01 Sep 2020

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised award winning robotics manufacturer Tharsus, on the extension of its long-standing partnership with online grocery giant Ocado Group.

Based in Northumberland, Tharsus has been working with Ocado Group for seven years, making the robots which the firm uses to pick groceries for delivery in its fulfilment centres. The extension of its partnership will see the firms continue working together until 2024 and the deal will also result in a multimillion-pound investment at the firm's Blyth sites, creating and safeguarding around 100 jobs in the North East and across the UK.

A multidisciplinary team of lawyers from WBD advised on the deal, which was led by Newcastle-based partners Robert Phillips and Peter Snaith. The firm provided key commercial expertise.

Robert Phillips, Tharsus client partner at WBD, commented:

"Helping our clients to support the North East economy is an important strategic goal for WBD. We're thrilled to have advised Tharsus on this exciting development for the business, which will generate investment, innovation and create new jobs in the region. Our strong commercial expertise coupled with our cross sector knowledge in manufacturing and technology enabled us to secure the best possible outcome for our client."

Chief executive of Tharsus, Brian Palmer, added:

"We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with Ocado and push the boundaries of a rapidly evolving sector. Aside from the innovation gains to be made, the partnership will bring new investment and jobs to the local area. We were founded in the North East and are proud to be a focal point of the community here."

"We are extremely grateful for the expertise and commitment of the WBD team in delivering this transaction. It was essential for us to have access to the level of experience and technical expertise from a local team with the resources and reach of a large national firm. WBD is well known for its track record in the manufacturing and technology sectors and was the law firm of choice to guide us through the complex legal issues and help us achieve a good result for all."

Peter Snaith and Robert Phillips form part of the manufacturing sector team at WBD. Based in the firm's Newcastle office, they lead a team of lawyers in the North East - with access to wider expertise nationally - which focuses on supporting the manufacturing sector with historic relationships with regional and national manufacturing businesses ranging from international brand names through to strong growing and substantial regional owner-managed and SME businesses.

This large and dedicated team bring genuine understanding and cross-sector expertise which enable them to provide value added services to manufacturing sector businesses. The team's active participation in regional industry support associations like North East Automotive Alliance, NEPIC and NOF also demonstrates strong credentials and deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing sector businesses.

WBD is a transatlantic law firm, providing high-quality legal capability and outstanding personal service to a wide range of regional, national and international clients from 27 key locations across the UK and the US. In addition, it has a growing global network in over 120 countries through its exclusive relationship with Lex Mundi, the world's largest association of independent law firms.

WBD has deep roots in the North East and its largest UK office of over 200 qualified advisors is based in Newcastle. It is committed to playing its part in the future prosperity of the North East and Cumbria by using its local, national and international reach and expertise to benefit the region's leading sectors, businesses, people and organisations.