Chadbourne & Parke LLP has opened an office in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it has also hired Lido Fontana as an International Partner in its project finance practice and as the Managing Partner of the Johannesburg office.
Mr. Fontana will join the firm on 2 February from Bowman Gilfillan, one of South Africa's leading corporate law firms.
Mr. Fontana has significant experience in international oil and gas, mining, power (including renewable energy), and large infrastructure development transactions as well as with public private partnerships (P3) and the UK Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Mr. Fontana has handled a number of high-profile transactions, including his representation of Eskom on the Aggreko/Shanduka cross-border emergency power project which was named Africa's "Best Fast Track Power Project" in 2012 at the Africa Energy Awards. He also advised the sponsors on one of the largest solar photovoltaic projects to reach financial close under the IPP Programme in South Africa. Before joining Bowman Gilfillan, Mr. Fontana spent several years working as a solicitor at the London headquarters of a global law firm.
Mr. Fontana is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales as well as an attorney in South Africa. He received an LLB from the University of Natal and speaks English, Afrikaans, and Italian.
Other members of the firm's Project Finance practice will spend significant time in the new office including the head of Chadbourne's Africa ractice and London Partner, Agnieszka Klich, as well as London International Partners Kevin Atkins and Julien Bocobza, Dubai Partners Sohail Barkatali and Richard Keenan, and Dubai International Partner Yasser Yaqub.
The Johannesburg office provides a platform to support private equity, sponsors and institutional investors in equity raises, capital markets and M&A transactions for the fast growing telecoms, banking and consumer products sectors across the continent.
Andy Giaccia, Chadbourne's Managing Partner, stated:
"Johannesburg has become a key business and financial center in Sub-Saharan Africa for international banks, multilateral agencies, development and financing institutions, and investors. Our new Johannesburg office will enhance our already vibrant practices in Africa and help us continue to expand our reach throughout the region. This expansion of our physical presence in this market is in keeping with our long-standing emerging markets pedigree and our extensive Africa experience."