Author: Don Obrien

US firm hires Johannesburg debt finance partner

US firm hires Johannesburg debt finance partner

White & Case has continued the growth of its South African finance practice with another partner hire…

White & Case has continued the growth of its South African finance practice with another partner hire, as it eyes disruption in the mining and aviation sectors.

Johannesburg debt finance partner Lindani Mthembu has moved from Allen & Overy (A&O) to White & Case.

The move reunites Mthembu with Lionel Shawe, whom he followed from Bowman Gilfillan (now Bowmans) to A&O in 2014, after Shawe jumped to White & Case in April this year. He joins another former colleague, Sibusiso Zungu, who followed Shawe in May, at which time regional head of banking Colin Harley told ALB that the United States firm was “bulking out” its Johannesburg finance practice.

Mthembu advises on structured, project, acquisition and asset finance, as well as debt restructuring and sovereign debt, on behalf of local and international businesses, particularly in the mining and aircraft industries. The latter will be particularly valuable expertise as Africa’s already beleaguered aviation sector has been plunged deeper into crisis by the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this year the government sold South African Airways to a consortium.

In a statement, global head of debt finance at White & Case Eric Leicht explained the hire: “As Africa continues on its growth trajectory, we see strong demand from clients to support investment opportunities in important industry sectors, including banking, infrastructure, power, telecoms and transport.”

Mthembu began his career with Deneys Reitz (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright) before a short stint with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, joining Bowmans in 2010.

London-based Harley added that Mthembu “has extensive experience in the South African market advising on high end international and domestic finance transactions”.

Global executive committee member Oliver Brettle noted that “Africa is a strategically important market for White & Case”, adding that the Johannesburg office is continuing to grow.

A&O has not been standing still however, having just last month recruited six South African lawyers, including a new head of the local banking practice, from Webber Wentzel.

Bowmans last week appointed a corporate partner as its new chairman, while the firm lost four banking lawyers to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

US firm hires Johannesburg debt finance partner

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