The corporate team at Harper Macleod is on course to have completed more than 30 deals worth over £50 million during the lockdown period – in a positive sign that corporate Scotland is still open for business.
Since the UK's lockdown began on 23 March, the firm's team has completed 12 deals remotely, with around 20 more due to complete before the end of April.
Among those, Harper Macleod advised lead investor Par Equity – the Edinburgh based venture capital firm - on the recent deal with saw subsea clean energy specialists EC-OG receive £1.6m from an investment consortium.
Paula Skinner, Partner at Harper Macleod, is said: "The Par Equity deal is just one of series of significant deals our team has managed to get over the line for clients despite the current situation. The lockdown has actually coincided with one of the busiest periods we've had in recent years, and we have some even larger transactions set to complete over the next few weeks. It's encouraging that we've seen quite a lot of investments, some of them completely new ones and some further rounds of investment."
Harper Macleod advises many SMEs in the Glasgow area as part of Glasgow City Council's Business Growth Consultancy Framework, and Skinner is also a member of the Glasgow Business Resilience Council, which sees leading organisations and advisers in the region hold weekly forums to take the pulse of business community and help it navigate the new coronavirus landscape.
She highlighted that while immediate work levels have been high, it has not from business as usual. She said: "Like every other business, we are trying our best to adapt to the new 'normal'. We have clients across every sector of the Scottish economy and there are many common challenges – whether those are employment related, contracts and suppliers or issues.
"While the health and wellbeing of everyone is paramount, it is important at the same time that we do everything possible to ensure the survival of the businesses that make up our economy, so that the recovery can be as strong as possible once things return to a more normal footing."
Harper Macleod is also providing support to alumni of the Scottish EDGE, the country's leading funding competition for ambitious entrepreneurs, which had to postpone the latest Finals event. EDGE has more than 300 former winners currently trading and the Harper Macleod team is offering support and advice in relation to navigating the current situation.
Skinner also highlighted the challenges that lockdown posed to getting deals done. She said: "When everyone in the team is working from home, completing a team is much more stressful than usual. In normal circumstances you are able to print every document and pore over them collectively, but doing that onscreen at home takes longer and is difficult to get used to. It's all about adapting to the changed environment, using different tools to communicate and collaborate, and trying to find the most efficient way to get things done.
"We're finding that the majority of clients and other lawyers are willing to take a pragmatic approach just now and everyone is working together to deliver the best outcome and to get the deal done.
The EC-OG investment is the first that Par Equity has made since its recent partnership with the British Business Bank, and the funds were allocated as part of the Regional Angel Programme - the £75m programme to support some of the fastest growing technology companies across the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.