Our Finance & Banking lawyers

are adept at managing the legal aspects of complex deals and projects.

Groundbreaking Matters

“The firm is knowledgeable and customer centred.” Capital markets: Debt

IFLR1000 2020

“The firm has a highly experienced team in debt funding and they are excellent drafters of agreements.” Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

IFLR1000 2020

Clients highlight their “prompt and efficient advice,” going on to describe it as “commercially minded - they seek to find creative solutions to challenging issues.”

Chambers Global 2019

Clients appreciate the team’s ability to go above and beyond, praising its “attention to detail and holistic approach to the advice given.”

Chambers Global 2019

Our finance and banking advice and services cover:

  • Debt capital markets.
  • Project finance.
  • Public-private partnerships.
  • Commodity trade finance.
  • Acquisition finance.
  • General banking and investment structures.
  • Pensions and employee benefits.
  • Lending arrangements.
  • Compliance.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented the super senior creditors Absa Bank Limited, Deutsche Bank AG, Johannesburg Branch, Credit Suisse AG, London Branch, JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Johannesburg Branch, Standard Chartered Bank, Johannesburg Branch, The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, Morgan Stanley Bank International Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited and Investec Bank Limited in all aspects of the financial restructuring of the Edcon Group. Edcon is the leading clothing, footwear and textiles retailing group in Southern Africa, and trades through a number of retail formats.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented the lending consortium (Standard Bank of South Africa acting through its Corporate & Investment Banking Division in its capacity as preference share agent; Nedbank Limited acting through its Corporate & Investment Banking Division; Firstrand Bank Limited acting though its Rand Merchant Bank Division; Liberty Group Limited; and Avbob Mutual Assurance Society) in the ZAR 1 billion-plus financing for Afric Energy Resources Proprietary Limited, a subsidiary of Phembani Group Proprietary Limited. The deal funded the acquisition of shares in Engen Limited and the refinancing of existing debt in the group.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing Harmony Gold, the third-largest gold mining company in South Africa and the 12th largest world-wide. Our banking & finance team is advising this client in a US$200 million equity take out bridge loan facility, from a syndicate of banks. The facility will be utilised to fund part of the acquisition of the Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa Mines from Anglo Gold Ashanti. Our team led work on a range of complex intercreditor issues and handled tough negotiations between the global and local syndicate lenders.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Royal Bafokeng Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of Royal Bafokeng Nation. RBN is the ethnic homeland within South Africa of the Bafokeng people, a Setswana-speaking traditional community. Our banking & finance team led work for RBH in all aspects of the refinancing of ZAR 8 billion of preference shares and debt.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), the industry body representing all registered banks in South Africa. Our banking & finance team is advising this client in drafting amendments to the South African Insolvency Act to introduce new provisions to allow for the implementation of margin requirements for non-centrally cleared over-the-counter derivatives transactions. We provided advice to BASA and its member banks, drafted submissions to the regulators and drafted the proposed clauses submitted to National Treasury and the Department of Justice for consideration.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing First National Bank, the South Africa-based financial institution. Our banking & finance team is advising this client in the provision of various short term and long term Shariah Law compliant funding arrangements.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented SA Airlink, the privately-ownedairline based in Johannesburg. Our banking & finance team advised this client as borrower in two aircraft financing transactions with Nedbank; and separately, Investec Bank to purchase new aircraft as part of fleet expansion programme.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing EasyEquities, a division of First World Trader Proprietary Limited. Our banking & finance team has been providing legal and strategic counsel in connection with a range of financial services regulatory, tax and exchange control issues linked to award-winning investortech and fintech company, First World Trader. We have been advising in connection with the launch of South Africa's very first US Securities Fractional Trading Platform. Our work on this mandate included drafting the novel legal terms & conditions for investors to repatriate funds and purchase a combination of whole securities and fractions of securities listed on US stock exchanges. This included advice on the nominee structure, offshore custodial and brokerage arrangements, required exchange control approvals from the South African Reserve Bank, tax considerations and ancillary matters.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Standard Bank, this time in the restructuring, refinancing and roll-up of existing senior facilities for Vumatel Group. Our work on this mandate included advising on a new money facility for infrastructure investment and capital expansion for a fibre network rollout.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Limited (Liquid Telecoms),the leading independent data, voice and intellectual property provider in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Our banking & finance team advised this client in the US$200 million refinancing of its existing acquisition debt.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is again representing Old Mutual, this time in three renewable energy solar projects which are part of Round Four of the REIPPP. Old Mutual is providing ZAR 3.6 billion in senior debt and equity funding in this connection.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing First World Trader Proprietary Limited, this time in the development of South Africa's first do-it-yourself retirement annuity investment platform. The innovative platform allows individuals to manage their retirement annuity on-line, in real time.  Our work on this project included drafting the novel legal agreements determining the terms under which investors select their own underlying Bundles (compliant with Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act) and may invest or disinvest at any time, with no switching limitations. 
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing Lonmin Plc, the leading UK-based producer of platinum group metals. Our banking & finance team is advising Lonmin in the innovative ZAR 3 billion refinancing of senior lenders through a prepaid metals purchase funding solution from Jiangxi Copper Corporation. This matter includes complex security arrangements and intercreditor issues, confirming our technical skills in handling high-value banking & finance mandates for leading players across industry sectors.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Mas Real Estate Inc. (MasRei), the leading Isle of Man-based real estate investment company. Our banking & finance team advised MasRei in its role as borrower in connection with a circa €61 million loan facility governed by South African law.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the leading development finance institution wholly-owned by the Government of South Africa. Our banking & finance team is advising DBSA in black economic empowerment (BEE) funding for the Roggeveld Wind Farm Project; Copperton Wind Farm Project; and Scatec Solar Projects including Sirius Solar PV Project One, Dyason's Klip 1 and Dyason's Klip 2.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Vodacom Group Limited (VGL), the leading South Africa-based mobile communications company; and YeboYethu (RF) Limited (YY), VGL's main broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) shareholder.  Our banking & finance team advised VGL and YY in a BEE deal, in terms of which the current shareholders in Vodacom's 2008 BEE deal reinvested their equity in Vodacom into VGL for a further 10 years and geared that equity to acquire greater exposure to VGL.  In terms of the deal, the current BEE shareholders of Vodacom consolidated their shareholdings in Vodacom into YY and YY exchanged those Vodacom shares for shares in VGL, the holding company of both Vodacom's local and cross-border operations.  The current shareholders acquired further shares in VGL using debt funding from third-party funders and VGL.  As part of the transaction, a new employee share ownership scheme was also established for the benefit of Vodacom employees.  Following the implementation of the transaction, YY holds circa six per cent of VGL, and VGL's effective BEE shareholding has increased to circa 20 per cent. As part of the deal, the current shareholders of YY also received a US$299.5 million special dividend.  Our team advised on the structuring of the transaction, drafted and negotiated the transaction agreements and shareholder circulars, and obtained necessary dispensations to implement this one-of-a-kind transaction from various regulators including the Takeover Regulation Panel and the JSE.  The deal is significant in the South African market: as the largest BEE deal in the South African ICT sector to date; for delivering the best returns to shareholders of any listed BEE deal; as YY became the largest BEE vehicle on the BEE Segment of the JSE by market capitalisation; and for including the second-largest preference share issue in a BEE transaction by quantum. 
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Steinhoff Africa, the leading South Africa-based manufacturer of upholstered, static and motion lounge furniture in fabric and leather. Our banking & finance team advised Steinhoff Africa on its repayment of all of its ZAR debt with 10-plus South African and global banks – a transaction valued at circa ZAR 32 billion. We also acted for in Steinhoff Africa in relation to ZAR 18 billion syndicated debt and preference share funding. Our work on these headline mandates for Steinhoff Africa is a clear confirmation of our ability to handle the highest-value, most complex financing transactions for the leading corporate entities in South Africa.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Old Mutual Life Assurance, the leading UK-headquartered pan-African investment, savings, insurance, and banking group. Our banking & finance team advised Old Mutual Life Assurance in relation to the ZAR 3 billion debt funding for the acquisition of a portfolio of six solar photovoltaic projects purchased from SunEdison and on the project’s subsequent achievement of financial close under round 4.5 of the IPP Programme. Here we confirm our Band One-level expertise at the intersection of banking & finance and energy & natural resources, as well as our position as counsel of first choice for a broad range of global investors and financial institutions.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing ISDA, the US-based trade organisation of participants in the market for over-the-counter derivatives. Our banking & finance team continues to act as exclusive local Netting Counsel (since 2017) and Collateral Counsel (since 2008) to ISDA. Our team issues the South African Industry Opinions in connection with initial margin and variation margin; collateral; clearing; and netting enforceability under South African law. These Industry Opinions continue to be published by ISDA for all of their members, including some 800 member banks globally which rely on these opinions to determine the validity and enforceability of these margin, collateral, netting and clearing arrangements documented under the standard ISDA Master Agreements, Schedules and Credit Support Documents. ISDA has continued to turn to our team to source legal memorandums on issues affecting derivatives trading in other African jurisdictions. Our firm is also an associate member of ISDA and an active participant in the ISDA Africa committee.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Atlatsa Resources, the leading Canada-based mine-to-market platinum group metals company. Our banking & finance team advised Atlatsa Resources regarding the ZAR 2.3 billion restructuring of its debt facilities with Anglo Platinum in exchange for encumbered assets and debt write-down. This matter involved complex standstill and restructuring provisions, demonstrating our team’s extensive skills in handling all aspects of complex banking & financing transactions for the mining industry.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Solar Capital Orange (RF), a subsidiary of Phelan Energy Group, the prominent South Africa-based global investment and development company. Our banking & finance team advised Solar Capital Orange (RF) as borrower on a South African law-governed, ZAR 1.5 billion senior loan facility entered into with The Standard Bank of South Africa, amongst others, for a renewables project. Here we demonstrate how leading corporate entities across a wide range of industry sectors turn to our team for borrower-side counsel in connection with high-profile energy project financings.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings Proprietary Limited (Menlyn Maine), the leading South Africa-based development and investment vehicle. Our banking & finance team advised Menlyn Maine in relation to the financing for the ZAR 800 million co-development of residential assets.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank, the leading South Africa-based financial institution. Our banking & finance team advised RMB as lender in connection with a ZAR 300 million quasi-debt instrument to fund investors investing in the Growthpoint Healthcare property portfolio. This matter required complex tax structuring and security arrangements.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), the industry body representing all registered banks in South Africa, including South African and global banks. Our banking & finance team continues to work for BASA to draft amendments to the South African Insolvency Act 1936 in order to introduce new provisions to allow for the implementation of margin requirements for non-centrally cleared over-the-counter derivatives transactions. Over the review period, we engaged with National Treasury during the consultation process to unpack the proposed legislative amendments and drafted further amendments to the Financial Matters Amendment Bill being tabled in Parliament in Q1 of 2019. The proposed amendments are critical to ensure the successful implementation of the new local and foreign margin rules for OTC Derivatives Transactions (under the Financial Markets Act, Dodd-Frank, European Market Infrastructure Regulations and more). Without the proposed amendments to the Insolvency Act, market participants will be unable to pledge collateral as initial margin in the manner contemplated by the new local and global margin rules.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Biotherm Proprietary, the leading South Africa-based renewable energy development platform and power producer. Our banking & finance team advised Biotherm Proprietary in its role as borrower in the ZAR 5 billion project financing of four individual renewable energy projects with Nedbank, among others.

Practice Area Rankings

  • Chambers Global 2013–2019 ranked our Finance & Banking practice in Band 1 for capital markets: equity and Band 2 for capital markets:
    debt.
  • Chambers Global 2017–2019 ranked our practice in Band 2 for banking & finance.
  • Chambers Global 2016  ranked our practice in Band 3 for banking & finance.
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2009–2019 recommended our practice in Tier 2 for banking & finance.
  • IFLR1000 2016–2020 ranked our practice in Tier 2 for banking and project finance.
  • IFLR1000 2014–2020 ranked our practice in Tier 2 for capital markets.

Ranked Practitioners

  • Deon Wilken is the National Practice Head of the Finance & Banking team. Chambers Global 2014–2019 ranked him in Band 3 for banking & finance. The Legal 500 EMEA 2013–2019 recommended him for banking and finance. IFLR1000 2018 - 2020 recommended Deon as a highly regarded lawyer for capital markets: debt, energy and infrastructure and for project finance. IFLR1000 2014–2015 and 2017 recommended him for capital markets: debt, energy and infrastructure and for project finance.

  • Chambers Global 2017–2019 ranked Bridget King in Band 2 for banking & finance: regulatory. The Legal 500 EMEA 2017 –2019 recommended her for banking and finance.

  • Chambers Global 2017–2019 ranked Jacqueline King in Band 2 for capital markets: debt.Chambers Global 2016 ranked Jacqueline in Band 3 for capital markets: debt. The Legal 500 EMEA 2012–2014 recommended her for banking and finance.  IFLR1000 2018 - 2020 recommended her as a highly regarded lawyer for capital markets: debt. IFLR1000 2012–2015 recommended Jacqueline as a leading lawyer for capital markets: debt and banking and finance and she was recommended in 2017 for capital markets: debt. Who’s Who Legal 2017 identified her as a leading capital markets lawyer. Who’s Who Legal 2012 and 2014 identified Jacqueline as a leading lawyer for banking and in 2014 The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers identified her as a leading lawyer in capital markets.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2018 and 2019 recommended Mashudu Mphafudi for banking and finance. Who’s Who Legal 2013 identified him as a leading lawyer for project finance. IFLR1000 2020 ranked Mashudu as a highly regarded leading lawyer for banking, capital markets: debt and project finance. IFLR1000 2018 recommended Mashudu as a "rising star" for banking, capital markets: debt and project finance.

  • Chambers Global 2016–2019 ranked Pierre Swart in Band 3 for capital markets: debt. The Legal 500 EMEA 2017–2019 recommended him for banking and finance.