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Finance and Projects

Our finance and projects lawyers advise on all aspects of financing, across borders, sectors and financial products. 

In finance, we have one of the largest banking and finance practices in Uganda. Our firm is renowned for its understanding of the legal, commercial, regulatory and operational aspects of the finance and banking sector in Uganda. 

Our practice’s services and advice covers all areas of banking and finance law and financial services, including financial institutions’ regulation. We provide advice on retail, corporate and investment banking, syndicated lending, acquisition finance, asset-backed finance, trade and commodity finance and micro-finance. We are currently retained as legal counsel to twelve commercial banks in Uganda, act for two regional development banks – the East African Development Bank and the Trade and Development Bank – and execute mandates as local counsel to leading financial institutions across the world. We also act for non-bank lenders such as investment funds, venture capitalists and special-purpose financiers. 

We are a market leader in projects, infrastructure and project finance in Uganda. We act on the mandate of the world’s leading development financial institutions, the Government of Uganda and governmental agencies and private infrastructure entities. We have participated in the development, financing, acquisition and operation of complex infrastructure projects in country, and we possess the local knowledge required to support clients identify, analyse, negotiate and document legal and financing structures for the development, financing, acquisition, delivery, commissioning and operation of infrastructure projects.

Experience has included advising:

  • National Social Security Fund (as the private counterparty) for the development of a USD222 million government campus on a public-private partnership basis (build, own and transfer) with the Government of Uganda
  • Sinohydro Corporation, the EPC contractor, on its procurement to construct the USD2.2 billion 600 MW Karuma hydro power dam, including advising the client on parallel contracting arrangements with the Government of Uganda and concessional loan financing from the Export-Import Bank of China.
  • The lenders (Proparco, International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank, DEG, CDC Group, Absa Bank and Nedbank London) on the USD403 million project re-financing of the 250 MW Bujagali II hydro power dam.
  • Standard Chartered Bank London, FMO, European Investment Bank and BNP Paribas, as the outgoing lenders, in connection with the USD403 million project re-financing of the 250 MW Bujagali II hydro power project.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Uganda on an International Swap Dealers Association hedging transaction (interest rate swaps) worth USD322 million between Standard Chartered Bank Uganda and the Government of Uganda related to a concessional loan agreement between the Government of Uganda and the Export-Import Bank of China to finance the USD1.4 billion 600 MW Karuma hydro-power dam.
  • dfcu Limited for a USD50 million bridging finance facility from Arise B.V, a specialist development finance vehicle sponsored by Norfund, FMO and Rabobank, for the injection of capital into dfcu Limited’s banking subsidiary dfcu Bank following dfcu Bank’s purchase of the assets and assumption of liabilities of Crane Bank.
  • Trade and Development Bank for a total of USD37.7 million in project finance facilities to the developers of three run-of-the river mini hydro-power dams in Uganda.
  • The Ugandan and Mauritian branches of a leading multinational UK Bank alongside Absa Bank (as hedge counterparty) for a USD40 million project re-financing facility to an independent power producer for the expansion of the borrower’s heavy fuel oil plant.
  • A leading Asian public financial institution and export credit agency on a multi-million dollar loan to a Ugandan borrower.
  • Trade and Development Bank for the USD30.5 million limited recourse financing of the development of a luxury hotel in Uganda.
  • Band 1 – General Business Law (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • Tier 1 – Financial and Corporate (IFLR1000 2019)

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.