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.
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 the company secretary of two Mauritius based companies with respect to the interpretation and application of the provisions of the constitution of the said companies in accordance with the Mauritius Companies Act 2001.
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 the arranger, facility agent, security agent and lenders for a part-prescription financing by a consortium of banks made up of The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd, Afrasia Bank, Banque Francaise de l’Ocean Indien and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, of two tuna purse seiner vessels, each for an amount of USD20,400,000. Members of the team also advised The Mauritius Commercial Bank with regards to the financing of certain offshore companies for an aggregate amount of USD100 million.
This is another area in which 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 Carlyle Group on the final closing of its maiden private equity fund targeting sub-Saharan Africa at USD698 million, 40 per cent above target, underscoring the growing appeal of investing in Africa. The team is currently advising a UCITS Fund on a cross-border restructuring following the passing of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers EU Directive.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Members of the practice regularly advise on the largest corporate transactions in Mauritius each year. Highlight deals include assisting BlueLife Limited (BlueLife) and Indian Ocean Real Estate Company Ltd (IOREC) in respect of an amalgamation and the migration of BlueLife from the Development and Enterprise Market to the Official Market of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd. IOREC is a property development company focusing its activities within the Indian Ocean region. The company was established as a joint venture between Groupe Mon Loisir and Actis Private Equity Group. BlueLife previously known as FUEL Properties Limited has been established in 2004 to invest in real estate properties and property development projects. BlueLife is currently completing a real estate project known as ‘Azuri’, which will result in the development of a new seaside village that will include IRS luxury residences, luxury local residences, a 100 keys 5-star hotel and spa, wide selection of restaurants and retail outlets, prestigious schooling facilities, marine facilities and a wide range of leisure activities.
This is a substantial component of the practice. Members have advised in high-profile local and cross-border 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 printing and packaging industry in the negotiation of a deed of company arrangement among the administrator, the company and its creditors.
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 Den Danske Bank A/S, before the Privy Council which dismissed the appeal of Surinam Shipping Company against the Mauritius Court of Appeal’s judgment in favour of Den Danske Bank A/S and The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB). The case concerned whether the MCB had undertaken liability for payment of a letter of credit or was merely an advising bank. If MCB was liable for payment then Den Danske Bank would be liable to MCB pursuant to an indemnity. The team also successfully represented the Standard Bank (Mauritius) Ltd before the Privy Council in a case which centred on the fraud exception to the obligation of a bank to make a payment under a letter of credit.
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 advised an undertaking involved in the manufacturing and distribution of beer in Mauritius with regards to an investigation by the Competition Commission of Mauritius into a potential collusive agreement with another undertaking. The team is currently advising Lacoste SA in proceedings before the Industrial Property Office in Mauritius in respect of registration of the ‘Lacoste’ trademark by a competitor.
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 the African Development Bank regarding the financing package of USD 150 million to the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB), comprising of USD120 million seven year multi-sector line of credit and USD30 million ten-year subordinated debt. The financing package will allow MCB to increase its foreign currency leading to client operating in the region and will benefit projects that foster the African Development Bank’s green and inclusive growth objectives and create employment. The team has also been advising International Finance Corporation with respect to refinancing facilities of up to USD200 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, which provides wireless operators with fully-managed tower sites on a leased basis. The team has also recently assisted two of the leading insurance companies in the setting up of private pension schemes. This was a novel transaction under new laws regulating private pension schemes.
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