Global law firm White & Case LLP has added South-African counsel, Natascha Belford, and four associates to its Johannesburg office as the Firm continues to strengthen its capabilities in South Africa, and the wider sub-Saharan market.
"We are continuing to see increased demand from clients in relation to Africa and are reinforcing our capabilities in response," said partner Philip Stopford, Chair of the Firm's EMEA Operations Council. "We have active teams in London, Paris, Washington DC, Beijing and Johannesburg working together to advise clients on Africa-related matters in a broad range of areas. In particular, we identified the need to increase our bank finance capability in Johannesburg for clients operating in South Africa and more broadly in sub-Saharan Africa. The arrivals of partner Josh Parbhu from London to Johannesburg in 2010, and Natascha's hire, have addressed this need, but we have also added capability in important areas such as mining and metals."
Natascha joins from the Investment Banking Division of ABSA Capital, where she spent five and a half years as in-house legal counsel advising on a variety of bank finance transactions including secured and unsecured debt financing transactions, acquisition finance and leveraged finance, preference share funding and tax structuring transactions.
In addition to Natascha, White & Case has recently added four associates to its Johannesburg office. Most recently Sarah Lafleur, a Canadian metals and mining specialist, has joined from Fasken Martineau. Sarah has five year's experience in the metals and mining sector, is a fluent French speaker, and has significant experience completing projects across sub-Saharan Africa, including extensive experience living and working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sarah is joined by South African associates Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe, Lauren Petersen and Gary Anderson.
"We are adding to our team in the Johannesburg office to provide our clients better access to a range of on-the-ground international legal services, supported with the depth of resources of a leading global law firm," said Steve Raney, executive partner of the Firm's Johannesburg office.
White & Case opened its South African office in 1995 and has been advising clients in the African continent for more than 30 years.
Recent transactions the Firm has advised on in Africa include:
(1) Represented the Gabonese Republic in its issue of US$1 billion 8.20% Senior Notes due 2017. This transaction was the first international bond issue by the Gabonese Republic. JPMorgan Securities Ltd and Citigroup Global Markets Limited acted as joint lead managers.
(2) Represented HSBC and Standard Bank in connection with the establishment of a US$1 billion MTN programme for the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank and a US$300 million debut issue of notes under the programme. The transaction is the first Eurobond ever from an East African issuer, either sovereign or corporate and the only corporate Eurobond from Sub Saharan Africa in 2010 and only one since 2007.
(3) Represented Life Healthcare Group Holdings Limited (a South African registered healthcare company operating in South Africa) on its initial public offering on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which raised US$680 million giving the company a market capitalisation of approximately US$1.85 billion. This was one of the largest ever IPO on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
(4) Represented Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (SNIM) of Mauritania in relation to the US$710 million multi-sourced financing for the expansion of SNIM's existing Guelb iron ore mine, the construction of a new mineral port at Nouadhibou, Mauritania. This transaction was named as a Trade Finance "Deal of the Year"
(5) Represented the Republic of Senegal in its Eurobond issue of US$200 million 8.75% Notes due 2014. This was Senegal's debut bond transaction.
(6) Represented HSBC and LGI Ventures, as part of a wider group of investors and banks, in connection with a US$1.2billion investment in satellite operator O3b Networks Limited, a developer of a new fibre-quality, satellite-based global internet backbone for telecommunications operators and internet service providers serving the emerging markets. This project was recently named "Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year" at the PFI Awards 2010.
(7) Represented Jidong Development, as project sponsor, in a joint venture with the South African Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold), China-Africa Development Fund and Continental Cement to build a US$221 million cement plant in South Africa. The project represents one of China's biggest foreign direct investments in South Africa to date.
(8) Represented Eskom, South Africa's state owned power utility, in connection with the ECA covered financing arrangements for €705 million. The loans covered by Germany's Euler Hermes, provided export finance to Eskom at a critical time to fund part of the foreign content of the Kusile boiler contract with Hitachi Power Europe. This transaction was named as both a Global Trade Review and Trade Finance "Deal of the Year" for 2009.
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