Legal Business

Aggregate Industries

  • General counsel: James Atherton-Ham.
  • Team headcount: four lawyers.

The relatively small in-house team at construction manufacturer and supplier Aggregate Industries is ‘incredibly cohesive and committed to achieving the best outcome for the company’, according to one law firm partner, while another adds: ‘This team is very commercial and very responsive. It works well with private practice lawyers.’

Led by GC James Atherton-Ham, who took over in 2011, the legal department has responsibility for managing the company’s compliance, secretarial and insurance issues across the UK and Europe, working across a variety of areas, including planning, estates and geological services. While much of its work is retained in-house, the team will instruct external counsel on matters including mining and minerals litigation work, property, corporate, environmental and regulatory advice.

Petra Billing, a commercial real estate partner at DLA Piper, comments: ‘Jenny Lowe, who heads up the in-house legal property team, is efficient, dynamic and an excellent communicator. Commercially, the team is very astute and focused, understands its sector well and, as a consequence, adds value to its business objectives and successes.’

There can be little doubt about the most challenging task this small team faced this year: the merger of Swiss parent Holcim with French manufacturer Lafarge to form the world’s largest cement company, which is still subject to regulatory clearance. Aggregate Industries is one asset that may have to be sold off in a bid to pacify EU competition watchdogs, which could usher in different international reporting requirements for the team.

p>Other recent key mandates included a significant professional negligence action against a former law firm over its failure to register a renewal option of a lease.