HNH launches boutique M&A advisory firm in Edinburgh

Four senior advisers from Scotland’s leading accountancy practices have set up a corporate finance office in Edinburgh offering a director-led M&A service for SMEs

The venture is backed by HNH Partners Limited, a Belfast-based multidisciplinary advisory firm which advises on mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the £1m to £50m range and was set up in 2011.

This is the first office for the company outside of Northern Ireland although it provides nationwide advisory services. The Scottish office will provide SMEs with access to senior corporate finance professionals, offering tier one advice and experience, but tailored to the needs of smaller and family-owned firms.

The team will be led by four directors who have joined the firm from leading Scottish practices, including directors, Neal Allen, Harry Linklater, Bruce Walker and Chris Fawbert.

Prior to joining HNH, three of the new directors were working at Big Four firms in Scotland. Allen was head of M&A at KPMG Scotland while Walker led the debt advisory team at the Big Four firm, Linklater was a partner at French Duncan LLP, and Fawbert was an assistant director in EY’s corporate finance team.

The new team will focus on providing M&A, debt and transaction services, and has already completed an advisory role for food service company R&W Scott as well as a significant funding role in the distilling sector. Other clients have been drawn from financial services, manufacturing, building products and transport sectors.

Harry Linklater, Bruce Walker, Craig Holmes, (MD, HNH), Chris Fawbert, Neal Allen (l-r) 

HNH director Neal Allen said: ‘We’re all excited to join HNH and build the business in Scotland by offering SMEs a new approach to corporate advice. While some business owners are rightly cautious because of Brexit and global economic concerns, many of our contacts, particularly in food services, are telling us they want to execute growth plans.

‘By providing senior-level advice, which was previously viewed as the preserve of larger firms, we can help SMEs grow through potential headwinds by securing the right funding options, partners and acquisition targets.’

One of the early tasks will be to build the HNH brand in Scotland. Linklater said: ‘As we build our presence in Scotland as HNH, we will leverage the firm’s relationships with equity and debt funders across various locations, to offer the Scottish market something new and different.’  

Craig Holmes, managing director of HNH, said: ‘This is an exciting move for HNH as we build on great foundations in Northern Ireland to extend our offering to Scotland. Assembling a team as strong as this demonstrates how confident we are in the Scottish economy. While initially focusing on M&A, HNH in Scotland will also have access to our business restructuring, tax advisory, forensic and human capital teams.

‘The opportunity to hire four of the best networked corporate advisers in Scotland, with unsurpassed market knowledge and deal experience is an innovative approach. By providing SMEs with access to a team of director-level experts with a hands-on ethos, we believe we can help our clients achieve and expand their goals.’ 

HNH has annual fee income in excess of £3m and 14 staff, including six directors.

By Sara White

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