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In-house: Severn Trent sticks by Eversheds as sole adviser until 2020

FTSE 100 water company Severn Trent has reappointed Eversheds as its sole adviser for a new five-year term, despite having strongly considered appointing at least two firms to its new roster.

The company’s review took proposals from a total of 13 firms across five different areas: debt recovery, employment, general quality regulation, property and combined competition/commercial economic regulation. The legal team at Severn Trent had originally planned to give the debt recovery mandate to a smaller, local firm because it didn’t have the volume of work to hand to a larger sole adviser. However several firms, including Eversheds, pitched for a single mandate.

In a show of confidence in Eversheds, the appointment, which kicks in from 1 April, will stay in place until 2020, which is longer than the previous three-year arrangement and is longer than most other existing sole-adviser mandates. It is understood that the appointment is based on a fixed-fee basis, with fixed fees for each of the five practice area lots.

Kristin Garrett, legal counsel at Severn Trent, said: ‘We were looking for three key things: financial efficiency, budgetary certainty and then a real quality offering. In terms of the financial efficiency and budgetary certainty, Eversheds’ proposal for each of the five lots was the most competitive and also the proposal in terms of value added services was very attractive as well.’

Eversheds has been in a Tyco-style sole adviser role for Severn Trent, which is a top-15 client globally for the firm, since April 2010 with a relationship dating back to 2008. The company will still farm out some treasury and substantive M&A work to Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF).

Eversheds relationship partner for Severn Trent and head of litigation Ian Gray said: ‘To get this kind of appointment from one of our core client relationships is really important for us. We have invested a lot of our own time and effort in these kind of relationships and Severn Trent has always been at the forefront of that, alongside Tyco.’