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'Best year ever' for Haines Watts team in Glasgow

ACCOUNTANCY firm Haines Watts has said its Glasgow corporate finance team had its best ever year in 2013.

The group in Scotland's largest city worked on 30 projects in the year, with 15 of them concluding within the 12 months.

Among the deals it has worked on recently were the £5.6 million investment by the Business Growth Fund to back the high street expansion of independent Scottish optical chain Duncan & Todd and its manufacturing operations.

The Haines Watts Glasgow team, which is made up of six people, were also the financial advisers to Transport Scotland on the sale of Prestwick Airport as well as lead adviser to tyre business DMACK when it took £3.5m of funding from Maven ­Capital Partners.

Ian Durie, head of Haines Watts corporate finance in Glasgow, said: "It has been an excellent year for the firm and it has been very rewarding to have been engaged in a number of sizeable and high-profile transactions."

Mr Durie, who joined the firm in 2011 following 20  years of corporate finance experience, including a period as a partner at PwC, expects the first few months of 2014 to be busy.

His team is working on 13 live projects at the moment which include acquisitions, disposals, finance-raising, due diligence, restructuring and corporate advisory.

As a result of that ­workload, he is hoping to add further people to the ­Glasgow office in the coming weeks.

Mr Durie, who was also previously a director at Simclar Group, said: "2014 has started at the same pace that 2013 finished and we are expecting to see a further tranche of deals completing by the summer."

However, Mr Durie warned the pace of dealmaking might slow down as the independence referendum approaches, although he is hopeful it will only be a temporary lull.

He added: "Looking ahead, however, whilst it should be 'business as usual' in most respects, we nevertheless expect a slowdown in deal completions as the referendum approaches.

"Deals are likely to be deferred rather than cancelled and any slowdown will be temporary.

"Once the result is known, normal business should resume, possibly at a higher pace than prior to the vote."

Haines Watts, which is a mid-tier organisation in the top 20 of UK accountancy firms, has other Scottish offices in Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy.

Across the UK, it has a network of more than 60 locations and works with in excess of 35,000 clients.

In 2011, the firm said it hoped to grow Scottish revenue from £3.3m to £7m over the next three years.

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