on a financing and the first time that the firm advised on a financing in Romania. This is an opportunity for us to enjoy the results of our efforts in developing an emerging markets practice'.

Allen & Overy acted for WestLB, with local law advice from Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND ON ACQUISITION OF DIRECT MAILING BUSINESS PIMS NAT

March 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised the London Business Services Group of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc on funding for the takeover of Pims National, a division of Pims Enterprises Limited by Corporate Mailing Matters Limited.

The business will now trade as CMM National (a division of Corporate Mailing Matters Limited).

CMM is a mailing communications specialist, headquartered in London's Docklands, with divisions dealing with shareholder communications, transactional mailing, international postage consolidation services, and general commercial digital print and mailing.

The deal represents the second transaction for the London Business Services group within two months and the second media acquisition funding on which the firm has acted for RBS within 9 months. This follows the management buy in of the Knight Banner Information Group by 3i last April, which was also completed by Pinsent Masons' London Banking team.

London Head of Banking Martin Bishop led the deal with assistance from senior associate Tony Anderson.

Martin explained: 'It is a pleasure to be able to deliver a transaction such as this, to a tight timetable on behalf of the RBS Business Services Group and its client, Corporate Mailing Matters Limited.'

SJ Berwin acted for Corporate Mailing Matters Limited and Eversheds for Pims Enterprises Limited.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON TWO TECHNOLOGY SERVICES SECTOR DEALS IN QUICK SUCCESSION

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised on a brace of technology services sector deals acting for Parity Group plc on a disposal and Empower Interactive Group Limited on an investment.

Parity Group, which provides IT and business process outsourcing services to organisations, has sold its resourcing solutions business in Germany and France to GFT Technologies AG, one of the leading European providers of innovative IT solutions, for a total of ?8.4 million.

Mobile messaging infrastructure and resourcing company, Empower Interactive Group Limited, headquartered in London and with an operational hub in Kuala Lumpur, has been advised on a ?10 million investment being led by Scottish Equity Partners Limited. Many of the world's leading mobile operators use Empower's services including Orange, WIND, Smart, Starhub, Telkomsel and Etisalat.

Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Farkas, has led on both deals working with senior associate, Sean Page.

On the Parity deal, the firm worked alongside its German alliance partner firm, Luther, led by Andrea Metz, who advised on German law aspects of the transaction. GFT were advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

On the Empower deal, Scottish Equity Partners Limited is being advised by a team from Shepperd & Wedderburn led by Stephen Trombala and the existing investors in the company are being advised by James McKay and Tim Hewens from Hammonds.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Successful VASTox fundraising gives hope to muscular dystrophy sufferers

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) received a boost this week with the announcement that one of the leading companies involved in developing treatments for the condition has been successful in raising funds to accelerate its work.

VASTox plc, a leading chemical genomics company, advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons, has raised ?10.45 million from a placing of its shares with institutional investors. The new funds will be used in the development of its lead therapeutic programme in DMD.

VASTox placed 5,903,955 new ordinary shares at a price of 177p per share with institutional investors. The broker to the placing was Evolution Securities Limited.

Professor Stephen Davies, Chairman of VASTox, commented: 'Our positive preclinical results for the company's DMD programme represented a significant breakthrough in the development of a potentially effective treatment of DMD and for the company.

'This fundraising now provides VASTox with the means to accelerate the development of this programme while still allowing the company to maintain its development timetable around its other research programmes as planned.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising VASTox has been led by Corporate Finance Partner, Russell Booker.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES HELIOSLOUGH LIMITED ON ACQUISITION OF NORTH WEST DISTRIBUTION SITE

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised HelioSlough Limited on the acquisition of land from BAe Systems at Chorley, Lancashire, to build a 1.3m sq ft industrial site which is set to become one of the most significant distribution hubs in the North West.

Under the deal HelioSlough acquired 13.2 acres of land valued at ?3.3m with a contract in place for the draw down of further land up to a total of 75 acres. The whole site, once developed, will create employment and growth opportunities for the local community and region with an estimated end development value of ?100 million. It is one of the 25 Strategic Regional Sites noted as having characteristics fundamental to the economic growth of the North West by the North West Development Agency.

A cross team of lawyers advised on the deal, led by Helen Davidson (senior associate). The team included: Arthur Lovitt (Real Estate Head), Louise McGuinness (solicitor), Graham Alty (partner), Sarah Hall (solicitor), Jonathan Riley (senior associate) and Helen Keele (senior associate).

Arthur Lovitt explained: 'Pinsent Masons has an excellent track record on major strategic projects. We were delighted that HelioSlough appointed us on this prestigious project and we look forward to working with them on the ongoing development of the site.'

Pinsent Masons are involved in all major strategic sites in the North West including Omega (acting for English Partnerships), Kingsway Rochdale (acting for Wilson Bowden Developments), ISIS at Agecroft Colliery (acting for a joint venture between Shepherd Development Company and Scarborough Development Company).

Ashurst advised BAe Systems.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES HULL AND EAST YORKSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST ON PFI PROJECT

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

PFI specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons have advised the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on their 30 year Oncology and Haematology PFI Project. The project has a capital value of approximately ?65 million and reached financial close on 21 February 2006. The consortium comprised Shepherd Construction Ltd, ABN AMRO Bank N.V. Ltd and Operon.

The project relates to the construction of a new Oncology and Haematology facility which will be built on a greenfield area of the Trust's current hospital site at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull and the provision of hard facilities management services during the operational term. Pinsent Masons previously acted for the Trust on their Maternity PFI development as well as a number of other projects.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Michael Boyd (Projects Partner) assisted by Jane Wroe (Projects Associate), John Cleland (Banking Partner) and Nick Bell (Banking Associate).

Commenting on the project, Michael Boyd, Projects Partner, said, 'This was a challenging project given that the major equipment for the facility is being procured separately from the PFI. A great number of interface questions needed to be considered along with some particularly complicated site issues. Drawing on the firm's experience in advising the NHS on more major PFI hospital schemes than any other law firm we were able to successfully bring this to financial close. It is especially pleasing to see the negotiations reach a conclusion bearing in mind that the Trust is a long standing client.'

David Kitching, the Trust's Project Manager said, 'We are delighted to have reached financial close on a project which will see the delivery of a 'state of the art' Oncology and Haematology facility. This will be of considerable benefit to the patients, their families and staff who will use this excellent development over the years. We are grateful to the Pinsent Masons team for their considerable input and support in helping us achieve this milestone. We were very pleased with Pinsent Mason's performance and their hard work in leading the Trust through the PFI process. Their attitude has been excellent and their professional input timely. It has been a pleasure to work with the team through all the stages of this project.'

Lovells acted for the consortium and the bank.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

ENRON RULING RAISES STAKES FOR DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS INSURANCE

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Following the High Court's ruling to allow three British bankers to be extradited to the US, insurers in the UK will now have to consider the increased risk to executives and the implications for companies when purchasing Directors and Officers liability insurance.

This week, three Natwest executives appealed against a decision by the Home Secretary to allow their extradition after it was alleged they conspired with former Enron executives to defraud their employer over the sale of a stake held by Natwest in an Enron entity in 2000. The High Court rejected their appeal.

The ruling may mean an increased risk in exposure to executives of UK companies with involvement in alleged white collar crime, where a prosecutor in the US takes an interest.

Alexis Roberts, Partner in the Insurance and Reinsurance Group at Pinsent Masons said:

'D&O insurance policies often exclude losses stemming from fraud, dishonesty, criminal activity or deliberate wrongful acts. However, the costs of defending these types of proceedings are frequently covered. Insurers could find themselves having to pick up the costs of resisting extradition proceedings in the UK and then also the costs of defending criminal proceedings in the US if extradition is ultimately granted.'

Toby Thompson, Solicitor at Pinsent Masons added:

'Similarly, companies that have purchased Directors and Officers cover need to be aware of the increased risk that their executives may find themselves the subject of a US extradition request even if none of their business activities take place on US soil. If a policy specifically excludes liabilities relating to the US, and a company conducting no business there would not ordinarily see such a restriction of cover as problematic, it may be that the policy will not respond at all.

'The fundamental message is that the long arm of the US law in relation to white collar crime is longer than most people would have thought. Both D&O underwriters and insureds should be alive to this increased risk.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

AMEY ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON OWEN WILLIAMS ACQUISITION

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Amey UK Plc, one of the country's leading support services providers, has been advised by lawyers from Pinsent Masons, on the acquisition of Owen Williams Group Limited - a deal which strengthens the end-to-end capability of Amey's Infrastructure services business.

The acquisition of Owen Williams, well known and well respected in its field, increases Amey's ability to offer the full range of support services to its current and future clients, from design to management and operations.

Amey is a long-standing Support Services client of the market-leading Construction and Projects groups at Pinsent Masons. The deal is the first corporate transaction to be completed by Pinsent Masons for the company.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Amey Infrastructure Services Limited was led by Corporate Finance Partner, Simon Gronow, with Nicole Kirkham and Vicky Diggines (corporate);Veronica McMahon (tax); Raj Sharma (pensions); Charlotte Underwood (property); and Michael Ryley and Josie Crump (employment).

Owen Williams' selling shareholders were advised by George Green and Mazars LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Amey

Amey is a leading provider of integrated business and infrastructure services to the public and private sector and is working closely with central and local government to develop major projects, including PFI and PPP projects, in the education, health, transport and defence sectors. Services range from the management of large-scale transportation infrastructure to the delivery of professional consultancy services, all of which are underpinned by leading-edge technology and a genuine partnering philosophy.

Owen Williams

Owen Williams has provided excellence to clients in the built environment for over 80 years. During this time the company has played a key role in the development of some of the best-known and innovative buildings and structures of the 20th Century. These include Wembley Stadium, the Daily Express Buildings in London, Manchester and Glasgow, the M1 motorway and Gravelley Hill Interchange ? perhaps better known as Spaghetti Junction.

Today the company continues to deliver high quality, design, project management and asset maximisation solutions for clients in local and strategic highways and transportation, public sector property and the railways sector. The company is involved in high profile projects ranging from the UK?s first private motorway, installation of the Train Protection Warning System and upgrade of the West Coast railway line, to the improvement of Britain?s schools, hospitals and other public buildings. Owen Williams also have long term consultancy arrangements with West Sussex, East Sussex, Herefordshire and the Northern Ireland Roads Service.

Read more…

BROKERS KBC PEEL HUNT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON BACK-TO-BACK PLACINGS

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate lawyers at UK firm, Pinsent Masons, have advised brokers KBC Peel Hunt on back-to-back placings to fund acquisitions by companies in the investment banking and consumer electronics sectors.

KBC Peel Hunt has acted for Armour Group plc, the UK's leading consumer electronics group focused on home entertainment and in-car communication, on a ?6 million placing with existing and institutional investors to fund the acquisition of Alphason Designs Limited, a specialist designer and supplier of audio visual furniture to consumer electronics markets.

And, hard on the heels of this successful placing, KBC Peel Hunt, advised by Pinsent Masons, has raised ?12 million with a placing of new ordinary shares for AIM-quoted specialist investment bank and stockbroker, Corporate Synergy Group (CSG) plc.

The proceeds of the placing will be used to back the ?13.4 million recommended takeover by CSG of Rowan Dartington, a Bristol-based independent firm of stockbrokers focused on the smaller companies market. The takeover is conditional upon shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 13 March.

Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Wood, who with Corporate Associate Michael Lakin, advised KBC Peel Hunt on both placings, said: 'This is the first time a Pinsent Masons team outside London has acted for KBC and we are delighted to have been instructed on two jobs in quick succession. We hope to see the relationship develop further.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

EQUATOR EXPLORATION ADVISED ON US$250 MILLION PLACING BY PINSENT MASONS

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Equator Exploration Limited has been advised on the UK aspects of a US$250 million private placing by lawyers from Pinsent Masons.

The company, which is involved in oil and gas exploration, notably in the highly prospective waters of West Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea and in Nigeria, is raising funds to support its exploration, appraisal and development drilling programme this year. It may also consider acquiring further exploration acreage.

Equator, a British Virgin Island registered company, has issued 41,050,900 new common shares on the London AIM exchange with institutional investors at 350p per share raising a total of ?143.7 million (US$250 million).

The Pinsent Masons team advising Equator Exploration was led by Corporate Finance Partner, Russell Booker.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HIGH COURT RULING SHAKES UP WASTE WATER TREATMENT SECTOR

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Businesses that operate and manage waste water treatment facilities may have to obtain pollution prevention control permits for the first time following a landmark case in the High Court.

In the test case, the UK's largest water and waste water operator, United Utilities, argued that it was not required to apply to the Environment Agency for a permit under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000 for work undertaken at six of its waste water treatment plants.

However the High Court declared that four of these waste water treatment plants did fall under the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations 2000. United Utilities will now have to determine which of its remaining 595 plants will also require PPC permits.

Sarah Thomas, Partner in the International Construction & Energy Group at Pinsent Masons , and an expert in the water sector, said :

'The decision has significant implications for both the water industry and other industrial sectors undertaking treatment activities for which it is still unclear whether, and to what extent, they fall under the PPC Regulations. This would include not just utilities and other procurers and operators of such plants but also contractors who may be required to comply with the PPC Regulations when commissioning any newly built plants. However it is unlikely that the story will end here as the judge was highly critical of the drafting of the PPC Regulations, leaving the way open for either party to appeal his ruling.'

Helen Keele, Senior Associate at Pinsent Masons and an expert in environmental matters, added :

'Despite the significance of this case in the short term , the PPC permitting system is currently under review. The European Commission has launched a three year programme to simplify and streamline EU law. Unfortunately this will be of little comfort to those industry sectors that have to run their businesses under the current regulatory framework.'

ENDS

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA

For media enquires contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005. Email : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Stephen Cooke advised by Pinsent Masons on Macfarlane acquisition

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised Yorkshire entrepreneur Stephen Cooke on the management buy in of Leeds-based transport group Macfarlane for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Cooke has taken over as chief executive of the business which employs 300 people and has a turnover of ?18m, after it went into administration earlier this month. He is well known in the transport industry having built a successful specialist air cargo transport business from 1980 before selling it on to the Albert Fisher group five years later. He then bought transport company Gagewell which he proceeded to develop before selling it on to the Clipper Group in 2000.

He intends to develop the Macfarlanes business, which specialises in transporting print and high value goods using a fleet of 120 vehicles based on a 12-acre site in Leeds.

The Pinsent Masons corporate team was led by Andrew Kerr assisted by Ben Slack. Andrew has worked with Stephen on his previous successful ventures in the logistics sector.

Stephen Cooke funded the deal with his own cash along with debt funding from Royal Bank of Scotland and Euro Sales Finance.

Macfarlane Transport was founded in 1978 by the Macfarlane brothers

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

IP2IPO GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SURREY UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

IP2IPO Group PLC, the AIM-quoted intellectual property commercialisation company, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on an exclusive long-term partnership with the University of Surrey to help the University realise the commercial potential of its research activity.

Under the 25-year agreement, IP2IPO will work with the University to identify and spin-out companies with commercial potential. IP2IPO has set up a fund of up to ?5 million to invest in spin-out companies formed from the University. In return for its investment and the technology transfer support which IP2IPO will provide, it will take an equity stake in the newly-created businesses.

The arrangement is the seventh such partnership that IP2IPO has entered into with a university, confirming its position as the leading university intellectual property specialist in the UK. Last December, Pinsent Masons acted for the company on its partnership agreement with the University of Bristol.

Pinsent Masons' Corporate Partner, Russell Booker, has advised IP2IPO.

The University of Surrey has been advised by Tarlo Lyons.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

EMTEX VENDORS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON US$41 MILLION SALE TO PITNEY BOWES

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm, Pinsent Masons has advised the sellers of Emtex Limited on the disposal of the entire issued share capital of the company to Pitney Bowes Inc. for approximately US$41 million.

Emtex, a leading provider of software and services allowing large volume mailers to simplify document production and centrally manage complex multi-vendor and multi-site print operations, employs over 100 people in the UK, USA and Canada. The business will now operate within Pitney Bowes' Document Management Technologies division.

Chairman and CEO of Pitney Bowes, Michael J. Critelli, commented: 'Together we can help large mailers more seamlessly manage the production of high volumes of effective, cost-efficient, personalised mailings.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for the vendors of Emtex comprised Corporate Senior Associate Hanh Jelf with Sadhbh Kavanagh and Elinor Mewse (Corporate); Matthew Rowbotham (Tax); and John Trevethan and Ros Cook (Property).

Pitney Bowes were advised by a team from Dechert LLP comprising David Wallis and Andrew Harrow (Corporate).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

WESTHOUSE SECURITIES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON OIL COMPANY FUNDRAISING AND REVERSE TAKEOVER

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has advised the brokers to the ?17.5 million fundraising and reverse takeover by Oil Quest Resources plc of exploration and production businesses, EnCore Exploration and EnCore Petroleum.

The takeover by Oil Quest, a UK onshore and offshore exploration company, is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 2 March. On completion, the AIM-quoted company is to be known as EnCore Oil plc and is expected to have a market capitalisation of ?32 million.

Brokers and nominated advisers, Westhouse Securities LLP, acted for Oil Quest Resources raising ?17.5 million (before expenses) through a conditional institutional placing of 112,000 Placing Shares at 15.625p per share, of which 108,340,000 were placed by Westhouse for the company and 3,660,000 were subscribed by US persons direct.

Michael Thomson, Non-Executive Chairman of Oil Quest, which has interests in 12 UK onshore hydrocarbon licences in Wessex, Weald and Cleveland Basins, said: 'We consider the acquisition of the EnCore companies to be an excellent opportunity to advance the development of the company'.

Westhouse Securities have been advised by Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris, assisted by Eloise Holland (corporate).

Oil Quest Resources have been advised by Osborne Clarke. LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae acted for the EnCore companies.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

LDC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?80 MILLION SECONDARY BUYOUT OF ROBINIA CARE GROUP

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Mid-market private equity providers, LDC, have been advised by the specialist healthcare sector group at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on their 50% investment in the ?80 million secondary buyout of The Robinia Care Group Limited.

LDC is investing alongside Barclays Private Equity (BPE) in Robinia, a specialist provider of intensive support services for adults and young people with learning difficulties, which caters for over 530 people at its 79 homes located in the Midlands, North, South, South East and London. The secondary buyout has provided an exit for Bridgepoint which invested in the initial buyout of Robinia in 2003.

The deal is the latest in a series of high profile private equity-backed healthcare deals upon which the Pinsent Masons team has advised acting for both investors and the companies. Healthcare specialist and private equity partner, Joanne Ellis, who led the team acting for LDC, also advised BPE on its exit from CareTech Holdings plc last year and acted for CareTech when it became the first care homes business to float on AIM. Joanne and her team also act for Craegmoor Healthcare Company Limited, Farrow House and Care Management Group.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for LDC led by Joanne Ellis included Ann McCarthy and Beth Moreton.

BPE was advised by DLA. Bridgepoint was advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS? REGENERATION WORK CONTINUES TO FLOURISH

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

For development lawyers in the Pinsent Mason's town centre team, 2006 has begun just as 2005 ended, with contracts exchanging on a number of major town centre regeneration projects.

At the end of December 2005, the development agreement for the regeneration of Hatfield Town Centre was exchanged between Welwyn Hatfield District Council (in joint venture with English Partnerships) and St Modwen Properties Plc. Partner Tom Johnson, assisted by Senior Associate Merle Wray and Associate Claire Hamlin advised the Council and English Partnerships. St Modwen was advised by Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP (Partners Jeremy Clay and Caroline Taylor with Associates Rachel Mace and Izabella Grogan).

The Hatfield Town centre scheme, with an end value of circa ?80m, will provide c.165,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space, 275 new residential apartments, a 10,000 sq ft market hall, a new 543 space multi-storey car park, as well as a new bus interchange and public realm.

Pinsent Masons (Partner Andrew Yates and Associate Richard Stockton) also advised Dudley Council on the formation of a ?33 million joint venture to extend the town centre and to regenerate the Castle Hill area of Dudley. In addition to new retail, housing and transport links the scheme will create new facilities within the Castle Hill site, including Dudley Zoo, with a view to making them world class tourist attractions.

These latest deals are the culmination of a busy period for the Pinsent Masons lawyers, which has seen the Birmingham development team in the last year advise on a series of large scale town centre projects through to successful exchange of contracts in the region and across the country, with an end value in excess of ?700 million.

The Birmingham development team comprises 13 lawyers, led by Partners Andrew Yates, Tom Johnson and Kultar Khangura, working closely with the specialist planning and CPO team under Partner Richard Ford.

Partner Tom Johnson commented: 'The past year is a testament to the national reach of our town centre practice, which also takes in some of the largest schemes in the Midlands. This has seen us advising on regeneration schemes in such diverse locations as Wolverhampton, Lichfield, Newbury, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Birmingham and Hatfield. Advising on the Dudley project is a fitting start to the new year and evidence of the trend for urban and town centre renaissance which we expect to continue this year.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Note to Editors:

The urban and town centre regeneration of the Midlands is seen as key to Government plans for the advancement of disadvantaged areas by physically transforming brownfield and derelict sites. In addition, the regenerations boost shopping and leisure offerings, introducing the new large scale shopping formats increasingly required by national and international retailers.

In early December 2005, the team acted for Birmingham City Council on the completion of a development agreement for the ?200 million second phase of Birmingham's Masshouse regeneration project, City Park Gate.

In October and November the team completed two development agreements for the creation of mixed-use regeneration schemes in Lichfield and Newbury.

In October the property team completed a development agreement between Wolverhampton City Council and AM Development UK Ltd for the building of New Summer Row ? a ?250 million core retail expansion of the City centre.

The team continues to advise Mid Sussex District Council on plans to bring forward the regeneration of three town centres at Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and East Grinstead entailing a 20 year partnering arrangement with the preferred developer, Thornfield Properties plc

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

HOUSE OF LORDS DECISION ON KPMG PENSIONS CASE ANNOUNCED

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The House of Lords today announced its decision in the case brought by the trustees of the KPMG Pension Scheme and appealed by KPMG. The City law firm Pinsent Masons acted for the pensioners of the scheme, following High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings to establish whether it is a defined contribution or a defined benefit scheme.

The House of Lords rejected KPMG's application for permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal's judgement. The pensioners had objected to the application. The House of Lords decided the appeal did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance. This means that the Court of Appeal's decision in favour of the pensioners stands.

The Court of Appeal had upheld the High Court's decision that:

1. the scheme is not a money purchase scheme (contrary to what KPMG argued); and

2. KPMG therefore has a statutory obligation to fund the deficit in the scheme.

The Court of Appeal also held in favour of the pensioners in finding that the rules of the scheme do not allow pensions in payment to be reduced, overturning the High Court's decision on this point.

Isabel Nurse-Marsh, Head of Pensions Litigation at Pinsent Masons, who acted for the pensioners both in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, commented,

'The House of Lords' decision not to allow KPMG to appeal is a huge relief to pensioners. During several years of uncertainty they have been very worried that their pensions might be reduced. Since they are retired, our clients have no ready means to make up any cut in their pensions. KPMG will now be obliged to fund the scheme's deficit, just like any other defined benefit scheme.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR and Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7418 7000 ext 88 6228 or mob: 07884 110173

clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

1. The legal action was commenced by the trustees of the scheme to answer specific questions about the nature of the scheme and the meaning of certain rules within it.

2. One such rule appeared to allow the reduction of pensions once they are in payment.

3. KPMG argued that the scheme was a money purchase scheme and that there was therefore no funding obligation on it to make good the scheme's deficit, believed to be in excess of ?60-70 million.

4. The High Court held in favour of the members in deciding that the scheme was not a money purchase scheme and that KPMG had an obligation to fund it. KPMG appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal. The High Court did not agree with the pensioners' argument that the scheme's deed and rules did not allow pensions in payment to be reduced.

5. The pensioners, through their solicitors, Pinsent Masons, and Counsel, Robert Ham QC and Michael Tennet, argued in the Court of Appeal that the scheme was an average salary scheme, not a money purchase scheme, and that section 67 Pensions Act 1995 and the terms of the rules themselves prevented the exercise of a power to reduce pensions in payment. All three points were upheld by the Court of Appeal in its judgment issued on 28 July 2005 in a comprehensive victory for the pensioners.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SENIOR LAWYER JOINS IRS POLICY COMMITTEE

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Senior Pinsent Masons corporate lawyer, Robert Moir, has been appointed as the only lawyer to join the prestigious Policy Committee of the Investor Relations Society (IRS).

His appointment comes at a time when the Policy Committee has restructured to assist members more effectively in relation to the wealth of regulatory changes affecting Investor Relations Officers (IRO).

The Policy Committee of the IRS is chaired by Mark Hynes, PR Newswire's Managing Director of Investor Relations Services, and comprises members drawn from corporate broking, financial PR, registrars, accounting and auditing backgrounds.

On its radar are recent developments such as the Transparency Directive, repeal of the OFR, the Takeover Code amendments, the US Securities and Exchange Commission's consultation on ADR reporting, and the International Accounting Standards Board's consultation on management commentary standards.

'All of these changes in legislation will have a profound effect on the responsibilities of IROs,' said Mr Hynes. 'It is the goal of the Policy Committee to provide as much hands-on training and knowledge-building opportunities for our members as possible and our recent changes in structure will allow us to accomplish this more effectively.'

Robert Moir commented: 'It is a privilege to be asked to join the Policy Committee. The responsibilities of IROs are becoming increasingly complex as the level of regulation and harmonisation across Europe increases. It is vital for IROs and their companies to keep appraised of the changes and the Policy Committee has a key role to play in helping them achieve this.'

Robert is a senior corporate lawyer with considerable experience in a broad range of corporate and commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, IPOs, joint ventures, reorganisations and procurement & outsourcing. This has involved acting for a wide range of corporates, investment banks and institutions in a variety of sectors. He joined Pinsent Masons from Allen & Overy in 2004.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

IRS

The IRS is the UK's professional body for Investor Relations practitioners (www.ir-soc.org.uk). The IRS's membership base comprises around 600 individuals working both for listed companies and their advisers, and includes the majority of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, as well as a growing number of smaller listed companies and some located outside the UK.

Read more…

Speedy Hire advised by Pinsent Masons on one of its largest acquisitions

February 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised Speedy Hire on the acquisition of the Caledonian Safemaker business. Caledonian Safemaker hires temporary accommodation to customers in construction and industry from five depots in the UK and has a rental fleet of approximately 4,700 units.

The total consideration will be ?13.7 million to acquire the shares and settle outstanding debts.

Speedy Hire is the leading provider of equipment hire services in the UK, operating from over 300 depots throughout the country. The group focuses on tool hire, with complementary businesses specialising in portable accommodation, lifting equipment etc.

Following the acquisition, the Caledonian Safemaker depots will be incorporated into Speedy Hire's existing accommodation hire business, Speedy Space Ltd, increasing the geographical coverage of the network and enhancing access to key geographical regions.

Caledonian Safemaker was a trading division of Caledonian Building Systems Limited which hived out the business and assets of Caledonian Safemaker into a newly formed company prior to the acquisition.

Mike McGrath led the Pinsent Masons team advising Speedy Hire assisted by Farook Khan.

Caledonian Building Systems Limited were advised by HBJ Gateley Wareing LLP.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Iss Uk Advised By Pinsent Masons On Acquisition Of Pegasus Security Holdings

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The UK arm of one of the world's largest facility service providers, ISS UK, has been advised by lawyers from Pinsent Masons on the strategic acquisition of Pegasus Security Holdings Ltd, for an undisclosed sum.

Pegasus, a national provider of manned guarding services with annual turnover in excess of ?40 million, has grown to become one of the top providers in its field serving both public and private sector companies following a Primary Capital-backed management buy-in in 1998. Primary Capital has realised its investment with the acquisition of the business by ISS.

The purchase is a significant strategic step for ISS, which is keen to expand its already impressive service offering by a move into the security services market. In the past two years ISS UK, advised by Pinsent Masons, has been extremely active carefully building its portfolio of businesses in the support services and healthcare sectors.

Managing Director of ISS's Integrated Services Division, Andrew Price, commented: 'The Pegasus business is a perfect fit with our aspiration to extend our services portfolio and will add significant weight to our Integrated Facility Services offer.' Pegasus is headquartered in London but operates through a network of eight regional offices.

Joanne Ellis, the ISS lead partner at Pinsent Masons, added: 'ISS is a dynamic business. In the UK, through organic growth and a series of successful strategic acquisitions, it has built an impressive market-leading position. We are delighted to have advised the company on this latest stage of its development.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising ISS UK has been led by Joanne Ellis, a private equity specialist, with associate Edward Stead,Veronica McMahon, Katie Wanless, Nia Lloyd and Vanessa Wells.

The shareholders of Pegasus including Primary Capital have been advised Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Chosen Market PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Helps Tilney Take Transfer Of Clydesdale Bank's Discretionary Investment Management B

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Tilney Investment Management, one the UK's largest independent wealth managers, has been advised by lawyers at the London offices of UK firm Pinsent Masons on the company's acquisition of Clydesdale Bank's Discretionary Investment Management business.

The agreement now sees Tilney Investment Management become preferred provider of these services to Clydesdale's customers. It will also take Tilney's assets under management in Scotland to ?1.5bn and overall to ?6bn and is expected to attract over 1500 new clients with investments worth approximately ?300 million.

Pinsent Masons' lead partner, private equity specialist Andrew Masraf, commented: 'Under the guidance of Chief Executive David Campbell, Tilney Investment Management continues to enhance its position as a leading player in the private client asset management business and we are delighted to have been part of this success story.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Tilney has been led by Andrew Masraf and comprised Wyn Lewis (Employment Partner), Rebecca Power (Tax Associate), Al-Harith Sinclair (Regulatory Partner) and James Pratt (Corporate Partner).

The sale is due to complete in Spring 2006.

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Media relations executive

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 mob: 07830 144 613

Read more…

Tilney Investment Management, one the UK's largest independent wealth managers, has been advised by

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Tomorrow the long-awaited new public procurement and utilities regulations come into force. The public contracts regulations implement the European Commission's consolidated directive (which was adopted in March 2004) into UK law and bring together the three old separate regulations for works, supplies and services into a single text. The utilities contracts regulations are also updated in line with a parallel utilities directive. Contracting authorities and utilities should broadly welcome this legislative change which seeks to consolidate, clarify and modernise public procurement practices.

Jill Marsal, an Associate in the Public Procurement Group at Pinsent Masons, said, 'Contracting authorities and utilities should take a good look at the new regulations. Now is the time for them to put their houses in order. Private sector bidders will be able to challenge wrongful award decisions more easily from now on with the express introduction of a standstill period in the regulations. Contracting authorities and utilities should therefore grasp this opportunity to give their purchasing procedures a health check and to adapt them to the detailed requirements of the EU rules.'

Whereas utilities were expressly subject to rules on framework contracts under the old regulations, public sector contracting authorities were not. The rules applying to contracting authorities' framework contracts have now been expressly set out for the first time and in so doing have become stricter ? frameworks must now not generally exceed a term of 4 years and their terms must be determined at the outset.

The new Regulations also set out new standstill and debriefing obligations for contracting authorities, following the European Court of Justice's decision in Alcatel. The purpose of these changes is to allow an aggrieved bidder a reasonable chance to consider its situation, and, where relevant, to bring an action against the contracting authority before it concludes the contract.

In line with the aim of modernisation, the new Regulations place more emphasis on the use of e-procurement. For example, contracting authorities can now benefit from shorter time-scales when sending contract notices electronically, and can also detail their own procurement activities on a website known as a 'buyer profile'. Two new electronic purchasing tools are also now regulated, namely, dynamic purchasing systems (DPS) and electronic auctions.

The Regulations also introduce a new procedure known as the 'competitive dialogue'. Although it is only available in limited circumstances for the procurement of 'particularly complex' contracts, this procedure has the advantage of allowing contracting authorities to benefit from the input of those participating in the tender process.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The Public Contracts Regulations 2006 apply to contracting authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while separate and similar rules apply to contracting authorities based in Scotland, the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006. The Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006 apply to utilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while the Utilities Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 apply to utilities in Scotland.

Read more…

PARAGON ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON DEAL THAT SIGNALS GROWTH

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shareholders and management at the UK's largest independent provider of self-adhesive labels, Paragon Print & Packaging Limited, have been advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on an equity investment which positions the company for further growth and expansion.

LDC, the mid-market private equity provider has agreed to a new round of investment which will allow Paragon to increase its product development and market penetration, and pursue growth by strategic acquisition.

Paragon brings together four of the leading names in the industry including Paragon Labels, Paragon Wisbech, Paragon Flexibles and Norfolk Labels. Together they provide labels, printed film and cardboard sleeves to the chilled and fresh foods industry. Paragon employs some 750 people working from seven sites in the UK.

Pinsent Masons' lead partner, private equity specialist Joanne Ellis, commented: 'We are delighted to be part of Paragon success story. We acted initially when Barclays Private Equity backed the management buyout of Paragon in 2001. It is great to see the company, under the guidance of Managing Director, Tony Lennon and with this latest injection of investment from LDC, poised to grow its share of this competitive market even further.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Paragon shareholders and management has been led by Private Equity Partner, Joanne Ellis, with Lisa Parisi, Ann McCarthy, Lee Clifford and Jonathan Snade. LDC has been advised by Gateley Waring and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary acted for debt provider Lloyds TSB and Barclays Leverage Finance.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

GROUNDBREAKING ADVICE FOR COMPUWARE CORPORATION IN RELATION TO EU PROSPECTUS DIRECTIVE

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Compuware Corporation, a recognised industry leader in enterprise software and IT services and listed on NASDAQ, has been aided in maintaining its Europe-wide staff incentive schemes thanks to advice from leading law firm, Pinsent Masons.

The recently introduced EU Prospectus Directive, enforced in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, has imposed new requirements on major foreign-owned companies issuing securities within the EU and there is continued uncertainty as to the applicability of the Directive to employee incentive schemes.

Compuware Corporation, whose business lies in helping companies maximise the value of technology by use of integrated IT solutions, operates employee stock purchase plans for employees in the US and worldwide. Compuware engaged Pinsent Masons to advise it on the requirements for and approval of a prospectus in relation to those plans in the UK and Europe.

In a pioneering transaction, FSA approval of the prospectus and its subsequent 'passporting' into Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands was obtained. This allows Compuware Corporation to continue operating its stock plans for staff and to comply with the new regulatory requirements.

Senior Pinsent Masons Corporate lawyer, Robert Moir, who with Corporate Partner Jay Birch advised Compuware, said: 'We are delighted to have worked with the Compuware team on this transaction. Other US corporations, particularly those without a listing in the EU, may find themselves in a similar position to Compuware regarding the Prospectus Directive as it stands currently. The Directive has succeeded in harmonising prospectus requirements across Europe and now permits a prospectus approved by a regulator in one EU state to be used in other states. However, in achieving a generally better and more streamlined process, some legal uncertainties have been created.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS' TEAMS DOUBLE UP ON MULTI-MILLION POUND AEROSPACE DEALS

January 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons are flying high after completing the back-to-back multi-million pound headline sales of two companies involved in aerospace engineering.

Teams led by Birmingham Corporate Partner, Paul Harkin, finalised the US$120 million sale of Darchem Holdings Ltd to New York-listed Esterline Corporation, within days of acting for the management of Doncasters Group Limited on its ?700 million sale to Dubai International Capital (DIC).

In the Darchem deal, Pinsent Masons acted for Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Finance (RBEF). Coincidentally, RBEF was also the vendor in the Doncasters transaction.

The acquisition of Darchem, a leading manufacturer of thermally engineered components for critical aerospace and defence applications, represents expansion for Esterline, which is a speciality manufacturer serving aerospace and defence markets. The components produced by Darchem are typically used in the same markets and include lightweight thermal insulation for exhaust ducting, environmental ducting and heat shields. Pinsent Masons was appointed to advise on the deal following a competitive pitch.

Doncasters, a global leader in the manufacture of precision components and assemblies for the aerospace, industrial gas turbines, specialist automotive, medical orthopaedic and petrochemical markets, operates from 25 sites in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA and Mexico and employs just over 4,500 members of staff worldwide.

The management team of Doncasters, led by Eric Lewis, is fully committed to the future of the company and is re-investing alongside DIC. The sale is subject to certain US and German regulatory approvals with completion expected to take place in early 2006. Pinsent Masons advised management on the sale and its reinvestment in the business.

'It's great to end the year on a high seeing two major deals draw to a conclusion,' commented Paul Harkin, a private equity specialist. 'Our understanding of the precision engineering sector has been invaluable in advising on deals involving companies at the value-added end of aerospace and defence component manufacture. I am grateful to all of members of my teams for helping get these two deals away successfully.'

The Pinsent Masons team for Doncasters was led Paul Harkin and included Lee Clifford and Jonathan Snade (Corporate), Lisa Parisi (Tax), and Joanna Lawson-King and Gemma Walker (Property). The Darchem team was led by Paul Harkin and included Ed Stead, Kimmy Sokhi and Katy Saunders (corporate), Veronica McMahon (tax), Giles Warrington and Amy Hitchen (competition) and Paul Rice (environmental).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Other advisers: -

On Darchem deal:

Taylor Wessing in London (David Kent & Mark Barron) acted for Esterline Corporation

On Doncasters deal:

Macfarlanes, led by Charles Martin and Stephen Drewitt, acted for the shareholders of exiting investor, RBEF Limited (part of RBS). Dubai International Capital was advised by Freshfields, led by Chris Bown and Bruce Embley.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES RAC ON DISPOSAL OF COMMERCIAL FLEET OPERATION

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate-led team from UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has advised RAC on the sale by Lex Transfleet (LTF) of its commercial fleet division to Fraikin Limited, a subsidiary of French fleet hire and rental business, Fraikin SAS, for an undisclosed sum.

RAC has retained the LTF activities in defence, airside and emergency services and is to combine these with its existing Lex Defence and RAC Software Solutions operations to form a new division called Vehicle Solutions.

The Pinsent Masons team advising on the disposal was led by Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Farkas, with Sean Page, Karen MacNaughton, Hannah Brader, Carolyn Shaw, Christina Day and Martin Wilks (corporate); Vivien Gray (Outsourcing and Technology); Justin Mason, Louise Holden and Naomi Lindsay (property); Richard Ford (environmental); Robert Mecrate-Butcher (employment) and Mark Cawthron (tax).

The in-house legal team at Aviva (RAC's parent company), led by Kirsty Cooper and Russell Tullo, advised on the disposal, assisted by the RAC commercial team.

Fraikin Limited was advised by Morgan Cole, led by Michael Stace, assisted by Sian Griffiths.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY ON RESTRUCTURING OF SMALL FIRMS LOAN GUARANT

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Small Business Service (SBS), an agency of The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has been advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on the restructuring of the scheme known as Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG) in accordance with the recommendations of the Graham Review. The firm was appointed in April 2005 and has been successful in getting the project implemented for the launch date of 1 December 2005.

SFLG is a Government backed scheme in which the lenders support start-up businesses that do not have collateral to support borrowings. Loans between ?5,000 - ?250,000 are given to eligible applicants. The Government provides a guarantee to the lenders in respect of 75% of each eligible loan made under SFLG.

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons drafted and negotiated the legal documentation between lenders (represented in the main by the British Bankers' Association) and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The firm provided other advice on the project at various stages of implementation of the Graham Review.

The Pinsent Masons team comprised of Vincent King (Projects Partner), Louise Duffy (Banking & Finance Partner), and Stephen Woods (Banking & Finance Associate).

Vincent King, Projects Partner, said, 'We are delighted to have advised the DTI in relation to this important policy initiative. This necessitated the renegotiation of documentation with a large number of lenders in a very tight timescale and the firm's experience of advising central government departments proved crucial in the successful implementation of the project.'

Competitiveness Minister Barry Gardiner said, 'The Small Firms Loan Guarantee has enabled thousands of businesses to access around ?4bn worth of loans that would not otherwise have been possible, and with these new changes we can now provide an even more consistent and strategic approach to help thousands more in the future.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

EQUATOR MARKS FIRST YEAR ON AIM WITH FUNDRAISING DRIVE

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Equator Exploration Limited has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on a fundraising placing to raise ?34.6 million ($60 million) to support the company's aggressive drilling and expansion programme in 2006.

Trading in the new shares commenced yesterday (Wednesday). The placing with institutional investors consists of 17,291,066 new common shares at a price of 200p per share.

Equator, which was established in 2000 and joined AIM in December 2004, aims to build a diversified portfolio of exploration, appraisal and production assets in the Gulf of Guinea. The company has exploration interests in the territorial waters of Sao Tome & Principe and Nigeria as well as the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone. Equator is also currently evaluating other exploration opportunities in West Africa.

Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Russell Booker, advised Equator on UK aspects of the placing.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DONCASTERS' MANAGEMENT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?700 MILLION SALE TO DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Management of Doncasters Group Limited, the leading international engineering group, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the company's ?700 million sale to Dubai International Capital (DIC) by Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Finance (RBEF).

Doncasters, which manufactures precision components and assemblies for the aerospace, industrial gas turbines, specialist automotive, medical orthopaedic and petrochemical markets, operates from 25 sites in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA and Mexico and employs just over 4,500 members of staff worldwide. In 2004 group turnover was reported at US$850m.

The management team of Doncasters, led by Eric Lewis, is fully committed to the future of the company and will re-invest alongside DIC to increase their ownership further. The sale is subject to certain US and German regulatory approvals with completion expected to take place in early 2006.

Pinsent Masons, led by Corporate Partner, Paul Harkin, has advised management on the sale and also its reinvestment in the new business. The Pinsent Masons team comprised Lee Clifford and Jonathan Snade (Corporate), Lisa Parisi (Tax), and Joanna Lawson-King and Gemma Walker (Property).

Macfarlanes, led by Charles Martin and Stephen Drewitt, acted for the shareholders of exiting investor, RBEF Limited (part of RBS).

Dubai International Capital, which owns the Madame Tussauds waxworks, has been advised by Freshfields, led by Chris Bown and Bruce Embley.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Doncasters

Doncasters has an illustrious history having been formed by Daniel Doncaster in 1778 in the city of Sheffield, UK. To this day the company still has manufacturing facilities in the city.

The company has adopted institutionalised 'lean manufacturing' and uses Six Sigma principles throughout its operations. In recent years this has resulted in a dramatic and sustained improvement in profitability.

Dubai International Capital (DIC)

The investment in Doncasters follows a series of strategic, value-driven investment including a US$1 billion investment in DaimlerChrysler, the ?800 million acquisition of The Tussauds Group, along with its anchor investments of US$272 million in JD Capital investment company in Jordan and US$150 million in Ishraq, a company formed to develop and own up to 22 Express by Holiday Inn hotels in the Middle East.

Read more…

BLUE SKY THINKERS LEAD TO BIRTH OF REDSKY IT

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading IT applications company, Ramesys, has been advised by a specialist legal team from Pinsent Masons on the management buyout of its education business. The remaining businesses have been rebranded and are to be known as RedSky IT.

RedSky IT, which will have a turnover of ?30 million, will focus on the integration and rebranding of its remaining application software operations in the construction, retail and hospitality sectors where it already has a significant market position.

The education business, which will continue to trade under the Ramesys name, has been sold to the existing management team led by current managing director Bill Donoghue and backed by Lloyds Development Capital and Lloyds Bank for an undisclosed sum.

Andrew Hornigold, Corporate Partner at Pinsent Masons and head of its Technology Sector Group, said: 'RedSky IT is a vastly experienced IT applications company. This disposal and reorganisation brings together three successful divisions and will enable the company better to focus on sectors where it is a leading player. The spin off of its education business, which is largely an IT services business operating on a different model to the rest of the company, will enable the company to concentrate completely on its core operations.'

RedSky IT, which boasts more than 30 years' IT experience, is dominant in the construction sector where it is the main IT provider, and it has become the leading supplier to the UK retailing and manufacturing supply chain. Similarly, its hospitality and travel business is the main provider of property management solutions to over 4,000 hotels and it is a major supplier of back office travel agency solutions.

The Pinsent Masons team advising the company comprises, Andrew Hornigold, Emma Harvey (Corporate), John Skelton (IP), Veronica McMahon and Lisa Parisi (Tax) and Iain Saunders (Property).

LDC and the new Ramesys company were advised by Eversheds with the management team of the education business advised by Browne Jacobson.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Yule Catto Completes Groundbreaking Yuletide Deal!

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons advised on the sale and re-financing of Autoclenz Limited and its immediate float on AIM. In a groundbreaking deal, leading chemicals company, Yule Catto & Co plc, completed the sale and re-financing of its subsidiary Autoclenz Limited using the accelerated IPO route. Nominated adviser and broker to the issue was KBC Peel Hunt.

An accelerated IPO is a rarely used structure comprising a share acquisition and a public flotation where the acquisition is funded by a combination of debt and the proceeds of an issue of shares by way of the flotation.

The Pinsent Masons corporate team was led by Corporate Partners Martin Shaw and Rob Hutchings assisted by Alison Starr (Senior Associate) and Shubhu Patil. The Pinsent Masons banking team was led by Banking Partner Louise Duffy, assisted by Philip Scott.

Yule Catto exchanged conditional contracts with Autoclenz Holdings plc for the sale of the entire issued share capital of Autoclenz Limited for ?18 million paid in cash on completion. The sale was conditional on the admission of the shares of Autoclenz Holdings plc to trading on AIM on 7 December 2005 when the bank facility also became unconditional.

The sale forms part of Yule Catto's corporate strategy of reshaping its performance chemicals activities. Proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce the company's borrowings.

Yule Catto are world leaders in the development and application of waterbased polymer science. Its business interests are in three distinct market sectors: polymer chemicals; pharma and fine chemicals; and performance chemicals.

Autoclenz Limited, based in Burton on Trent, is the UK's leading outsourced car valeting and vehicle preparation services providers and one of the leading specialist providers of rapid response deep cleaning and emergency decontamination services in the UK. Following admission to AIM, Grahame Rummery and Trevor Clingo, currently the managing director and finance director respectively of Autoclenz Limited, will become chief executive and finance director of Autoclenz Holdings plc.

KBC Peel Hunt was advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary UK LLP ? Bank Facilities were provided by HSBC, advised by Addleshaw Goddard.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES IP2IPO GROUP ON BRISTOL UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted intellectual property commercialisation company, IP2IPO Group PLC, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on an exclusive long-term partnership agreement with the University of Bristol to generate value from its scientific research.

Under the agreement, which IP2IPO is backing with an initial ?5 million fund, the company will identify and facilitate the formation of spin-out companies from across the University's research departments. In return, IP2IPO will have an equity stake in each spin-out company.

The University of Bristol is one of the country's leading research establishments, receiving a top 5 rating in a recent national Research Assessment Exercise, for 15 of its departments ? ten of them in science, engineering and medicine.

IP2IPO, which was founded in 2001 and listed on AIM in October 2003, has forged a number of long-term commercial partnerships with universities in the UK. To date, five spin-out companies from the IP2IPO portfolio have listed on the AIM: Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc, Synairgen plc, VASTox plc, Proximagen Neuroscience plc and GETECH Group plc. There has been one trade sale of Toumaz Technology Limited to Nanoscience Inc.

As part of the Bristol agreement, IP2IPO will receive 13.2% of the equity in spin-out companies from the University at the time that the company is established prior to investment. The partnership has a term of 25 years.

David Norwood, Chief Executive of IP2IPO, commented: 'We are very pleased to be entering into this partnership with the University of Bristol and look forward to working with them to generate value from what we consider to be an exceptionally strong scientific research base. We have already identified a pipeline of very promising opportunities and are confident that the partnership will lead to the creation of an exciting portfolio of high-growth spin-out companies.'

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: 'We have an excellent track record in putting our research to work for the common good. Our partnership with IP2IPO is a way of building on our success in the field of enterprise and maximising the impact of the knowledge generated by Bristol academics.'

Pinsent Masons' Corporate Partner, Russell Booker has advised IP2IPO.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT CORPORATE EXPANSION IN ASIA

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has announced a significant strategic development of its international operations with the hire by its award-winning Far East practice of two heavyweight corporate partners and a highly respected senior China-qualified lawyer from other firms in Hong Kong and China.

The appointment of the two partners, Dale Fischer from Clyde & Co and Andrew Lui from DLA, and consultant Amanda Yao from Boss & Young, all highly-rated individuals with over 35 years' combined experience in the local marketplace, represent a major strengthening of Pinsent Masons' corporate capability in Asia-Pacific and China. The addition of these three senior individuals is being complemented by a number of other hires, which will increase the size of Pinsent Masons' corporate team in Asia to a total of 14 lawyers.

Tony Bunch, International Operations Partner at Pinsent Masons, commented: 'Dale, Andrew and Amanda are very well known and respected players in their markets. Their arrivals mark the latest stage of an ongoing development of our Far East practice which commenced in the 1980s.

'We built our business historically to support the construction and infrastructure project work of our major international clients. But we have always intended to develop our capabilities to serve clients active corporately in the fast-expanding Asian tiger economies. We are delighted to have attracted three such strong players.'

Dale Fischer, a partner in Clyde & Co's Hong Kong office, heads their corporate practice, which he has developed over the past six years. He specialises in venture capital and private equity work in Hong Kong, China and throughout the Far East. He will be based in Pinsent Masons' Hong Kong office.

Andrew Lui is a partner in DLA's Hong Kong office. A tri-lingual speaker fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English, he combines private equity experience with significant corporate finance expertise. Much of his work is China-facing. He is expected to join early in the New Year and, with Dale, will also be based in Hong Kong.

Amanda Yao, who will be based in Shanghai, has been a partner at Boss & Young, a prominent China law firm which specialises in foreign direct investment. She has substantial experience of advising foreign companies on M&A in China and of advising Chinese companies seeking overseas listings. She is a China qualified lawyer.

John Bishop, Pinsent Masons' Hong Kong resident partner, commented: ?As interest grows in corporate activity in Asia-Pacific and China, more and more clients, including multinational corporations from Europe and North America, now want to participate in this part of the world which is pivotal to global economic activity.'

And the firm's UK national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards, added: 'The development of our corporate capability in the Far East is already creating significant business opportunities for us. We are seeing interest both from clients who have existing Far East operations and crave a joined-up approach to their legal services, and from companies wishing to expand into these markets and wanting the certainty of dedicated legal experience both in Asia and in the UK.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the Global 100 of law firms and is a UK top 15 law firm. Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

The firm has had a presence in the Asia-Pacific region since the 1980s and has been involved in advising on some of the region's most high profile and important projects. Its Hong Kong office opened in 1982, followed by a branch office in Guangzhou in 1993 and the opening of its Shanghai office in 2002.

Dale Fischer handles a range of corporate and commercial work including mergers and acquisitions transactions, venture capital and private equity investments and funds, joint venture agreements and disputes, corporate reorganisations, corporate securities matters including public offerings and advice on regulatory matters, licensing and servicing arrangements and a variety of other commercial matters.

Andrew Lui has advised on The Rules of Governing the Listing of Securities on the Stock Exchange, The Hong Kong Codes on Takeovers and Mergers, new listings on the Stock Exchange and The Shenzhen Stock Exchange, related compliance matters, general contractual matters, loan documentation, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and direct investment transactions.

Amanda Yao has advised as the lead lawyer on many foreign direct investment, merger and acquisition transactions, and on foreign invested companies in relation to regulatory compliance in their day-to-day operations. She has also advised China-based companies in their IPOs in the Singapore and Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and for the establishment of different types of foreign invested legal entities and company limited by shares.

The firm was recently recognised as the top firm for construction law with the award, for the second year running, of the 'Construction Law Firm of the Year' at the Asian Legal Business Awards.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON LAMBETH STREET LIGHTING PROJECT

December 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects lawyers at national law firm Pinsent Masons have advised on a street lighting project for the London Borough of Lambeth. The firm performed a dual mandate acting for the Lambeth Lighting Services (a special purpose vehicle formed by the Investors in the Community Programme, managed by Mill Group and David Webster Limited (a subsidiary of Bouygues)) on the whole project and for Barclays Bank on the project documents only. The project reached financial close on 10 November 2005.

The 25-year project has been let under the Government's Private Finance Initiative with a total value of ?63 million. In the initial phase of the project, residents of the Borough will benefit from a capital investment of over ?14 million in street lighting columns and illuminated road signs.

The Pinsent Masons' team advising Lambeth Lighting Services consisted of: Jon Hart (Partner) and Annie Blane (Associate) from the Projects Group and Nick Tidnam (Partner), Stanley Lau (Associate) and Devina Saha (Projects Solicitor) advising on the financing side. Michael Ryley (Employment Partner), Tom Potbury (Employment Associate), Dominic Travers (Corporate Senior Associate) and John Hanratty (Pensions Executive) provided additional specialist advice. Catherine Workman (Projects Partner) advised Barclays Bank on the project documents.

Jon Hart, Pinsent Masons Projects Partner, commented, 'Street lighting is a vibrant and active sector. Pinsent Masons has been delighted to be associated with this challenging project and was able to draw on the experience gained whilst acting on around half of all completed street lighting schemes to date, to deliver a first class service to its respective clients.'

Roger Gilbert, Project Director for David Webster Limited, said, 'We believe that the achievement of this significant milestone in street lighting PFI for Lambeth Borough Council sees the beginning of a new and exciting era in Lambeth's street scene. This project will enhance street lighting across the whole Borough making it a safer, brighter environment for all. On behalf of David Webster Limited we extend our sincere thanks to everyone at Pinsent Masons together with all our other advisors who all worked so very hard to achieve this major success for our consortium.'

In addition to advising Investors in the Community and David Webster/Bouygues on this project, Pinsent Masons is working with the same consortium on the Barnet and Enfield joint street lighting project and with bidders on both the Leeds street lighting project and the Redcar and Cleveland street lighting project. Pinsent Masons is advising the Authority on the Derby and Surrey street lighting projects and has secured instructions to act for Bouygues on a social housing project.

The London Borough of Lambeth was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and Barclays Bank was advised by Allen & Overy on the financing side.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the UK street lighting market, having worked on a variety of projects advising both authorities and contractors. Completed schemes upon which the firm advised include; Islington LBC, Ealing, Newcastle and North Tyneside MBCs, Sunderland MBC and Walsall MBC.

Read more…

RECRUITMENT COMPANY ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON REVERSE TAKEOVER

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Recruitment company, Longbridge International plc, is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the reverse takeover of niche finance, IT and medical recruitment business, Greatfleet Limited.

AIM-quoted Longbridge, whose shares have been suspended since June, is also being advised by Pinsent Masons on an associated fund-raising and the re-admission to AIM of the enlarged group. The takeover is subject to the approval of Longbridge shareholders at an EGM convened for 23 December 2005. Dealings in shares, to be known as Greatfleet plc, are expected to commence on 28 December.

Through the merger with Greatfleet Longbridge, whose focus has historically been on legal recruitment, is aiming to build a more diverse national business, operating across the search, mid-market and contract areas in the banking, IT and medical sectors. Whilst building on the enlarged group's base of blue-chip clients, the company hopes to extend Longbridge's legal recruitment business and to maximise revenues by providing a broader range of recruitment solutions.

Costs of the acquisition of Greatfleet are being met by the issue of 24,823,652 new Longbridge shares, which will represent 44.3% of the issued share capital of the enlarged group. In addition, the company aims to raise ?1.75 million (before expenses) through a placing of 11,666,667 new ordinary shares at 15p per share.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Longbridge is being led by Corporate Finance partner and AIM specialist, Russell Booker, with senior associate Dominic Travers (corporate), Emma Peacock and Brona Reeves (employment), Christina Yap (share option schemes).

Nominated advisers and brokers, Noble & Company Limited, are being advised by Jonathan Brookes and Fiona Morris of Maclay Murray & Spens, London. The vendors of Greatfleet Limited are being advised by Jeffrey Elway of Lawrence Graham LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is one of the country's top ranked legal advisers on AIM. The Longbridge transaction is the 11th AIM flotation or re-admission the firm has advised upon in 2005. Flotations include advising CareTech Holdings, Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group and Copper Resources Corporation. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ATTRACTS NEW CORPORATE PARTNERS IN MANCHESTER

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The corporate group at Pinsent Masons in Manchester, described as 'dynamic' by independent commentators, has attracted two new legal stars to its ranks.

Top-rated Helen Ridge and colleague Howard Gill are to join as partners from Eversheds in Manchester in a move which underscores the Pinsent Masons' corporate group's credentials as the team to watch in the North West.

Nationally, the appointments are part of the strategic development of Pinsent Masons' corporate practice. Pinsent Masons now boasts a corporate team of over 100 lawyers nationally, including 35 partners. The new appointments will give Manchester a team of 18 corporate lawyers of which eight will be partners.

Helen Ridge, a partner at Eversheds, specialises in Corporate Finance and has a particular strength in the building products sector having set up and then chaired Eversheds national building products sector group. She has over 17 years' experience. Howard Gill, a senior associate who will join Pinsent Masons as a partner, is also a corporate finance specialist and seen as a rising star.

'Our Manchester office has been one of our success stories,' said Pinsent Masons' national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards. 'Our corporate team there has never been busier and the appointment of Helen and Howard will enable us to expand our share of a very active corporate market.'

Sean Fitzgerald, Manchester head of corporate at Pinsent Masons added: 'There is a great fit here between our focus on market sectors and the experience that Helen and Howard will bring with their sector know-how and experience. Industry commentators have described us as being 'on the up' and these appointments go to prove that. We are delighted to welcome Helen and Howard.'

Manchester is one of the success stories for Pinsent Masons. The first corporate presence was established in 2002 when the legacy Pinsents opened its North West office. The group has achieved impressive year on year growth.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial law firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL ON ?146m LIVERPOOL ARENA AND CONVENTION CENTRE

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Construction specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised Liverpool City Council on their prestigious ?146m Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre project.

Over the next two years, main contractor Bovis Lend Lease will construct a 9500 capacity arena, 1350-seat conference centre, public piazza able to accommodate outdoor events and a 1,600 space multi-storey car park on the site of the former Kings Dock in Liverpool City Centre. The project is due for completion in December 2007 and will form a focal point of Liverpool's celebrations as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The project is a key part of the redevelopment of Liverpool. It incorporates a series of exciting new public spaces, providing improved access to the waterfront and strengthening connectivity to other nearby attractions.

Co-ordinated by city centre Urban Regeneration Company, Liverpool Vision and funded by English Partnerships, the Northwest Regional Development Agency, Liverpool City Council and the Merseyside Objective One Programme, the new Arena and Convention Centre project forms part of the Kings Waterfront development ? the single largest development site in Liverpool City Centre.

Councillor Mike Storey, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: 'When the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre is built, the city will have the newest, best and most up-to-date facilities in the country. We are delivering on our promise to create a world-class arena and convention centre in a stunning setting. It will be a lynchpin for our celebrations during European Capital of Culture year in 2008.'

Mark Job, partner and national head of Pinsent Masons' Transactional Construction & Engineering Team said: 'We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Liverpool City Council on this important project which will result in state of the art facilities for the people of Liverpool and the North West. This is one of many prestigious projects in and around Liverpool City Centre where we are acting, and underlines our recent rating as leading legal advisors to the construction and engineering industry, both in the North West and nationally.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Chris Hallam (Senior Associate), and included solicitors Joanne Walsh and Ian Stubbs ? all from the Transactional Team of the Construction & Engineering Practice Group.

Bovis Lend Lease were advised by their in-house legal team. Eversheds advised Liverpool City Council on development and property matters.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons' Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work. Regarded as the 'market leader' by the 2005 editions of the Legal 500 and Chambers legal directories, we have extensive experience and expertise in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues.

The firm also has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Pinsent Masons advises Dunedin and Indigo on Davenham AIM float

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Dunedin Capital Partners and Indigo Capital have been advised by Pinsent Masons on Davenham Group's proposed admission to AIM, which is expected to take place on 22 November 2005, with a market capitalisation of approximately ?65 million. Panmure Gordon, the Company's broker, has placed 10.9 million new ordinary shares on behalf of the Company raising approximately ?27.7 million before expenses, and also placed approximately 6.7 million existing ordinary shares for approximately ?16.9 million on behalf of selling shareholders.

Approximately ?17.2 million of the proceeds of the issue of new ordinary shares will be used to redeem certain loan notes and mezzanine debt. The balance of ?10.5 million will be used to increase the capital base of Davenham and to pay for the expenses of the flotation.

Manchester based Davenham is a leading independent asset based lender to the small and medium sized enterprise market in the UK. The company, which currently operates from offices in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle, will use the proceeds of the flotation to fund acquisitions and geographic expansion into the Midlands and South of the UK.

Dunedin and Indigo were advised by a team from Pinsent Masons led by Peter Wood and Philip Goldsborough assisted by Shubhu Patil. Dunedin were advised by Pinsent Masons on their buy-out of Davenham in 2000 and on subsequent funding rounds.

Hawkpoint is the nominated adviser and financial adviser and Panmure Gordon & Co is broker.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

KBC PEEL HUNT ADVISED ON NOBLE INVESTMENTS' REVERSE TAKEOVER OF COIN SPECIALISTS

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised KBC Peel Hunt in its capacity as NOMAD and broker on the reverse takeover by coin specialists Noble Investments (UK) plc of A H Baldwin & Sons Limited and Baldwin's Auctions Limited.

Noble, the only pure numismatic company trading on AIM, has built a specialist business dealing in the buying and selling of the coinage of ancient Greece, Roman Empire, Byzantine, English hammered and milled and European countries.

As part of its strategic development it has acquired Baldwins' London-based family-run coin dealing and auction businesses for a total consideration of ?4.45 million. The acquisition has been financed by a placing of 8,620,690 new Ordinary Shares to raise ?5 million before expenses.

Under AIM rules the enlarged company, which will continue to be known as Noble Investments (UK) plc, must apply for re-admission to AIM. This is expected to take place on 29 November, following approval of the deal by shareholders at an EGM of the company on 28 November.

Chairman of Noble, Nicholas Bonham, commented that the fragmented nature of the rare coin and collectibles market which comprises a significant number of private or professional collectors, investors, dealers and auction houses, offered his company a significant opportunity for expansion and investment.

The Pinsent Masons corporate team advising KBC Peel Hunt comprised senior associate Hanh Jelf, assistant Sadhbh Kavanagh and trainee James Pratt.

Memery Crystal advised Noble Investments (UK) plc and DMH Stallard advised the vendors.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons' Corporate group comprising some 100 lawyers, including, 35 partners is ranked as one of the country's leading AIM advisers acting for more than 40 AIM-quoted companies.

Read more…

FAGERHULT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON THE ACQUISITION OF WHITECROFT LIGHTING

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has advised AB Fagerhult, a company listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, on its acquisition of UK lighting company, Whitecroft Lighting Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Whitecroft Lighting Limited. The acquisition was for a maximum consideration of ?21 million, subject to Whitecroft achieving forecast levels of profitability in the period to March 2007.

The acquisition further strengthens Fagerhult's position in the European lighting industry and creates a platform for growth in the important UK market. Commenting on the deal Per Borgvall, CEO of Fagerhult said: 'Whitecroft is a major UK lighting business with its core business in the private and public market sectors, and a strong position in the healthcare market sector, whish is a perfect fit for Fagerhult.'

Whitecroft, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, has a sales turnover of approx ?30 million and 280 employees.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Fagerhult was led by Corporate Finance Partner, Mike McGrath and Associate, Daniel Liptrott with support from Michael Hunter (Tax), Rebecca Johnson (Employment), Mark Yates and Sharon Wallace (Banking) and Aniki Porter (Property).

Fagerhult was also advised by Swedish law firm G?rde Wesslau Advokatbyr? (Staffan Lindblad), Livingstone Guarantee (Jeremy Furniss and Daniel Domberger) and PriceWaterhouse Coopers (Edward Brentnall).

The vendors of Whitecroft were advised by Halliwells LLP (Mark Halliwell and Khurshid Valli).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110174

email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Per Borgvall, CEO, Fagerhult, on: +46 36 10 87 06

Notes to Editors

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. The firm is ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK quoted PLCs.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Fagerhult develops, manufactures and markets high quality lighting systems. Its product range includes luminaries for offices, shops, hospitals, schools, industries and other public environments. Manufacturing takes place in Habo, ?rnsk?ldsvik, Falkenberg and ?hus in Sweden and also in Suzhou in China. Foreign sales companies are located in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and China. The Fagerhult Group, which includes Atelj? Lyktan, Belid, LampGustaf, LampGustaf Interio and Elenco, has sales of SEK 1 600 million and 1 200 employees. AB Fagerhult shares are listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange?s O-list.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS HELPS DEVELOP GUIDANCE ON SHARED SERVICES STRUCTURES FOR ODPM

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has appointed Alan Aisbett, a Pinsent Masons Partner specialising in Public Private Partnerships, together with consultants Enid Allen and John Layton, all former lead executives of the ODPM Strategic Partnering Taskforce (SPT), to refresh key areas of the SPT's knowledge programme for local authority service delivery partnerships.

As local authorities work to achieve the targets set out in the Gershon Review, the update will reflect new partnership structures and deal more widely with how the guidance can help authorities tackle efficiency and collaborate working for shared services.

Alan Aisbett, Projects Partner, said, 'There is increasing interest from local government in models for shared services. With our extensive experience in advising on service delivery partnerships we are well placed to help develop sector specific guidance for the ODPM.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The Projects Group acts for both public and private sector participants across a range of sectors and has been involved in developing standardised documentation for several categories of projects.

The Strategic Partnering Taskforce was a two year research programme into local authority service delivery partnerships. One of the principal benefits of the SPT was the knowledge programme of best practice guidance covering procurement, partnerships, developing business cases, managing risk and many other challenging areas of new ways of working in local government. All the guidance is available on the ODPM website: www.odpm.gov.uk/ssdp.

Read more…

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON APPOINTS PINSENT MASONS AS SOLE LEGAL ADVISER

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Following a competitive tender process the University of London has decided to appoint a single firm, Pinsent Masons, rather than a panel, as sole supplier of legal services across the full range of its needs. The firm beat stiff City competition in winning the appointment, which is for an indefinite period.

The University of London is a unique institution in the university sector and engages in a wide variety of activities on a national and international level. The work will be varied including real estate, employment, constitutional and governance advice.

Nicola Hart, National Head of the Universities Group who is leading the client team, commented, 'We are delighted with the result and our team will be working our hardest to build a very close working relationship with our colleagues within the University of London, as we have done successfully with our other major university clients.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

The Pinsent Masons Universities team acts on a full service basis for many of the UK's top institutions including the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Durham, plus employment work for King's College London and UCL. The team also advised and continues to act for the University of Chicago in relation to the setting up of a branch of its graduate school of business in London.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES CARILLION ON NEW ?118M FACILITY AT SELLAFIELD

November 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised support services and construction company Carillion on a contract with British Nuclear Group Sellafield Limited (BNGSL) for the construction of a new ?118m product and residue store at Sellafield, as well as Carillion's contracts with its sub-contractors for the project.

The contract is believed to be one of the first significant construction contracts to be signed by BNGSL since the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) came into operation on 01 April 2005. It is also one of the first to test the acceptability within the supply chain of the NDA mandatory 'Flow Down' terms to be imposed by BNGSL into contracts of any tier.

The main purpose of the store will be to accommodate materials retrieved from older facilities at Sellafield. This will include materials recovered from historic fuel manufacturing buildings that are now being decommissioned. The first phase of the three year project was completed in June this year with the laying of the store's base slab.

Mark Job, partner in the UK Construction & Engineering Transactional Team at Pinsent Masons, said: 'We are delighted to have been involved in the letting of such a challenging contract for such a significant project. The deal involved advising our clients on complex legal issues including for example, liability for nuclear damage in the context of BNGSL's mandatory obligation under its contract with the NDA to incorporate the NDA Flow Down terms and their interaction with the law set out in the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.

'I believe that this instruction has reinforced our reputation as the UK's leading construction and engineering legal advisors and one of the leading international law firms advising on major infrastructure projects within the global nuclear industry.'

Carillion plc is one of the UK's leading business and construction services companies, with a turnover of ?2bn and around 17,000 employees.

The Pinsent Masons' team acting for Carillion comprised partners Mark Job and Mark Richards and solicitors Ian Stubbs and Rebecca Harvey.

British Nuclear Group Sellafield Limited was advised by their in-house legal team.

ENDS

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES KENT COUNTY COUNCIL ON ?100 MILLION SCHOOLS PFI

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

PFI specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised Kent County Council on the successful completion of a schools PFI project. The capital value of the project is approximately ?100 million and stretches across six school sites in the County.

The project is a 28 year concession to a consortium led by Bilfinger Berger. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and NIB Bank are providing credit facilities to the consortium.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Alan Aisbett (Projects Partner) and Suhail Mirza (Projects Associate) and comprised Simon Laight (Pensions Partner), Michael Ryley (Employment Partner), Oliver Mangiapane (Projects Solicitor) and Duncan Haliwell (Construction Solicitor).

Alan Aisbett, Projects Partner, commented, 'When we were appointed to the Kent County Council PPP panel we were aware of Kent's unique approach to delivering PPP projects in seeking added value from external commercial expertise. We believe this partnership approach was a prominent factor in bringing the project to close.'

Rebecca Spore, Head of PFI at Kent County Council, said, 'We are delighted to have reached financial close on this scheme which will deliver first class teaching facilities for thousands of learners across the County. Facilities will be fit for the delivery of education in the 21st Century as well as offering a range of community services.'

Norton Rose acted for the consortium and for the Banks. Bevan Brittan and Addleshaw Goddard advised the FM provider, Mitie. Davies Arnold Cooper acted for the building contractor, Costain.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Hits LIFT Milestone with The Royal Bank of Scotland

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

* 3 LIFT projects in 20 days

* 10 LIFT projects for RBS

A cross practice team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons has successfully completed three major LIFT projects for The Royal Bank of Scotland plc with a combined capital value of ?35 million between 22 August and 16 September.

The deals bring to a total of 10 the projects completed for RBS, with a total capital value of c.?160 million.

The Pinsent Masons team on each of the deals was led jointly by banking partner, John Cleland, and projects partner, Arthur Lovitt. They were assisted by Nick Bell and Stephen Woods (banking), Sue Peart and Anne Bowden (projects) and Fran Button (construction).

The latest three projects are East Lancashire (sponsored by Eric Wright Group), St Helen's, Knowsley & Warrington (sponsored by William Pears Group), and Tees Valley & South Durham (sponsored by Accent Group).

LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) projects are designed to transform the provision of primary care with new facilities and enhanced service delivery, structured as public private partnerships.

Matthew Lowe of RBS commented: 'At RBS, we have a dedicated team of specialists serving the Healthcare sector. Pinsent Masons has been our leading legal adviser on these projects. They have developed a detailed understanding of the legal and commercial issues generated by these schemes since their inception in 2003. They are an invaluable part of the RBS' LIFT team.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

SEVEN IS LUCKY NUMBER FOR PINSENT MASONS' JOANNE ELLIS

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons' private equity partner, Joanne Ellis, is making headlines by achieving a top 10 ranking in a national legal dealmakers table.

Joanne, part of the 40-strong national team of private equity lawyers at Pinsent Masons, is ranked seventh in the league table which charts individual performance for the number of deals done in the past 12 months.

The tables are produced by mergermarket and published by Legal Week.

Joanne, who is based in Birmingham, is a specialist in the corporate healthcare field and in recent months has completed a series of healthcare-related transactions including advising on the flotation this month of CareTech Holdings plc; the exit by Barclays Private Equity from CareTech, the acquisition by Craegmoor Healthcare Company Limited of Sapphire Care Services, Bridgeway and Autism TASCC Services and the acquisition by Care Management Group of Ceres House and CCA.

She is also the firm's lead partner for global facilities management company, ISS, acting extensively for its UK subsidiary on a string of acquisitions in the past two years. The mergermarket tables cover all deals, not just private equity transactions.

Ends

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has a national private equity practice comprising some 40 lawyers, including 12 partners.

The group advises equity providers, management teams and vendors across the full spectrum of business sectors, and has particular strengths in areas such as healthcare, retail, waste management and technology.

Read more…

Codemasters' Head of Legal joins Pinsent Masons? IP and technology practice

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons today announced the appointment of Nav Sunner to boost the firm?s expanding intellectual property (IP) and technology practices.

Sunner joins the firm from Codemasters Group, a leading computer and video games developer and publisher, where he was Head of Legal. During his six years at Codemasters, he advised upon IP, commercial and media legal issues as well as legal issues relating to data protection, e-commerce and general IT.

He joins Pinsent Masons? Birmingham office as a senior associate in the firm?s Outsourcing Technology & Commercial (OTC) practice.

Clive Seddon, Group Head of OTC commented, 'Sunner's experience complements our existing team and will allow us to further our games and IP law expertise. He brings to Pinsent Masons strong commercial experience and a fantastic industry reputation along with a broad set of IT law skills gained from working years in a fast moving industry. His industry knowledge and experience will be a huge asset for our clients.'

Read more…

JOHNSON SERVICE GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading support services provider, Johnson Service Group PLC, has been advised by a team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of the white collar facilities management business of SGP Property Services Limited. The acquisition was for a total consideration of ?28.7 million (on a debt and cash free basis).

Commenting on the deal, Johnson's chief executive, Stuart Graham, said: 'The acquisition of SGP, which predominantly serves the financial services and retail sectors, complements our existing facilities management business, Johnson Workplace Management, which services primarily the commercial office market. Together they form a significant facilities and property management operation with a quality and developing client base which now has the critical mass necessary to expand within existing markets and to drive further organic growth by launching into new property sectors with an increased range of services.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Johnson Service Group was led by Corporate Finance Partner, Darius Lewington with support from Hannah Brader and Sadbh Kavanagh (corporate), Andrea Paxton (Employment), Gavin Paul (Pensions), Tom Eastwood (Property), Elizabeth Cook (IP/IT) and Michael Hunter and Alison Walker (Tax). The vendors of SGP were advised by the Glasgow office of DLA Piper Cary Gray Rudnick.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Read more…

ISIS EQUITY PARTNERS ADVISED ON KAFEVEND MBO BY PINSENT MASONS

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

ISIS Equity Partners has been advised by a specialist team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons on its funding of the management buy-out of leading vending services provider, Kaf?vend Group Ltd.

Kaf?vend, which supplies vending machines and offers a follow-up service supplying the drinks and snacks their machines dispense, represented a non-core activity for its owner IKON, the leading supplier of document management solutions and services in the UK.

With a healthy client base of over 3,500 business customers, Crawley-based Kaf?vend, is a promising prospect for the management team, led by CEO John Collins, and for ISIS. 'We are seeing a strong take up from companies that historically have not used vending machines,' commented Mr Collins. 'The funding package from ISIS will allow us to accelerate our future growth strategy.'

Andrew Masraf, the Pinsent Masons private equity partner, who led the team advising ISIS, added: 'ISIS is a valued client with an incisive touch in relation to investment opportunities, particularly in the mid-market. Focused and well-organised businesses such as Kaf?vend illustrate this, with its potential for development and growth.'

The Pinsent Masons team working with Andrew comprised Michael Berreen, Gareth Rees and Olivia Phalippou (private equity), Martin Bishop, Tony Anderson and Frances Mallender (banking), Vivien Gray and Liz Slater (OTC), Wyn Lewis and Brona Reeves (employment), John Trevethan and Russell Sykes (property), Helen Hanbidge (pensions) and Matthew Rowbotham (tax).

Other advisers were: Dundas & Wilson (for management) and DLA Piper Cary Gray Rudnick (for debt provider, The Royal Bank of Scotland).

Ends

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has a national private equity practice comprising some 40 lawyers, including 12 partners.

The group advises equity providers, management teams and vendors across the full spectrum of business sectors, and has particular strengths in areas such as healthcare, retail, waste management and technology.

In recent months, among other deals, Andrew Masraf has led teams advising on the ?200 million MBO of Cory Environmental; the MBO of asset management company, Tilney Holdings Limited; the ?64 million refinancing of Care Management Group Limited and on acquisitions for media services company Telecom Express.

Overall, Pinsent Masons has more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

NEW SENIOR ASSOCIATE JOINS AS PINSENT MASONS EXPANDS PROJECT FINANCE PRACTICE

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Livia Dumitrescu, a New York-qualified project finance lawyer will be joining the Projects Group at law firm Pinsent Masons as a Senior Associate on 15 November 2005. Livia previously worked for U.S. firm Hunton & Williams in London where she was involved with international banking and project finance transactions. Livia has previously worked at both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Black Sea Trade Development Bank.

Livia will join Pinsent Masons as part of the firm's development of its practice in Eastern Europe and CIS region, building upon the success of recent projects in the area. These include advising the operator on the M5 and M6 road projects in Hungary which reached financial close last year and the operator on the A1 road project in Poland, which achieved financial close in July 2005. These deals are amongst the first wave of PPP road concessions to be rolled out in new EU member states which in turn will form the model for future road projects in this area.

Livia will have a particular focus on the Balkans and South East Europe and will work with Project Finance Partners Andy Normington and Nick Tidnam on developing the practice.

Patrick Twist, National Head of the Projects Group, said, 'Livia has an impressive background in project finance having worked on many international projects. She is well-known and respected in the South East European region and will be an invaluable asset to the group.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

ONYX UK ADVISED ON WASTE COMPANY ACQUISITION FROM SHANKS GROUP PLC

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading waste management company, Onyx UK Limited, has been advised by a legal team from Pinsent Masons on the ?28 million acquisition of a major part of the hazardous waste operations of Shanks Group plc.

Onyx, part of the world-leading environmental services company Veolia Environment, specialises in collecting, treating and disposing of waste produced by businesses and the public throughout the UK. The assets purchased from Shanks Group comprise the high temperature incinerator and waste-to-energy plant at Fawley, together with other chemical treatment sites in England and Scotland.

The Pinsent Masons team worked closely with Robert Hunt, the Group Legal Director of Onyx Environmental Group Plc, to address all the environmental matters involved in the deal, as well as the details of the assets purchase from Shanks Group.

Jonathan Reardon, lead corporate partner for Pinsent Masons, commented: 'This was a real team effort, working alongside Robert Hunt and his colleagues at Onyx, and involving Pinsent Masons' lawyers from London, Birmingham and Glasgow.'

The Pinsent Masons team also included Hanh Jelf (corporate senior associate), Steven Hardisty (property), environmental law specialists Helen Keele (senior associate) and Pat Hawthorn (consultant) and Lisa Patmore (employment).

Shanks Group plc was advised by Ward Hadaway on all legal aspects of the deal including, corporate, property, environment, pensions, employment and competition law. The North East law firm took on the role of lead adviser to Milton Keynes based Shanks Group plc after winning a competitive pitch against law firms from across the UK.

Duncan Reid, Corporate Finance Partner, who led Ward Hadaway's 20-strong team throughout the year-long deal, said, 'Acting for a major national plc on a large-scale, high-value strategic transaction with multi-site considerations made for an interesting deal. There were lots of complex environmental and other issues to consider in an industry full of legal challenges. We were delighted to play an important part in achieving the sale of Hazwaste Activities and wish both Shanks and Onyx all the best for the future.'

Glasgow-based MacRoberts acted for Shanks in Scotland.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

FLYING BRANDS ADDS TO HOME SHOPPING OFFER WITH GARDEN BIRD SUPPLIES PURCHASE

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Home shopping specialist, Flying Brands, has been advised by a legal team from Pinsent Masons as it expands its horizons with the ?4.3 million acquisition of Garden Bird Supplies Limited (GBS), one of the UK's largest providers of food and accessories for birds and other wildlife.

The acquisition of GBS forms part of Flying Brands' strategic growth plans, central to which is the expansion of its product offering to customers. The Jersey-based group currently includes household names such as Flying Flowers and Gardening Direct.

GBS offers a range of some 200 products, 65% of which is wildlife food, sold to customers via mail order catalogues and the internet. The company has an active database of 48,000 customers and generated ?3.8 million of turnover in the year to 30 June 2005. It is estimated that the UK wild bird food market alone is worth ?150 million a year.

Commenting on the acquisition, Flying Brands' Chief Executive, Mark Dugdale, said: 'We outlined our strategy to grow by acquisition. Garden Bird Supplies is a high quality business?..and will be immediately earnings enhancing.' GBS founder directors, Jonathan Blezard and Tony Bennett, will continue in their current roles for the next 12 months.

The Pinsent Masons' team acting for Flying Brands comprised Corporate Partner, Martin Webster and senior associate, Sean Page, together with Shelagh Gaskill (data protection and IT), Matthew Rowbotham (tax), Brona Reeves (employment) and Arabella Blunt (property)

GBS was advised by Colin Rodrigues of Needham & James.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Jersey-based Flying Brands Limited is a multi brand home shopping specialist. Founded in 1965, it was admitted to the Official List of the London Stock Exchange in 1993. The Group has the following brands:

? Flying Flowers, the UK's largest flowers by post brand, despatching nearly one million bouquets a year

? Gardening Direct, one of the UK's largest mail order bedding plants and gardening products operations

? Listen2Books, the leading mail order audio books, DVD and video publisher and distributor

? Benham, the first day cover stamps and coins collectables specialist

? Silverminds Direct, the nostalgic music business.

More information can be found at: www.flyingbrands.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS RATED AS LEADING LEGAL ADVISERS TO WATER INDUSTRY

October 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been rated as one of the country's leading advisers to the water industry by the independent legal experts directory, Legal 500.

Described as having 'an unparalleled water practice', the firm's Water Sector Group was applauded for its performance over the past twelve months which has included advising United Utilities on its ?4 billion water and electricity capital works procurement programme. The merger between Pinsents and Masons in December 2004 was also seen as a crucial factor in the team's rise to the top of the rankings this year.

Mark Lane, Head of the Water Sector Group at Pinsent Masons, said : 'This is the first time that we have stood head and shoulders above our competitors. We are delighted with this year's rankings which is a ringing endorsement of our UK and international practice and our achievements over the past year.'

Mark, who specialises in water and wastewater regulatory and project assignments, is a member of the Government's Water Sector Advisory Group and editor of the water industry bible The Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook.

Colleagues Edward Davies and Sarah Thomas were also singled out for praise.

ENDS

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Direct Dial +44 (0)121 260 4005

Fax +44 (0)121 626 1040

E-mail lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

BUSINESS SLOW TO PREPARE FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION REGULATIONS REVEALS SURVEY BY PINSENT MASONS

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Regulations that will for the first time outlaw age discrimination in employment are due to come into force 12 months tomorrow on 1 October 2006. A survey by law firm Pinsent Masons revealed that while a significantly high proportion of respondents (66%) confirmed that they are aware of the impending Age Regulations, 32% said they were not aware of the full details. Only 33% had taken steps to review their policies and procedures and less than a third had sought any form of specialist advice on the implications of the legislation.

Commenting on the survey findings Ashley Norman, Partner and Head of Equality & Diversity at Pinsent Masons said, 'Arguably these Regulations are the single most important development in discrimination law in the last 30 years. The findings of our survey bear out the impression we have been getting from clients that while there is a high level of awareness about the Regulations, considerable uncertainty exists about the detail and implications for employers and the majority are failing to prepare by reviewing policies.'

He added, 'It is essential for employers to identify aspects of their employment policies that might create a compliance risk so that necessary changes can be made in good time. We recommend policy audits are not put off or employers run the risk of encountering claims by employees and job candidates who are willing and able to enforce these new rights and to test parameters of the Age Regulations.'

The survey involved 240 participants and took place in September 2005. Further findings include;

? In relation to recruitment, 22% of respondents currently used minimum age limits and 20% used maximum age limits. Only 10% and 3% respectively confirmed they would continue to do so once the Regulations were implemented. Currently 60% of respondents stipulate minimum periods of experience for recruitment and of those organisations 28% plan to continue to do so even once the Regulations are in place.

? In relation to the content of job adverts, 46% of respondents currently envisage amending the content of recruitment advertisements in light of the Regulations. 11% include age instructions in their terms of reference for head hunters and recruitment agents. A surprisingly sizeable majority (60%) currently ask questions about age on applications forms. Of those organisations, only 14% plan to make any immediate alterations to their applications forms, 19% state that they will do so eventually and 18% have no plans to alter their applications forms at all.

? Regarding provision of employment benefits, the overwhelming majority (81%) of respondents currently use length of service and 35% use age itself as a criterion. The most common benefits affected by age or length of service are sick pay, holiday entitlement and level of redundancy pay.

? 29% of respondents confirmed that they did not know whether their organisation might be at risk of a claim under the Regulations in relation to their employment policies. 13% thought that they were perhaps at risk and a confident 58% thought that their current policies posed no potential compliance risks at all.

? In relation to redundancy payments, the majority of respondents (57%) pay contractual redundancy pay, age being used in 31% and length of service being used by 41% of respondents to calculate contractual redundancy pay entitlements. 14% said that they would continue to do so albeit that 13% did not know whether this would be justifiable once the Regulations were in force and 19% were unsure whether this would be justifiable.

(cont.)

? In relation to retirement ages, the vast majority of respondents (87%) currently use a mandatory retirement age, 61% currently offer employees the opportunity to work beyond the mandatory retirement age. Of those organisations 33% intend to retain the current mandatory retirement age, 25% confirm that they planned to amend the retirement age and 31% were unsure if they would do so or not. Of the respondents who did intend to continue to use their mandatory retirement age, 33% thought that this would be justifiable.

The Age Regulations 2006 will:

? ban age discrimination in terms of recruitment, promotion, training, provision of benefits;

? ban all retirement ages below 65 ? except where objectively justified; and

? remove the current upper age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.

They will also introduce:

? a duty for employers to consider an employee?s request to continue working beyond retirement; and

? a requirement for employers to give written notification to employees at least 6 months in advance of their intended retirement date to allow employees to plan for their retirement.

Ends

For further information or to request a full copy of the survey results please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

For comment please contact:

Ashley Norman, Employment Partner

Pinsent Masons, on: 0141 249 5434

Ashley.Norman@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The Employment Group at Pinsent Masons is one of the most experienced teams of employment lawyers in the country. With over 50 employment lawyers, including 15 partners, it is also one of the largest in the country and offers genuine national coverage from offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SCOOPS TOP ASIAN CONSTRUCTION LAW AWARD FOR SECOND YEAR RUNNING

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

At the recent 2005 Asian Legal Business Awards, Pinsent Masons won the Construction Law Firm of the Year Award for the second year running.

The award, which was presented to Hong Kong Office Managing Partner Richard Foley, is a recognition of the firm's performance over the past twelve months and its high standard of client service for both existing and a large number of significant new clients.

In particular the judges praised the firm for offering clients ?good legal skills, practical commercial understanding and competitive fees. Good at both contentious and non-contentious work (Pinsent Masons) are credited with being responsive and solutions-orientated'.

Richard Foley, Hong Kong Office Managing Partner, said :

'We are delighted to have won this award for the second year running. It reinforces our position as Hong Kong's flagship construction law firm and is a testament to our achievements over the past twelve months.

'Despite challenging conditions the past year has been a watershed for the firm. Our merger last year means we are now able to provide the full range of legal services to our construction-industry clients. This, along with our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the needs of the construction industry, sets us apart from other law firms.'

ENDS

Notes to editors :

Pinsent Masons, created by the merger of Pinsents and Masons in December 2004, has more than 260 partners, a total legal team of 900 and overall staff in excess of 1,500.

In Hong Kong Pinsent Masons is one of the region's leading law firms with a team of six partners and 13 specialist construction lawyers.

For press enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Email : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

HEALTHCARE TEAM AT PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON CARETECH HOLDINGS AIM FLOAT

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A specialist healthcare sector team at law firm Pinsent Masons is cementing a developing relationship with UK learning disability care services provider, CareTech Holdings PLC, by advising the company on its planned flotation on AIM.

Historically, Pinsent Masons has acted for Barclays Private Equity (BPE) which invested in the secondary buyout of CareTech in 2002. CareTech has grown rapidly to become a leader in its sector. During BPE's investment period, the Hertfordshire based company expanded from 254 beds in 2002 to 435 beds in 2005 and increased turnover to ?18.2 million for the year ended September 2004. Pinsent Masons has now advised BPE on its exit with the sale of its stakeholding to CareTech management for an undisclosed sum.

In tandem the company, which aims to consolidate its position in a highly fragmented marketplace, has announced its intention to float on AIM. CareTech, which is expected to have a market capitalisation in excess of ?50 million, anticipates that trading in its shares will commence by 31 October 2005.

In acting for CareTech on the float, Pinsent Masons is also advising on a placing of new ordinary shares in CareTech which is expected to raise ?10 million net of expenses. Up to ?14.5 million of existing ordinary shares are also being placed on behalf of CareTech's founders and management team.

CareTech's founders, brothers Farouq and Haroon Sheikh, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive respectively, see great potential for expansion in the sector and intend using the springboard of the cash injection provided by the float to grow their market position.

Pinsent Masons' private equity partner Joanne Ellis, the lead adviser to CareTech and a specialist in healthcare sector deals, commented: 'CareTech illustrates the number of opportunities that exist in this sector for quality companies who take time to get to know the market, and are sensitive to the needs of their clients and the communities in which they live. The corporate healthcare sector has taken off in the last couple of years and there is a great deal of potential here, particularly for mid-sized care businesses.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising CareTech on the float comprises Joanne Ellis, Jon Harris, Sean Page and Manmohan Panesar (corporate); Lisa Parisi (tax), Tom Eastwood (property) and Lynette Jacobs (share plans). The team which advised BPE on its exit from CareTech comprised Joanne Ellis and Ann McCarthy.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has a national private equity practice comprising some 40 lawyers, including 12 partners.

The group advises equity providers, management teams and vendors across the full spectrum of business sectors, and has particular strengths in the healthcare, retail, waste management and media sectors.

Overall, Pinsent Masons has more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

CareTech was founded in 1993 to provide market leading client services of outstanding quality, focusing specifically on people with learning disabilities. The company has grown consistently through organic growth and careful acquisitions, currently operating 61 care homes comprising 435 beds and 2 day care centres operating 55 places. The company operates small residential care homes, creating comfortable and homely environments that follow the principles of an ?ordinary life?. CareTech is distinguished in the care market by the quality of its services and its departure from traditional institutional care.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON THE SEAFOOD COMPANY DISPOSAL

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons' London private equity team has acted for IRRfc and management shareholders on the sale of The Seafood Company to Fishery Products International (FPI) for a total consideration of ?18.3 million.

The Seafood Company is a leading UK importer, processor and distributor of high quality chilled and frozen shellfish products, which ranks major UK retail chains among its customers. FPI is a Canada-based seafood company which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Pinsent Masons private equity team was Roger Fink, lead partner, Gareth Hughes and Joanne McNeill.

Negotiations for IRRfc were led by Ruth Storm and the sale process was run by Cavendish Corporate Finance (Philip Barker and Hugo-Hadden-Grant).

Torys and the London office of Wilmer Cutler acted for FPI.

Pinsent Masons' private equity team in London of four partners and six assistants, led by Roger Fink, has had a very active and successful 2005. Headline deals on which the team has advised include the sale of Rubicon Retail to The Shoe Studio Group for the selling shareholders, the buyout of Jane Norman from Graphite for Kaupthing and Baugur and, for the management teams, the buyouts of Tilney, Hallmark Channel's international operations and Cory Environmental.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS HELPS AIRCRAFT COMPONENTS PRODUCER OLAER'S MBO FLY

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Management of aircraft components manufacturer, Olaer, have been advised by a specialist private equity legal team at Pinsent Masons on the equity-backed buyout of the company.

Gresham Private Equity Solutions has backed the buyout, led by chief executive Michael Blenkinsop, of the company which supplies components to carriers such as British Airways, British Midland and easyJet, in addition to making components for the Airbus A320 and A340 and supplying wind power and oil generation industries.

The company, which is based in Chester and has operations in France, Switzerland and the USA, has been sold by manufacturer, Expamet International, which is itself backed by Royal Bank Equity Finance. Gresham is funding the deal with a mixture of cash and debt, with Bank of Ireland providing the debt.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Olaer management has been led by Private Equity partner, Joanne Ellis working with Edward Stead.

Gresham has been advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP, and the vendors Expamet have been advised by Shoosmiths.

This is the second time this year that Pinsent Masons has acted for management on a Gresham-backed buyout. Earlier this year, Pinsent Masons advised management on the Gresham-led public to private takeover of Trio Holdings plc, which runs money broker, Martin Brokers, in a ?28.5 million deal.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has a national private equity practice comprising some 40 lawyers, including 12 partners.

The group advises equity providers, management teams and vendors across the full spectrum of business sectors, and has particular strengths in the retail, healthcare and media sectors.

Overall, Pinsent Masons has more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons advises on back-to-back acquisitions for Telecom Express and on the buy-out of Optome

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons has advised new client Telecom Express on its acquisitions of interactive media and marketing company, Greenland Interactive, and of the premium rate assets of the Media Services division of Broadsystem.

Telecom Express is one of the leading providers of marketing services to the UK media industry, managing reader, listener and viewer communications, as well as delivering targeted content to different audience groups in order to help its media clients retain and develop customer relationships.

Telecom Express Group was formed as a result of a management buy-out from former owner Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO in late 2004.

Pinsent Masons' private equity partner Andrew Masraf led on both deals with assistance from Robert Moir, Joanne McNeill and Charles Frank (corporate), Rebecca Power and Matthew Rowbotham (tax) and Martyn Hann and Vivien Gray (TMT). Corporate finance advice was provided to Telecom Express on both acquisitions by Will Iselin of Winghaven Partners.

Andrew said: 'We are delighted to have helped Telecom Express on these important acquisitions ? what a way to start a relationship with a new client.'

In a busy summer, Pinsent Masons' private equity team also advised new client Pat Llewellyn on the partnership buy-out of media company Optomen Television, the makers of BAFTA-winning series Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Under the terms of the deal, buy-out vehicle Tidy Television acquired Optomen Television and Pat Llewellyn succeeded Peter Gillbe as Optomen Television's Managing Director.

Pinsent Masons' private equity partner Andrew Masraf advised Pat Llewellyn with assistance from Joanne McNeill (corporate), Rebecca Power (tax), Anna Moyle (employment) and Tony Anderson (banking). Edward Hoare of Faegre & Benson advised Peter Gillbe.

Optomen Television has produced high impact programmes for the UK and international markets in its 15 year history. Successful productions include Old Bear Stories and Police, Camera, Action for ITV, to The Naked Chef and Two Fat Ladies for BBC2, and Jump London for Channel 4.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Media Relations Advisor,

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07795021749

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has a leading UK private equity practice which operates nationally with strong teams in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Pinsent Masons has a total of 12 partners and 25 other lawyers who specialise in private equity.

The firm has more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

THREE NEW PARTNERS JOIN AS PINSENT MASONS UNDERSCORES ITS SECTOR STRENGTHS

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has announced the appointment of three partners in strategic areas of its business as the law firm underscores its commitment to key market sectors.

Paul Rice, partner and head of Environment, Health & Safety at Lawrence Graham, will join the firm in London and will head Pinsent Masons' Environmental practice nationally. Siobhan Cross, a highly-rated and experienced property litigator returns to the firm as a partner after a career break, and Mark Yates, a rising star in Banking & Finance, joins the firm from Clifford Chance as a partner.

'These appointments demonstrate our commitment to the development of our capability and experience at a high level in dedicated market sectors,' said David Ryan, Managing Partner at Pinsent Masons. 'Each of these individuals brings something new to our business and we are delighted to welcome them to the firm.'

Paul Rice is a legal heavyweight in his field. A member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (UKELA), he has written and spoken widely on environmental issues. He will spearhead the environmental side of a national team comprising both pure environmental lawyers and planning & environmental lawyers. His fellow Pinsent Masons partner, Richard Ford, led the firm's team advising four East London Boroughs on the approval of a series of planning applications in relation to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 needed to allow the now successful London bid to proceed. Richard will continue to lead the planning side. Paul will join Pinsent Masons in November.

Siobhan Cross, highly respected by her peers and by clients, makes a welcome return to Pinsent Masons. Independently recognised for her property litigation expertise, she joins the growing property team in London which is fast expanding its property litigation and its real estate investment capability. The firm has a dedicated property team of around 30 people in London, who form part of the 140-strong national property group.

Mark Yates joins a Banking & Finance team which has seen significant growth in the past 18 months, as part of Pinsent Masons' commitment to the Financial Services sector. Last year Martin Bishop from Slaughter and May, and William Oliver from Jones Day, both joined as partners in London with three other specialist banking lawyers. With Mark's arrival the team will boast 10 partners nationally and a full banking & finance team of over 35 lawyers.

Mark, who has particular experience of cross-border and leveraged finance transactions, qualified in 1995 whilst at Wilde Sapte. He spent over three years working in Hong Kong for Norton Rose and then Clifford Chance, becoming a Hong Kong qualified solicitor, before moving back to London with Clifford Chance in 2001. He recently advised Warburg Pincus on the ?227 million institutional buy out of Caradon Plumbing. Mark started on Monday (12 September).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 3232 / mobile: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

SPEEDY HIRE PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON c?15 MILLION PLACING

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading UK tool hire services company, Speedy Hire plc, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on a c?15 million placing to fund its ongoing greenfield and acquisition-led expansion programme.

In the last 14 months, Speedy Hire has completed seven acquisitions with a total value of ?33 million all of which have been funded from its own resources. The funds raised through today's placing, together with the group's recently renewed banking facilities, will allow it to continue with its growth plans.

The placing, made by brokers Oriel Securities Limited on behalf of Speedy Hire, is for 2,132,315 new ordinary shares of 5p each at a price of 710p per share to raise approximately ?14.8 million net of expenses.

Speedy Hire, formed in 1977, is a leading provider of tool hire services to UK contractors and builders, industry, utilities and the public sector, operating from over 300 depots throughout the country. The group is focused primarily on tool hire, with complementary businesses specialising in portable accommodation, lifting, surveying and power generation equipment.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Speedy Hire comprises Manchester-based corporate partner, Mike McGrath and associate Farook Khan.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS' TEAM CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF ?293 MILLION DISPOSAL FOR IMI PLC

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of 60 lawyers at UK law firm Pinsent Masons is today celebrating the announcement of the completion of the ?293 million disposal by IMI plc of Polypipe Building Products Limited to Castle Harlan Partner IV L.P., a New York based private equity fund.

Today's announcement brings to a close 10 months of activity for the Pinsent Masons' team involving the 62 businesses which comprise Polypipe Building Products. Headquartered in Doncaster, Polypipe, a leading plastic pipe and building service products manufacturer, has significant production plants in Poland, Italy, Germany and France, which added to the complexity of the deal for Pinsent Masons.

The disposal by IMI, a major international engineering group, is the last in a series identified by the company four years ago as part of a strategic repositioning which has seen IMI move to concentrate on its fluid controls and retail dispense businesses.

Senior Corporate Partner, Martin Shaw, who led the Pinsent Masons team, commented: 'This has been a groundbreaking deal in many ways for the firm because of the scale of the task involved. It exemplifies the fantastic cross-office and cross-discipline spirit within the firm. As we neared completion with the concentration of our team in London, we worked around the clock taking it in turns to have two hour sleep breaks and for several nights running we were linked throughout the early hours to specialist colleagues around the country.

'As the Polypipe group comprised 62 separate companies we were working on tens of thousands of documents. The electronic data room we created, giving people round the clock access to documents which were being updated constantly, was in itself a triumph for the firm and a model for the future. I cannot praise highly enough the legal and support teams involved.'

The Polypipe deal began 10 months ago when the auction sale process was started by Citigroup on behalf of IMI. The eventual purchaser, Castle Harlan Partners is an investment fund owned by New York based private equity investment firm Castle Harlan Inc. The ?293 million sale price comprises ?219 million cash and debt, plus ?39 million satisfied by a vendor loan note and contingent consideration of ?35 million payable in cash dependent on Polypipe achieving certain performance targets in the three calendar years to 31 December 2007.

The Pinsent Masons corporate team was led by partners Martin Shaw and Andrew Black; the corporate due diligence work was led by Shiv Sibal, supported by Oliver Beaulah and Chris Charlton. Additional support was provided by Simon Gronow and Nicole Kirkham. Other members of the group included Tom Johnson and Richard Stockton (Property), Richard Ford and Helen Keele (Environmental), John Christian and Veronica McMahon (Tax), Alastair Meeks, Sarah Welling and Raj Sharma (Pensions), Tom Flanagan and Jonathan Coley (Employment), Giles Warrington (Competition), Martin Bishop (Banking) and Rob Watson (Data Room IT Support).

Castle Harlan were advised by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Macfarlanes.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, Tel: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

E: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

MAN INVESTMENTS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON OFFSHORE HEDGE FUND

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Man Investments Limited in relation to an offshore hedge fund to be marketed to institutional investors in the UK.

RMF Portable Alpha Strategies Limited, authorised in Guernsey as a Class 'Q' Scheme and established as a Qualifying Investor Fund has already taken GBP10,000,000 in a first round of investment. It will subsequently offer two classes of share for investment with the intention of adding additional classes. RMF Portable Alpha Strategies Limited is an unregulated CIS for the purposes of FSMA 2000.

Banking and finance partner John Cleland led the Pinsent Masons' team advising Man, assisted by Claire Sedgwick (Banking and Finance) and Sean Page (Corporate).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

e: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS INCORPORATES ACCOUNTING SERVICES TO HELP TRUSTEES ASSESS THE STRENGTH OF THEIR SCHEME

September 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons is launching a new service to help trustees assess the strength of their scheme sponsor's business and its ability to meet funding provisions.

The service, which incorporates legal, banking, restructuring and accounting advice, is being provided in response to the new rules in the Pensions Act 2004. Pinsent Masons will provide an integrated advisory team to ensure trustees obtain comprehensive and specialist advice at every stage of the process.

Following the Pensions Act, trustees will need detailed information about a sponsor's financial situation in order to assess its ability to fund the scheme.

Christopher Berkeley, National Head of Pensions at Pinsent Masons, said, 'By integrating legal, banking, restructuring and accounting advice we can support trustees in reaching solutions to funding problems. Trustees will then be receiving appropriate specialist accounting advice from an in-house team of professional forensic accountants alongside the legal and actuarial advice.'

Nicholas Scott, Chartered Accountant at Pinsent Masons, added, 'Our approach ensures that we consider all aspects of the company's proposed financial plan, as well as the trustees' duties, to facilitate consensus on future funding arrangements, and how scheme deficits will be eliminated.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the strongest pensions teams in the UK with over 40 lawyers, paralegals and independent trustee administrators located in our offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. In the City-based London office there are six pensions partners, one consultant, four senior associates, one associate, six solicitors and one trainee.

Read more…

Aalberts Industries acquires Pegler Holdings Limited in c?40 million deal

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Dutch group, Aalberts Industries NV, has further consolidated its hold on the Flow Control market with the acquisition of Doncaster based Pegler Holdings Limited.

Pegler, a leading manufacturer of taps, valves, fittings and heating products for the private and public sectors, has more than 500 employees and a turnover of c.?50 million. The company was the subject of a management buyout from Tomkins plc in January 2004. It is intended that all the management team will stay on following the deal.

Aalberts Industries is a market leading international industrial group with two core activities, Industrial Services and Flow Control. The acquisition of Pegler significantly expands Aalberts' product portfolio. Aalberts has a workforce of more than 7,000 in Europe and made profits of ?71 million on a turnover of ?612 million last year.

Pegler will work alongside Yorkshire Fittings, which was acquired from IMI by Aalberts in 2002, using the same distribution networks and sharing purchasing and new product developments.

Aalberts was advised by Michelle Kershaw from Pinsent Masons working with lead partner Martin Shaw. Aalberts was additionally advised by Deloitte.

Pegler were advised by Eversheds and KPMG Corporate Finance.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON SALE OF UK MINIBUS SPECIALIST

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the shareholders of MBP Holdings Limited, the holding company of the UK specialist minibus insurance broker, MiniBusPlus (MBP), on the sale of the company's share capital. The company was sold to QBE, the UK subsidiary of Australia's largest insurance and reinsurance group.

The sale also brings an exit for venture capitalists Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) from their investment.

MBP is a successful UK specialist minibus, coach and motor fleet insurance wholesaler and retail insurance broker based in Stafford. It produces around ?45 million of gross premium income through some 4,000 brokers throughout the UK.

The business produced by MBP is complimentary to the business underwritten by Ensign, QBE's UK motor arm.

Private Equity Partner Andrew Hornigold, who led the 14 strong Pinsent Masons team, said:

'We are delighted our specialist Corporate and Insurance teams have assisted the management and LDC in their successful exit from MBP. The transaction was a great result for all concerned and I am sure the MBP team and the business will continue to go from strength to strength under QBE's ownership.'

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Media Relations Advisor

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7490 6563 / mob: 07795021749

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Leads Successful DWP IT Outsourcing Contract Re-alignment with EDS

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons announced today that they have successfully completed the re-alignment of a major IT outsourcing agreement for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The arrangement with global technology services company EDS is intended to save ?1 billion over 5 years.

The contract is part of the DWP?s transformation and efficiency programme implemented following the Gershon review of public sector efficiency. The realigned contract brings together and standardises a number of historical arrangements.

Pinsent Masons led the legal support for the project, advising the DWP on all legal aspects of the EDS contract. The team comprised outsourcing partners Iain Monaghan, Myles Blewett and Richard Watkinson. Pinsent Masons worked closely with a team from DLA to complete the re-alignment.

Iain Monaghan, lead partner in Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing Technology & Commercial Group, commented, ?This is a significant achievement. We have worked with the DWP to re-align legacy EDS contracts drawing them together into a consistent form and implementing changes in governance and service management provisions that allow both parties to benefit from increased efficiency.?

Ends.

For further information please contact:

Richard Leonard or Joshua Van Raalte

Brazil

(firstname)@agencybrazil.com

T: 01865 725 269

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial law firm with 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm is one of the most highly regarded law firms, specialising in technology, telecoms, outsourcing and information law.

Pinsent Masons also runs OUT-LAW, an award-winning technology and e-commerce support service. OUT-LAW is a free service which includes a quarterly magazine, a weekly e-mail news bulletin and the out-law.com website, offering free information and checklists to help businesses. With more than 20,000 subscribers and 4,500 pages of content, out-law.com is believed to be one of the largest and most successful law firm websites in the world.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS INSTRUCTED TO ADVISE OFFICE OF DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ON TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEMES

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has been instructed to advise the Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), together with its Legal Directorate, in connection with two procurements to establish and operate Tenancy Deposit Schemes. The schemes are to be established pursuant to the Housing Act 2004 in respect of deposits taken by landlords/ agents in connection with assured shorthold tenancies. They will be set up and administered by scheme administrators who will contract with ODPM.

There will be two types of scheme, one is custodial and one insurance based; the first where deposits will be paid into a separate bank account and the latter where the landlord/ agent retains the deposit but the scheme maintains insurance against misappropriation.

Vincent King, Outsourcing, Technology & Commercial (OTC) Partner, said, 'This L-Cat instruction is significant given that there will be two procurements being run along side each other. We look forward to working with ODPM to deliver this important policy initiative.'

The Pinsent Masons team assisting Vincent consists of Martin Priestley (OTC Senior Associate), Liz Johnson (Insurance Partner), Al Harith-Sinclair (Corporate Partner) and Kathrine Eddon (Projects Associate).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons acts, nationally and internationally, for Central Governments, their principal Departments of State and Executive Agencies on almost every area of public and commercial law. The firm has been closely involved in the development and implementation of policy, major change programmes and complex, often innovative, infrastructure and outsourcing projects. In the UK it is a member of the legal framework panels administered by the OGCbuying.solutions (L-Cat) and TSol.

Read more…

RAYMARINE ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON US$500 MILLION OUTSOURCING DEAL WITH FLEXTRONICS

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Raymarine, one of the world's largest suppliers of marine electronic products to the leisure boating market, has entered into an agreement with global leading electronics manufacturing services provider, Flextronics valued at approximately US$500 million over a five-year period.

Under the agreement, Flextronics will provide vertically integrated manufacturing services to Raymarine, initially through its Hungary-based facility. The services include printed circuit board assembly, box build, plastics, metals, logistics, and test engineering services.

Malcolm Miller, CEO of Portsmouth based Raymarine, commented: 'We took this decision to ensure that we could not only maintain and grow our gross margins but access the latest technologies and skills in supply chain management. In working with our manufacturing partner, Flextronics, we expect to make significant improvements in our product realization process, new product introduction, materials management, quality and global logistics.'

Nigel Stacey, Raymarine's Director of Supply Chain, added: 'This is the second major contract I have negotiated now with Pinsent Masons and am again impressed by the team's professionalism and complete dedication to the task in hand. I find Pinsent Masons a law firm who truly embrace the idea of partnering with their clients.'

Vincent King led for Pinsent Masons assisted by Martin Priestley.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Raymarine is the world leader in marine electronics, develops and supplies the most comprehensive range of electronic equipment for the recreational boating and light commercial marine markets. Product lines include radar, autopilots, GPS, chartplotters, instruments, fishfinders, communications, software and systems

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD REACHES OUT

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A university education is now immediately available to communities in Yorkshire and Lancashire as part of a 10-year project by the University of Huddersfield.

The University has been advised by Pinsent Masons' Universities Team on the launch of new University Centres in Barnsley and Oldham designed to deliver university education to communities which may previously have felt that Higher Education was beyond their reach.

From this month, students will be able to study on full and part-time courses across a variety of levels from entry-level courses such as Foundation Courses and HNCs to Honours Degrees, and beyond to postgraduate qualifications like an MBA ? all within easy reach of home and work. The current range of higher education courses will be expanded and a range of new specialist courses will become available.

University Centre Barnsley

This new centre is being created with the aid of staff and resources transferring from Barnsley College and will be delivering the existing Higher Education courses of Barnsley College as well as expanding the curriculum.

University Centre Oldham

The new centre, designed to build on Higher Education provision previously provided in Oldham by Oldham Business Management School and the Oldham College, aims to strengthen links between study and the world of work to make sure that its students are fully equipped for a better future.

Under the first phase of the 10-year project, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has invested ?8 million and Yorkshire Forward has provided ?1.2 million to facilitate the purchase of a building in Barnsley

Professor John Tarrant, Vice Chancellor of Huddersfield University, said: 'The University is committed to develop local HE provision in Barnsley and Oldham by establishing University Centres as extensions of the University of Huddersfield. These towns both have low HE participation rates but a high potential for HE growth. As Barnsley and Oldham are, like Huddersfield, located on the edge of large conurbations and are intensely proud of their independence the phrase ?Towns Like Us? has been coined to describe the overall nature of this initiative. It will make an important contribution to the policy of offering the opportunity of HE to all those who have the potential to benefit.

'The Pinsent Masons team has a very good grasp of the issues relating to higher education. In this case we had a complex interrelationship of factors from property to commercial to staffing. I was impressed by the way in which the whole project was managed. We reached agreement with all the parties involved within the very tight deadlines.'

Professor David Smith led the University's project team working with Colin Blair (Facilities Director), Andrew McConnell (Finance Director), Julie McClelland (HR) and Professor John Tarrant.

Nigel McClea led the Pinsent Masons team assisted by Neil Dodds (commercial contracts), Andrew Pedley (property), and Nick Sheppard (employment issues).

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons advises the shareholders of ASSA Training & Learning on ?24.2 million acquisition by

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Shareholders of ASSA Training & Learning Limited have been advised by Pinsent Masons on the sale of the business to Carter & Carter Group plc for a total consideration of ?24.2 million of which ?21.7 million will be satisfied on completion and ?2.5 million will be deferred until shortly after the announcement of the Group's preliminary results for the year ending July 2006.

ASSA, which is based in Washington, Tyne & Wear, is a leading UK provider of a range of adult vocational training and learning services. The company was founded in 1997 and was acquired by its current owners, ASSA's senior management team in September 2003. The company also has operations in Sunderland and Lichfield in the Midlands.

Peterborough-based Carter & Carter is a major provider of outsourced support services and learning solutions to major blue chip organisations. The acquisition, which will establish Carter & Carter as one of the UK's leading work based learning providers, is to be part funded through a Placing of 2,388,060 new ordinary shares to raise approximately ?8 million alongside new banking facilities.

The acquisition is conditional on shareholder approval and the share placing. The acquisition is expected to complete on 1 September 2005.

Andrew Hornigold led the Pinsent Masons team advising ASSA assisted by Lee Clifford and Robert Sloan.

Carter & Carter were advised by DLA Piper.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES SPEEDY HIRE PLC ON ?150 MILLION DEBT FACILITY

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Banking specialists at Pinsent Masons have advised Speedy Hire Plc in relation to a ?150m debt facility.

The new facility, structured as a five year revolving credit facility, will refinance Speedy Hire?s existing three year ?125 million revolving credit facility, which was due to expire in June 2006.

Speedy Hire, which was formed with one depot in Wigan in 1977, was this year named Hire Company of the Year for the third year running by the Hire Association of Europe.

Commenting on the refinancing, Neil O?Brien, Finance Director, said:

?We are delighted at the strong support received from our key relationship banks in this highly successful debt raising. These new facilities will comprise an important element of our medium-term financing as Speedy Hire continues its growth strategy.'

Mandated Lead Arrangers were Barclays Bank PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds TSB Bank plc and National Australia Bank Limited. The Facility and Documentation Agent is The Royal Bank of Scotland plc.

Speedy Hire was also advised by Close Brothers Debt Advisory.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Speedy Hire comprised Manchester Banking & Finance Senior Associate Joanne Robinson assisted by Trainee Pippa Jones.

In addition, Neil O?Brien said of the Pinsent Masons work:

?The Pinsent Masons team have handled the entire renewal very efficiently. They managed both the legal negotiations and process with the utmost professionalism. The banking facility is an important element of Speedy's strategic plans and Pinsent Masons have been key in delivering this on a friendly and hassle free basis.?

The Mandated Lead Arrangers were advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Carey UK LLP in Manchester.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Media Relations Executive, Pinsent Masons on:

020 7490 6563

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES NEUTRAHEALTH ON ?16 MILLION+ REVERSE TAKEOVER

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Nutraceutical investment company, Neutrahealth PLC, is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the ?16.1 million reverse takeover of nutritional supplement company Biocare Limited.

Neutrahealth PLC, which floated on AIM in February, was created to acquire growing businesses in the vibrant nutraceutical sector, which has been boosted by the increasing public demand for vitamins, mineral supplements, organic foods and alternative remedies.

The purchase of Biocare Limited, which sells natural healthcare products to trade and retail sectors, represents the first acquisition for Neutrahealth. It is estimated that the UK nutraceutical market, worth ?2.08 billion in 2002 will grow by 10-15 per cent in the next couple of years as people's concern over diet and health continues.

The Pinsent Masons team, which acted for Neutrahealth on its original flotation, and has advised on the reverse takeover, was led by Justine Howard and Hanh Jelf.

Biocare Limited has been advised by Tony Powles assisted by Tom Webb of Clarke Wilmot

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

This is the third reverse takeover in less than three months upon which Pinsent Masons has advised. The firm acted for Provexis Limited, another nutraceutical business, on its reverse takeover of Nutrinnovator PLC, and for Oxford Newtech Limited on its reverse takeover of AIM-quoted ZI Medical Plc.

Read more…

COTT CORPORATION ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?75.7 MILLION ACQUISITION OF MACAW (HOLDINGS) LIMITED

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Cott Corporation, the Canadian soft drinks bottler, the world's largest retailer brand soft drink supplier, has announced that its UK subsidiary, Cott Beverages Ltd., has acquired 100% of the shares of Macaw (Holdings) Limited, the parent company of Macaw (Soft Drinks) Limited for US$135 million (?75.7 million).

Macaw is the largest privately-owned manufacturer of retailer brand carbonated soft drinks in the UK, with assets including six product lines in two manufacturing plants located in Nelson, Lancashire. This acquisition will also bring manufacturing capacity in the fast growing 'aseptic' beverage market, providing healthy products without preservatives.

Macaw supplies own-brand carbonated dilute to taste and sports drinks to leading UK supermarkets ? Tesco, J Sainsbury, Wm Morrison and Asda.

Cott's UK division operates from two manufacturing plants in Pontefract and Kegworth. The division recently reported 12% growth in sales in the second quarter compared with the previous year. Cott expanded to the UK in 1994 with the acquisition of assets from Ben Shaw (Pontefract) Limited, followed by the purchase of Hero Drinks Group (UK) Limited in 1997.

The acquisition significantly expands Cott's UK business and is expected to add c.?55 million in annual sales. The acquisition is being financed under Cott's global credit facility.

Cott Corporation is the world's largest retailer brand soft drink supplier, with the leading take home carbonated soft drink market shares in this segment in its core markets of the United States, Canada, the UK and Mexico. Andrew Kerr comments 'This was the largest acquisition that Cott Corporation have undertaken and we were delighted to play a significant role in bringing this transaction to a successful conclusion'.

Corporate Partner Andrew Kerr led for Pinsent Masons assisted by Senior Associate, Catherine Hemsworth (Corporate), Louise Duffy and Kerry Wardle (Banking), James Speed (Property), Helen Keele (Environmental), Louise Crook (Employment), John Christian and Michael Hunter (Tax).

Macaw were advised by DLA Cary Gray Piper Rudnick, (Manchester) ? Andrew Holt, Polly Owen and Nick Roome.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

JJB Sports plc ?60m Revolving Credit Facility

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

JJB Sports plc have refinanced their ?130 million syndicated facility and selected Barclays to be their sole lender. Banking specialists at Pinsent Masons advised Barclays Bank PLC in relation to the loan.

The ?60m facility will allow JJB to fulfil its capital expenditure plans and continue its development in the leisure market which has provided a turnover increase of 41% in their Leisure Division during the accounting period ended January 2005.

JJB intends to open a further 18 combined health club/superstores during 2005 enabling them to get closer to their ultimate goal of having 1,000,000 health club members.

JJB Sports plc originated from a single sports store in 1971 and has become the UK?s largest sports retailer with over 430 stores nationwide.

The Barclays Relationship Director, David Culshaw, commented: ?We have been bankers to JJB from the outset and are delighted to now become the sole provider of their borrowing

requirements. We look forward to supporting them as they continue with their growth strategy?.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, Media Relations Advisor, Pinsent Masons on:

020 7490 6563 or Mobile: 07795021749

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION MARKET UNDER SCRUTINY BY OFT

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that the market for public sector information is to be the subject of a market study. This is a sizeable market in the UK and, for certain types of information, there is often only one body collecting and storing the information.

The public sector information market study will look at the behaviour of public sector information holders (PSIH) such as the UK Hydrographic Office and HM Land Registry.

PSIHs are often under a statutory obligation to collect information or do so as part of their normal functions. Much of the information collected is made freely available to the public but the information may also be sold on by PSIHs either in its raw form or, having been further refined, in a 'value added' form. 'Value added' information will be the focus of the market study because it is in the market for the sale of this information that PSIHs compete with private sector companies.

In particular, private sector companies first have to buy the raw data from the PSIHs and PSIHs may therefore have a competitive advantage. The market study will examine two key areas:

? whether the way in which PSIHs supply information works well for businesses, and

? whether PSIHs have an unfair advantage selling on information in competition with companies who are reliant on the PSIH for the raw data in the first instance.

The OFT may decide to carry out a market study if it believes that a market is not functioning well but is unable to pinpoint the reasons for a lack of competition on specific breaches of the usual competition law rules on anti-competitive agreements or abuse of dominant position. The OFT's concerns may be based on complaints from competitors and consumers, or on information gleaned from previous investigations into individual companies in the sector.

The OFT has extensive powers of investigation and can write directly to those involved in the market, circulate detailed questionnaires to interested parties and hold meetings, interviews and telephone surveys with a view to better understanding the market, as well as seeking opinions on the market's weaknesses and how these might be addressed.

The OFT will then publish a report of its findings and conclusions and indicate whether the OFT proposes to take any further action. This could include encouraging operators in the market to take voluntary action, investigating or taking enforcement action against undertakings suspected of breaching competition law or making a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission, which has greater enforcement powers than the OFT in this area.

Alan Davis, a Competition Partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, commented:

'This not the first time that public sector information holders have found themselves in the spotlight. Allegations of predatory pricing and overpricing were made against Companies House in 1997, although the OFT concluded that the allegations were unfounded. In December last year the OFT began a market study looking at the accessibility of property information held by a number of bodies such as local authorities, HM Land Registry and the Environment Agency. This market study falls within one of the OFT's key enforcement areas identified in its Annual Plan for 2005/6 ? the interaction between government and markets and, in particular, markets in which public sector bodies compete with the private sector.'

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest specialist competition law groups in the UK with considerable expertise and experience of advising clients on market studies and investigations.

ENDS

For media enquiries call:

Douglas Keighley

PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 020 7490 6563

Email : douglas.keighley@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?117 MILLION ACQUISITION OF YOUTH FASHION RETAILER

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Kaupthing and Baugur on their ?117 million acquisition of youth fashion retail chain, Jane Norman. The move comes as the 95-store retailer plans to open up to 70 more outlets and start expansion abroad over the next three years.

The sale of Jane Norman, owned by private equity firm Graphite Capital, represents Pinsent Masons' first instructions from Kaupthing and Baugur.

Private equity partners Andrew Masraf and Roger Fink led the Pinsent Masons' team, assisted by corporate lawyers Gareth Hughes, Gareth Rees, Michael Berreen, Joanne McNeill and Olivia Phallipou and lawyers drawn from the firm's specialist retail team. Partner William Oliver and solicitor Frances Mallender advised on the banking aspects of the transaction.

Andrew Masraf said: 'We are delighted to have acted on the acquisition of Jane Norman, our first instructions from Kaupthing and Baugur. The deal presented many challenges, not least of which was the tight timescale ? we completed the acquisition three weeks after the buyer was granted exclusivity.'

The deal cements Pinsent Mason's position as a leading adviser within the retail sector. Recent deals include advising on the ?140 million sale of Rubicon Retail to The Shoe Studio Group and on the buy-in of MK One, which was backed by Baugur and Landsbanki.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Masraf, Private Equity,

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7418 9514

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES EALING COUNCIL ON STREET LIGHTING PFI

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

PFI specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised the London Borough of Ealing for the first time on the successful completion of the procurement of its street lighting PFI.

The 25 year long project, the first in this wave of street lighting PFIs to close, will involve the renewal and upgrading of street lighting across Ealing, including an initial ?20m replacement of over 20,000 items of equipment over the first 5 years.

The Council's private sector partner, EDF Energy will assume responsibility for the management, design, installation and ongoing repair and maintenance of the Borough's entire lighting stock, beginning in August this year.

Patrick Twist, National Head of Projects at Pinsent Masons said, 'Having acted on around half of all completed street lighting schemes, the firm was well-placed to advise on this PFI and it was one of the quickest and smoothest projects we have been involved with.'

Patrick Twist led the Pinsent Masons team, assisted by Duncan Halliwell (Construction & Engineering), with further assistance from Roxanna Shaheen (Projects), Mark Pakenham (Projects), Pam Sidhu (Employment), Gavin Paul (Pensions) and Simon Evans (Construction and Engineering).

EDF Energy were advised by Stephenson Harwood. The funders, Dexia Public Finance Bank, were advised by Tods Murray.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the UK street lighting market, having worked on a variety of projects advising both authorities and contractors.

The Projects Group has developed project agreements and documents whilst working on schemes and this material has been used as the basis for the Street Lighting Procurement Pack issued and updated by the 4ps, which is used by procuring authorities in the sector.

Completed schemes upon which the firm advised include; Islington LBC, Newcastle and North Tyneside MBCs, Sunderland MBC and Walsall MBC. The firm is are currently advising contractors or authorities on the schemes in Barnet/Enfield, Derby, Dorset, Ealing, Lambeth, Leeds, Redcar/Cleveland, South Tyneside and Surrey.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES CARE MANAGEMENT GROUP (UK) LIMITED ON FUNDING FOR CARE HOME EXPANSION PROGRAM

August 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised the Care Management Group of companies on the amendment and restatement of its loan facilities with Barclays Bank PLC. The new facilities will assist the Group with its expansion program for acquiring and developing care homes.

The deal enables the principal shareholder of Care Management Group (UK) Limited, ISIS EP LLP as the subordinated creditor of Barclays Bank PLC, to fully redeem its loan stock in the group whilst also increasing the group's existing loan facilities with the bank from ?26.7 million to ?64 million.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Private Equity Partner Andrew Masraf and included Banking Partner Martin Bishop and Senior Associate Tony Anderson.

Andrew stated: 'As part of our continued relationship with ISIS EP LLP and Care Management Group (UK) Limited we are delighted to have assisted both clients to move ahead with their plans in the increasingly competitive care home sector.'

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary UK LLP acted for Barclays Bank.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, CM Media Relations adviser

Pinsent Masons, 020 7490 6563

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 265 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

COURT OF APPEAL DECISION ON KPMG PENSIONS CASE ANNOUNCED

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justices Mummery, Chadwick and Jonathan Parker) today gave its decision in the case brought by the trustees of the KPMG Pension Scheme and appealed by KMPG.

The City law firm Pinsent Masons acted for the pensioners of the scheme, following High Court proceedings in July 2004 to establish whether it is a defined contribution or a defined benefit scheme.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision made at first instance that:

1. the scheme is not a money purchase scheme (contrary to what KPMG argued); and

2. KPMG therefore have a statutory obligation to fund the deficit in the scheme.

The Court of Appeal also held in favour of the pensioners in finding that the rules of the scheme do not allow pensions in payment to be reduced, overturning the High Court's decision on this point.

The Court of Appeal denied KPMG permission to appeal to the House of Lords against the decision. KPMG may decide to petition the House of Lords for permission to appeal.

Chris Mullen, Senior Partner at Pinsent Masons, who acted for the pensioners both in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, commented:'The Court of Appeal's decision that the scheme is not a money purchase scheme and that pensions in payment cannot be reduced are a huge relief to the pensioners after many months of uncertainty. Since they are retired, our clients have no ready means to make up any cut in their pensions. KPMG will now be obliged to fund the scheme's deficit, just like any other defined benefit scheme.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

1. The legal action was commenced by the trustees of the scheme to answer specific questions about

the nature of the scheme and the meaning of certain rules within it.

2. One such rule appeared to allow the reduction of pensions once they are in payment.

3. KPMG argued that the scheme was a money purchase scheme and that there was therefore no

funding obligation on it to make good the scheme's deficit, believed to be in excess of ?60-70 million.

4. The High Court held in favour of the members in deciding that the scheme was not a money

purchase scheme and that KPMG had an obligation to fund it. KPMG appealed this decision to the

Court of Appeal. The High Court did not agree with the pensioner's argument that the scheme's

first deed and rules did not allow pensions in payment to be reduced.

5. The pensioners, through their solicitors, Pinsent Masons, and Counsel, Robert Ham QC and Michael Tennet, argued in the Court of Appeal that the scheme was an average salary scheme, not a money purchase scheme, and that section 67 Pensions Act 1995 and the terms of the rules themselves prevented the exercise of a power to reduce pensions in payment. All three points were upheld by the Court of Appeal in its judgment issued on 28 July 2005 in a comprehensive victory for the pensioners.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON FINANCIAL CLOSE OF SPECIALIST HEALTHCARE PFI SCHEME IN THE NORTH EAST

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Financial close has been reached on the Walkergate Park for Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry bringing together neurorehabilitation and neuropsychiatry services currently provided over three locations in the north east. The project, commissioned by the Northgate & Prudhoe NHS Trust sponsored by UME Investment Co. Limited will be constructed and maintained by Clugston and funded by AIB Group (UK) plc.

The state-of-the-art facilities will provide a 65-bed centre of excellence for the provision of specialist services for stroke and head injury victims and be delivered by the Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust and the Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland Mental Health Trust.

The project incorporates innovative design and artistic elements including the commissioning of a chapel and ancillary other artwork by artists selected following the involvement of the Arts Council. The centre, which is scheduled to open in late 2006, will also house extensive therapy facilities (including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory gardens and a driver rehabilitation circuit).

UME Investment Co. Limited were advised by Pinsent Masons and Deloittes. This is the second scheme which UMEI (advised by Pinsent Masons and Deloittes) and Clugstons have jointly closed in the past four months and the third that UMEI have closed with Pinsent Masons.

Kate Peacock, who led the Pinsent Masons team, said 'We are delighted to have been involved in this project and to have continued to develop what is already a strong relationship with UMEI. We are very much looking forward to working together on future schemes.'

Northgate & Prudhoe NHS Trust were advised by Addleshaw Goddard, Mott Macdonald and Robson Rhodes. AIB Group (UK) plc were advised by Dickinson Dees and EC Harris.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, CM PR Adviser, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 020 7490 6378

Mob: 07717 156 559

Email: anna.sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Read more…

FT SWOOPS ON 22 CONSTRUCTION FIRMS IN EAST MIDLANDS

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has carried out a series of dawn raids on 22 construction companies in the East Midlands. Neither the type of company nor the companies concerned were identified but were all said to be based in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. The OFT said that the raids were undertaken following allegations of collusive tendering for public and private contracts won between 2000 and 2005 in breach of competition law.

The OFT carried out its searches using its civil powers under the Competition Act 1998. However, it has not ruled out that the investigation could involve the criminal cartel offence under the Enterprise Act 2002. This is significant for the following reasons:

? The OFT indicated at its recent Leniency Conference that regional cartels in the construction sector are ripe for considering a criminal prosecution. These new investigations might lead to the first criminal prosecution under the competition rules since they were introduced.

? Previous dawn raids were undertaken by the OFT and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in November 2004. These are understood to involve alleged corruption in relation to the letting of contracts for the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. The OFT has said that the recent raids do not relate directly to the ongoing SFO investigation but are part of an OFT investigation into possible breaches of the Competition Act.

? If the companies involved are found to have infringed the competition rules, fines of up to 10% of turnover can be imposed. If the criminal cartel offence is involved, individuals may face imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or disqualification as company directors for up to 15 years.

In its Annual Plan for 2005/6, the OFT identified a crack-down on anti-competitive practices in the construction sector as one of its key priorities for the next year. The OFT has said that it is convinced that anti-competitive practices are 'endemic' in this sector. It has already issued three decisions over the past couple of years in which roofing contractors have been heavily fined for collusive tendering activities and it has said that there are other cases in the pipeline. It is likely that these new investigations are in the building sector rather than the roofing sector and may involve building companies that tendered for NHS work in the East Midlands.

Alan Davis, a Competition Partner with law firm Pinsent Masons, said:

'The OFT has made it clear that prospective suppliers must prepare and submit tenders for bids independently of each other in order to ensure competition and that any collusion between suppliers is likely to infringe competition law. It is essential for companies in the construction sector to take steps to ensure they are in compliance with the competition rules on an on-going basis. Staff also need to be educated as to types of tendering practices that are considered to be anti-competitive: bid rigging can involve cover pricing, job sharing and bid suppression. For companies that are involved in such practices, they need to consider the option of applying for leniency which may result in reduced or zero fines.'

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest specialist competition law groups in the UK with considerable expertise and experience of advising clients on cartels and leniency.

ENDS

For media enquiries call:

Douglas Keighley

PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel :

Email :Douglas.keighley@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR BROKER ON WATERLINE GROUP PLC AIM ADMISSION

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading AIM lawyers Pinsent Masons have advised Daniel Stewart & Company Plc on the admission to AIM of one of the country's leading suppliers to the fitted kitchens industry, Waterline Group Plc.

Waterline Group, which is seeking to expand its business potential with customers, suppliers and investors by its higher profile as a publicly-quoted company, has been admitted to AIM with a market capitalisation of ?11.02 million. The company raised ?2 million from a placing of 2,500,000 shares at 84p per share.

The London Corporate team at Pinsent Masons, which has acted for Daniel Stewart & Company, the NOMAD and broker to the float, has been led by partner Jon Harris, with Nicola Marrin and Manmohan Panesar.

Waterline Group Plc has been advised Memery Crystal.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clear Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

In the past 18 months Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 14 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group, Copper Resources Corporation and InterQuest Group on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

NORWICH UNION AND OTHERS ACQUIRE ASSUREWEB

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Norwich Union and the four other product providers, comprising AEGON UK, Clerical Medical, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows who previously owned 40% of the Assureweb portal have agreed terms with Misys to take overall control of the business.

The deal involved a share buy back by Assureweb, leaving Norwich Union, AEGON UK, Clerical Medical, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows owning 100 per cent of the business. The move is intended to create an online portal owned by the financial services industry, working for the financial services industry.

Assureweb will remain the portal of choice for the financial advisers Sesame supports.

Launched in 1998 the Assureweb portal helps intermediaries improve their service, efficiency and profitability by doing business online. In 2001, Misys plc bought Assureweb, creating a centre of technology excellence in its financial services division. Assureweb is now a part of the Sesame group owned by Misys plc. Sesame is a leading provider of services for intermediaries.

Assureweb?s Managing Director Nigel Hopwood said: ?The new ownership structure demonstrates a real commitment from our key product providers to driving the business forward. It also reflects the growing importance of the proposition in the minds of the leading product providers within the sector and will allow us to continue our solid growth under the direction of the existing management team.

?The solid infrastructure and governance that Sesame (part of the Misys Group) put in place has been instrumental in developing the business to this point but we believe that it is now appropriate that Assureweb should be owned entirely by the provider community rather than a single distributor. With Sesame also continuing to support the Assureweb proposition through its ongoing commitment to our business model, we believe the deal works for all parties.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Assureweb was led by Andrew Kerr, assisted by Catherine Hemsworth, Shubhu Patil, Louise Fullwood and Giles Warrington.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies and a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 companies, has a national Corporate team of some 100 lawyers, of which 40 (including 14 partners) are based in its London City office.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BALFOUR BEATTY CONSTRUCTION JOINT VENTURE ON ?130 MILLION BASSETLAW GROUPED S

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Construction and PFI specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised Balfour Beatty Construction Limited and Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (as joint venture building contractor) on Nottinghamshire Council?s Bassetlaw Grouped schools project. The capital element of the project entails construction works to the value of approximately ?130 million.

The 25 year concession involves the construction and operation of four new secondary schools, a new special school and two new centres for post-16 education in Retford and Worksop and a new secondary school in Tuxford. It will also create two new leisure centres for Bassetlaw District Council. Phased completion of the new facilities is scheduled for 2006 and 2007.

Graham Alty, Construction & Engineering Partner Team at Pinsent Masons commented, 'Having advised Balfour Beatty Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick on schools projects at Rotherham, East Lothian and most recently North Lanarkshire, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with them again on this prestigious scheme. This is the eleventh schools project where Pinsent Masons have acted for building contractors in the past three years, and with more projects due to close in the coming months, helps cement our position as leading legal advisors in this sector.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Joanne Walsh and Graham Alty, assisted by Chris Hallam, Hannah Fletcher and Natalie Cropps ? all from the Transactional Team of the UK Construction & Engineering Practice Group.

Tods Murray LLP advised Transform Schools, Eversheds advised Nottinghamshire Council and McGrigors advised the funders.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Lakhbir Rakar, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 260 4005

Email: lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons' Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 dedicated lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work. Regarded as the 'market leader' by Legal 500 we have extensive experience and expertise in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues. The firm also has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

OXFORD NEWTECH ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON REVERSE TAKEOVER OF ZI MEDICAL PLC

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic company, Oxford Newtech Limited, has been advised by a London corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its reverse takeover of AIM-quoted ZI Medical plc.

Oxford Newtech, an investee company of the leading European biotechnology venture capital fund, Merlin Biosciences, was formed to provide a platform for developing a significant UK based clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic company. Its focus is on developing products for the US and European healthcare markets and on systems to expedite drug discovery and development. The enlarged group's strategy is to build on the successes achieved by ZI Medical to date in advancing product from prototype to market, in order to develop products for the growing UK, European and US clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic markets.

The combined group will have a market capitalisation of approximately ?14 million following completion of a ?3.4 million placing by ZI Medical.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Oxford Newtech was led by London Corporate Finance Partner, Darius Lewington with assistance from William Bankes. Pinsent Masons also acted for Merlin Biosciences on its original investment in Oxford Newtech in January 2005.

ZI Medical was advised by the Manchester office of Halliwells. Brewin Dolphin Securities Limited acted as Nominated Adviser and Broker to ZI Medical.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA ON ?830M GAUTRAIN RAPID RAI

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons are supporting South African law firm Ledwaba Mazwai in advising the Gauteng Provincial Government on the R7bn (?830m) Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Project ('Gautrain'), the largest transportation infrastructure PPP project ever undertaken by South Africa. The government has announced that it has appointed the Bombela Consortium (Bombardier Transportation, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Murray & Roberts, the Loliwe companies and RATP D?veloppement) as preferred bidder.

Gautrain consists of an 80-km high speed rail system linking Johannesburg and Pretoria which is a key element of the infrastructure development programme due to be completed before South Africa hosts the 2010 football World Cup. Gautrain will be transferred back to the Gauteng Provincial Government at the end of the concession period. This concession period consists of a 4-5 year construction period followed by a 15 year operating period.

Patrick Twist, Pinsent Masons National Head of Projects said, 'Over a decade ago, we began advising the Government of South Africa on the first prison projects to reach financial close procured under PPP principles. Since then the firm has advised on several high-profile projects in the region and by doing so, has made a significant contribution to the success of the PPP programme in South Africa. It was a pleasure to work with this Government project team and we look forward to closing this important infrastructure project, one of the many transport infrastructure projects we are working on throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Geoffrey Roberts (Projects Partner), Chris Kelly (Projects Partner), Sachin Kerur (Construction & Energy Senior Associate), Giles Taylor (Projects Senior Associate), Lisa Baird (Projects Associate), Ken Cooke (Projects Consultant) and Liam Terry (Projects Trainee Solicitor).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience across all rail sectors both in the UK and internationally, having worked on a variety of major rail projects. These include;

? Dockland Light Railway Extension - advising the concessionaire;

? Dublin Light Rail System (Luas) - advising the department of Public Enterprise;

? Barcelona Bax Llobregat Tramway - advising Depfa Bank on the financing of this project;

? UK Rail Franchises - advising the Strategic Rail Authority on the extensions of existing franchises.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS ON ?500M INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS PROJ

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

International projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons together with PricewaterhouseCoopers and EC Harris advised the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the Cyprus Airports PPP Project which has achieved commercial close. The Project is the first major PPP project for Cyprus leading the way for future development of the country's infrastructure through public private partnerships and is one of the largest airport projects in Europe to date.

The contract is a 25 year concession between the Government and Hermes Airports Limited for the development and operation of the country's international airports at Larnaka and Pafos. Hermes Airports Limited is a special purpose vehicle comprising shareholders such as French construction giant Bouygues Bat?ment, airport operators YVR (Vancouver), Aer Rianta and A?roport Nice C?te d?Azur and a number of Cypriot partners including Cyprus Trading Corporation Ltd, Hellenic Mining Company and the contractors, Iacovou Brothers Ltd and Charilaos Apostolides & Co.

Under the terms of the contract Hermes Airports Limited will take over the existing airports and will construct new passenger terminals and associated infrastructure at both airports at a capital investment of around ?500 million. Together, the enhanced airports will be able to handle over 10 million passengers annually to a high level of quality standard (in 2004, almost 6.7 million passengers passed through the airports). The company will undertake further expansion of the airports as demand requires.

Andrew Dewsnap, Projects Partner commented, 'This has been an extremely interesting airport project to work on with lots of unique issues that had to be considered arising from the particular circumstances of Cyprus, its accession to the EU during the process and the fact it is the first PPP project to have been undertaken by the Government. Achieving commercial close will be seen as an important milestone for the development of further infrastructure projects on the island including the Pafos-Polis road and the Larnaka Port project where we are also part of the Government advisory team.'

Barry Francis, Head of Projects in London, added, 'Cyprus Airports follows two other important transport infrastructure projects which have recently achieved important milestones. Financial close was reached last month on the ?240m Docklands Light Railway extension in which we supported Amec/ RBS and the selection earlier this month of Bombela consortium as preferred bidder by our client the Gauteng Provincial Government on the ?830m project to link Pretoria to Johannesburg.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Andrew Dewsnap, Catherine Workman (Projects Partner) and Carly Caton (Projects Solicitor).

The sponsors were advised by Norton Rose (Jon Ellis and Mark Jury) and the four mandated lead arranger banks by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Peter Block).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, the firm has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the airports sectors both in the UK and internationally, having worked on a variety of airport projects. These include;

? Hyderabad International Airport, India - advising the preferred bidder;

? Mukalla International Airport, Yemen - advising the consortium;

? SkyPlaza Project (facilities at the existing terminal at Chep Lap Kok), Hong Kong ? advising the contractor;

? Beruit Airport ? advising the Government of Lebanon;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Storage Farm ? advising consortium;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Hydrant System ? advising consortium;

? Birmingham International Aiport ? advising public authorities;

? Luton Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Gatwick Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Kuala Lumpur International Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Second Runway ? advising the authority.

Read more…

ABBOT GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?75.4 MILLION PROSAFE ACQUISITION

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Major offshore drilling contractor, Abbot Group plc, is being advised by a London Corporate Finance team from law firm Pinsent Masons, on the ?75.4 million acquisition of a Norwegian North Sea drilling contractor.

The acquisition by Abbot Group of Prosafe Drilling Services AS announced is being accompanied by a fundraising placing of approximately 8.8 million new ordinary shares at a price of 230 pence per share to raise approximately ?20 million.

Abbot Group, the largest offshore platform drilling contractor in the UK sector of the North Sea and one of the largest international land drilling operators outside the Americas, sees the Prosafe Drilling Services acquisition as a key part of its strategic drive to offer a complete portfolio of platform drilling and engineering services to the world's major oil companies, so securing the position of lead company in that field.

Pinsent Masons' Banking & Finance team has also advised Abbot Group on an NOK 750 million of additional facilities with The Royal Bank of Scotland and The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland to finance the acquisition in part.

Pinsent Masons lead adviser to FTSE 250-ranked Abbot Group, Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Farkas, commented: 'This is an important deal for Abbot as it gives them an entry into the Norwegian sector of the North Sea enabling them to offer services across the North Sea to major oil company clients. It also gives them a platform for developing their presence in the significant Norwegian market with major Norwegian oil companies both in Norway and internationally.'

JPMorgan Cazenove Limited is acting as the sole financial adviser to Abbot. JPMorgan Cazenove and Arden Partners Limited are acting as joint lead managers in respect of the placing.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Abbot Group, led by Alan Farkas, comprised Hannah Brader and Stephen Swan (corporate), Martin Bishop and Kate Myles (banking & finance); Martyn Hann and Vivien Gray IP/IT); Louise Haworth (competition), Robert Mecrate-Butcher (employment), and Mark Cawthron (tax).

Abbot Group has been advised in Norway by Norwegian firm Bugge, Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen, led by Morten P.Sm?rdal and Thomas J Fjell.

Prosafe has been advised by Norwegian firm, Wikborg, Rein & Co led by Haakon Blaauw, and by Goldman Sachs.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies and a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 companies, has a national Corporate team of some 100 lawyers, of which 40 (including 14 partners) are based in its London City office.

Read more…

DUNEDIN ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON BACKING OF ?27M MBO OF ZENITH VEHICLE CONTRACTS

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the UK's leading independent fleet management specialists has been successfully sold to management in a ?27 million deal backed by Dunedin Capital Partners.

Dunedin provided an ?11 million funding package of equity and mezzanine, with the company?s existing bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, providing a senior debt and working capital facility.

Zenith is a niche provider of bespoke fleet management services, normally to companies with car fleets of 250 to 1,500 cars, and supplies a blue chip client base which includes Asda, DuPont, Ernst & Young, Persimmon, Remploy and BUPA.

Andrew Cope, chief executive of Zenith, led the buyout supported by finance director Mark Phillips, sales director Philip Jerome and commercial director David Loseby. Mark Ligertwood and Shaun Middleton of Dunedin led, structured and completed the transaction. Ligertwood will join the company as a non-executive director. The MBO will allow the management team to grow the business significantly over the next five years.

Andrew Cope of Zenith commented: ?The MBO will allow us to continue to develop the business through excellent service provision and product innovation. This, together with significant investment in information technology, has already enabled the company to win larger contracts whilst continuing to focus on existing customers and with Dunedin?s backing we look forward to seeing this trend continue over the coming years.?

Mark Ligertwood, investment director of Dunedin added: ?This was an excellent opportunity to back a management team we have been tracking for some considerable time, in a growing cash generative business. This energetic, dynamic and creative team has the drive to take the business to the next stage of development.

'This is the second consecutive deal in which Dunedin has provided over ?10 million of debt and equity. It provided ?11 million of debt and equity finance for the MBO of New Horizons in December 2004.?

Peter Wood led the Pinsent Masons team advising Dunedin on their equity investment, assisted by Anna Whetham, and John Cleland and Philip Scott advised Dunedin on their mezzanine investment.

The deal saw a full exit for 3i.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Dunedin Capital Partners is an independent mid-market private equity company owned by its directors. The company specialises in the provision of private equity for MBO's, MBI's and acquisitions with a transaction size of ?10m - ?50m. Dunedin operates throughout the UK from its offices in Edinburgh and London.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm is ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies and is a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 companies.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ANNOUNCES NEW SENIOR PARTNER

July 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading law firm, Pinsent Masons, has announced the election of a new senior partner. Chris Mullen, joint head of the firm's Financial Services & Insurance Chosen Market and Group Head of Employment, Pensions and Tax, takes over from Julian Tonks who has stepped down for health reasons.

Chris Mullen was elected after a vote of the firm's 264 partners in the UK and overseas. He takes up the position from 1 July 2005. His term of office will run concurrent with that of the firm's board through to December 2007.

'I am delighted and honoured to be taking on the role of senior partner, although saddened by the circumstances in which this has come about,' said Chris. 'Six months post-merger Pinsent Masons is seeing the benefits of its merger. Our decision to focus our strengths into those market sectors where our expertise and experience make a real difference for clients is bearing fruit. We will all be working hard to ensure this continues.'

Chris operates at the forefront of one of the fastest developing and highest profile areas of law. As one of the country's most respected pensions lawyers, he acts for some of the UK's largest companies and pension schemes. He has extensive experience across the whole range of pensions law, including strategic advice, mergers and transaction-related work, advice for independent trustees, dispute resolution and compliance.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Chris Mullen

Chris Mullen qualified as a lawyer in 1986 with the then Biddle & Co. He built a highly successful pensions team at Biddle and became head of Biddle's pensions group in 1998, then national head of that group when the firm merged with legacy Pinsents in 2001. In 2002 Chris became lead partner of the firm's Financial Services & Insurance 'chosen market', sharing this role as joint lead partner following the merger of Pinsents and Masons last December. In December 2004 Chris also became Group Head of Employment Pensions & Tax, when those groups were aligned in a restructuring of the firm's practice areas. As Group Head, Chris is responsible for the three national teams of employment pension and tax lawyers, numbering well in excess of 100 and under both roles combined has responsibility for approximately one-third of the firm's turnover. Within the Financial Services and Insurance Chosen Market, Chris is responsible for developing the firm?s understanding and penetration of this key market for the firm.

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 264 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances or joint ventures with firms in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies. It is a top 20 adviser to FTSE 100 companies and in the top 10 of advisers to FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 companies.

Pinsent Masons board comprises the Senior Partner, Managing Partner (David Ryan), Chosen Markets Partner (Alastair Morrison), International Partner (Tony Bunch) and Finance Director (Steve Hancock).

Julian Tonks

Julian Tonks, one of the country's leading tax lawyers, was appointed senior partner to the then Pinsent & Co in 1994. He retained that position through three mergers which has seen the business grow into a ?150 million turnover, international business.

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF FIRST CORPORATE DEAL FOR LEND LEASE

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lend Lease Europe Holdings Limited has used the corporate team of law firm Pinsent Masons for the first time to advise on the high profile ?261million acquisition of The Crosby Group plc.

The choice of Pinsent Masons, among just five firms to be appointed to Lend Lease Europe's first ever UK panel, represents a massive show of confidence by the company, which had a strong pre-merger relationship with the construction team at Masons.

Lend Lease Europe, a subsidiary of the listed Australian property company, Lend Lease Corporation, moved to appoint its UK law firm panel just as partners at the legacy Masons and Pinsents firms were to vote on a merger ? some three months before the new Pinsent Masons was launched.

The strength of the Masons' relationship and its market leading construction team, combined with the corporate capability of Pinsents, and the merged firm's market sector focus helped to secure the prestigious panel place alongside Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Eversheds and DLA.

'The proposed acquisition by Lend Lease Europe of Crosby from The Berkeley Group Holdings plc is the first real opportunity the company has had to test our corporate capability,' said Pinsent Masons London Corporate Finance Partner, Jeremy Phillips, who led the team advising Lend Lease.

'The scope of the deal which involved investigating and reporting on 11 major development sites belonging to Crosby in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, and a further 22 other main sites as well as some 196 other properties, means that Lend Lease has had a good chance to experience our corporate, property, environmental, pensions, employment, IP and IT capability,' said Phillips.

The deal is the kind of dividend Pinsent Masons anticipated reaping from its merger, building on the strength of its client relationships to offer a new and broader service as a result of the enhanced expertise and services of the merged firm.

The nature of the Lend Lease deal brought a further 'dividend' for Pinsent Masons with many of the lawyers in the 100-strong multi-discipline, multi-office team working together for the first time. 'I cannot praise highly enough the hard work, dedication and commitment of the team,' said Phillips.

The deal, which is expected to complete on 8 July, has seen Lend Lease Europe Holdings Limited acquire Crosby, the leading urban regeneration specialist which has built its reputation around city living, from The Berkeley Holdings Group plc. The deal includes a ?10 million payment to the Crosby management team, which gained a stake in the business two years ago. The management team, led by Geoff Hutchinson, is to stay on.

The deal broadens the scope for participation by Lend Lease, developer of the massive Bluewater Shopping Centre in Essex, in major land development schemes, Government-sponsored affordable housing and urban regeneration projects, and mixed-use retail/ residential projects.

Neil Martin, In-House Counsel at Lend Lease Europe, said: 'Crosby Homes is a major acquisition for Lend Lease and the part Pinsent Masons played in the deal was crucial to its success. What was particularly pleasing was the strength and depth of the new merged firm to resource the deal with high quality specialist lawyers from a range of departments.

The fact that the Pinsent Masons core markets align with our own is something that as a company we place high on the agenda.'

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a top 15 UK law firm and ranks in the Global 100. The firm has more than 260 partners, a legal team of over 900 and total staff worldwide in excess of 1,500. The team acting on the Crosby Group acquisition included:

? Corporate ? Jeremy Phillips (lead partner), Andrew Masraf (partner), Robert Moir, Iain Butler, Sadhbh Kavanagh.

? Property ? Hugh Bruce Watt (partner), Kevin Boa, Sian Porton, Stephen Brown (partner), Harry Nesbitt, Jonathan Riley, Richard Griffiths, Aniki Porter, Richard Collett, Shayne Foley, Andrew Pedley, Charlotte Underwood, Ian Stewart, Lucy Edwards, James Speed, Peter Denley, David Meecham, Jenny Wilson, Richard Daffern (partner), Sean Houlihan, Ali Ramza, Clive Linley, Graham Garvie, Rachel Anderson, Mark Taylor, Joseph Gill (partner).

? Environmental ? Richard Ford (partner), Helen Keele, Claire Smith, Victoria Austin, Alex Burton.

? Pensions ? Alastair Meeks (partner), Josie Crump, Sarah Boon.

? Employment ? Tom Flanagan (partner), Emma Peacock, Sarah Banatvala.

? Banking & Finance ? Martin Bishop (partner), Frances Mallender.

? Tax ? Stephen Lane (partner).

? Outsourcing & Technology ? Martyn Hann (partner), Elizabeth Cook, James Pratt.

? Insurance ? Matthew Griffith (partner), Simon Thomas.

? Construction ? Michael Mullarkey (partner), Brad Fearn, Edward Butler.

? DR&L ? Kevin Bridges, Louise Nahon.

Other advisers:

The Berkeley Group Holdings plc was advised by Shearman & Sterling

The Management of The Crosby Group plc was advised by Eversheds.

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

Smart & Cook makes biggest acquisition to date

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Smart & Cook Group Limited has been advised by Pinsent Masons on one of its largest acquisitions to date ? the purchase of Hammon Osborne Holdings Limited. The purchase will put Smart & Cook's premium income above ?200 million for the first time and its revenues should break the ?30 million mark.

Hammon Osborne of Northampton has operated in the insurance broking business for clients across the UK for almost 30 years.

The acquisition is the 47th for Harrogate-based Smart & Cook since it was founded in 1968. The company, which specialises in serving the small to medium sized business sector, operates a UK network of 16 locally-managed region offices and employs over 450 people.

Corporate Partner Peter Wood led for Pinsent Masons assisted by Catherine Hemsworth (corporate) supported by Caroline McDermott (tax), Philip Scot (banking) and Liz Johnson and Andrew Long (insurance).

The Pinsent Masons team has advised Smart & Cook on its ?57 million investment by 3i and The Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as on a series of strategic acquisitions including Credit Insurance Brokers (UK) Limited Gale & Philipson Limited, G&P Investments Limited, Mandroyds Limited, Alan H Lavendar & Co Limited and Lindo & Tindale Limited

Hammon Osborne were advised by Howes Percival, Leicester.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 265 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BALFOUR BEATTY CONSTRUCTION JOINT VENTURE ON ?140 MILLION NORTH LANARKSHIRE S

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Construction and PFI specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised Balfour Beatty Construction Limited and Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (as joint venture building contractor) on North Lanarkshire Council?s Education 2010 PFI schools project. The capital element of the bond financed project involves construction works to the value of approximately ?140 million and over ?100 million of long-term service revenue.

The 31-year concession involves the construction and operation of 21 new schools, including three large secondary schools in Airdrie and Coatbridge, six primary schools and a further 12 primary schools provided over six joint campus facilities, together with a public library and a Community Education Centre. There is potential for a further three schools to be constructed as part of the project.

Construction work by the joint venture building contractor began under an advance works contract in October 2004. Completed schools will be handed over between January 2006 and October 2008.

Graham Alty, Construction & Engineering Partner at Pinsent Masons commented, 'This is the tenth schools project where Pinsent Masons have acted for building contractors in the past three years, with another three projects due to close in the next few months. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to again work with Balfour Beatty on this important project which will result in a great number of state of the art schools for the next generation.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Chris Hallam (Senior Associate), and included Hannah Fletcher and Ian Stubbs ? all from the Transactional Team ofthe Construction & Engineering Practice Group.

Tods Murray LLP advised Transform Schools, Shepherd & Wedderbern advised North Lanarkshire Council and McGrigors advised the funders.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons' Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 dedicated lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work. Regarded as the 'market leader' by Legal 500 we have extensive experience and expertise in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues.

The firm also has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ODPM/4ps ON 'DEVELOPING JOINT SERVICE CENTRES THROUGH NHS LIFT, PFI AND BSF'

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Public Private Partnership specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have developed a toolkit for 4ps and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), designed to steer local authorities through the process for developing joint service centres providing access to a range of local services.

The procurement pack was launched by Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, to help facilitate collaboration between councils, NHS Trusts, other public sector bodies and voluntary agencies. It also includes a model contract, approved by HM Treasury as being compliant with standard PFI mandatory drafting for use on all PFI joint service centres.

Pinsent Masons were appointed by 4ps to assist with the development of guidance for authorities to identify:

? how joint service centres can assist authorities meeting their Gershon efficiency targets,

? opportunities for collaborative working with other public and voluntary sector agencies as well as strategies for managing associated risks;

? how to conduct options analyses to help determine whether traditional procurement, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), the Department of Health's Local Improvement Finance Trust initiative (LIFT) or the Department for Education and Skill's Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF) is the most suitable delivery vehicle; and

? the steps needed to deliver a joint service centre through PFI and LIFT.

Ranked as number one in the Public Private Finance league tables, having closed more UK PPP projects than any other law firm (with a combined capital value in excess of ?200 billion), Pinsent Masons' expertise in using its transactional experience to develop local government sector specific guidance is illustrated through its hat-trick of assisting with the drafting of the:

? 4ps/ODPM Housing (HRA and Non-HRA) PFI Procurement Pack,

? 4ps/Defra Waste Management Procurement Pack; and

? 4ps/ODPM Joint Service Centre Procurement Pack.

Launching the pack, Jim Fitzpatrick MP said, 'I commend this Procurement Pack as a valuable tool that will contribute both to the development of joint service centres as a means of improving the face-to-face element of access to public services and information; and of facilitating joint working with other public agencies, particularly with the health sector though the LIFT initiative.'

Alan Aisbett, Pinsent Masons Projects Partner, commented, 'The requirement for authorities to deliver annual efficiency savings has been given renewed focus since the implementation of the Gershon Review. This Procurement Pack goes further than other packs by addressing how authorities can use the benefits of existing PPP delivery vehicles for the mutual benefit of a range of public and voluntary sector partners. The model documentation and guidance contained will ensure authorities and their partners are excellently placed to deliver efficient and accessible public services organised around the needs of service users.'

Rob Hann, 4ps Director, Legal and Joint Services, added, ?I am very grateful to the Pinsent Masons team for their help and assistance during the development of this procurement pack and model contract. The pack represents two years of hard work by all concerned. The pack harvests the know-how from a number of PFI and NHS LIFT schemes, particularly those at Stoke and Newcastle and captures that knowledge for wider local government use.'

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Alan Aisbett (Partner), Yousof Khan (Senior Associate) and Navjeet Virk (Solicitor).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

4ps (the public private partnerships programme) are the local government expert procurement agency, a local government central body.

Pinsent Masons has advised on over a third of all LIFT projects which have closed to date, are on the 4ps national panel of legal advisers to for LIFT and are on the Partnerships for Schools panel of legal advisers for BSF. Further details about BSF and LIFT can be obtained from www.bsf.gov.org.uk and www.doh.gov.uk respectively.

Read more…

SCOTTISH GAMES DEVELOPER ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ACQUISITION

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Premier computer games developer, DC Studios, has been advised by a team from Pinsent Masons in Leeds and Scotland on the acquisition of certain assets and the licence of rights to develop the State of Emergency 2 game.

Canadian-based DC Studios, which develops games for leading brands such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, acquired the assets and licence from the Scottish-based games developers VIS Entertainment and SOE Development acting by their administrator, Tenon Limited.

The Scottish arm of DC Studios, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, will now complete the development of State of Emergency 2 in readiness for a market launch.

Taking place 10 years after the events of the original title, State of Emergency 2 will offer similar gameplay mechanics to its predecessor while adding a host of new modes, more weapons, and an original engine that has been built from the ground up.

The Pinsent Masons team advising DC Studios comprised John Salmon (Outsourcing, Technology & Commercial ? OTC Partner), Louise Fullwood (OTC), Derek Stroud (Head of Corporate, Scotland), Stephen Swan (Corporate) and Neil Hogg (Property).

Mark Greenshields, DC Studios' CEO commented: 'John Salmon and his team pulled out the stops to get this acquisition done as quickly as possible and were instrumental in helping us through the complexities of this transaction. When push came to shove Pinsent Masons came through for DC and we are glad to have them as our legal advisors here in the UK.'

Pinsent Masons' Partner John Salmon, added: 'DC Studios has a great games development track record and this acquisition is an exciting development opportunity for the Scottish operation.'

The administrators were advised by Shepherd + Wedderburn.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Eilidh Douglas, Business Development Executive

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 0141 249 5408 or

Clare Turnbull on: 0845 300 32 32

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. The firm has a market-leading Outsourcing and Technology practice.

Read more…

ISISEP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON INVESTMENT IN BOLDON JAMES MBO

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

ISIS Equity Partners plc (ISISEP) has been advised by a specialist team from Pinsent Masons on its investment in Boldon James Limited, a messaging solution provider. The company has been sold to its management team by Boldon James Holdings Limited in a ?5.5 million transaction.

Crewe based Boldon James Limited which employs 63 people supplies formal messaging software solutions, such as secure email, to defence and intelligence organisations across the world as well as to local and national Governments. It has also recently pioneered the introduction of similar standards to the civil aviation market. Its applications are commonly used for communicating highly confidential strategic and tactical information across multiple sites and geographic jurisdictions, which are applicable for both combat and corporate arenas.

Corporate Partner Peter Wood led for Pinsent Masons assisted by a cross-departmental team including Catherine Hemsworth and Jon Robinson (corporate), Stephen Woods and Emma Kerr (banking), Pam Young (property), Caroline McDermott (tax), Louise Crook (employment), Ian McKie (Commercial) and John Hanratty (pensions).

James Hall and Andy Gregory led the transaction for ISISEP. Andy Gregory will join the Boldon James board on behalf of ISISEP. Joining the business as Chairman is Richard Beaton, former CEO of Imasys and Anite Public Sector Limited.

The MBO was led by Managing Director Martin Sugden who commented: ?The military and intelligence sectors have been quick to grasp the need for adding functionality to basic e-mail to provide certain and secure delivery. Boldon James is the market leader in the provision of this functionality. Large corporates are now realising that the key strength of e-mail, its ease of use, is leading to significant management and control problems, which Boldon James is well placed to deal with.?

James Hall of ISIS Equity Partners added: ?The strength of the recurring underlying revenue streams of Boldon James combined with prospects for growth made this deal an attractive opportunity for us. We are looking forward to supporting Martin and the management team with the development of the business.?

Management were advised by Wragge & Co. Debt finance was provided by Lloyds TSB Acquisition Finance. Grant Thornton Corporate Finance advised BJ Holdings Ltd.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 265 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

New Forum for Healthcare Sector Investors Launched

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Healthcare has become one of the 'hot' sectors for UK private equity investment, ranking as the third most active sector, and now two firms of professional advisers have decided to encourage more mid-market activity.

The sector's power to generate cash, growth opportunities offered by an ageing population, the debt market's willingness to fund transactions and prospects of further consolidation have driven investment interest in the sector.

Chief among the areas of interest are the provision of residential care for the elderly, specialist care homes for children and adults with learning and/or behavioural difficulties and associated educational facilities.

The interest coincides with a time when the ever-increasing standards being imposed by the regulatory bodies, such as CSCI and Ofsted, on smaller care home businesses makes them uneconomic and is fuelling consolidation activity.

Whilst the big players such as Blackstone, Barchester and Southern Cross receive plenty of attention, the quality mid-market players have been less talked about but this is where the consolidation opportunities lie. Activity is focused both on putting similar businesses together and on creating specialist multidisciplinary groups of homes offering a high quality of care.

Many of these mid-market businesses are now targets for venture capitalists who will focus on looking for ways to add value and a route to exit, further fuelling the market. The key, as always, is finding quality managers who can maintain the standards of care as a business grows.

Law firm Pinsent Masons and PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance have both experienced the explosion of interest in the sector at first hand, with their active and well respected national healthcare teams advising on a series of mid-market deals.

They have now decided to gather the best mid-sized specialist care businesses together to provide a networking opportunity, enabling the key members of these organisations to meet on an informal basis to swap ideas and discuss topical issues.

Stephen Bradshaw, the Director of Schools and Development at the Priory Group, guest speaker at the first networking dinner held at Bank Restaurant, Birmingham, gave his views on the challenges facing the specialist care and education market.

Stephen commented: 'The high interest in the care and education markets at the moment is understandable. They are specialist areas with high barriers to entry with a set income paid in advance; what has been unusual is the length of time it has taken investors to consider this market stable and profitable enough to invest in.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Joanne Ellis, Corporate Partner, Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 335 2914

Andy Parker, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance, on: 0121 265 5536.

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. The firm is strongly sector focused and has a leading practice in corporate and public sector healthcare.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.PricewaterhouseCoopers.com/uk) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients. More than 120,000 people in 144 countries connect their thinking, experience and solutions to build public trust and enhance value for clients and their stakeholders.

Unless otherwise indicated, PricewaterhouseCoopers refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP a limited liability partnership incorporated in England. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON WASTE CONTAINER BUSINESS SALE TO ECI PARTNERS

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The selling shareholders of market leading waste container manufacturer, Taylor Continental Holdings Limited, have been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the buyout of their business by ECI Partners.

ECI Partners, a leading UK mid-market buyout specialist, is backing a new management team, which includes Alden Taylor, grandson of the founder.

Taylor Continental, which manufactures a range of steel and plastic waste containers for household and commercial markets, employs 200 people at its Worcestershire base. It had a turnover of ?22.6 million in 2004.

Private equity specialists at Pinsent Masons have advised the selling shareholders, family members Anton, Adair, Alston and Axine Taylor, on the sale of the entire issued share capital for an undisclosed sum.

The Pinsent Masons team has been led by Private Equity Partner, Paul Harkin with Lee Clifford, Jonathan Snade and Alexander Edmondson (corporate); Veronica McMahon and Chris Thomas (tax); Charlotte Underwood (property); Giles Warrington and Amy Hitchen (competition); Paul McClenaghan (Outsourcing, technology & commercial); Andrea Paxton (employment) and Ashton Davies (pensions).

ECI Partners have been advised by Burges Salmon and PwC Finance.

The management team has been advised by Osborne Clarke

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a top 15 UK law firm with more than 260 partners, a legal team in excess of 900 and more than 1500 staff worldwide. The firm boasts a national Corporate Group of almost 100 lawyers, of which 36 are partners.

The firm is ranked as a top 10 advisers to UK listed companies and is in the top 20 of M&A legal advisers in the UK and in Europe.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Supports Extension of Major MoD Telecoms Outsourcing Contract

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing, Technology and Commercial practice announced today that it has acted on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the renegotiation and extension of the Defence Fixed Telecommunications System (DFTS) contract with BT. The extension to the project is valued in excess of ?1.5 billion and will secure the continued delivery of essential telecommunications services to the MoD and the UK Armed Forces as well as providing significant cost savings to the MoD.

Pinsent Masons advised the MoD on all legal aspects of the DFTS contract, widely perceived to be one of the most successful telecoms partnering arrangements in government. The team was led by technology partners David Isaac and Bridget Fleetwood, supported by assistants Ben Murphy and David Cole. As part of the renegotiation, the Pinsent Masons team reviewed key areas of the previous contract to reflect developments in PPP and telecoms best practice.

The original DFTS contract was awarded to BT in 1997 following a competition, and enabled the MoD to rationalise its telecoms service requirement and achieve major cost savings. The extended contract will involve the introduction of new technology and produce benefits to contribute to operational effectiveness and future capabilities. It will also provide further, substantial cost savings, predicted at ?15 million per year.

Bridget Fleetwood, a partner at Pinsent Masons commented, ?The DFTS contract is one of the most advanced partnerships in telecoms outsourcing in the UK, demonstrating how the private sector can work with government to provide value and effective technology solutions. This extension will encourage both parties to drive change to address the current and future needs of the MoD. In addition, the significant savings predicted through this new contract are a good example of why we recommend that outsourcing contracts should be regularly reviewed and, where appropriate, renegotiated.?

Darryl Midgley, who heads up the integrated project team responsible for DFTS, commented, ?With the DFTS contract extension now extended to 2012, we at last have a stable platform on which to concentrate our efforts for some time to come. Considerable hard work was expended by both teams in finalising the negotiations, and everyone involved should be congratulated in a magnificent effort which has enabled a deal that will deliver more than ?200m in savings to the Department.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray,Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES PANMURE GORDON & CO ON TENDER OFFER

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Panmure Gordon & Co is being advised by a corporate team from the London office of UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on a tender offer by property investment company, London & Associated Properties PLC (LAP).

Panmure Gordon & Co is offering to purchase up to 10,309,278 Ordinary Shares at between 97p and 104p, with any tendered shares to be subsequently purchased on-market by LAP from Panmure Gordon & Co, in order to return up to ?10 million of capital to the shareholders of LAP. The tender offer closes on 24 June.

LAP has decided on the share buy back against the backcloth of a flat market for property investment and a desire to create value for its shareholders.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Panmure Gordon & Co comprises Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris, and senior associate, Sean Page.

LAP is being advised by Olswang.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies, has a national Corporate team of some 100 lawyers, of which 40 (including 14 partners) are based in its London City office.

Read more…

Docklands Light Railway ? Woolwich Arsenal extension reaches Financial Close

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The further development of the Docklands Light Railway reached a significant stage with the financial close of the DLR Woolwich Arsenal PPP project on 31st May 2005.

The project involves the construction of a 2.5 km extension from King George V to North Woolwich with two parallel bored tunnels being constructed under the Thames.

Pinsent Masons acted for Woolwich Arsenal Rail Enterprises Limited ('WARE') the Special Purpose Vehicle jointly owned by Amec and RBS. WARE raised ?240 million of debt and equity finance comprising ?100 million from EIB and ?115 million from RBS (the balance in equity).

Ian Laing led the cross-office team which included Jon Hart, Nick Tidnam, Annette Blane and Robert Graham.

WARE will be responsible for the maintenance of the railway for a period of approximately 30 years and for making it available to DLR (through its franchisee) to operate trains. The line is anticipated to be operational by 2009.

The aims for the Woolwich extension are stated as:

? To create a new link that will significantly improve access for the communities of Woolwich, Silvertown and North Woolwich, by providing an alternative crossing of the River Thames and assisting in a sustainable shift from car to public transport.

? To provide a new direct rail connection from Woolwich to the City and Canary Wharf and London City Airport that will enhance access to jobs and amenities.

? To be the catalyst for substantial regeneration of Woolwich and the Southern Royal Docks, and help to bring new jobs, homes, shops and leisure facilities to those areas.

EIB and The Royal Bank of Scotland were advised by Freshfields. acted for RBS and EIB, Docklands Light Railway were advised by Ashursts.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The firm advises 10 central government departments and over 15 agencies/NDPBs. We act for major UK listed companies and major multinational companies, including 76 companies in the FTSE 250, Fortune 500 and NASDAQ companies.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS PARTNER TAKES UP REINS AT FACULTY OF BUILDING

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Catriona Dodsworth, a Construction Partner at leading UK law firm Pinsent Masons, has been appointed as the new Chair of the London branch of the Faculty of Building.

Catriona, who succeeds Dean Buchanan of architects Buchanan Associates, has more than 10 years experience advising some of the UK's leading construction companies on major building and civil engineering contracts as well as acting in all the various forms of dispute resolution procedures including ADR.

She says : 'The construction industry has seen many changes over the past fifty years and although significant improvements have been made since the publication of the Egan report almost a decade ago there is still a long way to go. I am delighted and honoured to be appointed Chair of the London Branch of this prestigious organisation. For sixty years the Faculty of Building has been promoting good practice and fostering closer links between the many different professions within the construction industry. I intend to carry on that tradition by spearheading a number of profile raising and networking opportunities and initiatives for our members in London over the coming year.'

With more than 2000 members nationally (and around 200 in London) the Faculty of Building is a national networking organisation founded in 1945 to share knowledge, encourage good practice and promote continuous improvement across the diverse disciplines within the construction industry.

Richard Laudy, London Head of Construction at Pinsent Masons, said : 'Catriona's appointment will be a major asset to the organisation and is a credit to Pinsent Masons.'

Pinsent Masons is one of the UK's leading law firms. Its UK Construction & Engineering Group of 26 partners and more than 80 legal support staff in offices across the UK has extensive experience in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 321943

lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES PROVEXIS ON REVERSE TAKEOVER OF NUTRINNOVATOR

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Health food developer and nutraceutical company, Provexis Limited, is being advised by a London corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its reverse takeover of AIM-quoted Nutrinnovator Holdings plc.

Provexis, which has developed a drinks additive that may help to reduce the risk of heart attack, is aiming to raise approximately ?4 million via the reverse takeover of Nutrinnovator, a health food company producing cereal bars.

Nutrinnovator, whose shares are suspended during the bid process, is to apply for re-admission to AIM on 23 June when the company is to change its name to reflect the Provexis acquisition. Stephen Franklin, CEO of Provexis, is expected to become chief executive of the renamed group.

Provexis, founded six years ago, develops scientifically-proven, proprietary, functional foods and has the rights to a tomato extract called CardioFlow, whose properties help thin the blood and so reduce the risk of thrombosis in a similar way to aspirin. The company plans to launch a fruit juice containing CardioFlow with two major UK retailers towards the end of this year.

Nutrinnovator was founded by a team of former GlaxoSmithKline nutritional division executives three years ago and has focused on cereal bar production. Together the companies will be capable of making a bigger impact in the nutraceutical market.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Provexis is being led by London Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris, with Sadhbh Kavanagh and Manmohan Panesar (corporate) and Jane Jevon (share schemes).

Arbuthnot Securities Limited, the NOMAD and broker, is being advised by Norton Rose.

Nutrinnovator is being advised by Charles Russell.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications.

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group, Copper Resources Corporation and InterQuest Group on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

CRAEGMOOR HEALTHCARE ADVISED ON KEY ACQUISITION BY PINSENT MASONS

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate healthcare specialists at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, have advised the leading independent provider, Craegmoor Healthcare Company Limited on its acquisition of Sapphire Care Services Limited.

The Yorkshire based business which comprises five learning disability residential homes, a day centre and an outreach service providing care and support to adults with challenging behaviours, will be integrated into Craegmoor's Northern division.

?The acquisition of Sapphire Care Services will significantly strengthen our capability as one of the leading providers of care and support for adults with learning difficulties and in particular those who demonstrate challenging behaviours. The five homes and the day care centre and outreach service are recognised as offering high quality support and care in line with the principles of the valuing people guidelines,? commented Operations Director, Margaret Hill.

The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Craegmoor upon which Pinsent Masons' Corporate Healthcare specialist partner, Joanne Ellis, and her team have advised, including the acquisitions of Autism TASCC Services Limited, an independent provider of autism specific services with a ten-bed residential home, Collinson Court, in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, and Hometrack Limited which operates Bridgeway, a 27-bed residential and nursing home for young adults with physical disabilities in Ribbleton, near Preston.

The Pinsent Masons team advising on the Sapphire Care Services acquisition comprised Joanne Ellis, Ann McCarthy and Jonathan Snade (corporate); Martin Bishop (banking); Maxwell Creighton and Veronica McMahon (tax); Tom Eastwood (property); Gavin Paul (pensions); Elizabeth Slater (commercial); Charles Rae (employment) and Victoria Austin (planning & environmental).

Sapphire Care Services were advised by HSR Law in Doncaster.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Craegmoor Healthcare is the leading independent provider of specialist care in the UK, for over 5000 adults and children, across nearly 300 homes and independent hospitals.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm is strongly sector focused and has a leading practice in corporate and public sector healthcare.

Read more…

OFT LAUNCHES STUDY ON PROCUREMENT PRACTICES AND COMPETITION IN WASTE SECTOR

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Procurement practices and competition within the municipal waste industry are set to be scrutinised following the announcement of a major review of public sector procurement policies and practices by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT has joined forces with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and Defra to undertake a ten-month study aimed at exploring ways of improving the buying power of public sector procurers of municipal waste management services, discouraging anti-competitive arrangements and removing barriers to entry for smaller suppliers. This could have a long-term impact on companies active in the sector.

The review will pay particular attention to the anti-competitive effects of very long term contracts, integrated waste management contracts and the use of supplier accreditation lists by public sector procurers on small to medium-sized enterprises.

The OGC has been studying how to increase competition and improve long-term capacity planning in the government market place for the past few years and, in its Annual Plan for 2005/6, the OFT has recently identified the interaction between government and markets as one of its key priorities for the next year.

The OFT expects the study to be completed by March 2006. It may at that stage issue guidelines to public sector procurers on how to make the most of competition when procuring waste management services.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest specialist competition law groups in the UK with considerable expertise and experience of advising clients on UK competition law and public procurement.

Alan Davis, a Competition Partner with law firm Pinsent Masons, said:

'Both the OFT and OGC have been looking at ways of increasing competition and capacity planning within the municipal waste sector for some time. This latest study and the eventual OFT guidelines may well have a long term impact on the way in which waste management services are procured in the future. However, it is essentially prospective, and is unlikely to have any immediate impact on existing contractual arrangements. If the OFT wished to investigate current arrangements, it would have to use its powers under the Competition Act 1998 or under the market investigations regime of the Enterprise Act 2002.'

ENDS

For media enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Email : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON FIRST DUTCH OFF SHORE WIND FARM

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shell and Dutch energy company Nuon have signed the final contracts for their joint realization of the first Dutch offshore wind farm, located at Egmond aan Zee, 10 miles outside the Dutch coast. The wind farm will be constructed in 2006. NoordzeeWind (a 50/50 joint venture between Shell and Nuon) awarded the construction contract to Bouwcombinatie Egmond, a joint venture between Dutch offshore contractor Ballast Nedam and Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas.

Thirty-six wind turbines with an overall capacity of 108 Megawatts will be constructed 10 kilometres off the coast of Egmond aan Zee (the Netherlands). On a yearly basis, the wind turbines will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 Dutch households. From the end of 2006, the wind farm will start generating sustainable energy, which Nuon will supply to the Dutch market. The project involves an investment in excess of ? 200 million.

The project is accompanied by a comprehensive research programme designed to increase knowledge about offshore wind energy. This will study the effects on both nature and the environment, as well as the technical aspects, such as turbine behaviour and integration into the electricity grid. This will help to increase expertise for the construction of larger wind farms further out to sea.

The Dutch government is supporting the project financially under the Electricity Production (Environmental Quality) Act (MEP) along with a subsidy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs' CO2 Reduction Plan. Finally, the Energy Investment Incentive facility (EIA) (a tax allowance) also applies.

The initial construction work is planned at the end of 2005 with the installation of power cables between the grid connection point at Velsen and the wind farm's own transformer substation located on a site near the shore owned by Corus. The foundation piles of the wind turbines will be driven into the seabed during the spring of 2006, after which the wind turbines will be installed. Specialised ships will be used for this work.

Preparations for this programme spanned several years. After the Dutch government selected NoordzeeWind as a partner in July 2002, intervening years have seen geological surveys, wind measurements and the compilation of an environmental effects report. Several projects were also developed to provide greater support for nature conservation.

Pinsent Masons advised Shell and Nuon in relation to the contracts with Bouwcombinatie Egmond.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mobile : 07748 321943

Notes to editors :

Pinsent Masons have advised in relation to more than 30 wind farms in the UK and overseas, including the UK's first off shore wind farm at North Hoyle in 2002.

The International Construction & Energy Department's Procurement Group undertakes all aspects of procurement in the renewables sector including planning, environmental, construction and grid connections, power purchase arrangements and financing.

Read more…

D1 OILS PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON GROWTH-FUELLED FUNDRAISING

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Biodiesel producer, D1 Oils plc, is positioning itself to take full advantage of opportunities in the rapidly growing renewable fuel sector by expanding its operations in new and existing territories.

Advised by lawyers at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, the AIM-quoted company is raising ?25.8 million (gross of expenses) by a share placing and will use the funds to advance its growth plans.

The UK-based global low cost biodiesel producer is seeing growing demand for sustainable renewable fuel, with China and India opening up as two of the largest markets.

D1 Oils, which aims to become the leading producer of biodiesel and related feedstocks, is placing 9,732,617 new ordinary shares at a price of 265p per share, raising ?25.8 million (gross) and ?24.3 million net of expenses. The shares are expected to be admitted to AIM on 14 June.

The company announced the placing yesterday (Tues) as it issued its year end results. Chairman, Karl Watkin, commented: 'D1 Oils is making excellent progress and has accelerated key components of its business plan. D1 Oils has further increased its opportunities worldwide as the market is getting stronger. The placing will help D1 Oils to secure a leadership position through enabling the company to pursue a more aggressive expansion policy and is a key step towards our objective of becoming a leading sustainable global low cost producer of biodiesel.'

The Pinsent Masons London Corporate team acting for D1 Oils on the placing is being led by National Head of Corporate, Gareth Edwards, with Justine Howard, Hanh Jelf, William Bankes, Ros Cook and Anthony Rance. Pinsent Masons also acted for the company on its admission to AIM last October.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group Copper Resources Corporation and InterQuest Group on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

INTERQUEST ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON AIM ADMISSION

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fast-growing IT recruitment business InterQuest Group is being advised by a specialist team at UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its admission to AIM, with a market cap of ?13.9 million.

Launched nearly four years ago, InterQuest has grown by acquisition now operating four divisions each of which specialises in placing contract and permanent IT staff in different market sectors, ranging from and including financial institutions, central and local government, and the retail and fast moving consumer goods sectors.

The company hopes to raise ?3 million from a placing of 5,454,550 ordinary shares of 1p each at 55p per share as part of its flotation and to use these funds to advance its organic and acquisitive growth plans in the UK IT recruitment market which is estimated to be worth ?5 billion. The market consists of some 1,200 businesses, ranging from small owner-managed IT specialist companies to large multinational recruitment firms. The IT market consists of approximately 800,000 IT professionals, of which an estimated 80,000 are contractors.

The InterQuest flotation is the sixth AIM admission this year for Pinsent Masons, ranked equal first as AIM company advisers by company information specialists, Hemscott Group. The London team advising InterQuest is being led by national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards, with Justine Howard and Hanh Jelf.

Nominated adviser and broker to the float, Panmure Gordon, is being advised by Hammonds.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group and Copper Resources Corporation on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

SUPER SIX JOIN PINSENT MASONS IN LONDON TO MEET GROWING DEMAND FOR CONSTRUCTION

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has expanded its construction practice with the arrival of six fee-earners to its London operation.

The move is in response to growing client demand following the merger between Pinsents and Masons back in December 2004.

Solicitor Brad Fearn from Hammonds and Sarah Sharpe from the construction team at Kennedys will be joining fellow solicitor Paul O'Neil who recently joined the firm from Fox Williams.

The team will also be joined by 7 year qualified solicitor John Mullee and Senior Associate Greg Richards who have re-located from the firm's Hong Kong and Manchester offices respectively along with Helen Waddell, a Senior Associate who has recently returned from maternity leave.

With a global network of more than 150 lawyers Pinsent Masons has one of the largest and most experienced construction legal teams in the world.

Richard Laudy, London Head of Construction at Pinsent Masons, said :

'A strong interest from both existing and new clients encouraged us to expand the team quickly. We are delighted to announce these new appointments. Their credentials make them an excellent match for the existing strengths in the group as we seek to absorb the increasing workload from clients of our new firm. With a further six fee-earners added to an already significant London presence our ability to provide a full service to our construction sector clients across Europe is now unrivalled.'

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 321943

lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Pinsent Masons' London Private Equity Team Advises On Major Deals Double

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London private equity team of law firm Pinsent Masons is celebrating the back-to-back completion of two multi-million pound deals advising the management teams of leading edge companies operating in sectors ranging from wealth to waste management.

Partner Andrew Masraf has led the teams acting for management in the ?200 million buyout of recycling and waste management company Cory Environmental from global supply chain management leader, Exel PLC, and the management of leading asset management company Tilney Holdings Limited, which has ?5 billion of funds under management, in its buyout from US investor group, Refco.

'These are top class businesses led by driven, talented people and it's been exciting to work with them at this important stage in their development,' said Andrew Masraf.

The deals have been backed by specialist private equity houses with Montagu Private Equity investing in the Cory Environmental buyout and Bridgepoint Capital backing Tilney Holdings.

Cory operates from 30 UK locations providing expert services in the collection, recycling and disposal of waste and represents a strategic disposal for Exel PLC, which is now concentrating on its core supply chain management activities. Pinsent Masons was introduced to the Cory management by Pinsent Masons' Projects Partner, Patrick Twist.

Tilney Holdings, led by CEO David Campbell, a former professional footballer who played for Charlton, is the UK's 4th largest independent provider of services to high net worth private clients. Tilney has been a part of US group Refco since 1998. The company has a strong network of regional offices throughout the UK. Pinsent Masons was introduced to the Tilney management team by James Lever of Livingstone Guarantee.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Cory Environmental management comprised Andrew Masraf, Charles Frank, Mark Cawthron and Wyn Lewis. The team advising management of Tilney Holdings Limited comprised Andrew Masraf, Joanne McNeill, Rebecca Power and Wyn Lewis.

The completion of the two deals comes hard on the heels of a separate London private equity team, led by partner Jonathan Reardon, advising management, led by former Channel Five chief executive David Elstein, on the US$242 million acquisition of the Hallmark Channel.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07882 110173

Read more…

MIDLANDS CO-OP ADVISED ON ?20 MILLION DAIRY DISPOSAL BY PINSENT MASONS

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has completed its first deal for the Midlands Co-operative Society Limited with the sale of its dairy business to Dairy Crest Limited for ?20 million.

Midlands Co-op Dairies, the largest regional dairy operator in the UK, processes about 200 million litres of milk a year at its Birmingham dairy and distributes fresh milk via 16 distribution centres to customers throughout the Midlands.

As a result of the acquisition by Dairy Crest the Society's Birmingham dairy processing plant is expected to close and transfer its milk processing to Dairy Crest's own dairies. Three of the Society's depots at Oxford, Farringdon and Thame, which overlap with those of Dairy Crest, are also likely to close.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Midlands Co-operative Society has been led by Corporate Partner, Linda Crow, assisted by Karen Beatty and Rob Sloan (Corporate); Sarah Murray (Commercial), Pippa Kempson and Carl Scott (Property).

Dairy Crest has been advised by Eversheds (London).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 mob: 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON NEC AND CLARION EVENTS JOINT VENTURE

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A legal team from Pinsent Masons has advised one of Europe's premier exhibition venues, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), on a business venture designed particularly to take advantage of opportunities in the consumer show sector.

The NEC Group has entered into a joint venture with Clarion Events Limited (CEL) to create Clarion Events NEC Limited (CENL), a company created to maximise opportunities to stage and acquire new shows.

As part of the deal, NEC has sold its owned events business to the joint venture company including a portfolio of nine shows, among them Antiques for Everyone and The Classic Motor Show.

CEL, the former in-house organiser of Earls Court and Olympia Group, which was subject to an MBO last year, is seen as the creative powerhouse capable of leveraging the formidable NEC brand.

The Pinsent Masons team advising the NEC Group comprised corporate partners, Paul Finlan and Linda Crow.

Clarion Events Limited has been advised by Fox Williams.

The deal comes as Birmingham City Council is raising finance for the NEC, the busiest exhibition centre in Europe, staging more than 180 exhibitions each year, to enable it to move into a phase of major redevelopment. In 30 years the business has grown from a pioneering undertaking to a business which now caters for up to four million visitors a year. With 21 halls totalling 200,000 square metres (two million square feet) it is also the biggest exhibition centre in Britain and seventh largest in Europe.

Pinsent Masons' Head of Banking & Finance, Stephen Miles, has advised NEC Finance plc on the ?200 million plus bond issue by Birmingham City Council the proceeds of which will help to fund the planned work.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES IP2IPO GROUP ON LAUNCH OF LIFEUK AND FURTHER FUNDRAISING

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm, Pinsent Masons is acting for IP2IPO Group plc on a placing to fund the launch a new life science intellectual property business designed to help researchers unlock the capital potential of their work.

The proceeds from the placing of 2,157,837 ordinary shares of 10p each at ?6.37 per share, which is expected to raise approximately ?13.75m before expenses, will be used to launch a new business within IP2IPO - LifeUK.

LifeUK will in-license life science intellectual property created by medical researchers at universities with which IP2IPO already has partnerships, other universities in the UK and similar academic and charitable research institutions. LifeUK aims to develop further the intellectual property which it in-licenses with a view to creating substantial value either by subsequently licensing these development programmes to the pharmaceutical industry or by creating new ventures.

The Placing Shares have been placed by Lehman Brothers International (Europe), as sole bookrunner, and KBC Peel Hunt Ltd, as joint lead manager, and have been placed conditional on admission to trading on AIM. Dealings are expected to commence on 16 May 2005.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by London Corporate Partner Russell Booker.

David Norwood, Chief Executive Officer commented, 'The launch of LifeUK represents a significant strategic move for IP2IPO and considerably strengthens and diversifies our business. In the academic arena, UK academics produce ground-breaking medical research, while within industry, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking for new sources of drug candidates to augment their pipelines. LifeUK has been created to provide a channel from the lab bench to industry which builds on the success that IP2IPO has already experienced creating spin out companies under its long term university partnerships.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile: 07884 110173.

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

IP2IPO is an intellectual property (IP) company that specialises in commercialising university technology. The company was founded in 2001 and listed on AIM in October 2003. It has forged a number of long-term commercial partnerships with universities in the UK.

To date, four spin-out companies from the IP2IPO portfolio have listed on the AIM: Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc, Synairgen plc, VASTox plc and Proximagen Neuroscience plc. For further information visit - www.ip2ipo.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS HELPS PUT RBS IN THE MEDIA

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London Banking Team at Pinsent Masons has advised The Royal Bank of Scotland in its backing with 3i of a buy-in/buy-out ('BIMBO') team in the ?17.7 million acquisition of Knight-Banner Information Limited. Knight-Banner Information Limited, which is being renamed Knight-Banner Business Information Limited ('KBBI'), is one of the leading media monitoring agencies with a market share of 25%.

Pinsent Masons advised The Royal Bank of Scotland's Corporate and Structured Finance team in relation to its provision of ?9,325,000 of Senior Debt facilities (including ?1,500,000 of factoring facilities provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland Commercial Services Limited) to the buy-in vehicle and various companies in the KBBI group. KBBI operates under the brand names of Precise, EDS, EPCA, Clipability and Media Report and provides high speed press cuttings, editorial and evaluation services to its clients from approximately 5,000 media titles, web sites and news wires.

This was the second deal completed by Pinsent Masons' Banking Team in London for the Corporate and Structured Finance team at RBS in a little over two months. The Pinsent Masons' team advising RBS was led by Head of Banking in London, Martin Bishop, assisted by Tony Anderson, Frances Mallender and Hannah Bleakley (Banking), Jonathon Reardon and William Bankes (Corporate) and Ian Clark and Shane Foley (Property).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES MANAGEMENT ON ACQUISITION OF CROWN MEDIA

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons led by London private equity partner, Jonathan Reardon, has advised a management team led by David Elstein, the former chief executive of Channel Five, on the US$242 million acquisition of the international business of the Hallmark Channel.

The acquisition includes the international versions of the Hallmark Channel distributed outside the USA to approximately 60 million subscribers in 152 countries, the non-US rights to over 500 titles in the Crown Media library and the broadcast facility based in Denver, Colorado, which will continue to distribute the channels throughout the world.

The deal was backed by 3i and Providence Equity Partners (advised by Ashurst and Debevoise & Plimpton respectively) with debt finance provided by ABN Amro Bank, Barclays Bank and Societe Generale.

Commenting on the deal, Jonathan Reardon said:

'We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working with such a high calibre team of managers on this complex transaction, which adds to our already significant track record of advising management on large private equity buy-outs. We congratulate David Elstein's team and wish them every success in growing the business over the coming years.'

The deal was introduced to Pinsent Masons by its by tax and share schemes specialist, David Pett. The Pinsent Masons team led by Jonathan Reardon comprised Gareth Rees and Olivia Phalippou on corporate, Mark Cawthron on tax and Wyn Lewis on employment.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES COPPER RESOURCES CORPORATION ON AIM ADMISSION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons' position as a market leader in advising companies coming to AIM has been further consolidated with the admission of Copper Resources Corporation. It is the 4th AIM flotation in three months where Pinsent Masons has acted for the company.

Copper Resources is the ultimate holding company of a group of companies with the operating rights to the Hinoba-an Porphyry Copper Project in the Republic of the Philippines. The shares in Copper Resources were admitted to AIM on 21 April. Copper Resources raised ?4 million (before expenses) in a placing of shares to institutional shareholders, giving it an initial market capitalisation of approximately ?27.8 million.

Pinsent Masons' lead corporate partner on the float, Russell Booker said: 'Once again, the combination of our hallmark 'right first time' approach and process management skills have proved invaluable. The team was able to call on its experience and knowledge of the AIM process to make sure that everything was dealt with smoothly and efficiently. It has been a pleasure to help bring Copper Resources to the market'.

Christopher Jordinson, the CEO of Copper Resources, commenting on the flotation, said: 'The Pinsent Masons team added real value to the Copper Resources Corporation AIM process. Pinsent Masons were effective and pragmatic throughout and helped CRC complete the AIM admission process on time and without any fuss. CRC are now eager to advance the Hinoba-an Project to the next stage of Bankable Feasibility Study and prove up its potential to become a long-term copper feedstock source for the Philippines and the world copper market.?

In addition to Russell Booker, the Pinsent Masons team advising Copper Resources included senior corporate associates Nicola Marrin and Dominic Travers.

Nabarro Wells & Co. Limited, the Nominated Adviser, and ODL Securities Limited, the Broker, were advised by Faegre & Benson LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile: 07884 110173.

Note to Editors:

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 14 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth and Sarantel Group on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Read more…

HOMESERVE PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON CHEM DRY ACQUISITION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team from UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has acted for home emergency company, Homeserve plc, on its ?18.9 million acquisition of Chem Dry, the UK's leading franchise fire and flood disaster restoration business.

The acquisition will allow Homeserve to broaden its services to insurers and place it in a strong position to offer a complete solution to insurers commencing with home emergency repairs at Home Hotline through to permanent repairs by the recently acquired Sergon network.

Chem Dry currently has over 230 franchisees covering the UK with over 640 licences and has commercial arrangements with seven leading household insurers. The business, headquartered in East Yorkshire, employs 210 people. As part of the deal, Homeserve has also acquired Chem Dry's related carpet and upholstery cleaning businesses.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Homeserve comprised corporate partners Alan Wood and Paul Finlan, assisted by Nicole Kirkham, with specialist assistance from Carl Scott and Pippa Kempson (property); Max Creighton (tax); Paul McClenaghan (IP) and Gavin Paul (pensions). John Pratt of Hamilton Pratt advised on the franchising aspects of the deal.

The individual sellers were advised by Gosschalks in Hull and 3i plc, an exiting investor, was advised by Addleshaw Goddard.

Devere International Inc, the worldwide Chem Dry franchisor, was advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BROKER ON UTEK CORPORATION AIM ADMISSION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The top performing AIM team at law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Shore Capital and Corporate Limited on the admission to AIM of UTEK Corporation, a US-headquartered AMEX-listed technology transfer company.

Trading commenced in UTEK shares on AIM this week. The company has a market capitalisation of ?44.82 million. UTEK, which has operations in the US, UK and Israel, forms strategic alliances with client companies and finds suitable technologies which can be licensed to universities and research laboratories. It has completed more than 40 technology transfer deals to date.

This is the fourth AIM float upon which Pinsent Masons has advised this year. The firm was ranked in the UK top 10 of advisers on AIM admissions in 2004 by volume by deal monitor, and ranked second most popular choice of adviser to the company.

The team advising Shore Capital and Corporate Limited has been led by London corporate partner, Jon Harris, assisted by Sean Page.

UTEK Corporation has been advised by S J Berwin led by Delphine Currie.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Notes to Editors

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth and Sarantel Group on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS COMPLETES MAJOR INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR AVIVA PLC

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised Aviva plc on a series of contracts whereby Aviva group companies, including Norwich Union Insurance, the UK's largest general insurer, have become the primary providers of household, motor and travel insurance products to Barclays' 14 million strong UK retail customer base.

The products are to be distributed through Barclays' network of 2,000 branches, via the telephone and through on-line banking, which alone has more than five million users. The new arrangements also involve the outsourcing of Barclays' existing insurance sales and services centre in Croydon to Norwich Union.

The transaction was led by the Pinsent Masons' London insurance team, with partner and Insurance Sector head, Martin Membery, leading the insurance distribution aspects of the deal with support from Alexis Roberts. Corporate insurance partner, Matthew Griffith, led the corporate aspects of the transaction, assisted by Robert Moir. Support from other practice areas was provided by Bob Mecrate-Butcher (employment); John Christian (tax); Louise Fullwood (IT); Raj Sharma (pensions); John Trevethan (property) and Giles Warrington (competition).

Lovells (Tim Goggin and Victor Fornasier) acted for Barclays.

Commenting on the deal, Martin Membery said: 'We are delighted to have been involved in this market-leading transaction for Aviva, which adds to our already significant track record of acting for leading insurers on joint ventures with their corporate partners.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 3232 or mobile: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons' Insurance & Reinsurance Group is rated as a leading non-contentious insurance practice.

Partner and Insurance Sector head, Martin Membery, is rated in Chambers 2005 as a leading individual in non-contentious insurance. Partner, Matthew Griffith, is an experienced corporate insurance specialist and joined Pinsent Masons from Ashurst in November 2004.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS' LONDON BANKING TEAM COMPLETES SECOND MAJOR RESTAURANT DEAL

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Banking law specialists at Pinsent Masons in London are dining out after the successful completion of the second high profile restaurant chain financing in recent months with the bid to take private Paramount PLC by Craftbutton Limited.

The team took the lead on advising HSBC Bank plc on the provision of term and overdraft facilities to Craftbutton to fund its ?28.9 million bid for the quoted group which includes the Chez Gerard restaurant chain, Bertorelli's, Livebait and Caf? Fish.

The deal comes on the back of the Pinsent Masons' team acting for The Royal Bank of Scotland plc on its provision of senior debt facilities for the management buyout of the restaurant operator, The Gaucho Grill from the Lewis family for ?23.5 million. Gaucho Grill has seven restaurants in the UK, as well as one in Amsterdam and a franchise business in the Middle East.

The latest deal reinforces Pinsent Masons experience in two of its Chosen Market sectors ? Financial Services & Insurance and Services.

The Pinsent Masons' team advising HSBC was led by banking partner Judith O'Shea, assisted by Kate Myles (banking), Tom Leman (private equity), Jeremy Phillips, Darius Lewington, Sean Page and Dominic Travers (corporate), Gemma Walker (property), Helen Farr (employment) and Elizabeth Cook (intellectual property).

Craftbutton Limited was advised by Lawrence Graham. Their financial adviser and broker was Dawnay Day.

Bircham Dyson Bell acted for Paramount PLC, whose financial adviser and broker was Evolution Beeson Gregory.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Read more…

CODEMASTERS SECURES INVESTMENT FROM BENCHMARK CAPITAL EUROPE

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Codemasters, the leading developer and publisher of critically acclaimed computer and video games, has secured a significant investment from Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capital firm.

The largest privately owned video games publisher in Europe, Codemasters has a successful track record with more than 60 No. 1 hits and a distribution network covering over 70 countries worldwide. Its major video game brands include Colin McRae Rally?, Brian Lara Cricket?, TOCA/DTM/V8 Race Driver? and LMA Manager?.

The investment by Benchmark will be used to accelerate Codemasters? programme of new game development, target new distribution formats, strengthen the company?s sales and marketing activities and for acquiring third party licenses and game titles. Additionally, Codemasters will continue its expansion into new territories for its international publishing operations.

Codemasters were advised by technology sector specialists at Pinsent Masons. Andrew Hornigold, who led the Pinsent Masons team assisted by Jonathan Snade, commented: ?We aim to provide superior service to our clients through having a better understanding of a particular industry and the issues facing businesses within it. Our technology sector practice comprises 17 partners and 52 additional fee earners representing a variety of software, hardware, services, telecoms, ecommerce and new media businesses.

?For Codemasters, we were able to bring a strong track record of experience in the computer games market, having advised a number of key players in the industry on all aspects of corporate finance and commercial contract law. For example, we advised Rare Limited on the $375m sale to Microsoft, which was Microsoft?s largest ever UK acquisition, and Mobius on the sale of its business to Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc as well as having a dedicated team of specialists working on development, licencing and distribution contracts for games sector clients.?

Benchmark Capital, which has taken a 40% share in Codemasters, aims to help talented entrepreneurs to build great technology companies focused on long-term growth. Its portfolio includes companies such as Betfair, eBay and Juniper Networks.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The range of work for the computer games market includes:

? Rare Limited in its $375m sale to Microsoft

? Advising the shareholders of Mobius on the sale of the business to Take-Two Interactive Software Inc

? Advising Global Games Limited in the MBO/MBI of the company

? Advising the Braveheart business angel syndicate in its investment in 4Cyte Limited

? Advising AOL in drafting a range of contracts including network agreements and content agreements

? Advising Steel Monkeys on games development and publishing contracts.

Codemasters employs 400 people and is headquartered in Warwickshire, UK. The company also maintains European operations in Germany, France, Spain and Benelux and has its US headquarters in New York.

Read more…

THE RESTAURANT GROUP AND LIVING VENTURES IN DUAL TRANSACTIONS

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Restaurant Group to acquire a 40% shareholding in Living Ventures for ?7.7 million

Living Ventures to purchase Est Est Est business for ?16.4 million

The Restaurant Group plc, owner of Frankie & Benny?s, Garfunkel?s, Caffe Uno and other outlets, and Living Ventures Limited, owner of a string of restaurants and bars across the country, have today announced a complex dual transaction to put the two companies on a strong footing for the future.

The Restaurant Group (?TRG?) will acquire a 40% shareholding in Living Ventures Limited (?Living Ventures?) for ?7.7 million in cash and preference shares in Living Ventures for ?2.2 million. The deal also represents an exit for 30% stake holder Bowmark Capital Limited.

Simultaneously, Living Ventures will purchase Est Est Est Restaurants Limited from TRG for a consideration of ?16.4 million.

Living Ventures was advised by a team from Pinsent Masons led by corporate partner, Joanne Ellis, assisted by Lee Clifford.

Living Ventures, which was set up in 1999 by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, currently operates 15 units, 11 trading as The Living Room in major cities across the UK, two as Prohibition in Leeds and Manchester and two as Bar & Grill ? its latest restaurant concept ? in London and Liverpool. The company?s expansion plans include four more Living Room restaurant/bars to be opened shortly.

Joanne Ellis commented: ?Pinsent Masons has worked with Tim and Jeremy for over 10 years now. It is very rewarding to be involved with a business which continues to go from strength to strength'

Living Ventures were also advised by Grant Thornton, Deloitte, Bond Pearce and McClure Naismith.

HBOS, debt providers to Living Ventures, were advised by Eversheds

LSE-listed The Restaurant Group plc is one of the largest independent restaurant groups in the country with around 250 restaurants and bars nationwide. Its portfolio currently comprises Caff? Uno, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny?s and Garfunkel?s as well as Concessions currently operating in 5 airports across the UK.

The Restaurant Group were advised by Maclay Murray Spens and BDO Stoy Hayward

Bowmark were advised SJ Berwin.

Tim Bacon, Chief Executive of Living Ventures said:

?The addition of Est Est Est is a transformational deal for Living Ventures providing great opportunity for the Company to expand its product range and become even more food led. We believe that we can redefine Est Est Est as an aspirational, high quality brand. We will be focussed on delivering performance and on expanding an already successful business.?

Andrew Page, Group Managing Director of The Restaurant Group plc, said:

?This is a great fit for both companies. Living Room is one of the most successful new restaurant and bar concepts of recent years. It has a unique atmosphere created by the mix of its customers, design and ambience. We believe that its customer base is complementary to that of Est Est Est.?

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Named as Legal Adviser for New Health Partnership

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Quality of service and attention to client needs were named as key features in winning a major client for law firm Pinsent Masons. The firm beat off stiff competition to be named as sole legal adviser to The Liverpool & Sefton Health Partnership (?the L&SHP?), a Local Improvement Finance Trust (?LIFT?) company.

Peter Gillespie, the Chief Executive of L&SHP, commented on Pinsent Masons' approach to its clients:

'The value of tenders received for legal services was not very different but the service and attention we received during and following the bidding process from Pinsent Masons set them apart from the competition.'

The L&SHP is a complex procurement vehicle that committed to assist and better enable the Liverpool & Sefton Health Community to provide outstanding health and social care in Liverpool & Sefton. This will be achieved through innovative joint working and integrated partnership with a range of public and private sector organisations.

The type of legal services required by the L&SHP include construction and engineering, property, corporate, employment, intellectual property and data protection. Pinsent Masons' team combine expertise in these areas with a unique strength in LIFT experience: they have acted on over 25% of the current LIFT schemes.

Pinsent Masons has developed a LIFT product specifically tailored to LIFT companies' needs. Michael O'Shea, who heads the Pinsent Masons' team, said:

'We believe that our knowledge of the structures and practical issues which will arise for LIFT companies is unrivalled and was a key factor in winning the work. This, combined with our sector focus, will enable us to deliver a unique product to LIFT companies which will provide them with added value at minimum cost.'

The Pinsent Masons' team comprises Michael O'Shea, Georgina Reynard, Barry Francis, Rowena Jones, Steven Chalcraft, Rosemary Jay, Simon Masters and Sara Sawicki.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London and all the major cities across the UK.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

COPPER RESOURCES CORPORATION ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?4+ MILLION PLACING

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Copper Resources Corporation (CRC) is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on a placing which is expected to raise ?4.4 million to fund the planned restart of work at the Kinsenda copper mine in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CRC now holds a 75% stake in the company operating Kinsenda where mining was halted because of problems with flooding. Following a feasibility study, CRC believes with its dedicated engineering experience the ore-rich mine could be reopened within 18 months.

The company is placing 8,000,000 units with investors at a price of 55 pence per unit, with each unit comprising one common share plus one-half of one warrant exercisable over a two-year period at a strike price of 75 pence. Two half-warrants convert into one common share. The common shares are to be admitted to AIM on or about 4 April.

CRC is being advised by Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner and AIM specialist, Russell Booker.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

Pinsent Masons is independently-ranked as one of the UK's top AIM advisers acting for some 50 AIM companies and has advised on well over 40 flotations.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES MAYBORN ON ACQUISITION OF TUBE PLASTICS

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons led by Roger Fink, London corporate partner, has advised Mayborn Group PLC, the AIM-traded babycare and household products group, on the acquisition of Tube Plastics Limited for a price of up to ?10.55 million. Tube Plastics, which trades under the ?TP? brand, is the UK market leader in high quality children?s outdoor play equipment.

The acquisition completed just before Mayborn?s preliminary announcement of results on 15 March 2005 which reported pre-tax profits of ?8.7 million, exceeding market expectations, and saw Mayborn?s shares rise to an all time high.

Negotiations for the acquisition were led by Mayborn?s Managing Director, Michael Samuel and Finance Director, Ian Hartley. Financial due diligence was carried out by Solomon Hare and market due diligence by AMR.

Guy Green led the Eversheds team which advised Tube Plastics? selling shareholders.

Commenting on the deal, Roger Fink said: ?We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working closely with Mayborn and its other advisers on this acquisition. Mayborn is a highly valued client of Pinsent Masons and we wish Mayborn and Tube Plastics continuing successes.?

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications, Pinsent Masons, on:

T: 0845 300 32 32 or M: 07884 110173

Read more…

TOP FIVE GLOBAL AGROCHEMICAL COMPANY, UNITED PHOSPHORUS LIMITED, ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?100 M

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

India's largest agrochemical company, United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), has been advised by lawyers from Pinsent Masons London Corporate Group on the ?100 million acquisition by one of its subsidiaries of the Dutch seeds technology company, Advanta Netherlands Holdings NV.

UPL acquired Advanta in an all cash transaction from the US-based private equity firm, Fox Paine & Company, LLC. Advanta is a leading supplier of seeds and seed technologies to major markets globally including Australia, India, Thailand and Argentina, providing added value to farmers, downstream industries and consumers by combining superior genetics with essential technologies and techniques.

UPL Executive Director, Mr Jai Shroff, said: 'The acquisition of Advanta allows UPL to jump start our entry in the high end of the seeds business where the future of agriculture growth lies. This transaction not only makes us the largest player in some segments but also gives us a leadership position in many important products.'

UPL is financing the transaction with funds raised through its recent foreign currency convertible bond (FCCB) issue and from bank borrowings. YES Bank provided financial and strategic advice to UPL on the transaction.

This is the second corporate acquisition upon which Pinsent Masons has advised UPL and underscores the strength and attraction of the firm's combined UK and Asian corporate capabilities to global companies based in the Far East.

The Pinsent Masons team advising UPL has been led by Corporate Finance Partner, Jeremy Phillips and IP Partner, Martyn Hann, assisted by Louise Haworth (competition).

The vendors were advised by Freshfields Corporate Partner, Frank Miller.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), which is listed in India, is the largest Indian agrochemical company and among the top five generic companies globally in this industry. It is engaged in research, manufacture and distribution of agrochemicals and specialty chemicals across the globe. The Company?s revenue?s for the last 12 months ending Dec 2005 were in excess of USD 375 mm.(Rs. 1661 Crores)

Through acquisitions, strategic alliances and network of over 36 subsidiaries, UPL has built a marketing network across the globe and its international revenues account for over 70% of its total revenues. It exports to over 100 countries, with primary markets in Europe and North America.

UPL has over 2400 employees and has 10 operating plants (8 in India and 1 in UK and Argentina) all of them are ISO compliant to the highest standards of Quality, Safety, Environment and Occupational Health.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS HELPS SARANTEL HOME IN ON AIM MARKET

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A leading edge technology company, Sarantel Group PLC, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on its admission to AIM.

The Northamptonshire based company, which has developed a revolutionary miniature antenna for mobile phones and other wireless devices, has a market capitalisation of circa ?43 million following its admission. Trading in its shares commenced today (Wednesday). The float has been brokered by Arbuthnot Securities Limited and marks the third AIM admission that Pinsent Masons has advised on within a month.

Pinsent Masons has advised the Sarantel Group for over five years, acting originally for management in 2000 when they bought out the UK dielectric antenna division of US corporation, Symmetricom Inc.

The firm later advised Sarantel Limited as it raised funds for development through investment led by two of the UK's leading hi-tech venture capital investors, MTI Partners and VCF Partners, and supported by eTechnology VCT.

The company's innovations include miniature antenna technology applications used in global positioning devices. The company has ambitions to extend the use of technology in this field into mainstream mobile devices.

Pinsent Masons lead corporate partner on the float, Linda Crow, commented: 'It is heartening to see a revival in the quoted technology sector and to see the growth of a company whose quality product development has enabled them to carve out a niche place in a highly competitive market.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Sarantel, comprised Linda Crow, Rob Sloan and Nicole Kirkham (corporate), with specialist advice from Cerys Wyn Davies (IT/IP) and William Franklyn.

Arbuthnot Securities were advised by Ashurst.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Notes to Editors

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further three admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy and Neutrahealth on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Clare McConnell Gives Further Boost to Pinsent Masons Projects Team

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Highly experienced projects lawyer, Clare McConnell, is to join the leading projects firm Pinsent Masons as a partner.

Clare, who joins from Berwin Leighton Paisner, has advised on a wide range of PFI projects in the health, education and rail sectors and has been actively involved in policy development.

Barry Francis, Head of the Projects Group in London at Pinsent Masons, said: ?We are delighted to welcome Clare to the team. She has a wealth of expertise, particularly in the area of health, and is joining one of the largest projects team in the UK (now boasting 70 lawyers). The firm has closed more PFI projects than any other firm in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables, with 130+ projects.

?Clare?s health experience includes closing pathfinder health deals, and helping to develop the Retention of Employment model for Soft Services which she undertook whilst on secondment to the Department of Health?s Private Finance Unit in 2001.

?In addition, her background in advising the rail sector will bring a further boost to the strong Pinsent Masons rail practice which is already undertaking major work in South Africa and other overseas projects.'

Clare commented: ?I am looking forward to working alongside leading names in the projects arena. Pinsent Masons has a nationally and internationally acknowledged reputation for being at the forefront of developments in public/private partnerships and major infrastructure projects.?

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons also has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons was formed with the merger of Pinsents and Masons in December 2004. Projects is one of the teams which benefited most from the merger. Each firm had a strong reputation in the marketplace - together the two merged firms stand as number one nationally in terms of the number of PFI deals completed. Pinsent Masons is one of the top two firms in a number of sectors of PFI including waste, street lighting, housing and health and is active in all others.

Pinsent Masons' Projects Team core areas:

Pinsent Masons' projects and project finance practice has had a noteworthy year across a range of infrastructure sectors including health, roads, street lighting, waste, defence, education, airports and accommodation. The team has maintained a balanced practice in both the public and private sectors which has given us a clear understanding of issues that affect both public and private sector involvement in capital projects.

We remain at the forefront of exporting the UK's PFI model to the international community pioneering PPP programmes in South Africa, Cyprus, India and the Caribbean and securing new appointments to advise on projects in regions including Australasia and Eastern Europe.

The combined size, strength and expertise of the projects team makes it the largest in the country and the leading projects firm according to Public Private Finance league tables.

Health

We have maintained our market position as the leading advisor on health PFI Projects. On the 4th/5th Wave NHS Schemes the firm is advising on 5 Projects including the 2 largest at Birmingham and Leicester. Our health practice continues to broaden from main stream acute PFI projects to other areas affecting the NHS including acting for the NHS on the National Decontamination Programme and our involvement on LIFT Projects. In relation to LIFT we have acted for private sector consortia and funders and have advised on 25% of the current wave of NHS LIFT schemes.

Roads

The Roads Sector has continued to be key and a growth area in our PFI / PPP practice. We advised both the public and private sectors on more than 10 PPP / PFI road projects in the past year including some of the first road projects in EU accession countries which will form the model for future projects in these regions.

Street Lighting

In addition to Roads projects with associated street lighting requirements brought together the leading public and private sector practice in the general 'stand alone' street lighting sector ? the firm has advised on over 70% of street lighting projects for public and private sectors.

Waste

We continue to strengthen our dominant position as the pre-eminent law firm in the waste sector. We act for the public sector and major private sector players in this market (namely Onyx, Viridor, Cory and Cleanaway). As the waste market expands we have already secured appointments for the private sector in most of the known projects going forward. In addition, we have been involved in the development of waste policy having contributed to and drafted the legal section of the Waste Procurement Pack for DEFRA.

Airports

In 2004, we added to our extensive track record in providing legal advice on airport projects in the globally. In 2004 we advised on the financial close of Gatwick Airport Fuel Infrastructure Refinancing and Manchester Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancings. We were appointed to act for a consortium developing the Mukalla International Airport in Yemen and continue to advise on the Larnaka and Pafos Airports in Cyprus and the New Hyderabad International Airport in India.

Defence

We continue to strengthen our relationship with the Ministry of Defence advising DSTL on its procurement of construction and FM related services as part of Project Inspire. We are proud to be advising on the largest PFI project undertaken in the UK to date which has a capital value of ?3.5 billion where we are acting for the Mowlem and KBR joint venture involving construction and maintenance of garrisons at Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.

Rail

We advised the Strategic Rail Authority on the extension of two rail franchises. We are advising the Irish Rail Procurement Agency on the Dublin Metro, the Government of the Republic of Gauteng Province on the on Gautrain Project, a high speed rail link between Johannesburg and Pretoria which is the largest transportation infrastructure project in Africa, and the preferred bidder on the Docklands Light Railway Lewisham extension. We were recently appointed to act for the Mumbai Light Rail Project in India.

Education

Our involvement in the Schools PPP market continues with us acting for both the public and private sectors. Notably in relation to the public sector we are acting for Sheffield City Council, Birmingham City Council and Kent County Council on their schools projects. On the private sector side, we are acting for the preferred bidder on the largest schools PFI project in the UK to date at South Larnarkshire. In 2004 we closed Barking and Dagenham Schools for NIB Capital and Dexia and are currently supporting HBG on their bid for Slough Grouped Schools Project. We have been appointed to the Partnerships for Schools panel for Building Schools for the Future work.

Accommodation

We have expanded our capabilities in the custodial sector with the financial close in 2004 of the Avon & Somerset Courts and Cheshire Police accommodation projects and our appointment to Norfolk County Council for their Three Counties Custodial PFI Project.

Project Finance

We continue to advise banks and other financial institutions which are funding project finance structures in PPP/PFI projects. Internationally, we brought the Jordanian Gas Transmission Project to financial close. In 2004 we were appointed to act for the arrangers for a processing plant in the Caribbean for whom we are also working with on a number of other project opportunities across the world. Closer to home, we have been advising on the financing of PFI/PPP throughout Europe.

ends

Read more…

BROKERS KBC PEEL HUNT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON BACK-TO-BACK PLACINGS

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate lawyers at UK firm, Pinsent Masons, have advised brokers KBC Peel Hunt on back-to-back placings to fund acquisitions by companies in the investment banking and consumer electronics sectors.

KBC Peel Hunt has acted for Armour Group plc, the UK's leading consumer electronics group focused on home entertainment and in-car communication, on a ?6 million placing with existing and institutional investors to fund the acquisition of Alphason Designs Limited, a specialist designer and supplier of audio visual furniture to consumer electronics markets.

And, hard on the heels of this successful placing, KBC Peel Hunt, advised by Pinsent Masons, has raised ?12 million with a placing of new ordinary shares for AIM-quoted specialist investment bank and stockbroker, Corporate Synergy Group (CSG) plc.

The proceeds of the placing will be used to back the ?13.4 million recommended takeover by CSG of Rowan Dartington, a Bristol-based independent firm of stockbrokers focused on the smaller companies market. The takeover is conditional upon shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 13 March.

Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Wood, who with Corporate Associate Michael Lakin, advised KBC Peel Hunt on both placings, said: 'This is the first time a Pinsent Masons team outside London has acted for KBC and we are delighted to have been instructed on two jobs in quick succession. We hope to see the relationship develop further.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Other advisers:

Armour Group plc was advised by Arnold & Porter LLP on the placing and acquisition

Corporate Synergy Group plc was advised by Stringer Saul LLP on the placing and acquisition.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

KBC Peel Hunt

KBC Peel Hunt Ltd is an integrated securities house focused on the small and mid-cap sector and a subsidiary of the Belgian bank, KBC Bank N.V. It is a leading market maker of small and mid-cap UK securities and advises over 100 companies from those looking for venture capital to companies quoted in the FTSE 250 index.

Read more…

HEALTHY RECORD ON AIM FLOATS CONTINUES FOR PINSENT MASONS

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate lawyers at UK firm, Pinsent Masons, have continued their successful run of advising on AIM flotations with the launch today of specialist investment company, Neutrahealth PLC on to the alternative market.

Neutrahealth is a company created to acquire growing businesses in the vibrant nutraceutical industry, which has been boosted by the increasing demand among the public for vitamin and mineral supplements, organic foods and alternative remedies.

The company raised ?1,500,000 from a placing of 15,000,000 ordinary shares at 10p per share. Its intention is to identify and acquire burgeoning businesses in a promising but fragmented sector to supply products to pharmacies, supermarkets, drugstores, health food shops and mail order outlets. The broker and nominated adviser on the placing and AIM admission was KBC Peel Hunt.

The flotation, led by a London Corporate team for Pinsent Masons, follows hard on the heels of the float of Voller Energy, which saw lawyers in the firm's Leeds office advising the company. Both flotations continue an upward trend in AIM activity for Pinsent Masons, which has seen the firm advise on 13 floats in under 12 months, including in December the landmark 1,000th Aim flotation.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Neutrahealth PLC was led by Justine Howard and assisted by Hannah Brader and Lisa Patmore

Solicitors to the placing were Martin Thomas and Clare Metcalf of Hunton & Williams.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Notes to Editors

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further three admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

UK Greetings advised on acquisition of Collage Designs Ltd

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK Greetings Ltd (UKG), the UK arm of American Greetings, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of gift packaging specialists Collage Designs Ltd (Collage), plus its Italian subsidiary manufacturing company Collage Italia Spa.

Suffolk based Collage was formed by Giuliano and Celia Scamponi and other existing members of its Board in 1991 to supply high quality giftwrap and related gift packaging products to the retail trade. The company has gained a reputation as an award-winning pioneer of design-led giftwrap and gift packaging producing the best giftwrap designs in the UK market. In 1999 the company invested in a brand new giftwrap factory in Italy forming Collage Italia Spa.

Collage?s market position complements that of UKG which is the market leader for greeting cards in the UK?s direct to retail sector. Collage will operate as an autonomous business within UKG from its existing premises in Suffolk and will retain its existing management team.

Partner Peter Wood led the Pinsent Masons team assisted by Michelle Kershaw.

The vendors were advised by Smith Law Partnership.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Northgate Information Solutions Powers Ahead with Acquisition Programme

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading supplier of software applications and outsourcing solutions, Northgate Information Solutions plc, has further strengthened its position as supplier to the UK Local Government market through the acquisition of MVM Holdings Ltd (?MVM?) from Morrison Plc (the support services group of AWG plc) for ?13 million in cash.

Hemel Hempstead-based Northgate is a leading supplier to the public safety, local government and human resources markets, employing more than 2,200 staff.

MVM specialises in the development and sales of software to the Local Government sector offering a portfolio of software applications which includes Spatial Planning, Health & Public Protection, CRM and Electoral Registration Systems. The company supplies approximately 330 Local Government clients. In addition, MVM is a niche supplier of Geographic Information Systems to the utilities sector. The company, which is based in Huntingdon, currently employs approximately190 staff operating from nine offices across the UK.

Andrew Kerr led the Pinsent Masons team advising Northgate assisted by Catherine Hemsworth. The firm has advised Northgate on its ongoing acquisitions programme which has included the purchases of CIM Systems Ltd, PWA Group Ltd (from Microsoft) and Hays Consulting & Solutions Group (from Hays Group) and Prolog Business Solutions.

The acquisition of MVM strengthens Northgate?s position in the Local Government market as well as providing cross-selling opportunities across the complementary portfolios.

Morrison plc were advised by Eversheds led by Lynette Lewis.

The acquisition provides yet more evidence of an upturn in M&A activity in the technology sector. Pinsent Masons has recently advised on the ?20 million management buyout of computer hardward supplier Stone Computers and the ?60 million merger of Synetrix Limited (broadband supplier to the public sector) with Equinox Converged Solutions.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Voller Energy Group plc advised on AIM admission

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Voller Energy Group plc, a manufacturer of portable fuel cell systems, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on its admission to trading on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

The company raised ?10 million on the placing which was arranged by Arden Partners Limited. Voller's opening market capitalisation was ?17 million.

The funds raised will be used by the Group, amongst other things, to finance the development and marketing of the Group?s existing and new products, satisfy the consideration for the acquisition of a German business and to finance the development of reformer technology as well as to provide working capital.

Hampshire-based Voller Energy was established in 2002 to design, develop, manufacture and market a range of portable fuel cell systems for use as mobile generators and battery re-chargers. The company has received two Smart Awards from the Department of Trade and Industry to develop its technology and has filed four patent applications to protect its technology.

In September 2003, Voller Energy launched the VE100, one of the world?s first hand-held portable fuel cell systems designed for commercial applications and using refillable hydrogen canisters as an energy source. The compact system is a self-contained portable power source that delivers ?mains? voltages.

Andrew Walker, Mike McGrath and Andrew Black led the Pinsent Masons team advising Voller Energy Group assisted by a team of corporate and specialist lawyers including Jo Hewlett and John Clegg.

Andrew Walker commented: ?We were very pleased to advise this exciting growth company on this important step in its development and we look forward to a long association with it. We have recently been involved with a notable number of stock market flotations and advised on the landmark 1000th company to be listed on AIM?.

Arden Partners Limited, nominated adviser and broker to Voller, were advised by Eversheds LLP. Pinsent Masons' German alliance partner, Hoffman Liebs Fritsch & Partner advised Voller on its German acquisition.

Ends

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

OFT to target healthcare sector

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The healthcare sector has been identified as one of the top five target areas of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) according to its draft business plan for 2005/06, warns international law firm Pinsent Masons.

According to the draft plan the OFT will focus on the healthcare sector due to its sheer size and importance - healthcare spend alone costing ?81bn in 2002. As a result the OFT recognises the need to watch carefully over the healthcare markets owing to its importance to the economy and its customers.

The OFT has the power to actively investigate any allegations of anti-competitive behaviour within the sector, such as price fixing cartels and market-sharing arrangements between competitors. The OFT may also launch dawn raids on any company suspected of involvement in these arrangements.

Companies who have high market shares in a particular product or service sector may come under the OFT's spotlight if they are suspected to have infringed competition law by abusing their dominant position.

'Many companies in the sector may be unaware that they might be dominant under competition law. The OFT has in the past defined markets narrowly. The OFT could determine dominance by reference to a single product or service. For instance, in 2003, Genzyme Limited was fined ?6.8 million (later reduced on appeal to ?3 million) for an abuse of a dominant position in respect of a drug for the treatment of Gaucher disease (Cerezyme)', says Giles Warrington, partner in the competition team at Pinsent Masons.

'Involvement in a breach of competition law can open a pandora's box of problems. The OFT may fine companies up to 10 per cent of their worldwide turnover. In addition individuals and companies are able to sue for damages they have suffered as a result of a breach of the competition rules. The effects of this can be seen in the high-profile price fixing vitamins case. In 2001, eight companies were fined by the European Commission a total of ?855 million for price fixing and market sharing. Some of these are now being sued in the UK by their customers for damages', warns Giles Warrington.

Any individuals directly involved in the most serious breaches could face the threat of criminal prosecution and directors of companies in breach risk being disqualified for up to 15 years.

The OFT can subject a market to scrutiny under its market studies regime by studying it more thoroughly as it is currently doing with the care homes market for older people. If it finds a market is not working well for consumers one of the options is a reference to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation. This can take up to two years, impose a significant information burden on those involved and result in the imposition of orders on market participants such as controls on future behaviour.

Giles Warrington concludes, ?Companies in the healthcare sector may need to take steps now to reduce their exposure to competition law risk. They may need to review existing arrangements and practices, if necessary adapting them, and establish competition law compliance programmes. Companies can also seek ways to reduce liability for past breaches including, in some cases, applying for leniency under the OFT's whistle blowing policy. Given the OFT's focus on the healthcare sector, many companies will need to take a proactive approach to competition law compliance.?

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1) Pinsent Masons has one of the biggest specialist competition groups comprising four partners and nine lawyers in the UK. It has been involved, and is currently involved, in several high-profile and complex cases. In the last five years the group has handled nine EU and UK dawn raids (with recent joiners to the group acting on a further five) and also acted on nine substantial cartel investigations. The group's considerable experience, expertise, strength in depth and national coverage is exceptional within the UK. This was recognised in the 2004 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession, which described the group as 'a leading port of call for EU and UK competition law?.

2) Pinsent Masons has a thriving healthcare practice which encompasses all elements of the healthcare market including:

- Public Sector, where we are a leading firm for PFI work generally and the NHS in particular. The firm has advised the NHS since its inception;

- The medical devices manufacturing sector ? we advise some major players in this sector and are committed to developing our understanding of the sector, for example we are members of the Association of British Health Care Industries. Clients include Smith & Nephew and the Medlock Group;

- Medical services ? Pinsent Masons has a particularly strong practice in the care homes sector and has completed a numerous of transactions in this field.

Read more…

Ponden Mill advised on multi-million pound retail sale

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Ponden Mill, national vendor of linens and textiles to the retail and public sectors, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on its sale to Marston Mills. To meet the demands of all parties, the complex deal was effectively completed in three weeks from initial contract to final signing.

Ponden Mill was founded by Barry Brookfield, who began his career in 1968 selling linen from his stall in Skipton market in North Yorkshire. The Keighley-based store currently has 132 stores across the UK, employing over 1,000 staff. The ?50m turnover company has become a household name, supplying direct to the public through city centre and out-of-town stores as well as operating contracts to supply hospitals, prisons and schools.

Marston Mill is led by millionaire entrepreneur Trevor Hemmings who currently owns Blackpool Tower, its piers and Winter Gardens as well as many other leisure interests.

Andrew Kerr led the Pinsents team assisted by Catherine Hemsworth and Philip Goldsborough.

Gordons advised the company and shareholders in relation to UK property matters.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTED TO ADVISE ON ALLDERS PENSIONS SCHEME

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed by the trustees of the Allders Pensions Scheme to advise them following the placement of Allders into Administration.

Christopher Berkeley, head of the pensions team at Pinsent Masons, commented:

?The trustees are currently in regular discussions with the company?s administrators regarding the future of the company and the funding of the Allders Pension Scheme. We are working alongside the trustees to achieve a solution which is in the best interests of the scheme and its members. ?

Most recently the team at Pinsent Masons has acted for pensioners of the KPMG Staff Pension Fund, the trustees of the Dexion Group Pension & Assurance Scheme and the trustees of the Anglo United Pension Scheme.

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons. The pensions team at Pinsent Masons comprises 42 pensions lawyers and dedicated independent trustee advisers, making it one of the largest specialist pensions teams throughout the UK. The team?s work is centred around four core strands: trustee services, corporate support, public sector & PFI advice, and its independent trustee practice.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ACTS ON ?20 MILLION COMPUTER COMPANY MBO

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised on their second technology sector disposal in a month supporting predictions of a resurgence of M&A activity in the sector.

Shareholders of computer hardware supplier, Stone Computers, including the principal shareholders James Bird, were advised by Pinsent Masons on the ?20 million management buyout of the company.

Just last month, the firm advised Keele-based Synetrix Limited, a leading supplier of broadband services to the public sector, on a ?60 million merger with South East-based Equinox Converged Solutions

Andrew Hornigold, Technology Chosen Market Group Head at Pinsent Masons, commented: 'Pundits have been predicting a return of M&A activity in the technology sector after the deal drought which followed the end of the dot.com boom. Our experience in the past few months demonstrates a return of confidence in the sector and a desire to do deals.'

Stone Computers, a Midlands-based business which assembles and distributes own brand desktop computers and other branded IT hardware, is a leading supplier in the public sector with key customers in local government, schools, further education colleges and universities.

Its buyout has been backed by Baring English Growth Fund (BEGF) with debt and working capital facilities from Barclays Leveraged Finance. The transaction was initiated by Catalyst Corporate Finance.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for the selling shareholders was led by corporate partners, Andrew Hornigold, assisted by Joanne Price and Richard Smith (corporate), Lisa Parisi (tax), Iain Saunders (property) and Jane Griffin (pensions).

The management team was advised by Gateley Waring (Paul Hayward and Chris Reed) and Catalyst Corporate Finance; BEGF was advised DLA Piper (Jim Lavery and Natalie Town) and Barclays were advised by Eversheds (Pat Johnstone and Will Sherwin).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SENIOR LAWYER JOINS IRS POLICY COMMITTEE

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Senior Pinsent Masons corporate lawyer, Robert Moir, has been appointed as the only lawyer to join the prestigious Policy Committee of the Investor Relations Society (IRS).

His appointment comes at a time when the Policy Committee has restructured to assist members more effectively in relation to the wealth of regulatory changes affecting Investor Relations Officers (IRO).

The Policy Committee of the IRS is chaired by Mark Hynes, PR Newswire's Managing Director of Investor Relations Services, and comprises members drawn from corporate broking, financial PR, registrars, accounting and auditing backgrounds.

On its radar are recent developments such as the Transparency Directive, repeal of the OFR, the Takeover Code amendments, the US Securities and Exchange Commission's consultation on ADR reporting, and the International Accounting Standards Board's consultation on management commentary standards.

'All of these changes in legislation will have a profound effect on the responsibilities of IROs,' said Mr Hynes. 'It is the goal of the Policy Committee to provide as much hands-on training and knowledge-building opportunities for our members as possible and our recent changes in structure will allow us to accomplish this more effectively.'

Robert Moir commented: 'It is a privilege to be asked to join the Policy Committee. The responsibilities of IROs are becoming increasingly complex as the level of regulation and harmonisation across Europe increases. It is vital for IROs and their companies to keep appraised of the changes and the Policy Committee has a key role to play in helping them achieve this.'

Robert is a senior corporate lawyer with considerable experience in a broad range of corporate and commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, IPOs, joint ventures, reorganisations and procurement & outsourcing. This has involved acting for a wide range of corporates, investment banks and institutions in a variety of sectors. He joined Pinsent Masons from Allen & Overy in 2004.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

IRS

The IRS is the UK's professional body for Investor Relations practitioners (www.ir-soc.org.uk). The IRS's membership base comprises around 600 individuals working both for listed companies and their advisers, and includes the majority of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, as well as a growing number of smaller listed companies and some located outside the UK.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ISS ON ACQUISITION OF SUPERCLEAN

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

ISS UK, an international leading facility services company, has been advised by a team of corporate lawyers from Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of Superclean Support Services Holding Ltd, the Wembley based cleaning services group, from Invex Capital Partners.

Superclean provides cleaning and associated support services primarily to the educational and public sector markets.

Just last year the team from Pinsent Masons advised ISS UK Ltd on a succession of deals which included the acquisition of Chenies Landscapes and of Mitchell & Struthers to expand the ISS Waterers landscaping business. Prior to this the team also advised on the acquisition of London based MJ Building Services Group, a manufacturing and engineering business, and the acquisition of Eaton Fine Dining to boost the ISS catering division and the acquisition of Coflex, the leading provider of independent facilities management.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by corporate partner Joanne Ellis assisted by Edward Stead.

Commenting Joanne Ellis said:

?We are very pleased to have once again worked with ISS and to enable them to realise their aim of being a fully integrated facility services business.'

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON PHASE EIGHT MBO

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Retail lawyers from Pinsent Masons have advised on the ?27m management buy out of Phase Eight, the retailer of stylish contemporary women?s clothes, shoes and accessories.

The deal which was finalised on Friday (28th) evening was backed by Barclays Private Equity who, as part of the deal, will take a 72 per cent stake, with management taking the remaining 28 per cent.

The buy out of Phase Eight, led by Chief Executive Joy Walters who joined the business in 2002, will be chaired by former New Look Chief Executive, Stephen Sunnucks.

Phase Eight was founded in 1979 and now trade 90 outlets throughout the UK. Turnover forecast for the year to January 2005 is ?30m, generating operating profits of ?3.6m.

The Management team were advised by a team of retail lawyers at Pinsent Masons following a competitive tender for the work. The team included Private Equity partners Paul Harkin and Jo Ellis assisted by Jonathan Snade.

This deal follows hot on the heels of Pinsent Masons? retail group advising the management team on the buy-in of MkOne backed by Baugur in December. Prior to this the team advised the major debt provider behind Baugur's acquisition of fashion chains Karen Millen and Whistles last summer.

Commenting Paul Harkin from Pinsent Masons said:

?We are delighted to have been involved in yet another high profile retail transaction. We enjoyed working with Joy and her team at Phase Eight. All parties are very pleased with the outcome of the transaction which leaves Phase Eight well positioned for the next stage of its growth.?

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087, Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

NOTES TO EDITOR

Pinsent Masons is a leading corporate law firm focused on sector-driven development in the UK

and internationally. The retail sector is key among its chosen industry sectors and the team of over 30 lawyers are committed to understanding the issues that impact on clients in the sector. The team act for many high street retailers and provide advice on all aspects of law affecting the sector including joint ventures, employment and competition issues, regulatory matters, acquisitions, property and supply chain management. Pinsent Masons is also an active member of the British Retail Consortium.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES IP2IPO ON KEY ACQUISITION

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

University technology IP specialists, IP2IPO Group plc, have been advised by the London office of Pinsent Masons on a ?16.1 million strategic acquisition which extends their relationship with some of the country's leading research establishments.

IP2IPO has acquired Techtran Group Limited, a company set up to commercialise university intellectual property. Techtran's primary client is the University of Leeds, a UK top ten research institution. Under its long-term contract with the University, Techtran provides technology transfer services in return for significant technology licences that are negotiated.

The University of Leeds relationship is highly complementary to IP2IPO's existing partnerships with the Universities of Oxford, Southampton, York and King's College London.

IP2IPO's strategy is to partner with the UK's top research-led universities and the University of Leeds not only has a strong reputation for the quality of its research but is one of the top 10 universities in the UK by research income.

The Pinsent Masons' team advising IP2IPO was led by corporate partner, Russell Booker, who was assisted by Dominic Travers (corporate) and Stephen Lane (tax).

The vendors, including Axiomlab Group PLC, were advised by corporate partner Ian Gilbert from Walker Morris (Leeds).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or 07884 110173.

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

IP2IPO is an intellectual property (IP) company that specialises in commercialising university technology. The Company was founded in 2001 and listed on AIM in October 2003. IP2IPO has long-term partnerships with the University of Oxford, the University of Southampton, King's College London and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, based at the University of York. In June 2004 IP2IPO acquired Top Technology Ventures Limited, an investment adviser to early stage technology funds. This combines IP2IPO's expertise in the creation of new ventures based on world leading university IP with Top Technology's focus on making early stage venture capital investments.

The University of Leeds was rated as one of the UK's top ten universities for research in the most recent national Research Assessment Exercise. It has an annual turnover of some ?340 million and in 2003 had total research income of more than ?100 million. It has been a pioneer of intellectual property commercialisation in the UK and was the first UK university to set up a dedicated technology transfer function. One of the University's most successful spin-out companies has been GMAP, which developed geographical modelling software to identify patterns in customer behaviour.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons closes major outsourcing for the

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

International law firm Pinsent Masons announced that it has completed a major outsourcing agreement on behalf of Bank of Ireland with Accenture.

The outsourcing agreement with Accenture is part of Bank of Ireland?s Strategic Transformation Programme. Under the new seven year agreement, Accenture will be supplying training and purchasing services to the bank, predicted to result in savings of more than ?20 million per annum. The agreement also involves the delivery of long-term scaleable efficiencies to meet Bank of Ireland?s ongoing organisational growth.

Partner Angela Cha led the Pinsent Masons team, supported by Belinda Bell, David Cole and Michael Harvey. Approximately 180 Bank of Ireland employees will be impacted by this agreement, and will either be retained within the training and purchasing areas, transfer to Accenture, be redeployed within Bank of Ireland or have an option for voluntary redundancy.

Angela Cha, who also advised the Bank of Ireland on its earlier outsourcing of its IT infrastructure and networks to HP and BT commented, ?outsourcing in the financial services sector continues to grow. This latest outsourcing agreement is flexible and future focussed. The Bank of Ireland is a dynamic and growing organisation where suppliers need to work with them to meet changing business needs.?

Brian Goggin, Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland Group said: 'The agreement with Accenture for the supply of training and purchasing services is a further significant step in our strategy to transform Bank of Ireland Group. It ensures that we source these services from a quality supplier, with proven global expertise and at the most efficient cost for the Group.'

Ends.

For further information please contact:

Richard Leonard or Joshua Van Raalte

Brazil

(firstname)@agencybrazil.com

T: 01865 725 269

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial law firm with 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

The firm is one of the most highly regarded law firms specialising in technology, telecoms, outsourcing and information law.

Read more…

VISLINK ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON PLACING AND STRATEGIC ACQUISITION

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the leading suppliers of microwave radio and satellite transmission products for broadcast, Vislink plc, has been advised by a corporate team from law firm Pinsent Masons on a strategic acquisition and related fundraising.

Vislink is proposing to acquire Link Research Limited, a leading provider of digital wireless camera systems for broadcast and broadcast sports markets, for a maximum consideration of ?10.75 million. At the same time the company is raising ?4.6 million by way of a placing and open offer of 20,414,569 new ordinary shares at 22.75 pence per share.

Ian Scott-Gall, Vislink's Chief Executive, commented: 'The integration of Link's wireless camera systems with Vislink's product offering and the development and introduction of high definition wireless camera systems are expected to provide Link with opportunities for further growth.'

Through the acquisition, which enhances Vislink's broadcast product portfolio, the company will gain the intellectual property rights for the application of technologies used extensively throughout Vislink's new generation of microwave radio links and satellite communications products. Vislink is also a supplier of CCTV systems to the marine security market.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Vislink is being led by corporate partners, Linda Crow and Gary Laitner, assisted by Mandy Kandohla, Nicole Kirkham and Jonathan Morris (corporate). Specialist advice is being provided by Andrew Mason (environment); Charlotte Underwood (property); Ruth Packwood (banking); Maxwell Creighton (tax), Charles Rae (employment) and Paul McClenaghan (commercial). Vislink is being advised on the Irish aspects of the transaction by Therese Rochford and Susan O'Reilly of Whitney Moore and Keller.

Link is being advised Jenny Batchelor of Batchelor & Myddelton.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 / mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons:

Pinsent Masons is a UK top 15 law firm, created by the merger in December 2004, of Pinsents and Masons. The merger, among the largest in the UK legal market in recent times, has created a 240 partner firm, with a legal team of more than 900 and total staff in excess of 1,500.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS EXPANDS PENSIONS TEAM

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The pensions team of Pinsent Masons has been expanded with the appointment of two lawyers to its leading London team.

Raj Sharma joins from Slaughter and May and brings with him eight years experience in pensions advisory work. He joins as an associate. His expertise spans across all areas of pensions-related issues including dealing with pensions aspects of corporate transactions, scheme mergers, setting up new schemes and schemes in wind-up in addition to providing trustee training. He also has particular expertise on investment-related issues and is recommended as a pensions specialist in Chambers and Partners UK Guide.

Kate Wild joins as an assistant from Eversheds LLP where she specialised in non-contentious pensions advisory work for employers and trustees of private sector schemes. She also brings considerable knowledge of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme to the team. Her experience includes drafting scheme documentation and member communications; advising on scheme alterations, the impact of legislative and regulatory changes and the pension aspects of corporate transactions. Kate also has particular trustee training expertise and it is hoped she will help expand the team's training offering in light of the new 'TKU' (Trustee Knowledge and Understanding) requirements of the Pensions Act 2004.

The expansion to the London team follows hot on the heels of the significant boost received to the pensions team in the north of England as a result of the firm?s merger in December 2004. Legacy Masons partner Patrick Kennedy leads a team of 8 lawyers who joined Pinsents' existing pensions group of 34 to make one of the largest dedicated pensions team in the UK.

ctd?

Commenting on the two new appointments, Christopher Berkeley, National Head of Pensions, said:

?We are delighted that Raj and Kate have joined us. They are excellent pensions lawyers with a depth of pensions experience. The team at Pinsent Masons continues to enjoy rapid growth and provide quality pensions advice whilst meeting increased client demand. This recent expansion once again reinforces our pre-eminent pensions practice.'

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1) The pensions team at Pinsent Masons comprise 42 pensions lawyers and dedicated independent trustee advisers, making it one of the largest specialised pensions teams throughout the UK. The pensions work of the team centres around four core strands: providing trustee support, commercial pensions support, advising public sector & PFI pension schemes and serving as independent trustees. Most recently the team has acted for pensioners of the KPMG staff pension fund and for the trustees of the Dexion pension scheme.

2) Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons.

3) Pinsent Masons aims to be a leading sectoral law firm and achieve a leading position in each of the eight chosen markets which comprise: Energy and Utilities, Financial Services and Insurance, Government, Infrastructure & Construction, Manufacturing & Engineering, Real Estate, Services and Technology.

Read more…

BANKING TEAM COMPLETES TRIO

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London banking team at Pinsent Masons has completed a trio of significant transactions in just three weeks, two of which involve new clients to the firm and one a new instruction from an established national client.

The first of the trio completed Christmas Eve and involved new client, Via Capital Limited, in its capacity as arranger of a ?40m secured loan facility to finance a pool of 'cash release' mortgages originated by Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited. Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited entered the European mortgage business with an innovative cash release mortgage product that will initially be launched in Spain to non-resident owners of residential property. Martin Bishop, head of the London banking team led the deal.

On New Years Eve the team completed the second in the trio, advising Westcity Whitelands Limited on their ?26.6m loan from Barclays to fund their Whitelands College housing project in Putney, South West London. Westcity, a new client to Pinsent Masons, will convert a Grade II listed building which was part of the University of Surrey into modern 2/3 bedroom flats, scheduled to complete at the end of 2006. Banking partner William Oliver led the deal.

Westcity Whitelands? Finance Director Mike Tannenbaum said: 'I was very impressed by both William Oliver's and Pinsent Masons' performance, particularly with the New Year's Eve completion being met without any problems. We hope to develop our relationship further with Pinsent Masons in the future'.

Most recently the team advised The Royal Bank of Scotland plc in relation to its provision of ?11.5 million of senior debt facilities to the management buyout vehicle of the restaurant operator, The Gaucho Grill from the Lewis family for ?23.5 million. Gaucho Grill has seven restaurants in the UK, one in Amsterdam and a franchise business in the Middle East. The business also owns Destino, a restaurant bar and nightclub in London. Barclays Private Equity took a 47% stake in the business with the remainder held by management. Banking partner Judith O?Shea led the deal.

Peter Brown who led the deal for The Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate and Structured Finance team in London said: ?The Pinsent Masons team did a great job in supporting the Bank through a relatively complex deal structure. We were delighted to successfully conclude the transaction and look forward to working with the management team and BPE in the next stage of Gaucho?s development.?

Martin Bishop, head of the London banking team said: ?It is pleasing to see the London team complete these three deals, all on tight timetables. It shows we not only have the breadth of experience to handle a range of different banking transactions within different sectors, but also the depth in the team to have them run simultaneously.?

The London banking team of Pinsent Masons comprise three partners and seven fee earners. Pinsent Masons has invested heavily in the London team over the past two years by recruiting partners Martin Bishop from Slaughter & May to head up the team, William Oliver from Jones Day and Judith O?Shea from Hammonds. Since their arrival the London team has received its first instructions from HSBC, Lloyds and RBS whilst continuing to act for Barclays, NIB Capital Bank and Nedbank Ltd.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087, mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1) Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons.

2) Pinsent Masons aims to be a leading sectoral law firm and achieve a leading position in each of the eight chosen markets which comprise; Energy and Utilities, Financial Services and Insurance, Government, Infrastructure & Construction, Manufacturing & Engineering, Real Estate, Services and Technology.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS PARTNER TO DRIVE FINANCIAL REGULATORY PRACTICE FORWARD

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has appointed Al-Harith Sinclair to bolster the firm's financial regulatory capability in London and nationally. The appointment comes at a time when financial regulation continues to sweep the UK and the demand for comprehensive and accessible regulatory advice surges.

Al-Harith joins from Cleary Gottlieb where he headed up their UK financial regulatory practice. He joined Pinsent Masons City office on 4 January as a partner with 6 years' financial regulatory experience. During his time at Cleary Gottlieb Al-Harith both created and led the firm's UK financial regulatory practice advising corporate, banking, investment, insurance and outsourcing clients on all aspects of UK and EU financial regulation affecting their businesses.

At Cleary Gottlieb, Al-Harith advised Euronext on all of the UK regulatory aspects of the merger between the London Clearing House and Euronext?s then majority owned subsidiary, Clearnet; Credit Lyonnais on the UK regulatory aspects of its merger with Credit Agricole and continuingly advised a significant number of key clients on the FSA?s developing approach to outsourcing by FSA regulated institutions. He also advised on the setting up, authorisation, and ongoing compliance of FSA regulated institutions.

Prior to his appointment at Cleary Gottlieb, Al-Harith Sinclair worked as a financial regulatory specialist at Clifford Chance for four years covering the regulatory aspects of key new developments affecting the financial services industry, such as European Monetary Union and e-financial services. During Al-Harith?s time at Clifford Chance, he was also seconded to the European Securities Forum for ten months where he assisted the world?s leading investment banks in making the case for centralised clearing and settlement of exchange traded shares in Europe.

Pinsent Masons? financial services regulatory core team comprises five partners. The firm plans to expand the team further within the next 12 months.

The financial services regulatory team forms part of the firm's Financial Services and Insurance chosen market comprising over 70 lawyers who are recognised experts in banking, insurance, investment houses, pensions and private equity.

Commenting Al-Harith Sinclair said:

'It is a pleasure to join a firm with such wide-ranging involvement in financial services and I look forward to the challenges of assisting the firm?s clients to achieve their goals. The Financial Services Authority?s burgeoning output of domestic and EU driven regulations makes it necessary for clients to rely on a dedicated team of lawyers to monitor and advise on the impacts of financial regulations. Pinsent Masons? experienced financial regulatory team is ideally placed to satisfy this need for dedicated financial regulatory advice.'

Chris Mullen, joint head of the Financial Services and Insurance chosen market at Pinsent Masons said:

'Al's expertise in regulatory issues, particularly compliance issues for banks and large financial institutions, will complement the work of our existing teams in banking, insurance, private equity and pensions. The financial services and insurance sector represents over 20% of Pinsent Masons' client base and servicing the regulatory needs of these key clients is one of our paramount concerns.'

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DL: 020 7418 7087

M: 07748 321769

E: elle.hill@pinsentsmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1) The Financial Regulatory team at Pinsent Masons comprises five partners: Jeremy Philips, Andrew Long, Chris Fitton, Martin Webster and Al Sinclair.

2) Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complimentary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons.

3) Pinsent Masons aims to be a leading sectoral law firm and achieve a leading position in each of the eight chosen markets which comprise; Energy and Utilities, Financial Services and Insurance, Government, Infrastructure & Construction, Manufacturing & Engineering, Real Estate, Services and Technology.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS BANKING TEAM ADVISE ON VIA CAPITAL DEAL

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London banking team of Pinsent Masons has advised a new client, Via Capital Limited, in its capacity as arranger of a ?40m secured loan facility to finance a pool of 'cash release' mortgages originated by Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited. Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited has entered the European mortgage business with an innovative cash release mortgage product that will initially be launched in Spain to non-resident owners of residential property.

This is the first time that Pinsent Masons has acted for Via Capital Limited. Via Capital Limited is the investment banking subsidiary of Aareal Bank AG, one of Germany?s leading international property banks. Via Capital Limited has been established to provide mortgage and fund advisory services to its predominately European client base.

The banking team at Pinsent Masons comprised London?s Head of Banking, Martin Bishop (partner), Kate Myles (associate) and Anna Best (associate). Together the team worked closely with Via Capital director Rupinder Sehmi and manager Kristin Steinberg. Pinsent Masons worked with Luther Menold of Frankfurt who are members of the EY Law network. Sven Brandt and his team at Luther Menold advised on the European aspects of the deal.

Martin Bishop from Pinsent Masons said:

?It has been a pleasure working with Via Capital for the first time. The transaction involved a tight pre-Christmas deadline, which I am proud to say was successfully met, with complex cross-jurisdictional issues, all of which resulted in the financing of a new and innovative product brought to the market by Surrenda-link.?

Rupinder Sehmi from Via Capital Limited said:

'Via Capital has the objective of providing our clients with focused capital and funding solutions that concurrently meet capital market investor requirements. Our role as advisor to the innovative mortgage originator, Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited, proved Via Capital's strength in matching originator and investor objectives, whilst demonstrating our ability to structure and execute complex cross boarder real-estate transactions.'

Blake Lapthorn Linnell advised Surrenda-link Mortgage Holdings Limited.

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

BROADBAND COMPANY ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?60 MILLION MERGER

January 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of Midlands' advisers has helped Keele-based Synetrix Limited, a leading supplier of broadband services to the public sector, complete a ?60 million merger with the South East-based Equinox Converged Solutions.

Pinsent Masons and Catalyst Corporate Finance had been working with the shareholders for some time to help develop their strategic plans. Synetrix has grown rapidly to c?20 million turnover and ?4.5 million profit and wanted to identify a partner to help it take advantage of the Government?s drive to make the UK the world?s leading operator of broadband technology. One of its recent projects was to provide broadband access to all public sector organisations in the West Midlands.

Equinox operates in the same market, managing the whole of the broadband network supplying schools and other public sector businesses inside the M25 and has already attracted the backing of Apax Partners, one of the world?s leading investors in technology businesses.

The merger has created the UK?s leading independent provider of broadband solutions with a turnover of c?35 million, employing over 100 specialists across the UK. The combined business, which will trade under the Synetrix name, will be run by Synetrix? managing director, Alex Jadavji and chaired by the former CEO of Energis, Mike Grabiner.

Alex Jadavji commented: ?We are delighted to have cemented the relationship with Apax and Equinox and see this as the first stage of building a UK capability for delivering and managing broadband networks across the public sector. Clearly, with the pace of change increasing in this market it is imperative that access is gained for as many people as possible and the combined skills of the two businesses will ensure that the public sector takes the lead on this.?

The shareholders at Synetrix were advised by Andrew Hornigold, Technology Chosen Market Lead Partner at Pinsent Masons and Richard Sanders, Partner at Catalyst Corporate Finance.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 623 8626 / mob: 07884 110173

Pinsent Masons:

Pinsent Masons is a UK top 15 law firm, created by the merger on 6 December 2004, of Pinsents and Masons. The merger, among the largest in the UK legal market in recent times, has created a 240 partner firm, with a legal team of more than 900 and total staff in excess of 1,500.

Read more…

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to