Victory for the Airline Group marks the end of a two-year struggle over plans to privatise UK air traffic control.
The UK is the first country in Europe to opt for a form of privatisation and the contractual arrangements demanded a significant innovation from Government adviser Slaughter and May.
Alan Crookes’ team at Norton Rose entered the fray some 18 months ago when the group of leading airlines, including British Airways and Virgin, came together. The appointment came via an introduction from Spectrum Capital, a niche aviation corporate finance house also involved in the deal, which is an existing client of Norton Rose’s aviation team.
In addition to working on the Airline Group’s bid, Norton Rose has acted on the senior credit facilities, in excess of £1bn, arranged by Abbey National and Barclays Capital. The credit facilities will be used to finance the acquisition and also to finance future investment in upgrading UK air traffic control systems. Acquisition finance group partner Andrew Bamber led the team advising on the financing.
McGrigor Donald is enjoying a high level of activity from LNC Properties. The firm acts as LNC’s principal corporate and real estate adviser, with property partner Melanie White managing the relationship.
The firm has advised LNC since its inception. The company’s predecessor SFG Properties was bought from Scottish Life by a consortium of Irish investors in November 1999 and McGrigor Donald advised on the deal. Maclay Murray & Spens is the company’s other adviser when conflicts arise.
The majority of LNC’s portfolio is in Scotland, but the company is vigorously expanding its geographical spread – the 13-property Tyne & Wear portfolio included only one Scottish property. Its strategy is also one of active management. Leases on a few void properties within the new portfolio will be restructured to attract new tenants.
White has also led deals advising LNC subsidiary Hamden Properties, which entered into an agreement with Rambecs in 1999 to develop a 70,000sq ft office in Manchester. The development was pre-let to Eversheds. And more activity is imminent – White has just completed a further £80m credit facility for LNC from Hypo Vereinsbank.