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South Africa

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South Africa > Projects and infrastructure > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Projects and infrastructure
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Malibuye Cossie - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
    • Sibusiso Zungu - Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Who Represents Who

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Bowmans’ substantial team advises both public utilities, such as Eskom, and private sector clients; it has an even split between lender engagements and sponsor/developer mandates. The team has an impressive record in power, especially renewables, taking its expertise into the broader sub-Sahara region. Anton Barnes-Webb is ‘solid’, ‘considered’ and ‘focuses on the deal rather than his position in the market’. Head of project finance Daryn Webb is noted for government work and Shamilah Grimwood is also recommended.

ENSafrica has maintained a solid flow of big-ticket and smaller-scale engagements in South Africa and beyond. The team is noted for its borrower expertise, though it is gaining traction with lenders. For example, it advised a syndicate of development finance institution (DFI) lenders on the financing of an underground crude oil storage and blending facility in South Africa. Eric le Grange is ‘solid’ and ‘pays particular attention to clients’, Loren Tibshraeny brings additional engineering and EPC expertise and John Ferraz is another key name.

Fasken has a ‘very solid team’ that ‘gets top mandates and has a loyal client following’. It has been at the forefront of energy and infrastructure projects for decades and the team is now increasingly active in projects outside of South Africa. It continues to be engaged in financings linked to South Africa’s renewable energy programme and advised ACWA Power as a bidder for the development of a 300MW Khanyisa discard-coal project, as part of the first round of the country’s coal baseload independent power producer (IPP) procurement programme. Lara Bezuidenhoudt, Ashen Jugoo and Blaize Vance are highly reputed.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has diversified its practice into water desalination and treatment plants and energy projects outside of South Africa. It remains active in the secondary market for South Africa renewables and in the country’s coal baseload and gas-to-power programmes. The practice continues to be known as many lenders’ counsel of choice, including for several major DFIs, and is building its profile on the sponsor side. The team advised Impala Platinum on its arrangements with technology suppliers for the construction of an 8MW fuel cell plant. Head of energy Jackie Midlane is ‘very knowledgeable’ and Gregory Nott is recommended for renewable energy and oil and gas transactions. Bradley Harber is noted for project finance. Former head of infrastructure Muzi Kubeka has joined White & Case LLP.

Webber Wentzel remains at the forefront of major energy and infrastructure projects in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Augmenting its already strong power credentials, the team hired senior figure Gibbs Johnson, who has extensive in-house, private practice and consultancy experience. The practice has strong connections to parastatals and government agencies and oil and gas giants, and advises a growing number of private equity funds on investments in the power sector. For example, it advised Globeleq Advisors on an equity investment in the Kalungwishi Hydro Project, owned by the Lunzua Power Authority in Zambia. The team provides a ‘high service level’, ‘is willing to go the extra mile’ and is ‘commercially minded’. Alexandra Cluver is ‘commercial’, ‘has a strong grasp of the key risks and value drivers’ and is ‘a good negotiator’. Alessandra Pardini has ‘excellent market knowledge in renewable energy’, ‘is quick to understand the issues’ and ‘communicates in a concise and well-thought-out way’. Oil and gas experts Kenny Paton and John Smelcer are also recommended.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP is active in South Africa’s coal baseload programme and in a number of captive power projects. It is increasingly busy in sub-Saharan Africa, including in Kenya and Uganda. The group advised the sponsors on the development and financing of a 5MW hydro project under Uganda’s GetFIT programme. Jason van der Poel leads the team, which includes counsel Sibusiso Zungu.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg’s dedicated projects team has expanded its focus into the broader sub-Saharan region, most notably by leveraging its experience in renewable energy. Infrastructure, conventional power and transportation are also pivotal areas for the practice. Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia are key jurisdictions for the practice, which is noted for its connections to banks, DFIs and export credit agencies (ECAs). It recently advised Rand Merchant Bank on the project financing of the 16.5MW biomass facility in Kwazulu Natal Province. Kieran Whyte is a senior name and backed by Jennifer Stolp and finance leader Wildu Du Plessis. Karel Potgieter has joined Norton Rose Fulbright in Sydney.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is recognised for energy and oil and gas projects. The team has seen growth in upstream oil and gas projects in southern Africa; Megan Rodgers is ‘probably the best oil and gas lawyer this side of the Sahara’ according to one client. Jay Govender is advising the Ethiopian government on the procurement process for a 100MW solar PV project and a 260MW hydroelectric power project, and Emma Dempster is described as a ‘first class’ energy lawyer. The team lost project finance specialist Biddy Faber to Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP and infrastructure expert Claire Barclay to Pinsent Masons LLP.

Werksmans Attorneys remains actively involved in South Africa’s renewable energy, nuclear and coal baseload programmes. It advised Marubeni Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation on their successful bid for the 600MW coal-fired power generation plant in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. The team has ‘exceptional knowledge in the energy industry’ and ‘the level of service is brilliant’. Chris Moraitis, Astrid Berman, Deon Griessel and Dave Walker are recommended and Jonathan Behr is ‘most thoughtful and helpful’.

White & Case LLP’s Johannesburg office has gained a significant market share of South African projects and has achieved further success in sub-Saharan Africa. Gareth Hodder has transferred from London to bolster an office that teamed up with London colleagues to advise the lenders on the project financing of a 630MW coal baseload IPP project in South Africa; it is the largest ever project financing in South Africa at over R20bn. Joz Coetzer and Craig Whitley are also recommended. Muzi Kubeka has joined from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP has a lean team of outstanding project finance specialists, including Brigette Baillie and Biddy Faber. The team focuses on big-ticket sub-Saharan projects, including infrastructure, gas-to-power, and nuclear developments, and remains engaged in renewable energy projects refinancings. It advised Rand Merchant Bank and a syndicate of lenders and ECAs on the financing of the Boikarabelo coal project in the Waterberg region, South Africa. Edward Baring and Bertrand Montembault provide English and French law expertise respectively.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a sponsor and contractor driven practice that is gaining a foothold in East Africa infrastructure projects. The firm is advising the Tanzania Roads Authority on the development of the Dar es Salaam to Chalinze toll road PPP project. Claire Barclay has joined from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and energy finance specialist Apicksha Patel has transferred from London; they are supported by a formidable construction and engineering team.

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