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IPO pays dividends for HWL

IPO pays dividends for HWL

HWL Ebsworth has earned at least $500,000 advising a client where a partner is a director on a $160 million IPO.

Firms: HWL Ebsworth (Simonds Group Limited); Clifford Chance (Moelis Australia and Morgans Corporate Limited)

Deal: Simonds Group Limited IPO

Value: $160 million

Area: Capital Markets

Key Players: HWL Ebsworth acted for Simonds Group Limited, Victoria’s largest homebuilder. Melbourne partner and equity capital markets specialist Thomas Kim lead the firm’s team, with support from senior associate David Woodford.

Clifford Chance acted for Moelis Australia and Morgans Corporate Limited, the underwriters of the IPO. The global firm’s team was led by Sydney-based partner Lance Sacks with support from special counsel Jane Ann Gray and associates Terence Kwong and Gabriel Baker.

“It has been a great pleasure to have assisted Moelis and Morgans on yet another successful capital raising this calendar year,” said Lance Sacks.

HWL has an existing connection with Simonds, with Melbourne-based partner Leon Gorr (pictured) a non-executive director of the company. Gorr was a partner at Thomson Geer legacy firm Herbert Geer for 33 years before joining HWL in 2011. He earns $90,000 annually in his director role at Simonds, with his fellow directors including Richard Colless, a former chairman of the Sydney Swans.

The prospectus states that Gorr is the only one of six directors who will be applying for shares under the offer.

It is common for law firms to act for organisations where partners sit on the board. Danny Gilbert sits on the board of the National Australia Bank, a key client of Gilbert + Tobin, while Allens consultant Ewen Crouch, formerly a senior partner with the firm, sits on Westpac’s board.

Up until the prospectus was issued on 22 October, HWL had earned $500,000, plus GST, for the firm’s role in advising the Simonds Group.

In the prospectus, the Simonds Group said HWL has been paid this fee for providing legal advice on the offer, in relation to its admission to the official list of the ASX and for due diligence enquiries

Deal Significance: The Simonds Group was first established 65 years ago in Victoria, with the IPO signalling a period of planned national growth. “As the organisation moves from a family business into a publicly listed company, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand our business model further into New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia,” said the company’s chairman, Gary Simonds. The offer is due to close on 13 November, with normal trading to commence on 24 November.

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