Firms To Watch: Projects and infrastructure

Nikita Lalla leads the growing projects and infrastructure department at LNP Attorneys, which handles mandates from inception to conclusion in both the public and private sectors.

Projects and infrastructure in South Africa

Bowmans

The sizeable team at Bowmans has offices across Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban with broad ranging expertise in the projects and infrastructure space, which includes environmental, regulatory and construction specialisms. The practice represents clients throughout the development and financing of large projects involving pipelines, LNG terminals, power plants, rail systems, water desalination plants and ports and terminals. The group also has a contentious construction practice which represents sponsors, lenders and project companies, as well as government entities. Patrick Hirsch and Anton Barnes-Webb  are notable in the debt financing arena, and banking and finance lawyer Shamilah Grimwood-Norley has strengths in the energy and power sectors. Daryn Webb is active in South African IPP programmes. Andrew van Niekerk   left in August 2021 to join Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

Other key lawyers:

Daryn Webb

Testimonials

‘They gave a lump sum figure for the work and stuck to it even though the project as delayed severely.

‘The team is very professional and always available with good advice.’

‘Nothing was to petty for them to consider. All work was done to a high standard and no short cuts undertaken.’

Key clients

Standard Bank of South Africa

Zimborders Mauritius

Andalusia Investments

La Frontiere

FirstRand Bank

Nedbank

Standard Bank of South Africa

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Absa Bank

MMI Group

Makalani Holdings

Vutomi Energy

Vedanta Zinc International

Newcastle Energy

Western Cape Provincial Government

Total

Standard Bank of South Africa

Zimborders Mauritius

Andalusia Investments

La Frontiere

FirstRand Bank

Nedbank

Standard Bank of South Africa

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Absa Bank

MMI Group

Makalani Holdings

Vutomi Energy

Vedanta Zinc International

Newcastle Energy

Western Cape Provincial Government

Total

Work highlights

  • Advising Zimborders Mauritius, Andalusia Investments and La Frontiere regarding regulatory aspects, concession agreement, currency framework agreement, government guarantees, EPC and ICT agreements and limited recourse financing arrangements, as well as the equity stakeholders in the concessionaire in respect of the shareholding arrangements.    
  • Advising Gigajoule International and its affiliates in relation to all aspects of a project, which will entail the importation of Liquified Natural Gas to a permanently moored Floating Storage and Regasification Unit in the Matola harbour, the connection of that facility to a gas-fired power plant in the Beluluane Industrial Park and, via the Matola Gas Company infrastructure, to the South African gas network.
  • Advising Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and the International Finance Corporation in respect of the financing of 3 solar PV and battery storage projects being developed by Scatec Solar under the South African Government Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

ENSafrica

The project development and finance department at ENSafrica is headed up by Eric le Grange and advises lenders, borrowers, sponsors, developers and contractors , with renewables a particular area of activity. This includes advising on the licensing and permitting of infrastructure developments, engineering matters, construction and project financing. The team’s expertise extends throughout Africa, having completing projects in Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya, as well as within South Africa. Other notable areas of work include new mining development and road and rail projects. EPC contract specialist Loren Tibshraeny and regulatory expert John Ferraz are also core members of the projects team.

Practice head(s):

Eric le Grange

Other key lawyers:

Loren Tibshraeny; John Ferraz; Sasha Singh; Lauren Petersen; Kumeshnie Naidoo; Noma Modise

Key clients

Absa Bank

African Rainbow Energy & Power

Development Bank of Southern Africa Limited

Enel Green Power

Government of Uganda

Ledjadja Coal

RMB Namibia

Powerchina Huadong Engineering Corporation

Scatec Solar Africa

Infinity Energy S.A.E

EDF Renewables

Sturdee Energy

Investec Bank

PetroSA SOC

Work highlights

  • Advising EDF Renewables Pty Ltd in respect of the development, construction and operation of a solar photovoltaic power generation plant and a battery energy storage system.
  • Advising Scatec Solar in respect of the development, construction and operation of 150MW of solar capacity and a 550MWh battery energy storage system.
  • Advising NamPower in respect of the development, construction and operation of the Otjikoto Biomass Power Station.

Fasken

Fasken has a strong team advising on the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects, as well as on issues arising out of the operational phases of PPP projects. Energy-related projects that the group is active in include electricity generation and transmission, as well as being significantly involved in South Africa’s Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme, advising both lenders and sponsors. Lara Bezuidenhoudt was appointed as head of the practice in January 2021. Previous practice head Ashen Jugoo has a strong infrastructure practice spanning mining, transport and energy, and Africa managing partner Blaize Vance is especially notable in renewable energy projects. Craig Whitley joined the team from White & Case LLP.

Practice head(s):

Lara Bezuidenhoudt

Other key lawyers:

Ashen JugooBlaize VanceCraig Whitley

Key clients

Investec Bank

Nedbank

FirstRand Bank

Absa Bank

Development Bank of South Africa

Mainstream Renewable Power

ACWA Power Community

ACWA Power Africa Holdings

Sanlam Life Insurance

West African Energy SA

Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

Industrial Corporation of South Africa

Longyuan SA Renewables

Futuregrowth Asset Management

Kuvaninga Energia

Old Mutual Specialised Finance

United Nations Development Fund

Work highlights

  • Advising West African Energy SA in relation to the drafting, negotiation and finalisation of a €276m Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract to design, construct and commission a 300MW CCGT power station and related infrastructure in Senegal.
  • Advised lenders and sponsors on 14 projects in relation to the bid submission phase of the Risk Mitigation IPP Programme procured by the Department of Minerals and Energy, of which 10 of these projects were ultimately bid.
  • Advised a client consortium under on its bid, including the project and economic related and preliminary financing aspects, to acquire the onshore gas pipeline network of Sasol Gas.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Brigette Baillie, ‘one of the finest legal minds of her generation’, leads the projects and energy department at Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP which handles financing, development and construction of projects across South Africa, and increasingly in Africa more broadly, for lenders, borrowers, sponsors and governmental parties. Ross Lomax‘s arrival in 2019 has bolstered the group’s ability to advise clients on corporate related matters and consultant Biddy Faber has particular expertise in banking and finance.

Practice head(s):

Brigette Baillie

Testimonials

‘Excellent leadership, in depth knowledge across a number of sectors and quick turnaround times on workstreams. HSF is our trusted advisor in South Africa.’

‘Seasoned lawyers with deep experience.’

‘HSF’s Project Finance team under Brigette Baillie is unparalleled in understanding client’s needs and providing solution driven advice.’

‘Brigette Baillie is one of the finest legal minds of her generation. She identifies complicated risk and provides innovative solutions with astounding efficiency.’

‘Brigitte Baillie is an asset to this firm.’

‘Brigette Baillie and Kearabetswe Modingwana are solution orientated and well versed in infrastructure advisory mandates. We have used them on a number of mandates and they have always delivered exceptional results and advice.’

Key clients

Absa Bank

Nedbank

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Rand Merchant Bank

Mulilo Renewable Project Developments

Axxela

Royal Bafokeng Holdings

DRA Nexus SA

G7 Renewable Energies

Stanlib Infrastructure Fund II

Work highlights

  • Advised the joint mandated lead arrangers in connection with the Beitbridge border post modernisation project.
  • Advised Mulilo Renewable Energy on its bid submission for proposals under the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme.
  • Advised Renewable Energy  in the preparation of their bid under the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP ‘s projects group is integrated in the firm’s global network and advises sponsors, government bodies and lenders on all parts of a project, including the construction and financing of mandates in South Africa and Africa more broadly. The team is especially notable in the PPP space and the renewable energy sector. Steven Dejong is highly adept in energy and infrastructure matters and Goncalo Noronha Andrade has significant experience in project financing transactions. Alexandra Clüver and Alessandra Pardini joined from Webber Wentzel in 2021. Counsel Allen Leuta left the firm in 2020 and counsel Lulama Selele and counsel Sibusiso Zungu joined White & Case LLP in 2021.

Testimonials

‘A diverse team with an excellent turnaround, and commercial and dedicated.’

‘The proactive nature of the relationship where you have partners and associates deliver service of an exceptionally high standard.’

Key clients

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank

Globeleq

Turner & Townsend

Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund 2

Nedbank

Clinix Health Group

Public Investment Corporation SOC

Revego Fund Managers

Cape Biologix Technologies

Africa Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised the Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited and Mauritius Commercial Bank on acquiring the International Finance Corporation and the OPEC Fund for International Development’s debt and refinancing the Gulf Power Project in Kenya.
  • Advised Cape Biologix Technologies and its shareholders on a financing by the European Investment Bank which will enable Cape Biologix Technologies to build a new production unit, develop its processing laboratories and build air-conditioned hydroponic chambers in Mauritius.
  • Advising The Standard Bank of South Africa on a green loan facility for Natref Refinery.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr handles projects and infrastructure mandates across South Africa and the African continent, with specific strengths in large-scale power generation projects and specialised embedded generation projects. The team also represents clients in the oil and gas sector. Megan Rodgers  has expertise in early exploration and gas development projects and  Tessa Brewis  provides advice on renewable projects. Andrew van Niekerk  was a new arrival in November 2021. Emma Dempster left the team to join Pinsent Masons LLP  in February 2021.

Practice head(s):

Megan Rodgers; Tessa Brewis; Andrew van Niekerk

Other key lawyers:

Ayanda Mhlongo

Testimonials

‘The team is well balanced with very sound mid-level team members who can provide the bulk of advice needed reasonably cost effectively, with experienced senior oversight.’

‘The team is well versed in the South African energy sector and has generally good expertise in the full transaction cycle of infrastructure projects and allied areas such as insurance.’

‘Have felt very well supported by Ayanda Mhlongo who was readily available for support, were well balanced in providing sufficient but not extraneous advice, and had a pragmatic view on risk versus transaction expense. I appreciated their attention to our interests as a client but also a balanced view on commercially reasonable conditions. Drafting from both was clear and concise.’

Key clients

Southern African Power Pool

SADC

The World Bank

Phakwe Witkop Investments

Azinam

Blue Crane Breeze

Mergence Namibia Infrastructure Fund Trust

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia

Mergence Investment Managers

Equinor South Africa

Africa Energy Corp.

Main Street

GAIA Infrastructure Capital

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has an international projects practice which is aided by the global nature of the firm. The group advises lenders, sponsors, developers, investors and contractors on project financings in the renewable energy sector, as well as in mining, telecoms and transport. Banking and finance lawyer  Jackie Midlane  in Johannesburg is head of the projects department and is supported by head of infrastructure Malibuye Cossie in the same office, as well as head of energy Matthew Ash, who is based in Cape Town. Gary Rademeyer  is also notable on the construction side of projects.

Testimonials

‘The NRF name carries weight and credibility, which matters.’

‘The fact that the firm can complete work in English and French is a definite plus.’

‘The partner we usually work with, Jackie Midlane, is very good at drafting creative legal solutions and clauses in our agreements for very complex commercial issues.’

‘Jackie Midlane is an asset to this firm.’

Key clients

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

Nedbank

Harith General Partners

Revego Africa Energy Fund Partnership

Trustee Board Investments

RTI International

Ngodwana Energy

Juwi Renewable Energies

Renewable Energy Performance Platform

African Carbon Energy

International Finance Corporation

Absa Bank

Enel Green Power RSA

Total

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Sappi Southern Africa

Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska

iGas

Work highlights

  • Advised The Development Bank of South Africa on a USD81.3m secured development finance facility provided to EDM, a Mozambican entity, for the purpose of funding the engineering, construction, procurement, delivery, installation and commissioning of Lot 1 of EDM’s Emergency Network Rehabilitation Programme.
  • Advising RTI International in implementing the Power Africa East Africa Energy Program, in support of East African nations in their development of electrical energy generation-and transmission infrastructure and procurement.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel‘s young projects practice is involved in a number of projects concerning new electricity capacity, and has acted for the private sector and government bodies in a range of tenders. Also of note is the team’s appointment as the sole legal advisor to the IPP Office on the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme. Jason van der Poel is head of the practice and is of note in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Jason van der Poel

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge and professional expertise.’

‘The individuals stand out for their dedication, attention and personalised treatment to the client.’

‘I have found the firm to be accommodating and flexible with regards to fees.’

‘The Webber Wentzel team is well coordinated which allows clients to seamlessly access different specialties and expertise with great efficiency.’

‘Good transformed team with dedicated team members.’

‘Excellent turnaround times, overseas style of giving advice, deep knowledge in all matters concerning projects.’

‘Jason van der Poel is extremely responsive and has a flexible approach to providing the required legal solutions.’

Key clients

Lebalelo Water User Association

Solar Saver SA Proprietary

Sola Build

Lenders

Sturdee Energy

Uganda National Oil Company

Metier Investment and Advisory Services

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Work highlights

  • Advising the Lebalelo Water User Association in relation to the terms of the South African Water Services Act to supply its members, constituting various platinum mining companies in an area of South Africa called the Eastern Limb with bulk raw water services.
  • Advising the lenders in respect of the design, development, engineering, procurement, construction, financing, insuring and start-up of the 100 MW ACWA Power SolarReserve Redstone Concentrated Solar Power tower facility project.
  • Advising UNOC in respect of the procurement of a private sector joint venture partner to develop and operate a refined products terminal in Kampala, Uganda.

Werksmans Attorneys

Chris Moraitis  leads the infrastructure, energy and projects team at Werksmans Attorneys with particular expertise in toll road and transportation infrastructure projects. The department has the expertise to advise clients across a range of projects, including those in the road, rail, water, energy, defence, technology and mining sectors. Developers, sponsors and lenders are all within its client roster, and the firm assists them on the corporate, compliance and financing elements of projects. Deon Griessel is active in completing the EPC contract aspects of projects and transactions.

Practice head(s):

Chris Moraitis

Key clients

BAIC CA

Standard Bank

Absa Bank

CRI Eagle Investments

Gautrain Management Agency

Korea Electric Power Corporation

Old Mutual Life Assurance Company

Nedbank

Panda Hill Tanzania

Public Investment Corporation

Raubex

South African National Roads Agency SOC

Vestas

WBHO Construction

Work highlights

  • Advising Standard Bank, IFC, Nedbank as the senior lenders in respect of the Mulilo Total Coega Project and Mulilo Total Hydra Storage Project which are both preferred bidders under the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme.  
  • Representing SANRAL with respect to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project including amendments to the requisite legislation to facilitate open road tolling and optimal and effective law enforcement and the procurement of an open road tolling system and a national clearing house.
  • Representing WBHO on the Kopanong Precinct PPP Project for the procurement of private party consortia to deliver and manage the cluster buildings under a PPP procurement of serviced accommodation in the Kopanong Precinct.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

The projects team at Baker McKenzie Johannesburg assists investors, financiers, contractors and developers across the entirety of infrastructure and renewable energy projects space in Africa, including in Mozambique, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The team is also particularly active in corporate power purchase agreements and gas industrialisation projects. Kieran Whyte  is head of the department and consultant David Davies is of note in the projects space.

Practice head(s):

Kieran Whyte

Testimonials

‘Baker McKenzie has a very competent Projects and Infrastructure practice that comprises lawyers with intimate knowledge of the South African legal landscape for power, renewable energy and infrastructure projects.’

‘Kieren and the team at Baker McKenzie are very collaborative with their clients and keep them appraised of developments in the power, renewable energy and infrastructure markets. The BM team also offer workshops with their clients to brainstorm innovative ideas and solutions, and thereby build good client relationships and can be seen as the thought leaders.’

‘Exceptional industry and country knowledge, supported by international support base. Seamless engagement with international team members and expertise.’

‘Focused on long term relationships as oppose to a deal focus only. Kieran Whyte has distinguished himself as a partner one can rely upon – available, honest and very knowledgeable.’

‘Kieren Whyte has a very good knowledge of the power sector in SA and is one of the best Projects lawyers in South Africa.’

Key clients

Nedbank

Engie

ArcelorMittal

South32

Covington & Burling LLP

Established in 2017, the finance and projects department at Covington & Burling LLP has significantly grown in size since then, with the most recent addition of special counsel Yashveer Ram from Bowmans in 2021. The department is particularly active in assisting government bodies and state-owned entities across Africa with deep expertise in the power sector, as well as in the social infrastructure, mining, industrial and water arenas.  Ben Donovan leads the team and undertakes projects that span across Africa.

Practice head(s):

Ben Donovan

Testimonials

‘The team has demonstrated good knowledge and experience with Infrastructure Projects in Africa particularly in complex jurisdictions like doing projects in Zimbabwe.’

‘Of note is Steven Gamble who is very knowledgeable with infrastructure projects structuring and advisory. Steve consistently demonstrates ability to structure bankable transactions despite the complex political and credit risk challenges that we face in Zimbabwe.’

‘We work with Ben Donovan and his quick responses and extensive legal knowledge of him makes Ben very unique and irreplaceable for our company. He grasps the legal problems easily and provides very logical and objective solutions.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

African Legal Support Facility

SunPower Corporation

Engie

Standard Bank of South Africa

Green Climate Fund

ACWA Power

Rand Merchant Bank

Transnet SOC

Work highlights

  • Advised The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited in connection with the ZAR 600m refinancing of four private hospital project finance facilities for the Busamed Group.
  • Representing the project sponsors on all of the financing, construction and operation aspects relating to the 147MW Roggeveld Wind wind farm in South Africa.
  • Advising Harare Metro Rail on the drafting and negotiation of a Concession Agreement with the Republic of Zimbabwe and the City of Harare for the design, construction, financing, commission, operation and maintenance of the Harare light metro rail system within the City of Harare.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP is active in energy sector projects, and of recent note has also been involved with the toll road project being undertaken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The practice also advises clients on PPP projects in South Africa and Africa more broadly, as well as representing funders and financiers in infrastructure projects in Africa and the UK. Infrastructure projects lawyer Claire Barclay, energy finance specialist Apicksha Patel and local and international projects expert Jurg Van Dyk are all key members of the department. Legal director Emma Dempster joined the team from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in April 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Emma Dempster

Testimonials

‘Great people and expertise.’

‘Very knowledgeable in Project Finance deals.’

‘A good ability to see the bigger picture, they also retain a professional and ethical approach, not being swayed by unrealistic client demands, or commercial influences on the deal or project.’

Key clients

JD Africa Partnerships

GED Africa Ltd

Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency

World Bank

NBI and Carbon Trust

RMB

Investec

Pembani Remgro

Egis

Work highlights

  • Advised the Holding Company and the Zambian and DRC project companies on the Kasomeno – Mwenda toll road concession for the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintenance of a 182km cross border toll road between the DRC and Zambia, border post and bridge.
  • Advised the Urban K consortium in respect of its bid for the rehabilitation, design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of four clusters of buildings as part of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Kopanong Precinct Project
  • Advising the SaeTO Consortium on its bid response on the SANRAL Open Road Tolling Tender.