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Relevant Experience Agriculture

Agriculture

  • Purchase of a farm and the refinancing of the home farm
    • Purchase of a farm and the refinancing of the home farm, advising on matters such as lotting, third party rights, disputed easements, partnership and future development issues, with a capital value of approximately £3m.
  • Advising a business on the expansion
    • Advising a business on the expansion of its farm shop hut to a nationally recognised and award-winning “food hub” and retail outlet with on-site butcher, fishmonger, baker, deli, restaurant and retail units. 
  • Sale and Purchase
  • Purchase of a biomass boiler
    • Advising a poultry farmer on the purchase of a biomass boiler system under which the technology provider undertakes to design, fund and install the installation attached to poultry sheds (with back-up supply), in order to increase profitability through a reduction in the costs of fuel and feed.

Succession Planning

  • Advising on the administration of estates - Advising the executors of a valuable estate comprising a number of different property and business elements (both trading and investments activities) on all aspects of the administration of the estate, including the arguing the “Balfour Principle” to secure BPR on the non-trading/investment elements of the business.
  • Shareholder agreements - Advising a rural business in relation to the review and amendment of the shareholders agreement and working with their accountant and financial adviser to implement insurance backed cross-option agreements to ensure the succession of the business in the event of the death of a shareholder. In the same case also acting for the shareholders in relation to the preparation of their wills to ensure the wills were tax efficient and consistent with the shareholders agreement.
  • Landed estates - Advising a large number of landed estates in the south west and nationally in relation to all property, trust and estate matters.
  • Will drafting - Advising a farming couple owning a large farm, commercial properties and residential lets in relation to the drafting of their complex wills to ensure fairness in the distribution of their estate between their farming and non-farming children and also drafting the wills to utilise the availability of APR and BPR on the first death.

Fisheries

  • Sale of business - The sale of a coarse fishery business in Devon including log cabin Dealing with licensing issues and securing rights of way.
  • Leasehold sales - Dealing with a scheme for the leasehold sale of log cabins and fishing lakes for a limited company including the introduction of a management structure.
  • Strategy advice - Advising on a strategy to acquire a permanent dwelling on site for a fishery manager, including in the first instance a temporary dwelling and then following a three year period the grant of a full permission.
  • Business expansion - Acquiring permission for managers accommodation, modest on site shop and café for a fishery.
  • Fishing Clubs and Associations - Retained solicitors for a number of Fishing Clubs and Associations.
  • Fishing rights - Dealing with the purchase and sale of fishing rights on a number of rivers including the sale of one of the prime salmon and sea trout beats in the country.

Banking in Agriculture

  • Acting for a national bank on the £7.5 million refinancing of a company with a biogas and anaerobic digestion plant, taking security over farmland to support the loan facilities.
  • Acting for an independent lender in the funding of farmland in Devon, advising on loan, security, title review and conditions precedent to drawdown.
  • Acting for an independent lender on its financing of an individual purchasing farm and recreational land in Somerset, preparing loan and security documents and advising on existing security and title to the land.
  • Acting for an individual estate owner in relation to a loan facility of c. £1.3 million secured on several residential properties.
  • Acting for a private bank on the provision of reports on title relation to residential properties within a farm estate, which triggered first registration of the charged properties and the reservation of rights over adjoining land within the farm estate so as to protect the bank’s interest.
  • Providing independent legal advice to directors and/or shareholders on guarantee and security documents for loan facilities for farming and agribusiness.

Agribusiness

  • Micro-district heating - Advising on a number of bespoke arrangements with one of the UK’s largest chicken producers in which the technology provider designs, funds and installs the micro-district heating and ventilation systems. Each installation site had a capital value in the region of £1.5m and was intended to improve the welfare of the poultry as well as reducing fuel and input costs.
  • Farm purchase - Purchase of a farm and the refinancing of the home farm, advising on matters such as lotting, third party rights, disputed easements, partnership and future development issues, with a capital value of approximately £3m.
  • UK food production - Advising on restructuring and refinancing of a major UK food producer to improve costs and profits transparency between different elements of the farming enterprise.
  • Anaerobic digestion - Working on the design, build, property arrangements, maintenance, operation and off-take arrangements for several anaerobic digestion facilities sponsored by Greener for Life Energy Ltd and two funders. The projects are expected to produce 18 MW of energy with a capital value of £30m. A number of the facilities are exporting biogas to the grid.
  • Advising a farmer - Advising a farmer who was the subject of a freezing injunction obtained by his trustee in bankruptcy, negotiating a voluntary arrangement with creditors so that the farmer avoided bankruptcy and preserved the farming business as a going concern.
  • Business expansion - Helping a business expand their farm shop hut to a nationally recognised and award-winning “food hub” and retail outlet with on-site butcher, fishmonger, baker, deli, restaurant and retail units.

Diversification

  • Advising on a caravan site - Advising a caravan site operator with approximately 600 pitches in its application for a 500 home development, including the rationalisation of caravan site licences.
  • Anaerobic digestion - Working on the design, build, property arrangements, maintenance, operation and offtake arrangements for several anaerobic digestion facilities sponsored by Greener for Life Energy Ltd and two funders. The projects are expected to produce 18 MW of energy with a capital valueof £30m. A number of the facilities are exporting biogas to the grid.
  • UK food production - Advising on restructuring and refinancing of a major UK food producer to improve costs and profits transparency between different elements of the farming enterprise.
  • Fishing tracts - Dealing with the sale of one of the most valuable tracts of fishing in England.
  • Land purchase - Dealing with the purchase of agricultural land in Somerset with a value of over £2m.
  • Lotting and tenancies Advising on lotting, 1954 Act tenancies, agricultural tenancies and licences, easement and boundary disputes, overage and secured lending.

Farm management

  • Farm purchase - Purchase of a farm and the refinancing of the home farm, advising on matters such as lotting, third party rights, disputed easements, partnership and future development issues, with a capital value of approximately £3m.
  • Fishing tracts -  Dealing with the sale of one of the most valuable tracts of fishing in England.
  • Land purchase - Dealing with the purchase of agricultural land in Somerset with a value of over £2m.
  • Advising on a caravan site - Advising a caravan site operator with approximately 600 pitches in its application for a 500 home development, including the rationalisation of caravan site licences.
  • Anaerobic digestion -  Working on the design, build, property arrangements, maintenance, operation and offtake arrangements for several anaerobic digestion facilities sponsored by Greener for Life Energy Ltd and two funders. The projects are expected to produce 18 MW of energy with a capital value of £30m. A number of the facilities are exporting biogas to the grid.
  • Advising a farmer - Advising a farmer who was the subject of a freezing injunction obtained by his trustee in bankruptcy, negotiating a voluntary arrangement with creditors so that the farmer avoided bankruptcy and preserved the farming business as a going concern.

Sale and Purchase

  • Dealing with all aspects of the sale of an historic Victorian Country House estate with agricultural land. 

  • Acting for a land owner in the grant of a lease of sporting rights on an Estate with a value of £750,000. 

  • Dealing with the purchase of agricultural land in Somerset with a value of over £2m. 

Buying and Selling Farms and Farmland

  • Acting on the sale of a large rural estate for £17Million
  • Refinancing a farming operation - £8 million
  • Acting on the purchase of a number of farms from the Crown Estate by the incumbent tenants
  • Acting on the purchase of a large farm subject to an ongoing tenancy by an investment buyer

AgriTech

  • Advised Guinness Asset Management in its investment into Jones Food Limited, Europe’s largest vertical farm
  • Advised Notion Capital in its investment into KisanHub
  • Advised The Small Robot Company in its crowd financing on Crowdcube
  • Advised the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board on data licencing issues and development contracts

Restructuring & Insolvency for agricultural businesses

• Advising directors on restructuring options
• Advising specialist rural lender on recovery of unsecured debt
• Acting for purchaser of biotech business on acquisition out of insolvency process
• Assisting secured lender on enforcement of its security and guarantees
• Advising fixed charge receivers on validity of their appointment and disposition of fixed charge assets
• Acting for Trustee in bankruptcy on realisation of farming assets