White & Case has made its second lateral hire in Johannesburg, within a month, with the arrival of debt finance partner, Sibusiso Zungu.
Zungu joins the firm from Allen & Overy, where he held a broad debt finance practice, spanning sponsors, developers, and lenders, and a wide range of mandates, including project finance, trade and commodities finance, aviation finance, and export credit-led instructions.
Prior to joining A&O, as a director, in October 2014, he spent three stints of several years at Bowmans, as well as working at Absa Capital, as an in-house lawyer, and at US firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
"Sibusiso is an experienced lawyer who has advised on a number of important and complex banking and finance transactions both in-house and in private practice," said White & Case partner Colin Harley, who leads the firm’s banking practice in EMEA.
"Sibusiso's experiences, together with his strong contacts, make him a great addition to the firm to advise our clients as they look at inward and outward cross-border investment opportunities across southern Africa and, indeed, the broader continent."
The move underscores the firm’s Africa ambitions, having been based in South Africa since 1995, as Eric Leicht, the head of the firm’s global debt finance practice, told Africa Legal.
"Africa is a strategically important growth market for the firm with significant investment opportunities, particularly in telecoms, banking, power and transport, which will drive consumer demand across the region," Leicht said.
He is the second finance partner to leave UK-headquartered Allen & Overy’s office in South Africa, with partner, Lionel Shawe, joining White & Case in April.
“Building a broader debt finance practice in Johannesburg, through the addition of Sibusiso so soon after the arrival of Lionel Shawe, will allow us to take on more, and broader mandates, for existing and new global clients who are operating and investing in Africa," Leicht commented.
Shawe’s practice mirrors that of Zungu, but also includes additional expertise in the funds, and mining sectors, as well as encompassing equity capital markets expertise, acquisition and leveraged finance, and, crucially for post-pandemic client needs, equity and debt restructuring experience.
He also has regulatory and tax experience, developed both at A&O and Bowmans, where he had worked with Zungu previously, as well as at legacy Norton Rose Fulbright practice, Denys Reitz.
In addition to working with his former colleague, Zungu, Shawe is currently working alongside the firm’s M&A and corporate practice, led by Gary Felthun – who is also a recent hire.
London-based Oliver Brettle, a member of the firm’s executive committee, said White & Case was fully committed to Johannesburg, noting that in addition to the double hire, it had previously hired Felthun as a partner from ENS Africa in 2018, while also relocating Gareth Hodder from the firm’s London office. It also promoted Craig Atkinson, as a M&A partner, in the firm’s 2019 partner round.
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