Monday, January 10, 2022

Leading African law firm Bowmans has appointed project development and finance specialist Allen Leuta as a partner in its Johannesburg office Project Finance Practice.

Leuta is a senior South African lawyer who has worked in London and Paris, headed the Africa legal department of a major commercial bank and consulted to one of the world’s foremost development finance institutions.

‘Allen’s project finance, leveraged finance and foreign lending expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa will be of great value to Bowmans in our quest to build the pre-eminent African law firm, supporting our clients and our people, as they seek to unlock opportunities, overcome challenges and realise the hopes that will shape the future of Africa,’ says Ezra Davids, chairman and senior partner. 

Leuta, whose qualifications include an LLM from Harvard Law School where he was a Fulbright Scholar, started his law career at Bowmans in 2002 and then moved to Allen & Overy LLP where he spent nine years – three of which were in the London and Paris offices of its Banking Department.

Returning to South Africa in 2009, Leuta joined Standard Bank’s Corporate Investment Banking Division and, within five years, had been promoted to Head, Legal: Africa at Standard Bank.

In 2015, he returned to Allen & Overy, based in South Africa, where he spent five years as Director/Counsel and Practice Head: Projects.

For the past six months, Leuta has been consulting to the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank institution with an annual African investment budget of USD 5 billion.

In these varying roles, he has had hands-on exposure to project finance and banking transactions across jurisdictions in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Sub-Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zambia. A number of the matters he has worked on were governed by English law and run out of London and Paris.

Although Leuta’s main interests are project development and project finance transactional advisory work, especially in power, oil and gas and transport infrastructure, he has significant experience in leveraged finance and foreign lending. For example, he was instrumental in facilitating the COVID-19 emergency relief funding that South Africa obtained from the BRICS New Development Bank, African Development Bank and World Bank.

Leuta, has BA and LLB degrees (both awarded with distinction) from the University of The Witwatersrand and a working knowledge of many of the important business languages in Sub-Saharan Africa.

‘We are delighted Allen has chosen to return to Bowmans. His skills, particularly in the project finance space which is key for growth and development across the continent, will supplement those of our already strong team and be an excellent asset to our clients,’ concludes Davids.