Hanson split puts firms in line for slice of the action

GOULDENS and Norton Rose could be in the frame for work on the giant Hanson demerger, even though the company is initially handling its legal work in-house.

Hanson's surprise announcement to break up into four separate companies, thought to be worth £2 billion or more apiece, is likely to involve demerger costs of at least £100 million.

Rumours have been circulating in the City as to who will be considered for each area of advice.

Lawyers who know the conglomerate believe adviser fees could be “seven or even eight figures” for months of work, although Hanson will not be carrying out a share issue – traditionally a major earner for City bankers.

“Hanson has a reputation for long-term relationships with their advisers,” said one City lawyer.

“Firms such as Gouldens and Norton Rose would be among those considered,” he added.

Hanson's vice-chair Chris-topher Collins, heavily involved in the demerger, said legal director Graham Dransfield was currently providing all legal advice.

“This is a very big and costly exercise,” said Collins.

Dransfield, an ex-Slaughter and May lawyer, has a team of three, and is working alongside in-house tax specialists on the framework for the demerger.

Collins said the demerger could take a year, after which the individual companies covering the energy, chemicals, tobacco and building sectors would consider how best to set up structures for internal and external legal advice.

“Appropriate appointments will be made to each company. It's too early to speculate at the moment,” said Collins.