Banking and finance in South Africa

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP's team continues to be at the forefront of the market, including in Africa-wide financings. The firm has worked on a series of sovereign loans, restructurings and acquisition financings. Lionel Shawe is highly regarded in the market for banking and finance, while Kathleen Wong provides on-the-ground strength in English law. Anthony Colegrave is a leader in derivatives and structured products. Michael Duncan returned to the London office and Khurshid Fazel joined Webber Wentzel.

Practice head(s):

Lionel Shawe

Key clients

Vumatel

Bud Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on a $1.25bn revolving credit facility for MTN Group.
  • Acted for Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and The Standard Bank of South Africa on loan facilities provided to the government of the Republic of Kenya.
  • Advised the lenders on a term-loan facility to Eskom.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica is at the forefront of domestic deals and is widely praised for its abilities in cross-border financings across sub-Saharan Africa. Clients range from development finance institutions (DFIs), to local and international banks, and big corporates. Sean Lederman has an outstanding reputation, as does Roger Rudolph in Cape Town, a leader in preference share funding arrangements, and key figure Hermann WesselsClinton van Loggerenberg is also highly rated for debt capital markets (DCM) and structured products. Craig Saven provides further English law cross-border financing expertise and Bradley Harber is rated for project finance.

Practice head(s):

Roger Rudolph

Testimonials

The team’s cross-jurisdictional reach is a really big bonus and very few law firms are comparable in this regard.

The team has been exceptional in terms of overall understanding of our requirements on each project.

Key clients

Investec Bank

FirstRand Bank

HSBC

Comair

Standard Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Sasol Financing USA on its $2.25bn SEC-registered debt offering, guaranteed by Sasol Limited.
  • Advised FirstRand Bank on a multi-currency club loan to MTN Zambia.
  • Assisted LeBashe Investment Group with a preference share funding arrangement with Absa Bank.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel has a broad-based financing, DCM and finance regulatory practice and has deepened its credentials in cross-border financings. Kathy ShepherdMuhammad Sader, Mark Kyle, English law-qualified Ryan Nelson and asset finance specialist Scott Edmundson  are highly rated. Johann Scholtz is recommended for bank regulatory matters and Karen Couzyn is a leader in DCM, structured finance and securitisation work. Khurshid Fazel, a recognised leader in preference share fundings, joined from Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP to reinforce the senior bench. Johan de Lange left the firm to join Prime Kapital Development in Romania.

Practice head(s):

Muhammad Sader; Brian Dennehy

Testimonials

You only get excellent customer-orientated service. They go out of their way to meet your deadlines and make sure they fully understand the task at hand.

The team’s capabilities cover the full banking and finance law spectrum.

Exceptional service, professionalism and a commercial approach make for a team which is difficult to rival in the local market.

Karen Couzyn’s depth of experience in debt capital markets are complemented by her impressive turnaround times and availability. She is the go to attorney for debt capital markets work.

Mark Kyle deploys his hands-on banking experience in combination with deep technical know how to deliver technically sound, commercially appropriate advice in a professional manner.

Key clients

Rand Merchant Bank

Absa Bank

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Investec

Murray & Roberts

Work highlights

  • Advised FirstRand Bank on a substantial financing to Rain Group Holdings and its subsidiaries.
  • Acted for the lenders on senior and mezzanine facilities provided to the AfriSam Group.
  • Advised HSBC on the loan funding to a subsidiary of Central Bottling Co for the public to private acquisition of Clover Industries.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg provides a strong combination of South African and English law expertise. It advises a range of local and international banks, DFIs and major corporate borrowers. It continues to be noted for project financings in the renewable energy segment. Head of the Africa practice Wildu du Plessis has worked on a range of market first-type transactions. Jen Stolp is rated for cross-border syndicated lending and project finance. Chris Hogan is noted for DCM, equity-linked and structured products. Structured trade finance specialist Lodewyk Meyer joined from Hogan Lovells (South Africa)Bridgett Majola is a key senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Wildu du Plessis

Testimonials

Jen Stolp is a highly engaged and motivated partner, focused on cross-border finance and project finance work. She is consistent in her highly practical advice, she is a valued asset in driving deals and managing problems.

Key clients

Nedbank

Sibanye Gold

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings

Consolidated Infrastructure Group

Aveng

FirstRand Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Absa and Nedbank on the project financing of the 25MW Ngodwana biomass facility to be constructed in the Mpumalanga Province.
  • Acted for Sibanye Gold and certain subsidiaries on South African and English law issues connected to the refinancing of an English law-governed US dollar revolving-credit facility.
  • Advised the mandated lead arrangers on a syndicated $300m term loan to Investec Bank.

Bowmans

Bowmans' stable team has experienced further success in restructurings, including pre-emptive restructurings. It maintains a solid market share of preference share fundings, property finance in South Africa and East Africa, and additional trade and commodity finance in East Africa. Ulrike Naumann is a top practitioner, along with preference share expert Jan Kruger and Jason Wilkinson, who is rated for restructurings. Shamilah Grimwood-Norley is noted for project and energy finance.

Practice head(s):

Shamilah Grimwood-Norley; Ulrike Naumann; David Geral; Daryn Webb; Craig Schafer

Testimonials

A top notch banking and finance team. It is very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Imperial Logistics

Rand Merchant Bank

Investec Asset Management

ARM Capital

Sanlam

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Nedbank Limited

African Rainbow Minerals

Capitec Bank

Sasol

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on a term and revolving facility  to Nampak Products and a $525m term and revolving facility to Nampak International.
  • Assisted the Public Investment Corporation, on behalf of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, with the restructuring of Educor Property Holdings.
  • Advised African Rainbow Minerals on the restructuring of the commercial financing arrangements with Glencore relating to ARM Coal’s participation in the Glencore Participating Coal Business and the Goedgevonden Coal Mine.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr maintains a notable presence in advising on multiple financing products and in the bank regulatory field. Project finance, DCM and derivatives are just a few key examples of core strength. Department head Deon Wilken is noted for project, trade and commodities, and acquisition finance; Ludwig Smith is a leader in acquisition finance and preference share fundings; and Bridget King is outstanding in derivatives. Pierre Swart stands out for ECM and DCM and Jenni Darling is also rated.

Practice head(s):

Deon Wilken

Testimonials

The practice’s uniqueness is its wealth of knowledge and experience. The team has proven time and time again that they are experts in the field.

We find that the firm consistently offers top tier quality legal advice, is commercially minded, quick to turn agreements and offer competitive rates.

Ludwig Smith is, in my opinion, the market leader in the banking sector. He understands the industry well and has a wealth of experience.

Jenni Darling has the ability to consider both legal and commercial aspects in transactions. Jenni is able to differentiate which issues to confront and which to let go, making for efficient transactions.

Key clients

Lonmin

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Steinhoff Africa

Old Mutual Life Assurance

ISDA

Work highlights

  • Advised Lonmin on a high-value refinancing involving a prepaid metals purchase funding solution from Jiangxi Copper Corporation.
  • Acted for MasRei as borrower on a circa €61m loan facility governed by South African law.
  • Advised Steinhoff Africa on its repayment of all of its South African Rand debt with ten-plus South African and global banks.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has a strong track record in banking and finance. Though team changes have resulted in a number of senior-level departures, it still maintains a strong presence in project finance, acquisition finance, and trade and commodity finance. Jackie Midlane is highly regarded and Steven Gamble is key for cross-border and Africa-wide financings. Malibuye Cossie is another talented practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Midlane

Key clients

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Absa Bank

FirstRand Bank

HSBC Bank

Phakwe Power One

Brookfield Renewable Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised nine lenders on advancing working capital facilities to South African Airways.
  • Acted for various South African banks on a debt restructuring and bridge loan financing for Group Five.
  • Advised Nedbank on a $115m facility to a Tanzanian mining company.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys remains highly rated for acquisition and leveraged finance, syndicated and bilateral finance and project finance. It has made a further impression in refinancings and restructurings, while continuing to stand out for its work in structured finance and DCM. Richard Roothman is a leader in structured financings and DCM. Danny Andropoulos is noted for debt restructurings and Elliott Wood is highly rated.

Practice head(s):

Richard Roothman

Key clients

Investec Bank

Rand Merchant Bank

ABSA Bank and ABSA Capital

Nedbank

Glencore Xstrata

Standard Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Standard Bank on loan facilities to a multinational mining company.
  • Assisted South African and international banks, and other lenders, with loan facilities provided to the Edcon Group of companies.
  • Advised Samancor Chrome on a number of funding facilities provided by Standard Bank.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is recommended for preference share funding arrangements, wider structured financings, and acquisition and leveraged finance. Jackie Pennington is noted for various debt financings and preference share fundings. Diana Messerschmidt is recommended for hybrid debt, quasi-equity and preference share financings.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Pennington

Testimonials

While all firms employ smart people, DLA Piper’s team is diverse, diligent, responsive to client’s needs and a pleasure to work with on a daily basis.

Jackie Pennington is recognised as one of the two best preference share lawyers in South Africa. Her tax knowledge and ability to manage both the bank and its client to progress the deal and execute it is invaluable.

Work highlights

  • Advised EOH Holdings on a bridge loan to EOH Mthombo from a consortium of banks.
  • Acted for Pele Green Energy on its acquisition of interests in the Nxuba, Karusa and Soetwater wind farms, including inter-company funding agreements and senior funding agreements.

Fasken

Fasken primarily operates in the project finance space, most notably in South African renewable energy projects. It continues to innovate in key areas such as small-scale embedded generation plants and major portfolio financings. The team has additional expertise in preference share financings, and is recognised for its ability to work with new market participants and novel lending structures. Mining sector finance is also a forte. Lara Bezuidenhoudt and Ashen Jugoo are rated for project and infrastructure finance.

Practice head(s):

Ashen Jugoo

Key clients

Impala Platinum

Nedbank

Investec Bank

ABSA Bank

Third Way Investment Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of two solar PV projects (45MW and 86MW) to be undertaken by BioTherm Energy.
  • Assisted the lenders with the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of two wind farm projects (120MW and 32MW) to be undertaken by BioTherm Energy.
  • Advised the borrower and the sponsors on the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the 140MW Kangnas wind farm in the Northern Cape.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP stands out for its work in refinancings and restructurings, along with real estate and commodities finance. The South Africa team has considerable domestic financing expertise, though frequently works alongside other offices, especially London, to advise on Africa-wide financings. It remains a popular choice for major lenders though it also has a growing number of borrower clients. Joz Coetzer and Craig Whitley are the key partners, along with real estate specialist Quintin du Plessis.

Practice head(s):

Quintin du Plessis

Testimonials

Their knowledge and experience is so vast and I know that when I instruct them on any matter, I am totally confident in their ability and know I will be getting the best advice.

Craig Whitley’s positive demeanour and personal rapport just make him connect with people. His excellent knowledge and experience makes him a brilliant attorney.

Key clients

Absa Bank

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Eskom

FirstRand Bank

International Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Eskom Holdings on the update of its $4bn global medium-term note programme.
  • Assited the lenders with a Rockwood Private Equity-led consortium’s sale of its interests in the Tsebo Group Holdings to Euronext-listed Wendel SE.
  • Acted for the international deal managers, Barclays Capital and Absa Bank, on the launch of a tender process by JSE-listed Sibanye-Stillwater, to repurchase a portion of its corporate and convertible bonds.

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais has broad financing product expertise, including preference share fundings and acquisition finance. The versatile Willem de Villiers specialises in acquisition finance, capital markets and syndicated lending transactions. Richard Glyn provides leading tax structuring expertise in financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Willem de Villiers; Francois Marais

Testimonials

The department is very detailed and thorough. It has good knowledge of the various aspects of the South African legal environment.

Key clients

Sanlam

Naspers

Investec Bank

Absa Capital

Global Holdings

Anglo American

Work highlights

  • Advised Sanlam on its subscription for preference shares in a special purpose vehicle connected to its new empowerment transaction.
  • Assited Sanlam with its subscription for preference shares in a special purpose vehicle owned by ARC Financial Services.
  • Acted for Sanlam on its issuance of 5% of its issued share capital to a related empowerment party; this was one of the largest empowerment transactions in South Africa’s history.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP is recognised for project finance and cross-border financings into the wider continent. The firm has English, French and South African law expertise in Johannesburg. Edward Baring is a top international finance lawyer with an extensive record in emerging and developing markets. Brigette Baillie is an acknowledged leader in project finance with Biddy Faber providing further senior expertise at consultant level.

Practice head(s):

Edward Baring; Brigette Baillie

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

Rand Merchant Bank

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Sanlam Capital Markets

Work highlights

  • Advised VTB Bank on a $1bn debt-for-equity swap to restructure the debts of Basic Element, the controlling shareholder of Rusal.
  • Acted for Standard Bank on the financing for an acquisition of fruit farms and a pack house.
  • Advised Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank on a $500m sovereign loan and a $3bn eurobond offering by the Republic of Ghana.

CMS RM Partners

RM Partners has banking and finance at its core with founding partner Riza Moosa a recognised leader in the field. The former head of Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc's banking and finance team, Moosa has an impressive client following, especially among South African banks and financial institutions. He and the department have a depth of experience across mainstream finance products. The firm is now part of the CMS network.

Practice head(s):

Riza Moosa

Testimonials

The team is experienced, efficient, well priced and professional.

It is one of the shining firms that understands banking and finance law from a structuring, distressed scenario and insolvency law perspective.

As my lender counsel they carried themselves as an essential cog in the commercial discussions, which is over and above their true scope.

Riza Moosa is extremely smart and competent.

 

Key clients

ABSA Bank

Dartcom

HBZ Bank

FirstRand Bank

Group Five

HSBC

Grindrod Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Spartan SME Fund on junior loan funding provided by SA SME Fund.
  • Acted for Wescoal Holdings on a bridge financing provided by Nedbank.