Arnold & Porter and Linklaters advise as Kenya makes debut bond issuance

Arnold & Porter, Linklaters and Kenyan firms Anjarwalla & Khanna and Kaplan & Stratton have taken the lead roles on Kenya’s $2bn (£1.2bn) Eurobond, the largest debut sovereign bond issuance from Africa.

Arnold & Porter worked alongside Anjarwalla for the Kenyan government on the bond issuance, while Linklaters and Kaplan & Stratton provided advice to joint lead managers Barclays Bank, JP Morgan Securities, QNB Capital and Standard Bank and co-manager Dyer & Blair.

The issuance saw Kenya issue a $500m five-year bond and a $1.5bn 10-year bond, both listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The issuance was oversubscribed, beating Kenya’s original $1.5bn target.

The funds raised will be used to pay off government debt.

Arnold & Porter’s team was led from Washington DC by partner Whitney Debevoise alongside London-based partner Jeremy Willcocks. New York tax partner Cynthia Mann and London-based litigation partner Ian Kirby were also involved.

Anjarwalla managing partner Karim Anjarwalla and partner Maureen Mujera provided Kenyan advice to the government.

At Linklaters, the team was led by London-based capital markets partners Patrick Sheil and Richard Levy. Kaplan & Stratton partners Binti Shah and Oliver Fowler advised on Kenyan law.

Background to this deal:

The Kenyan government is looking for new ways of reducing debt. Its foray into the bond market comes at a time of instability for the country, which has been subject to several terrorist attacks in recent months. However investors showed huge demand for the instrument and the issuance was oversubscribed.

The BBC reported that finance minister Henry Rotich said Kenya was looking at further ways of accessing the international money markets, including sukuk or diaspora bonds.

Other African states including Ghana, Senegal and Zambia have previously issued Eurobonds and are looking at further issuances, as is the Ivory Coast, while Kenya’s neighbour Tanzania may issue a debut bond later this year.

For more on East Africa, read this week’s special report, Triumverate of power