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Global Legal Insights - Corporate Tax

The corporate tax work of the past year has been mixed. There have been a number of corporate restructuring transactions, refinancing of debt push down transactions and a number of transactions involving share repurchases by companies as a means of enabling shareholders to exit companies. We have also seen an increasing number of enquiries by the South African Revenue Service ("SARS") based on the General Anti-Avoidance Rules. As stated above, there have also been a number of transactions involving share repurchases by companies as a means of enabling shareholders to exit companies. The share repurchase became a favoured way of exiting a company, particularly for South African resident company shareholders, where the proceeds of the share repurchase were treated as a dividend for the purposes of the Income Tax Act ("ITA").

General News
Bowman Gilfillan Shipping Team Opens Up In Durban Joining Forces With Velden Pike Nichols

The Maritime & Transport Department at Bowman Gilfillan is delighted to announce the long anticipated opening of physical presence in Durban through a merger with Velden Pike Nichols, a highly respected Durban based niche practice. Click on the article title above to read further.

Getting the Deal Through Mining 2014

The South African Code for Reporting of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (the SAMREC Code) sets out the classification system for reporting mineral resources' and mineral reserves' required minimum standards, recommendations and guidelines for public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and mineral reserves in South Africa. Public reports are prepared to inform investors or potential investors and their advisers according to the Code. They include but are not limited to company annual reports, quarterly reports and other reports incorporated in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) circulars, or as required by the Companies Act. In certain instances the Code also applies to environmental statements, information memoranda, expert reports, technical papers, website postings and public presentations.

Oil And Gas
Getting The Deal Through - Oil Regulation 2014

The entity, Geological Survey of South Africa, initiated the original organised search for hydrocarbons in the Republic during the 1940s. The first oil company was established in 1884 for the purpose of, inter alia, the import of refined products. South Africa's state oil company was established in 1965 and was named Soekor (Pty) Ltd (Soekor). The company explored areas of the Karoo, Algoa and Zululand Basins. In 1967 the Mining Rights Act was introduced and offshore concessions were granted to international companies. These companies included Total, Gulf Oil, Esso, Shell, ARCO, CFP and Superior.

Crypto-Currency Transactions Happen Below The Regulatory Radar

So-called crypto-currencies, the best-known of which is Bitcoin, are a regulator’s nightmare because their virtual nature means they can easily circumvent South Africa’s exchange control regulations, as well as its tax reporting requirements.Crypto-currencies are decentralised, peer-to-peer virtual currencies that are used like money to purchase goods or services, or can be exchanged for conventional currencies like the US dollar or rand. There are approximately 12.8 million Bitcoins in circulation, according to Wikipedia, and 25 new ones are created every ten minutes.

Employment Law
Pension Funds Act: do business rescue proceedings suspend the obligation of an employer to pay pension fund contributions?

The interests of the members of a retirement fund can be highly compromised where there is a failure on the part of the participating employer to pay contributions owing to the fund in which they participate. Not only does the withholding of contributions by the employer constitute a breach of the employment contract, where contribution payments are late, the member forfeits the interest that he or she could be earning on that money and the employee’s risk cover could lapse due to the non-payment of premiums to insurers. Despite being heavily regulated by statute, ensuring the timeous payment of contributions on the part of employers is a constant struggle for many funds and many administrators.

Bowman Gilfillan advises Tata Communications in Vodacom Neotel transaction

Bowman Gilfillan advised Tata Communications and all the other selling shareholders in the recently announced acquisition by mobile operator Vodacom of Neotel in a transaction worth R7 billion.

Neotel is South Africa's second-biggest fixed-line phone operator and is majority-owned by India's Tata Communications. Bowman Gilfillan advised on all aspects of the transaction, including capital market merger, telecommunications, corporate and financing.

Social Media Law
Social media in Africa

When considering social media throughout Africa, it is clear that there is a need for stricter laws to be put in place and that more needs to be done in educating users of these powerful communication tools. This applies particularly to traditional media as there is often a disconnect between how social media is perceived by journalists in comparison to print media. Considering countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, and Botswana, the similarities are clear and it will be interesting to see developments in the future from a regulatory point of view when it comes to enforced restrictions.

Developments in Africa’s Competition Law

Competition law developments in Africa continue to be closely monitored globally. Regional competition law in Africa took the spotlight in 2013, with the COMESA Competition Commission (the "CCC") commencing operations on 14 January 2013. The CCC's initial year was not without serious challenges. In particular, the international business and legal community raised concerns about the merger filing thresholds being set at nil and the high filing fees payable for merger notifications to the CCC; certain regulators within the COMESA region itself have not accepted the CCC as a "one stop shop" for merger notifications; and the COMESA Competition Regulations (the "Regulations") are dated and unclear in many respects, making their interpretation and application problematic.

Employment Law
Business rescue and the employer’s obligation to pay pension fund contributions

The interests of the members of a retirement fund are significantly compromised when the participating employer fails to pay contributions owing to the fund in which they participate.

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