Number of partners: 2
Number of other lawyers: 5
Languages: English, French
With seven 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. Legal publications which recommend Benoit Chambers include Chambers and Partners, Martindale-Hubbell and IFLR1000.
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. The team recently assisted Barclays Bank Plc in respect of the restructuring of its Mauritius branch and the transfer of assets and liabilities of that branch to a wholly-owned subsidiary, Barclays Bank Mauritius Limited.
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 of investors for the bidding for the development, operation and maintenance of the first Mauritius toll road project. Members of the team also advised a Singapore based company in respect of the acquisition 52,000 DWT Product Carrier. They further assisted the company in preparing and finalising the documentation relating to the part-finance of an aggregate of USD39.8 million by a syndicate of Mauritian banks.
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 successfully advised Kedaara Capital, founded by the former head of Temasek India, on the formation and launch of Kedaara Capital I Limited, a USD 500 million fund operating as a professional collective investment scheme seeking long term capital appreciation by making equity, quasi-equity linked investments primarily in businesses organised or with significant operations in India and secondarily in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal or Sri Lankan. The fund targets corporate divestitures of under-managed or non-core business units within large Indian-family conglomerates, aiming for emerging sector leaders in areas such as consumer, financial and business services, pharmaceuticals/healthcare and agriculture/resources. Major investors included Temasek, ADIA and Canada’s Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, one of the largest pension funds in the world.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Members of the practice regularly advise on the largest corporate transactions in Mauritius each year. Highlight deals include assisting The Carlyle Group on its strategic minority investment in Export Trading Group (ETG). This is the first investment made by Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa Fund. Other investors in the $210 million financing include Standard Chartered’s Africa Private Equity division and Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund. ETG is an African agricultural commodities supply chain manager with operations in Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. The deal is the first investment by Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa Fund. Members of the team also advised a local bank in respect of the proposed acquisition of the retail banking and wealth management business of the Mauritius branch of a leading global bank.
This is a substantial component of the practice. Members have advised in high-profile local and crossborder 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 involved in the management of several hotels in entering into a compromise with its creditors with a view to dispose of the business of a hotel in Mauritius. It was the first sale of a distressed asset made under a compromise. The team also advised another Mauritius based company on the disposal of its assets subject to a deed of company arrangement with its creditors. This was also a novel transaction under our new insolvency laws.
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. The team appeared for the Respondent, Central Water Authority, before the Privy Council. Members are also active in the arbitration of commercial matters. Highlight deals include representing the liquidator of a major company engaged in the metal stamping industry in arbitration proceedings under the Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre on the issue as to whether a liquidator is bound by a shareholders’ agreement. The team also successfully represented a blue chip company in arbitration proceedings regarding the minority buy-out of its shares in a hotel in Mauritius.
Intellectual Property, IT & Competition:
The practice is thoroughly experienced in the area of intellectual property rights, information technology as well as competition law. Recently, the team successfully represented British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd and British American Tobacco (Brands) Ltd in proceedings challenging the decision of the Controller of the Industrial Property Office in Mauritius to allow the registration of their trademark by a competitor. The team is currently advising Lacoste SA in respect of a similar matter.
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 advising Agence Française de Développement in relation to the financing of the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA), for certain works and operations to be carried out by the MPA in order to develop the containerised sea traffic in Port Louis. Members of the teams have also assisted Proparco, IFC and BNPI Paribas SA with respect to loan facilities provided to various subsidiaries of the Export Trading Group operating in Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. The team further advised IFC with respect to refinancing facilities of up to USD 200 million availed to Helios Tower Nigeria Limited (HTNL), a wholly-owned Nigerian subsidiary of Helios Towers Mauritius Holdings Limited. HTNL is a leading telecommunications site solutions provider based in Nigeria, and which provides wireless operators with fully-managed tower sites on a leased basis.
Areas of Practice
Mergers & Acquisition
Litigation, Arbitration & ADR
Banking, Finance & Insurance
- Suite 515,
- St James Court,
- St Denis Street,
- Port Louis,
- Tel +230 211 9300
- Fax +230 211 4457