Akash Devani | Partner | Anjarwalla & Khanna
Akash R. Devani is a Partner in the Corporate department and co-heads the Banking & Finance department at Anjarwalla & Khanna (A&K).
Akash principally advises on banking, mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity investments, commercial property and shipping. Akash also has cross border practice experience, having advised on commercial transactions in various parts of Africa. He also advises foreign clients investing in Kenya.
Akash has participated in various legal and business forums both locally and internationally and recently made presentations and/or submitted articles on the following:
- Getting the Deal Through – Loans & Secured Financing 2018, 2017, 2016 – Kenya
- Banker Africa – Trends and Policies in the Banking & Finance Sector in Kenya 2017
- Legal formalities of taking security over assets in Kenya
- Changes in law under the new constitution of Kenya
- Due diligence and structures for property development projects in Kenya
- A guide for Investing in Kenya
Akash is highly regarded by IFLR1000 (2020) under the mergers & acquisitions and banking practice areas. He is also regarded a leading lawyer in Kenya by Legal 500 (2019) under the banking, finance and capital markets practice area.
Membership in Professional Societies
1997: Post Graduate Diploma in Law, Kenya School of Law
1995: Law Practice, University of Bristol, UK
1994: Bachelor of Laws, LL.B (Hons), Cardiff University, Wales, UK
2003 – date Partner, Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates, Mombasa
2000 – 2002 Senior Associate, Anjarwalla & Khanna Advocates, Mombasa
1997 – 1999 Associate, Anjarwalla Abdulhusein & Co. Advocates, Mombasa
Awards and Accolades
- Akash is a ‘Highly Regarded’ lawyer in Kenya for banking, project finance, mergers and acquisitions by IFLR1000 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. He is mentioned as being ‘focused, hardworking and absolutely brilliant’ and also as being ‘extremely competent, knowledgeable and efficient’.
- Akash is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ who is widely respected for his banking and finance expertise. – Legal 500, 2020.
- Akash is recognised by Legal 500 2019 as an ‘outstanding practitioner’. Legal 500, 2017 recognised Akash as ‘proactive’ and ‘highly skilled’ [with] ‘an ability to think on his feet’.
- Akash was named as a winner at the 2015 M&A Awards by Acquisition International.
- He was voted as one of the leading lawyers in Kenya by Best Lawyers International.
- Akash was selected as a recipient for an award for Banking & Finance – Law Firm of the Year by Finance monthly Law Awards in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Akash was recognised as a Banking & Finance – Lawyer of the Year by Global Awards 2015, for awards by Best lawyers in Kenya 2015.
- Akash was recognised in the Shipping & Maritime – Law Firm of the Year by both Corporate International Legal Awards and Global Law Experts.
- Akash was recognised as a Winner of the year 2013 by Lawyers World Global Awards.
- Akash has been selected by Corporate Live Wire as one of the recognised experts in Kenya amongst leading lawyers around the world for discussions on Banking & Finance matters.
Areas of Expertise
- Banking & Finance
- Corporate M&A
- Intellectual property
- Private Equity
- Real Estate and Construction
- Acting as the lead counsel for Equity Bank Kenya and Equity Bank Uganda in connection with the financing of USD 70 million to Mahathi Infra (Uganda), a company incorporated in Uganda, loan to be used by the borrower for the construction of barges, oil jetty, oil terminal and farm tanks.
- Advising Avanti Communications Group and its subsidiary Avanti Communications Tanzania, one of the largest Telecommunications Group with presence in 118 countries in the world, in connection with banking facilities worth USD 34.5 million provided by the Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch and Wilmington Trust (London), issued to Avanti Communication Group.
- Acting as the lead counsel for Equity Bank Kenya in connection with financing of USD 60.5 million to Kisanfu Mining SAS, a company incorporated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), loan to be used by the borrower for the purchase of new business premises, for purchase of new machinery and to finance its working capital.
- Acting for a large commercial bank in Kenya in connection with their financing of USD 40.1 million to a leading manufacturing conglomerate in Kenya, East and Central Africa.
- Acting as the lead counsel for one of the largest commercial bank in Africa in connection with their financing of USD 22 million to a mining company incorporated in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the expansion of a cobalydroxide plant at the mining site.
- Acting for a large commercial bank in Kenya in connection with additional financing of USD 12 million to a company incorporated in Uganda.
- Acting as the lead counsel for one of the largest commercial bank in Africa in connection with financing of a company incorporated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, of USD 5.1 million to be used for acquisition of new premises and machinery as well as working capital.
- Acting for a large commercial bank in Kenya in connection with their financing of USD 3.9 million to a leading paint company in Uganda that is owned by a public company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, to facilitate purchase of certain machinery required in the ordinary course of business of the company.
- Acting for NIC Bank in connection with shipping finance and securities, including reviewing a ship building and sale contract, drafting the banking securities to include a ship mortgage, assignment of earnings and receivables, assignment of ship insurance policies and subordination of the ship manager’s rights.
- Advising a private Kenyan company in connection with the privatization process of the Second Port Terminal being conducted by the Kenya Ports Authority and the Government of the Republic of Kenya and dealing with the joint venture arrangements and shareholders’ agreement with one of the world’s largest privately held marine and rail terminal operator. The transaction involved advising the joint venture entity on the Qualification Requirements and on the Tender with the Kenya Ports Authority based on the Public Private Partnership Act of Kenya, which included International Competitive Bidding Procedures.
- Advising Riva Oils Company in connection with a construction contract with a private contractor from Beijing, China on the designing, construction, installation and commissioning of a strategic fuel storage facility in Kenya costing USD 150 million, which is proposed to be guaranteed by a State Corporation.
- Acting for Export-Import Bank of China in connection with its financing to the Government of Kenya and Kenya Power & Lighting Company (a parastatal) for a the Nairobi, Kenya 132KV and 66KV Network Upgrade and Reinforcement Power Plant, including analysing the project’s deal structure and identifying material issues under governing Kenyan law and regulations, in particular with respect to the regulatory matters triggered by virtue of the governmental status of the borrowers, drafting and negotiating escrow related agreements and certain assignments and obtaining all local registration and regulatory clearances.
- Acting for FirstRand Bank, a Rand Merchant Bank Division, in connection with a financing facility of up to USD 35 million to Centum Investments Company (the borrower), including carrying out due diligence over Centum’s private equity investment portfolio, preparing loan and security documentation together with the ancillary documentation; perfecting the securities created by the borrower and its affiliate companies; preparing and issuing of a legal opinion on the enforceability in Kenya of the loan, security documentation, the legal, valid and binding nature of the obligations of the borrower under the loan documentation; reviewing the authorizations and capacity of the borrower; and liaising with legal counsel in Tanzania and Mauritius in relation to perfection of the securities issued by the group of companies.
- Acting for one of the largest horticulture and flower farming companies in Kenya, a subsidiary of a global PE firm, in connection with the review and restructuring of its immovable asset portfolio ranging over 3,800 acres and valued in excess of USD 100 million, including advising on the various laws that would apply; advising on the issues arising from the proposed restructure; advising on the land disposal within the group such as user conditions of these parcels of land and compliance with the same; advising on the applicable consents that would be required including, inter alia, land control board consents; advising on the complex tax issues to be taken into consideration such as stamp duty and exemptions from stamp duty where applicable, capital gains tax and value added tax; and negotiating numerous transaction documents, including sale agreements, transfer forms and stamp duty exemption applications for the disposal of the non-core assets.
- Acting for Diamond Trust Bank Kenya, in connection with its financing of USD 24 million to Timsales, one of Kenya’s largest wood-based industrial complex manufacturing plywoods, fibreboards, block boards and dealing in timbers, including undertaking a due diligence on the borrower, advising on local law issues pertinent to the security documentation, preparing the Kenyan security documents and handling closing and post-closing matters. The transaction also involved in a partial take-over of existing banking facilities from Stanbic Bank Kenya. This is a significant local bank financing transaction as a review and due diligence on the various securities comprising of agricultural land was required to be undertaken.
- Acting for a leading bank in Kenya, in connection with banking facilities to another EPZ entity secured by way of Ship Mortgages created and registered in Zanzibar over certain motor vessels acquired by the Borrower, including liaising with a Zanzibar law firm on the approved format of the deed of covenants, registration requirements and enforcement of the ship mortgage, drafting and preparing the deed of covenants in respect of the Ship Mortgage, liaising with the relevant authority in Zanzibar to have the deed of covenants approved and registering ship mortgage. The deal is significant because it’s a cross border transaction involving Zanzibar law showcasing A&K’s expertise in Islamic Finance.
- Advising on the sale of shares in a company as well as certain specialised machinery related to large scale processing and preservation of sea food for export to European Markets. Our scope of work included advising on competition law issues arising from the transaction, filing merger notifications and liaising with the competition authority to get approvals for the transactions; providing structuring and tax advice to the vendor in respect of the transactions and drafting and negotiating the share purchase and asset purchase agreements and completing the transaction. The transaction also contained a financing aspect by the purchaser and our scope of work included negotiating on behlaf of the vendor the terms of the payment undertaking and the review of other ancillary documents with a top tier bank in Kenya, which had agreed to grant finance for the purchase of the assets and the shares.
- Acting for Cannon Assurance Kenya, one of the leading insurance firms in Kenya, and Inderjit Talwar, the Chairman of Cannon Assurance Kenya, in connection with the disposal of 174 acres of a 206 acre immovable property in Kilifi County to a Chinese investor who is looking to create a satellite town on this large tract of land, including advising the client on the subdivision of the property, liaising with the National Land Commission of Kenya on the surrender of certain portions of the property for the settlement of squatters and advising the client on the terms of such settlement, advising the client on the subdivision, change of user process (for the proposed new satellite town development) and issuance of new documents of title for the properties and preparing and negotiating the contract for the sale of the land to the Chinese investors. This is a one-of-its kind project for purposes of converting a large agricultural land for commercial development and creation of a satellite town in the suburbs of Kilifi.
- Acting for Al-faraz Holdings, a Jersey based real estate development company, on its high-end luxury sea-facing residential development comprising of 44 apartments of 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms with private beach access located in Nyali, Mombasa, including setting up a foreign branch of the developer company and thereafter acting on the acquisition and sub-division of the property, seeking the National Environmental Management Authority approvals, advising on the legal and management structure in respect of the development as well as to achieve tax efficiencies, drafting and preparing all the relevant documents in respect of sale of the apartments such as the letter of offer, Agreement for Lease, Agreement for Sale and Sub-Lease.
- Acted for a developer of a unique residential development on Lamu Island in the Old Town area comprising nine high end residential Swahili-designed apartments together with related amenities and facilities, including a Roman-style indoor swimming pool/spa and wind towers. This is the first development of its kind on the Island. The transaction involves advising on the most efficient structure for the transaction, drafting the agreements for lease and sub-leases, negotiating with the purchaser and/or their advocates on the terms of sale, setting up a management company to manage the development and handling all aspects of the transaction up to completion.
- Acting for NIC Bank and I&M Bank on banking facilities of USD 36 million to Comarco Group of Companies for the operations of the Borrower’s Group of Companies and also for asset finance for the acquisition of industrial machinery. The transaction required negotiations and agreements with the Kenya Ports Authority on the perfection of certain securities due to the nature of the Borrower’s business.
- Acting on a financing by Standard Chartered Bank Kenya to a borrower in the tea industry, involving drafting, preparation and perfection of securities over all the assets of the borrower, including security over tea stocks and tea stocks receivables and a collateral warehousing agreement.
- Acting on a financing by Bank of Africa Kenya to a borrower to finance involving the taking of cross-border securities and creation of securities over immovable assets situate outside Kenya, providing advice to the client bank on the legal and practical challenges that could arise in the enforcement of such securities outside Kenya.
- Acting on a financing by Citibank, N.A. in an aggregate amount of approximately USD 10 million to a borrower for the construction and development of a new bottling plant in the Mtwapa Area in the Coast Province.
- Acting as legal counsel for NIC Bank and Diamond Trust Bank Kenya in connection with a facility in an aggregate amount of Kenya Shillings eight hundred million by the lenders to an oil company.
- Acting for NIC Bank in connection with shipping finance and securities, including review of a ship building and sale contract, review and advice on the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009, drafting the banking securities to include a ship mortgage, assignment of earnings and receivables, assignment of ship insurance policies and subordination of the ship managers rights.
- Advising NIC Bank in connection with the proposed structuring of a syndicated banking facility of approximately Kenya Shillings 5.6 billion (approx US$ 62,000,000) to an oil company in Kenya. Other banks involved in the syndication were Equity Bank, CFC Stanbic Bank and Co-operative Bank Kenya.
- Acting for Vishwa Developers in connection with its integrated mixed-use development project to be known as “DG Oasis” that will comprise of a retail mall, school, medical centre with at 368 residential units and a park. A&K‘s involvement in this transaction has included providing advice on the overall structuring of the project, advising on an appropriate management structure and preparing and negotiating all the documentation required to implement the management structure, preparing all the legal documentation required for the conveyancing of units within the project, negotiations of contracts with the various consultants including the principal contractor of the project.
- Acting for CMS Cameron McKenna (United Kingdom) and Peterlegal S.A., Attorneys-at-Law (a Swiss law firm) in reviewing and advising on the validity and enforceability of certain guarantees issued in favour of their client (based outside Kenya) by a company incorporated in Kenya in relation to obligations of companies incorporated in Uganda and Tanzania.