Firm / Organisation

Webber Wentzel

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Senior Partner: Christo Els
Number of partners: 145+
Number of lawyers: 450+
Languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans

Firm Overview:
Founded in 1868, Webber Wentzel is a leading full-service law firm providing clients with innovative solutions to their most complex legal and tax issues across Sub-Saharan Africa. With over 450 lawyers, their multi-disciplinary expertise is consistently ranked top-tier in leading directories and awards, both in South Africa and on the African continent. Their collaborative alliance with Linklaters and their deep relationships with outstanding law firms across Africa provide clients with market-leading support wherever they do business. Webber Wentzel was named African Law Firm of the Year and African Alliance of the Year (with Linklaters) at the 2019 African Legal Awards.

Practice Areas
Administrative Law
Banking & Finance
Business Rescue & Restructuring
Capital Markets
Competition
Corporate/M&A
Corporate Investigations
Dispute Resolution
Employment
Intellectual Property
International Arbitration
Investment Funds
IT & Telecommunications
Media & Broadcasting
Private Equity
Projects
Real Estate
Regulatory (including Financial)
Tax
Transfer Pricing

Sectors
Agribusiness, Food & Beverage
Energy & Infrastructure
Engineering & Construction
Financial Services
Fintech
Hospitality & Leisure
Industrials
Mining
Private Equity & Strategic Investors
Retail
Telecommunications, Media & Technology
Transport

Recent Work:
High profile matters include acting for/advising:
Naspers Ltd on its proposed listing of its international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam combined with a secondary listing on the JSE. Webber Wentzel acted as lead African counsel for Naspers Ltd.
■Old Mutual on the managed separation of its group into its four constituent parts. This is one of the largest conglomerate restructurings in South Africa involving over 20 countries worldwide
■Pioneer Foods in respect of the firm intention offer by PepsiCo Inc. to acquire the ordinary shares by way of a scheme of arrangement or standby offer valued at ZAR 25 billion. The transaction is one of PepsiCo’s largest acquisitions outside of the United States. In the face of a challenging global and domestic economic environment, the transaction represents a vote of confidence in the South African economy. The foreign direct investment which will result from the implementation of the transaction will contribute meaningfully to the growth of the South African economy. Pioneer Foods’ current portfolio includes brands such as Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko and Safari. Following the transaction, Pioneer Foods will have access to PepsiCo’s brand portfolio for Africa, including Simba, Doritos, Nik-Naks, as well as PepsiCo’s bottling network, boosting local presence and go-to-market capability
■CSH Group (Pty) Ltd and its shareholders (including Actis) in respect of the disposal of 100% of CSH Group Pty Ltd to Experian South Africa (Pty) Ltd valued at ZAR 3,7 billion
■Actis LLP on the acquisition of the Biotherm platform, including projects within Round 4 of the South African REIPPPP programme and various projects in the early stages of development in numerous jurisdictions across the continent (including Zambia, Egypt, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, among others)
■Absa Bank Ltd and Ethos Mid Market Fund I on a public to private acquisition of Torre Industries Limited to be effected via a scheme of arrangement. Acted as counsel for Absa in respect of the ‘certain funds’ requirements under the takeover rules in SA and the provision of a bridge facility to Ethos
■Rand Merchant Bank and HSBC on a public to private acquisition of Clover Industries Limited to be effected via a scheme of arrangement. Bidder is a consortium made up of Israel’s Central Bottling Co., investment funds IncuBev Limited and Ploughshare Limited and BEE shareholder Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited
■MMI Group Limited on the acquisition of the shortterm insurance business of Alexander Forbes Insurance
■Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc. in respect of its acquisition of a 22.5% stake in Hollard Holdings and Hollard International for a total consideration of approximately ZAR 5 billion
■Great Dyke Investments (Pvt) Ltd on a cross-border transaction in relation the construction of a mining and processing plant in the Republic of Zimbabwe involving an EPCM arrangement with a large number of work packages under the umbrella of the FIDIC suite of contracts
■Aquila Steel (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, a mining company owned by major Australian and Chinese corporate concerns, in its regulatory and public law disputes with the South African Department of Mineral Resources and other mining companies. The matter involved extremely complex MPRDA, constitutional and administrative law concepts and interpretation, including the proper application of the MPRDA’s transitional provisions, the meaning and import of the Oudekraal / Kirland principle, and the factors to be considered in granting the substitution relief sought by Aquila. Subsequent to the Constitutional Court judgment, Webber Wentzel obtained a court order in June 2019 determining the mining right conditions when the Minister failed to determine the conditions within the three-month period. In this precedent-setting litigation, the Court substituted its own decision for that of the Minister
■Baker Hughes in a cross-border dispute with a contractor in Pemba, Mozambique. Webber Wentzel is currently advising the client on the institution of certain claims under a bilateral investment treaty against the Republic of Mozambique. In the High Court proceedings, Webber Wentzel was successful in having the adjudication award (handed down in Pemba, Mozambique) made an order of court in South Africa, essentially making new law in South Africa. This matter is important as it will provide a mechanism (should the South African judgment be recognised and enforced in Mozambique) for the enforcement of a South African judgment against a corporate entity in Mozambique (a country which is not party to the Hague Convention on the Recognition And Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments In Civil And Commercial Matters)

Contributions

Total 2 contributions

Insurance & Reinsurance 2020 Law and Practice in South Africa

Maria Philippides, Lisa Swaine, Zelda Swanepoel, Johan Henning

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Corporate Tax 2020 Law and Practice in South Africa

Brian Dennehy, Anne Bennett, Graham Viljoen, Cor Kraamwinkel

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