Fiona is a Partner at MMAKS Advocates, with over 13 years’ post qualifications experience. She holds an LLM in commercial law from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), and has previously worked with leading law firms in Johannesburg, South Africa and Kampala, Uganda.
Fiona’s practice covers Corporate M&A, Private Equity, Energy, Mining and Natural Resources, Projects & Infrastructure, and general corporate, regulatory and investment advisory. She provides legal and strategic commercial advice on cutting edge transactional work and cross border acquisitions across the sectors including insurance, banking, telecom, broadcasting, healthcare, education, manufacturing, mining and energy.
She has been endorsed by IFLR 1000 as a highly regarded lawyer in Uganda, while Chambers Global 2019 has described her as highly efficient and effective. Legal500 has also recognized Fiona in the M&A practice in Uganda. Fiona was recently nominated as Best Female Lawyer in Private Practice by the Uganda Law Society, Women in Law Awards 2019.
Fiona has also previously worked with Slaughter and May in London under a placement, and prior to that served a six months placement at the Johannesburg office of Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (a former FTSE 100 mining company).
MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
- Advocate, High Court of Uganda
- Member, Uganda Law Society.
- Member, East Africa Law Society (EALS)
- LL.M (Commercial Law), Birmingham University, England
- Diploma in Legal Practice (Bar Course), Law Development Centre, Kampala
- LL.B (Hons.), Makerere University, Uganda
- 2017 – DATE Partner, MMAKS Advocates
- 2012 – 2016 Senior Associate, MMAKS Advocates
- 2008 – 2012 Senior Associate, Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, Johannesburg
- 2004 - 2007 Associate, A F Mpanga Advocates (Bowmans Uganda)
- 2003 - 2004 Clerkship, Kasirye Byaruhanga & Co Advocates
awards & accolades
- Fiona is endorsed by IFLR 1000 as a highly regarded corporate M&A lawyer in Uganda
- Fiona’s expertise in M&A has also received mention by both Chambers Global and Legal500
- Nominee for Best Female Lawyer Private Practice by the Uganda Law Society, Women in Law Awards 2019
- School of Law Scholarship, Birmingham University, England
areas of expertise
- Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions
- Private Equity
- Mining and Energy
- Projects and Infrastructure
- Advising SN Power Invest Netherlands BV, a subsidiary of SN Power AS, a Norwegian company that invests in clean renewable energy on a commercial basis on its acquisition of a 49.75% stake in Bujagali Energy Limited.
- Advising Leapfrog Strategic African Investments, LP, a private equity fund on its proposed acquisition of part of the majority stake in ICEA Lion Group, a leading East African insurance, asset management and investment services group. It included conducting legal due diligences on three companies ICEA Lion Asset Management (U) Limited, ICEA Life Asset Company Limited (Uganda), and ICEA General Insurance Company Limited (Uganda), the Ugandan subsidiaries of the ICEA Lion Group and advising on the regulatory landscape for insurance and asset management in Uganda including all applicable statutory, and contractual consents, permit and approvals required for the transaction.
- Advising TPG Growth III LP, a private equity firm that specialises in small to middle-market growth equity in connection with its proposed acquisition of a 45% stake in Azam Television Group, a satellite, Direct-To-Home (DTH), pay television provider with a Ugandan subsidiary called Azam Media (U) Limited. The transaction involved an internal restructuring through the transfer of shares in Azam Media (U) Limited to an offshore holding company that would have a majority stake in Azam Media (U) Limited. TPG Growth III LP would then acquire 45% of the shares in the Holdco.
- Acting for ResponsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH), a Mauritius based investment company with a focus on small-scale renewable energy projects in East Africa. We conducted a comprehensive due-diligence on two hydropower projects which among others included a review of the respective Power Purchase Agreements, construction contracts, Operations & Maintenance agreements, land leases, governmental support agreements, financing documents, shareholder and shareholder loan agreements, and other relevant material contracts, regulatory licences, employment contracts, insurance arrangements etc; to produce a red-flag due-diligence report. The transaction also involved legal advisory on the hydro power and energy regulatory landscape, consulting regulators on a no-names basis for confirmation of policies and practices.
- Advising Prudential PLC, a British multinational life insurance and financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom in connection with a proposed acquisition of a 73% stake in GenAfrica Asset Managers Ltd, a pension fund manager in Kenya, with a branch in Uganda. We were required to conduct a due diligence on the Ugandan branch and advise on the regulatory landscape for pension funds in Uganda, including approvals required for the transaction, the process, documents, timing and cost involved.
- Advising a Private Equity fund based in the UK, on its proposed acquisition (through an SPV incorporated by it) of shares in Bujagali Holding Power Company Limited (BHPCL), which is a shareholder in Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL). The transaction involved conducting a comprehensive legal due diligence on the operations and existing contractual status of both BHPCL and BEL with the Government of Uganda, completing detailed regulatory questionnaires on foreign investment and hydro power regulation in Uganda, and reviewing and commenting on the transaction agreements from a Ugandan law perspective.
- Currently advising a government agency on the regulatory framework applicable to a proposed Public Private Partnership for the construction of a highway in Kampala, funded by the IFC. Our advice covers a cross section of regulatory issues including but not limited to procurement of contracts with the government, environment matters, employment and immigration matters, finance and tax, etc.
- Advising (as local counsel), a Middle Eastern Private Equity investor on a potential acquisition of a stake in a prominent hydro power project in Uganda. The advice involves corporate governance and compliance issues, regulatory permits, environmental compliance, employment laws, property laws, insurance, etc.
- Advising a leading communications company in Uganda, on the proposed acquisition of a majority stake by Dentsu Aegis Network, a multinational media and digital marketing communications company headquartered in London. The transaction involved advising on the structure of the transaction, negotiating the Letter of Intent, assisting with a comprehensive legal due diligence on the target’s operations, and reviewing and negotiating the transaction agreements.
- Advising a leading gaming company in Europe, on its proposed acquisition (through an SPV) of majority shares in an entity holding the national lottery business in Uganda. The transaction involved conducting a comprehensive legal due diligence on the operations and existing contractual status of the target company, advising on the regulatory environment for lottery, gaming and betting services in Uganda, and drafting and negotiating the transaction agreements.
- Advising a Swiss mining company on the acquisition of a majority stake in a mining company in Uganda valued at approx. USD 100,000,000.
- Advising on the acquisition of a telecommunications operator in Uganda valued at USD 100,000,000.
- Acting as local counsel in the verification of an acquisition of a stake in a Ugandan hotel by an SPV in Uganda wholly owned by a private equity fund based in the Isle of Man.
- Advising a foreign based aerospace defence company on setting up business in Uganda, as a government defence contractor in the aviation and aerospace activity sector. This involved advice on the best suited corporate structure, the regulatory environment relevant to the activities proposed by client (including but not limited to entering into contracts with government, employment laws, property laws, aviation laws, immigration, tax, etc.).
- Co-ordinating and advising on MMC UK Group’s acquisition of Alexander Forbes subsidiaries across Africa;
- Co-ordinating and advising on the sale by Barclays Bank of its custody business across Africa, to Standard Chartered;
- Advising on the tower purchase by Eaton Towers Holdings LLC from Orange Uganda; and
- Advising on the proposed Bharti Airtel acquisition of a stake in MTN South Africa.