Dentons takes role for Chinese quartet after Standard Bank tip

Isaac Felberbaum

Isaac Felberbaum

Denton Wilde Sapte has advised four Chinese banks on a $1bn (£630m) loan to Standard Bank of South Africa.

The firm picked up the deal after the South African bank’s in-house legal team, led by general counsel Ian Sinton, recommended it for the job.

Lead partner of the international and syndicated lending team Isaac Felberbaum said: “We’ve acted on the other side of all the loan agreements to Standard Bank, so they realised it would be quite painless.”

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is leading the syndicate, which comprised Bank of China, China Development Bank Corporation and China CITIC Bank Corporation. The banks are all providing ­similar portions of the five-year loan, which is repayable in a single tranche.

“You don’t see a five-year duration in any other loans,” said Felberbaum. “Three to five years is normally regarded as medium-term, but these days anything beyond a month is long-term.

his just shows the interest of Chinese state-owned banks in Africa or South Africa and shows their commitment and confidence in the market. This deal demonstrates the growing activity of the emerging market economies, while reflecting the scarcity of finance in traditional ­capital markets. Although Western banks are still reluctant to offer long-term financing, reports indicate that China has been less damaged by the crisis and its financial institutions are more prepared to lend.”

Chief executive of Standard Bank Group Jacko Maree said: “There’s ab­s­o­lutely no way we could raise this kind of money from Western banks.”

The club deal is believed to be the largest of its kind for a South African ­financial institution in the Chinese market and is a debut term loan for Standard Bank’s fundraising in the Asian market.

Felberbaum was assisted by associate Derryn Pearson. Dentons worked with Johannesburg firm Deneys Reitz Attorneys on South African matters, with partner Lionel Shawe leading.