Philip Coulson

Philip Coulson

Senior Partner
Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP
T: +254 20 289 9000
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


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.

His expertise has been recognised by Chambers Global (Corporate & Commercial) and by IFLR1000.

Philip is a member of Law Society of Kenya, Law Society of England and Wales and the International Bar Association and Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association.

He has an LLB from the University of Essex, UK, a Current Solicitor’s Practising Certificate from the Law Society of England and Wales and is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

  • Naivas Limited and its shareholders in relation to a private equity investment by Amethis, a French, private equity fund.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advising 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.
  • Acted for 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.
  • Advising 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised Tatu City and Kofinaf on corporate reorganization and various corporate law matters.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised Old Mutual Group and Wananchi Group Holdings on several corporate re-organizations, restructuring and employment matters.
  • Counsel to Kingdom Hotel Investments / Kingdom Kenya 01 Limited in relation to the disposal of its entire stake in Mount Kenya Safari Club Limited.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised 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.
  • Advised the 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.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners, 2016 to 2020 ranked Philip in Band 1 for Corporate/ Commercial.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide consistently rated Philip as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for three years (2018 to 2020) for his work in Capital markets, Restructuring and insolvency, Energy and infrastructure, Project development, Banking, Project Finance and M&A.
  • IFLR1000 recognised Philip as a leading lawyer in 2016.
  • Legal 500 2017 ranked Philip as a recommended lawyer for Real Estate and Construction, and Legal 500 2016 

‘Philip Coulson continues to garner respect for the depth of his expertise in matters related to private equity, joint ventures and M&A transactions. Sources are quick to praise his “ability to firmly negotiate, with a wealth of experience,” and commend his “strong degree of technical competence.” One client commented that he “manages our account brilliantly and is a master at client service.”‘– Chambers and Partners 2020

‘Philip Coulson is “highly rated”‘ -Legal 500 2020

‘Philip Coulson is a highly respected senior lawyer with strong capabilities in private equity, group reorganisations and corporate transactions. Clients speak highly of his personal approach and availability. They say: “He really looks at the whole picture and where the matter needs to be driven.” And: “He’s a very commercially-minded lawyer.”‘Chambers and Partners 2018

‘Philip Coulson is acknowledged by sources as a “superb lawyer” who is “fantastic and enthusiastic.” He is a leading practitioner in areas such as M&A, joint ventures, investments and corporate restructuring. He is equally known for his strong expertise in conservation matters. He advises on various high-value cross-border transactions and investments.’Chambers and Partners 2017

‘”In commercial and M&A matters I have nothing but praise for Philip Coulson. He is an absolute joy to work with.”‘Chambers and Partners 2016

‘Philip Coulson has ‘an agenda to get the deal done.’ – Legal 500 2016

Publications & Insights