Global law firm Baker McKenzie has announced that Michael Foundethakis, Partner and Head of the Banking & Finance Practice in Paris, has been appointed Chair of the Firm’s Africa Steering Committee (ASC). The ASC has the responsibility of shaping and implementing the Firm’s global Africa strategy.
Foundethakis is primarily involved in cross-border Project and Trade & Export Finance. His primary focus has always been on emerging markets, with a particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, a region with which he has been heavily involved since the mid-1990s.
He has just led a team from the Paris, London and Johannesburg offices of Baker McKenzie which advised a syndicate of 23 banks, led by Bank of America Europe DAC and Standard Chartered Bank as Sustainability Coordinators, and Commerzbank as Facility Agent on a USD600 million sustainability-linked term loan facility agreement for Investec Bank Limited of South Africa. It is the first sustainability-linked syndicated loan signed by Investec Bank Limited, coming hot off the heels of an earlier sustainability-linked financing to Investec Bank plc, on which Michael and his team also advised the lenders. Further, Michael and a team from the Cairo, London, Paris and Tokyo offices of the firm recently advised a group of lenders led by MUFG Bank, Ltd. on a NEXI covered USD 520,000,000 dual-currency facilities agreement to African Export-Import Bank. This ground-breaking transaction was the first of its kind to be covered by the Japanese state insurer on the African continent and its purpose is to support Afreximbank’s Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA).
“The appointment of Michael as Head of the ASC reflects our One Global Team approach, which enables us to achieve our strategic vision of being the Global Law Firm of Choice for our clients and our people in Africa. There are so many opportunities across the African continent over the next decade, and we are excited to be there with our clients and to contribute in the realisation of that potential for tremendous growth,” notes EMEA Chair, Esteban Raventos.
Foundethakis comments, “There are considerable opportunities across the continent, but not without responsibility. As well as being bankable and yielding attractive returns, it is becoming increasingly imperative that investment should be sustainable and also provide ancillary benefits to local economies. Simply put, it should be net positive for the region.”
Baker McKenzie has more than 30 years’ experience operating in Africa, having advised on some of the most important transactions in the continent over the last few years. The firm has three offices in Africa – Johannesburg, Cairo and Casablanca – which employ more than 100 lawyers. These lawyers work alongside Africa-focused lawyers in key global locations such as Paris, London, Dubai, Beijing and New York, which act as hubs for the Firm’s Africa work. In addition, the Firm has a well developed network of Africa Relationship Firms (ARFs) in jurisdictions where it does not have an office. The Africa team’s deep-sector expertise and ability to work seamlessly across borders, helps investors shape, negotiate and close complicated deals and projects in unusual contexts, across multiple jurisdictions in Africa.