Commercial, corporate and M&A in Kenya

Anjarwalla & Khanna

Anjarwalla & Khanna has an unrivalled position in domestic and cross-border strategic M&A and private equity transactions. It continues to impress in telecoms and financial institutions sector transactions and was the lead Africa counsel to Airtel Africa on its listing on the London Stock Exchange. It is also noted for its roles in cross-border distressed M&A and private equity continues to be an important element of the practice. Department head and Africa specialist Roddy McKean is an established leader in cross-border deals and managing partner Karim Anjarwalla has an outstanding reputation in Kenya and internationally. Rosa Nduati-Mutero and Dominic Rebelo are also highly reputed, while Daniel Ngumy leads the tax department.

Other key lawyers:

Karim Anjarwalla; Rosa Nduati-Mutero; Dominic Rebelo; Daniel Ngumy; Anne Kiunuhe; Kenneth Njuguna; Wangui Kaniaru; Roddy McKean

Testimonials

Extremely thorough in ensuring regulatory and legal requirements are followed through in the transaction process.

The A&K team have been outstanding – very responsive and always willing to take the time to explain processes to us. The level of detail and support has been excellent.

‘Kenneth Njuguna has been a stellar business adviser. He does not hesitate to resolve any identified issues in a timely manner. His commitment to customer satisfaction is noteworthy.

Wangui Kaniaru is sound in all areas of the law that are relevant in M&A, able and willing to source specialist knowledge when necessary, very good responsiveness/availability and diligent but at the same time practical and efficient.

Anne Kiunuhe is an outstanding lawyer. Her technical knowledge is second to none and she has really gone the extra mile to make sure that we have been able to meet the tight deadlines whilst producing work of exceptionally high quality.

Key clients

Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands)

Airtel Africa

Huaxin Cement Company

Equity Group Holdings

Telkom Kenya

The Rise Fund

WPP Scangroup

AfricInvest Capital Partners

Access Bank

Shanta Gold

IPS Cable Systems

Riara Group of Schools

Liberty Holdings

Stanlib Kenya

GardaWorld Security

Energy Access Ventures

Abyssinia Iron and Steel

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands), as the lead Africa legal adviser, coordinating transactional, regulatory (telecom and mobile money) and competition advice over 14 jurisdictions in Africa in connection with a $1.25bn investment in a newly formed holding company, Airtel Africa, by six leading global investors.
  • Acted for Airtel Africa, as the lead Africa legal adviser coordinating transactional, regulatory (telecom and mobile money) and competition advice over 14 jurisdictions in connection with the its listing on the London Stock Exchange, one of the largest IPOs of an African business in the London market.
  • Acted for Huaxin Cement Company in connection with its acquisition of 100% of the issued shares in Maweni Limestone, a Tanzanian company involved in the business of making clinker and manufacturing and distributing cement.

Bowmans

Bowmans has an outstanding record in bulge-bracket M&A and corporate restructurings. It also stands out for its well-developed competition and tax practices. The firm advised NCBA Bank Kenya on its landmark $4.4bn merger with NIC Group, an illustration of its expertise in the financial services sector. The firm has a large team of senior practitioners that frequently operate in the corporate and M&A space, covering a broad spectrum of industries. Paras Shah is outstanding and leads many of the firm's headline deals. Managing partner Richard Harney and experienced corporate specialist Philip Coulson provide extensive experience and gravitas, while maintaining relationships with an array of blue-chip clients. Joyce Karanja heads the corporate commercial practice and is a leading figure in competition law. Alex Mathini leads the tax practice. Gaurav Shah is the name to note at associate level.

Practice head(s):

Paras Shah; Joyce Karanja; Alex Mathini

Other key lawyers:

Richard Harney; Philip Coulson; Vruti Shah; Kendall Evans; Gaurav Shah 

Testimonials

‘They understand the needs of the client, revert in good time and guide through the entire process, including weekly progress updates on the activities.’

‘Strength in depth, swift turnaround and availability of partners for advice when needed.’

‘I am impressed with the team’s competence and ability to think outside the box and structure viable solutions. The team has assisted us with innovating corporate restructuring solutions and hand holded us throughout the process.’

‘Paras Shah is very strong on M&A, and business advice.’

‘I worked with Paras Shah and found him able to devote attention to our issues, help us deep dive on all the various options and arrive at workable solutions.’

I was impressed with Gaurav Shah for his super efficiency.

Key clients

NCBA Bank Kenya

Rubis Energie

Naivas

Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU)

Momentum Metropolitan Insurance

Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services

National Cement Company

The Print Exchange

Star Bright Holdings

Mr Green Trading Africa Kenya

Actus Educations Partners

Nuru

Adenia Partners

Pwani Oil Products

Canon Chemicals

Kenchic Kenya

Live Wire

Renewable Energy Performance Platform

WS Insight Kenya

Kenya Airways

Safaricom

Kuku Foods East Africa

iProcure

Africa Poultry Development

Unga

Allianz

Work highlights

  • Advised on the merger of Commercial Bank of Africa and its subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda with NIC Group and its subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to create NCBA Group.
  • Advised Rubis Energe in connection with the acquisition of the entire share capital of Gulf Energy Holdings by Kenol Kobil and the transfer of business and assets of Gulf Energy  to Gulf Energy Holdings.

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates, the Kenya arm of the international CMS network, has a fine record in cross-border M&A deals and restructurings, most notably in the financial institutions and telecoms sectors. Regulatory and compliance is another forte for the commercial team. The firm has genuine senior level credibility in the likes of Hamish Keith and Ashwini Bhandari, along with increasingly prominent names such as Shitul Shah.

Other key lawyers:

Hamish Keith; Ashwini Bhandari; Shitul Shah

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews is a considerable force in corporate, M&A and private equity matters. Financial institutions and energy deals are a particular forte for the Nairobi team, which is impressively aligned with the international firm's network. The Nairobi group advised Gulf Energy on the sale of its oil marketing business to a leading pan-African oil marketing company. Andrew Mugambi has an impressive reputation for handling complex and high-value deals, while Richard Omwela provides further senior-level experience.

Practice head(s):

Richard Omwela

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Wanjau; Andrew Mugambi

Key clients

Gulf Energy

Amethis Retail

Dentons Europe

Bestseller Foundation

Commercial International Bank (Egypt)

Work highlights

  • Advised Gulf Energy on the sale of its oil marketing business to a leading pan-African oil marketing company.
  • Advised Amethis Retail on the deal which entailed the purchase of 31.5% of the total issued share capital in Naivas International.
  • Advised Commercial International Bank with respect to its acquisition of a 51% stake in Mayfair Bank Limited.

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates has maintained a steady influx of significant engagements, most notably from corporate, private equity and development finance institution (DFI) clients. The Nairobi team has a strong record in cross-border transactions throughout East Africa and continues to make a particular impression in financial institutions M&A. Managing partner James Kamau is a major player in the market, principally operating across the corporate and projects space; he led the team that advised NIC Group on its merger with Commercial Bank of Africa to create NCBA Group. David Lekerai heads the M&A and private equity team. Meshack Mboya and Trishala Devani provide additional support at associate level.

Practice head(s):

David Lekerai

Other key lawyers:

James Kamau; Trishala Devani; Meshack Mboya

Testimonials

‘We appreciate that within the different practices in law, they are able to challenge each other and come up with solutions.’

‘Great team! I think their enabling culture is highlighted in the way that they manage transactions and negotiations. They are polite, friendly and a pleasure to work with. We also appreciate the time that the partner gives us on deals as opposed to other firms where partner time is limited.’

‘The team is professional and has a great grasp of the law and its application. Their ability to innovate and come up with solutions to the complexities surrounding transactions in the private equity space is inspiring.’

‘David Lekerai is very responsive, efficient and has a very good grasp of corporate and commercial law concepts. What stands out the most is his commercial acumen. He is able to negotiate transactions not only from a legal perspective, but he also takes in commercial considerations into account that we, as investors, find extremely valuable.’

Trishala Devani went beyond what was required and was very responsive to our questions and needs.

Meshack Mboya was very hardworking and was very responsive to us.’

‘David Lekerai and Meshack Mboya were really supportive, reactive and produced good quality work. The distribution of work was also consistent with my expectations.’ 

Key clients

IFC

Energy Access Ventures

Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund

Cellulant Corporation

Fanisi Capital

Fusion Capital

KCB Group

GuarantCo

NIC Group

Novastar Ventures

E ast Africa Breweries

UAP Old Mutual Group

NCBA Bank Kenya

Work highlights

  • Advised NIC Group on its merger with Commercial Bank of Kenya to form NCBA, Kenya’s third largest bank by assets.
  • Advised GuarantCo and Acorn Holdings on the listing of the Acorn Green Bond at the Nairobi Securities Exchange and the International Securities Markets at the London Stock Exchange.
  • Advised KCB Bank Kenya on its acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of Imperial Bank (in Receivership).

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates's longstanding fine reputation and strong team has landed a string of significant cross-border engagements. This has included a series of engagements as local counsel on international transactions. The firm has impressed in the private equity field, notably for AP Moller Capital, particularly in energy sector investments. The firm continues to be active in telecoms, agribusiness and infrastructure (roads and ports), along with other key sectors. Joseph Ng'ang'ira and Sarah Kiarie-Muia are key partners in the team, while Kenneth Kamaitha is a leading name in energy sector deals.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hime; Sam Wainaina

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Ng’ang’ira; Sarah Kiarie-Muia; Kenneth Kamaitha 

Key clients

AP Moller Capital

IFC

American Tower Corporation

RUBiS Energy Kenya

HID Global Corporation

Brinks Company

Ormat International

Engie Afrique

Safaricom

Work highlights

  • Acted as local counsel to AP Moller Capital on its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Iberafrica.
  • Lead counsel to IFC on its multimillion-dollar investment into the recently established Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company.
  • Advised Kenol Kobil on its cross-border asset acquisitions of 23 service stations across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Walker Kontos Advocates

Walker Kontos Advocates has further cemented its strong standing in East Africa transactions, private equity, restructuring and distressed M&A. It is also frequently working alongside alliance firm Norton Rose Fulbright on a large number of cross-border and international transactions. The firm remains especially close to domestic and international banks, along with a number of development finance institutions. Michael Kontos is experienced and versatile, handling a mixture of significant corporate and financing transactions. Peter Mwangi provides further senior expertise in restructuring and distressed M&A.

Practice head(s):

Alexandra Kontos; Michael Kontos; Peter Mwangi; Deepen Shah

Testimonials

‘The firm has in depth experience and expertise in respect of its commercial, corporate and M&A practice, with many decades of experience. I have engaged with them in several transactions and have always found them to be very professional and very helpful in meeting their client’s needs.’

‘The firm is run very professionally. They take time to understand clients’ requirements and guide them appropriately. ’

‘Experience in dealing with complex agreements and working very meticulously and interacting with the client at each stage.’

‘Michael Kontos is very knowledgeable in his areas of practice, but also very approachable. This makes him the first point of call for his clients when we need urgent advice on any issue within his area of expertise. ’

‘Alexandra Kontos is always available for any guidance or advice needed.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Consolidated Bank of Kenya

SBM Bank (Mauritius)

Société de Promotion et de Participation Coopération Economique (PROPARCO)

Standard Bank Group (Standard Bank of South Africa, Stanbic Bank Kenya)

The Trade and Development Bank

Coöperatieve Rabobank

Citibank

Bank of Africa Group

Absa Bank Kenya

I&M Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

KCB Bank Kenya

Jamii Bora Bank

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO)

European Investment Bank

Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)

GuarantCo

Work highlights

  • Advised PricewaterhouseCoopers on the sale of the business and assets of ARM Cement (under administration).
  • Advised ABSA Bank in connection with banking facilities offered to The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and Geothermal Development Company (GDC) , in connection with a  geothermal project in Menengai, Kenya.
  • Advised Grain Bulk Handlers on $114m facilities provided by Ecobank Kenya for financing its Port Expansion Project.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica has made an immediate impact on the market since launching in September 2019. The Nairobi arm of the South Africa-headquartered firm has a core team of prominent corporate and M&A specialists, notably Mahesh Acharya  and Amar Grewal-Thethy. The group has an impressive client base of well-known corporates and investment funds. The team has a particularly fine record in TMT, financial services and FMCG deals in East Africa and beyond. The firm is also highly rated for capital markets and listed-company transactions.

Practice head(s):

Mahesh Acharya

Other key lawyers:

Amar Grewal-Thethy

Testimonials

The approachability and willingness to explore a variety of options and themes is what sets the team apart from the competition. Striking the balance between reasonability and force as well. I believe there’s greater strength in a lawyer who can sit across from the table from the other party with his/her client and be confident and powerful without being abrasive and obnoxious.

ENS Kenya is a new practice and relatively small. Close involvement of partners. In depth knowledge of specific sectors, can draw expertise on similar experiences. Practical and pragmatic approach. Thorough, consistently professional, clear advice, with particularly efficient response time frames.

Mahesh Acharya has a bright future ahead not only as a leader in his field but also in nurturing relationships that will follow him for years ahead. My primary reason for reaching out to Mahesh is trust, trust in his ability but more so trust in his approach to ensure our best interests are served. Trust is everything.

Amar Grewel-Thethy is a highly consistent professional – thorough and clear. He commits to and meets deadlines, and responds promptly to new assignments, which is invaluable in a corporate context.

Key clients

Accelya (through Kirkland & Ellis, International)

Afrimatic Industries

Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development

Astellas

Eisai Pharmaceuticals

Elewana Afrika

Foray Group

Fox Networks Group

I&M Group

Kisima Farm

Mastercard

Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers

Monitor Holdings (Governors Camps), Wilderness Safaris

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

Nampak

Pan African Housing Fund

Pernod Ricard Kenya

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development on the multimillion-dollar acquisition of a controlling stake in TPS (D).
  • Advising Safaricom on its joint venture with Vodacom South Africa in connection with the acquisition of the M-Pesa Mobile Money platform from Vodafone UK.
  • Advised on the contract for the Provision of Teachers’ Medical Insurance Cover between The Teachers Service Commission and Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers.

Mboya Wangong'u & Waiyaki Advocates

Mboya Wangong'u & Waiyaki Advocates has a thriving private equity practice, both in investments and fund formation. The strong team has extensive experience in M&A and broader commercial engagements. The team advised The National Treasury of Kenya on the establishment of The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company to address inherent financing challenges and unlock liquidity for affordable housing in Kenya. Godwin Wangong’u has an outstanding record in complex and headline deals, while Peter Waiyaki provides further senior-level expertise in capital markets, M&A, private equity and restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Godwin Wangong’u

Other key lawyers:

Peter Waiyaki 

Key clients

The National Treasury of Kenya

Britam Asset Managers

African Development Bank Group

Britam Holdings

Kenya Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (KECLOF)

Privatization Commission

A Leading Insurance Company in Kenya

STANLIB Fahari I-REIT

Export-Import Bank of China

Trapos

Work highlights

  • Advised on the establishment of a liquidity facility (The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company- KMRC) to address inherent financing challenges and unlock liquidity for affordable housing in Kenya.
  • Advised on Britam’s €14m investment in Everstrong Power, to fund the acquisition of a 30% stake in Gulf Power, a thermal power plant in Kenya with a contracted capacity of 80.32MW.
  • Advised on the proposed privatisation of the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries.

MMAN Advocates

MMAN Advocates remains noted for M&A and private equity in the financial services, energy and infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors. It has a fine record in both domestic and cross-border deals. It is also experienced in competition matters linked to multi-jurisdictional deals. The group's client base includes a range of Kenyan and international corporates and investment funds. Suzanne MuthauraCarole Ayugi and Waringa Njonjo are prominent names in the Kenyan legal market.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Muthaura

Other key lawyers:

Waringa Njonjo; Carole Ayugi

Key clients

G4S

Dummen Orange

Southlake Medical Center

Ascent Capital

LeapFrog Investments

ICEA Lion Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advised on all local aspects of the international sale of G4S’s cash business to The Brinks Company, which involved advising G4S Kenya on separation of the cash solutions business from secure solutions, electronics and fire businesses.
  • Advised ICEA Lion Asset Management on its acquisition of the fund management business of STANLIB Kenya including segregated funds, the listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and the collective investment scheme licensed by the Capital Markets Authority.

TripleOKlaw Advocates

TripleOKlaw Advocates has a burgeoning reputation in the M&A field and, in particular, inbound investments into Kenya. It has an especially strong record in financial services and oil and gas sector deals. Fund formation and REITs are a growth segment for the team, which advised Acorn Holdings on the establishment of the country’s first development real estate investment trust (REIT). Jinaro Kibet and Stephen Mallowah are senior practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Jinaro Kibet; Bryan Muindi

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Mallowah

Testimonials

‘The firm has a reputation for conscientiousness and attention to detail, which is necessary in high value and/or high risk matters. The firm takes the time to understand our transactions, so as to see how best to add value to them.’

‘The firm as a whole is very cohesive and knowledgeable in how to handle the instructions. They all display the same high level of conscientiousness and attention to detail.’

Key clients

Trademark East Africa

Philia Energy Group

Acorn Holdings Limited

International Healthcare Distributors (EA)

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Kenya

Siginon Aviation

Kenya Electricity Generating Company

Defa International Kenya

Entec Technology Development Company

PowerChina Guizhou Engineering Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Acorn Holdings on the establishment of the country’s first development real estate investment trust.
  • Acted for Equra on the acquisition and setting up of a $8.5m state-of-the-art regional cancer treatment facility by a global cancer treatment chain.
  • Advised Acorn Holdings on the establishment of the country’s first student housing income real estate investment trust.