HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS FURTHER STRENGTHENS ITS JOHANNESBURG OFFICE WITH THE HIRE OF HIGH-PROFILE COMPETITION AND PROJECT FINANCE LAWYERS

Herbert Smith Freehills is further strengthening the firm’s rapidly growing presence throughout Africa, with the hire of two market-leading lawyers – competition Partner Jean Meijer and Project Finance Consultant Biddy Faber.

Jean joins Herbert Smith Freehills today from Bowmans, where she was a Partner for over 10 years and served as head and co-head of the Competition Practice. Jean was previously a Partner at Cliffe Dekker, where she started as an M&A lawyer and then moved on to form and head-up the Competition Practice.

Jean has carved out a stellar market reputation and has been lauded as “one of the pre-eminent competition lawyers in South Africa” by Chambers and Partners.

She has acted in many of the high profile South African competition cases and handles all aspects of competition law, including: merger control; cartel and other prohibited practice investigations; exemption applications and competition compliance. She has knowledge of the competition laws of many African countries and regularly advises on multi-jurisdictional African mergers.

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Project Finance lawyer Biddy Faber joined Herbert Smith Freehills as a Consultant on 9 January 2017 from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, where she was director (often a term used in South Africa to describe Partner) of the Finance and Banking practice.

Biddy has extensive experience as a banking and finance lawyer having worked at two of the major South African Banks (FirstRand and Absa) for seven years, and at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs before joining Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

Also highly regarded in the market, Biddy has worked on some of the leading transactions in South Africa, sometimes acting for the lenders and sometimes for the borrower and its sponsors or the government. In addition, Biddy has advised on numerous renewable energy projects as part of The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement programme (REIPP) in South Africa.

Ed Baring, Managing Partner of the Johannesburg office said: “We welcome Jean and Biddy to the firm and we look forward to working with them. They are both first-class lawyers with excellent experience who will be a great addition to our South Africa office and the wider Africa practice, as well as our leading global network.”

James Quinney, Global Head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Competition Practice, added: “South Africa is one of the most active competition law jurisdictions, with active enforcement of antitrust laws by a sophisticated competition authority, and a merger control regime demanding notification and clearance in respect of many M&A transactions. Jean’s addition to the office here will further strengthen our existing M&A offering and deepen the range of services we can offer clients here and across our network.”

Commenting on her move to Herbert Smith Freehills, Jean added: “Being part of a leading global Competition Practice is a fantastic opportunity for me. The strength and quality of the firm’s global network will enable me to offer clients a comprehensive range of expertise from one point of contact.”

Biddy said: “I am very excited to be working with Brigette and her highly regarded team. I think we can offer the market a depth of experience in the projects and project finance space that is unrivalled.”

These appointments are the latest in a string of hires for Herbert Smith Freehills in South Africa. In May 2016 the firm appointed corporate lawyer, Rudolph du Plessis, as partner in its Johannesburg office from Bowmans, where he had been a partner since 2001.

Highly respected energy and infrastructure finance lawyer Brigette Baillie and Peter Leon – one of the top twenty mining lawyers in the world – were first to be recruited to the firm’s Johannesburg office in October 2015. They both joined Herbert Smith Freehills from South African firm Webber Wentzel, where Brigette was head of the Energy & Infrastructure Sector Group, and Peter head of Mining Regulation.

Meanwhile, Partners Ed Baring and Bertrand Montembault have both relocated to the Johannesburg office. They were Head of the firm’s Banking & Finance practice in Moscow and Head of the Paris Energy & Infrastructure practice respectively.

Over the past 30 years, Herbert Smith Freehills has established a leading position in Africa, with one of the largest teams of common and civil law lawyers dedicated to Africa work, acting on matters in over 50 of Africa’s 54 countries. The launch of the Johannesburg office in October 2015 further strengthened the firm’s Africa practice. Consistently ranked in the top tier by Chambers and Legal 500, the firm has more ranked lawyers for Projects & Energy Africa in Chambers Global than any other firm and operates across a large number of sectors including Energy, Mining, TMT, Banks, Consumer & Retail and Financial Buyers.

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