Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards 2016: Event sing praises of successful firms

Shortlist revealed for 2016

Patrick Brown is managing partner at law firm Tughans - sponsor of the Best Small/Medium Business in the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in Association with airline British Airways.

Q. How has the business grown over the last few years?

A This year we are celebrating our 120th year and over that time we have grown into one of the largest law firms in Northern Ireland. Over the last number of years we have seen significant activity in our market-leading restructuring and insolvency practice, and as confidence has returned to the market we have experienced an increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) and real estate activity, as evidenced by the number and size of completed deals in the last 12 months.

We topped the Experian Mergers and Acquisitions Deal Table for most active law firm in 2015, and have a strong pipeline for the year ahead. Our success has been built on the reputation of our lawyers and our client focused service. We have worked with our clients for many years supporting their goals and objectives through developing our practice and offering tailored areas of law to suit their personal requirements. As they have grown, we have grown with them.

Q. Why are awards such as the Belfast Telegraph Awards important?

A In Northern Ireland we can be reluctant to sing our own praises, so the awards are an important forum to do this on behalf of our businesses and their people. There are a significant number of local companies performing strongly and it is important to reward and celebrate their success.

As a business we understand the importance of recognising excellence and the positive effect that the recognition of an award can have, having recently won awards for Corporate Law Firm of the Year, Young Dealmaker of the Year and received Investors In People accreditation.

We selected to sponsor the Best Small/Medium Business category as these businesses are such an important part of the Northern Ireland economy.

Q. Which areas in particular is Tughans focusing on?

A Over the years we have concentrated on growing the firm in line with the needs of the Northern Ireland economy and have developed specialist expertise to support the full breadth of legal needs from the corporate community. Our core practice areas of corporate, dispute resolution and real estate are outperforming.

The recovery in the property market has seen activity in the real estate department continue to increase as witnessed by some of the big property deals we have recently completed. For two local property firms, Corbo and Kilmona, the department carried out transactions in excess of £250m over the last year alone. Our corporate team continues to be engaged in some of the most significant deals following one of their most successful years, and in addition to increasing M&A activity we have been particularly active in venture capital and private equity funding, foreign direct investment and contracts and technology.

Our dispute resolution department, which can lay claim to being the biggest in Northern Ireland, has acted and currently acts in a number of landmark cases in Northern Ireland including in the areas of financial regulation, judicial review and insurance and commercial disputes.

Q. How does Northern Ireland's business landscape compare to the rest of the UK and further afield?

A Local businesses still face a period of uncertainty with the looming elections, a referendum and corporation tax, in addition to new legislation including the recently introduced National Living Wage.

In general, there is continued optimism in the local economy. However, there is still underlying caution.

The indicators suggest that growth in Northern Ireland lags behind the rest of the UK and Republic of Ireland, but an increase in M&A activity buoyed by a strong supply of good unvalued businesses and a strong appetite from both Dublin and London-based investors, plus the fact that banks are lending again, is boosting confidence.

We are also seeing large UK-based and international funds becoming increasingly interested in the real estate opportunities here.

The gala awards dinner will take place on Thursday, April 21, at the Culloden Hotel, Holywood. A table of 10 is £1,200 plus Vat and individual places are £130 plus Vat.

For further information on the awards contact Sarah Weir (JPR) on or call 028 9076 0066