Pinsent Masons to expand in South Africa
The office will service the Africa practice built around the energy and infrastructure investment communities in London, Paris, Dubai, and Beijing
International law firm Pinsent Masons has announced plans to launch an infrastructure-focused practice in Johannesburg, South Africa.
It will be the second new international office to be launched by Pinsent Masons in 2016, following its launch in Dusseldorf, and brings the firm's total number of offices to 22.
The fully integrated office will service the Africa practice built around the energy and infrastructure investment communities in London, Paris, Dubai, and Beijing in particular.
The firm has appointed two founding partners to launch the office, - Rob Morson joins from Bowman Gilfillan where he was head of construction, and Shane Voigt who is also recognised as one of the leading disputes partners in the infrastructure sector.
Globally the firm currently has around 40 partners and 150 lawyers working on Africa-related matters across 38 African countries. In 2013 the firm appointed Akshai Fofaria to lead the firm's Africa initiative and last year brought in project finance specialist Stéphane Gasne from the East African Development Bank.
Over 50 of the firm's top 250 clients have a presence in South Africa.
Significant African mandates upon which the firm has been engaged in the past include acting as international counsel on the development of the 80km Gautrain rapid transit railway linking Johannesburg to O.R. Tambo International Airport, and working with the European Investment Bank to shape thinking around the development of Public Private Partnerships ('PPP') in North African countries.
The firm also recently advised Turkish contractor Yapi Merkezi Inşaat ve Sanayi on a $1.7bn railway project in Ethiopia.
The South Africa presence will be fully-integrated into the wider firm.
Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, says: "Africa is a fast-growing market with clear infrastructure need. It's a market where we are already doing significant business for Chinese organisations, European contractors, investors and funds.
"Having an on-the-ground presence in Johannesburg, led by a team with a market-leading reputation will enable us to scale the existing practice significantly. We will focus on infrastructure initially – and particularly projects in the energy, IT, Telecoms and transport arena. We said at the turn of the year that we would continue to invest to stay relevant and this is proof of our commitment."
Richard Laudy, global head of infrastructure at Pinsent Masons, says: "Pinsent Masons has a global reputation for excellence and innovation, and a genuine commitment to a deep understanding of industry sectors. Johannesburg is increasingly well-positioned as an entry point for international investors transacting business across the African continent, so there is real opportunity to pursue."