£115m deal helps Tanfield Group hit the heights | 28 August 07

NORTH law firm Ward Hadaway is helping manufacturer Tanfield Group hit new heights after advising on a £115m share placing and major US acquisition.

The firm carried out the legal work on Washington-based Tanfield’s largest cash-raising and managed the group’s acquisition of aerial platform maker Snorkel.

The group used part of the proceeds of the £115m placing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) to buy Snorkel in a move it expects will boost earnings by more than 25% next year.

A team from Ward Hadaway’s corporate department worked closely with Tanfield to conclude the simultaneous placing and £49.9m acquisition of Kansas-based Snorkel.

Corporate finance partner Robert Thompson led the Ward Hadaway team on the deal alongside the firm’s head of plc, David Crone.

Mr Thompson said: “We are delighted to have helped Tanfield to achieve this very significant acquisition. It transforms the group into one of the largest aerial access players in the world, which is great news for the North-East economy.”

Mr Thompson said the deal presented “a number of challenges”, not least when it came to closing the acquisition.

He explained: “Because Snorkel has a number of US and international interests, we ended up working simultaneously with people in Kansas, New York, Australia and New Zealand when we were closing the deal.”

Mr Thompson added: “This was by far the largest placing and acquisition which Tanfield Group has carried out to date.
“It is very gratifying to be able to work in collaboration with companies like Tanfield Group and to help them realise their ambitions.”

Ward Hadaway previously advised Tanfield on its multi-million pound acquisition of the aerial platform business of UpRight in 2006 and its reverse takeover of Comeleon in 2003.

The firm has also acted on six previous AIM share placings for Tanfield, raising a total of more than £40m.

Roy Stanley, founder and chairman of the Tanfield Group plc, said: “Ward Hadaway played a key supporting role in executing what is a truly transformational acquisition for us.”