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Africa (Corporate)

Mishcon de Reya has been advising entrepreneurial investors into Africa for many years – the 'first movers', who recognised opportunities and were prepared to invest in Africa when others weren't.

A new wave of clients are now viewing Africa as an exciting place to do business – having identified many investment opportunities, including mass consumer industries as well as extractives.  These investors demand a high return for their level of risk. They want to engage advisers who have helped chart the course for previous rounds of investment in order to leverage their experience.

Doing business in Africa offers unique opportunities and challenges, requiring a deep understanding of the political and regulatory context. Connections and local knowledge are key to navigating the intricate maze of approvals and regulations.

We regularly handle complex disputes that involve regime change, the impact of sanctions, force majeure, withdrawal of licences, expropriation, one-off windfall taxes, reputational issues and more. We act for clients across all dispute resolution forums and for and against governmental authorities in arbitration matters.

Through our work in Africa, we have also developed a practice assisting African clients as they expand their horizons beyond the continent, in particular as they look to live and invest in the UK.  Our lawyers have the understanding, experience and cultural awareness to underpin our legal expertise: some of Mishcon's lawyers originate from, or have lived extensively, in African countries.

Why we are different

Whatever the nature of your opportunity or issue be it an investment, a dispute or a fundraising drive, whether we are reviewing tax structures, dealing with immigration issues or assisting with anti-bribery matters, we see both the business goals and the personal issues that impact them as one.

We fiercely guard our clients' interests whenever and wherever you need us.

Our team of over 300 litigators conduct cases in more than 70 countries. We have the largest dedicated group of international injunction specialists in the country. Our team has conducted arbitrations under virtually all of the major international arbitration rules. As one of the leading London teams of high-level strategists and robust counsel, our African focused experience includes:

  • Advising the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in arbitrations in various extractive resource-related matters, under the International Centre for Settlement of International Disputes (ICSID) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
  • Representing RSM Production Corporation (US) against Cameroon in bringing conciliation proceedings and subsequent arbitration under the ICSID.
  • Defending a claim arising from a Ghanaian energy supply contract before the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
  • Pursuing an arbitration claim for one of the world’s largest communications services organisations involving breach of contract, restrictive covenant and IP issues in Kenya.
  • Advising on a dispute in relation to interests in hydrocarbon fields in Malawi.
  • Acting for an independent multi-national company in a dispute regarding ownership interests in a rare earth deposit in Malawi.
  • Advising a corporate investor in relation to South African criminal and customs investigations into a subsidiary.

For high net worth (HNW) individuals and family offices, we act as personal advisors, dealing with carefully selected overseas professionals on behalf of our clients. Our experience ranges from immigration, tax and wealth management, residential property, and art law, to reputation protection, family law, families in business, and trust and succession disputes and planning. As experts in preserving, growing and transferring wealth, our African related experience includes:

  • Advising African HNW individuals, family offices and businesses, providing culturally and politically sensitive client care in time-critical solutions, with regards to investor visas and exceptional or complex applications for British nationality.
  • Acting for individuals with jurisdictional issues in Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa, necessitating multi-layered litigation in the UK and the countries in question, not only in relation to money, but also the return of children that have been abducted or unlawfully retained.
  • Advising in relation to the repatriation of the “Head of Amenhotep III”, an Egyptian antiquity looted from an Egyptian tomb, which was returned to our client by the Art and Antiquities Squad of the Metropolitan Police, and has since been the subject of civil and criminal litigation in the US and the UK.
  • Advising on fund structures for investment into Africa bearing in mind the medium and long term investment strategies of HNW individuals.

For business owners, wealth owners and dealmakers, our teams manage cross-border transactions as an extension of a client’s internal management team - even when there is little or no UK angle. Our experience covers M&A, corporate finance, joint ventures, corporate restructuring, private equity, funds and financial services. We have a unique perspective on the growing importance of private capital within the mid-market.

Everything that we do is bespoke because our clients are unique. We understand that each owner is different and that, for each of them, the lines between their business lives and personal lives are often faint. We embrace the idiosyncrasies of our clients, recognising that it is the force of their personalities and their passion for their organisations which makes them such formidable business men and women. We set out to make a difference to them; our lawyers are personally invested in our clients' successes.

Our experience acting for businesses from Africa includes:

  • Advising Al-Mirqab Capital on its £924m takeover of Heritage Oil Plc (Nigeria)
  • Advising on the $1bn sale by Fleurette Properties Limited of Camrose Resources to ENRC plc (DRC).
  • Advising on a number of copper/cobalt joint ventures in the DRC.
  • Advising Capcom Limited on the acquisition of Cyancom Limited (Nigeria).
  • Advising Capcom Limited on the acquisition of Multi-Links Telecommunications Limited (Nigeria).
  • Advising Capcom Limited on its initial proposed $210m investment into Starcomms Plc (Nigeria) and subsequent proposed investments.
  • Advising on the sale of a major interest in a quoted bank to the Nigerian Government.
  • Advising the controlling shareholders of Central African Mining & Exploration Company plc in relation to its acquisition, by way of takeover offer, by ENRC plc.
  • Advising on a gold mining project in East Africa.
  • Acting as UK commercial adviser to Sky Alliance Resources, Inc (SARI) on the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Sky Alliance Resources Guinee SA to West African Iron Ore Corp in a reverse takeover transaction on the TSX Venture Exchange.
  • Advising a South African air charter and freight company on the investment by AIM listed Lonrho plc.
  • Advising a start-up palm oil business in West Africa in relation to IP issues and its company set up.
  • Advising a large family office on raising money for a mining venture (iron ore, coal and titanium) in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Advising on the structuring of a pan-African private equity fund investing in development projects throughout the continent.
  • Advising a multinational conglomerate on the protection and enhancement of their reputation, which had been unfairly attacked by an Non-Governmental Organisation.
  • Filing trademarks in Africa on behalf of numerous multinational corporations.
  • Advising one of the world’s leading serviced office providers on expanding their business through franchising in Africa.
  • Advising a leading English Premier League team on tour agreements in Africa.

We are connected to more property deals and players than any other firm in London. We advise a number of the leading entrepreneurs in the property industry alongside an equally entrepreneurially minded blue chip client base.

We have one of the largest dedicated employment teams in London, acting for both employers and employees and working with the most senior people within organisations. We also work with corporates, advising on matters such as day-to-day HR, restructuring projects or major litigation.

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