Nigeria's Olaniwun Ajayi adds finance trio for London inauguration
Lawyers from Dentons and White & Case join to lead the first office opening outside Nigeria
Olaniwun Ajayi, the leading Nigerian law firm inaugurates an office in London, the first firm outside its home country, adding three lawyers' firms including White & Case and Dentons.
Howard Barrie, Chuks Ibechukwu and Dr Gabriel Onagoruwa, the Finance specialists, have joined as founding partners of the new office. The firm further mentioned it's higher strategically approach to meet the clients' need for additional streamlined cross-border legal services on their African projects.
'The office will reinforce our transactional capabilities in corporate finance, project development, M&A and private equity. It will expedite us to deliver the specialised English law, cross-border and transactional services integral to many of the investments and bank oriented projects in Africa today,' the firm further informed.
Barrie acts as senior partner of the new office, joining almost four years working experience at Dentons in London. He was initially a partner and later a consultant, prior to which he was a partner at Eversheds Sutherland and legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte. With an experience of working on transactions in more than 16 African countries, he advises government and corporate clients on projects and their finance particularly focussing on Africa. His recent projects include advising the government of Cameroon on the financing aspects of the Nachtigal hydropower project and the East African Development Bank on finance development in the East African Community countries.
Ibechukwu has joined with work experience of senior counsel and Africa regional lead for advisory services and private equity and funds at the International Finance Corporation. Prior to which, he spent a decade at Latham & Watkins, Allen & Overy and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft. Being a corporate finance specialist, his practice focuses on project and infrastructure finance, asset finance, leveraged and acquisition finance and debt capital markets.
Onagoruwa, meanwhile, has joined after 12 years of work experience in White & Case, where he lately served as counsel. Being a transactional lawyer specialising in energy and infrastructure projects in Africa, his practice focuses on advising clients including national and international oil companies and commercial banks on large-scale project financings, structured finance, investments and acquisitions.
Dr Tominiyi Owolabi, managing partner, Olaniwun Ajayi said, The London office will support the firm "to provide first-in-kind end-to-end legal services to our clients on projects in Nigeria that demand high-end, specialised English law advice with cross-border transactional support."
He added that as Olaniwun Ajayi moves to become a global law firm, the London office is "the keystone for our broader international growth strategy and value proposition to expand our reach so that we can provide a similar combined solution to clients on projects in other jurisdictions in Africa."
Along with Owolabi, declared as managing partner of Olaniwun, Wolemi Esan was also made deputy managing partner in September. Presently, the firm houses more than 100 lawyers and has three offices in Nigeria in Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Lagos and the new London location.
Eyeing at Nigeria, the global giant Dentons agreed to combine with local practice Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun in April, becoming the only second global law firm after DLA Piper to gain presence in Africa's largest economy.
Kofo Dosekun took over as chairman of Nigerian law firm Aluko & Oyebode after Gbenga Oyebode, in January. Its co-founder, chair and a leading business figure in his own right, stepped down.