Kelly Wright

Kelly Wright

Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9287
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Kelly Wright is a partner in our Johannesburg office Tax Practice.

She has a specific interest in structuring merger and acquisition transactions and has advised on some of the largest debt and group reorganisations in South Africa. Kelly regularly advises on a wide range of tax issues for domestic and multi-national groups, including types of acquisition funding. She also regularly advises on employee incentive schemes and analyses the tax consequences of such schemes.

Kelly also advises corporate and financial institutions on tax litigation and has been involved in litigating and settling large tax disputes, particularly in the financial products area. Her clients include Alexander Forbes, Investec, SABMiller, Standard Bank, AfriSam and Virgin Active.

Kelly has a LLB degree from the University of Witwatersrand (cum laude) and a Higher Diploma in Tax (cum laude) from the University of Johannesburg. She has also completed a certificate course in Advanced Company Law at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a registered tax practitioner.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

A selection of relevant transactions which Kelly recently advised on include:

  • South African Tax Counsel to SABMiller PLC in the recommended acquisition by AB InBev of the entire issued and to be issued share capital of SABMiller. At USD 107 billion (approximately ZAR 1.5 trillion), this is the largest M&A transaction in South Africa in transaction history and the third largest M&A transaction globally at the date of announcement.
  • Tax Counsel to SABMiller in respect of the combination of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller and Gutsche Family Investments’ (majority shareholders in Coca-Cola SABCO) bottling operations in Southern and East Africa to create Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, forming the biggest bottler of soft drinks in Africa and the 10th largest in the world, with annual revenue of USD 2.9 billion.
  • Tax Counsel to Alexander Forbes on its IPO on the JSE (ZAR 12 billion).
  • Tax Counsel to DisChem, a major South African pharmaceuticals retailer, on its recent IPO on the JSE (ZAR 20 billion).

Kelly regularly advises clients on a diverse range of issues, including:

  • The application of the GAAR and “substance over form doctrine” to various types of financial products and structures devised, inter alia, by banks.
  • The tax consequences of a cession of dividends as the quid pro quo for a loan.
  • Various matters involving the entitlement of a taxpayer to a tax deduction for interest and related expenditure.
  • Various matters regarding the calculation of “doubtful debt” allowances.
  • The meaning of the phrases “actually incurred” and “not of a capital nature” in the context of claiming deductions for expenditure.
  • The capital/revenue nature of certain types of losses.

Signature Matters


  • Ranked by Legal 500 in 2020 & 2018 as a Next Generation Lawyer for Tax.

Publications & Insights