Dickson Minto secures sell off

Dickson Minto, led by partner Martin McNair, acted for members of the management team of rail leasing company Eversholt Holdings, which took a controversial profit of £57.3m on the £726.5m sale of their company to Forward Trust, the leasing arm of Midland Bank, represented by Norton Rose.

The management, backed by venture capitalists, including Candover Investment and Electra Fleming, bought Eversholt from the Government in January 1996 for £580m. Ashurst Morris Crisp, led by Graeme Ward, advised the institutional vendors who made a total of £395m profit on the deal.

The high profits have led the Labour Party to accuse the Government of selling the leasing company too cheaply and giving the tax payer a raw deal. The National Audit Office is already conducting an inquiry into the sales.

Simmons & Simmons and Pinsent Curtis advised the buy-out team that took the other privatised rail leasing company, Porterbrook, for £527m. It was sold six months later to Stagecoach for £825m.

Part of the Forward Trust's purchase price of £726m included the repayment of Eversholt's net debt of £273m.

Norton Rose banking partner Richard Calnan advised Forward Trust on refinancing the debt and replacing it with facilities through Forward Trust.