White & Case advised on the transaction African Banker magazine named "Deal of the Year–Debt" at its 10th annual African Banker Awards ceremony on May 25 in Lusaka, Zambia. A panel of expert judges selected the 2016 award winners from more than 200 entries submitted from all over the continent.
In the winning transaction, White & Case acted for the Government of the Republic of Cameroon on a euro/US dollar cross-currency swap for hedging the US dollar exposure under Cameroon's debut sovereign US$750 million Eurobond. The Firm was responsible for drafting and negotiating a highly customized structure to achieve this hedge, as the hedging agreement was overlaid by a partial guarantee from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which had never before provided a guarantee for the performance of a sovereign under a swap transaction.
Led by Ingrid York (London), who was assisted by Cenzi Gargaro (Paris) and associates Nate Crowley (London), Richard Blackburn (London) and Gregoire Karila (Paris), the White & Case team coordinated the entire transaction alongside financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard (who acted as financial advisor for the deal) and Cameroon Ministry of Finance representative Leonard Kobou Djongue, who was assisted by Sidi Mougnal, Hervé Manfouo Fouotsa, Ange Patrick Demenou, Eloi Tiigribe and Jules Bertrand Tagwo Nana.
"White & Case has a substantial and highly successful track record of advising sovereign clients in emerging markets, which was clearly recognized by our appointment on this groundbreaking mandate," said York. "We were able to coordinate a successful transaction which balanced the requirements and expectations of our client, the African Development Bank and the financial institutions which participated."
Our instruction was facilitated by the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), an international institution affiliated with the AfDB, who was responsible for the procurement process and who also provided on-the-ground support during the initial commercial structuring with potential hedging banks. The ALSF works to provide legal assistance to African countries related to complex commercial transactions, commercial creditor disputes and other sovereign transactions.
African Banker is a quarterly magazine dedicated to banking and finance in Africa. The African Banker Awards recognize the reforms, rapid modernization, consolidation, integration and expansion of Africa's banking and financial sector, according to the magazine.