SJ Berwin strengthens Evans Randall relationship

SJ Berwin has secured its position as the leading legal adviser to Evans Randall on property matters after completing its biggest deal to date for the private investment bank.

Real estate partner David Ryland led the firm’s team advising Evans Randall on its £175m acquisition of ABN Amro’s London headquarters at 250 Bishopsgate. The deal involved the freehold acquisition of the property and subsequent leaseback to the Dutch bank for a term of 30 years.

This is the first major deal that SJ Berwin has completed for the Mayfair-based private bank after receiving its first instruction from the group four months ago following a referral from CB Richard Ellis.

Evans Randall, which holds a portfolio of £400m of commercial real estate investments, first began its push into sale-and-leasebacks at the start of the year. The bank now anticipates that its portfolio will grow to £1bn by the end of the year.

James McDonald, who assisted Ryland, said SJ Berwin expects to receive the lion’s share of the bank’s upcoming acquisitions, with the real estate practice already acting for the bank on another property matter.

Clifford Chance real estate partners Robert Bindless and Adam McGhin advised ABN Amro on the sale, assisted by tax partner Etienne Wong.

SJ Berwin’s real estate group is budgeting for further increases in profit this financial year off the back of such client wins. This follows a 9.6 per cent turnover hike in the 2004-05 financial year to reach £25m.