A&O, Norton Rose handle World Bank group’s Togo investment

Allen & Overy (A&O) and a London team from Norton Rose have advised on a deal that sees by the World Bank’s (WB) investment arm buy shares worth $100m (£64.4m) in pan-African banking group Ecobank Transnational.

Glenn Hall
Glenn Hall

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector wing of the WB, has invested in $100m equity shares in the Togo-based bank, with the deal following a string of investments in the bank from other financial institutions and state-owned organisations.

Norton Rose acted for Ecobank, with London corporate partner Glenn Hall leading the team, while the IFC was advised by an A&O New York team and WB in-house lawyer Becher Atassi.

The investment, aimed at strengthening Ecobank’s capital base, was made by the IFC Capitalization Fund, the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund and the Africa Capitalisation Fund, all three of which are managed by IFC Asset Management. The share subscription represents a 7.2 per cent stake in the company.

Background to this deal:

The IFC first acquired shares in Ecobank in 2009 when a $100m loan it issued was converted into a 9.2 per cent equity stake, while in June 2010 the IFC Capitalization Fund and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund loaned the bank $150m, with half of this convertible into equity.

The deal is the latest in a fundraising programme by Ecobank under which South African bank Nedbank, South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the IFC have together invested a total of $635m in the bank in the last six months. Norton Rose’s Hall, whose practice has a heavy African focus, advised the Ecobank on all three deals, with South African firm Bowman Gilfillan and Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs acting for the PIC and Nedbank respectively.

Transaction documents for Ecobank’s 2008 rights issue on the Ghana Stock Exchange, Nigerian Stock Exchange and the west African Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières show it was advised on the deal by Henry Myles-Mills of Accra-based law firm Lawfields Consulting. Reports at the time indicated it hoped to raised $2.5bn from the rights issue.

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