Banking and finance in West Midlands

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a first-rate reputation in domestic and cross-border finance work, where it is equally strong acting for banks and corporates. Its credentials as a market-leader are evidenced in areas such as syndicated corporate finance, project finance and leveraged/acquisition finance. Brian Woolcock has a wealth of experience of large and complex real estate finance transactions. Stephen Bottley is the head of the finance team in Birmingham, which is embedded in a larger UK-wide group. Senior associate Gemma Lawrence is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Brian Woolcock; Gemma Lawrence

Testimonials

‘Pragmatic, commercial advice.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank Plc, HSBC (UK) Bank plc, HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) Limited

RPS Group Plc

Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, RBSIF

Barclays Bank Plc

Lloyds Bank Plc

AVIVA Plc

Investec

Bank Leumi

Clinigen Group Plc

Santander UK Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised a syndicate of funders (including HSBC Invoice Finance Ltd; RBS Invoice Finance Ltd; Royal Bank of Canada and Santander UK plc) on a £200m syndicated receivables finance facility for BCA Vehicle Finance Ltd.
  • Advised RPS Group plc across the UK, US, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands and Australia on the refinancing of its revolving credit facility.
  • Acted for Barclays Bank plc and a consortium of lenders on the provision of £350m of facilities to global manufacturer Hill & Smith plc.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's position as a market-leader for banking and finance is reflected by its prominence in large and complex transactions, where it acts for private equity houses, banks and corporate clients. Practice head Patrick Davis is particularly active in leveraged finance and corporate lending transactions. In 2019, he acted for Viva Gym (backed by Bridges Fund Management) on the finance aspects of its bolt-on cross-border acquisition of Duet Fit. Ben Tumelty made partner in May 2020. Senior associate Kate Clarke leads the real estate finance practice in the Midlands.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Davis

Other key lawyers:

Ben Tumelty; Kate Clarke

Testimonials

‘Excellent banking and financing team, providing commercial views and avoiding protracted conversations with the other side.’

‘Patrick Davis stands out in the practice.’

‘Sensible, down-to-earth team that never takes itself too seriously.’

‘Hard-working, practical and pragmatic.’

Key clients

Silverfleet

Livingbridge

CBPE

NatWest / The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Bloor Homes / Triumph Motorcycles

Viva Gym

NorthEdge

Work highlights

  • Advised Silverfleet Capital on all aspects (including finance) of the MBO of Microgen Financial Systems.
  • Advised Silverfleet Capital/Microgen Financial Systems on all aspects (including finance) of Microgen’s merger with Touchstone Wealth Management.
  • Advised Livingbridge on all aspects (including finance) of the MBO of Nationwide Hire.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG is a go-to firm for many clients in their largest and most significant banking and finance transactions. The team is led by Chris Brierley, who is particularly active in lending work connected with sectors such as franchising, health, renewable energy and social housing. The group's varied workload covers areas such as acquisition finance, project finance and general corporate finance, among others. Tom Stockley has a growing derivatives practice. In a recent highlight, Navin Prabhakar was the lead adviser to LDC on financing its investment in Solid Solutions. Stockley and Prabhakar made partner in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Chris Brierley

Key clients

Sanctuary Group

State Bank of India

BNP Paribas

CBPE Capital

Universities Superannuation Fund

Daiwa Capital Markets Europe Ltd

CBRE/The North West Evergreen Fund

Deutsche Bank

Greenbank Partnerships

HSBC UK Bank Plc

Primrose Solar

Lloyds Development Capital

H&T Group Plc

Midcounties Co-operative Group

Triplepoint Social Housing REIT Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised the Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s leading providers of social housing, on its £75m bond issue on the International Securities Market (ISM).
  • Acted for Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) on its significant investment to acquire the brokerage and loan activities of one of the UK’s leading motor finance brokerage businesses working with used car dealers and funders to arrange consumer finance at the point of sale.
  • Acted for Triplepoint on a £60m increase to its existing £70m revolving credit facility with Lloyds Bank plc (total £130m), including the accession of NatWest to the structure as 50/50 lending and charging a large portfolio of additional supported living real estate assets on the basis of 40% loan-to-value.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's team features prominently in many of the largest transactions seen in the West Midlands. Led by David Doogan, it acts for borrowers and lenders on a wide range of complex financing matters, including those involving real estate finance, syndicated lending, leveraged finance, debt capital markets and securitisation transactions. Edward Sunderland is the national head of structured finance and asset-based lending. In 2019, one highlight involved Doogan leading the advice to HSBC Bank on the sale of Bridge Farm Nurseries to Sundial Growers Inc. Other notable individuals include recently promoted partner Victoria Baker and legal director Esther Parkes.

Practice head(s):

David Doogan

Testimonials

For me, it is the relationship and trust that has built up over a number of years that makes Pinsent Masons’ team stand out in the Midlands

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Godwin Capital Services Limited

National Westminster Bank Plc

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank

Police Mutual Assurance Society

Orders of St John Care Trust

RBS Invoice Finance Limited

Specialist Motor Finance Limited

Allied Irish Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC on the funding of the LDC-backed acquisition of Littlefish (a leading IT services business).
  • Advised Pension Insurance Corporation Plc on the £100m private placement by Accord Housing Association.
  • Advised Natwest on an £80m revolving credit facility to a leading UK university.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc acts for many of the largest and most active local private equity sponsors, as well as funders providing structured finance in the Midlands and further afield. It also generates work from corporate borrowers. Andrew Madden leads the group, whose experience spans complex structured finance and syndicated lending transactions, leveraged finance, project finance and asset-based lending. In 2019, Madden led the advice to LDC on financing its acquisition of Instinctif Partners from Vitruvian Partners. Carol Betts is the head of real estate finance. Legal director Chris Jones joined from Wright Hassall LLP in January 2020.

Other key lawyers:

Carol Betts; Chris Jones; Sharon Malhi

Testimonials

Long-established, commercial, knowledgeable, responsive, available, fun.

Andrew Madden has acted on banking matters for me for circa 20 years and is one of the most reliable and trusted banking partners in the market. Andrew Cowan – similar from point of view of corporate document review. Alison Davidson-Cox – clear-thinking and highly focused on customer service.

I have worked with Philip Alton (asset finance) and Chris Jones (debt finance). I rate both highly and think that Chris Jones’ hiring (he moved from Wright Hassall in January 2020) is a real coup. Chris’ client base is tremendous. He is very good at running transactions and is always on top of the detail.

I can’t comment on whether the practice is unique, but I do know that we receive a high quality of service from the Gateley team, with a practical “win-win” approach to negotiations and a huge dedication to enabling a deal to complete in the expected timetable.

Key clients

KBC Bank N.V., London Branch

BGF Investments

Lloyds Development Capital

Shard Credit Partners

Maven Debt Finance

Leumi ABL Limited

Urban Exposure

Connection Capital LLP

Palatine Private Equity

Beechbrook Capital LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for Shard Credit Partners on the £9.2m funding of the MBO of Alexander Technologies Europe Limited.
  • Acted for Clydesdale Bank Plc on the refinance of bridging loan notes provided to the Phoebus Software group by NorthEdge.
  • Advising Maven Capital Partners on the inception of its first direct lending fund, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP handles banking work of the utmost complexity and significance for more than 40 funders, and it also undertakes borrower-side mandates as well. Naomi Tudor heads up a team focusing on corporate banking, while Mohammed Saqub leads a group that is active in Islamic finance and real estate finance transactions. Helen Readett has more than 30 years of experience of corporate and property finance, as well as general banking work. In 2019, Tudor and Readett acted for Alyjiso Limited on the negotiation of a £28m Loan Market Association (LMA) facilities agreement and related security.

Testimonials

I value the accessibility, speed of response and wide-ranging knowledge on all aspects of the law.

It is always a pleasure working with Helen Readett. I find her very accessible and her speed of response sets her apart from other firms I have worked with.

Key clients

A.I.B. Group (UK) Plc

Santander UK Plc

Shawbrook Bank

The Charity Bank Limited

Al Rayan Bank Plc

Habib Bank AG Zurich

Handelsbanken

Leumi ABL

United Trust Bank Plc

Aldermore Bank Plc

Gatehouse Bank Plc

Bank of Punjab

Work highlights

  • Assisted a bank with setting up an Islamic finance practice. This practice included drafting the templates for finance documents and setting the bank’s standard property requirements. The process lasted several months and involved detailed and complex discussions with the bank’s Sharia advisers.
  • Advised a bank on a £12m loan secured against a portfolio of 129 residential properties.
  • Advised a bank on the refinance of a portfolio of 96 commercial and residential investment properties.

Squire Patton Boggs

At Squire Patton Boggs, practice head Roy Grist has over 20 years of experience undertaking banking and finance work for borrowers and lenders. His extensive expertise includes international and national acquisition finance, real estate finance, asset-based lending and general bank lending. In 2019, Grist advised RCapital Partners LLP on the financing aspects of the MBO of Redeem Group. Elsewhere, clients also turn to the firm for advice on pension fund-related funding and asset structures, education finance and corporate banking.

Practice head(s):

Roy Grist

Testimonials

‘The standard and timeliness of work is excellent.’

‘Roy Grist is fantastic, responsive and understanding of my layman level of legal knowledge. I feel I can trust and rely on him for advice and support – an invaluable resource.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group

Miss Group

Frontier Development Capital

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

Gordon Brothers

London Electric Vehicle Company

The PNC Financial Services Group Inc

Barclays Bank Plc

Bank Leumi (UK) Plc

Aston Villa Football Club

ABN Amro

Work highlights

  • Advised Wolverhampton Wanderers, which is owned by the Chinese international conglomerate Fosun, on a £50m debt financing deal. The facility was structured as a club facility, with Macquarie Bank and Santander UK as lenders.
  • Advised Swedish web hosting company Miss Group on a £20m cross-border facility with HSBC UK Bank Plc.
  • Advised PNC Business Credit on its financing of the circa £160m MBO of, and investment by Pricoa Private Capital in, the AFI-Uplift group.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP excels in a wide variety of banking matters, but its main strengths are in leveraged finance, real estate finance, asset-based lending and health sector finance transactions. One notable practitioner is Paul Ray, who acts for UK and international corporate borrowers, banks and other lenders. Also recommended are Emma Hinton and Paul Hill.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ray

Other key lawyers:

Emma Hinton; Paul Hill

Key clients

HSBC UK Bank Plc

National Westminster Bank Plc

Homes England

Investec Bank Plc

Clydesdale Bank Plc

NorthEdge Capital

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Belvoir Lettings Plc

Wise Living/Shepherd Direct

Thincats

Work highlights

  • Advised Performances Birmingham Limited on its major capital project to develop Symphony Hall (£15m).
  • Advised Clydesdale Bank Plc on the investor buyout of the Pebbles Care Group by Ardenton Capital.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP generates work from clients such as clearing banks, challenger banks, corporate borrowers and local authorities, among others. James Dyson has expertise in complex structured finance transactions, leveraged finance and general commercial lending. He was the lead adviser to TC Loans I Ltd (a ThinCats lending platform) on the provision of senior term loan facilities to ACM Commercial Ltd as part of a refinancing. Director Renata Rai is increasingly active in asset-based lending transactions.

Practice head(s):

Chris Freeston (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:

James Dyson, Renata Rai

Testimonials

Always readily available to chat through potential and progressed cases and give early guidance. Pragmatic and commercially sensible advice given. Fee quotes always in line with end billed costs. Friendly, sociable team who communicate well with businesses of all size and backgrounds.

Knowledgeable, experienced, commercial, pragmatic. Always receive detailed responses. Quick to respond and always available. Well known and respected in the local market.

Key clients

Clydesdale Bank

Lloyds Bank

Allied Irish Bank

Santander UK

Cambridge & Counties Bank

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Frontier Development Capital

Lloyds Development Capital

Finance Birmingham

Business Growth Fund

Leumi ABL

West Midlands Combined Authority (Funding Division)

Work highlights

  • Advised Clydesdale Bank on the provision of finance to Project Kestrel Bidco Limited (a newco backed by Livingbridge) to support its acquisition of Nationwide Hire Ltd.
  • Advised Allied Irish Bank on the provision of senior term loan and working capital facilities to Lions Quay Hotel Limited and Langstone Quay Hotel Limited to refinance existing facilities with The Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Advised TC Loans I Limited (a ThinCats lending platform) on the provision of senior term loan facilities to Fastenex Industrial Fasteners Limited to support its acquisition of Company Fasteners Limited.

Mills & Reeve LLP

David Varnham leads Mills & Reeve LLP's Birmingham banking team, which is particularly active in borrower-side work, and handles mandates involving a broad cross-section of industries and jurisdictions. Varnham's expertise includes real estate finance, acquisition finance, corporate finance and project finance. In one notable mandate, he advised Phoebus Software and NorthEdge Capital on their refinancing with Clydesdale Bank in 2019.

Practice head(s):

David Varnham

Testimonials

‘The team always provide solid reassurance that they know their subject matter. The team work extremely well, ensuring all questions are answered promptly.’

‘A very strong team of lawyers; transactions are appropriately staffed with partner involvement where needed. Advice is always clear and consistent.’

‘Excellent value without compromising on quality.’

‘David Varnham is technically solid and also has great client skills. He is very commercially minded and his advice is always clear; he is great at explaining legal issues to non-lawyers.’

Key clients

Wells Fargo

Twycross Zoo

HSBC UK Bank plc

Key Assets

University of Nottingham

Birmingham City University

Phoebus Software

Folkes Holdings

Nicklin Transport Packaging Limited

XtR Group GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC on the acquisition finance facilities made available to Rotala Plc to fund the acquisition of First Group’s Bolton business.
  • Advised the University of Nottingham on a combined US private placement and revolving credit facility from Natwest.
  • Advised Twycross Zoo on a refinancing with Metro Bank.

Shoosmiths LLP

At Shoosmiths LLPJon Bew and Natalie Barnes joined the team from Irwin Mitchell in late 2019, which strengthened its capabilities in domestic and cross-border asset-based lending transactions.  Elsewhere, the group has expertise in leveraged finance, real estate finance, mid-market corporate lending and complex pensions funding matters. David Adams leads the Midlands team, which also includes project finance expert Nick Iliff. He led the advice to Lombard on the refinancing of a wind farm in South Uist in Scotland.

Practice head(s):

David Adams

Other key lawyers:

Nick Iliff; Jon Bew; Natalie Barnes

Key clients

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending Limited

IGF Business Credit Limited

Investec Bank Plc

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Mercedes Benz UK

Octopus Ventures

Lingfield Group plc

Close Brothers

Work highlights

  • Advised Investec Bank Plc on the £150m ABL financing of the EV Cargo group of companies.
  • Advising General Energy Solutions on the refinancing of a large rooftop solar PV portfolio.
  • Acting for Little Big Feet Limited on the acquisition of a large portfolio of care homes.

Aaron & Partners LLP

Aaron & Partners LLP undertakes an equal split of borrower and lender-side work, under the leadership of Hugh Strickland. Although corporate banking (including acquisition finance) makes up the overwhelming majority of mandates, property secured lending transactions are another strength.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Strickland

Key clients

Santander UK Plc

Fullbrook Thorpe Investments LLP

HSBC Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • The firm typically undertakes circa 30 matters for Santander UK Plc each year, ranging from simple real estate secured lending to corporate finance / acquisition funding.
  • Acted for family office Fullbrook Thorpe Investments LLP on numerous investments and funding rounds, including exits from GEV Holdings and Fernhill, as well as investments into Car & Away, Traveltek, Georges.

DWF

DWF's practice in Birmingham is led by Richard Holmes, who made partner in February 2019, and primarily focuses on real estate finance (in the context of investment transactions, refinancings of portfolios and development). Alice Broadfield handles a wide variety of matters for corporate borrowers and lenders, with a focus on corporate finance.

Other key lawyers:

Alice Broadfield

Key clients

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group/National Westminster Bank plc/Coutts & Co

Lloyds Banking Group

Unity Trust Bank plc

ICICI Bank UK plc

Nationwide Building Society

West Bromwich Commercial Limited

Rothschild & Co

Ashall Group of Companies

LendInvest

HSBC Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for a UK clearing bank on the provision of a £15m revolving credit facility secured against a large property portfolio.
  • Acting for a UK clearing bank on a US dollar and Euro revolving credit facility with ancillary letter of credit facilities.
  • Acting for Ashall Projects on its senior and mezzanine development finance funding of the Holiday Inn Express in Barrow.

George Green LLP

Philip Round, who heads up George Green LLP's practice, has a well-established reputation advising national bridging and development lenders on short-term finance transactions. Commercial property partner Alex-Jayne Lowe has expertise in secured lending. Elsewhere, the team advises clients on cash flow and asset-based lending, acquisition finance and syndicated lending.

Practice head(s):

Philip Round

Other key lawyers:

Alex-Jayne Lowe

Key clients

Ortus Secured Finance

OakNorth Bank plc

Stondon Capital Limited

CapitalRise Finance Limited

Catalyst Property Finance

West Bridging Limited

Kelgate Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised CapitalRise Finance Limited on the provision of a mezzanine facility, as part of a package of facilities in excess of £9m, for the refinance of London prime real estate.
  • Advised Stondon Capital Limited on a multi-tranche facility with a complex group security package to fund the acquisition of an iconic night club venue in Essex.
  • Advised Ortus Secured Finance on a cross-border facility to refinance a Singaporean lender, secured over a Seychelles legal entity.

Wright Hassall LLP

Wright Hassall LLP primarily handles real estate finance transactions connected with investment deals and project developments. In addition, its banking team advises on debt restructurings, leveraged finance and structured finance transactions. Lucie Byron took over as the practice head from Chris Jones, who moved to Gateley PlcJudith Gershon joined Shepherd and Wedderburn.

Practice head(s):

Lucie Byron

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

Hadrian’s Wall Capital

ThinCats

Cynergy Bank Limited

Glenhawk Financial Services

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Merchant Money Limited

Clydesdale Bank plc

Heart of England Community Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Merchant Money on all their template lending documentation to reflect their internal processes and credit requirements more accurately.
  • Advised family company Cheema Property Business Limited on the transfer of a £3m portfolio of properties from its partnership.
  • Advised Frontier Development Capital (FDC) on the provision of a £2.4m loan to WD Bermuda Ltd.