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Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and team members are ‘always available’. Its South African and English law team is a major force in acquisition and leveraged finance, preference share funding, restructuring and mainstream lending. It advised the lenders on a £400m loan to Mediclinic for its reverse takeover of Al Noor Hospitals Group. The firm is also building its presence in project finance through Jason van der Poel. The ‘practically minded’ Lionel Shawe, who ‘understands the global regulatory environment’, is the ‘go-to person for banking as well as acquisition finance’ and Anthony Colegrave is ‘excellent on ISDAs and derivatives transactions’. Michael Duncan, Khurshid Fazel and Lisa Botha are also recommended.

ENSafrica is increasingly handling more non-bank institutional lending transactions and debt restructuring matters; it advised Edcon on its headline debt restructuring, valued at more than R20bn. The firm’s Cape Town office has excellent bank and alternative lender relationships and close ties to numerous borrowers. The South Africa team is growing its presence across the continent, particularly through its development finance institution (DFI) client base. The highly respected Sean Lederman and Roger Rudolph lead the practice, which includes debt capital markets (DCM), structured finance and preference shares expert Hermann Wessels.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has a broad practice with an emphasis on banks and DFIs, but has a growing portion of borrower and sponsor work. The firm is active across the main products, including project, acquisition, real estate and trade finance. The arrival of banking partner Shawn Barnett from Macquarie Securities and business rescue expert Haroon Laher from Bowmans bolstered the team. Highlights included advising BCL on the financing of its R3.7bn acquisition of Norilsk Nickel’s African operations – a cross-border deal involving Russia, Botswana and South Africa. Riza Moosa, project finance leader Jackie Midlane, Gregory Nott and Lize Louw are recommended.

Webber Wentzel’s ‘huge team’ covers all key product areas and is especially strong in acquisition, leveraged, asset and project finance, as well as debt capital markets. The firm has become more lender-oriented, acting for clients such as RMB, Absa Bank and Standard Bank. It advised the senior lenders on the refinancing and recapitalisation of Lonmin. Johan de Lange is ‘a trusted adviser with a great commercial mind’; Kathy Shepherd is ‘commercial’, ‘responsive’ and ‘authoritative’; DCM specialist Karen Couzyn is ‘very knowledgeable, skilled and practical’; and cross-border expert Muhammad Sader is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Also recommended are Johann Scholtz and asset finance specialist Scott Edmundson.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg hired project finance specialist Karel Potgieter from Webber Wentzel in 2016. Much of the practice is centred on project finance, but it is growing its portion of traditional banking and finance as well as restructuring and insolvency work. The firm continued to advise a group of subordinated lenders on the curatorship of African Bank. The group is unique with a strong English law contingent, including Frances Okosi and Chris Hogan, which is key to transactions outside South Africa. The lender-oriented practice is close to several DFIs but also has several big-name borrower clients. Wildu du Plessis and Jennifer Stolp are recommended.

Bowmans has reaffirmed its prominence, following a series of senior exits in recent years, by continuing to develop its client base and advise on some of the most noteworthy deals in the market. The firm is at the forefront of DCM matters, leveraged finance and preference share funding, and has a solid profile in project finance, asset finance and direct lending by asset managers. It advised the lenders on the $100m financing of the construction of a purpose-built diamond exploration vessel for De Beers Marine Namibia. Acquisition and leveraged finance expert Ulrike Naumann acted for the lenders in the financing of Old Mutual Private Equity’s acquisition of a significant stake in In2Food. DCM specialist Casper van Heerden, Jan Kruger and Jason Wilkinson are recommended.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr provides ‘excellent responses’ and is ‘always prompt and efficient’. It was buoyed by the return of finance and tax leader Ludwig Smith from Tabacks, but lost Jackie Pennington to DLA Piper. The team advised Public Investment Corporation on a R1.2bn facility to Afgri Poultry. Deon Wilken leads the department, which includes the ‘highly skilled’ Biddy Faber, ‘professional and efficient’ DCM specialist Pierre Swart and derivatives expert Bridget King.

Werksmans Attorneys has a fine record in structured finance, DCM, refinancing, restructuring, acquisition finance and leveraged finance mandates. It is also active in project finance, especially for sponsors. The firm advised a consortium of banks in connection with the restructuring of euro credit facilities provided to Lonmin and its South African subsidiaries. Richard Roothman is a market leader in mainstream lending and DCM, Chris Moraitis is a project finance specialist and Elliott Wood, recognised for his ‘quality drafting’, is an acquisition and leveraged finance expert.

Fasken Martineau is recognised principally for project finance but also has an impressive record in structured trade finance, capital markets offerings and derivatives. The team is more active on the lender side, advising banks such as Nedbank, Investec and ABSA; it advised the lenders and Eksport Kredit Fonden on a portfolio financing to fund projects as part of round four of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme. Ashen Jugoo and Lara Bezuidenhoudt are key contacts.

White & Case LLP’s ‘top team’ is ‘very proactive’, ‘very hands on’, ‘commercially focused’ and has ‘good knowledge of the region’. It is active in project, acquisition, leveraged and real estate finance in South Africa and across the continent. Clients include major South African banks, DFIs, export credit agencies and a range of sponsors and borrowers. The firm advised the majority of senior creditors of African Bank in connection with the bank’s restructuring and recapitalisation. Chris Utting, Joz Coetzer, Mukund Dhar and Craig Whitley are recommended.

Glyn Marais is recognised for debt restructuring, acquisition finance and real estate finance, and advises lenders and borrowers. Clients include Sanlam, Growthpoint Properties, Naspers and Santam. The firm assisted Franklin Advisers with the South African law aspects of the senior notes restructuring by Edcon Holdings. Willem de Villiers is highly regarded.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa) is active in cross-border deals, structured trade finance, acquisition finance and asset finance. Clients include various borrowers as well as Standard Bank, RMB, Nedbank, African Export-Import Bank and China Construction Bank. Trade and commodity finance deals in sub-Saharan Africa have become a major source of work for the firm, with Lodewyk Meyer and Laurie Hammond leading. Anina Boshoff heads the team.

Prinsloo, Tindle & Andropoulos Inc has an excellent record in structured finance and securitisation, preference share funding and syndicated lending. Paul Tindle, Danny Andropolous and Megan Black are recommended.

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