Simpson Grierson

Banking & Finance Department

New Zealand
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What the team is known for Offers broad-based banking and finance advice, with particular expertise in real estate financing for significant developers, as well as asset, leveraged and acquisition financing. A notable capability in debt restructuring and trans-Tasman transactions, and experienced in acting for local government entities as borrowers. Clients include Asia-based banks, including large Chinese and Singaporean lenders, as well as institutional New Zealand banks.

Strengths Clients point out the firm's customer service, as well as its practical approach. One states: "They are very good in the way they engage with us to understand what we are looking for in each job, and they are very commercial in finding workable solutions for us."

The broad coverage of the practice is also a key factor. Another client highlights an "ability to be specialised in multiple areas, which extends to an awareness of our underwriting standards and the drivers that need to be met in terms of internal requirements."

Work highlights Acted for ASB Bank in providing a NZD68 million debt facility to 33 Broadway Trust, used to finance the NZD143 million purchase of a partially completed Auckland commercial property.

Engaged by NYSE-listed Genuine Parts Company to advise on the New Zealand aspects of amendments made to a syndicated facility to incorporate a bolt-on acquisition facility.

Notable practitioners

Andrew Harkness is "very good with clients," one source relays, going on to say: "When we are negotiating with the borrower, he understands our legal documentation and protects our position." Focused on acquisition and leveraged finance, he frequently acts for lenders and private equity sponsors.

Wellington-based Josh Cairns 's expertise covers syndicated lending matters for corporate and acquisition finance facilities. He is acknowledged by peers as an emerging talent, and a client praises his "high quality of work," adding: "I think his communication skills were very good, and he was timely and pragmatic."

Stuart Evans advises lenders and borrowers on property financing matters, financing construction and development as well as acquisitions and investments. One source says: "He's very personable and easy to talk to. He doesn't talk in legal jargon, but breaks the information down so I can understand what he's talking about, and he's willing to go the extra mile if we've got tight timeframes."