Banking and finance in North

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP’s full-service team garners praise by clients for being ‘hardworking and able to meet challenging deadlines’. The practice is a regional top performer in advising financial sector clients including banks, private equity houses, funds and other funders; it also benefits from multiple bank panel appointments; Kevin Maloney maintains a close relationship with numerous financial institutions. On the borrower side, the team is gaining additional ground through financing and refinancing work in the acquisition and project finance space. In addition, the department relies on the firm’s real estate team for property finance transactions, with Gail Bennett being among the key contacts in that respect. The practice is led by Louise Duffy, who is ‘highly competent, trustworthy and always puts the interests of her clients first’.

Practice head(s):

Louise Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Maloney; Gail Bennett

Testimonials

‘Extremely experienced and knowledgeable. Also approachable and friendly. Definitely one of the top banking teams in the region.’

‘Louise Duffy is an excellent team leader, well-respected and very easy to work with. Kevin Maloney is highly experienced and good to deal with.’

‘Louise Duffy is a standout banking partner. After working with Louise on many transactions, I can categorically confirm she is one of the best banking lawyers you could hope to work with. Highly competent, trustworthy and always puts the interests of her clients first.’

‘Very engaging and hands on in terms of supporting us (as lenders) proactively with advice and guidance. Louise Duffy, Kevin Maloney and Philip Clare all stand out for their proactivity. I would say they are amongst the best in their field locally.’

‘Great collaboration across business lines to work together to find solutions for the clients.’

‘The key word is practical in dealing with Muckle you always know they will provide a first-class and timely service always in a pragmatic and practical manner. The clear collaboration within the firm is clear to see. The key driver and my main point of contact in this regard is Louise Duffy.’

‘Very strong and collaborative team to deal with that is always very responsive to formal and informal queries. Very quick to bring in support from across the firm if the work requires input from outside the banking and finance team. Approach is very commercial with a can-do attitude. Hardworking and able to meet challenging deadlines.’

‘Louise Duffy is a very knowledgeable banking lawyer with a deep understanding of bank processes and all associated documents both LMA and non-LMA. Adam Rayner is a proactive lawyer with good knowledge of equity transactions both mid-market PE and earlier stage VC.’

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

Santander UK plc

The Lakes Distillery Company plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Mandata Group Limited

Atom Bank plc

Hampshire Trust Bank plc

The University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Kitwave Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Santander UK on new loan and revolving credit facilities to Broadband Satellite Services Group.
  • Advised The Lakes Distillery Company on a range of facilities during the course of the year to support the group’s growth aspirations.
  • Advised The University of Newcastle upon Tyne on facilities provided by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for a heat networks investment project on campus.

Ward Hadaway LLP

The ‘efficient and always responsive’ team at Ward Hadaway is a dominant force acting on the side of various lenders on acquisition finance, property development and project finance mandates. Aiming at ensuring a more comprehensive offering for more challenging transactions across the region, the practice routinely pairs up with colleagues in Leeds and Manchester. Highly regarded Imogen Holland heads up the banking and finance group across all three offices. In particular, the team draws on the expertise of the firm’s specialists in disciplines such as construction, planning, tax, competition and energy law; the efficiency of this cooperation is reflected in the wide range of its sector-specific strengths which span real estate investment, property development, renewable energy, charities, leisure, healthcare and manufacturing, among others. Simon Errington has over two decades of secured lending experience under his belt. Julie Harrison retired from the partnership in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Imogen Holland

Other key lawyers:

Simon Errington

Testimonials

‘They are excellent. Efficient and always responsive.’

‘Imogen Holland is best in class.’

‘Commercial approach. Good knowledge of the local market and relationships across the North East.’

‘We mainly work with Imogen Holland. It is the personal touch that makes a difference. Being able to talk things through and be comfortable and confident to ask questions and know you are being advised appropriately.’

‘The team is excellent technically, very approachable and comes up with commercial solutions. They take a pragmatic approach in order to get a deal done. In particular, Imogen Holland and Richard Butts are exceptional examples of this.’

‘The team at Ward Hadaway are unique in the sense that they create a sense of trust and loyalty. Having worked with them as our solicitors for 13 years, we have never had a cause for concern. Especially during the very difficult circumstance for our industry over the last 12 months, they have given sound advice and guidance throughout, going above and beyond to give us comfort, both emotionally and financially.’

‘Imogen Holland and her colleagues Richard Butts and Clare French are permanently available to our queries. Often working into the twilight hours to ensure that we as their client are satisfied and on track. Their approach is aligned with ours and the relationships that have formed over the years ensure that an in-depth understanding of our requirements are considered at every juncture.’

Key clients

Royal Bank of Scotland plc / National Westminster Bank plc

Santander UK plc

Lloyds Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) plc

FW Capital Limited / Development Bank of Wales plc

The Council of the City of Newcastle

North East LEP

OakNorth Bank plc

Inn Collection Group

Bank of China (UK) Limited

BGF Investment LP

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Inn Collection Group on the refinancing of its debt with OakNorth Bank plc prior to the secondary buyout of the group by Alchemy Partners.
  • Assisted The Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland Combined Authority with preparing documentation for a loan to a renewable energy sector company.
  • Acted for OakNorth Bank plc on the negotiation of offer and security documentation for the funds made available for refinancing to Birchdove Homes Limited.

Sintons LLP

Sintons LLP has been very active on issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the context of coronavirus business interruption loan schemes and emergency overdraft facilities. Clients recommended the team for its work on refinancing mandates, which is among its areas of strengths, particularly in the real estate sector where it acts in conjunction with the firm’s property team. Practice head Jane Meikle is particularly experienced in real estate finance work for both lenders and borrowers.

Practice head(s):

Jane Meikle

Other key lawyers:

Mark Dobbin

Testimonials

‘Sintons is a firm that just gets on with it. They have acted for our residential property development company since formation in 2018, dealing with shareholder agreements, building contracts, company formation and related stuff along with the initial bank loan facility.’

‘The refinancing exercise was carried out during lockdown – but it was nevertheless quite seamless. Jane Meikle’s persistence helped drive the transaction to a successful conclusion.’

‘Very engaging and hands-on in terms of supporting us (as lenders) proactively with advice and guidance’

‘Jane Meikle, Matt Collen and Mark Dobbin – all three are exceptional – extremely approachable with a high level of engagement. Very proactive with advice and guidance.’

‘Sintons team has a wide scope of expertise. They offer our business a one-stop shop with a flexible approach. Jane Meikile and Mark Dobbin stand out – they have advised and managed several property and banking transactions for our group.’

Key clients

Creative Support Limited

Cussins (North East) Limited

Malhotra Care Homes Limited

Solar Capture Technologies Limited

Project Knight Limited

Birchdove Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Creative Support with the negotiation of a term and revolving facility agreement.
  • Advised housebuilder Cussins (North East) on a £9.5m revolving credit facility.
  • Assisted Solar Capture Technologies with the negotiation of a funding agreement and a grant from The Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland Combined Authority.

Weightmans

The cross-departmental banking and finance group at Weightmans is a top choice for clients seeking assistance with venture capital and private equity funding matters. The practice is led by national corporate group head Duncan Reid, who is adept at advising companies with capital raising advice in the technology and leisure industries. Additional areas of focus include the care home, construction and property sectors. Paul Wigham has extensive experience acting for venture capital funds.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Reid

Other key lawyers:

Paul Wigham; Marc Allison

Key clients

Handelsbanken

Santander

Lloyds Bank

Development Bank of Wales

Lok Developments

Northstar Ventures

Maven Capital Partners

BGF plc

The Morton Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Maven Capital Partners on a number of debt and equity financings in some of the North East’s prominent technology companies.
  • Advised Lok Developments on high-profile development finance transactions.
  • Advised Northstar Ventures on its appointment as manager of the Northern Accelerator Seed Investment Fund.

Burnetts

Burnetts places an emphasis on lending-related work, particularly in core areas such as general banking, property investment and development finance. The practice has marked strengths in the agriculture and healthcare sectors; in the healthcare lending realm, it also recently bolstered its capabilities with the appointment of senior associate Caroline Swift, who arrived from Hempsons in the early spring of 2020. Sarah Willshire leads the firm’s finance and property finance groups, where lender clients also single out recently promoted senior associate Rebecca Joy.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Willshire

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Joy; Caroline Swift

Testimonials

‘The team is incredibly responsive. I am answering on behalf of a bank who regularly uses Burnetts for acting on our behalf in perfecting the bank’s security. They will always try and find a solution and balance protecting the bank from a risk point of view but also understanding that there is a client at the end of a transaction.’

‘Knowledgeable staff who explain what they are doing and why in an easy-to-understand manner. When looking for quotes for work to be completed, they are able to quickly and easily grasp the context of what is required.’

‘Sarah Wilshere is fast, efficient, with a solution- and client-oriented approach.’

‘Rebecca Joy is highly responsive, calm under pressure, wants to find solutions but firm in her recommendations to protect the bank.’

‘Rebecca Joy dealt with a more complex transaction for us and when dealing with a solicitor from another firm she was able to deal with all the issues that were raised in an efficient and professional manner.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

Bank of Scotland Plc

Santander UK plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation Plc

The Cumberland Building Society          

Handelsbanken

National Westminster Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for Lloyds Bank plc on providing funding for a GP surgery development, including property security and collateral warranties in favour of the client.
  • Advising Lloyds Bank plc on a group restructuring and the impact of the borrower company granting a deep discounted bond to its parent, including negotiating an inter-creditor deed to subordinate all inter-company loans.
  • Advised The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation plc on a complex trust matter where the legal title to the land was held on trust for four individuals.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s banking and finance team sits within the firm’s wider corporate and commercial property group. Debt and equity finance transactions are the department’s forte, with its client portfolio comprising a mix of lenders and borrowers, as well as investors and investees. Senior partner Paul Hughes sits at the helm of the practice and stands out for his Islamic finance expertise.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hughes

Key clients

The Lugano Group

Cairn Group

High Street Group

Fico Corporation

Vielo Sports Limited

Permoid Industries

Steamforged Games

Danielli Holdings

Amplyfi Limited

The Industrial Mandate Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Lugano Group on a group-wide refinancing and extension of all of its facilities with NatWest Bank.
  • Advised Cairn Group on an amendment and restatement of its £201m group finance arrangements with HSBC.
  • Advised Amplyfi on a £4m series A + investment, comprising a mixture and advanced equity subscription.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is well versed in advising borrowers as well as lenders, including large high-street banks and public sector bodies; notably, the firm also continues to benefit from its 2021 reappointment to the panel of the National Westminster Bank. During the pandemic, the team has also been acting on coronavirus business interruption loan mandates and acquisition finance transactions. Leeds-based practice head John Connor has extensive experience in corporate transactions and has additional expertise in education sector financing.

Practice head(s):

John Connor

Other key lawyers:

Kirsty Lienard

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank PLC

Clydesdale Bank plc / Yorkshire Bank / Virgin Money

Lloyds Bank plc

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Cairngorm Capital

LDC

NorthEdge Capital

Endless LLP

Grainger PLC

Wykeland Group Limited

Venator PLC

Department for Education

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty

PRAC Financial Limited

Europa Capital

British Engines

Kennelpak Limited

National Westminster Bank PLC