South Africa

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Bowman Gilfillan Inc

Bowman Gilfillan Inc is the South African member firm of the pan-African legal practice Bowmans which also has members in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The firm employs more than 400 specialised lawyers and offices in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has strong practices in debt and equity capital markets, M&A and energy projects achieving tier 1 in all of them.

 

Key clients

In banking the firm has developed relationships with Investec Bank, Nedbank, Ninety-One, Standard Chartered Bank, African Rainbow Minerals, ARM Coal, African Rainbow Capital Financial Services Holding Company Proprietary, Absa Bank, Absa Bank Kenya and FirstRand Bank.

In capital markets the firm has developed relationships with International Finance Corporation, The New Development Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, Barclays Capital, Imperial Holdings and The Standard Bank of South Africa.

In investment funds the firm has developed relationships with Sanari Capital Proprietary, Knife Capite, Phatisa Fund Managers, Trinitas Private Equity, Mphande Property Fund Managers, Sasfin Private Equity, Rockwood Private Equity, Kasada Capital, International Housing Solutions and SummerPlace General Partners Proprietary.

In M&A the firm has developed relationships with Anheuser-Bush InBev, Harmony Gold Mining Company, Imperial Logistics, Linde, Sasol Group Services, Mr Price Group, Network International, South African Breweries and Tongaat Hulett.

In private equity the firm has developed relationships with Sanari Capital Proprietary, Phatisa Fund Managers, Sasfin Private Equity, Kasada Capital, International Housing Solutions, SummerPlace General Partners Proprietary, South Africa SME Fund, 4D Innovative Capital and Evolution II GP Partners Proprietary.

In projects the firm has developed relationships with Hidroelécta de Cahora Bassa, Newcastle Energy, The Standard Bank of South Africa, FirstRand Bank, Absa Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, MMI Group, Vutomi Energy and Vedanta Zinc International.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm was active in banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, investment funds, M&A, private equity, project development, project finance and restructuring and insolvency.

In banking the firm worked on financial restructuring and loans for clients linked with banking and financial services.

In debt capital markets the firm’s work focused on note issuances for issuers connected with financial services, real estate and consumer goods and services.

In equity capital markets the firm’s work focused on private placements for clients in consumer goods and financial services.

In financial services regulatory the firm provided regulatory assistance to clients in financial services.

In investment funds the firm’s work focused on fund formation and structuring for clients linked to financial services and logistics.

In M&A the firm worked for buyers and sellers connected to financial services, consumer services and logistics.

In private equity the firm’s work focused on private equity M&A transactions for buyers and sellers connected with financial services, technology, consumer goods and production.

In project development the firm worked on a wide variety of work for projects in infrastructure, energy and mining.

In project finance the firm’s work focused on financing projects for clients connected to energy, construction and financial services.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm worked on corporate rescues and restructurings for clients connected with financial and consumer services.

In October 2020 Banking and finance partner Mark Kyle joined the firm from Webber Wentzel but in November DCM and finance partner Jackie Leggett left the firm and emigrated to Australia. In February 2021 M&A partner Chris Green also left the firm for Pinsent Masons.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Beitbridge Border Post PPP

Gamsberg renewable energy power plant

Harmony Gold Mining acquisition of AngolaGold Ashanti

KLL Group Proprietary acquisition of Tongaat Hulett

Mercedes-Benz South Africa ZAR6.95 billion bond issue

Newcastle 100MW gas to power plant

South African Airways restructuring

The South African Breweries Proprietary ZAR6.6 billion private placement

Tsebo Group ZAR2.15 billion financial restructuring

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/21) 

 

Bank lending: Lender side 

"Assessing all legal aspects of the project as the lender technical adviser." 

 

Banking and finance 

"1) Well regarded across entire lender group; 2) very organised and efficient/effective; 3) depth of legal and sector knowledge." 

"Responsive, pragmatic, astute." 

"Quick turnaround, depth of skills and availability, good commercial-orientated advice." 

 

Capital markets 

"1. Very professional - listen and understand our needs as a client. 2. Responsive and supportive. 3. Explain legalities simply and not in legalese to ensure as clients we understand the issues, which helps us to find solutions. 4. Fairly quick turnarounds." 

 

Capital markets: Equity 

"Good practical advice under pressure, great turnaround, between deals kept us updated on market issues, legal, regulatory and the stock exchange. Ryan Wessels is always happy to talk about issues in the market not just when the clock is running. Well priced." 

 

Financial restructuring 

"Exceptional work ethic and legal knowledge together with availability and mix of expertise across restructuring and banking and finance teams." 

 

Financial services regulatory 

"Efficient, cost-effective and professional - positive value-add to my business!" 

 

Investment funds 

"Competent, up to date with best practice, reliable." 

 

Investment funds: Private equity funds 

"Reliable and responsive. Solid, balanced advice, blending innovation with sound practice. Tactical and strategic. Add significant value and know our firm's objectives and help us meet them." 

"Meticulous, good spread of skills." 

 

M&A 

"Very good technically - full service - top class across a range of issues and practice areas - clarity of advice was excellent - made complex issues simple and were able to evaluate risk and advise in the commercial context where required - very responsive - diverse team - excellent value for money." 

"Exceptional lawyers, pragmatic, commercial, quality outputs." 

 

Private equity 

"Excellent understanding of early-stage venture capital/private equity dynamics and in particular how to work with new investors coming from a variety of different jurisdictions. The Bowmans team led the commercial work from the South Africa office but liaised extremely effectively with partner firms in Mauritius, where the investment holding company is domiciled, and Uganda and Kenya, where operating subsidiaries are located. The Bowmans team was extremely knowledgeable about legal and commercial elements of early-stage private equity investment transactions including VC terms, founder protections, managing multiple jurisdictions, and particularly in our case engaging with senior lenders who were indirect stakeholders to the transaction. " 

 

Project development 

"The law firm had a deep understanding of the project dynamics and had a clear, structured approach to meet deadlines and resolve complex technical legal matters faced with several parties with varying objectives. A pragmatic and commercial approach was a key factor we appreciated." 

 

Project development: Infrastructure 

"Always available, attentive to client needs, responsive and clear advice." 

 

Project development: Mining 

"Knowledgeable about latest legislative amendments and legal precedents. Quick turnaround time. Solution-oriented advice." 

 

Restructuring and insolvency 

"Exceptional coordination and legal skills combined with commercial pragmatism." 

"Sound and practical advice. Quick turnaround times. Diverse capabilities." 

 

Andrew van Niekerk 

"Andrew van Niekerk (head of construction) was the leader of the team that advised my company. I appreciated the depth in knowledge in all aspects of the transaction. They have different specialists that are able to advise on the specific subject." 

 

Anton Barnes-Webb 

“Well-rounded lawyer with excellent ability to assess risk and provide superior assistance as LLA. 

 

Casper van Heerden 

Professional, easy to work with and understand as well as accessible and available.” 

 

Charles Douglas 

He has the ability to apply his technical knowledge to give commercial and risk savvy advice in any context. He maintained responsiveness throughout, had excellent personal skills and integrity as well as local knowledge of the market, counterparty, opposing legal counsel etc.” 

 

Christine Rodrigues  

In-depth knowledge of the regulatory environment, solutions driven, she is extremely efficient in responding promptly and showed a high level of professionalism.” 

 

Claire Tucker 

Detail oriented, precise, she provides practical advice to enable the business.” 

 

James McKinnell 

Excellent knowledge of the law, he provided clear and concise advice. 

"James McKinnell provides clear, timely advice. He is clearly a very experienced litigator who has excellent instincts and who explains things clearly and concisely." 

 

James Westgate 

Astute, knowledgeable, pragmatic and impactful. 

 

Jan Kruger 

“Knowledge of banking, practical approach, being a former internal bank counsel gives him an edge others will never have.” 

 

Joanne Ripley-Evans 

Full understanding of the project and requirement from a debt and equity perspective to find commercial and practical solutions required. Furthermore, she was always contactable and willing to have discussions to better understand our requirements. 

"Meticulous, committed and responsive.” 

 

Joshua Janks 

Joshua and his team have chosen to partner and invest in the relationship with us. He has always delivered and prioritized us and was prepared to be flexible in costs and hilling to support the establishment and growth of our firm. He brings in other people as needed but keeps a finger on the pulse as he knows our business best.” 

Legal and commercial knowledge, mediation and negotiation skills, client relationship management were all the best we've experienced from anyone in any jurisdiction. 

 

Jutami Augustyn 

Reliableefficient and knowledgeable.” 

 

Ryan Wessels 

“Good practical advice, cost effective, great market knowledge, great personality and very approachable  

 

Ulrike Naumann 

1) Confidence inspiring individual; 2) Excellent legal knowledge and knowledge of bring in other team members for subject expertise; 3) Very efficient.” 

Positive, solution orientated, commercially and legally astutepragmatic and exceptionally well organised.” 

Very organised and strong at driving transactions forward. 

Very organized and driven with exceptional legal knowledge and work ethic.” 

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) is a South African firm with a pan-African focus. Founded in 1853, it has grown to its current state through mergers and now employs more than 350 lawyers across offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Stellenbosch.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm engages in high-end, complex work in all areas covered by the ranking tables and has large specialised teams focused on practice areas and industry sectors.

The firm has a particular focus on M&A work where they are in the top tier, but they are also very active in banking, debt and equity capital market and project development and finance.

Sectors of focus for the firm include agriculture, aviation, construction, engineering, energy, mining, and oil and gas.

The firm is able to advise on deals structured under a range of laws in addition to South African, including those of Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, and Swaziland, as well as Chinese, English, and Portuguese law.

 

Key clients

The firm has developed strong relationships within the capital markets arena with FirstRand Bank, Bank of China, 4 Africa Exchange, and NWK on the debt side, as well as EPP, A2X Markets, Caixa Geral de Depositós, and BKB on the equity side.

In M&A it has developed ties with Lebashe Investment Group, Tiso Blackstar Group, Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Remgro, and Ploughshare Investments.

In project development the firm works with South African Power Pool, Ethiopia Electric Power, and Biotherm Energy within the energy project space, as well as Pengxin International Mining Co, Lonmin, Northam, and Hitachi Construction Machinery Southern Africa Co in the mining space.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm was active in banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, investment funds, M&A, project development and project finance.

In banking the firm worked on final restructuring and loan work for clients connected with banking and financial services.

In debt capital markets the firm focused on note issuances for clients in banking and financial services.

In equity capital markets the firm worked on a range of areas for clients connected with real estate and financial services.

In investment funds the firm worked on fund formation and structuring for clients connected to private equity.

In M&A the firm worked for both buyers and sellers on mergers and acquisitional transactions for clients connected to investments, consumer goods, mining, financial services and technology.

In project development the firm worked on power, energy, mining and infrastructure projects doing bid, licensing and negotiation work for clients connected to power, oil & gas, mining, renewables and financial services.

In project finance the firm worked on financing projects for clients connected with renewables and transportation.

During the period partners Ian Hayes and Brian Jennings joined the firm from ENSafrica as did Vivien Chaplin and Rachel Kelly from Hogan Lovells. However, Lilia France and Giada Masina left for Webber Wentzel, Kendall Keanly left and went in-house, and Roelf Horn and Sandra Gore became consultants.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

DNI-4PL Contracts Proprietary acquisition of Blue Label Mobile Group & 3G Mobile shares

Equities Property Fund/Shoprite Holdings joint venture

Housatonic Partners acquisition of Metrofile

Lebashe Investment Group acquisition of Tiso Blackstar South African media

Lonmin ZAR3 billion refinancing

Needbank $2 billion bond issue

Remgro acquisition of Unilever spreads business in Southern Africa

Upjohn South Africa spin-off

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/21) 

 

Asset finance 

"Absolute experts who try to resolve matters and not to drag them to court." 

 

Bank lending: Borrower side 

"Responsive. Professional. Technically very strong. Pleasure to deal with." 

 

Bank lending: Lender side 

"The efficiency and accuracy in the work they produce." 

 

Banking and finance 

"The firm were very attentive to detail and well versed in all aspects of the law. They were very pleasant to deal with." 

 

Capital markets: Debt 

"Professional approach; through assessment of client needs and instructions; continuous engagement; meeting delivery timelines." 

"Legal and regulatory understanding. Also, contractual understanding and cross-reference of the suite of transaction documents." 

"Vast knowledge and experience of legal and regulatory aspects." 

 

Capital markets: High yield 

"Extremely efficient and effective. Think outside of the box. Very professional." 

"Exceptionally professional. Deep knowledge on relevant legislation. Flexible enough to deal with issues that fall outside of core scope. Our lawyers at CDH are willing to partner with us as we seek to introduce innovative new structures into the financial services sector. " 

 

Investment funds 

"Efficient and effective." 

"Pays great attention to details and great with translating legal jargon in ways commercial people would understand it." 

"Responsive and detailed." 

 

Investment funds: Private equity funds

"Thorough due diligence, legal opinions during legal drafting and strong negotiation capabilities on terms and conditions, and able to give advice on-the-spot."

 

M&A 

"Knowledge of topic; project management; follow-through; handling curve balls, delays, surprises." 

"The level of dedication, professional insight and risk management helped guide a very tricky deal for my firm." 

"They are well versed in the subject matter areas and very responsive." 

"Expertise, professionalism." 

"Dedicated around-the-clock support to assist the company in the achievement of its strategic objectives in respect of M&A activity. Focused, hands-on partner involvement providing strong technical advice and detailed project management to execute against multi-jurisdictional mandates." 

"Their advice is prompt and accurate and practical." 

"Commercial outlook to legal questions; highly skilled and well informed; reasonably priced and quick turnaround time."

"High-quality drafting. Commercial acumen. Good turnaround times."

 

Project development: Energy 

"Calm, authoritative, clear." 

"Constant consultation with the client, good negotiation skills, good knowledge of the jurisdiction. " 

 

Andrew Giliam 

“Efficient, responsive and through.” 

 

Ayanda Mhlongo 

"Strong legal knowledge on transaction dynamics. Attention to detail. Strong negotiation skills. Very knowledgeable on legal issues relating to transactions."

Very attentive and understands our business very well. Knows his limits and knows how to get extra support when he does not know or needs help.” 

"Has commercial acumen and is responsive."

 

David Thompson 

“He has specialist knowledgeexperience and follows through.” 

 

Gasant Orrie 

Very easy to contact and very responsive.” 

 

Imraan Mahomed 

He is very knowledgeable in the area and a good problem solver.” 

 

Izak Lessing 

Efficient and accurate, and good client management. 

 

Jacqueline King 

Jackie is very experienced, to the point and very knowledgeable in her field. It was a pleasure to work with her. 

 

Jacqueline King and Izak Lessing 

"CDH, and in particular Jackie King in conjunction with Isaak Lessing, were exceptionally experienced in building the Note Programme. They listened to our debt advisers and tailored a programme specifically for our business needs. " 

 

Jay Govender 

Clear, calm and authoritative.” 

 

Jenni Darling 

Jenni is professional yet engaging and personable. Her technical knowledge of preference share law in South Africa is beyond question and her ability to execute and meet deadlines, manage counterparties and problem-solve is excellent. 

"Jenni is an expert in preference share law in South Africa. She is professional yet personable, and her and her team's execution ability is second to none." 

 

Jenni Darling, Ludwig Smith and Jess Reid 

Technically excellent on bank and finance.” 

 

Jess Reid 

Jess is very knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with.”  

 

Ludwig Smith 

Ludwig is exceptionally thorough and highly knowledgeable. He is flexible and innovative enough to translate our commercial requirements into workable structures and agreements. Earlier in my career, I worked in private equity and high yield credit in the United States and Europe, including for a fund with $60 billion. During this time, we used two of the most highly ranked private equity firms in the United States. I would consider Ludwig to be equal to or better than the partners at those firms. 

 

Megan Rodgers 

Good negotiation skills and client relationship.” 

 

Pierre Swart 

He has market knowledge and experience in debt capital markets as well as legal and regulatory understanding. 

Pierre always hathe best interest of our firm at heart and keeps in touch with us on a regular basis. 

 

Roelof Bonnet 

Attention to detail, trustworthy and a good adviser.” 

 

Roux van der Merwe and Tamarin Tosen 

"Technically strong, they are incredibly responsive and solution orientated. Nothing is too much to ask and they have a deep understanding of our business and team and what our intentions and objectives are which assists them in exceeding expectations."

 

Stephanie Goncalves 

"She had relevant contract law knowledge of key components on transaction documents." 

 

Tamarin Tosen 

Efficient and effective.” 

 

Tessmerica Moodley 

Her advice is thoroughly researched and practical. 

 

Tessa Brewis 

She understands the company's business, has relevant legal knowledge and demonstrated innovative problem solving. She is value for money and had a quick turnaround time.” 

 

Vivien Chaplin 

Very good knowledge of issues and great responsiveness.” 

 

Willem Jacobs 

He is a clear communicator, simplifies complex transactions, is pragmatic in his approach and insightful in managing contract negotiations. 

ENSafrica

Founded in South Africa in 1905, ENSafrica is now a large pan-African law firm with a focus on commercial law. It employs more than 600 hundreds lawyers across as offices in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. The South African branches are located in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Stellenbosch.

 

Focusses / specialisms

From South Africa the firm engages and is experienced in banking, corporate, capital markets, M&A, and project development and finance transactions. 

The firm has performs strongly specifically across banking, debt and equity capital markets, M&A, and energy projects as well as project finance.

The firm advises on deals across industries, including agribusiness, aviation, banking, energy, infrastructure, and real estate.

The firm advises not only on the legal systems within African jurisdictions, but has also advised on English, Indian, Irish, and Swiss legal systems.

 

Key clients

The firm has developed strong relationships within the capital markets arena namely with Investec, FirstRand, Discovery, Santander Bank, Sasfin Bank, ABSA bank, Discovery, Nedbank, Airports Company of South Africa, Telkom, and Edcon Group.

In M&A the firm has connections with Sasol, Vodacom Group, South 32, and Sanlam.

In project development it has ties with Anglo American, Uganda National Oil Company, Lediadia Coal, and Enel Green Power.

In the project finance space, the firm has relationships with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, FMO, DEG, and IDC.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm was active in banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, structured finance and securitisation capital markets, M&A, project development and project finance.

In banking the firm worked on financial restructuring and loans for clients connected to banking and financial services.

In debt capital markets the firm worked on note issuances for clients in financial services and transport.

In equity capital markets the firm worked for clients in investments and consumer goods.

In structured finance and securitisation capital markets the firm worked for clients in banking and transportation.

In M&A the firm worked on for buyers and sellers linked to the mining, chemical and consumer goods sectors.

In private equity the firm worked on private equity M&A deals for buyers.

In project development the firm worked on negotiations and procurement work for clients connected to power, renewables, social infrastructure and mining.

In project finance the firm worked on financing projects for clients connected with financial services, renewables and mining.

In July 2020 banking and finance director Bradley Harber left the firm to go freelance.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Boikarabelo coal mine

ENX Corporation ZAR2.38 billion debt refinancing

Hammerson ZAR12.64 billion secondary offering

Karrooooo ZAR4.2 billion acquisition of Cartrack

Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa restructuring

Linde acquisition of Afrox shares

Metehara 100MW photovoltaic power plant

Sasol/LyondellBasell joint venture

Uganda East Africa crude oil pipeline

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/21) 

 

Asset finance 

"Always available to take our calls, great client focus." 

 

Bank lending: Borrower side 

"Extremely knowledgeable and excellent advice - they are great team players." 

"Quick turnaround times. Accurate drafting. Good industry relationships. Subject-matter knowledge." 

"Responsiveness. Commercial." 

 

Bank lending: Lender side 

"Responsive, quick turnarounds, added value to a niche structured transaction." 

 

Banking and finance 

"Very good at coordinating multiple parties and going the extra mile to track down signatories in order to close transactions within tight timelines; exceptional at drafting non-standard banking facility clauses; always available; contribute positively to commerciality of transactions rather than pure legal drafting." 

"Accessibility and availability of Sean Lederman as partner to address queries. They are very commercial in their drafting and the advice they provide." 

"Commercially minded. Solution-driven. Proactive. " 

"Proactive. Solution-orientated. Deadline-driven Client-focused." 

 

Capital markets 

"Knowledge of topic. Dealing with contract and disclosure requirements. Proactiveness. Client-orientated." 

 

Capital markets: Derivatives 

"Excellent understanding of the structure and the objectives we were trying to achieve, their fairness and commerciality. Avoided unnecessary negotiations and delays with the counterparty." 

 

Capital markets: Equity 

"Professional, knowledgeable, understanding and supporting of client's requirements and objectives that needed to be achieved through the transaction, particularly during challenging negotiations." 

"Very responsive and provided very clear advice. Very calm under pressure." 

 

Financial restructuring 

"Proactive; commercial; pragmatic. Exceptional turnaround of non-standard document drafting reflecting commercial restructuring agreements. Depth and availability of team very good. " 

 

M&A 

"Professional advice and excellent communication. " 

 

Project finance 

"Knowledgeable / Accessible / Good client management / Cost-effective. " 

"The firm has some extremely knowledgeable individuals who have a lot of experience." 

 

Anina Boshoff 

“Banking and finance technical knowledge. Knowledge of company-specific debt structure Industry relationships. Speed of response.” 

 

Craig Saven 

“Responsive, problem Solving, value adding.” 

 

Gary Oertel 

“Disarming personality with deep understanding of restructuring law and commercially pragmatic.” 

 

Jessica Blumenthal 

“Deep legal knowledge. Solution orientated. Great understanding of client dynamics and how to best implement.” 

“Proactive. Solution driven. Management of deliverables.”  

 

John Ferraz 

“Extremely knowledgeable about not just law but our business in general. An excellent commercial sense which makes his advice very valuable.” 

 

Julius Oosthuizen 

“Knowledge and communication.”  

 

Kelle Gagne 

“Knowledge of topic. Dealing with contract and disclosure requirements. Proactiveness. Client orientated.” 

“Pre-eminent expert on derivatives and South African regulations, very easy to work with, flexible and soft spoken.” 

 

Nkosi Tshabalala 

“Very professional and knowledgeable in his area of expertise.” 

 

Sanjay Kassen 

“Very calm and collected, provides considered advice. Also excellent when it comes to BEE structuring and considerations.” 

 

Sasha Singh 

“Very responsive, she has a fine depth of experience.” 

 

Sean Lederman 

“Always available and good at drafting nonstandard clauses.” 

“Always available to take our calls.” 

“Excellent lawyer.”  

“Highly knowledgeable. Good problem solver. Accessible and available.” 

 

Stephen von Schirnding 

“Responsiveness. Commercial.” 

 

Vusimuzi Magubane 

“Great technical expertise; practical and solution orientated; client orientated and great relationship management; accessible; value added solutions and services even post-closing of deal; and understands clients’ needs and develops tailor made client solutions.” 

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel is a full-service law firm in South Africa founded in 1868. The firm has over 450 lawyers and has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The firm is also in a collaborative alliance with Linklaters.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is a leader across the market, ranked tier 1 for banking, debt and equity capital markets, M&A, all ranked for all types of project development, and project finance.

Within these areas though the firm has developed a particular specialism for working with clients from financial services on a range of transactions.

 

Key clients

The firm has developed strong relationships within the banking practice with FirstRand Bank, Nedbank, Absa Bank, Mutual Specialised Finance, and Future Growth.

In the debt capital markets arena the firm has developed connections with Universum Global Survey South Africa, Eskom Finance Company, and MTN Group.

In equity capital markets the firm has ties with Pioneer Foods Group, Naspers, Omnia Holdings, Gold Fields, and Multichoice Group.

In M&A the firm has ties with Vunani Capital Proprietary, Cashbuild, Grobank, Isuzu Motors, Welkom Yizani, Ethos Direct Investments GP Proprietary

In the project development space, the firm has relationships with Rejem Linton Netcare, De Beers Consolidated Mines, Lebalelo Water User Association, Dynamic Mining, and Oil Tanking Mogs Saldanha.

In project finance the firm has connections to AfDB, The Development Bank of Southern Africa, The Standard Bank of South Africa, and responsAbility investments.  

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm was active in banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, financial services regulatory, restructuring and insolvency

In banking the firm’s work focused on three areas – refinancing and debt restructuring work, acquisition financing and revolving credit work. Most of the work in these transactions was for lenders connected with financial services.

In debt capital markets the firm’s work focused mainly on note issuances for issuers mainly connected with the financial services sector.

In equity capital markets the firm’s work concentrated on IPO and private placement transactions for issuers and purchasers from a range of sectors but predominantly those connected with the financial services or technology sectors.

In financial services regulatory the firm’s work focused on regulatory work for clients connected with the financial services sector.

In M&A the firm worked for both buyers and sellers on the acquisition and disposal of shares for clients largely from financial services or technology related industries.

In project development the firm was active across mining, energy and infrastructure. Within these rankings though the firm was particularly active with clients from the mining, oil and gas and renewables sectors on PPP and bid work.

In project finance the firm worked predominantly on financing related to energy projects, specifically for clients connected with renewable energy and oil and gas.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm advised on corporate restructuring transactions for clients connected with financial services

In November 2020 banking and finance partner Mark Kyle left the firm for Bowmans, whilst in February 2021 corporate partners Lilia France and Giada Masina joined the firm from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Botswana mining and solar infrastructure agreement

Capitalworks acquisition of Peregrine Holdings

Cashbuild acquisition financing

Cashbuild acquisition of The Building Company Proprietary

Lebashe acquisition of Tiso Blackstar Group

Mainstream 1788 acquisition financing

RTT debt restructuring

 
 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/21) 

 

Bank lending: Borrower side 

"Knowledge and feedback on progress and commitment to meet deadlines." 

 

Bank lending: Lender side 

"They have a broad network and are able to assist in multiple jurisdictions. They are able to think broadly and consider both legal and commercial issues when looking at a matter which allows for pragmatic approaches to issues whilst protecting lender's interests." 

 

Banking and finance 

"Always happy to assist even with difficult timetables." 

"Commercial and practical attitude." 

"Superior expertise and attention to detail. Completely reliable." 

"Very knowledgeable in the field of mining including the practicalities of obtaining security." 

 

Capital markets 

"The firm is incredibly responsive and very proactive in dealing with all aspects of any instruction. In the main, the lead partner Jesse Watson is one of the brightest legal minds and is unbelievably committed to doing his best to ensure transactions are successfully completed. Their fees are reasonable for the amount of work and commitment dedicated to instructions." 

 

Capital markets: Debt 

"A long track record of technically sound, efficient and commercial advice on debt capital markets. " 

"Prompt responses to queries, clear and concise legal advice." 

 

Capital markets: Derivatives 

"The firm has good depth, is responsive and thorough." 

 

Capital markets: Equity 

"Client-focused. Look for the right solution based on specific needs and requirements, with a practical business insight to the transaction. Access to expertise within in the firm with differing disciplines. " 

"Support deal negotiation, access to multidisciplinary team." 

"Deep and very thorough knowledge and understanding of the areas of law. Accessibility. High-quality opinions. Thoroughness. Outstanding work ethic." 

 

Financial services regulatory 

"Extremely responsive, clear and detailed advice which is commercially minded." 

 

Investment funds: Private equity funds 

"They are efficient." 

 

M&A 

"Excellent teamwork." 

"Responsive. Service excellent. Good advice." 

"Webber Wentzel was very responsiveness and knowledgeable in the subject matter. Provided a smooth interface between us and the Irish counter parties. " 

"Work ethic is outstanding, turnaround times are pleasing and there is added value beyond the legal work required." 

"Wide area of expertise. Adheres to timelines. Goes beyond the scope of the transaction to ensure proper governance." 

 

Private equity 

"Exceptional advice throughout on both matters. Acted very commercially but strategically as well. Deep knowledge on M&A and litigation." 

 

Project development 

"They are attentive to detail. They respond in a timely manner. They provide advice from a cross-section of disciplines from one firm." 

"Very responsive to new instructions and able to act on quick turnarounds when necessary. Clear commercial advice and easy to adapt that advice when new information comes to light." 

"Very strong on setting up IPPs and are domain specialist preparing PPAs." 

"Webber Wentzel gives concise and commercially astute advice." 

 

Project development : Energy 

"Always timely, precise and in touch and tune with the market." 

"Efficient, fast and knowledgeable." 

"Excellent communication at all times and fabulous project management. in-depth knowledge on local law specific issues but also a very good market understanding. Very personable team. " 

"From my personal experience, I have received trusted advice in the relevant field, good project management, good turnaround times." 

"PPA: deep and thorough understanding of key technical aspects of the PPA and how they are reflected in the legal drafting. Strong knowledge of the implications of the various technical processes and procedures. Highlighting key legal risks with real examples. Very impressive understanding of the renewable industry in Africa and power purchase agreements. Impressed by how available the partners were to discuss our matter and provide input on strategy without trying to take over the deal. Added a light-hearted human touch to serious negotiations. Rarely, appreciate WW keeping an eye out on potential opportunities within their client group and the market for us. " 

"Proactive marketing on joint initiatives - strong focus on service delivery. Willingness to 'risk' marketing work to assist in business development." 

"Quick response. Ability to clearly explain complex problems. Subject-matter expertise. Previous experience in exact matter." 

"Sector experts as well as commercial, and insightful approaches to negotiations." 

"The team represents a diverse group of clients and because of this they have deep sector knowledge that cuts across different practice areas. This is extremely valuable because they are able to pre-empt challenges and provide practical solutions." 

"Their resource allocation to the case, the experience demonstrated by the legal counsel, diligence and follow-up and keeping us up to date every step of the way. " 

"Top quality, good turnaround, industry knowledge." 

"Understanding and providing legal advice that allows for discussion and support to achieve the business requirements. A dedicated team that is always available for consultation." 

"Subject-matter experts, impartial." 

 

Project development: Infrastructure 

"The firm has deep intellectual knowledge of the field built on an open, constructive yet pragmatic approach on a team approach." 

 

Project finance 

"Good experience across sectors and ability to pull in international experience from Linklaters when required - helpful when pulling together a PF deal which touches multiple sectors." 

 

Adam Ismail 

“Excellent M&A lawyer with brilliant interpersonal skills as well as a great negotiator and problem solver.” 

 

Andrew Westwood 

High emotional intelligence, deep legal knowledge, a commercial mind frame and decisive.” 

 

Dawid de Villiers 

Concise and precise advice. Very responsive, always wiling to answer ad hoc legal queries. Clear commercial understanding of the needs of our business. 

 

Garyn Rapson 

His strengths include an ability to distill difficult concepts into easily manageable issues, a calm demeanor but with strong resolve to get issues attended to and dealt with.” 

 

Jason Van Der Poel 

Extremely knowledgeable, an outstanding lawyer.” 

"He interacts with us, is prompt, always available, timely, professional and extremely knowledgeable."

Jason has a deep knowledge of the renewable energy sector and he draws on his institutional memory to provide an excellent legal opinion.” 

 

Jesse Watson 

"Deep and thorough knowledge of the law and academic excellence is combined with a commercially driven solutions approach. He showed an outstanding work ethic, is able to manage the most complex transactions and yet is very approachable.” 

Mr Watson's best features are his intellectual competence, knowledgeexperience, work ethic, accessibility and his absolute brilliance. He has taken the time to learn the business intimately and has hence is able to consider various aspects to any transactional work.  He has also invested in building key relationships with stakeholders in the business and hence executives are able to easily call on him and trust his advice. 

 

Karen Couzyn 

Considerable experience, depth of knowledge and technical ability, combined with impressive turn around times and availability. 

Karen is knowledgeable, direct and doesn't sweat the small stuff.” 

 

Kate Collier 

“She has a deep knowledge nationally and internationally in the area of her expertise. She is thorough, tenacious, with an ability to work easily with all levels of clients from CEO to employees. 

 

Kathy Shepherd 

Superior expertise and attention to detail. Completely reliable. 

 

Lindi Marais 

Always contactable and a problem solver, if she cannot assist she will direct you to someone with the relevant expertise.” 

Responsive and knowledgeable about the product.” 

 

Madelein Burger 

Customer focused and solution driven.” 

Madelein is a skilled lawyer on all matters relating to corporate law and formidable force to have in your team in any M&A transaction. A particularly competent negotiator 

    

Michael Evans 

Michael is great at planning the defense strategy, and managing the entire case efficiently. He knows the law and would give us the implication of the possible judgement and outline our options. 

 

Mlu Mahlangu 

Mlu is very responsive, resourceful and knowledgeable in his area of expertise. 

 

Muhammad Sader 

He communicated, followed up & showed commitmentHe had a good team working for him.” 

“He demonstrated problem solving skills and met deadlines.” 

 

Rashaad Carrim 

Extremely user-friendly, is able to easily explain difficult concepts to lay clients. Adept at coordinating the different elements of the transaction with internal and external specialists. 

Rashaad is relatable, reliable and pragmatic in his approach. He has patience to explain and guide junior colleagues through complex structures as well as to clients and bankers. He is calm but firm in negotiations. 

 

Sally Hutton 

She was good at relationship management and ameliorated concerns.” 

 

Sbusiso Maseko 

Sbusiso is very responsive and gives well-thought-out advice despite the quick turnaround times required.” 

 

Scott Edmundson 

“Very practical and commercial. Understands our requirements.” 

 

Thapelo Thekiso 

“In-depth understanding of the law and provided practical solution to various challenges.” 

 

Ziyanda Ntshona 

“Very knowledgable and experienced and overall provided a good service.” 

 

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys is a corporate and commerical firm founded by Nathan Werksman in 1917. The firm is a founder member of Lex Africa.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a strong practice in all ranked practice areas in South Africa with a particular focus in its work on M&A transactions for sellers

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Investec Property Fund, Absa Bank, Investec Bank, Nedbank, Rand Merchant Bank, BMW Financial Services, Comair, SA Home Loans, Merchant West, The Standard Bank of South Africa, Redinkcapital, South African Reserve Bank, Vantage Capital, Aspen Pharmacare, Tronox Mineral Sands, Vestas, Korea Electrical Power Company, South African National Roads Agency, Glencore, and Bid Corporation.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021)

During the research period the firm was active in banking, debt capital markets, M&A, project development and project finance.

In banking the firm worked equally for both borrowers and lenders on a range of lending work including syndicated lending for clients largely connected with banking and financial services.

In debt capital markets the firm was particularly active on note issuances for clients who were mainly arrangers connected with banking and financial services.

In M&A the firm worked for more sellers than buyers from a wide range of industries but particularly the mining, technology and retail sectors.

In project development the firm worked on energy, mining and infrastructure deals with a particular emphasis on procurement, contracting and negotiations work for clients related to the infrastructure sector.

In project finance the firm’s work focused on financing projects connected with the renewables sector.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm advised on corporate rescue work for clients connected to the aviation sector.

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bhisho PPP

Cashbuild Management Services Proprietary acquisition of The Building Company Proprietary

Comair corporate rescue

Gauteng Freeway toll road

Investec Property Fund secured loan

Kopanong Precinct PPP

Panda Hill

Retail Logistics Fund Proprietary acquisition of immovable property from Shoprite Checkers Proprietary

 

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/21) 

 

Capital markets: Debt 

"Accuracy - draft copies required little to no reworking and were aligned to the briefing. Timeous - draft and execution versions were delivered within the agreed time period. Prioritisation - requested work was prioritised and scheduled to ensure client expectations were met. Understanding - representative attorney has a deep understanding of the business and structure ensuring that the work met commercial and structural requirements." 

"Approach matters practically and pragmatic, and don't overcomplicate matters. Technical know-how." 

"Unparalleled expertise in this area - we would not use anyone else." 

 

M&A 

"Attention to detail. Being thorough in the execution of their work. Well informed in the different aspects of law. Very professional staff." 

"Overall very knowledgeable and experienced in the field, very accessible to clients." 

"Professional, informative, experienced, resourceful firm with multi-disciplinary advisory services in one firm." 

"Thoroughly consider all aspects of transactions. High levels of competence in various fields. Ensure rights of client are very well protected in agreements. Easy to deal with, readily contactable." 

"Innovative and thinks outside the box. Flexible. Excellent. They are excellent in M&A work and corporate action at listed company level." 

 

Private equity 

"Professional at all times." 

 

Restructuring: Corporate 

"Commerciality of the advice provided, still ensuring that the company is legally and tax compliant. Understanding of the critical issues and being available to brainstorm practical solutions. Walking with us all every step of the way. Providing practical solutions on contentious issues, ensuring all stakeholders' interests are managed well. Being available at all times and going the extra mile. " 

 

Restructuring and insolvency 

"Easy to work with, quick response, professional." 

 

Danielle Magidson 

Excellent knowledge of the law, proactive and responsive.” 

Danielle is extremely knowledgeable in the areas where she has provided the company with advice. She seeks the best solution for the client and she will not propose a solution to the client unless she is firmly behind it. She is very thorough on legal and commercial issues, thus ensuring that she does not miss critical issues for the client. She is also very friendly, while remaining professional, knows her clients well and this makes it easy to work with her and get the best out of the professional relationship. Even when she is not actively doing work for us, she keeps in touch and sends us updates of issues that she believes we should be aware of or getting training on or proactively managing. 

Danielle has a long standing involvement with our company she understands the group structure and philosophies well. Very knowledgeable and experienced, she always has the client's best interests at heart. She is also easy to deal with and readily available. 

Very knowledgeable about the law, she is thorough and diligent in the execution of her duties and very good in interpreting and understanding the brief. 

  

David Gewer 

Innovative and thinks outside the box, he is flexible and excellent in M&A work and corporate action at listed company level, though David also has in-depth knowledge of other areas of the law, such as insolvency.” 

 

David Hertz 

Excellent overall lawyer with great experience. He gives honest practical advice at all times.” 

 

Eric Levenstein 

Positive, engaging, technical.” 

 

Gerhard Johannes 

Innovative, experienced, knowledgeable, Gerhard knows me and our business and places personal involvement to meet the timelines to ensure we meet the deadline. 

Professional, innovative and knowledgeable. 

 

Richard Roothman 

Attention to detail, deep knowledge and understanding of the company and its funding structureflexibility, he always delivers to timelines with accuracy and in line with the brief.” 

Practical and pragmatic approach to matters, and does not over complicate issues. 

 

Tracy-Lee Van Rensburg 

Unparalleled expertise in debt capital markets and residential mortgage-backed securities. Very pragmatic and client-centric approach - her solutions-based approach to everything puts her above the rest of the pack.” 

 

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy is the South African branch of the international Allen & Overy law firm and is based in Johannesburg.

Traditionally lender focused, Allen & Overy remains focused on banks in all manner of transactions. A member of the UK ‘magic circle’ the firm has 44 offices in 31 countries.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a strong practice in banking achieving top tier status in South Africa.The firm is also very active in debt and equity capital markets and project finance.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include The Standard Bank of South Africa, Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank, Turner & Townsend and Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending: Lender side

"A&O handled the negotiation with two very strong shareholders with a lot of internal red tape very skilfully and tactfully."

Dentons

In 2012 Dentons and KapdiTwala established an association that was considered 'a first-of-its-kind' between a Black law firm and an international law firm. Dentons have two offices in South Africa located in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Dentons is an international law firm serving 81 countries at 205 locations.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on energy project development but is also very active in mining project development.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Microsoft, Total, ABSA, Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Amazon, Barloworld, BP, Eskom, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), ODA, Old Mutual and Par Equity.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is a law firm in South Africa. The firm has three offices in South Africa, two in Johannesburg and one in Durban.

Eversheds Sutherland is an international law firm with over 200 relationship firms worldwide and 74 offices in 35 countries.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on M&A work.

 
 
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin is a law firm in South Africa which has had an established presence in Africa for over 130 years with the founding partner in South Africa commencing practice as an attorney in Grahamstown in 1879 before moving to Johannesburg in 1886. The firm has one office in Johannesburg.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a strong practice in both infrastructure project development and also project finance, achieving top tier status in both categories. The firm is also very active in energy and mining project development.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Investec Bank, Nedbank, Rockwell Diamonds, Decentral Energy Capital, Sharpeville Breweries Proprietary, Sunstone Capital, Rand Merchant Bank, West African Energy, DNG Energy and Absa Bank.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Financial services regulatory

"Readily available. Extremely knowledgeable. Thorough. Professionals."

 

PPP/PFI

"The partner and her team are always accessible. Response is provided timeously and professionally and expertly. What I appreciate the most about our partner is that she pushes back, when needed, to ensure that she is providing advice that is in the best interest of the company, and not just agreeing or doing what was asked from them. "

 

Project finance

"Highly knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Full scope legal services - entire package included. Well networked in the legal and banking industry. Great experience in other deals and able to bring this experience into the project. Engaging to all participants in the project, even to the borrower - great relationship management. Provides follow-on service and engagement in relation to post-financial close issues."

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais is a South African law firm established in 1990. The firm has two offices, located in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on banking, debt and equity capital markets, M&A and mining project development.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Sanlam, Naspers, Investec Bank, Anglo American, AfroCentric Group, Growthpoint Properties, Sinosteel Corporation, DRA Global Holding Proprietary, Accelerate Property Fund and Absa Capital.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

M&A

"Good commercial advice. Responsive. Very solid legal advisers."

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells is the South African branch of international law firm Hogan Lovells. The firm is led by managing partner Wessel Badenhorst and has one office in Johannesburg.

Hogan Lovells is an international law firm first established in Washington DC in 1904. The firm has over 45 offices globally in 24 countries and employs over 2800 lawyers.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on banking, M&A and mining project development.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Nedbank, African Development Bank, Credit Suisse, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Barak Fund.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending: Lender side

"Knowledgeable, quick turnaround times, reasonable costs and responsive to questions or queries. They manage expectations well and have excellent negotiation skills. "

LNP Attorneys

LNP Attorneys is a South African law firm established in 2017. Nikita Lalla is the firm’s chief executive, and the firm has one office in Johannesburg.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on project development work.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Lucara Diamond Corporation, Lucara Botswana, Canadian Solar and its related companies, Amarenco Group and General Electric.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Project development: Energy

"Detailed and accurate approach to contracts, well-balanced consideration of legal and commercial factors."

 

Project development: Mining

"Extremely knowledgeable - responsiveness and willing to meet at off hours to accommodate time. Changes - met tight deadlines - good at negotiating changes. Firm when needed."

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa is the South African part of the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm has over 200 lawyers and offices in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Norton Rose Fulbright is an international business law firm with more than 3700 lawyers and other legal staff working across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a particular focus on project related work, achieving top tier status in South Africa for energy, infrastructure and mining project development as well as for project finance. The firm is also very active in banking work.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Absa Bank, Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, Nedbank, Total, Development Bank of South Africa, PPC, Exxaro, Shell and RTI International.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Financial services regulatory

"Desiree Reddy is an experienced lawyer who understands the local financial regulatory environment. She has been able to provide us with the most transparent and precise regulatory advice over the years."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"NRF and its team have been successful in guiding our business interests and consulting to our management group the variances in SA law to Canadian Law."

White & Case

White & Case is the South African part of White & Case established in South Africa in 1995. The firm has one office in Johannesburg. White & Case is an international law firm established in 1901. The firm has offices in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a particular focus on banking and project finance work. The firm is also very active in debt and equity capital markets, M&A and infrastructure and  energy project development.

 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Absa Bank, African Development Bank, Bidvest Group, Glencore, Rand Merchant Bank, Investec Bank, Alfa Financial Software Holdings, Black Royalty Minerals and Nedbank.

 

Client Feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021)

Bank lending: Lender side

"The partner I dealt with is very approachable and thorough and understands this aspect of law very well."

 

Banking and finance

"Quick, efficient & knowledgeable. Great feedback from the client too."

"They are very responsive and attentive. Always willing to assist and I can pick up the phone to them anytime to ask any legal question. Their turnaround times are fast and just generally confident in their abilities and knowledge."

 

Capital markets

"They were fantastic. They know the market and the latest developments. They are very proactive."

 

M&A

"Giving the client the unfiltered advice (what client needs to know and not what they want to hear), attention to detail, ability to grasp issues and details of a complicated sector, ability to work under pressure and deliver time and time again, always willing to go the extra mile for the client."

 

Project development: Energy

"Commercially minded, detailed, pragmatic, focused on solutions rather than identifying problems. Always available."

 

Restructuring: Corporate

"Good balance between legal framework and commercial realities. Great ability to get things done. High conversion rate and 'can do' attitude."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Completely reliable, knowledgeable, and all over the detail. Commercially solution-oriented."