Tods Murray edges out City rivals on Dexia work

Tods Murray has elbowed out rival firms in the City to score its first instruction from Swedish bank Dexia Public Finance, advising on the funding of a PFI deal involving Seeboard and the London Borough of Islington.
The deal, thought to be valued at around £50m, sees Seeboard contracted to the London Borough of Islington to provide public lighting in the area for 25 years.
The Scottish firm won the instruction after acting on the
other side of previous transactions with Dexia. Most recently the two met on a £153m PFI for Stoke-on-Trent Schools, with Clifford Chance advising Dexia and Tods Murray advising a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and finance house Innis Free.
“Our message is that quality doesn’t stop at the Watford Gap,” said head of Tods Murray’s PFI team Ian McPake, noting that the Scottish firm could do the work significantly cheaper than City players. The partner leading the deal was banking partner Gordon Prestige.
For the client, the lack of a City presence was not an issue. “We had no problem with them being based in Scotland,” said Iain Wales, deputy head of project finance at Dexia in London. He added that the bank had no regular panel, but tended to use firms on an ad hoc basis. Other firms that have advised the bank in London include Clifford Chance, Lovells and Trowers & Hamlins.
The deal also represented an important win for Stephenson Harwood, closing its first deal for Seeboard, which is now part of the London Electricity Group.
The client was first approached in 2001 while it was still part of the American Electric Power Company. Stephenson Harwood approached Seeboard and, following an informal tender, won this instruction plus two further initiatives that the team is currently advising on. All three are PFI deals.
Seeboard does not have a regular panel of firms.
Pinsents advised Islington Council.