Firm / Organisation

Benoit Chambers

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This content is provided by Benoit Chambers.

Number of partners: 2
Number of other lawyers: 8
Languages: English, French

Firm Overview:
With ten full-time lawyers, Benoit Chambers enjoys a strong reputation in the business community for its commercial practice, particularly in respect of corporate law matters. The practice offers legal services to a large pool of local and foreign clients, mostly corporate, with its expertise enabling it to advise in respect of an increasingly large number of complex transactions. Members of the practice are involved in many of the largest and most significant cases and transactions occurring in Mauritius each year. Some members of the practice have been lecturing in their respective specialist areas for a number of years and have contributed to the drafting of laws in those areas. Benoit Chambers also offers advocacy, particularly in relation to disputes of a commercial nature and members of the practice appear before every jurisdiction in Mauritius as well as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. They are also active in the arbitration of commercial matters. Whilst concentrating on company law and financial services, the practice has further developed a valuable pool of knowledge to deal with complex issues of taxation, intellectual property and employment law. Legal publications which recommend Benoit Chambers include Chambers and Partners, Martindale-Hubbell and IFLR1000.

Main Areas of Practice

Company Law:
The practice deals with all aspects of company law from incorporation to dissolution, including mergers and acquisitions, directors’ duties and shareholders’ rights. Members have acquired substantial expertise in structuring domestic and cross-border investments and transactions. The team recently advised Arindo Holdings (Mauritius) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PT Adaro Energy TbK, a major integrated energy company listed on the Stock Exchange of Indonesia, in connection with the first-ever listing of an Indonesian group of companies on the Official List of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. The team also advised Ascencia Limited, the largest listed retail property company in Mauritius, on a scheme of arrangement involving Bagaprop Limited, the holding company of Bagatelle Mall of Mauritius, and Atterbury Mauritius Consortium (PTY) Ltd.

Project Finance:
This is another area where the expertise of the practice is recognised. Clients, whom the practice advises on a regular basis, include the Bank of Mauritius and the Financial Services Commission, the regulators of the whole spectrum of financial services in Mauritius. The team recently advised The Carlyle Group in relation to a commitment of USD 100 million in the Ant Financial Services Group, controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma, as part of a USD 14 billion funding round, which is the biggest-ever single global fundraising by a private company to-date according to market watchers. Members of the team also advised the private equity firm, Kedaara Capital Advisors Ltd in closing its second India-focused fund at the hard cap of USD 750 million after approximately six months on the market. Finally, the team also advised Soros Economic Development Fund in relation to its investment of (i) EUR 2 million in IPDEV II Cell, a cell of INVESTISSEUR & PARTENAIRE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT LIMITED, PCC, a Mauritius fund, that promotes entrepreneurship in Western and Central Africa; and (ii) USD 8.4 million in Nomou Jordan Fund, aimed at promoting the growth of sustainable SMEs in the MENA region.

Financial Services:
This is another area where the expertise of the practice is recognised. Clients, whom the practice regularly advises, include the Bank of Mauritius and the Financial Services Commission, the regulators of the whole spectrum of financial services in Mauritius. In highlight deals, the team has advised the private equity firm, Kedaara Capital Advisors Ltd, which expects to raise approximately USD 600-650 million for its second fund, three-and-a-half years after its maiden fund with a corpus of USD 540 million.

Mergers & Acquisitions:
Members of the practice regularly advise on the largest corporate transactions in Mauritius each year. The team recently advised Bedell Trust Company Limited and its subsidiaries forming part of the Bedell Group regarding the sale of the management and administrative services arm of the Deutsche Bank group. The global sale involved share sales and asset sales in Mauritius, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Netherlands, Jersey, Luxembourg, England and Delaware. The team also advised Winhold Limited, the sole shareholder of Pick and Buy Limited, owner and operator of Winner’s supermarkets in Mauritius, on the acquisition of three hypermarkets operating under the ‘Monoprix’ brand from Compagnie des Magasins Populaires Limitée.

Corporate Insolvency:
This is a substantial component of the practice. Members have advised in high-profile, local and cross-border insolvencies and receiverships, including those of banks and insurance companies. Members have the expertise to deal with complex ancillary issues such as taxation, employment law, fraud, tracing and devising urgent measures to manage systemic risks which result from the insolvency of major companies such as national banks or insurance companies. The team was involved in the receivership of Les Pailles Limitée and advised the receiver and manager on the most efficient structure for disposing of the assets of the company (which consisted mainly of immovable properties) worth approximately Rs 750 million. The team put in place a structure that significantly lowered the transaction costs and taxes for the benefit of the creditors of the company.

Litigation, Arbitration & ADR:
The practice is well regarded and has a strong record in all aspects of corporate and transactional dispute resolution. The litigation team is led by Rishi Pursem SC, a former Assistant Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Office who also acted as Solicitor General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Parliamentary Counsel. Members regularly advise on and litigate major domestic matters, as well as complex disputes. The team currently appears for the IREO investment funds in a series of about 15 ongoing cases entered within the last year before the Bankruptcy Division of the Supreme Court of Mauritius and the Court of Civil Appeal, through which cases different classes of shareholders are seeking to control the funds. The team is also advising the sole trustee of a trust established in Mauritius in a series of litigation commenced in several jurisdictions concerning the enforcement of a large promissory note received by the trust, the beneficiaries of which are affluent members of a royal household. Moreover, the team successfully appeared for Betamax Ltd, an owner of an oil tanker, in an arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre whereby the arbitrator awarded damages of USD 115 million (plus costs and interests) in favour of Betamax Ltd.

Intellectual Property, IT & Competition:
The practice is thoroughly experienced in the area of intellectual property rights, information technology as well as competition law. The team recently advised Alipay China, an online stored value facility for the purchase of goods and services, regarding the implementation of proposed models of Alipay structures in Mauritius. The team also advised Winhold Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of IBL Ltd and the sole shareholder of Pick and Buy Limited, owner and operator of Winner’s supermarkets in Mauritius with respect to competition law issues in connection with the acquisition of three hypermarkets operating under the ‘Monoprix’ brand from Compagnie des Magasins Populaires Limitée.

Banking, Finance & Insurance:
The practice regularly deals with issues relating to commercial transactions (including traditional loan financing, leveraged and acquisition financing, and property financing) and financial transactions (finance leases as well as all sorts of financing negotiations and contracts). Recent deals include advising companies incorporated in Mauritius and forming part of the Kuoni Group (based in Switzerland) on the refinancing of a second lien facility agreement pursuant to which additional securities were granted over assets in an aggregate maximum amount of USD 1.35 billion. The team also advised several borrowers forming part of The Carlyle Group and several lenders including MUFG Union Bank N.A., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, New York Branch in connection with a revolving credit facility of USD 1.4 billion. Further, members of Benoit Chambers recently advised IBL Ltd in respect of a MUR 5 billion notes programme. The aggregate nominal amount of subscriptions received was MUR 12.63 billion, making IBL’s note programme the most oversubscribed corporate notes issue in Mauritius to date.

Practice Areas:
Company Law
Project Finance
Mergers & Acquisition
Financial Services
Corporate Insolvency
Litigation, Arbitration & ADR
Intellectual Property
Information Technology
Competition Law
Banking, Finance & Insurance