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12th July 2019

Hewitsons makes multimillion-pound merger possible

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Two prestigious footwear companies have completed a multi-million pound merger thanks to assistance from law firm Hewitsons. Florida Group, a Norwich-based footwear company, acquired and merged with the Iconic Padders, T Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Limited. Providing an opportunity for the two companies to integrate their long-standing brands.

Founded in 1914 Padders, known as T Groocock of Rothwell at the time, quickly established itself in the region, where regular growth and changing trends enabled the company to expand and seat itself as a leading player in the footwear industry. Meanwhile in 1936 Florida Group was established and became well renowned for its prestigious Van Dal line of ladies footwear, which stands as the last remaining ladies shoe manufacturer in the UK.

Working on behalf of Padders the Hewitsons Corporate Team helped untangle the complex web that can arise from the merging of two historic brands. Led by David Browne the team used their experience in the footwear industry to achieve a smooth and efficient merger.

One particular area of interest was the two final salary pension schemes. Having negotiated a settlement with the buyer and trustees of both schemes, Hewitsons separated the schemes from the client. Under the mechanism that was used to do this, the buyer acquired a new business that was made legally responsible for meeting the liabilities of both schemes. The project, which was notified to the Pensions Regulator, shows how Hewitsons is able to work quickly to agree complex pension restructuring plans.

Leading the pension settlement was Hewitsons’ Head of Pensions Christopher Nuttall, whose work delivered the best available outcome for the client and the members of the schemes.

Head of Hewitsons’ Corporate Team, David Browne, said “We are very proud to have assisted with the merger of these two historical brands, and to work once more with the country’s footwear industry. Merging can be one of the most important and complicated steps a business can take, therefore it is imperative that your legal team understands and can deal effectively with the process.

“We would like to wish Florida Group every success going forward.”

To find out more about Hewitsons’ Corporate Service please click here.