DWF collaborates with Sunderland Marine on merger with North of England

Top 20 law firm DWF has collaborated with Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company Limited (Sunderland Marine) on its merger with the North of England P&I Association (North), in a deal which creates one of the largest marine insurance groups in the world.

Rather than outsourcing the transaction Sunderland Marine and North worked collaboratively, capitalising on their in-house expertise. Sunderland Marine's general counsel, Lee Williamson, and North's company secretary and corporate counsel, Chris Owen, managed the legal aspects of the transaction.

In addition, Sunderland Marine and North sourced external legal advisors to work in-house and assist with the transaction. Anne Spetch, a corporate partner at DWF in Newcastle, worked with Sunderland Marine during the transaction, primarily to provide assistance with the merger but also to support the business as a whole. DWF also provided external support from its marine insurance specialists in addition to financial services, corporate and banking expertise.

Commenting on the deal Anne said: "As a firm we actively work in partnership with clients to ensure they are provided with the best possible strategic advice. In this case, working directly within the Sunderland Marine team ensured that we were able to provide the necessary support internally, in addition to any external assistance as required. DWF is one of very few firms locally with niche specialisms in the areas required by this transaction and we were delighted to provide this level of support."

Lee Williamson, in-house counsel at Sunderland Marine, added: "It is important for us to be able to work collaboratively with our advisors and it has been great to have Anne working within our team on the transaction and also to work with her colleagues within DWF."

The deal sees two of the longest-established international marine insurance businesses based in the North East create an expanded group with total assets of $1,500million, enabling the combined group to service the needs of the entire marine spectrum from small fishing vessels to some of the largest ships trading on a global basis.

Sunderland Marine remains as a separately regulated company and becomes part of the North Group.