South Africa


Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews


Solicitors governing body: Law Society of South Africa

Competition authority: Competition Commission South Africa

Financial regulator: Financial Services Board, National Credit RegulatorSouth African Reserve Bank

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Banking, Capital markets, Competition, M&A, Project developmentProject finance

Jurisdiction overview

One of the powerhouse economies of the continent, South Africa is economically important both because of its domestic activity and as an investment hub for large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Rich in natural resources, the economy expanded rapidly following the end of Apartheid, with GDP almost tripling and the emergence of a large middle class. However, high levels of crime and unemployment and a stuttering economy mean that many of the problems associated with poorer developing nations remain.

In addition to the abundant mining industry, one of the major areas of development in the country is within the energy sector. Years of under-investment and poor maintenance has left an energy gap in the market. While that has led to problems with rolling blackouts, it has also created sizable opportunities for investors. Alongside the massive coal industry – around 90% of coal consumed on the African continent comes from South Africa – there are significant schemes like the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which seeks to massively increase the amount of electricity being produced from renewable sources in the country.

Increasingly, given the expertise gained by lawyers in mining, energy and infrastructure, South Africa has also become a hub for inward investment into the whole of Southern Africa. Consequently the market is dominated by international firms, largely from the UK, but also from North America and continental Europe, with a few domestic and regional firms also in the mix.

Government regulations prevent foreign law firms from entering into partnerships or fee-sharing arrangements with local lawyers and only domestically-qualified lawyers are able to practice. Therefore, the presence of international firms takes place through alliances and agreements with local firms who maintain a de jure independence, but in reality are de facto part of the network of international firms. Most firms are based in Sandton, Johannesburg’s central business district, but several also have branch offices in Cape Town and other cities.

Financial and corporate
Adams & Adams

Adams & Adams is an independent firm with a particular strength in IP; in the financial and corporate area it advises on banking, M&A, and restructuring and insolvency matters.

In banking and finance the firm’s activities centred on project finance, including relating to South African property development, and acquisition financing. 

A clear highlight of the M&A team’s work was advice to Setso Property Fund and Rec Group Property Trust on the sale of a controlling interest of their property portfolios to Dipula. 

In restructuring and insolvency, a clear highlight was the firm’s work for Swiss Krono on a debt recovering of the goods sold and delivered to the local distributor of the German flooring products company, which lead to the liquidation of the local distributor.

Client highlights are SCM Properties & Development, Nedbank, Primat Construction CC and The Standard Bank of South Africa.

Allen & Overy

In South Africa, Allen & Overy is best known for its banking and capital markets practices.

In banking, the firm worked on credit facilities and refinancings in the technology, energy and real estate sectors. Standout matters include advising Citi in relation to the refinancing of the Naspers revolving credit facility, advising the lenders in respect of Eskom loan facility, and advised The Standard Bank of South Africa in connection with a term and revolving loan facility provided to Steyn City Properties.

The capital markets team was active in both debt and equity deals, working on Quilter’s secondary offering on the JSE, and advising the South Africa on 10 and 30 year note issuances.

The M&A team acted on transactions in the energy, retail and infrastructure sectors..

In projects, the firm has been active in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Work highlights are the Narobi – Nakuru – Mau Road PPP, the 33MW Wesley wind farm, and the Khanyisa coal IPP.

The firm was also active in the restructuring and insolvency space, including advising various lenders on the restructuring of Steinhoff.

Staffing changes include the recruitment of Gerhard Rudolph, Widaad Ebrahim and Callum O’Connor from Baker McKenzie in November 2017. 

Key clients include Vale, Pandora and Harith General Partners and Africa Finance Corporation.

Client feedback

"Efficient, professional, deadline driven, proactive and thorough." – Project finance and development

"Excellent analysis and advice. The advice was short and to the point." – Banking, capital markets, and project finance

"I have not dealt with any persons at Allen & Overy except for Widaad Ebrahim and Bianca Singh.  They have both been extremely professional, competent, knowledgeable, intimately familiar with the matter and a pleasure to work with." – Restructuring and insolvency

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie in South Africa is recognised for its finance work in banking and capital markets.

In banking and finance, the firm worked mainly on loans, refinancing and project financings in various industries including energy. 

In capital markets, the firm advised on bond issues, securitisation programme and notes programmes. A standout deal saw the firm advise the lenders in relation to the financial debt and bond issuance by Petra Diamonds.

The M&A team acted for sellers and buyers in connection with transactions in various sectors, including advising MIH Holdings on its acquisition of Car Trader, working for Long4Life on the acquisition of Holdsport minority shareholders, and advising the Bidvest Group on the acquisition of Noonan Services.

In the projects space, the firm worked mostly in the renewable energy sector. Work highlights include advising Nedbank in relation to Zeerust solar photovoltaic project and Droogfontein 2 solar PV projects, and advising Absa and Nedbank in relation to the project financing of the 25MW Ngodwana biomass facility to be constructed in the Mpumalanga Province.

Karel Potgieter left the banking team in July 2017 to join Norton Rose in Australia. Frances Okosi also left the banking team in to be Chief Legal Counsel for the African Development Bank.

Key clients include RMB, Sibanye Gold, Nedbank, Investec Bank, and The Standard Bank of South Africa.

Client feedback

"Good and readily available." – Banking and finance

"Pragmatic approach with flexibility on fees." – M&A and project development

Bowman Gilfillan

Bowman Gilfillan is one of the most recognisable names in the South African market. It is best known for its capital markets and M&A work.  

The banking team advised on general corporate and acquisition finance matters, refinancing, as well as credit facilities in the real estate, infrastructure and mining sectors.

In capital markets, the firm assisted clients on rights issues, notes issues, bond issues, debt programme updates and rights offerings in the mining, retail and pharmaceutical industries.

The M&A team advised clients in the TMT, energy, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure sectors. Work highlights include advice to Oger Telecom on the sale of its Cell C majority stake to Blue Label Telecoms and Net1 Applied Technologies, work for Harmony Gold on the acquisition of the Moab Khotsong, the Great Noligwa mine and related infrastructure from AngloGold Ashanti.

In the projects space, the firm advised on the energy, real estate and infrastructure sectors.  A clear highlight is the work for the Department of Energy and National Treasury on the independent power producer procurement programme for renewable energy (REIPPP).

Staffing changes include the departure of Francisco Khoza in July 2017 to join ABSA Wealth and Investment as general counsel, and the addition of Andrew van Niekerk and Spencer Naicker to the projects team, with both coming from Webber Wentzel in June 2017.

Client feedback

"Commercial understanding of laws and regulations allowing them to provide apt advice for the bank in equity capital markets transactions. Able to offer accurate guidance and advice on short notice." – Capital markets

"The firm has an excellent telecommunications project team, and Craig Kennedy is a leader in his field." – Project development

"Great work ethic, quality, availability, responsiveness and turnaround times." – Project finance

"Jason Wilkinson and his team have provided us with a timely and good service over the past five years, responding quickly to inquiries and proving that they are able to deliver a good product on tight timelines. The team provides end-to-end transaction advice, drafting and implementation services and plays a vital role in managing the relationship between ourselves and in-country legal firms on our cross-border transactions. Jason is very knowledgeable in his area and is able to provide good legal solutions when required to accommodate commercial constraints or challenges." – Banking and finance 

"The commercial department is extremely good with a quick turnaround time." – Banking and finance, M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency 

"The team is competent and knowledgeable." – Capital markets, and restructuring and insolvency

"Very high-quality work with quick turnaround times and a commercial-minded approach." – Capital markets, competition, investment funds, and project finance 

"Very professional, knowledgeable, a good pool of expertise, extensive resources to cover multiple aspects and willing to walk the extra mile - on short notice especially when projects are on tight deadlines." – Competition, M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Very responsive, tailor services to company’s practical needs, flexible templates and commercial nous." – Project development

"Very well prepared lawyers, always helpful and willing to support." – Competition and M&A 

"We received adequate responses to all our instructions." – Banking and finance 

Jason Wilkinson

"Trusted adviser."

"He runs a good practice, and is great at developing his juniors and letting them run with matters with the appropriate oversight. He has a great depth of knowledge on matters of English law and banking and finance, and is always willing to brainstorm solutions. He is responsive and good to have on your side of the table in negotiations."

Ulrike Naumann

"Very efficient and sound advice. We appreciate her ability to provide not only legal advice, but general direction navigating certain commercial matters."

Xolani Ntamane

"Agile. Clever. Helpful."

Craig Kennedy

"Craig is a leader in the telecommunications infrastructure field! Very knowledgeable, technically astute and focused on workable solutions for all parties!"

Ashleigh Hale

"Walks the extra mile regardless the task and time required. Professional and knowledgeable."  

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a balanced practice across all areas of financial and corporate law, with M&A being its main focus.

In capital markets, the firm advised on notes programmes, rights issues and IPOs. Deal highlights include work for Global Credit Rating in relation to Blue Shield Investments 02’s note programme.

The M&A team worked in the oil and gas, food and beverage, and real estate industries. A clear highlight was work for Sovereign Foods on the sale of shares to Capitalworks. 

In the projects space, the firm acted for Eskom Holdings, the largest electricity utility in Africa, on the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme. In the mining sector, key clients include Anglo American, ArcelorMittal and Platinum Group Metals.

Staffing changes during the research period include the departure of Sibongile Solombela from the M&A team to join Hogan Lovells in August 2017. 

Key clients include African Development Bank, Agri Growth Investments and Novare.

Client feedback

"CDH is a professional law firm and has partners that cover all areas of corporate law. The lawyers are interactive and responsive in their approach and their turnaround time for documentation is good." – Capital markets, competition, M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency

"CDH was exceptional in its understanding of our firm's needs and provided relevant, practical and cost-effective advice in all aspects of our engagements. The work ethic of the team and specifically the partner was impressive in that their quick turnaround allowed our firm to significantly improve our execution timeframe. The experience of the team also aided greatly in pre-empting potential problems, and the team's subject matter knowledge and professionalism helped forge a good relationship with the counterparty (which in turn aided in an efficient and smooth execution of the transaction)." – Banking and finance, M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency.

"Excellent and practical advice without overcomplicating matters." – Capital markets, M&A and private equity

"Excellent practice and sound advice with rapid turn-around times, especially the M&A team (i.e Deepa Vallabh). No weakness that comes to mind." – M&A and project development

"Great relationship management, very commercially focused which is a differentiating factor from other individuals and companies worked with previously, would not swap to another firm." – M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency

"High attention to detail, knowledgeable, timeous and will walk the extra mile." – M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency 

"Professional, on-time delivery and generally available to take ad-hoc calls or attend to smaller ad-hoc requests. The firm has in-house tax capability as well as other disciplines when required. Partners have a good reputation and produced work to expectation." – Competition and M&A

"Quick turnaround time and have a commercial approach." – Competition, M&A and private equity

"Very experienced partner, great reaction times on every project, excellent depth of team - back up available when someone is away from the office, and ability to cover peripheral issues on the transaction - regulatory, tax, labour, health and safety." – M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Very professional, very good quality output in general, especially impressed with the availability of partners (they were available on weekends and after hours for long periods of time) and very proactive (especially on an M&A transaction that they worked with us on, actively thinking about what could make our lives easier and making suggestions to process etc. for our consideration)." – M&A, private equity and restructuring and insolvency

"Strong commercial understanding and creativity in achieving solutions." – Project finance

"Tessa Brewis and her team provided legal counsel to my client in the largest transaction in the sector within South Africa. The work concluded by CDH was exemplary and covered all aspects of the deal. Tessa was personally available at all times, including weekends, for counsel and work. CDH provided expert input into matters such as the drafting, negotiation, applications for government consents, and regulatory processes. I can only praise the firm for a job very well done and cannot think of any weaknesses in its work." – Banking, M&A, private equity, and project finance

"The individual partners and directors on my advisory teams are excellent, maintain aggressive turnaround times, and are very ethical in relation to advisory solutions and end-user client engagement. The quality of deliverables is very high, and there is no room for error. Deliverables are tailored carefully to exceed client expectations but more importantly are drafted in a manner that caters to sensitive, executive, diplomatic and governmental buy-in and understanding." – Project finance and development

"The lawyers are professional, responsive and ready to help. I am confident that the advice I receive from the firm is sound. Quality legal advice, and experienced professionals." – Capital markets

"Top quality and well connected in the market." – Project finance

"Very good people, knowledgeable, highly capable and committed." – M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Very good. David Thompson is a very good lawyer, negotiator, and a trusted advisor." – M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Very professional, risk-aware, quality international experience, open to listen to judgment, provide comprehensive feedback and has my best interest at heart. Handle large, medium and small M&A deals with the same effort and commitment regardless of the size of the deal."  - M&A

"Very thorough and considerate advice provided. Very responsible and knowledgeable partners." – Banking and finance

Tessa Brewis

"She is great, commercially-minded and always makes time to assist, irrespective of short notice or the size of the task."

"I rate her extremely highly, certainly as one of the top corporate lawyers in South Africa. As detailed in the previous section, her work is always extremely good - very well considered, articulate, expertly structured. I honestly cannot think of any weaknesses in her practice. She also has a top-notch team supporting her and as mentioned we are using CDH on a number of different matters at present. This is all initially based on our very positive impression of Tessa and her work undertaken for our company and our clients."

Willem Jacobs

"Fantastic in live-time direct negotiations, commercially-minded and always assists into getting to the end goal."

"Sound commercial legal advice. Very pragmatic in his approach to legal documentation."

Deepa Vallabh

"Very comprehensive and professional. Reliable and trustworthy."

"She was an absolute joy to work with."

Gasant Orrie

"He is brilliant and a pleasure to work with."

Roux van der Merwe

"Creative problem solver."

"Experienced, smart, quick reaction time, attention to details."

Tamarin Tosen

"Excellent drafting and turnaround time on deadlines."

Jay Govender

"Amazing experience advising everyone from developers to governments."

Anita Moolman

"Very thorough and diligent. Attention to detail is very good. Work-ethic is brilliant."

André de Lange

"Extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy."

"Very capable and dedicated. Seen as partner to our business. Very likable and an expert in its field."

Jacqueline King

"She is highly skilled and pays attention to her matters and clients."

Johan Latsky

"Very impressive depth of knowledge and very thorough."


ENSafrica is an independent firm with fully integrated offices across Southern, West and East Africa. The firm is strong across all areas of financial and corporate work and secures a number of top tier rankings.

The banking team advised on refinancing, acquisition financing and loan facilities. A highlight was work for Sasol on the refinancing of part of its borrowings for the Lake Charles refinancing project. 

In capital markets, the firm advised on notes issuances, securitisations, bond issuances, and capital increases. Deal highlights include advising enX Corporation on a note programme restructuring, and advising Discovery as issuer on a domestic medium term note programme. 

The M&A team worked on the TMT, finance, and real estate sectors. Work highlights are advice to Vodacom Group on the acquisition of Vodafone Kenya, and advice to a consortium led by RMB and Investec on the acquisition of the majority of the share capital of Kamoso Distribution Proprietary.

In the projects space, the firm acted on work in the mining, renewable energy, and infrastructure sectors working on the finance and development.

Staffing changes include the addition of Vusi Mathebula who joined the banking and finance team from White & Case in April 2018; Venetia Govender who joined the projects team from Investec in March 2018; and Wilmari Strachan who joined from Werksmans in May 2017. Diana Messerschmidt left the banking team to join DLA Piper in August 2017. From the M&A team, Gary Felthun and Craig Atkinson left the firm to join White & Case in December 2017 and Vivien Chaplin and Rachel Kelly left the firm to join Hogan Lovells in April 2017. Another three departures were Heloise Murray-Chinelli in June 2017, Taswell Papier in March 2017, and Curwin Francis in February 2018.

Client feedback

"Extremely knowledgeable of the local banking and insurance regulations, competitive pricing and always available." – Capital markets

"Large firm, good network, competent people and readily available." - Project finance    

"Highly professional, competent, access to specialists providing a full range of legal services, responsive, delivers on-time and good commercial sense and insights." – Banking, M&A, private equity and project finance

"I have been very pleased with the firm's level of service and its professionalism. Having worked with the firm on many aspects of the law, it is good to see that its service and standard is consistent throughout. The firm always makes me feel as though I am its only client and nothing is too big for its assistance." – M&A, private equity, and restructuring and insolvency

"Knowledge of our business, understanding of our needs and requirements, and promptness." – M&A, private equity, project finance and development, and restructuring and insolvency

"Market leader in Insolvency and Business Rescue - particularly in matters requiring multiple banks to work together. Pragmatic, consistent, and responsive. Step up readily when extraordinary commitment is required around time pressure." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Professional and sound advice, always." – Competition, restructuring and insolvency

"Very strong, skilled and experienced commercial team giving efficient support in mergers and acquisitions activity. Seamless collaboration across the various expert practice areas within the firm to deliver an outstanding client experience. In particular, the collaboration between the commercial practice team and the competition team has especially been world class.” – Banking and finance, competition, M&A and private equity

Clinton van Loggerenberg

"Industry leading on regulatory developments. Shown commitment to make himself available even if extremely busy."

Chevan Daniels

"Excellent technical skills. Excellent commercial insights. Proactive in identifying potential legal and commercial issues and ensuring these are addressed. Excellent drafting skills. Solutions minded and practical."

Gary Oertel

"Excellent in assessing commercial issues and critical legal points relating thereto. Excellent in managing relationships with key parties at banks and business rescue practitioners. Pragmatic and solution orientated."

Isaac Fenyane

"Very competent, technically sound and experienced lawyer."

Sean Lederman

"He is very competent, very knowledgeable and solutions driven. This is critical to the non standard nature of our transactions. We are always treated as very important clients."

John Ferraz

"Very thorough, practical, solution driven, understanding clients business, needs and requirements. Could improve on turn-around time but this is really not a big deal."

Sanjay Kassen

"Prompt, experienced, and capable."

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin

In South Africa, Fasken Martineau is experienced in work in the mining, infrastructure, healthcare, financial services, and energy sectors. 

In banking and finance during the research period the firm worked for lenders including the Danish export credit agency (EKF) on a portfolio financing to fund five renewable energy projects. It also advised the borrower and the sponsors for the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of 140MW Kangnas wind farm in Northern Cape and the 110MW Perdekraal East wind farm in the Western Cape.

In M&A the firm advised BrightRock Holdings and Lombard Insurance Company in the sale of a 53% stake in BrightRock Holdings to Sanlam. A clear highlight saw the firm work for The Dow Chemical Company in obtaining merger clearance in South Africa for the global merger of equals with EI Du Pont & Nemours.

The projects team has been active advising lenders, borrowers, and sponsors in a number of projects in the energy, mining, and oil and gas sectors. 

Staffing changes include the departures of partners Jamie MacDonald to join DLA Piper, and partner Samantha Saffy to join Bowmans in May 2017.

Partner Sue Collier left the M&A team in September 2017, but partners Michael Teubes, and Zainobia Mohammed joined it from Prinsloo Tindle & Andropolous in the same month. 

Ndumiso Dyantyi joined the firm as finance and projects partner from Norton Rose in May 2017, and partner Johan Coetzee joined from Glynis Marais in June 2017. 

Key clients of the firm Nedbank, ABSA Bank, Eksport Kredit Fonden, Bank of Nova Scotia, Lafarge South Africa, Cell C, Main Street 333, and ACWA Power.

Client feedback

"Pragmatic, seeking solutions even in the face of regulator demands that are not easily resolved.  Maintains respectful demeanour and positive relations with regulatory bodies despite the regulators' lack of motivation and lack of knowledge about the applicable industry." – M&A

"Strong client focus and good local expertise." – Restructuring and insolvency

"We are very pleased with Fasken's competition work - in particular with Stephen Langbridge and Huy Do.  The firm is excellent, good value for money, well-connected, and easy to work with." – Competition 

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais is active in banking and finance, capital markets, and M&A.

In banking, the firm worked for Absa Capital on the restructuring of the indebtedness owed to it by Titan Funding, and advised DRA Group Holdings on the establishment of a revolving loan facility and related security. 

In M&A, the firm advised Sanlam Investment Holdings on the acquisition of a 30% interest in First World Trader Proprietary, and advised Sanlam Life on the acquisition of all the shares in Absa Consultants and Actuaries Proprietary. 

Partner Johan Coetzee left the firm to join Fasken Martineau in April 2017. 

Other clients include Limagrain and Growthpoint Properties. 

Client feedback

"Glyn Marais is a highly professional firm, with traditional values along with prompt and friendly service." – M&A

"Overall, the firm's partners and associates are knowledgeable and reliable in terms of the advice they give. No obvious weaknesses spring to mind." – Banking and finance, M&A, private equity

"Strong technical skills, very diligent, very timeous and an understanding firm." – Competition and M&A

"Strong technical skills and experienced team members. Very commercial and understand complicated matters." – M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Strong technical knowledge in all the areas that we have required its services for. The lawyers are friendly, have quick response times, are easy to work with, understand our business needs and strive to find solutions that work for us." – Restructuring and insolvency

Herbert Smith Freehills

In South Africa, Herbert Smith Freehills is best known for its energy, infrastructure, mining and project finance work. 

In banking, a clear highlight recently was work for US hedge fund Ellington Management in relation to its acquisition of an equity stake in a portfolio of securitised non-performing loans originated by the Greek bank Attica Bank.

The M&A team has been active in the mining, oil and gas, TMT, and energy sectors, but most of its work is marked as confidential. 

In project development and finance, a deal highlight was advice to Southern African Power Pool Cordination Centre in relation to the BOSA transmission line, the project is set to increase connectivity and electricity trading between Botswana and South Africa and the entire Southern African region.

Other key clients are Deutsche Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sky, Industrial Development Corporation, Abengoa, and Engie.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa)

Hogan Lovells is active in banking, M&A, and projects in South Africa, and based in Johannesburg.

In banking and finance the firm advised borrower PPC on the restructuring and extension of its existing loan funding from International Finance Corporation, Trade and Development Bank to its subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The team also advised the Standard Chartered Bank as lender on the refinancing of all its exposure to a pan-African telecommunications provider. 

In M&A the firm advised Investec Bank in its acquisition of its head office in Sandton, and worked for Engie in the acquisition of the issued share capital of Thermaire Investments Proprietary and Ampair Proprietary. 

The projects team has been active during the research period but all the work is confidential.

New partner Christine Rodrigues joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright in January 2018, bringing expertise in banking and finance.

Directors Vivien Chaplin, Rachel Kelly from ENSafrica, and Sibongile Solombela from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr all joined the firm during the research period.

Key clients are Rabobank, Export Trading Group, Accor Group, Alphamin Resources, and Dell.

Client feedback

"Advice was very up to date and relevant; info on the potential future impact of legal changes was communicated well in advance and had sound technical knowledge." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Informative, diligent and knowledgeable." – Banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters is one of the preeminent firms in South Africa and secures top tier rankings across all financial and corporate areas.

In banking, the firm advised on refinancing, credit facilities and acquisition finance for various purposes. Deal highlights include work for Aldermore in respect to its sale to FirstRand Bank. 

In capital markets, the firm advised on share offers, notes issuances and bonds issuances. Highlight deals include advising Naspers in the sale of its shares through an accelerated bookbuild offering. On the debt side, the firm acted for Bank of China in a note programme offering.

The M&A team advised on cross border acquisitions and other corporate transactions in the real estate, mining, and infrastructure sectors. Work highlights include advising Redefine Properties on the acquisition of a real estate portfolio by Chariot, and advising AECI on the acquisition of Much Asphalt.

In the projects space, the firm acted for the oil and gas, infrastructure and energy industries. Highlights include work on the Ilangalethu 100MW concentrating solar power project located in Upington, Northern Cape as part of the South African Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme.

Staffing changes include the addition of Mark Kyle to the banking team in May 2017. The departures were Mike McLaren, Michael Denenga, Andrew van Niekerk, Kathy Jarvis, Bester Ngoepe, Meluleki Nzimande, and Shoneez Rugan.

Client feedback

"Expert knowledge and judgment at partner and senior levels, strong client responsiveness, willingness to bend over backwards and to extend the benefit of the doubt." – Banking, M&A, project finance and development

"High-quality advice with in-depth knowledge on the subject of power purchase agreements." – Project development

"Impressive capability to manage complex M&A transaction with multiple parties and stakeholders, a high degree of ownership of the process and high quality of legal advise." – M&A

"Professional team with commercial thinking applied to legal agreements." – Banking, investment funds, M&A, private equity, and project finance

"Value for money, response time, and sector knowledge." – Project finance and development

"Webber Wentzel is a knowledgeable and helpful legal practice to work with. The attorney we work with, Tyron Theessen, has extensive knowledge of the FIDIC Contracts and Contracting issues. Webber Wentzel has also provided assistance and information on the Project Insurance policies we have taken out." – Banking, project finance and development

"Webber Wentzel in SA operates at the highest professional standards in all respects.  The people are all exceptional in their fields of expertise.  No weaknesses." – M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Webber Wentzel is an outstanding full service firm." – Capital markets, competition, M&A, and restructuring and insolvency

"Work is of a high standard, giving correct and current advice, not necessarily what you want to hear, but what you must hear.  Could consider post-transaction management assistance services." – Project finance and project development

"Work provided is thorough, and quality is assured. This may mean a little extra time is taken to provide the same. Conduct is always professional and client-centric." – M&A

John Smelcer

"Excellent client relations skills, deep understanding of sector and deal making, easy rapport with counter parties, diligent, understands larger ramifications of transactions and risks."

Tyron Theessen

"Diligent and caring for his clients, extremely knowledgeable, professional, and prompt."

Jon Forman

"He is professional with an eye for detail. He is thorough and pragmatic. An excellent M&A lawyer." 

Kevin Hillis

"Well communicated, to the point legal advice; high level of responsiveness and good mediator of difficult negotiations; high quality of legal documentation; in some situations lacking leadership in developing flexible solutions for certain roadblocks despite generally high level of ownership."

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys is known for advising major financial institutions and banks in South Africa and has strength across the financial and corporate area. 

The banking team advised on acquisition and general corporate financings, project finance, loan facilities and refinancing over the research period. Deal highlights include advising Real People in a capital restructure transaction of its bilateral loan facilities, and advising Blue Label Telecoms in the debt restructuring of Cell C. 

In capital markets, the firm focuses on the debt and structured finance side mandates, including acting for Standard Bank and The Thekwini Fund 14 on the issuance of notes under the Thekwini Fund 14 asset backed note programme.

In M&A, the main sectors of activity for the firm were finance, mining and telecoms.  Highlights include work for Sasfin in the acquisition of the entire loan book of Absa Technology Finance Solutions Proprietary, advice to Samancor in connection with the acquisition of the business and assets of Hernic Ferrochrome Propriety, and advice to Prepaid Company in the acquisition of 3G Mobile Proprietary. 

Staffing changes include the hire of banking partners Danny Andropoulos and Paul Tindle in September 2017, and the departure of Ina Meiring, who joined ENSafrica in February 2017. 

Louis du Preez left the M&A team in May 2017 and Christoff Pauw retired in February 2017.

Client feedback

"Elliott Wood has provided exceptional service at favourable rates for a number of years. He has acted for us and for the banks that finance our transactions. We have no intention of seeking alternative legal assistance." – M&A

"Excellent and solution driven. Great turnaround time." – Competition, M&A and private equity

"I was very pleased with the firm's work. It was timely and business and solutions-oriented." – Competition and M&A

"Very professional service." – Capital markets

"Very thorough and reliable. We work well with Werksmans and with Gerhard Johannes in particular, who clearly is a strong lawyer and has our best interest at the core of the work done. Turnaround time has improved on each assignment, but there is always a desire for even faster turnaround time. Fees are fair and reflective of the time taken on the job. I would not hesitate to use Werksmans again and to recommend Gerhard to anyone who is looking to have a strong, robust agreement drawn up." – M&A

Elliott Wood

"Exceptional quality and well written agreements. Easy to read, record the essence of the transaction whilst identifying areas that require protection."

David Gewer

"Excellent and solutions driven.  A great problem solver."

White & Case

In South Africa, White & Case is active in banking, capital markets, and projects. 

In banking and finance, the firm assisted Nedbank and Absa Bank on the refinancing of Tharisa Mineral Resources’ project finance facility. Another deal highlight was work for Vale and Mitsui & Co on the development and financing of the landmark Nacala Corridor Railway and Port Project.

The M&A team has been active during the research period. Deal highlights include working with Power Malta in the acquisition by Power Malta and SGB-Smit of 80% of Allied Electronics Corporation shares in Powertech Transformers.

The projects team advised on deal in a range of sectors but all the work is confidential. 

In January 2018, the firm strengthened its M&A practice with the additions of partners Gary Felthun and Craig Atkinson.

Other important clients of the firm are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Total E&P Nigeria, the International Finance Corporation, and the Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings.

Client feedback

"Excellent advice, quick turnaround, practical, friendly and efficient." – M&A

"Good team and sound advice." – Competition, M&A, project development

"Professional and personable outfit. Thoroughly enjoying working with W&C, specifically the partners in South Africa." – Banking and finance, M&A