Our team is highly knowledgeable both in domestic and OHADA law and advises in all areas of business law, including Banking & Finance, Corporate and M&A, Mining, Energy, Employment law, IP and data protection.
Our local office works hand in hand with our Brussels office which, in addition to a team dedicated to our DRC practice, can boast of a deep sectorial expertise in areas such as energy, public procurement, transport, real estate, commercial contracts and dispute resolution.
The DRC is known to our clients for the exciting opportunities it brings. From the rich natural resources to the large, young and dynamic population, the benefits are obvious and make it an attractive market for both domestic and international companies.
Despite these opportunities, doing business in the DRC is still considered to be challenging. The very fast-moving legal environment and economic dependency on the global commodity markets are key challenges for businesses and investors. These challenges however also represent opportunities, as entrepreneurs - and investors- look to fill gaps in the market.
Liedekerke DRC offers local assistance from experienced lawyers on the ground, backed by a vast pool of skills across our practices. This enhances our ability to understand clients’ expectations and needs and allows us to provide pragmatic and tailor-made legal advice.
Advising the extractive industry in the DRC.
Our practice covers the entire extractive process, from prospecting and extraction to processing and distribution.
Our expertise notably includes:
Assisting our clients in obtaining research / exploration and exploitation permits,
Acquiring shares or assets of extractive companies,
Drafting and negotiating joint venture agreements
Drafting other types of mining contracts such as transfer and lease agreements.
Through close contact with clients, regulators, geologists and specialized auditors, we have developed in-depth knowledge and a thorough understanding of the legal, industrial and financial framework of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals industries.
Banking and Finance:
Our experts advise international and national clients in relation to all types of multi-jurisdiction and cross-border financing transactions (including commodity finance, real estate finance, project finance, asset finance and general corporate lending).
Our versatile team acts for both lenders and borrowers and is particularly well-versed in the drafting and negotiation of credit documentation for various purposes and the structuring of security schemes. In addition thereto, thanks to our local presence in the DRC, we are able to swiftly assist our clients with the satisfaction of any local law requirements and completion of conditions precedent and subsequent.
Commercial, Corporate and M&A
We advise local and international clients in relation to multi-jurisdictional, cross-border transactions in the areas of M&A (including private equity) and corporate (re)structuring and in connection with setting up of operations in the DRC and negotiating joint-venture agreements. We assist them in structuring their investments in Sub-Saharan Africa and the related contracts, especially in the mining, agriculture, energy, real estate, transport and industrial sectors. We also advise our clients on corporate governance.
International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
Our International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution practice has extensive experience in DRC-related disputes, representing both private and public companies as well as government entities in ICC and ICSID arbitrations as wells as in multi-jurisdictional proceedings.
Our services cover legal advice, negotiating, handling complex procedures such as massive dismissals or company closures, and direct communication with regulatory authorities thanks to our local presence in the DRC. We assist local and international clients (from both private and public sectors), multinationals, as well as non-profit organizations, executives and self-employed service providers. We cover all aspects of employment and social security law, including recruitment and individual or collective dismissals, collective actions, transfer of undertaking, compensation and benefits issues, social security and pension plans. In case of litigation before local courts, we can provide assistance in respect of strategy and argumentation and assist you for the selection of a local counsel.
Our team has advised numerous clients in the past years, notably in the hydropower and petroleum industries. Our team’s expertise covers pure regulatory issues, power project development and acquisitions, amongst others.
Our team of insolvency experts have an excellent command of complex creditor (and debtor) legal challenges in the DRC. They assist all stakeholders and handle a wide range of matters such as collective proceedings, debt restructuring and workouts, distressed acquisitions/sales, and, directors’ and officers’ liability cases among others.
IP and data protection
Our team handles significant matters related to IP law in general, whether it is advisory, litigation or transactional work. We also advise our clients with all types of data protection questions and issues and assist them with their overall compliance with the applicable data protection rules.
Liedekerke’s public law experts handle all of our clients’ public and administrative law matters; in particular in the field of State or provincial contracts, PPP’s, concessions and other public contracts). In addition we have extensive experience with assisting our clients in the obtention of licenses, authorizations and permits in relation to their business.
Furthermore, we can draw on the expertise from our international network of preferred firms, enabling us to provide effective cross-border assistance whenever necessary.
Our dedicated team handles both transactions and litigation, and works seamlessly with the firm’s other practice groups based in Brussels. Combining proven local knowledge and experience with international expertise, we excel in rendering innovative, business-oriented, quality advice, whether on a stand-alone basis for purely local matters, or as an integral part of a full legal service offering aimed at international matters.
Our clients are primarily states, state owned companies, large multinationals, foreign and local investors and start-ups.
Our Relevant Experience
Mining law /Extractive industries
Assisting a mining company headquartered in the DRC with several international arbitration proceedings in relation to minority shareholder positions held in Joint Ventures
Assisting a Chinese Co., Ltd in connection with the conduction of a legal due diligence on two mining companies in DRC and the issuance of a legal opinion in the framework of an IPO.
Advising an international mining investment company on the acquisition of a majority stake into a small-scale mining project located in the DRC’s Copperbelt. Our assistance included the due diligence, negotiation, drafting and reviewing of the transaction agreements and, providing general legal advice on the transaction.
Assisting a company specialised in the supply of quality mining, earthmoving, agriculture, forestry and road construction equipment with the acquisition of assets in the DRC.
Assisting a foreign company active in the mining industry in relation to a business transfer agreement and a shareholders’ agreement.
Assisting a Swiss company in incorporating a gold purchase desk (comptoir d’achat d’or) in Maniema (Kindu - DRC) and in structuring its operations in light of the New Mining Code local content requirements.
Assisting a DRC company active in the mining industry with the drafting and negotiation of a copper/cobalt distribution agreement.
Banking & Finance
Assisting an African finance bank with the Congolese law aspects of a large credit facility, including the drafting of conditions precedent and the issuance of a legal opinion.
Assisting an African development bank as DRC law adviser in connection with a credit line for a Congolese bank. This line of credit will enable the Congolese bank to grant financing to eligible companies and SMEs operating in strategic sectors in the DRC, including: industry, transportation, hospitality, services, distribution and trade.
Assisting an African fund management company with the financing of the activities of a mining company active in DRC (USD 8 million).
Assisting a French development institution on the DRC law aspects of a USD 2,700,000 unsecured loan agreement entered into between it as the lender and a Congolese energy company as the borrower.
Assisting a South African bank in respect of a major USD 100M facility to be provided to a Congolese telecoms company.
Assisting an multinational commodity trading company on the DRC law aspects (including drafting pledge agreements over equipment and inventory) of a large uncommitted secured prepayment agreement between the company as Buyer and a Chinese International Group as the Seller.
Corporate, Commercial and M&A
Assisting a Kenyan bank with the contemplated acquisition of a bank in the DRC. Our assistance included a due diligence, SPA negotiation, and assistance with all regulatory permits (green light from Central Bank of Congo and Insurance Regulatory Authority) and licences.
Assisting I-Bank SA in the winding up and liquidation of the DRC micro-finance bank I-finance SA. We reported to the Central bank of Congo and to the sole shareholder.
Advising a major cement producer in the restructuring of its debt position with large financial institutions. At the same time assisting with a recapitalisation of their congolese entity through an accordion squeeze and the issuance of preference shares.
Advising a multinational corporation in the context of the recapitalisation of its Congolese subsidiary.
Assisting a major cement producer with the drafting of DRC-law compliant sale-purchase agreements (in French and English) for the assignment of concession rights with respect to a plot of land located in Kinshasa, Gombe.
Advising Fortescue Future Industries PTY Ltd and its DRC subsidiary on the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding to be entered with the DRC State, in order to realize the Great Inga Project, a 45 GW hydropower project as well as other energy project on the Congo River, which could potentially become the largest hydropower plant and the largest producer of green hydrogen on earth. Assisting the DRC subsidiary with its day-to-day operations.
Assisting an African law firm and its client with the acquisition of 25% stake in a company active in the energy sector.
Assisting a foreign investor candidate with the acquisition of a Congolese company entrusted with the implementation of a project to import electricity from Zambia, with the transport of electricity on a distance of 150km and the supply to two Congolese mining operators located in Katanga.
Assisting a DRC subsidiary of a South African energy company on labour law, advising on employer’s social, labour and reporting obligations under DRC law and providing the client with DRC law compliant model employment contracts.
In the context of a hydroelectric plant development in the eastern part of the DRC, assisting with advice on the most appropriate vehicle and structuring of the contemplated investment in the DRC, including tax optimisation and a description of the ANAPI benefits and procedures.
Assisting a DRC energy stakeholder in the context of structuring a hydropower project in the DRC (including negotiations and implementation of a PPA and investment and shareholders’ agreements).
Assisting an African port with drafting and negotiating a complex multiple decade-long concession contract with a French conglomerate for the exploitation of their container terminal.
Advising the DRC State on the negotiation of a PPP contract for the construction and the operation of a deep-sea port in the bay of Banana;
Advising an African project management firm in a project regarding an international toll road construction.
Assisting a leading pan-African telecom group with the operation and maintenance of a significant fibre optic network link linking the DRC Coast to the Capital Kinshasa.
Assisting a mining company headquartered in DRC with complex litigation regarding expatriate agents in the country.
Assisting a major international mining company with the drafting and implementation of employment contracts
Assisting an international brewing company with complex issues of retirement of a key employee, having worked for the company in various countries around the world, as well as with ad hoc proceedings led by the OECD about a collective dismissal that occurred in its subsidiary in the DRC
Assisting an international sporting goods retailer with issues related to the management of their employees (hiring, dismissal, salary package, mutual agreement termination...)
Assisting a fashion fabrics producer and distributor with the dismissal for serious cause of its former Director
Assisting a key player in the mining industry with retrenchment process, including preparation and leading of consultations with the employees.
Assisting an African airline with the closure of their outstation in the DRC.
IP, IT & data protection
Assisting an investment bank and financial services corporation, in a Transfer Impact Assessment ("TIA") for Congo (to assess the risk to personal data that is transferred from the European Economic Area ("EEA") or UK (by a "data exporter") to an entity based in Congo).
Assisting one of the largest mines in the DRC, with data protection issues in connection with processing of employees’ personal data abroad.
Assisting a financial institution to deploy an e-wallet in six African countries, a.o. DRC regarding the processing of personal data.
Assisting a web service provider in a telecom project in the DRC including telecom regulatory, IP and data aspects.
Assisting a streaming service provider regarding telecom regulatory questions and processing data in DRC.
Assisting a private company with the assessment of the risk to personal data transferred from the European Economic Area ("EEA") to DRC, in light of local regulations and procedures in place in DRC.
Awards & Recognition
Market observers remark upon the firm’s high level of activity in the jurisdiction.
“Clients say that "Liedekerke has excellent international exposure and capabilities."
This Brussels-headquartered firm offers in-depth expertise of the DRC market. Market observers remark on the firm's high level of activity in the jurisdiction.
The firm assists with a broad range of commercial matters, with notable involvement in project development and financing, restructuring and insolvency, and transactions.
Chambers Global General Business Law - Congo Democratic Republic of Congo 2022
“They are my go-to firm because they are very experienced and are strong with international clients. They have an international focus."
Chambers Global, DRC - General Business Law, Congo Democratic Republic of Congo 2021
Market observers report that "the quality of work is very good," in addition to highlighting the firm's high level of activity in the market
Sources say that Thibaut Hollanders is "very, very good on mining, energy and infrastructure," as well as recognising his "strong skills" and "good understanding of local issues."
Chambers Global, DRC - General Business Law, Congo Democratic Republic of Congo 2020
“The firm benefits from a considerable reputation for assisting with dispute resolution in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The desk is headed by Aimery de Schoutheete and advises clients from the mining, energy and corporate sectors as well as frequently advising the Congolese government on contentious matters.”
“This Belgian firm is very active in the DRC, and is one of the few foreign firms to maintain a local office in Kinshasa. The highly skilled lawyers frequently assist clients seeking advice in the mining and energy sectors, notably advising on a number of renewable energy projects. It is equally adept in banking and finance, as well as handling matters including partnership contracts, M&A and liquidations. It remains a popular choice for international and domestic companies requiring commercial, employment and tax support. It is also highly regarded for its dispute resolution work, particularly in the mining space.”