Hugh James – Supporting the construction and banking/finance sectors during COVID-19
There’s no doubt that business has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
Take the construction industry, for example.
As lawyers, we’re supporting clients – including major house builders, contractors and sub-contractors – to know where they stand legally when making important decisions.
We’re advising on health and safety – to make sure that ongoing work can be carried out in line with the new social distancing rules, which has added complexity.
We’re also encouraging clients to check the wording of their contracts. While there may not be any specific mention of a pandemic, there could be clauses that apply.
Agreements are usually robust in dealing with unexpected events, but the coronavirus means that a few tweaks may be needed to future contracts – so both parties can be certain of the time and cost implications for them should something like this ever happen again.
The banking and finance sector is also facing its own challenges.
At Hugh James, we’re helping clients to restructure existing debt; top up existing loan facilities; remodel financial covenants and repayments and rework general undertakings in loan agreements.
We’re also working on refinancing facilities, CBILS and CLBILS loans. The ‘normal’ transactions for acquisition finance M&A, real estate finance and corporate finance are mostly on hold.
If people and organisations are looking to boost their resilience at this time, our advice is to plan: Plan ahead to assess cash flow, income, capex and collecting receivables. Make sure you have the best presented applications for any interruption loan or top ups.
To lenders and borrowers, we’d say use your advisors. If you’re a business, stay close to your bank’s relationship director and if you‘re a bank relationship director, stay close to your customers.