Number of partners: 3
Number of other lawyers: 5
Languages: English, French
With eight full-time lawyers, Benoit Chambers is a full-service independent law firm in Mauritius which enjoys a strong reputation in the business community, particularly in respect of corporate law matters. The firm 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 firm are involved in many of the largest and most significant cases and transactions occurring in Mauritius each year. Some members of the firm 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 firm 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 firm 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, Legal500 and IFLR1000.
Main Areas of Practice
The firm 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 assisted the conservator of Banyan Tree Bank Limited with the due diligence process, enforcement proceedings against defaulting borrowers of the bank and acquisition and recapitalisation of Banyan Tree Bank Limited by investors registered in various jurisdictions. The team also advised Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa in respect of its anchor investment of USD 50 million in Eastern and Southern African Trade Fund alongside the Trade and Development Bank (formerly the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank).
Having worked on the most significant and complex transactions involving the Mauritian jurisdiction and other jurisdictions, the firm’s reputation means that members of the team are regularly called upon by leading financial, commercial, and industry players, as well as banks, sponsors, or investors, to act at every stage of a project's development and financing. This approach allows the team to understand the market, as well as the client's needs, and provide bespoke and innovative solutions to any problem. The team recently advised AFC Equity Investments Limited acting as the investing entity of the Africa Finance Corporation on the provision of a financing package for the development of an integrated direct shipping ore bauxite mine and logistics export operation in the Boke region of western Guinea.
The firm has advised on a MUR 5 billion notes issue undertaken by Forty-Two Point Two. The firm also advised Bank One Limited in respect of the issue of MUR 800 million Subordinated Tier 2 Notes offered by way of private placement to sophisticated investors. This issue was the first to be undertaken under the Basel III Guidelines issued by the Bank of Mauritius.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
The team recently advised Omnicane Limited, a major local player operating in cultivation of sugarcane and the production of refined sugar, bioethanol, thermal energy, and electricity as well as logistics and property development. The deal was in respect of the acquisition by the Mauritius Investment Corporation of Omnicane’s wholly owned subsidiary Mon Tresor Smart City Ltd for MUR 5 billion. The firm also advised Saint-Gobain Development Sub-Saharan Africa Ltd, the Mauritius in respect of the acquisition of a majority stake in a.b.e.® Mauritius, a leading producer – and a licensee of Chryso – of technical mortars, additives and waterproofing products in Mauritius.
Members regularly advise on high-profile, local and cross-border insolvencies and receiverships, including those of banks and insurance companies, having 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 has been involved as main legal advisers, in several liquidation and receivership processes, and recently, the liquidation of HOOQ Digital (Mauritius) Limited engaged in VOD content distribution on the south east Asian territory and Tyson International Holding Company. The team has an ongoing involvement in operating the businesses as a going concern with the aim of realisation of assets.
Litigation, Arbitration & ADR:
The firm 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. Members regularly advise on and litigate major domestic matters, as well as complex disputes. The team successfully represented Betamax Ltd in relation to the enforcement of an arbitral award obtained against the State Trading Corporation for damages arising under the termination of a contract of affreightment, resulting in the positive decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which provides important guidance on the setting aside of arbitral awards on grounds of public policy where a contract is alleged to be illegal.
Intellectual Property, IT & Competition:
The firm is thoroughly experienced in the area of intellectual property rights and information technology. The team recently advised Alipay China, regarding the feasibility of a Barcode Payment product of Alipay Wallet and licensing requirements pertaining to overseas users as well as advertising in Mauritius. The firm also focusses on all aspects of competition law, including merger control, cartels and state aid. The team also has significant experience in advising clients on competition compliance matters and policies. It regularly represents clients on competition matters.
Banking, Finance & Insurance:
The firm 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). The firm recently advised both the Carlyle Group as borrower and a consortium of lenders led by MUFG Bank Ltd in respect of the largest private equity revolving credit facility linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in the US, for $4.1bn. The facility was structured as a sustainability-linked loan (SLL), where the price of the debt is directly tied to the company’s goal of having 30% diverse directors on the boards of the companies it controls within two years of ownership.
The firm provides pension legal advice on issues arising in the changing pensions climate. The firm provides the complete range of legal services to a diversified client base, comprising pension trustees, sponsoring employers, financial institutions and insurance companies. Members are involved in the drafting of the documentation relating to the creation, amendment, closure or freezing of pension funds and the conversion of defined benefit schemes into defined contribution schemes. The firm recently advised the trustees of Air Mauritius Pension Fund Limited on restructuring and securing pension funds from the sponsoring employer whilst in administration.
■ Company Law
■ Project Finance
■ Mergers & Acquisition
■ Financial Services
■ Corporate Insolvency
■ Litigation, Arbitration & ADR
■ Intellectual Property
■ Information Technology
■ Competition Law
■ Banking, Finance & Insurance