Emerging Markets

Cross Border Investments and M&A

Our Emerging Markets practice represents private equity funds, financial institutions, corporates, government agencies, and impact investors that are investing and operating in some of the most challenging frontier markets. Our team forms part of a large and dynamic corporate finance and commercial practice that is able to draw on a wide range of expertise to support our clients’ needs.

Led by Joe Whitfield (formerly General Counsel of CDC and who has more than 20 years'  experience working in the emerging markets) we have considerable cross border expertise, representing clients in some of the most challenging jurisdictions.

Sector specific expertise includes: agribusiness, financial services / microfinance, insurance, energy & renewables, infrastructure, real estate and manufacturing.

We have a wide network of established relations with leading local counsel across the emerging markets, meaning that we are able to make appropriate recommendations to clients on a case by case basis.

Commercial Disputes

We have extensive experience in cross border commercial litigation and arbitration matters in the emerging markets.

The team has a network of tried and tested contacts at leading overseas firms who assist with this work and who provide our clients with valuable local knowledge.

The Emerging Markets Commercial Disputes team is headed by Partner Garbhan Shanks, who has experience in litigation and arbitrations in connection with numerous foreign jurisdictions – a fluent French speaker, Garbhan has also supervised litigation cases in various African Francophile countries.

Very commercial and provides hands-on advice with good knowledge of the market and its key players.
Legal 500 2017
Outstanding value for money and the service often exceeds expectations.
Legal 500 2017
Heavy-weight, insightful transactional and legal advisors with a strong African footprint are rare. When you consider Michelmores’ excellent value, coupled with their extensive experience and knowledge they are the logical choice of legal partner for companies looking to invest in and across Africa.
Jan van der Merwe, Fund Partner – Pan African Housing Fund, Phatisa

Recent experience

Cross Border Investment and M&A

  • Advising Phatisa on a number of acquisitions of controlling/minority stakes by the African Agriculture Fund, including: (i) Meridian, a Mauritian headquartered $250m revenue Pan-African fertilizer business with operations in 7 jurisdictions, (ii) Farming and Engineering Solutions, a Malawi based agricultural engineering and equipment distribution company (which included the Massey Ferguson dealership); (iii) Feronia Inc, a palm oil producer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (and which is listed on the TSX Venture Capital Exchange in Canada)); (iv) Golden Lay, the largest egg producer in Zambia; and (v) Goldtree, a palm oil plantation in Sierra Leone.
  • Acting for Finnfund, FMO and Norfund on a quasi-equity investment into Green Resources AS, a Norwegian forestry, carbon offset and renewable energy company operating in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Advising Bamboo Finance, a global private equity group, on its Series B investment in BBOXX Limited, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of solar powered battery packs throughout the developing world.
  • Advising Triodos Investment Management on its sales of minority stakes in (i) ACLEDA Bank plc (the leading commercial bank in Cambodia) to ORIX Corporation, Japan, and (ii) Tenger LLC (a leading Mongolian banking group) to several buyers, including International Finance Corporation and ORIX Corporation (alongside Bamboo Finance).
  • Acting for Pan African Housing Fund on a number of equity and/or debt investments into lower to middle income housing developments across sub-Saharan Africa, including three in Kenya and one in Zambia.
  • Acting for Finnfund and Norfund on their respective multi-$m debt investments into a hydropower company that owns and operates hydropower projects in Laos.
  • Advising Standard Bank (Mauritius) Limited in connection with a $multi-million syndicated loan facility to an emerging markets hotel group.
  • Advising Finnfund on its multi-$m equity investment into Proteak, a sustainable forestry operation based in Mexico.

Commercial Disputes

  • Instructed by a US energy client to bring LCIA sovereign guarantee arbitration proceedings against an Asian government in relation to gas turbine power station projects and to advance claims against insurers in relation to losses arising out of the same power stations.
  • Successfully issued ICC arbitration proceedings in Paris against an Asian state-owned entity in connection with a dispute arising out of an oil exploration contract for a designated area of sea bed.
  • Pursuing a multi-$m contractual claim against a major Nigerian television station. This involved liaising with Nigerian counsel in order to initiate winding up proceedings locally and to take other cross border enforcement measures, and resulted in substantial recovery.
  • Pursuing a claim against a satellite telecommunications company based in Uganda and part owned by a Libyan entity. This involved considering the UN sanctions position both in England and Wales and Uganda. The claim has settled successfully and resulted in substantial recovery.
  • Advising on a dispute over a pharmaceuticals manufacturing agreement with an Indian manufacturer. Settled successfully.