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Bowmans one firm strategy delivers results at the African Legal Awards

16 September 2016

Leading pan-African law firm, Bowmans walked away with three awards at the prestigious African Legal Awards hosted by Legal Week and the Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa in Johannesburg on 9 September 2016.

The firm received the awards for Banking, Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year, Employment Team of the Year, and Property Team of the Year. The firm was also “highly commended” in two categories – African Law Firm of the Year and IP Team of the Year.

Bowmans chairman and senior partner, Robert Legh, says: “We are delighted to have received these awards, which confirm that our integrated approach to serving clients as one firm across the continent is delivering top-class results.”

The firm won the Banking, Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year Award for its work advising longstanding client, Mara Delta Property Holdings (Mara Delta), in its key strategic investment to acquire the Anfa Place Shopping Centre in Morocco.

Mara Delta is a premier sponsor amongst pan-African property income funds and is listed on the JSE and SEM. This landmark deal was highly complex and contained multiple levels of security across a number of jurisdictions (including Bahrain, Mauritius, Morocco and South Africa). It required a well thought out legal, commercial and practical strategy to ensure closing within a very tight and fixed timeframe, while, at the same time, allowing the lenders to retain sufficient control and security.

The firm won the Employment Team of the Year Award for acting as lead counsel to SABMiller in the formation of Africa’s largest Coca-Cola bottler – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA). CCBA was formed by combining the African non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling interests of SABMiller plc, The Coca-Cola Company, and Gutsche Family Investments.

The team’s role as advisors to SABMiller involved employment advice on, inter alia, the transfer of the business of ABI from SAB (Pty) Limited to ABI Bottling (Pty) Limited, the organisational restructuring of the businesses of the various entities being contributed to Coca Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) as a result of the transaction, union engagement in the lead up and subsequent to the creation of CCBA and various aspects pertaining to the Competition Commission process, including advice on the public interest conditions pertaining to employment negotiated with various stakeholders and ultimately imposed by the Competition Tribunal. 

The firm won the Property Team of the Year Award for advising Old Mutual Property (OMP) in its financing of the Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre (TRLC) which constructed the Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi.

The team devised a legal structure that expedited the regulatory approval process. Its work extended to the legal due diligence and structuring of the transaction, the negotiating and drafting of various transaction documents, revising constitution of the TRLC, and obtaining merger approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya and COMESA Competition Commission.

Legh concludes, “We believe Bowmans is differentiated firstly by our legal knowledge and secondly by our depth of experience of local complexities across Africa. These awards show that the industry recognises the value of this approach in enabling us to deliver specialist legal services across various jurisdictions in Africa seamlessly.”

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