Murgitroyd praises bank over 'ease' of new acquisition deal

MURGITROYD, the listed patent attorney, has given a rare piece of praise to the banking industry, saying funding its latest acquisition was no more difficult than in the past.

The Glasgow-based firm, whose shares are quoted on Aim, announced it had bought Croydon-based Rawoth Moss & Cook for about 700,000.

Corporate deals in the small-cap market have evaporate during the credit crunch, and even utility heavyweight Scottish & Southern Energy has admitted credit is harder to come by.

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But Murgitroyd chief executive Keith Young said yesterday that arranging the deal had been no more difficult than in the past.

"In terms of trying to compare this time to previous acquisitions (it was] very similar, the same people were involved with the same enthusiasm ... in terms of pricing and the process of getting it, very similar," Young said.

"Clydesdale could have dragged their feet or charged us a ridiculous price for this, but they didn't."

Glasgow-based Clydesdale, part of National Australia Bank, has said that it will continue to fund "the right deal".

Young is no stranger to arranging finance for deals, with Murgitroyd snapping up a number of smaller rivals since its flotation in 2001, providing it with offices across the UK and mainland Europe.

He said yesterday that arranging the latest purchase, which Murgitroyd claimed would be earnings and cash flow enhancing, was "very straightforward" and while the margin above the Bank of England base rate had increased compared to the past, a falling base rate made the deal cheaper.

"The price in terms of the margin we're paying, or anyone is paying, is higher than it was a year ago, but in real terms the rate of interest you're paying, by any recent historic standards is pretty low."

The deal is small but underlines Clydesdale's insistence that it is still "open for business" if the deals were right.

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Small businesses have complained that arranging debt for corporate deals is almost impossible in the current climate.

But Jack Ogston, Clydesdale's director of corporate and structured finance in Scotland, said the bank was "part of a strong and well capitalised global organisation, so we continue to have the funding available for the right deal".

He added: "We are still very much open for business and are actively seeking new opportunities across the board – both with existing customers and new clients."

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