Southampton 02380 482 482
Winchester 01962 679 777

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Banking and finance solicitors

The banking and finance team has considerable experience in advising lenders and borrowers including UK and international banks, building societies and corporate clients.

Chambers Top Ranked Legal 500 Leading firm

Appointments during Coronavirus lockdown

During these difficult and unprecedented times, please rest assured that the banking & finance team at Paris Smith are still available to support you and your business, should you need us. Whether you are an existing client or somebody who needs assistance for the first time, we can still meet or speak with you via Skype, Facetime or other video conferencing facilities.

For more information, please call either the head of our banking and finance department, James McNeil on 023 8048 2108 or 0771 782 6602 or visit our team and individual lawyers’ pages for our contact details

The Banking & Finance department boasts an established debt finance practice with a sizable team of experienced banking and finance lawyers in Southampton and Winchester. In 2019, the team acted on matters involving in excess of £850m of debt.

The department advises on all manner of debt finance transactions (including acquisition, project, property and asset finance) and general corporate banking matters, whether on a bilateral or syndicated basis and across all layers of the capital stack.

The department has strong relationships with national banking groups, large corporates and a number of higher education institutions. Notable clients are Santander UK plc, National Westminster Bank plc, Metro Bank plc, Handelsbanken plc, Haskins Garden Centres Limited, Yacht Havens Limited and developers such as Reilly Group, Doswell Projects, Ocea Life, Alfred Homes Limited and Aventier Limited. The department also services large retail and leisure clients, such as Yacht Havens Limited and the Ageas Bowl/Hampshire Cricket. In addition, the department is legal provider to a number of very active challenger banks, such as InterBay Funding Ltd and Hampshire Trust Bank PLC, Axis Bank UK Ltd and Proplend Ltd.

The department has deservedly acquired a reputation for “punching above its weight”. It certainly finds itself on the region’s highest profile deals and is often the “go to team” for the regional offices of national banks. The department is also building a strong reputation among challenger banks operating at the interface of property and corporate finance, and recent mandates from new clients such as Proseed Capital and Castle Trust Capital plc are testament to its knowhow and reputation in this sector.

Work Highlights

  • A cross discipline team of over 20 Paris Smith lawyers led by James McNeil (including corporate, finance, planning, property and construction law experts) acted for RB Sport and Leisure Holdings plc (previously known as Rose Bowl plc) (RB plc) and its subsidiaries upon:
    • The £6.5m sale and leaseback by RB Sport and Leisure Holdings Plc and its subsidiaries of Hampshire’s international cricket ground and concert venue to Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)
    • £32m worth of development funding provided by EBC pursuant to a finance lease to enable a 4* Hilton branded hotel and facilities to be built and
    • The deal also involved the subscription by certain investors of £6.5m worth of loan notes in RB Sport and Leisure Holdings plc.
  • James McNeil and the Banking and Finance team acted for Santander UK plc in connection with a development and acquisition finance facility made available to Home Grown Hotels Limited (the latest venture of Robin Hutson who was one of the founders of the Hotel du Vin chain) in order to refinance their existing financial indebtedness and to finance the purchase and development of sites and companies. This has enabled Home Grown Hotels Limited to develop and acquire three further “Pig” branded hotels in Southampton, Studland and Bath. The team advised Santander UK plc in the negotiation of all finance documentation, the share purchase agreement, the collation of CPs and all property aspects (including preparations of reports on title).
  • James McNeil and the Banking and Finance team advised Yacht Haven Group Limited (YGH) in connection with its refinance of its existing loan facilities pursuant to a revolving credit facility and an overdraft facility to be provided by Lloyds TSB Bank plc. This refinance enabled YHG to acquire Drimmelen or BMD (Dutch BV owned by local municipality) pursuant to a Dutch law asset purchase agreement.
  • Paris Smith acted for the shareholders of S.H.B. Hire Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to a UK subsidiary of global vehicle rental giant, Enterprise Car Hire. The transaction was the largest ever undertaken by Enterprise outside North America. Paris Smith have acted for the company for some 40 years. The sale followed an auction process. A complex re-sale reorganisation was undertaken involving disinvestment of the company’s property interests and payment of a special dividend. Completion of the sale was conditional on FCA and CMA clearances. The Banking and Finance department advised S.H.B.  Hire Limited in connection with the pre-sale re-organisation of assets which involved liaising with the company’s existing secured creditors to repay the company’s financial indebtedness which was secured on its commercial real estate assets. The Banking and Finance department then advised S.H.B. Hire Limited in connection with the repayment of the entirety of its asset finance/HP finance lines provided by a multitude of asset finance providers.
  • The Banking and Finance department advised Millbrook Industries Limited in connection with the demerger of its Healthcare business prior to its sale. The department liaised with Lloyds Bank plc in order to obtain the necessary releases of security, consent to transfer and the repayment of certain of its debt facilities which included the re-assignment of its debtor book. The Banking and Finance department also advised retained Millbrook Group in relation to the putting in place of new debt facilities.
  • The Banking and Finance department acted for both Hampshire Trust Bank plc and Castle Trust Capital plc on the provision of £24,000,000 of term loan facilities to Branchwater Developments Limited in order to refinance a large property development in West Yorkshire which was owned across a number of overlapping titles. The transaction involved complex intercreditor and security-sharing arrangements and was completed to a strict deadline.
  • The Banking and Finance department advised car dealership business, Richmond Cars Limited, on the financing of its acquisition of Sparshatts of Botley Limited and Sparshatts of Fareham Limited utilising term loan facilities from Metro Bank plc. The department advised on all aspects of the finance and security package together with detailed intercreditor arrangements that were put in place to regulate the respective rights and priorities of secured creditors, such as Santander Consumer (UK) plc, Volkswagen Bank GmbH and Lloyds Bank plc who provide the borrower and target company with asset finance lines.


  • Chambers and Partners 2021: Highly active on debt finance transactions, offering a full spectrum of banking expertise encompassing acquisition, asset and property finance. Regularly sought after by retail banking groups, house builders and developers for real estate finance-related work. Also acts for UK clearing and challenger banks on leveraged finance, debt facilities and working capital facilities. Experienced advising shareholders on the sale of corporate share capital. One client praises the team for being “very knowledgeable, thorough and customer-focused,” adding that the lawyers “can be relied upon to get the job done within the desired timeframe, often going beyond expectations.” Another source reports: “I find Paris Smith very prompt and detailed in their responses.”
  • Legal 500 2020-2021: Described as ‘friendly, professional, and approachable’, Paris Smith LLP’s banking and finance team is experienced in acquisition, project, property and asset finance. The firm’s lender clients include both major and challenger banks, while on the borrower side the firm advises retail and leisure clients. Clients say the team is “knowledgeable, thorough, customer-focused and can be relied upon to get the job done within the desired timeframe, often going beyond expectations”. Others say they are “professional yet personable”; they provide a “personalised service, know their clients well and understand needs. Amazing service“. They are “friendly, professional and approachable – always available to resolve issues“; and another “they build strong relationship with clients to provide an effective working partnership.”
  • Chambers and Partners 2020:  Highly active in debt finance transactions, offering a full spectrum of banking expertise encompassing acquisition, asset and property finance. Regularly sought after by retail banking groups, house builders and developers for real estate finance-related work. Also acts for UK clearing and challenger banks on leveraged finance, debt facilities and working capital facilities.  One client comments: “They have expertise and their work is of a good quality.” Another source adds: “They are professional yet approachable.
  • Legal 500 2020: One source said ‘Quick to respond and drive a deal forward. Very comprehensive and detailed approach.’
  • Chambers and Partners 2018: Sources emphasise the team’s “strength and depth of expertise and experience. The people are engaging and easy to communicate with.”  Another client notes “I think the lawyers were particularly skilled at listening to our requirements,” further praising “their considerable skill and experience in the commercial banking and finance sector, yet still retaining a personal approach.”
  • Legal 500 2018-19: Paris Smith LLP provides ‘a level of service that is excellent in all areas; the team is quick, efficient, extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and provides good value for money’. James McNeil heads the practice and is rated for his ‘ability to speak in layman’s terms, meaning he can effectively cascade legal messages and requirements to clients’. Acquisition, asset, project and real estate finance are all areas of expertise for the practice, which has strong relationships with a number of retail banking groups such as Santander and HSBC, as well as regional corporate borrowers and higher education institutions. Recent highlights include advising RB Sport and Leisure Holdings on the refinancing of The Ageas Bowl, which involved the negotiation of a new finance lease with Eastleigh Borough Council. Also recommended are acquisition finance expert Jonathon Roy and real estate finance specialist Clare Lee.

James McNeil
LLP Partner

T: 023 8048 2108
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Meet the Team

Edward Power
LLP Partner

T: 01962 679 783
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Liam Doughty
LLP Partner

T: 023 8048 2325
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Michael Moore
LLP Partner

T: 023 8048 2290
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Stuart Allen
LLP Partner

T: 01962 679 782
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Imogen Beaver

T: 023 8048 2115
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David Middleton

T: 023 8048 2144
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Tracie Appleby

T: 023 8048 2104
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James not only has excellent expertise but is very commercially minded and always determined to secure the right result.  His ability to resolve issues laterally leads to swift solutions.

- Mike Donaldson, Santander UK Plc

This practice is well equipped to handle acquisition, construction, real estate and corporate finance for both borrowers and lenders.  On the corporate finance side, the team is noted for its particular expertise in MBOs…James McNeil comes recommended for his expertise in leveraged finance and real estate finance, and is the firm’s relationship partner for major lender clients.”

- Independent legal directory Chamber & Partners

Paris Smith LLP has noted a substantial uptick in instructions to handle property financing. The ‘very good’ James McNeil leads the team, which advises clients including Santander, Lloyds Bank and Alfred Homes.

- Legal 500 2016

“Paris Smith LLP’s ‘high-quality’ team is led by the ‘thorough, proactive’ James McNeil, and in 2014 advised lenders and borrowers, including Santander, on a steady flow of transactions, with Stuart Allen particularly active in real estate finance.”

- Legal 500

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