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Never too Big to Care

John Brierley, (MD of Signis Group) spearheaded the formation of the Signis Group back in 2014 by bringing together various businesses including “tri.x” and “Reconstruct”. The purpose of this group was to provide both online procedure manuals as well as providing safeguarding, child protection training, consultancy and independent children's services in one entity. John had a lot of knowledge and experience within the social care sector and he wanted to continue to grow the group. That is why he felt it was a natural step for him to find another partner for the Signis Group. The new partner is Carter Brown which John knew was fast paced and dynamic enough to help continue the growth of the Signis Group. Carter Brown is based in Mansfield and has its roots within children and family work. Carter Brown’s ethos revolves around providing a high-quality service and offering specialised expert witness assessments for family law cases. It has developed and expanded across the UK to become the largest provider of multidisciplinary assessments, widening its specialism to include reporting directly to Local Authorities and within Criminal Law, Asylum and Immigration, Mental Health Tribunals, Panels and Pre-Proceedings. Hawkins Hatton assisted John Brierley and Signis Group in the legal process. Colin Rodrigues said that: “having worked with John for over 10 years on various matters it has become clear to me that it is not just a question of having a vision it is a question of delivering that vision and making it become a reality and John has this unique ability to do both.” John Brierley said that: “having formed the Signis Group and ensured that it was relevant within the sector of social care for children I wanted to ensure that there would be continued success so it seemed natural to pass the baton on to Carter Brown who would help the Signis Group grow and expand to have a national footprint”.


Brexit Trumped

Donald Trump has always been the person who courts controversy regarding himself as a plain speaker and a disruptor of the status quo. His state visit to the UK this week will be like a large pebble being dropped in to a pond that is the current political turmoil surrounding Brexit with repercussions being felt long after his visit. Prior to his visit, Trump ordained Boris Johnson who is regarded as the darling of the conservative party and favourite to be May’s successor ignoring the other 12 candidates standing alongside him. Assuming that Boris becomes the next leader of the conservatives and so Prime Minister will he achieve change given the arithmetic that May faced in Parliament will not change. I understand that negotiations can be difficult and there is merit in tackling the difficult subjects first. However, there are two main elements for the UK leaving the EU and perhaps May should have insisted on discussing the divorce bill and the future relationship in tandem, rather than making one dependent on the other as demanded by the EU. Trump, even on his first visit to the UK said that the UK should not pay the EU £39 billion that was demanded but instead the UK should “walk away” if it does not get what it wants. Parliament is paralysed as it cannot agree on what it wants or does not want other than there is a desire that there must be a deal with the EU.  But is Trump right? Should the UK walk away as even last week Sir Peter Marshall (former Assistant Secretary-General of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) ,said again “by the EU insisting on discussing the financial settlement first and phasing the discussions it has broken the rules within Article 50 which provide that the EU should negotiate and conclude any withdrawal agreement taking account of the future relationship with the Union.” Thus, there should not have been phasing of the discussions. Will the next Prime Minister accept the EU’s redline that the withdrawal deal cannot be reopened or will he/she take Trump’s advice and walk away if discussions are not reopened knowing that there is then only the WTO rules to fall back on. Ultimately, will the next Prime Minister be a disruptor or be someone who maintains the status quo


Currency: How Much is It Worth?

Colin Rodrigues, the Managing Partner of Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers explains the value of currency in his latest article "Currency: how Much is it Worth?" A link to the same can be found here: Made in the Midlands


Corporate M&A Trends and Developments

As contributors to Chambers we have written an article on the latest trends and developments within the M&A Market, the link to the article can be found here: Corporate M&A Trends and Developments


More Space for AE Aerospace

AE Aerospace has just achieved its 5th anniversary since its MBO in January 2014.  Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers were retained by AE for the MBO and since then, it has acted in the purchase of another company and various building acquisitions. Peter Bruch, MD of AE Aerospace said that “Hawkins Hatton were recommended to us and we have been delighted that they have been part of our team.” AE Aerospace is a world-class supplier of high-quality precision machined components to the aerospace, marine and defence industries.  The company supplies across the Civil Aerospace supply chain to Rolls Royce, UTC / UTAS, Collins Aerospace, Goodrich, Siemens & Moog, with products being used on Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier aircraft.  Additionally, in relation to Defence Aerospace, supply extends to BAE Systems Tornado, Lockheed Martin JSF and Eurofighter.  Supplies in Defence Naval include on Type 45, Type 26, QE Class Aircraft Carriers and USA Littoral Combat Ship. Since the MBO, the company has grown sales seven fold and more than doubled staff, developing a positive reputation in the market, leading to an increasing orderbook and the need to move to a larger facility in Network Park, Duddeston Mill Road, Birmingham. Colin Rodrigues from HH said that “AE Aerospace has made significant improvements to its business over the past few years and we are very happy to put our name behind them”. Peter Bruch went on to say that: “The new property is four times larger than before, we have increased our manufacturing capacity by 50% and we plan to double our turnover in the next 3 years.  We look forward to completing more projects in the future with Hawkins Hatton as our Corporate Lawyers.


Just what the Doctor Ordered

Manjit Jhooty is the founder of “Jhoots Pharmacy” which is regarded as one of the leading independent pharmaceutical chains in the West Midlands. This achievement has been reflected in the number of awards won by Jhoots in relation to patient service and meeting the needs of the local community.  Jhoots has used a simple but effective combination of being able to offer a full range of essential, advanced and enhanced NHS Services using its own experienced staff. In order to continue the expansion of Jhoots Pharmacy, Manjit has taken the bold step to move Jhoots Banking to HSBC UK on the basis that the bank will continue to support Jhoots in its continued development within the West Midlands. Partho Bose, (Senior Business Development Manager with HSBC UK in the Black Country & Shropshire) said that: “HSBC UK has had a long history of supporting businesses within the health sector. Given how strong the Jhoots name is within the pharmacy sector it was a good fit for both the bank and for Jhoots Pharmacy.” Manjit Jhooty (founder director of Jhoots) said that: “The business of Jhoots has always been based on service and patient care so knowing that HSBC UK has similar values, I genuinely feel that together we will make a strong team to continue to make a difference within the health sector.”  In order to assist in the rebanking of Jhoots Pharmacy, HSBC UK appointed Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers to assist them in this matter. The rebanking of Jhoots Pharmacy with HSBC UK had to be concertinaed into a tight timeline. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner) said: “When we were initially tasked with undertaking this matter for the bank I was not sure whether or not it would be feasible to achieve the tight timeline, given the number of properties involved and how big the pharmacy chain was. In any event, everyone at HH put together and worked around the clock to ensure that not only were the deadlines met but that the desired outcome for both Manjit and the bank were met.”  


Counterplas continues injecting vigour into plastic injection

Counterplas, has long been one of the Midland’s and UK’s leading technical, plastic injection moulder operators, who has over many years, built a strong and enviable reputation in its industry for innovation and excellence. Counterplas has not only continued to expand its product range, but it has bolstered its expansion by acquisition. Paul Isherwood, managing director of Counterplas, has been at its helm enabling the company to stay ahead of its competitor’s through the manufacture and design of new products, using the latest energy efficient machines for plastic injection moulding. Mr Isherwood has now negotiated Counterplas acquisitions of a leading competitor. Paul Isherwood said “I have, for a long time, had respect for Showpla Plastics and how it operates as a specialist plastic injection moulder within the Midlands. For me, it just seemed that the Counterplas wrapper around Showpla Plastics would neatly encapsulate the expansion of Counterplas, in one fell swoop. Thereby creating a showcase plastic moulding business, which would become the benchmark for quality and innovation within the plastic injection moulding industry.” Pete Simpson (Partner of Bache Brown Accountants), who has long been the go-to business advisor for Paul Isherwood and Counterplas said that “I have known and worked with Paul for a long time, and so I have a good understanding of how he conducts his business. Therefore, Paul would only look to expand Counterplas through an acquisition where there is a true synergy. That is why the incorporation of the Showpla business within Counterplas will continue to strengthen what is already a formidable business”. Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers (HH) has acted for Counterplas for a number of years as its corporate counsel, Colin Rodrigues (Partner at HH), said “with the event horizon of Brexit fast approaching, I have always been a strong advocate of investment as a way to improve productivity. Knowing the business of Counterplas and Showpla and the industry in which they operate, investment is the key to productivity and as such, the combination of the two businesses will create a stronger and more highly efficient business.”


The Link to Zinc

The NFM Group is one of the Europe’s major zinc alloy producers and specialises in the manufacturer and distribution of prime grade zinc alloys (“NFM”). NFM has over the years established a reputation as a serious and reliable partner in the buying and trading of non-ferrous metals and related by-products, scrap and residues. NFM stepped into the UK market and purchased Brock Metal who also supply primary zinc alloys across Europe even though they are based in Cannock. The purchase of Brock Metal was from Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant (“CZP”). CZP are the largest producer of zinc and zinc alloys in Russia. Claude Bever, Managing Director of NFM, said “this acquisition demonstrates NFM’s focus on further growing the profitability of its core niche zinc alloys business. Brock Metal’s know-how and experience complements our existing activities. It will allow us to position NFM for new business opportunities and to enhance customer relationships in a global manner.” NFM was assisted by Colin Rodrigues of Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers and David Webb of Edwards Accountants. Hawkins Hatton were responsible for assisting in the negotiation and completion of the transaction in legal terms, whilst Edwards Accountants ensured that all financial matters were properly considered. Colin Rodrigues said “having worked with NFM previously, I know that it prides itself in the pursuance of excellence which is its USP. Thus, in a constantly changing world with Brexit the more flexibility a business can have will simply translate to the fact that it can more easily adapt to this change in conditions in order to meet the needs of the market.”


Central Extrusions

Rob Thorpe, who has vast experience of plastic extrusions and is a founder of a successful plastics business known as Cooga based in Telford, has now branched out by taking over Central Extrusions, who as its name suggests is based in the heart of the Black Country. Central Extrusions is already in good shape given that it has over 20 years knowledge and expertise in the manufacture of flexible extrusions, and it has a reputation for supplying high quality glazing gaskets Nationwide. That is why Rob focused on Central Extrusions as he felt he could continue to the expansion of the company building on the existing reputation by using his own skill sets. Rob was assisted by Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers who undertook the negotiation and completion of the transaction on his behalf. Hawkins Hatton also assisted HSBC, who assisted with funding the deal. Colin Rodrigues from Hawkins Hatton said “having worked with Rob and seeing his wealth of experience within the plastic sector, I know that he will ensure that the growth of Central Extrusions will continue on the upward trajectory.” Rob Thorpe said “I am privileged to have the opportunity to oversee the next phase of Central Extrusions’ expansion in order to ensure that it becomes the leading national firm within the UK for plastic extrusions.”


What A Catch

Rollins Inc. is a premier global consumer and commercial services company which has an international footprint stretching more than 700 locations from the United States, Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, Mexico, and Australia. Rollins Inc. specialise in pest control and provides essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than two million customers. Rollins Inc. started its expansion process within the UK by purchasing Safeguard Pest Control based in London and the South East. Within the same week Rollins Inc. also acquired two other businesses namely Ames Group, based in the Midlands, and Kestrel Pest Control, based in Hampshire. Steven Leavitt, the President of Emerging Opportunities of Rollins Inc. spearheaded the purchase of Ames and Kestrel with the assistance Matthew Whiting, who is the Director of Acquisitions. They said that having acquired Safeguard into the Rollins Inc. family, it was a pleasure to continue the expansion by the introduction of Alan Read (director and founder of Ames) and Richard Borlase (director and founder of Kestrel). Alan Read said “I created the Ames Group from scratch and gave it my all and as such, the Rollins Inc. family was a natural choice for me when I decided I wanted to continue to grow my business but with the support of a large organisation.” Richard Borlase said “I found it remarkable that once Rollins Inc. decided to take over my business we completed within days rather than weeks. It is amazing how when you meet an organisation as determined as Rollins Inc. that it can achieve what may seem impossible.” Alan Read (Ames Group) and Richard Borlase (Kestrel) both separately and independently engaged Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers to manage their respective transactions simultaneously. Hawkins Hatton delivered consecutive completions within days of each other. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton) said “it is not very often that you get consecutive transactions to the same entity but having met Rollins Inc. I can see they will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years within the UK Pest Control Industry.”


Cee-Norm Have Plugged into Succession

Cee-Norm UK Limited (Cee-Norm) was founded by Mr Tony Potts and his wife Rosemary Potts. Cee-Norm is the sole UK distributor of Bals industrial plugs and sockets, and is one of the UK leaders in this market. Cee-Norm prides itself on supplying valued products of a high standard to its customers. Cee-Norm has recently started a new chapter in its 25 year long journey, as one of its existing shareholder Bals Elektrotechnik GmBH (Bals) has acquired further shares in the company from Mrs Rosemary Potts, becoming the majority shareholder, with a view to taking over all of the shares in the not too distant future. Bals is an independent family business based in Germany which produces industrial plug-in devices and plug-in systems for the global market, as well as setting new technical standards. Bals products are highly valued worldwide, and Cee-Norm is just one of its many distributors around the globe. Mr and Mrs Potts have continued to build a strong and successful relationship with Bals for many years, so it was natural for them to facilitate Bals’ acquisition of the majority shareholding. Tony Potts, Managing Director and shareholder of Ceenorm, said: “having worked in this industry for more years than I care to mention I can say, based on my experience, that this business will continue to grow and I wish Bals every continued success”. Wolfgang Bals, CEO of Bals, said “running a family owned business means a lot to me, and knowing that Tony and Rosemary have trusted my group with the stewardship of their business demonstrates the faith they have in our relationship and together we will continue to make Ceenorm the success story that it is today”. Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers helped to negotiate the transaction with Brian Bates of Harvey Telford & Bates Chartered Accountants, who have been longstanding advisors to Ceenorm, along with HSBC Bank Plc who have helped to support and fund previous acquisitions. Colin Rodrigues, Partner at Hawkins Hatton Solicitors, said “I have worked with Tony and Rosemary for a number of years and I have seen the company go from strength to strength. Knowing that there is going to be continuity for Ceenorm’s customers and suppliers, will not only mean it is business as usual, but their trusted business partnership will continue as usual”. Brian Bates, Accountant, said “when dealing with succession issues for clients it is not all about numbers, it is about relationships. When there is a strong business relationship, inevitably things are easier to negotiate”. Jon Forster, Relationship Director at HSBC, said “Ceenorm has been a customer of HSBC for many years and it has been rewarding to know that the bank’s support has helped Tony and Rosemary fulfil their business goals”.


X-Ray Specs

Wolverson X-Ray (“Wolverson”) has been established for 85 years and is the leading independent supplier of innovative imaging equipment and associated healthcare products. Wolverson has always prided itself on providing quality and value to the NHS and private health care consortia through the supply of technically advanced imaging products. In order to help Wolverson continue to keep ahead of business demands and remain as the market leader in this sector, the shareholders of Wolverson proceeded with a management buy in (“MBI”). The MBI was led by Andrew Hodgetts along with Graham Haslam, Frank Cousins and Gurpal Matharu, who are now the new directors and shareholders of Wolverson, with their X-Ray specs on they knew the future prospects for the business. Andrew Hodgetts commented that “when you have a business like Wolverson, which has been going as long as 85 years, you do not suddenly become the new business owner, instead you are the custodian of the business for the next generation and as such, it is our duty to help maintain the well-being of Wolverson so it will continue for another 85 years.” Graham Haslam commented “it is not just how long the business has been going, but all about innovation and development and the directors and I are fully committed to continue to help innovate and develop Wolverson for the benefit of all Wolverson customers and employees.” In order to fund the MBI, Wolverson obtained funding from HSBC and were assisted by Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited. Debbie Harper (Area Director, Business Banking at HSBC) said: “Funding for the future is a core part of what we do at HSBC and Paul Dawson worked hard to structure a deal for the MBI team. We look forward to working with Wolverson as the team continues to build the business for future generations.” Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers) stated “as with any corporate transaction, the key to success is to ensure that the instructions from the clients are fully reflected within the legal documentation. A lot of time can be spent arguing over clauses when in reality, the practical and commercial approach soon distils any issues within a contract so they can be agreed between principals.” The directors of Wolverson particularly recognised the input of the outgoing directors, Peter Davies and David Young, stating that “Peter and David have been fantastic role models to us as demonstrated by the growth of the business during competitive times in the healthcare business. We will always be grateful for their achievements and will aim to continue to progress the business to these high standards.”


Drive In Keeps On Rolling Forward

Drive In Autocentres (Drive In) has long been known for MOT testing and tyre servicing within the Black Country. For over 25 years it has operated from its depots in Blackheath and Halesowen. Barclays, a keen supporter of SME Businesses in the region, assisted Drive In by funding its acquisition of the premises in Blackheath. Drive In used Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers to assist it through the legal process and to negotiate all commercial aspects of the acquisition. Trevor Kelleher, Managing Director of Drive In, said ‘Having secured the Blackheath premises it means we will now have an even more secure base to continue expanding and providing a service second to none within MOT testing and tyre servicing within the Black Country’. Chris Perrins, Business Manager at Barclays Bank, said ‘It is always good to see a SME business continue to thrive and with the ever-expanding number of cars on the road, it is nice to know that we have customers who do their best to service the needs of the general public’. Colin Rodrigues, Partner at Hawkins Hatton, said ‘It takes a lot of insight to look forward in any business and continue to grow. In these times of low interest rates, it makes commercial sense to borrow monies to secure commercial property’.


Scaffolding Reaching New Heights

Metal Spraying (UK) Limited (“Metal Spraying”) is the Midlands leading manufacturer and supplier of construction equipment, based in Wolverhampton, and supplies two of the UK’s main scaffolding companies. Metal Spraying has always prided itself on providing unparalleled levels of service enabling it to supply its customers with bespoke products. Metal Spraying has recently acquired Scaffolding & Construction Products Limited (“SCP”) from Alumasc Group plc (“Alumasc”) in order to continue to expand its national foot print. SCP has established itself as a leader in its field as a supplier of non-mechanical construction equipment both in the UK and internationally. This deal created one of the largest construction product suppliers in the UK with a group turnover in excess of £20 million. The deal was funded by HSBC and arranged by Partho Bose, Senior Relationship Manager. HSBC Area Director for Business Banking in the Midlands, Steve Peart, said: ‘HSBC has a £10bn fund to support SMEs in the UK and we are committed to helping British businesses like Metal Spraying take the next step in their business ventures. We look forward to our continued work with Metal Spraying and to seeing the business grow over the coming years.’ Legal support was provided by Hawkins Hatton and Colin Rodrigues (Partner) said: ‘on the face of it, a deal of this kind looks simple, however it is always challenging to ensure that the commercial negotiations fully address the legal risks involved for both parties. I was pleased that we covered both of these bases and still delivered the deal within a very tight timeline for both the bank and Metal Spraying’. Ranjit Dale of Metal Spraying said: ‘This deal will generate additional business and employment opportunities within the Wolverhampton area, which is extremely important to a local company such as ours. This demonstrates why the Midlands is the beating heart of UK manufacturing’.


Casting a New Future

Investacast Limited is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of investment castings with over 50 years’ experience in the sector, covering industries such as aerospace, automotive, marine, communications, military, oil and gas and electronics. Investacast’s approach is one of a holistic service from design, research and development to final production and stock holding. In order to service its clients, Investacast operates from its Ilfracombe-based foundry and has supply chain partnerships throughout Asia, providing ISO9001 accreditation and guaranteeing quality which is second to none. The founding shareholders of Investacast wanted the business to move to its next stage of growth and development, and as such proceeded with a management buy in (‘MBI’) earlier this year. The MBI was led by Alistair Schofield (Managing Director of Expromet Technologies Group Limited). Alistair Schofield said ‘looking at the pedigree of Investacast, this is one of the UK’s top precision casting businesses and it is a great pleasure to become part of the management team to assist in the continued growth of the business at a national and international level’. In order to fund the MBI Expromet approached HSBC, given its background and expertise in the manufacturing sector. Martyn Drayton (International Relationship Manager at HSBC) said: ‘As a global bank and, given Investacast’s global connections, it was only natural for us to assist in funding the transaction, which was achieved through a mixture of debt and structured working capital facilities’. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton) said ‘when acting for the bank, as we did in this transaction, it is always important to strike the right balance between ensuring the bank is fully protected and meeting the commercial needs of the customer’. Jat Najran (CF Adviser at M&A Business Transactions) said that ‘it was a delight to work with Alistair and the team, to help support and guide them through this exciting chapter. It has been great to be involved in a deal like this, advised and funded by the Midlands corporate finance community, and I look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength’.


Refreshingly Different

Our team of experienced lawyers came together to form Hawkins Hatton in 2006 with the single ambition of creating a different type of practice. One that not only delivers the desired results for our clients, but puts the smooth running of their business and life at the forefront of everything we do. Our ethos is built on total personal support, regardless of whether we are reacting to a client crisis within a moment's notice or pro-actively advising on a complicated legal or commercial issue. By bringing clear thinking to legal complexities, and responding to often challenging deadlines we help take the pressure off our clients. Through a highly dedicated, hand-picked professional team, our clients have access to vast experience within the firm. Achieving the results you require, means understanding your business, and your personal aspirations. In short, working alongside you as your legal partner.



We take a different perspective to your transaction


We help you climb the commercial property ladder


We take the weight off your shoulders

Corporate Real Estate

We were selected as the exclusive contributor to Chambers 2019 Global Practice Guide for Real estate (UK)

Corporate M & A

We were selected as the exclusive contributor to Chambers 2019 Global Practice Guide for Corporate M & A

Legal 500

We are recommended by the Legal 500 for Corporate, Commercial Property and Litigation work in the West Midlands on the the Legal 500’s elite “Leading Firm” list, which is The 2019 Legal 500 United Kingdom’s guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide. For full details of our recommendation please visit the UK Legal 500 website.

UK Chambers

Chamber and Partners have recommended Hawkins Hatton in 2019 as a leading firm and said that the firm is a “Highly Professional firm which is extremely responsible”.

Refreshingly Different

Our team of experienced lawyers came together to form Hawkins Hatton in 2006 with the single ambition of creating a different type of practice. One that not only delivers the desired results for our clients, but puts the smooth running of their business and life at the forefront of everything we do.

Our ethos is built on total personal support, regardless of whether we are reacting to a client crisis within a moment's notice or pro-actively advising on a complicated legal or commercial issue.

By bringing clear thinking to legal complexities, and responding to often challenging deadlines we help take the pressure off our clients.

Through a highly dedicated, hand-picked professional team, our clients have access to vast experience within the firm. Achieving the results you require, means understanding your business, and your personal aspirations. In short, working alongside you as your legal partner.

Find Us

Main Office
Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Ltd.
Castle Court 2,
Castlegate Way,

Tel: 01384 216 840
Fax: 01384 216 841
Dx: 12746 Dudley

Directions from the M5 Motorway

We are located 2 miles from Jct 2 on the M5. Exit roundabout signposted to Dudley. Continue along dual carriage way over several set of lights. At next island take first exit (signposted Dudley). Continue for 1/2 mile until the next island.

Take fourth exit (next to the Footman James building) and proceed on to the Castle Gate development. Continue to the next island and take the third exit (back on yourself). Take the first left hand turn into the Castle Gate 2 courtyard. Please use the intercom at the gate to request access (Hawkins Hatton is situated in Unit 3). Visitor parking is at the front of the building.

Company Reg: 07151902
SRA: 566795

London Office
Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Ltd.
Foxglove House,
166 Piccadilly,

Tel: 020 8191 7893