3 January 2011 by , , , , and

IFLR ranks Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr lawyers among the world's leading financial lawyers for 2011

Congratulations are due to a number of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr directors who have been recognised by the IFLR1000 in its recently published rankings of South Africa's leading financial law firms for 2011.

The International Financial Law Review's (IFLR) financial law firm rankings are based on the recommendations of in-house counsel at the world's most prominent financial institutions and companies, as well as the leading lawyers. The IFLR research covers four practice areas: capital markets, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions and competition.

Capital Markets

The leading lawyers at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr are named as: Joz Coetzer, Ian Hayes, Deon Wilken.

The IFLR comments:

Cliffe Dekker is especially strong on the debt side of the capital markets. Joz Coetzer is the main name in the firm for capital markets and comes highly recommended by competitors and clients for equity and debt work.

Other key figures include M&A expert Ian Hayes in the equity markets, and directors Deon Wilken and Craig Whitley for a wide spread of finance work and securities. Senior associate Nathisha Maharaj also manages an active practice.

The firm recently recruited well-established general finance lawyer Ludwig Smith, former partner of Tugendhaft Wapnick Banchetti & Partners, to director level and his colleague and Anli Koen, a structured finance lawyer, to associate. The moves partly counter the departures of two partners and associates from the firm.

Deon Govender and Maharaj continue to provide advice to Mercedes-Benz South Africa on various note issues under a domestic MTN Programme, some of which were commercial paper issues and some of which were listed on Besa (the Bond Exchange of South Africa), valued at $115 million annually. The work has been ongoing since October 2008. Other key clients of the firm include Absa Capital.

The firm is ranked in Tier 2.

Banking and Finance


Project Finance

Leading lawyers: Joz Coetzer, Jackie Pennington, Deon Wilken

The IFLR comments:

Cliffe Dekker has a mixed banking and finance practice headed by Joz Coetzer in Johannesburg and Jerome Veldsman in Cape Town. Deon Wilken, and Jackie Pennington have active finance practices and Claire Barclay, Deon Govender and Kieran Whyte have expertise in projects and public-private partnerships (PPP).

Practitioners consistently recognise Coetzer, Wilken and Pennington as a key reason for a high ranking for the firm. "We come across a lot in banking and finance with Coetzer and Wilken," says a peer, who recommends Pennington as "an assertive negotiator". Barclay is recommended by fellow leading project finance experts.

The firm also recently recruited well-established general finance lawyer Ludwig Smith, former partner of Tugendhaft Wapnick Banchetti & Partners, to director level and colleague Anli Koen to associate.

The firm is ranked in Tier 2 in banking and Tier 3 in project finance.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Leading lawyers: Chris Ewing, Ian Hayes, Willem Jacobs

The IFLR comments:

Clients and peers have high praise for Ian Hayes, who is another of the top M&A practitioners in the country, and for the up-and-coming Banzi Malinga. "Look out for him", says one leading M&A lawyer.

Other key names include the very experienced Chris Ewing, Willem Jacobs and David Pinnock. Johan Latsky, an expert in financial sector projects, regularly leads on big-ticket transactions, most notably for Remgro.

In highlight deals, Hayes led a team of Marc Friedman and Lara Fitz-Gibbon to advise Casinos Austria on a $132 million disposal of a 20.6% stake in Gold Reef Resorts, and Latsky advised Remgro on a $616 million proposed merger with Venfin.

Malinga helped Batho Bonke Capital exercise a $342 million option to acquire a large stake in the Absa Group, and Willem Jacobs led a team of Quintin Honey and Priyan Pillay to act for ArcelorMittall on a scheme of arrangement to acquire 10% of the number of issued ArcelorMittal ordinary shares from ArcelorMittal shareholders.

The firm is ranked in Tier 2.


Leading lawyers: Nick Altini, Chris Charter, Petra Krusche, Mondo Ntlha

The IFLR comments:

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a number of very highly regarded competition lawyers in its department, which is led by Mondo Nthla. Peers recommend Petra Krusche, Nick Altini and Chris Charter.

"Charter is the best guy there in my opinion and he will do very well," says a leading client, while a peer says the firm has a "big commercial client base and handles a steady stream of work in a solid way."

In highlight work, Mondo Ntlha, Vishal Koovejee and Janine Simpson were engaged by South African Airways (SAA) in relation to a dawn raid by the Competition Commission (CC) of domestic airlines for alleged collusion regarding airline ticket prices for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In a high-profile mandate, Altini and Charter advised Pioneer Foods to oppose the CCs appeal for an increased fine for anti-competitive behaviour in the bread industry. The firm is also advising on of abuse matters in markets including poultry, eggs, animal feed, maize milling and bread.

Charter was defending Coca-Cola South Africa, Coca-Cola Company and various Coca-Cola Licensed Bottlers against a CC investigation into its cross-border bottling business.

Natalie von Ey advised Harmony Gold Mining Company in its acquisition of certain gold mining assets owned by Pamodzi Gold Free State and Petra Krusche advised Shoprite Checkers against the CC for alleged anti-competitive practices in a number of fields.

Andries le Grange also led a major deal advising Senwes on abuse of dominance issues.

The firm is ranked in Tier 2.

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