Number of partners: 2
Number of other lawyers: 8
Languages: English, French
With ten full-time lawyers,Benoit Chambers enjoys a strong reputation in the business community for its commercial practice, but more 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 in the drafting of laws in those areas. Benoit Chambers provides 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. It is also active in the arbitration of commercial matters. Whilst concentrating on company law and financial services, the practice has also developed a valuable pool of knowledge to deal with complex issues of taxation, intellectual property or employment law.
Main Areas of Practice:
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. In highlight deals, members of the team advised a sovereign fund on a joint venture, involving a Mauritius company and certain Indian companies involved in major real estate projects in India. Members of the team also assisted in the setting up of another Mauritius based joint venture company that will source investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Benoit Chambers has a strong practice in project finance and has been involved in some of the biggest projects in Mauritius. In highlight deals, the team advised a consortium made up of major lending institutions on the refinancing of certain facilities and the provision of additional facilities of USD430 million and EUR22 million, to a fund which aims to address the lack of available long-term foreign currency debt finance for infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. The team also advised O3b Africa Limited in respect of the restructuring of its loan facilities up to an amount of USD855m, for the design, manufacture, transport to the launch site and in-orbit testing of 8 medium earth orbit satellites, space vehicle simulators and satellite control centres. Members are currently advising a Mauritius company seeking to invest in a Rwandan company operating a hydro-electric power station.
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 assisted a listed company operating in the sugar sector on amulticurrency medium term note programme for an aggregate amount of up to Rs 3 billion. Members of the team are currently assisting a Mumbai based private equity firm in the setting up of an Indian fund of USD500 million that will target selected sectors, such as consumer, financial and business services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and agriculture resources. The team is also advising a hotel group in Mauritius on the securitisation of certain intangible assets.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Members of the practice regularly advise on the largest corporate transactions in Mauritius each year. The team recently assisted Barclays Bank Plc, Mauritius Branch on the amalgamation of the Mauritius leasing business of Barclays Bank Plc with Barclays Bank Plc, Mauritius, pursuant to a court approved scheme of arrangement. Highlight deals include assisting two of the largest conglomerates in Mauritius in respect of the restructuring of their financial services clusters. Members of the team also acted as transaction adviser and assisted a Mauritius based company in respect of the amalgamation of its sugar and energy businesses with another Mauritius based company in line with the sugar sector reform. The merger has led to the creation of one of the largest sugar milling company in the Indian Ocean with a combined value of more than Rs 9 billion. Members of the team are currently advising another Mauritius based sugar company, on the acquisition of a stake in a sugar estate, sugar mill and related cogeneration and distillery plant in Kenya. Members are advising a Mauritius based listed insurance company on the acquisition of a majority stake in an insurance conglomerate, operating in five jurisdictions in Southern and Eastern Africa. The team is also advising a local bank on the acquisition of the Mauritius retail banking and wealth management business of a major global bank, as well as a large South African bank on the secondary listing of asset backed securities on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
This is a substantial component of the practice. Members have advised in all the high-profile insolvencies and receiverships, including those of banks and insurance companies. Members have the expertise to deal with complex ancillary issues, like taxation, employment law, fraud and tracing.Recently, the team assisted a Mauritius based company in entering into a compromise with its creditors with a view to dispose of the business of a hotel in Mauritius. Members of the team also represented the provisional liquidator of a defunct insurance company in Mauritius in respect of judicial review proceedings challenging the decision of the Financial Services Commission in Mauritius to prohibit the issue or renewal of insurance policies.
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, a former Assistant Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Office who also acted in the following capacities: Solicitor General,Director of Public Prosecutions and Parliamentary Counsel. Members regularly advise on and litigate major domestic matters, as well as complex disputes involving conflicts of laws, disputes arising out of corporate acquisitions, shareholder and minority/unfair prejudice issues, taxation, intellectual property law, employment law and occasionally public law. Members are also active in the arbitration of commercial matters. The practice also advises on alternative dispute resolution and participates in structured dispute resolution proceedings. Highlight deals include representing a local bank with respect to an injunction sought by a public utility body restraining and prohibiting the local bank from effecting payment to a Mauritius company under a letter of credit. The team also successfully represented a Danish bank before the Supreme Court ofMauritius as regard the validity of a letter of credit of USD140 million and USD75 million respectively, for the sale of a shipping vessel owned by a Mauritius company.
Intellectual Property, IT & Competition:
The practice is thoroughly experienced in the area of intellectual property rights, and advises on patent, trademark, copyright, information technology as well as competition law. Recently, the team advised a health care insurance provider on competition law issues, arising as a result of the provision of medical insurance plans and other health care products. Other clients to whom competition law advice were provided include a Japanese car dealer and a major global beer manufacturer.
Banking, Finance & Insurance:
The practice regularly deals with issues relating to commercial transactions (including traditional loan financing, leveraged and acquisition financing, property financing) and financial transactions (finance leases and all sorts of financing negotiations and contracts). Highlight deals include an amalgamation, involving the business of two local insurance groups. Members of the team are currently advising a mining company listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange, for the refinancing of a USD denominated loan facility froma consortium of syndicated banks and a Mauritius based sugar company, acting as guarantor under a term loan facility of USD120 million, for setting up a sugar estate, sugar mill and related cogeneration and distillery plant in Kenya. Members of the team are also assisting a Singapore based company in respect of the construction, acquisition and financing of a 52,000 DWT tanker vessel.
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- St James Court,
- St Denis Street,
- Port Louis,
- Tel +230 211 9300
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