HBJ Gateley Wareing is hailing environmentally-friendly manufacturing as the way forward, after advising on a transatlantic electric vehicle deal hailed by US president Barack Obama.
Birmingham-based lawyers at the firm advised Coventry van-maker Modec on a partnership arrangement with American truck maker Navistar to build and sell the new Modec all-electric van in North, South and Central America.
The joint venture will see 400 all-electric vehicles built in the US in 2010, with sales volumes forecast at several thousand within a couple of years.
The deal is backed by $39 million worth of grants from the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package and will help Modec to expand its presence in the world’s most important commercial automotive market. In the UK Modec vehicles have already been sold to companies like Tesco, FedEx and UPS.
Modec is predicting fast jobs growth as a result of the deal and aims to boost its current 80 staff members to 120. The firm also supports a supply network across the region. This includes firms like Zytek, which is based near Lichfield in Staffordshire.
Zytek makes the powertrain that will be used in the new range of vans.
The deal was done by corporate and commercial teams at HBJ in Birmingham and London, including partners Nick Smith, Simon Pigden and Simon Gill. HBJ has represented Modec ever since the company was founded by Lord Borwick – the ex chairman of London taxi manufacturer Manganese Bronze – in 2004.
Mr Smith said: “We are delighted to be supporting Modec in what is a significant deal for the British ‘cleantech’ and automotive industries. As well as helping to secure and grow employment opportunities in the UK, this deal also represents a small but hopefully important step forward in meeting the challenges of climate change. Modec’s vehicles are part of the future of vehicle production in the UK and now also in the US. It’s great to know that British technology is at the forefront in the development of zero-emission transportation. Modec coming together with Navistar opens up huge possibilities for the company and its technology. This deal also underlines HBJ Gateley Wareing’s ability to advise on cutting-edge international and technology transactions.”
The Modec deal is one of several high-tech ‘green’ transactions carried out by HBJ Gateley Wareing recently. The firm’s technology, waste and renewables teams have worked on several deals to help develop new, green technologies across the UK, including wind technology, biomass and energy from waste.
Lord Borwick said: “Working closely with our advisers at HBJ Gateley Wareing has been instrumental in securing this joint venture with Navistar.”