Australian law firms are now increasing their wings to cover parts of Africa including Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“Investors in Africa are looking for best quality legal advice and services that will help them thrive in their businesses,” said Perth lawyer Meredith Campion.
In fact, “I have spent most of my practising years advising resources operators, mining experts and investors in Africa,” said Meredith Campion.
She says that most of her work involves economically and politically sensitive projects. Her job entails advising on key deals in the South African region and helping investors decide on the best measures to take.
She adds that in order to perform her tasks effectively, she has to work closely with Allen & Overy’s sister office in Johannesburg.
After returning from her conference with African investors interested in the resources and energy sector in South Africa, Ms Campion spoke with Aussie Lawyer Blog.
“I have noted that commodity prices are showing signs of gradual recovery and slow M&A activity in Africa has started to pick up again,” said Ms Campion. She added that in the past five to 10 years, the sector has certainly risen and fallen.
She said that in the recent past, the industry went through a period full of debts. The reason behind this is because various factors contributed towards the shaking of M&A in the region’s resources and energy sector.
Ms Campion added that the market grew fast and it was flushed with rock-bottom commodity prices and chronic oversupply, while at the same time, great economies like China went through slow growth.
However, this soon changed because the supply and commodity prices brought quite a number of stagnant and very difficult years for numerous mining industries in the region. This came in just after the country had experienced a real mining boom.
The good news is that now the factors that contributed to the harsh market have begun turning more positive. She said that iron ore is well above its low of US$30 although it may still be very far from its highest price of approximately US$140.
“Hence, this confirms that prices are gradually recovering for both speciality and bulk commodities,” said Ms Campion. She added that in light of the challenging market conditions, it is more likely that investors will need expert advice from qualified lawyers who can come up with innovative deal models.
As a matter of fact, investors in the region are looking for leads that can help them acquire African companies with uncertain deals and that can help them maximise their profits.
In order to help such deals get along successfully, lawyers in the region are now looking for solutions that can help them realise and take advantage of existing opportunities.
Conclusively, Ms Campion says that the African market and more specifically the resources and energy sector is positive and is full of prospective deals for Australian lawyers.
Therefore, she urged all Australian lawyers to take advantage of this opportunity and nourish their skills out there.