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  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

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Gateley Plc handles management buyouts and buy-ins, mergers, demergers and acquisitions for a diverse client base featuring Aurum Group, Connection Capital, Troy UK, Changan UK R&D Centre and LDC. It has a solid track record acting for private equity houses and recently assisted Palatine Private Equity and Newco with Newco’s acquisition of Westleigh Partnerships; practice head Gareth John led the advice. John also assisted Exertis with its £6m acquisition of Siracom and advised Coastfields Leisure on its £9.7m acquisition of North Shore Holiday Centre. Other highlights saw the firm acting for the shareholders of Planet Produce during the sale of the company to Total Produce. Rachel Bennett joined Flint Bishop LLP.

Hewitsons’ team has particular expertise in tax-driven reorganisations and restructurings in the automotive trade and packaging industries. It also assists clients with management buyouts and share and asset ownership transfers. On the commercial side, the group is recommended for contractual matters involving the technology sector. A team including the ‘cool-headedNeil Harpham and David Browne assisted the management of Briggs & Forrester with a partial management buyout, which increased its shareholding to 60% and involved the establishment of an employee benefit trust. The group continues to act for Perrys Motor Sales; recent work includes handling the sale of Perrys’ Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships to the Rybrook Group and assisting the client with its £40m refinancing from Lloyds. Other highlights included advising the Northamptonshire Association for the Blind on the sale of its residential home and assisting the shareholders of Perkz with a share disposal. Navtech Systems Support, Fencor Packaging Group and Hi-Force Group are also clients. Kevin Fletcher is another key contact, as is Richard Ingram, who adds ‘an extra degree of commercial nous when required’.

Recent work highlights at Spearing Waite LLP saw Martin Smith assist the founder shareholders of EE Contracts and Clarendon Fabrications on an £11.1m management buyout, and Oliver Brookshaw act for the management team in the £1.5m debt and equity-backed management buyout of Camloc Motion Control. Steve McElhone, praised for his ‘endless patience and good understanding of commercial issues’, advised the shareholders of Mrs Crimble’s on the company’s sale to Kallo Foods. Together with Kate Blank, Brookshaw and McElhone assisted the Business Growth Fund on its £10m investment in Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling for the construction of an incinerator bottom ash recycling plant. Jahid Ali acted for the shareholders of D&H Engineering and D&H Engineering Poland on the sale of both entities to a Polish buyer and advised Parker Motor Services on the acquisition of A.E. Cook. Ian Thomson joined the team from Geldards LLP. Beowulf Mining, Valiant Investment and Connells are also clients.

BHW Solicitors’ ‘service levels are consistently excellent, backed by sound commercial advice and a solid understanding of the wider business picture’. The ‘extremely competent, thorough and diligent’ group has a growing presence in the aerospace manufacturing sector, assisting companies with mergers, acquisitions and long-term supply agreements. Private equity transactions and secured lending are other areas of specialism. Work highlights saw ‘extremely competent’ practice head Ed Nurse leading a team advising Gardner Aerospace Holdings on its £326m acquisition by Shaanxi Ligeance Mineral Resources with subsidiary Chengdu Aerospace Superalloy Technology. Also recommended are Nick Bridle, whose legal strategy is ‘ahead of the game’, and Matt Worsnop, who is ‘extremely competent in structuring IT contracts and advising on software development’. Worsnop assisted new client Moneything with drafting loan and security documents and continues to provide ongoing advice regarding its complex loan management. Other recent work for the firm included the restructuring of Boolers following the departure of a senior partner and two new partners joining the company. Clients have also included Nationwide Platforms, Lavendon Group, British Swimming and Power Towers. Folk2Folk is a new panel appointment.

Howes Percival LLP acts for private equity funds, and family and management-owned businesses, among others, and has a strong presence in the automotive sector. In this space, practice head Gerald Couldrake advised Motorvogue on its acquisition of two car dealerships and assisted Paragon Automotive with its sale to BCA Marketplace for £105m of initial consideration followed by a £30m earn-out. In other work, the firm managed the £17m management buyout of Panther Warehousing, including structuring the incoming management shareholding. Chris Rees assisted SPAR UK with drafting new supply contracts, and led on the restructuring of KCT Holdings to facilitate a generational shift in management. Clients also include Welcome Break, Nampak and Shanks Waste Management.

Else Solicitors LLP’ ‘pragmatic, effective and commercial’ practice head Adam Gilbert is a ‘great asset’ and ‘understands well the demands of an in-house team’. He assisted the shareholder of Trinity Funeral Services with the purchase of Brain & Waldron; advised the UK branch of Bavaria Brewery on an outsourcing agreement with Molson Coors; and acted for Brit Sec Security Management during its acquisition of Snowdon Business Services. Other highlights for the firm included advising on the sale of the Smile Dental Practice and Madeira Dental Practice to Oasis Healthcare, where Greg Bullock led the advice, and handling the purchase of Merry Maids franchise by Sarian. Vaillant Group is also a client.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited acts for care home owners, agricultural businesses, healthcare providers and joint venture developers, among others, on mergers, sales and acquisitions. Lisa Botterill assisted Coba International with its acquisition of CD Plastic Moulding; advised Hunters Lodge Retirement Home on its sale; and completed several transactions for joint venture property developers regarding multimillion-pound schemes.

The team at Roythornes Solicitors provides ‘commercial knowledge, attention to detail and good response times’, and is renowned for its food industry expertise. Peter Seary advised several purchasers on acquisitions including clients Air Techniques, Fold Hill Foods and Lincolnshire Field Products, which acquired DOP Solutions, Pointer Pet Products and Produce World Group’s brassica growing and marketing business, respectively. Other highlights included a restructuring of a farming partnership and assisting Lark Energy with corporate and corporate finance aspects of the construction of one of the largest solar farms in the UK to date; the latter also involved transferring the project into solar renewables bonds. ‘Patient’ and ‘responsive’ practice head Martin Jinks and Julia Seary are recommended. Peter Bennett has retired.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Gary Davie and Roy Botterill assist owner-managed and employee-owned businesses with a range of corporate and commercial matters. The group advises clients based in the US and France as well as UK-based manufacturing companies and higher education institutions. Expertise spans mergers, demergers, acquisitions, management buyouts, joint ventures and restructurings. Assisting companies with transition to employee ownership is another area of specialism, alongside corporate finance and drafting long-term management strategies.

Sills & Betteridge LLP’s team provides ‘excellent’ service and ‘quick response times’. Clients include private equity investors, national and regional businesses, and family companies. Martin Walsh and Andrew Payne assisted Oldrids & Co with its acquisition of Westgate department store in Scunthorpe. Other highlights included assisting a UK-based company with its sale to a US-based private equity buyer; handling a management buyout for the selling shareholders; and managing the restructuring of a family business. Ed Capes and Gary Phillips are recommended.

The ‘approachable’ Russell Eke, who ‘goes the extra mile’, heads Wilkin Chapman LLP’s practice, which combines ‘expertise, local knowledge and clear and pragmatic advice’. Eke advised the shareholders of Provantis Amenity on the £3.5m share disposal, including sale of the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Headland Amenity. Other highlights included assisting Martract’s shareholders with a £4.3m share disposal and acting for two shareholders of Albert Darnell in a share disposal including a pre-completion restructuring and a completion accounts mechanism. The ‘specialist’ team also managed funding and structuring arrangements for CNG Fuels pertaining to its nationwide compressed natural gas filling stations project. The education and biomethane energy sectors are also areas of strength for the firm, and with regards to the former, Ian Sherburn advised the Boston Witham Academies Federation on its merger with the Phoenix Family of Schools Academy Trust. Richard Frogson is another name to note, as is Michael Squirrell, who recently made partner.

Wilson Browne Solicitors’ ‘very capable’ group provides ‘thorough’ advice on sales and acquisitions, as well as restructurings and refinancings. The team includes ‘superb corporate lawyerAndrew Kerr, who has ‘first-class judgement and a business-savvy approach’; furthermore, he ‘gets straight to the point’ and ‘is not a fence sitter’. Work highlights included assisting the National Union of Teachers with the sale of its trading subsidiary Stoke Rochford Management and acting for the shareholders of PCKO during the sale to AHR Group. The firm also advised a minority shareholder in Assured Vehicle Rental on the purchase of the majority shareholder’s stake in the company; assisted Heygates with drafting a suite of supply agreements for wheat products to Kelloggs; and negotiated a card payment services agreement with a challenger bank for Mastercard and Visa accredited processor Global Processing Service.


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