Olaniwun Ajayi won IFLR’s inaugural Nigeria Law Firm of the Year award for its work on many of the market’s most innovative cross-border transactions of 2019-2020. The award was presented at the virtual winner’s ceremony for the IFLR Africa Awards 2020, held in September.
The firm also picked up awards for Nigeria’s capital markets team of the year and loans team of the year, as well as being recognised for its roles on the region’s winning equity capital markets deal – Africa Airtel IPO, and the winning restructuring project – Seven Energy. Both transactions set new legal benchmarks in Nigeria.
Highlights saw a team, led by Yewande Senbare, advise the joint global coordinators on Africa Airtel’s IPO on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This milestone transaction marked the first ever foreign inbound listing in Nigeria and required sophisticated structuring to accommodate a full simultaneous dual listing on the London and Nigeria stock exchanges. The IPO was also executed alongside a capital raise, another market first.
A team led by Wolemi Esan represented the syndicate of lenders on the restructuring of a $371 million loan to Accugas, a Seven Energy subsidiary. It was a unique and high stakes project that had to be tightly choreographed with Savannah’s acquisition of a restructured Seven Energy. The firm’s loan team broke new legal ground on several other shortlisted projects, with novel financings for Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Teleology/9Mobile and Bank of Industry.
The firm also had a lead role on some of Nigeria’s most defining M&A transactions, such as Cement Company of Northern Nigeria’s merger with Bua Group, and project financings.
These examples of innovative legal work in demanding cross-border transactions made Olaniwun Ajayi a deserving winner.