Shearmans loses primary adviser role to Simmons

Simmons & Simmons has snatched a chunk of work from Shearman & Sterling after becoming primary legal adviser to newly demerged company ED&F Man Group.

Simmons & Simmons picked up the work for global company ED&F Man Group after acting for the agricultural products side of the business on the demerger last week.

The new company is called ED&F Man Holdings.

It is expected to give the bulk of its corporate work to Simmons, which was the original company’s secondary adviser after Shearmans, which will concentrate on the financial services arm.

In the past, ED&F Man Group instructed Ashurst Morris Crisp for the bulk of its corporate work.

However Ashursts lost the work to Shearmans when its head of investment banking Adrian Knight moved to the firm (The Lawyer, 17 May 1999).

Sarah Bowles, corporate partner at Simmons, says: “We have ended up with a new client that has got a business that is not small. They will stand pretty favourably with quite a few of our big clients.

“We do act for a few multinational clients and this is certainly as multinational as any of them.”

The agricultural business is one of the world’s leading traders and brokers of sugar, with investments in refining operations, logistics and shipping. It also trades coffee spices and cocoa beans.

But over the past 20 years the company has diversified away from agricultural products and has built up a financial services division which it has decided to separate out.

Bowles says: “It’s a new client and I don’t know going forward how it will pan out, but there will be a reasonable amount of work getting their new business in order.”

She says Simmons will continue as the company’s main corporate adviser, but it will use specialist shipping firms where necessary.

“We will get all the stuff we are interested in, which is the corporate side,” she says.

Shearmans was unavailable for comment when The Lawyer went to press.