East Midlands law firm Sills & Betteridge executes corporate deals valuing £96m in 2019

L-R: Euan McLaughlin, Andrew Payne, Elliot Ruffle, Eleanor Major, Martin Walsh, Gary Phillips, James Conduit, Charlotte Dickinson and Neil Large

Against a background of Brexit and significant economic uncertainty, Sills & Betteridge‘s Corporate and Commercial team transacted corporate deals with a value of £96 million in 2019.

Corporate Partner Martin Walsh said: “Our reputation for providing value added, cost effective, corporate and commercial advice via a team of highly experienced transaction lawyers who pride themselves on their outstanding service, paid huge dividends for us, completing in 2019 some 38 corporate transactions.

“We were involved in international transactions involving clients based in Australia and China, and also domestic deals across a wide range of sectors including, engineering, health-care, transport, renewables, bio waste and information technology.

“The figure of £96 million does not include the substantial value of property transactions our Commercial Property team were involved in during 2019 which further underlines the quality of the standalone corporate work we carried out.

“What was particularly pleasing is that we attracted both new work and further transaction work from our existing clients. By way of example, as widely reported, we acted for an Australian based selling shareholder in the sale of their shareholding for some £8 million in a UK security business, which employs some 800 people and has a fleet of 300 vehicles servicing some 3500 contracts.”

Working with the client’s Australian, legal, accounting and tax advisors in solving the client’s Australian issues across a huge time difference was challenging for the team, however the client was delighted with the successful outcome in relation to a business started in 1977 by her father.

The client said: “Martin Walsh and the Sills & Betteridge team guided me expertly through many difficult twists and turns to a successful completion. I was delighted by their highly professional service and sound practical and legal advice.”

In relation to the firm’s existing client base, because of the greater economic, tax and political uncertainty over the last year, clients were encouraged to take a thorough look at their business and closely aligned personal affairs. Consequently, the Corporate team worked very closely with colleagues in the Private Client team in carrying out various corporate reorganisations of family owned businesses to assist in their important tax and succession planning. The combined expertise of the Private Client team, led by Richard Bussell and that of the Corporate team, saved one client some £6 million in IHT and aligned taxes.

Expansion into South Yorkshire in 2019 led to the appointment of corporate and banking Partner Neil Large who has over 20 years’ experience with leading UK national & regional full-service law firms. Neil will be based primarily in Doncaster and will also support his colleagues in the firm’s Lincoln and Nottingham offices.

2019 was a strong year for Sills & Betteridge. The firm was listed amongst the country’s top 200 law firms and again received recognition in the latest Legal 500 Guide, with a number of the Corporate team being recommended individually for their commitment to clients, excellent knowledge of the law, and impressive work.

Senior Partner Andrew Payne said: “Endorsements like these are always extremely pleasing, and echo complimentary feedback regularly given by clients and connections.

“That said, we face a number of challenges in 2020, with the continuing economic uncertainty and from some accountancy firms in the region, taking first, tentative steps, into what is already a competitive legal services market.

“We are however confident that we can continue to stay in front of the competition with our team of highly experienced transaction lawyers, delivering solution based, cost-effective corporate and commercial advice.”