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The firm: Walker Kontos was founded in 1988 by Peter Walker and Alexandra Kontos. Today, the firm has grown to comprise nine partners, 12 associates, five legal assistants, and over 35 support staff offering expert legal advice and support services to businesses, corporate entities, banks and financial institutions (including microfinance institutions), governments, multinationals, state corporations, diplomatic missions, NGOs, development agencies, and private clients.

The firm’s focus lies in corporate and commercial law in Kenya and the region with particular emphasis on M&A, capital markets, corporate and project finance, energy, banking and securitisation, company law, privatisation, conveyancing, and property law and infrastructure. The dedicated litigation team handles commercial litigation, corporate recovery and ADR matters.

In 2016, Walker Kontos entered into a strategic alliance with global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, with whom it has forged a strong mutual understanding and working relationship. They share the firm’s vision for growth and – with more than 3,800 lawyers and a presence in more than 50 cities across the world – have a verifiable reputation as a global leader in legal services. Operating in Burundi, Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, they also have one of the largest legal footprints in Africa.

Areas of practice: Banking, finance and securitisations: as counsel to a number of commercial banks and mortgage finance institutions, the firm advises on various aspects relating to their day-to-day activities, new and upcoming banking legislation and prudential regulations as well as taking a proactive approach in a dynamic and evolving sector. The firm also advises development finance institutions (including IFC, EIB, DEG, FMO and PROPARCO) on various local and cross-border corporate and project finance transactions, syndications and debt restructuring transactions which require harmonisation as a result of multi-jurisdictional conflicts. Recently, the firm acted for Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited in connection with the proposed term loan and working capital facilities for the aggregate sum of US$25m to  a company in the manufacturing (confectionery) sector and guaranteed by a related company.

The firm also acted for Standard Chartered Bank Limited in relation to the US$35m loan facility granted, in relation to the purchase of a  mall in Uganda, to a subsidiary to be incorporated in Uganda for that purpose and secured by a mix of English, Ugandan and Kenyan law security created by the sponsors and related parties.

Mergers and acquisitions: the firm advises on a number of M&A transactions, both as counsel to the vendor and the purchaser. Its M&A work extends to advising on joint ventures, partnerships, management buy-outs and equity participations. The firm has acted in most of the recent M&As involving banks and financial institutions in Kenya.

The firm recently advised SBM Bank (Kenya) Limited in the acquisition of certain assets and the assumption of certain liabilities from and of Chase Bank (Kenya) Limited (In Receivership). The deal was innovative as it was the first receivership transaction to occur under the Kenya Deposit Insurance Act.  Accordingly, it was necessary to find ways to navigate around gaps in the legislation to allow the deal to occur.  We also acted for Prime Bank Limited (PBL) in the equity investment by AfricInvest Fund III LLC and Catalyst Fund II LP in consideration of shares in PBL.

Capital markets: the firm advises a wide client base including commercial banks and corporates on initial public offerings, rights issues, note and bond programmes including cross-listings on the five regional stock exchanges. The firm has acted for several commercial banks in their rights issue, IPOs and cross-listings.  We advised Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited in its KES 28bn rights issue as well as in the subscription of its untaken shares following the rights issue by Public Investment Corporation SOC Ltd.

Energy: the firm has acted in recent ground-breaking transactions in the energy (renewable and traditional) and infrastructure sectors. It advises on all facets typical to transactions in these sectors such as applicable regulations, government support, direct agreements, EPC contracts and all local law security documents. On the sponsor side, the firm guides its clients on all set-up and regulatory matters and helps them to navigate the complexities of Kenyan land law. Michael Kontos and Rahma Karanja are currently advising clients in the development of a 40MW solar PV power project and the development of a 50MW wind farm project.

Real estate/conveyancing: in addition to acting for banks and financial institutions in securities over real property, the firm advises real estate developers on projects from inception to third party sales. Its experience is diverse and includes complex leasing and management structures for the development of residential estates and apartments as well as industrial estates, business parks and shopping malls. One of the Firm's partners has been appointed to various task forces on land law, including most recently on the gazetted Regulations under the Land Act and the Land Registration Act. The firm is also currently advising Prabhaki Developers in connection with the development of an industrial park comprising 23 warehouses.

Corporate, commercial and company law: in this capacity, the firm is called upon to advise on a wide range of matters which affects clients’ day-to-day business. These are as varied as incorporation and start-up, joint ventures, corporate and management structuring, share issues, employment law, licensing and regulatory matters, financing, product development, environmental compliance matters and sales and acquisitions.

Corporate recovery and litigation: the firm’s litigation team primarily focuses on corporate recovery, employment, and insurance matters where principal clients include most of the commercial banks in Kenya and insurance companies. It has acted for client banks and receivers not only in debt collection and in the realisation of securities, but also in examining and putting together viable pre-receivership alternatives. The firm has also prosecuted and defended insurance claims including workmen’s compensation, employer liability and running down matters.

  • Number of partners: 9
  • Number of associates: 12
  • Languages
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Kiswahili
  • Amharic
  • Member
  • Loan Markets Association
  • strategic alliance with Norton Rose Fullbright

Above material supplied by Walker Kontos Advocates.

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