Two deals for AIM quoted companies in one week for Burges Salmon

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07 April 2010

Burges Salmon advised on two successful transactions for AIM company clients William Sinclair Holdings plc and Michelmersh Brick Holdings plc just before Easter.  Both transactions reflect the current change of emphasis on AIM from new listings to transactions by well established smaller companies already on the market. 

William Sinclair

Burges Salmon advised William Sinclair, one of the UK's leading producers of commercial horticulture and branded garden products, on an interim agreement with Natural England over the future of its peat bog operations at Bolton Fell, Cumbria.

William Sinclair is to be paid an initial £9m in compensation by Natural England. The full amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be fully assessed. But if no agreement is reached by 30 November 2011, then it will be referred to the Lands Tribunal for a decision.

Bernard Burns, William Sinclair Chief Executive, said:  "We are delighted to have clarity on the Bolton Fell issue.  William Sinclair is half way through a £3 million, three year investment programme in peat free technology to improve the quality and availability of this growing material.

Part of the compensation will be used to consolidate our leading position in the peat free market.  This sector of the market will become increasingly important following the announcement by the Environment Secretary on 8 March 2010 about the phase-out of peat in compost material."

Our team was led by environment partner Ross Fairley and corporate senior associate Mr. Tracy Fennell.

 

Michelmersh Brick Holdings

We also advised Michelmersh Brick Holdings, the specialist brick, land development and landfill company, on the acquisition of Freshfield Lane Brickworks Limited, a leading independent manufacturer of high quality clamp-fired stock bricks, for £10 million; and on a fund raising of £3 million through a placing of ordinary shares organised by Charles Stanley Securities.

Commenting, Eric Gadsden, Chairman, said: "The acquisition of Freshfield Lane is transformational for Michelmersh. It not only enables us to take advantage of the current opportunities in the south east England market, but also expands our operations and significantly broadens our customer base. Above all, it establishes a strong platform for the future growth of the whole business."

Our team was led by corporate partner Chris Godfrey, property senior associate Ross Polkinghorne and corporate associate Jonathan White.

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