Craig Schafer, head of commercial property, collects his award from host, broadcaster Leanne Manas (left), and awards judge Gary Berndt, Barloworld Craig Schafer, head of commercial property, collects his award from host, broadcaster Leanne Manas (left), and awards judge Gary Berndt, Barloworld

Finalists: Bowmans; GLA – Gabinete Legal Angola (PLMJ Network); Organizaçoes Yourim Sociedade Comercial (OYSC); Webber Wentzel

Top South African law firm Bowmans earned the Property Team of the Year award for its work on OId Mutual Property’s $64m Kenyan investment in the largest shopping mall anywhere in east, central and southern Africa (outside of South Africa), and one of only two malls in Kenya to attract international brands (Carrefour is the anchor tenant).

The investment in the Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi gave Old Mutual a 50% stake in the project (via a 10% shareholding and a loan that was convertible to an additional 40% equity holding) and helped ensure the development avoided long delays. Bowmans devised a legal structure that allowed Old Mutual to disburse the funds immediately without having to wait for merger approval from regulators, and also put in place safeguards to ensure it would get its cash back with interest if the loan was not converted into shares.

The firm offered Old Mutual a one-stop shop for the transaction and advised on due diligence, legal structuring, drafting, negotiating and finalising the transaction documents. Bowmans’ strict project management control and effective collaboration with lawyers across three jurisdictions (Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa) ensured the deal was completed quickly and without a hitch.