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Norton Rose Africa scoops $750m Essar Steel Zimbabwe buy-out with AZB, others

AZB & Partners and Norton Rose’s African merger partner have advised India’s Essar Group on its majority stake take-over of Zimbabwe’s state-owned steel unit Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) for $750m.

AZB & Partners’ team for Essar included Mumbai partner Shameek Chaudhuri.

Africa Legal, which is a division of South African Deneys Reitz that will merge with Norton Rose on 1 June, advised Essar from Johannesburg. Africa Legal director Steven Guy Gamble led the team and advised on English law.

Mauritius firm TM&S Gujadhur Chambers and its managing partner Mukund Gujadhur also acted for Essar while in Zimbabwe Kantor & Immerman senior partner Addington Bexley Chinake was drafted in.

Gamble said that he did a lot of work with the Mauritian side of deals on pan-African deals such as this one.

The transaction entailed a 54 per cent acquisition of ZISCO’s steel and mining assets by Essar which acted through its subsidiary Essar Africa Holdings Limited as a part of the JV agreement to rehabilitate the insolvent steel maker.

The JV will also release the government of Zimbabwe from its debt liabilities of $340m in ZISCO, reported Business Standard. The total deal value is inclusive of this debt amount.

Earlier last year Zimbabwe government had chosen Essar Group over ArcelorMittal and Jindal Steel for ZISCO’s sale.

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