Tax in South Africa
ENSafrica has been a key player in the tax market for years and continues to field one of the largest teams in South Africa. The multi-disciplinary team has been further augmented by the arrival of executive consultant Mark Badenhorst, an experienced transfer pricing specialist. Moreover, the firm hired Charles de Wet from PwC in October 2020 to lead the firm’s VAT practice. It continues to impress in financing-related tax matters including preference shares and equity-linked notes, along with major debt and corporate restructurings. The team represents a range of big-name financial institutions, mining majors and significant corporates. Peter Dachs leads the team and has an outstanding reputation in international tax. Andries Myburgh is noted for transactions and restructuring-related tax matters.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Badenhorst; Andries Myburgh; Robert Gad
Sibanye Gold, trading as Sibanye Stillwater
Black Mountain Mining
- Advised Liberty on the issuance of preference shares and equity linked notes as well as setting up various alternative investment vehicles such as qualifying investor hedge funds.
- Advised Absa on an investment in shares issued by an offshore entity. This investment involves various complex security arrangements and consideration of Absa’s South African tax position.
- Advised Experian on their acquisition of Compuscan and Scoresharp, providers of credit information and analytics services to organisations across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as the Philippines and Australia.
Webber Wentzel has further cemented its fine standing in the tax sector, most notably in relation to private equity and M&A-related matters, international tax, disputes and transfer pricing. The firm has an outstanding client base of South African and multinational corporates, financial institutions and private equity funds. The tax team continues to be especially active in corporate and private equity transactions. Accountant Brian Dennehy is a leading figure in the private equity taxation space, and Anne Bennett is a preeminent international tax planning specialist. Chartered accountant Graham Viljoen is also rated for M&A, buyouts and fund formation. Nina Keyser is well-regarded for tax disputes.
Brian Dennehy; Graham Viljoen
Other key lawyers:
Anne Bennett; Nina Keyser; Kyle Beilings; Lumen Moolman
‘The team is very commercial and solution orientated.’
‘They are able to differentiate between remote risks that need to be flagged but not necessarily mitigated and those issues that require immediate attention.‘
‘They are proactive in moving directly to either solutions or alternatives. They recognise that there is limited value in discussing why something can’t be done.’
‘Graham Viljoen is commercial and solution orientated. He is willing to go the extra mile and look beyond the scope of work requested. He has often been able to come up with creative solutions to problems we have faced.’
‘Graham Viljoen has a detailed knowledge of tax legislation and combines this with an outstanding command of corporate finance.’
‘Brian Dennehy is a strategic thinker with vast knowledge and experience and an ability to design a solution for a strategic plan.’
‘Kyle Beilings is a technical legal expert who ensures robustness of any solution and engages extremely well with external counsel for opinions.’
‘Lumen Moolman has excellent technical skills and an ability to be flexible in modelling solutions.’
African Mining and Trust Company
The Coca Cola Company
African Infrastructure Investment Managers
- Advised Ethos Capital on its R1.35bn strategic investment into Brait, through an underwriting commitment agreement and a Brait major shareholder agreement.
- Advised Pioneer Foods Group on its acquisition by PepsiCo.
- Advised Naspers on its pre-listing statement and the admission to listing and trading of all the N ordinary shares in the capital of Prosus on Euronext Amsterdam and a secondary listing on the Main Board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Bowmans has significantly expanded its team in recent years, resulting in a multi-skilled and versatile team. With both lawyers and accountants in the group, it continues to impress in M&A and private equity-related tax matters, while being more than credible in disputes, international tax and debt restructuring. The group represents a multitude of international clients, prominent domestic businesses and a range of private equity houses. Barry Garven has a fine record in international tax, transactions and financings, while Wally Horak is a key name in international tax, including cross-border M&A and transfer pricing. Managing partner Alan Keep remains prominent in transaction structuring and corporate reorganisations. Patricia Williams is further noted for disputes and transactional work.
Barry Garven; Wally Horak
Other key lawyers:
Alan Keep; Patricia Williams; Kelly Wright
AfriSam (South Africa)
African Rainbow Capital
The South African Breweries and its parent Anheuser-Busch InBev
Rand Merchant Holdings
Cisco South Africa
Carlyle Sub Sahara Africa Fund
South32 SA Holdings
Royal Bafokeng Resources Platinum
Harmony Gold Mining
- Advised Ascendis Health on a group reorganisation to appropriately position assets within the group structure for purposes of sale.
- Advised on an ongoing debt and equity restructure of the AfriSam Group of companies undertaken to optimise and simplify its capital structure.
- Advised on the negotiation and drafting of the sale agreement between Harmony Gold Mining and AngloGold Ashanti, as part of Harmony’s acquisition of all of AngloGold’s South African assets and related liabilities, which includes Mponeng, the world’s deepest mine.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to be recognised for its work in the financial services sector and corporate transactions. It continues to work on a large number of M&A deals, including those by private equity clients. It expanded the team with the hire of Stephan Spamer and Howmera Parak from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, bolstering the firm’s standing in international tax, transaction structuring, and M&A-related matters. The team is led by the highly-acclaimed Emil Brincker, a big name in the financial services sector, corporate reorganisations and restructurings, and major tax disputes. Gerhard Badenhorst is a leading indirect tax and VAT specialist and Mark Linington is at the forefront of fund structuring-related tax matters. Ludwig Smith is a senior figure with a long track record in hybrid financial instruments involving tax structuring challenges.
Other key lawyers:
Stephan Spamer; Howmera Parak; Gerhard Badenhorst; Mark Linington; Ludwig Smith
‘The CDH Tax team consists of various highly respected and competent tax professionals who are expert in their various areas of specialisation.’
‘Emil Brincker is widely recognised as one of the top tax professionals in South Africa.’
‘Emil Brincker is most probably the most astute tax advisor in South Africa. His ability to read situations and adapt is also second to none.’
‘The in depth VAT understanding of Gerhard Badenhorst is more than exceptional.’
‘Gerhard Badenhorst has impacted the course and direction of various indirect tax matters in South Africa in a positive way, being a highly skilled thought leader. He is accessible and supportive. A perfect business partner. I consider Gerhard to be above and beyond any competitor.’
Old Mutual Private Equity
- Advised Old Mutual Private Equity on the tax structuring for the acquisition of a majority stake in Footgear, the South Africa-based shoe retailer.
- Advised Impala Platinum Holdings on the tax structuring of its ZAR1.14bn acquisition of North American Palladium.
- Advised Group Five Construction on the tax efficiency and exchange control approvals required for its disposal of Intertoll group of companies to the Lancaster group of companies.
Werksmans Attorneys has a wide-ranging practice that has made a notable impression in corporate and capital restructurings. M&A, private equity and tax disputes are also core to the practice. Its client base centres on an impressive number of South African businesses, South African arms of multinationals, financial institutions and investment funds. Department head and chartered accountant Ernest Mazansky is a leader in corporate tax planning, while Michael Honiball heads the international tax team. Doelie Lessing has impressed in corporate reorganisations and M&A.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Honiball; Doelie Lessing
‘They give accurate and to the point advice. They tell me what I need to know.’
‘Ernest Mazansky has a wealth of experience and knowledge in his area.’
Evolution Property Management
Ford Motor Company of South Africa
King Price Financial Services
Macsteel Holdings Luxembourg
McDermott Will & Emery
Qorus Software Proprietary
Zenprop Property Holdings
- Provided tax advice to Clover Industries on the restructuring of the group after its de-listing.
- Advised a private investment group on the South African tax implications of the proposed restructuring as it invests in South African assets.
- Advised a private client on tax residence issues and restructuring of the family’s extensive offshore structures.
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP is well-regarded for tax-related aspects of financial products. Since publication, Lionel Shawe left the firm.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg's compact team has reinforced its focus on corporate and indirect tax. The group represents a range of multinationals and a growing number of local and African clients. It is leveraging the strength of the firm's broader global network in areas such as transfer pricing, customs and VAT, working closely with the Amsterdam office and colleagues in the Middle East especially. Indirect tax specialist Virusha Subban now leads the team, following the departure of Stephan Spamer to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Senior tax adviser and corporate tax specialist Denny Da Silva has joined from ENSafrica.
Other key lawyers:
Denny Da Silva
CMS South Africa
CMS South Africa has an experienced and established tax team led by Andrew Wellsted and Bernard Mofokeng. The group has a burgeoning private client-related practice, and is growing force in international structuring and disputes. It is engaged by both businesses and the tax authorities in tax disputes. It is increasingly active in the BEE segment and its membership of the firm's broader international network places it in a prime position for international work.
Andrew Wellsted; Bernard Mofokeng
‘Diverse commercial experience.’
‘Andrew Wellsted has well rounded business acumen and an understanding of business functions that most attorneys do not grasp. He is an innovative and creative thinker.’
Absa Bank Limited
Barak Fund SPC Ltd
Clover South Africa
FirstRand Bank limited
Limtech Biometric Solutions
Nedbank Group Limited
QED Actuaries and Consultants (Pty) Ltd
Sanlam Capital Markets
Sanlam Private Wealth
Volvo Group Southern Africa
Glyn Marais has a well-established tax practice, principally focused on financial institutions and real estate businesses. The team has a lengthy record in financial instrument structuring and corporate transactions. Richard Glyn is a seasoned practitioner and a recognised specialist in capital gains tax, income tax, specialised finance and secondary tax.
DLA Piper is a growing force in transactions and advisory matters, notably M&A, restructurings and financings. The Johannesburg team is particular active in tax matters related to preference share fundings. Andrew Lewis is an emerging name in the tax field.
Fasken's compact department has extensive experience in M&A and investments, including cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions. The team is also active in secondary investments in South Africa’s renewable energy sector. Financial instrument structuring is another forte. Conor McFadden leads the group.
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has a significant focus on the taxation of foreign currency instruments and financial instruments. It has a particular niche in representing large multinational underwriters on the tax aspects of warranty and indemnity insurance. It has also experienced growth in tax disputes representing both clients and SARS. Dale Cridlan is an experienced figure in transactions, advisory and disputes matters.
‘Quick and responsive advice that focuses on the issue at hand.’
‘The team is very passionate about the work they perform.’
‘Dale Cridlan is on point with his crisp and considered advice.’
McKinsey & Company