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South Africa

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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South Africa > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Anthony Colegrave - Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP
    • Katy-Lynne Kay - Fasken
    • Bridgett Majola - Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
    • Sibusiso Zungu - Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP advised the lenders on the headline R29bn restructuring of Edcon, which involved navigating a complex capital structure with multiple levels of debt. The firm is using its South Africa base for financings into sub-Saharan Africa, including Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa; key partners Michael Duncan and Kathleen Wong are English-qualified lawyers. The team is praised for its ‘fantastic service’ and ‘clear advice’. Market leader Lionel Shawe’s ‘depth of knowledge of the law and the global banking industry is superb’. He is also described as ‘a skilled negotiator able to manage difficult interactions with finesse’. Anthony Colegrave is a ‘go-to adviser for any derivatives trades’, while Khurshid Fazel is also recommended.

ENSafrica has a broad practice across its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. It has tremendous connections to major banks, non-bank institutional lenders, and has impressed in major corporate restructurings. The team is ‘professional and cost effective’ and ‘a pleasure to work with’. Using a Chinese Wall the team advised enX and its lenders on the industrial energy group’s reverse takeover of Eqstra, which involved substantial internal corporate and debt restructuring, and spanned several African jurisdictions. Sean Lederman is a market leader, as is Roger Rudolph who has extensive financial institutional connections in Cape Town. Hermann Wessels is recommended for preference shares and Clinton van Loggerenberg is recommended for derivatives and structured finance.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc’s large lender-oriented team is noted for its connections to both domestic and international banks and development finance institutions (DFIs). Active across the product range, the ‘excellent’ and ‘good quality’ team also has a number of big borrower clients such as Exxaro, which it advised on the refinancing of a senior term loan facility and revolving credit facilities. Riza Moosa is outstanding, as are head of projects Jackie Midlane and Africa head Gregory Nott. Lize Louw is also recommended for projects and energy.

Webber Wentzel has the largest banking and finance team in South Africa and is widely recognised for its expertise in acquisition and leveraged finance, real estate finance, and its growing standing in fund finance. The firm is known for its prestigious lender client base. The ‘excellent’ Mark Kyle has joined from Standard Bank to further reinforce the team. The firm advised MTN Zakhele on the structured unwind of the company and its new Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) structure. The team is ‘pragmatic’ and ‘commercial’ with Johan de Lange and the ‘high standard’ and ‘hands on’ Kathy Shepherd as the big names, along with leading DCM specialist Karen Couzyn, Johann Scholtz, Scott Edmundson, and Muhammad Sader.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg has a solid mix of South Africa and English-qualified senior practitioners. It has developed strong connections to DFIs and has ‘in-depth knowledge and excellent drafting and negotiation skills’. The group advised the lenders on the project financing of the 25MW Ngodwana biomass facility in the Mpumalanga Province. ‘Very good attorneyWildu du Plessis leads the team, which includes Jennifer Stolp and English-qualified Frances Okosi.

Bowmans’ substantial team has impressed in restructurings, DCM, preference share fundings, acquisition finance, and real estate finance. The practice advised RMB on the senior secured acquisition financing of Shanduka Group’s sale of its stake in McDonald’s South Africa to UAE-based Emirate African Restaurant Management Company. Clients praise the team’s ‘professionalism’, ‘business acumen’ and ‘quality of drafting’. Ulrike Naumann is a leader in acquisition finance and Cape Town-based preference share funding specialist Jan Kruger is ‘logical’, ‘pragmatic’, with ‘practical experience and industry knowledge’. DCM expert Casper van Heerden is also praised for his ‘practical experience and industry knowledge’. Jason Wilkinson is highly regarded.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is noted for advising mid-sized lenders and large borrowers. It has experienced growth in regulatory issues, derivatives and restructurings, and an increasing flow of work from DFIs. Preshan Singh-Dhulam and Mashudu Mphafudi advised the Development Bank of Southern Africa on a R10.5bn debt facility, R356m equity loan funding and R448m BEE financing to the Kathu Solar Park Project. The ‘world-class’ team has ‘high levels of expertise and integrity’. Deon Wilken leads the group, which includes the eminent Ludwig Smith, a leader in preference share and equity funding who ‘has an encyclopaedic knowledge of South Africa tax law, company law and banking legislation’. Pierre Swart is recommended for DCM and Bridget King for derivatives. Project finance specialist Biddy Faber has joined Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP.

Werksmans Attorneys has close ties to most of South Africa’s largest banks and continues to impress in acquisition and leveraged finance, DCM and structured finance, and project finance. Paul Tindle and Danny Andropoulos have joined from the now defunct Prinsloo, Tindle & Andropoulos Inc to further bolster the team’s standing in structured finance and acquisition finance and will help to cement the firm’s relationship with Standard Bank especially. Acquisition finance specialist Elliott Wood advised Investec Bank on the R1.15bn financing of Warshay Investments’ acquisition of KWV’s operational assets. The team provides an ‘outstanding’ level of service and ‘unparalleled commitment and turnaround times’. Richard Roothman is a leader in DCM and structured finance and Chris Moraitis is ‘a very good project finance lawyer’, especially for sponsors. Natalie Scott is ‘commercial’, ‘timeous’ and ‘friendly’.

Fasken has transformed itself from a largely lender-oriented practice to one that now regularly advises sponsors and borrowers. Corporate finance, restructurings, structured trade and commodity finance, and preference share financings are key features of a practice which is ‘value for money’, ‘pays attention to detail’ and is solution driven. The team continued to advise the lenders on a portfolio financing to fund five renewable energy projects in South Africa, one of the first such structures in the jurisdiction. Ashen Jugoo is ‘clever’, ‘meticulous’ with a ‘good temperament’ and Lara Bezuidenhoudt is hugely experienced. Simone Bryson was made partner in 2017.

White & Case LLP is recognised for energy financings, including transactions involving South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa jurisdictions. Acquisition finance and real estate finance are also key features of the practice. The Johannesburg office is able to tap into the international resources and expertise of the firm and leverage its connections to domestic and international lenders, including DFIs. The office advised four South African banks on the R1.8bn syndicated acquisition funding to Fidelity Security Services to support the security solutions provider’s acquisition of ADT South Africa from New York-listed Tyco. The team provides a ‘brilliant and consistent service’, with Joz Coetzer commended for his ‘technical and business skills’, ‘brilliant solutions’ and ‘clear and succinct advice’; Craig Whitley is equally highly regarded. Gareth Hodder has transferred from London to boost the office’s energy expertise and Muzi Kubeka has also joined from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.

DLA Piper has established a credible practice following the hire of Jackie Pennington from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Diana Messerschmidt from ENSafrica. The lender-oriented team is recognised for asset-based lending, leveraged finance, derivatives and preference share financings. It advised Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) on the $761m rights issue by Remgro.

Glyn Marais has impressed in the debt restructuring field, advising on some of the biggest deals in the market. Acquisition finance and real estate finance is another forte for the team that counts Sanlam, Growthpoint Properties and Naspers among its client base. Willem de Villiers is outstanding.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP has a mix of South Africa and English law expertise covering a range of pan-Africa financings but is best known for infrastructure and project finance. The practice is weighted towards lenders, though it has a number of borrower clients, including mining corporates. The team advised Sepfluor as the ultimate shareholder of Noken Fluorspar Mine on the mezzanine funding of its mine in Cullinan, Gauteng. Brigette Baillie, who ‘knows project finance inside and out’, and Biddy Faber are leaders in project finance and Edward Baring provides further English law financing expertise.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa) is noted for trade and commodity finance, acquisition finance and restructurings. The firm has targeted the non-bank lending market, including debt funds, with considerable success, while continuing to advise on big syndicated deals for banks. Clients include Standard Bank, RMB, Barak Fund, Nedbank and African Export-Import Bank. Anina Boshoff heads the team that includes trade and commodity finance specialists Lodewyk Meyer and Laurie Hammond.

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