Burmah team's future 'in limbo'

IN-HOUSE lawyers at a petrol company face an uncertain future after the business changed hands in an £83 million deal.

About 10 lawyers from the UK petrol retail and wholesale subsidiary of Burmah Castrol are said to feel “twitchy” and “in limbo”.

Burmah Petroleum Fuels is being sold by its parent to Frost Group, the UK's biggest petrol retailer.

The deal, to be completed on 14 July, includes petrol stations, supply contracts and legal and administrative staff. Staff in other Burmah divisions will be unaffected.

John Murgatroyd, Frost spokesman, says: “The decision has yet to be made in terms of the future of any employees. We are currently reviewing the business.”

However, rumours circulating since the deal included one that the in-house lawyers were to lose their jobs as legal work went out to private tender.

That possibility is believed to have receded, but members of the Swindon-based legal team, headed by Nick Scott, are still said to be “sensitive and concerned”.

The private legal work on the deal was carried out by Osborne Clarke and Allen & Overy. Osbornes' Bristol office acted for Frost, while Allen & Overy negotiated for Burmah.

Leslie Perrin, managing partner at Osborne Clarke, says the work was completed within eight weeks to keep the deal on schedule. “This is one of the most important acquisitions we have been involved in,” he adds.