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Banking and finance in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP is widely acknowledged as a market-leader, with its team showcasing its expertise across a myriad of large and complex transactions. Clients include banks and other institutional lenders, airlines, large corporates, SMEs and social housing providers. Led by Kath Shimmin, the practice excels in areas such as syndicated lending, real estate finance, project finance, structured finance and leveraged finance. Guy Constant has expertise in Islamic finance. Beyond pure banking work, the firm is also able to advise on bonds issuances and other debt finance transactions. Rebecca McCabe-North and Richard Humphreys are among other notable individuals in the group.

Practice head(s):

Kath Shimmin

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca McCabe-North; Guy Constant; Richard Humphreys; Danielle Collett-Bruce

Testimonials

‘All the people I’ve worked with at Blake Morgan have been pleasant, intelligent and diligent. There is a culture of pragmatism generally which means that potentially thorny issues are usually easily resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. This ‘can do’ attitude has been really helpful in creating commercially sound but non-standard financing arrangements.’

‘Kath Shimmin has been a joy to work with over many years. She is smart and to the point, but also great fun. At times she has turned the legal process from a necessary evil to something actually enjoyable. She listens to what the bank and the borrower want/need and works to find solutions that suit both.’

‘We have exceptional engagement with Blake Morgan. This extends beyond partner level with the wider teams engaging with us in a timely, professional way across regardless of weather they are acting for the bank or a customer.’

Competitive rates, willing to act in a collaborative manner and always able to meet the deadline – what is not to like!

‘Blake Morgan provide a banking and finance service that exceeds the fees that it charges and hits as heavy as the larger firms known for their banking and finance practices.’

‘Kath Shimmin provides magic circle-level advice and knowledge and is approachable and commercial. She takes the time to get to know the business at all levels – senior management, in-house legal counsel and the stakeholders at the coalface.’

‘For me they are the easiest firm to deal with in the Thames Valley! Always responsive, good commercial understanding.’

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

Santander UK plc

National Westminster Bank plc

Lawn Tennis Association

Sutton and East Surrey Water plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Harlequins Rugby Club

Dentons

Dentons' Milton Keynes team plays a key role in the context of the firm's wide UK and international banking and finance offering. Led by Christopher Colclough, the group advises a mix of UK and overseas-based banks, as well as regional and international borrowers. Colclough has a notable focus on real estate finance transactions; his recent work included financings and refinancings of premium London retail and offices spaces. Also noted for her real estate finance expertise is Faye Garvey, who is also knowledgeable about syndicated and bilateral lending, as well as acquisition finance transactions. Senior associate Neill Pemberton has a wealth of experience of handling Islamic finance transactions for major Middle Eastern banks.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Colclough

Other key lawyers:

Faye Garvey; Neil Pemberton

Testimonials

‘We have continued to receive the same high level of service as always. We have never felt the need to move anywhere else for the services this team offers us.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

RBS / Nat West

Barclays Bank plc

Metro Bank

QIB

National Bank of Egypt

Home Décor

Lloyds Banking Group

Santander UK

DMH Stallard LLP

DMH Stallard LLP's recent workload has included acquisition finance, corporate and commercial banking, and real estate transactions. In addition, asset-based lending transactions have been on the increase at the firm. Gwen Godfrey heads up the team, which undertakes a mix of bank and borrower work. Also based in Gatwick is Anne Milne, who leads the real estate and property finance group. Tom Trowbridge and senior associate Elina Ong are among other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Gwen Godfrey

Other key lawyers:

Anne Milne; Sarah Naylor; Cathy Searle; Tom Trowbridge; Katie Layton; Elina Ong

Testimonials

‘The team always demonstrate a joined-up approach – you can rely on getting consistent, professional advice. They are knowledgeable and approachable and give me confidence that they are providing me with the best service available.’

‘They take ownership and are always honest, friendly and professional. I have worked with Anne Milne for many years and she is always my preferred solicitor. She gives me honest and constructive advice and I know I can rely on her to meet deadlines.’

‘We have worked with DMH for a number of years and established excellent working relationships. The team are practical and knowledgeable. Probably the firm we would choose to use where we have that choice.’

‘We work mainly with Gwen Godfrey and Anne Milne. Both professional, responsive and knowledgeable. Gives practical advice to help us make commercial decision. Both Gwen and Anne willing to give advice (even on matters they are not working on). Easy to deal with and have a strong understanding of the bank.’

‘The practice has a strong ethos that delivers a personable, quality service with a great depth of knowledge of various aspects of the law through their staff. I have not met one person working for DMH who falls below this standard. They are focused on risk but have a commercial view point and are extremely good at working with other professional service providers.’

‘Our key contacts in Anne Milne and Gwen Godfrey are very approachable and hard working. We very much value that they take personal responsibility for work and oversee all matters, and trough the process being both practical and commercial to get a transaction done. Their guidance and expertise is valued and highly regarded.’

‘Very professional and well resourced. It is evident that they work closely as a team with all members engaged and into the detail. Work is always scrupulously reviewed so we get partner standard work, even for smaller transactions, where other firms would pass onto more junior colleagues.’

‘Gwen Godfrey is the stand out partner at DMH. Always available as a friendly expert, to lend an ear and offer sound advice. Happy to chat through hypothetical circumstances and practicalities, even on transactions that we haven’t yet engaged on. Very proactive in identifying areas that may cause issues and flagging early.’

Key clients

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending Limited

Leumi ABL Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending Limited on the refinance of asset based lending facilities to Chemigraphic Limited to support their rapid growth, which included advising on the structure of the deal, drafting the suite of finance and security documents and managing the conditions precedent process.
  • Acted for a lender on the provision of a facility to a developer to fund the implementation of planning permission for the construction of 64 one & two bed apartments, gym, swimming pool & parking.
  • Advised a bank on CBILS facilities to a well known social sports and entertainment venue in London and a refinance of existing indebtedness of the borrower to provide general working capital, working with the lender to draft all finance documentation. Also dealt with complex inter-creditor issues in relation to a Future Fund convertible loan.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP has a particularly strong track record of handling complex finance transactions that have a nexus to technology, venture capital and private equity investments. Hugh Jones leads the team in Reading, which is part of a large national operation, and is regularly seen in transactions with an international flavour. It acts for a mix of major banks, private equity funds and corporates. In 2020, associate director Victoria Dingle was among the advisers to LDC on its investment in James and James Holdings Limited. Legal director Rebecca Scott, who has over 20 years of post-qualification experience, is another key individual in the team. Senior associate Daniel Barnhouse is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Jones

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Scott; Victoria Dingle; Daniel Barnhouse

Testimonials

‘Friendly, can-do, proactive.’

Key clients

National Westminster Bank plc

HSBC UK Bank Plc

Lloyds Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking

Clydesdale Bank Plc

Lloyds Development Capital

Growth Capital Partners

Investec Bank Plc

RJD Partners

Mobeus Equity Partners

Tenzing Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Acted for CTS on the banking elements of the transaction which saw CTS acquire Sprout Technologies Limited.
  • Acted for HSBC UK Bank plc on the corporate financing of aeronautical and defence engineering consultancy TP Group plc.

Shoosmiths LLP

At Shoosmiths LLPAli Triptree has taken over from Rebecca Mauleverer as the head of the Thames Valley banking and finance team, with the latter partner still working locally but now running the practice nationally. The Thames Valley team is regularly seen in a myriad of finance transactions, including those involving leveraged and acquisition finance (often with an international component), general corporate lending and real estate finance. Recently promoted legal director Sarah Fairweather leads the asset finance practice with a focus on aviation, marine, rail and aviation. Principal associates Suzanne Love and Anna Richardson are also recommended. In 2020, highlights included acting for EAG Acquisitions on a £3m unsecured financing from BNP Paribas Asset Management (via Caple SME Growth credit) for the acquisition of Euroview Architectural Glass Limited. Legal director Linda Williams rejoined the firm from KPMG.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Mauleverer; Ali Triptree

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Love; Anna Richardson; Sarah Fairweather; Linda Williams

Testimonials

‘National team but with an international outlook. The Reading team has advised us on deals in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with partners that have extensive cross-border experience. Pragmatic and tenacious in getting deals over the line.’

‘Rebecca Mauleverer brings a calm authority to negotiations, prepared to listen to the concerns of the other side while ensuring her clients’ position is protected, yet focused on reaching a position which will work for both parties to get the deal done.

‘Excellent breadth of knowledge across the team. Work extremely well under tight deadlines with complex financing issues. ’

‘The team is small, but is led by partners who have many years of experience of City firms and who deliver consistently high level advice and commitment beyond that you would expect from a firm of this size and profile. They are supported by the ability to call on the resources of other regional offices when required and cover a broad variety of areas including asset-based lending, corporate lending, real estate finance and leveraged finance.’

‘Ali Triptree is very experienced and pragmatic. She maintains a high degree of personal involvement and provides calm and sensible advice. She is particularly knowledgeable in the areas of telecoms and leveraged finance and is the trusted adviser of a number of clients in these sectors.’

‘They are a team who are both responsive and proactive. They all balance commerciality (taking into account the views of management in our end customer) but with sufficient protection for the bank.’

They are always willing to answer generic questions and explain the legal implications for us as a bank.’

‘Rebecca Mauleverer leads the team by example. The great thing about Rebecca is her speed of response and her articulation of the key points to be considered by the bank. He knowledge of the local market and also the key banking issues that are currently affecting the market is second to none.

Key clients

Net1 International Holdings AS

Aero Services Global Group Limited

CDC Group plc

LDC

Cohort plc

Octopus Investments

Foundation Investment Partners Limited

Hotel La Tour Limited

EAG Acquisitions Limited

Brighton College

Work highlights

  • Advised Net1 International Holdings AS and its subsidiaries on the amendment and restatement of its existing facilities arranged by Gemcorp Capital LLP, including an increase of the existing commitments from $40m to $75.4m, a complicated accession of two development financial institutions and the restructuring of the existing security. Advice included co-ordinating four sets of local counsel including Indonesia, the Netherlands and Norway.
  • Advised luxury hotel operators, Hotel La Tour Limited on £22m development financing provided by Coutts & Company to develop a new landmark hotel that will become one of the tallest buildings in Milton Keynes.
  • Advised CDC Group plc on facilities that it provides to PEGAfrica Ltd and its subsidiaries, which provide pay-as-you-go access to solar power home systems for customers in Ghana, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP is equally strong at advising borrowers and lenders on their most complex financing issues. On the lender side, clients include challenger banks, direct/alternative lenders and shareholder financiers. The firm also sits on the panels of UK and international banks. Reflective of the firm's excellent reputation, it has had a marked increase in asset-based lending work. In addition, it maintains strong workflows in other areas, such as acquisition/leveraged finance, real estate finance, general corporate debt finance and venture debt finance. Jonathan Porteous heads up the team, whose financing work often has a nexus to industries such as education, energy and infrastructure, as well as financial services, among others. Andrew Dodds and senior associate Laura Barrett are other key names.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Porteous

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Dodds; Laura Barrett

Testimonials

‘The team has been excellent to work with providing timely and comprehensive advice on complex cross border matters. Stevens & Bolton are a very sophisticated firm, offering responsive and hands on support at a very price competitive rate.’

‘Stevens & Bolton are unique in that they blend exceptionally high standards with a relaxed, gentile, regional, country location, like Guildford. They compare very favourably with the City law firms in terms of quality of service and the calibre of lawyers working for them. Yet, they are very competitive in terms of the range of services provided, efficacy of delivery and pricing. The teams we dealt with are diversified in terms of demographic age and gender, which is good to see.’

‘Andrew Dodds is very capable, confident and reassuring lawyer. His unique qualities are his extensive banking and finance knowledge and experience coupled with an ability to guide and explain complex dry legal jargon plainly and clearly. The things that stands out about Stevens & Bolton are their excellent service and advice given by an exceptional team of lawyers at various levels of their careers. It is pleasing to see the participation of partners, seniors, associates and trainees in facing the client and delivery of service. All the while, the advice and service is delivered smoothly and price sensitively. This gave us comfort that, not only are the partners attending to our work, but that they are consciously allowing juniors to rise up the ladder and gain knowledge, confidence and experience.’

‘Andrew Dodds provides a secure, trusted, guiding hand in our dealings with loan documents from our two major debt funders. He takes great care in assisting us to understand and appreciate the issues and offers practical advice and guidance so that we can find a resolve that is acceptable to all parties.’

‘We work very closely with Andrew Dodds. He is excellent and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Andrew Dodds always cuts to the legal issue clearly and efficiently. He ensures that complex banking problems are simplified into readily digestible and understandable content ensuring we can in turn provide clear instructions. He is an invaluable support and is always available. Super bright, personable and efficient.’

‘The flexibility and ability to work at high pace are a critical asset. The willingness to go the extra mile to get a deal done is what I look for and Stevens & Bolton were superb in this area.’

‘The swift grasping of highly complex issues and the ability to translate this to simplicity for non subject matter experts is a stand out trait in this team.’

Key clients

ICP Nurseries

Cresswell Nurseries

OakNorth Bank

Lloyds Bank

FBN Bank (UK)

Rock Rail

Aspria

Samsung

Meridian Audio

Pine Technologies

Work highlights

  • Advised Rock Rail, an investor-developer of rolling stock and other rail infrastructure, on the financing of new Hitachi intercity trains for the West Coast Partnership rail franchise.
  • Acted for two children’s nursery businesses on their merger and new loan facilities provided by a unitranche lender.
  • Acting for a challenger bank providing term and revolving credit facilities to a UK borrower to acquire a target company and target business and assets and to fund general working capital.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

In addition to acting for borrowers, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has an excellent record advising lenders, including high street banks, private equity investors and debt funds. Led by Graham Jeffries, the team in Southampton mainly focuses on real estate finance, project finance and asset finance. Managing associate Cole Stacey primarily handles real estate finance transactions, but his expertise also includes acquisition finance and general debt finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Graham Jeffries

Other key lawyers:

Cole Stacey

Testimonials

‘The team take time to get to know the business and they apply this incite to provide excellent advice and support. We really appreciate the proactive suggestions and improvements which can flow from this.’

‘Graham Jeffries is our main contact. Technically extremely strong and always approachable, accessible and willing to go the extra mile to help.’

‘Graham Jeffries continues to be creative and is an extension of our in-house legal practice. He combines very steady and sound legal advice whilst always thinking one step ahead for our organisation when drafting papers.’

‘The team members go the extra mile to make sure that our work is managed effectively. They are responsive and have adjusted their working practices to ensure that the communication flow works efficiently for both practice and client which has removed unnecessary work and helped us focus on ensuring a smooth flow of transactions.’

‘Graham Jeffries has deep knowledge and experience that adds real value to the interactions that we have with him. He seeks to gain a real understanding of what we are seeking to achieve and helps us do so. We highly rate the added value that he brings and is great to work with.’

‘Graham Jeffries is a stand out banking lawyer. He explains complex themes clearly and is able to engage all company directors/management – both those of a financial/legal persuasion and not.’

‘Graham Jeffries is a great lawyer and communicator’.

‘Cole Stacey – great attention to detail and ability to communicate issues succinctly.’

Key clients

Chemring Group PLC

Adventure Forest Limited (owners of Go Ape)

Renewable Energy Systems Limited

Invest and Fund Limited

First Alliance Properties Limited

VFS Legal Limited

Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP (now within

the Patrizia Group)

Santander UK PLC

Work highlights

  • Provision of ongoing advice and support in relation to a variety of Chemring’s financing requirements in the UK and the US, e.g. in relation to its bilateral bonding and working capital lines including its hedging requirements.
  • Advised RES on its own borrowing for a number of years and this year have provided ongoing regular support with the issue of legal opinions to support transactions conducted by the RES Group overseas (mainly in North America) in providing legal opinions on any contracts being entered into under English law (such as supporting parent company guarantees and similar matters).
  • Advises peer-to-peer lender Invest and Fund Limited on the standard documentation used by Invest and Fund and provides regulatory advice.

Cripps Pemberton Greenish

At Cripps Pemberton Greenish, one of the distinguishing features of the practice is its strengths in real estate finance; reflective of its strengths in this area, the firm is on the panels of a number of UK banks and other institutional lenders. It also excels in acquisition finance and asset finance work. Elsewhere, the firm has a standout capability in funds matters; a name to note in this area is Victoria Symons, who handles the entire ambit of funds issues (including structuring and regulatory) for clients such as institutional investors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Her practice covers areas such as renewable energy, social enterprise, and residential and commercial property.  Craig Bowers heads up the group, which also includes Julie Hughes.

Practice head(s):

Craig Bowers

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Symons; Julie Hughes

Testimonials

‘Ability to deliver a high quality service, on timetable for a reasonable value fee. good level of experience and consistent use of team providing a consistent high service level.’

‘Victoria Symons is a very pragmatic down to earth lawyer who is our main touchpoint at Cripps. She is responsive and almost always immediately understands what we are looking for. She is insightful, genuine and covers a wide range of issues for us. She will refer work to her colleagues whenever the need arises and will turn around work quickly and efficiently if the situation demands.’

‘The individuals within the practice are easy to work with, yet thorough and rigorous in their approach.’

Key clients

Holiday Extras

CH1 Investment Partners Limited

Jensco

Paydens

Close Brothers Property Finance

AdEPT Technology Group Plc

SRG

NR Orion LLP (Niveda Group)

Solai

Santander

Work highlights

  • Acted for Holiday Extras Investments Limited on the refinance of its existing term and revolving facilities and a new CLBILS facility.
  • Advised Jensco on a loan facility from Kinetic Capital Limited to fund the development of large scale student accommodation facilities in Nottingham.
  • Providing CH1 with regulatory and structuring advice on numerous alternative investment fund structures for high-net-worth investors.

EMW Law LLP

Ian Mabbutt heads up the team at EMW Law LLP, which has a strong profile for its work for lenders ranging in size from smaller challenger banks to high street banks. In addition, it is also adept in acting for borrowers. Under Mabbutt's leadership, the firm has maintained a strong reputation for real estate finance, leveraged finance and general banking and lending. Also notable is that the firm has grown a first-rate asset-based lending practice. Recently promoted legal director Ian Sharrock is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ian Mabbutt

Other key lawyers:

Ian Sharrock

Testimonials

‘The team coordinate very well across banking, property and commercial, and have always met their timescales and fee quotes.’

‘Ian Sharrock is a pleasure to work with. Always returns a call and responds to emails quickly and with good/sufficient detail, picking out the salient points. Thorough and covers all angles with sufficient detail and explanations and willingly provides opinions.’

‘Always keep in contact and happy to answer any questions/for me to run different scenarios and cases past them without a commitment to instruct them’

‘Strengths lie in the people and connectivity. Very approachable, friendly and regularly keep in touch. Happy to share local/market intel and provide a collaborative approach. ’

‘Really approachable and everyone is treated with equal respect, i.e. partners get stuck in as much as the associates and happy to pick up the phone to discuss things.’

Key clients

Santander UK Plc

RBS / NatWest Group

HSBC UK Bank Plc

Metro Bank Plc

Clydesdale Bank Plc

Barwood Capital Limited

ThinCats Group

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Riverside Capital Limited

ID Medical Group

PiLon Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised ThinCats on a £8.5m acquisition finance facility to Care at Home Services (South East) Limited.
  • Advised a global fintech provider on the terms of its revolving line and term loan facilities totalling £20m with a U.S. bank and assisted with securing further investment under the Future Fund.
  • Advised Santander on facilities totalling £12m and €4m under a CLBILS, term loan and revolving credit facility agreement to be made available to a publishing company.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP

At Field Seymour Parkes LLP, the banking and finance practice is led by John Barker, whose recent workload included transactions involving real estate finance, asset-based lending, project finance and acquisition finance. Noted for his circa 30 years of banking and finance experience, Barker is equally adept at advising borrowers and lenders. Legal director Alex Illingworth is also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Barker

Other key lawyers:

Alex Illingworth

Testimonials

‘Excellent legal advice is not enough; the best law firms understand and truly listen to their clients needs and call to update you before you think to chase them. FSP deliver on this.’

‘A very capable team with a deep understanding of both the real estate and banking markets. Proactive , efficient and value for money, they are engaging, prompt and great to work with.’

‘Alex Illingworth is knowledgeable, commercial, proactive and apart from being professional and focused, she is also pleasant and fun to work with. ’

‘Very proactive. Far more so than any other firm I’ve worked with. The job always gets done quickly and efficiently.’

‘The team at Field Seymour Parkes provide an unrivalled service within the Thames Valley. Their breadth of network, experience of operating in the geography and excellent technical knowledge make them our first choice on suitable banking transactions.’

‘John Barker is a precise, experienced and practical banking solicitor who is always available and keen to discuss new transactions to ensure we have captured all the relevant risks early on. We rely on his technical ability and experience to make sure we reach the right conclusion at an early stage of negotiation with our clients.’

Alex Illingworth masters the detail on every aspect of a transaction, ensuring we are protected at every stage whilst being commercial in her advice to ensure timings do not slip.’

‘FSP’s USP is their pragmatic approach – they work with their clients to find a sensible solution. The fact that I can speak to someone openly without worrying about using correct jargon etc and get a straight unambiguous answer that actually helps is a real win for me, and compares favourably with a number of other larger firms. Their approach on billing is also very good – fees are fair, agreed in advance and unspent money against the retainer is often carried over or offset against matters not in the retainer scope.’

Key clients

Santander UK Plc

HSBC UK Bank PLC

Honda Finance Europe plc

National Westminster Bank Plc

Secure Trust Bank PLC

We Are Kin (Students) Limited

Ultimate Capital Limited

Bewley Homes PLC

Handelsbanken plc

On Direct Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Bewley on the amendment and restatement of an existing revolving credit facility from a company incorporated in the BVI that is owned by a Jersey family trust. Under the restated facility the revolving credit facility was increased from £95m to £165m. Drafted and negotiated the finance documents and security confirmations and negotiated the terms of the consent letter issued by the client’s other lender, Lloyds Bank plc.
  • Advised Secure Trust on its c£2.3m loan to Red Square Property Development Limited to help refinance part of its property portfolio comprising student accommodation in Liverpool. This transaction was completed during Lockdown 2 and whilst Liverpool was in tier 3 of the Coronavirus restrictions.
  • Advising Santander’s Southampton-based Real Estate Finance team in connection with a substantial c£30m (LMA documented) loan to a family-owned property investment company, secured on a large portfolio of residential and commercial properties, including two development tranches.

Paris Smith LLP

Paris Smith LLP's banking and finance practice excels in handling general corporate banking matters, as well as transactions involving acquisition finance, project finance, real estate finance and asset finance. In addition to maintaining strong relationships with national banks and large corporates, the team is highly sought after by challenger banks, higher education institutions and retail/leisure operators. James McNeil heads up the team, which includes Liam Doughty (who made partner in 2020) and acquisition finance expert Jonathon Roy. McNeil and Roy acted for Haskins Garden Centres on the refinancing of current banking facilities with HSBC.

Practice head(s):

James McNeil

Other key lawyers:

Liam Doughty; Jonathon Roy

Testimonials

‘They have brought calm diligence and expertise to the process, ensuring the details are not missed whilst keeping their eye on the overall transaction.’

Key clients

Interbay Funding Ltd

Hampshire Trust Bank plc

PCF Bank Limited

Santander UK plc

Handelsbanken plc

RB Sport and Leisure Holdings Limited

Yacht Havens Limited

Haskins Garden Centres Limited

Millbrook Healthcare Limited

National Westminster Bank plc / The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for InterBay Funding Ltd on a £10m+ term loan facility to a Jersey corporate borrower. The team advised on the structure of the transaction and prepared all necessary finance documentation, including the facility agreement.
  • Acted for Santander UK plc on the provision of term loan, cross-currency overdraft and invoice finance facilities to leading supplier of key farming inputs (fertiliser, feed and agronomy), Bartholomews (Holdings) Limited and its subsidiaries.
  • Advised leading wallpaper manufacturer Grandeco Wallfashion Group Belgium NV on the finance elements of its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Holden Decor Limited. This required the target’s accession to a €43.5m senior facilities agreement with Belgian lenders.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Reading-based banking and finance specialist John Chater is the main contact at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP. His varied portfolio of work covers acquisition finance (including transactions with a private equity element), real estate investment finance, development finance and general corporate banking. In 2020, Chater was part of a cross-office group which advised Jacob Carr Homes (Poole Quay) Limited as the borrower on a facility to allow for the development of 64 private residential units & ground floor commercial premises. Other highlights included handling borrower-side mandates connected with sectors such as social housing, healthcare and hospitality. The firm is also heavily involved in work for lenders and counts a sizeable number of UK and international banks as clients.

Practice head(s):

John Chater

Testimonials

‘They have taken the time to know our business well and the way we operate.’

‘Approachable, friendly and willing to engage with both ourselves and the client to ‘hold hands’ and guide, as much as manage the legal aspects.’

‘Good knowledge of the local market. Ability to take a commercial stance/view and communicate their reasonings.’

‘Associates are very good and readily available. Billing transparency is excellent.’

‘The firm offers the services of a Silver Circle firm, but is more cost-efficient’

‘John Chater is very commercial and precise.’

‘The firm seems to have transitioned seamlessly through the past twelve months to continue to offer an excellent service. Meetings have been offered by telephone or online platforms and have functioned very smoothly. We have been particularly grateful for the content being shared by the whole firm, including several insightful guides, all of which have been particularly topical over the past twelve months. They’re an excellent team who are personable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘John Chater has been our main point of contact within the banking and finance team. He has always made himself available, even at very short notice, and no query is ever too much trouble for him. He is extremely knowledgeable and has a superb team around him to offer support in other areas of the firm, regularly introducing other experts from across the firm who are equally adept and responding to any queries we have.’

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Santander UK plc

Gresham Road Limited

Jacob Carr Homes (Poole Quay) Limited

Bangkok Bank Public Limited Company

The College of St. Peter Le Bailey (University of Oxford)

Knowsley (Image Business Park) Ltd

Link Asset Services

Apex Corporate Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advised AIB Group UK plc on its complex (c.£25.5m) facility with a well-known name in the construction industry.
  • Acted for Hightown Housing Association on its £125m revolving credit facility.
  • Advised The College of St. Peter Le Bailey (University of Oxford) on its private placement.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP's banking and finance offering was significantly strengthened by Steve Cole joining from Blake Morgan LLP in April 2021. Cole, who now heads up the practice, has an outstanding track record in high-profile transactions seen in the South Coast market. Although the firm has traditionally tended to be known for borrower-side work, Cole's arrival is expected to lead to a notable uptick in lender-side mandates. Other names to note in the group are Nick GentPaul Longman and Emma Earp. The team's areas of expertise span a number of key areas, including acquisition finance, development finance and agriculture/rural affairs finance. Cole brings his Islamic finance knowledge to the firm. Longman is recommended for his property finance experience.

Practice head(s):

Steve Cole

Other key lawyers:

Nick Gent; Paul Longman; Emma Earp

Testimonials

‘Nick Gent has continued to be a trusted adviser. Detail focused, with an astute eye for identifying risks who adopts a pragmatic approach to deliver time and again on corporate finance transactions with challenging time pressures.’

‘The team at Trethowans combines strong technical knowledge and commercial experience with an ability to step away from the detail and provide targeted advice where it matters – highlighting key issues that we as business owners need to really consider. The advice is pitched perfectly and the breadth of service offering ensures there is nothing that they cannot assist with.’

‘Emma Earp has a calm, considered approach to her advice which makes her both easy to work with and also very effective. She takes the time to understand our priorities and keeps that in mind throughout the transaction. We have been very impressed with her willingness to work to whatever timetable we need and bright and positive attitude throughout!’

‘Nick Gent provides very good advice and was able to take a pragmatic stance on matters which were of a more commercial nature in order to successfully conclude the project.’

Key clients

Santander UK plc

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

National Westminster Bank plc

CT Automotive Group Limited

Mark Allen Holdings Limited

Rowanmoor Trustees Limited

Just Develop It Limited (trading as Onyx Finance)

The MCG Group Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Santander UK Plc on the refinancing of a well known luxury hotel group.
  • Advised Coutts & Co on the facility and security documents required for a loan to a HNW for the purpose of a refinance of an SPV property development company.

Birketts LLP

Legal director Devreaux Gravell has taken over as Birketts LLP's head of banking and finance in the Chelmsford office as part of the firm's strategy to expand its offering across all five of the firm's offices. Equally adept acting for borrowers and lenders, Gravell advises on bilateral and syndicated transactions involving real estate finance, general corporate lending and acquisition finance. In addition, he has experience of receivables financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Devreaux Gravell

Testimonials

‘Birketts have acted for us on a number of transactions over the past 12 months. They have always delivered quality work in good timescales as well as appropriate advice at times.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Foresight Group LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised various entities within the Marden Homes Group in relation to financings they have put in place for different development projects.
  • Advised Aker Systems Limited on an equity investment by LDC – providing the advice on the financing side of the transaction.
  • Advised different parts of the Time Group on a multitude of financings over the past few years to facilitate the acquisition of many mobile home parks, enabling the business to become one of the largest mobile home park businesses in the UK.

Brachers

The team at Brachers, which is led by James Bullock , advises on a wide variety of mandates, including those concerning acquisition finance, structured finance, project finance and real estate finance. Erol Huseyin and Alex Cosgrove have Islamic finance experience. Claire Williams is another key individual in the group.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is a key player in the healthcare and real estate sectors, and its recent work has seen the firm undertake a particularly significant amount of work for borrowers in the care homes space. In one highlight, Rich EldridgeKristian Johnson and senior associate Emma Couch acted for DRS Care Holdings Limited as the borrower on the provision of financing by Triodos Bank. Elsewhere, lender-side transactions are also a bedrock of the practice, as is the team's advice on regulatory and contentious issues. Johnson has recently been promoted to senior associate. Real estate finance expert Joseph Campbell and Peter Swinburn are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rich Eldridge; Joseph Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Peter Swinburn; Kristian Johnson; Emma Couch

Testimonials

‘Very positive approach, working to tight deadlines without fuss. Approachable and willing to explain issues, whilst being reasonable on fees. We find they meet all our requirements in all areas of real estate lending and have good depth of resource and expertise to draw on when needed.’

‘Kristian Johnson is always a pleasure to deal with and willingly goes the extra mile to get the deal done.’

Joseph Campbell draws on his considerable experience to help achieve positive outcomes, actively promoting our interests whilst being pragmatic in outlook.’

‘The team at Clarke Willmott are always on hand to discuss any work currently being undertaken and ensure we are constantly up to date and informed as matters progress. We are easily able to raise queries or issues with them, for them to advise on best ways forward, and having this level of communication and speed of response is critical and makes them a favoured partner of ours when carrying out legal work.’

‘Everyone we have dealt with at the firm displays a level of service that is over and above that seen from other firms. They are happy to form strong relationships with clients and are always available to give general advice and support, which adds to the overall relationship piece and confidence in the firm.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

Handelsbanken Plc

Unity Trust Bank plc

Atelier Capital Partners Limited

Higher Drive Nursing Home (Holdings) Limited

DRS Care Holdings Limited

Boys & Girls Nursery Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Higher Drive Nursing Home (Holdings) Limited as the borrower on new facilities for acquisitions by the parent company and development by the borrower added to existing facilities. Total loan facilities of £24,145,000. The borrower is part of a group of companies known as Fairlie Healthcare.
  • Acted for Atelier Capital Partners Limited as the lender on financing to facilitate the purchase of a vacant site by the borrower, allowing the borrower time to arrange development finance. The finance was provided by a short-term bridging loan facility.
  • Acted for Lloyds Bank Plc on £2.9m refinancing of a property portfolio consisting of 10 titles with 15 multi-use occupational commercial tenancies.

IBB Law

With IBB Law having been active in the banking and finance arena for circa 27 years, the firm has built up an excellent reputation among borrowers and lenders. On the latter side, the firm has developed longstanding relationships with a number of key clients, including NatWest. In addition, it has won new work from other major lenders. On the borrower side, Harriet Jones has been working for large corporates and SMEs in the Thames Valley area for over ten years. She works with senior solicitor Ami Bhatt on corporate lending matters. Gemma Coles leads the banking and finance team, which sits across the real estate and corporate/commercial practice groups.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Coles; Harriet Jones

Other key lawyers:

Felicity Barratt; Ami Bhatt

Testimonials

‘ I have happily recommended clients to Gemma Coles and they have given great feedback. I have worked with Gemma on banking transactions and she helps break issues down so that I can make a commercial decision. Gemma is easy to get along with and will always help me if I have a quick question. ’

‘The banking team are my first point of contact for initial advice or a steer on likely requirements and scope of work.

They are always prepared to provide early indication of costs.’

‘Gemma Coles has consistently provided an excellent service whilst acting for the lender and feedback from borrowers and legal advisors has been positive.’

Key clients

AIB Group (UK) plc

National Westminster Bank plc

Secure Trust Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Assisted the SPV of a property developer with reviewing and negotiating a facility agreement and security documentation for a 79-dwelling development.
  • Advised an institutional lender on the terms of a facility to enable the borrower to acquire shares in a new subsidiary company and to secure a loan on the property held by that subsidiary.
  • Advised an institutional lender on perfecting security over a borrower’s property portfolio, including residential, commercial and mixed-use properties throughout London and Wales.

PDT Solicitors

PDT Solicitors in Horsham is well known for its strength in asset-based lending, and it has a strong profile among factors and discounters nationally. Noel Ruddy co-edited Salinger on Factoring, which is widely seen as an authoritative text on invoice finance in the UK. Dawn Shadwell, who specialises in corporate and personal insolvency, handles refinancings and restructurings for asset-based lenders. Elsewhere, the firm also acts for banks, property funds, lessors of plant and equipment, and brokers. William Angas and senior associate Ben Ashworth are other key individuals in the team.

Practice head(s):

Noel Ruddy; Dawn Shadwell; William Angas

Other key lawyers:

Ben Ashworth

Testimonials

‘The team are very approachable and easy to do business with. They communicate in a way that we understand clearly how each case will be handled we are regularly kept up to date with the progress.’

‘I have personally dealt with William Angus and Ben Ashworth for many years and with both of them I have built strong trusted relationships which has helped me and my team recover debt in various ways. Communication again is clear and regular which helps me internally report on each case. The whole team provide excellent service.’

‘The team who we work with are extremely accessible, easy to work with and adaptable. They have handles many unusual transactions for us and are very good at dealing with changing circumstances in deals whilst keeping in line with their quoted fee estimate. ’

‘Dawn Shadwell is the partner who we deal with. Dawn is always accessible and very approachable whilst being an expert in her field. I always feel like I can call Dawn with a query on a point of law and she is very practical in applying her knowledge of the law to the circumstances in any deal. Dawn’s team are equally available for queries and conversations and are extremely experienced. This shines through in their ability to turn a document around to a high standard in a short period.’

‘Overall the team is strong from partner down to associate. They manage workloads appropriately and ensure partners assigned have capacity to deliver within what can be very short timescales.

The offer invaluable advice to lenders protecting their interests but always with commerciality in mind to ensure deals get done.’

‘For us PDT’s depth of knowledge gained working within the invoice finance industry is invaluable. The different departments work well together when needed, their internal communication ensures a smooth and efficient process.’

‘Noel Ruddy was always available and took the time to explain the legalities to complete legal novices repeatedly until we understood the agreement.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO Asset Based Finance N.V.

Bibby Group

Breal Zeta CF Limited

BNP Paribas Commercial Finance

Calverton Finance Limited

Close Invoice Finance Limited

FSE Group

Investec Plc

Nucleus Commercial Finance Limited

Pulse Commercial Finance Limited

Select Invoice Finance Limited

Advantage Commercial Finance

Work highlights

  • Acted for Advantedge Commercial Finance on sale of Advantedge Commercial Finance Limited and Advantedge Commercial Finance (North) Limited to eCapital Corp.
  • Advising ABN AMRO Asset Based Finance and the Administrators (KPMG) on the collect-out of a failed national glazing company’s debtor ledger worth more than £2m.
  • Assisting a financier with a new client in the food sector including complicated cross border aspects including a USA parent and new Belgium sister company due to Brexit.