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Gertrude Wamala Karugaba

Gertrude Wamala Karugaba

Partner, S&L Advocates

Gertrude Wamala Karugaba’s commercial practice focuses on finance, banking law, equity and debt capital markets, corporate law, commercial agreements and regulatory support.

Gertrude acts for local and international financial institutions as well as large corporates, some of which are listed on regional stock exchanges, on a variety of legal, regulatory, compliance and transactional mandates.

In notable mandates, Gertrude acted as transaction advisor and project manager to Dfcu Bank for its purchase of the assets and assumption of liabilities of Crane Bank Limited in what is the largest banking sector acquisition in Uganda. In capital markets, Gertrude advised a publicly-traded financial services group on a rights issue, and the Uganda Securities Exchange on its demutualization. In regulatory affairs, Gertrude acts for one of Uganda’s leading telecommunications operators and advises on sensitive regulatory and corporate affairs.

Experience has included advising:

  • Stanbic Bank Uganda (Uganda’s largest bank) and Centenary Bank (Uganda’s largest indigenous bank), on corporate reorganizations by which the banks created a holding company structure (including transferring the banking business undertaking to a banking subsidiary)
  • Dfcu Bank, as transaction advisor and project manager, for dfcu Bank’s purchase of the assets and assumption of liabilities of Crane Bank following the placement of Crane Bank into receivership by the Central Bank; the transaction being the largest banking sector acquisition in Uganda
  • The acquiring bank in relation to the horizontal merger of two Central Bank-supervised commercial banks
  • Savannah Commodities and Grainpulse Limited, two indigenous agro-commodity companies, in relation to a business reorganization and subsequent equity investment by K+S AG, a German chemical company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
  • British American Tobacco, for a business restructuring exercise involving the decommissioning and sale of the company’s green leaf processing plant, and cessation of its tobacco leaf business, transfer of leaf processing operations to British American Tobacco Kenya and transfer of leaf processing assets to Alliance One International, a global agronomy services provider
  • Dfcu Limited, on its USD55 million rights issue and listing of additional shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange
  • Vivo Energy plc, (as Ugandan counsel) in connection with Vivo’s listing on the London Stock Exchange, and to listing and trading as a secondary inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
  • Uganda Securities Exchange, on its demutualization (conversion from a member-owned exchange to a self-regulating for-profit entity)

Professional Qualifications

  • Advocate admitted to the High Court of Uganda (2002)

Education

  • University of Cambridge (Queens College), Master of Law (Commercial and Corporate Law) (2003)
  • Makerere University, Bachelor of Law (2000)
  • Law Development Centre, Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (bar qualification) (2001)

Recognition

  • Ranked as leading lawyer in Chambers & Partners Global

Memberships

  • Member of the East Africa Law Society
  • Member of the Uganda Law Society

Key COVID-19 considerations for the financial services sector

COVID-19 raises a range of financial services issues which financial institutions are managing and will continue managing over the coming months. Business continuity plans have already been activated by financial service providers and clients alike. The Government of Uganda has also put in place several preventive measures including a partial lockdown that will most certainly test business continuity plans of financial services providers.