National law firm, Gateley has topped the rankings for volume of corporate deals completed in the Midlands for the first quarter of 2012, according to Experian's Corpfin Advisor League Table. The news follows an exceptional start to the year for the Birmingham corporate and banking and finance teams who have completed a series of high profile Midlands deals in recent months.
In the first three months of 2012, Gateley's Midlands team topped the regional table by deal volume. Nationally the firm moved up to fifth place, compared to a position of 19th during the same period last year.
The firm's banking and finance team recently advised HSBC on two key refinancing and funding deals for the agricultural sector which were led by Birmingham banking and finance partner, Philip Alton, senior associate, Jacob Robinson and supported by solicitors James Dyson and John Virgo.
Gateley acted for the bank in its refinancing and funding package for Camgrain, the farmer-owned central storage co-operative which is currently developing its fourth processing unit in Kettering. The unit adds to Camgrain's Central England network which processes more than 400,000 tonnes of UK farmers' grain, pulses and oilseed annually.
The team also advised HSBC in its recent £28 million refinancing deal for the UK's leading colony egg producer, Oaklands Farm Eggs, which produces and processes more than 500 million free range and organic eggs per year for a wide range of retail, wholesale and food service customers. The arrangement will support the company's investment programme to increase capacity and upgrade facilities.
Rebecca Sherwin, partner in Gateley's property team co-ordinated the property aspects of both transactions assisted by senior associate, Stuart Reynolds, director of planning, Gerry Sheedy and solicitor, Paula Inglis. Given that both transactions involved significant expansion by businesses in the agricultural sector, including the development of new sites, property and planning aspects were key to the successful conclusion of both deals
Corporate deals advised out of the Midlands include the merger of recruitment groups, Pertemps and AIM-listed Network Group at the start of the year. In addition, the team acted on the £10 million acquisition of Midland Precision by oil and gas engineer Gabbro Precision; the joint venture acquisition of private investor network, Hotbed; the sale of Amtico International to US floor designer and manufacturer, Mannington Mills; the sale of the UK's largest automotive steel service centre, Steel & Alloy Holdings Ltd to Spanish company, Gonvarri Steel Services. Most recently the corporate team advised Maven Capital Partners on its financial backing for the MBO of specialist industrial services group to the global oil and chemical industries, Cat Tech International.
Philip Alton, who led the firm's recent HSBC re-finance package for Camgrain commented: "As a corporate and banking team we have had a really positive start to the year. It’s probably true to say that our corporate and finance clients need greater input from us in what is still a challenging commercial market but, despite the sometimes gloomy reports which appear on television, we do see the corporate market slowly picking up pace. There is certainly more refinancing activity as companies structure their funding lines with banks such as HSBC. The Camgrain and Oakland Farm Eggs deals show there are opportunities for businesses which see areas in which to expand - and that funding is available to help achieve this".
During 2011, Gateley completed more than 200 corporate deal transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of £2 billion. The firm was also named 'Best Legal Adviser' in an independent report on client satisfaction levels by Legal Week Intelligence.