Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has advised the South African lender group (the "Lender Group") – Nedbank, Absa, Rand Merchant Bank and Ninety One – on the financial restructuring of Petra Diamonds Limited. Initially announced on 20th October 2020, the transaction entailed the restructuring of the existing ZAR1.6bn first lien facilities provided to Petra Diamonds by the Lender Group and the equitization of a portion of Petra's second lien notes debt. The transaction was implemented through a UK scheme of arrangement with chapter 15 recognition obtained in the US. The Group's financial restructuring is effective as of 10th March 2021.
London partner Bevis Metcalfe and Johannesburg partner Wildu du Plessis lead the cross-border team. Metcalfe said, "We are delighted to have been involved in the debt restructuring of Petra Diamonds. It is a great example of our cross-border teams working together to support our clients' interests and ultimately provide Petra with a sustainable capital structure to put it in a stronger position to deliver growth for all stakeholders.” Du Plessis added that “it has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the strength of the Baker McKenzie global network and to support the South African lender group on this complex restructuring.”
The Baker McKenzie team was led from London by Restructuring partner Bevis Metcalfe and from Johannesburg by partner Wildu du Plessis with support from London Capital Markets partner Haden Henderson and London based associates Samantha Greer, William Sugden, Russell Berry and Gabriella Steuer and Johannesburg based associates Chantel van Zyl and Lara Stockley.
Other advisory firms involved in the transactions included Rothschild (company FA), Ashurst (company lawyers), Houlihan Lokey (Noteholders' FA), White & Case (Ad hoc committee's lawyers)