Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Company flying high after sale of airport

Belfast solicitors L'Estrange & Brett are flying high following the recent sale of the George Best Belfast City Airport. The firm was the lead legal adviser to the Spanish Ferrovial Group on the disposal of the airport.

The successful bidder, ABN Amro Global Infrastructure Fund, purchased the airport though an auction process for a sum in excess of £130m.

Senior partner Brian Henderson (above) said: “Whilst the implications of the ‘credit crunch' and fears of a global recession continue to dominate many of the news headlines, it is encouraging to see a number of high profile business deals like this shining through the doom and gloom.”

Indeed L'Estrange & Brett, who continue to field one of the biggest and most varied property teams in Belfast, has been involved in many of these high profile deals.

One such deal was possibly the largest private company sale to occur in Northern Ireland in recent years with the acquisition by Ladbrokes Plc of the Eastwoods Bookmakers chain for a figure quoted in the region of £117.5 million. L'Estrange & Brett was the lead legal adviser to Ladbrokes on its acquisition of over 50 trading shops and office premises, which saw Ladbrokes become the largest bookmakers' chain in Northern Ireland.

Another was the recent acquisition of the business of Dundee Pharmacy and its portfolio of over 20 retail pharmacies by the Medicare Group.

These deals, like several others, demonstrate the firm's ability to bring together expertise from several of its core practice areas to provide a professional and responsive service to its clients.

The firm's property team also continues to advise Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd in its large expansion programme throughout Northern Ireland. This has included the acquisition of the existing supermarket business from Curleys Supermarkets at Oaks Centre, Dungannon and Kennedy Centre, Belfast, which included the development of a new store and petrol filling station at Kennedy Centre.

The firm's transactional ability is not limited to Northern Ireland and in recent years has expanded its capability for clients undertaking business throughout the United Kingdom who want all of their legal work managed by one contact in Belfast.

Last month the firm celebrated the completion of its 100th deal in Great Britain. Recent highlights include advising, Ballyrogan Holdings Limited (owned by the Jennings family) on the acquisition and subsequent sale to BUPA of the Cromwell Hospital in London, and Cusp on its development of a new factory outlet centre and apartment complex at Kendal Riverside.

The firm continues to offer all-island services through its relationship with one of Dublin's leading law firms, McCann FitzGerald (the North South Legal Alliance). Next year will see the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Alliance, whose first role was to advise on the implementation of Public Private Partnerships in the Republic of Ireland.

L'Estrange & Brett are pleased to once again be sponsoring the Commercial Property Development of the Year category at this year's Belfast Telegraph Northern Ireland Property Awards.

  • This year's Belfast Telegraph Northern Ireland Property Awards, which take place in association with Ulster Bank, will be held on November 13 at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast. There are 10 categories in total for both the commercial and residential property sectors. Closing date for entries is October 17. For further information see www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/propertyawards or contact event organisers JPR on (028) 9076 0066 or mail@jprni.com.

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