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IFLR podcast: in conversation with Olaniwun Ajayi

The winners of Most Innovative Nigerian Law Firm of the Year in 2020 discuss some of last year’s ground-breaking work and what lies ahead in the capital markets, power sector, telecoms and more


In the latest instalment of our podcast, IFLR speaks with Nigerian law firm partners Olaniwun Ajayi, Muyiwa Balogun, Yewande Senbore and Ibi Ogunbiyi. 

Olaniwun Ajayi was named Nigerian Law Firm of the Year in IFLR’s inaugural Africa Awards. This award came off the back of its innovative work on several pioneering transactions. 

One particularly notable deal was the initial public offering (IPO) of telecoms company Airtel. The IPO raised several first-of-its-kind challenges and was a huge milestone in the Nigerian capital markets. As Yewande Senbore explains, the listing was the first foreign inward IPO in Nigeria and the first to be executed in parallel with a capital raise on a second market (London Stock Exchange). Aligning rules and schedules between London and Lagos was paramount to the deal’s success. 

Airtel’s listing made it only the second ever telecoms company, after MTN, to join the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Almost a decade after the government launched its privatisation process in 2013, the power sector remains a heated topic. In 2020, Transcorp acquired Afam in a deal that reinvigorated the privatisation effort. Ibi Ogunbiyi discusses some of the roadblocks and milestones the firm met through the process, outlining how Transcorp/Afam reworked aspects of the contractual framework to create a more bankable structure. The deal is set to be a game-changer for the Nigerian National Integrated Power Project’s planned 2021 privatisations.

Later in the podcast, Muyiwa Balogun unpicks the latest developments in financial regulation reform, including bail-in concepts, the creation of a sinking fund for future crises and the workout of non-performing loans.

“Resilience is a way of life for the average Nigerian and this has found its way into our approach to business generally,” said Senbore. For Olaniwun Ajayi adaptability and innovation, from both the private and public sectors, have been a key feature of the market over the last 12 months and the bedrock on which a rebound in 2021 rests.

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