Africa offers a vast range of opportunities thanks to the large number of different countries, recent political reforms and advancements in technology. It is becoming an increasingly attractive place to do business. The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Agreement creates an enabling environment for economic growth, attraction of foreign direct investment and increased intra-Africa trade. Countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world.
We have been at the forefront of transactions in Africa for many years and have gained a considerable amount of knowledge working across this diverse continent. We have a deep understanding of the legal systems, varied local cultures and socio–economic considerations. Our experience of working in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and many other African countries covers many different sectors and types of transactions.
We are uniquely placed to advise international corporates, financial sponsors, banks and other businesses with their investments into Africa, as well as supporting African businesses with their domestic and international (both intra-Africa and more widely) strategic work. We have worked with governments in Africa for over 35 years and have built up a broad understanding of how politics operates in respect of business, specifically the challenges faced by governments when transacting with the private sector.
We advised Kosmos Energy on its US$1.6 billion reserves-based facility, which represents Africa’s largest reserves-based financing. The facility supports further development of the Jubilee Field located offshore Ghana, the Greater Tortue development offshore Mauritania and Senegal, and assets located offshore Equatorial Guinea. In relation to many of these projects, we also advised Kosmos Energy on aspects of project acquisition, development and disposal.
We advised the Government of the Republic of Botswana on a broad range of work, including in the copper, diamond, nickel, soda ash and coal industries; power and railways; and advising on corporate governance and new legislation. More specifically we have advised in relation on:
- the Okavango Diamond Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Government of the Republic of Botswana, in connection with a US$100 million secured invoice financing facility
- the Government’s 10-year sales agreement with De Beers for the sorting, valuing, marketing and sale of Debswana’s diamond production. Debswana is a 50:50 joint venture between the Government and De Beers
- legislation in respect of the regulation of the extraction of minerals.
We advised Aker Energy AS on its proposed acquisition of Hess Corporation’s interests in Ghana, consisting of a 50% participating interest in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block.
The DWT/CTP block covers approximately 2,010 square kilometres, with discovered contingent resources estimated to be 550 million barrels (2C) and a remaining prospective volume upside of approximately 400 million barrels. The total cash consideration for the transaction is US$100 million, consisting of US$25 million payable upon closing of the transaction and a further US$75 million payable upon approval of the plan for development and operation on the DWT/CTP block.
The acquisition is subject to approval from the relevant Ghanaian authorities and other customary closing conditions.
We advised Atlas Mara on its strategic financing agreement with Fairfax Africa. The strategic investment will be used to support Atlas Mara's growth initiatives and will be anchored by US$200 million of new capital from Fairfax Africa and existing shareholders of the Company, comprising of:
- a US$100 million equity offering of new ordinary shares at a price of US$2.25 per share. Qualifying existing Atlas Mara shareholders will be invited to participate in the equity offering by way of an open offer alongside Fairfax Africa, which will serve as the committed underwriter of the equity offering; and
- and a US$100 million mandatory convertible bond to be issued to Fairfax Africa, which will convert into new ordinary shares upon the closing of the open offer.
The proceeds of the strategic financing are primarily intended to support Atlas Mara’s commitment to UBN and Nigeria and to fund (i) the acquisition of an additional equity interest in UBN; (ii) Atlas Mara’s subscription of its pro rata entitlements under a forthcoming rights issue announced by UBN; and (iii) further expansion of the Atlas Mara group's strategic business lines of Markets and Treasury and FinTech.
We advised Sasol Limited, the South African chemicals and energy company, on the refinancing of its existing US$1.5 billion revolving credit facility and various bilateral credit facilities. Sasol launched the transaction with a targeted facility size of US$3 billion, which was subsequently increased to US$3.9 billion, reflecting notable oversubscription by the bank group. The new revolving credit facility has an initial maturity of five years, subject to two extension options of one year each.
We are advising British American Tobacco plc (BAT) in respect of a potential claim brought under Malawian Law by a number of Malawian tobacco farmers, concerning allegations of child and forced labour on third party farms in Malawi. Claimant law firm Leigh Day has sent BAT a letter of claim which includes a number of alleged causes of action, focusing on potential claims for unjust enrichment and negligence.
In particular, Leigh Day seek to build on the Supreme Court decision in Lungowe v Vedanta to extend a duty of care to certain BAT entities for the alleged sufferings of the claimants. Leigh Day has stated publicly that it is likely to commence formal legal proceedings, in which it hopes to sign up to 15,000 individual claimants, which would make the case one of the largest group litigation claims in English legal history.