How merged law firms plan to take on Africa

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Kenya’s top commercial law firm MMC Africa Law has teamed up with Africa’s international law firm ASAFO & CO to form MMC ASAFO, in a merger likely to shake the continental space.

In order to provide a unique and integrated offering of top-tier legal services exclusively dedicated to the African continent, the MMC ASAFO team is based in different offices, with a balanced presence in France and in the major African business hubs of Nairobi, Abidjan, Casablanca and Johannesburg.

The merged entities are keen tap on the African Continental Free Trade Area which came into effect this year, congregating over 1.2 billion people in the world’s largest free trade zone.

READ ALSO:How East African businesses are going to lead the AFCTA

According to MMC ASAFO East Africa Team Leader Edward Muriu, African economies are among the fastest growing in the world today with a powerful industrial revolution which is underway.

This comes with an emphasis on clean energy and electricity for all, connectivity of infrastructure, capital markets and financing instruments – with the digital age and new technology serving as the vectors of this intensely rapid change.

“There is an increasing interest and opportunities in Africa, and this strategic direction is meant to provide clients in Africa with a competitive advantage through our combined experience and resources,’’ Muriu said.

Capacity

MMC ASAFO already has a team of 100 lawyers. The firm has set itself the ambition of becoming a truly Pan-African law firm and has actively pursued expansion plans across Africa with a view to rapidly securing a physical presence in all the strategic hubs of the continent.

READ ALSO:ATZ Law Chambers Rebrands to A&K Tanzania, expands leadership team

Its major target is to provide its sophisticated clientele both in the public and private sector with expertise in Private Equity, Banking and Finance, Oil and Gas, Energy and Power, Infrastructure, Transportation and Logistics as well as Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications.

READ ALSO:Africa eyes US$1 trillion in Private Equity deals

‘’Africa’s far-reaching revolution demands a new approach to delivering legal services. It requires a law firm that combines sophisticated local advice with international experience, offering more insightful analysis, more robust solutions and comprehensive risk mitigation,” the new entity notes.

“A law firm with real experience and proven skill anchored on innovative and solutions-based approach in the key sectors and practice areas most relevant to doing business in Africa,’’ added Mr Muriu.

Pascal Agboyibor, the Founder and Managing Partner of ASAFO & CO notes: ‘’More and more international firms are developing practices orientated towards the African continent. But the strength of our organization lies in the fact that we have an effective presence on the continent and staffed by high-level teams.”

“This allows us to handle major, complex transactions and to be in a position to offer clients a rapid, integrated, value-added service,” Agboyibor added, “Our teams have been instrumental in many of the most significant transactions on the continent in recent years, transactions that will help to shape Africa’s future.”

READ ALSO:African investment opportunities (and risks)

Deals

MMC ASAFO teams key transactions include advising the DRC Government on the development of the $14 billion Inga 3 hydroelectric dam.

The first phase of the continental project called the “Grand Inga”, is expected to become the largest hydroelectric dam in the world with a 40,000 MW electricity production and increase the continent’s energy output by 50 per cent.

The firm is also advising the Republic of Guinea in respect of the review, renegotiation and restructuring of the Simandou-South iron ore project.

Recognized as one of the most complex and well-known mining projects in the world, Simandou-South is the largest known untapped iron ore deposit globally, and is closely watched by several mining producers, countries and international institutions due to its possible outcomes for Guinea and the iron ore global market.

In Kenya, the teams advised Safaricom’s Initial Public Offering, the largest in East and Central Africa and its subsequent listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).

READ ALSO:How Private Equity is shaping investments in East Africa

A measure of the firm’s high-quality recruitment is that MMC ASAFO was one of the few international law firms for whom multiple partners were ranked in various legal directories.

This year MMC ASAFO was the only Kenyan law firm that scooped awards in the just concluded African Legal Awards.

Martin Mwita is a business reporter based in Kenya. He covers equities, capital markets, trade and the East African Cooperation markets.

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