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Philip Coulson

Partner | Nairobi

Philip-Coulson

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Contact

T: +254 20 503 1600

Overview

Philip Coulson is a senior partner in our Nairobi office and heads the Corporate and Commercial Department of our Nairobi office, Coulson Harney LLP, which he co-founded in 2008.

Philip specialises in company and commercial law, capital markets, property development, finance, acquisitions, take-overs, joint ventures, investments, corporate re-organisations, commercial contracts, tax, employment and land law matters tourism and conservation.

 

Experience

Philip has advised:

  • Naivas Limited and its shareholders in relation to a private equity investment by Amethis, a French, private equity fund.
  • JP Sa Couto,S.A., public procurement tender submitted jointly with Moi University, one of Kenya’s largest public universities, to the ICT Authority of Kenya for the Digital Literacy Programme. This was valued at USD 175 million.
  • AfricInvest Fund III in their investment in, and acquisition of a minority stake, in Silafrica Plastics and Packaging and the Silafrica Plastics group of companies. Silafrica Plastics has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia and has holding companies in Mauritius.
  • Mawingu Networks Limited, a provider of solar-powered wireless Internet across rural Kenya, in the investment by Africa Impact Ventures, a subsidiary of Vulcan Capital, International Network Investment LLC and Microsoft Global Finance Limited. Advised WPP Plc on its acquisition of majority stake in Scangroup Limited.
  • The consortium consisting of Retail Africa (Cpt) Proprietary Limited, Abland Proprietary Limited and Standard Bank of South Africa their investment and acquisition of a significant stake in Buffalo Mall Naivasha Limited, the entity which owns and operates Buffalo Mall in Naivasha Kenya.
  • The Nature Conservancy (through a wholly Kenyan-owned trust) on the acquisition of a 56,000 acre ranch in Laikipia and arrangements with an exclusive tourism partner for purposes of operating a high class tourism accommodation facility on the Ranch.
  • Tatu City and Kofinaf on corporate reorganization and various corporate law matters.
  • Old Mutual Property Africa Investment Company Pty Limited on its USD 55 million investment to acquire 50% of the shares in Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi, the largest mall in East and Central Africa.
  • Old Mutual Group and Wananchi Group Holdings on several corporate re-organizations, restructuring and employment matters.
  • Kingdom Hotel Investments / Kingdom Kenya 01 Limited in relation to the disposal of its entire stake in Mount Kenya Safari Club Limited.
  • UAP Holdings Limited (a public company regulated by the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority) on its acquisition of a 60% stake in one of Tanzania’s leading general insurance companies, Century Insurance Company Limited. UAP Holdings made the acquisition by way of equity and debt through its wholly owned Mauritian subsidiary, UAP Africa.
  • Dimension Data Plc on the legal and regulatory requirements applicable in its takeover offer for Access Kenya Group Limited, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • Centum Investment Company Limited and Cassia Capital Partners Limited on their acquisition of a 45% stake in Platcorp Holdings Limited and the injection of additional capital by way debt.
  • Wananchi Group of companies in Kenya in relation to a loan facility of USD 72 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an agency of the United States of America.
  • Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited in a USD 250 million financing from Standard Chartered Bank. The funds will be used for purposes of meeting the working capital requirements necessary in converting Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited from a tolling refinery to a merchant refinery.
  • Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited on several capital raising initiatives leading to the modernisation and expansion of their Mombasa refinery expected to be valued at USD 1.3 billion.
  • Pan-African private equity specialist, Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), on its acquisition of a 90% stake in Nairobi Java House Limited, one of Kenya’s most successful food and beverage outlets. This was ECP’s first private equity deal in the restaurant sector in East Africa, and its second investment in the East Africa region from its latest fund, ECP Africa Fund III.
  • Dimension Data Plc on the legal and regulatory requirements applicable in its takeover offer for Access Kenya Group Limited, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners has ranked Philip as a senior statesman for his work in Corporate/ M&A (Kenya) in 2023 and prior to that in Band 1 for eight consecutive years (2015-2022) and in Band 1 for Private Wealth Law (Kenya) in 2021.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Philip as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for Capital markets, Restructuring and insolvency, Project development, Banking, Project Finance and M&A, particularly in the Energy, Transport, Real estate, Oil and Gas, Social Infrastructure and Natural resources sectors for six consecutive years (2018-2026) and prior to that as a Leading Lawyer in 2016, for the same categories.
  • Legal 500 recognised Philip as a Leading Individual in Real Estate and Construction for five consecutive years (2020-2024) and as a Recommended Lawyer for Corporate/Commercial and M&A in Kenya (2016-2017).
  • Best Lawyers ranked Philip as lawyer of the year for corporate, mergers and acquisitions.

‘He is very commercially astute, pragmatic and useful in getting around obstacles in a transaction.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Philip is great with clients and great with work. He understands how to unlock a problem.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Philip Coulson covers company and commercial law, rounding out the team.’ – Legal 500, 2024

AREA OF EXPERTISE

Qualifications

  • LLB from the University of Essex, UK.
  • Current Solicitor’s Practising Certificate from the Law Society of England and Wales.
  • Member of the International Bar Association and Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association
  • Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

INSIGHTS

Related Sectors

Overview

Philip Coulson is a senior partner in our Nairobi office and heads the Corporate and Commercial Department of our Nairobi office, Coulson Harney LLP, which he co-founded in 2008.

Philip specialises in company and commercial law, capital markets, property development, finance, acquisitions, take-overs, joint ventures, investments, corporate re-organisations, commercial contracts, tax, employment and land law matters tourism and conservation.

 

Experience

Philip has advised:

  • Naivas Limited and its shareholders in relation to a private equity investment by Amethis, a French, private equity fund.
  • JP Sa Couto,S.A., public procurement tender submitted jointly with Moi University, one of Kenya’s largest public universities, to the ICT Authority of Kenya for the Digital Literacy Programme. This was valued at USD 175 million.
  • AfricInvest Fund III in their investment in, and acquisition of a minority stake, in Silafrica Plastics and Packaging and the Silafrica Plastics group of companies. Silafrica Plastics has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia and has holding companies in Mauritius.
  • Mawingu Networks Limited, a provider of solar-powered wireless Internet across rural Kenya, in the investment by Africa Impact Ventures, a subsidiary of Vulcan Capital, International Network Investment LLC and Microsoft Global Finance Limited. Advised WPP Plc on its acquisition of majority stake in Scangroup Limited.
  • The consortium consisting of Retail Africa (Cpt) Proprietary Limited, Abland Proprietary Limited and Standard Bank of South Africa their investment and acquisition of a significant stake in Buffalo Mall Naivasha Limited, the entity which owns and operates Buffalo Mall in Naivasha Kenya.
  • The Nature Conservancy (through a wholly Kenyan-owned trust) on the acquisition of a 56,000 acre ranch in Laikipia and arrangements with an exclusive tourism partner for purposes of operating a high class tourism accommodation facility on the Ranch.
  • Tatu City and Kofinaf on corporate reorganization and various corporate law matters.
  • Old Mutual Property Africa Investment Company Pty Limited on its USD 55 million investment to acquire 50% of the shares in Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi, the largest mall in East and Central Africa.
  • Old Mutual Group and Wananchi Group Holdings on several corporate re-organizations, restructuring and employment matters.
  • Kingdom Hotel Investments / Kingdom Kenya 01 Limited in relation to the disposal of its entire stake in Mount Kenya Safari Club Limited.
  • UAP Holdings Limited (a public company regulated by the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority) on its acquisition of a 60% stake in one of Tanzania’s leading general insurance companies, Century Insurance Company Limited. UAP Holdings made the acquisition by way of equity and debt through its wholly owned Mauritian subsidiary, UAP Africa.
  • Dimension Data Plc on the legal and regulatory requirements applicable in its takeover offer for Access Kenya Group Limited, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • Centum Investment Company Limited and Cassia Capital Partners Limited on their acquisition of a 45% stake in Platcorp Holdings Limited and the injection of additional capital by way debt.
  • Wananchi Group of companies in Kenya in relation to a loan facility of USD 72 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an agency of the United States of America.
  • Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited in a USD 250 million financing from Standard Chartered Bank. The funds will be used for purposes of meeting the working capital requirements necessary in converting Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited from a tolling refinery to a merchant refinery.
  • Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited on several capital raising initiatives leading to the modernisation and expansion of their Mombasa refinery expected to be valued at USD 1.3 billion.
  • Pan-African private equity specialist, Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), on its acquisition of a 90% stake in Nairobi Java House Limited, one of Kenya’s most successful food and beverage outlets. This was ECP’s first private equity deal in the restaurant sector in East Africa, and its second investment in the East Africa region from its latest fund, ECP Africa Fund III.
  • Dimension Data Plc on the legal and regulatory requirements applicable in its takeover offer for Access Kenya Group Limited, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners has ranked Philip as a senior statesman for his work in Corporate/ M&A (Kenya) in 2023 and prior to that in Band 1 for eight consecutive years (2015-2022) and in Band 1 for Private Wealth Law (Kenya) in 2021.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Philip as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for Capital markets, Restructuring and insolvency, Project development, Banking, Project Finance and M&A, particularly in the Energy, Transport, Real estate, Oil and Gas, Social Infrastructure and Natural resources sectors for six consecutive years (2018-2026) and prior to that as a Leading Lawyer in 2016, for the same categories.
  • Legal 500 recognised Philip as a Leading Individual in Real Estate and Construction for five consecutive years (2020-2024) and as a Recommended Lawyer for Corporate/Commercial and M&A in Kenya (2016-2017).
  • Best Lawyers ranked Philip as lawyer of the year for corporate, mergers and acquisitions.

‘He is very commercially astute, pragmatic and useful in getting around obstacles in a transaction.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Philip is great with clients and great with work. He understands how to unlock a problem.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Philip Coulson covers company and commercial law, rounding out the team.’ – Legal 500, 2024

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