Paras Shah

Paras Shah

Managing Partner
Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP
T: +254 20 289 9000
E: paras.shah@bowmanslaw.com
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights

Overview

Paras Shah is the Managing Partner of our Kenya office.

Paras is one of the leading corporate and commercial lawyers in Kenya and specialises in private equity, mergers & acquisitions, corporate and commercial law, banking and finance law, privatisations, capital markets and real estate law. He has advised on some of the most important M&A and financing transactions, IPOs and takeovers, listings and public-private partnership (PPP) transactions, and infrastructure projects undertaken in Kenya in recent years.

He has a Diploma in Legal Practice (with distinction) from the College of Law in the United Kingdom, a Diploma in Management from Henley School of Management, in the United Kingdom, and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law. He has also attended an executive law firm management course at Harvard Law School.   He is an English-qualified solicitor and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Below are some recent transactions which Paras has advised as lead counsel:

  • Linde Group on the sale of its controlling stake in BOC Kenya Limited (a listed company);
  • Allianz on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Jubilee Insurance’s general insurance business in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Mauritius;
  • Rubis Energie S.A.S (France) on its USD 420 million take-over of KenolKobil PLC (NSE listed), a pan-African downstream oil company and the subsequent delisting of KenolKobil PLC.
  • Rubis Kenya in its acquisition of Gulf Energy Holdings Limited;
  • Naivas Limited and its shareholders in relation to a private equity investment by Amethis, a French, private equity fund.
  • Tullow PLC on its upstream oil exploration project in Northern Kenya and midstream crude oil pipeline project in Kenya;

Signature Matters

Awards

  • Chambers and Partnersranked Paras in Band 1 for Banking & Finance for the past six consecutive years (2016 to 2021), in Band 1 for Corporate/ M&A for the past seven consecutive years (2015 to 2021), in Band 2 for Real Estate for the past three consecutive years (2019 to 2021) and prior to that in Band 3 from 2016 to 2018, as well as in Band 3 for his work in the Projects and Energy space, for the past four consecutive years (2018 to 2021). 
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide consistently rated Paras as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for the several years for Capital markets, Energy and infrastructure, Banking and M&A.
  • Legal 500 has ranked Paras as a Leading Lawyer from 2017 to 2020.
  • Paras was recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2020 in the category Banking:
  • Best Lawyers2015 recognised Paras best lawyer within banking, capital markets, corporate, finance, mergers & acquisitions and real estate & conveyancing as areas of specialisation.
  • ILO has previously awarded Paras with the Client Choice Award for corporate counsel in Kenya.

‘Paras Shah continues to impress market observers with his deep understanding of the banking sector, acting as a key contact and partner to a large number of established investment banks and financial institutions. He is rated highly in Kenya for his breadth of practice, covering project, property and development finance, as well as corporate transactions and M&A.’

‘Paras Shah is “good to have on your side in negotiations,” explained one commentator, while another said: “He is diligent, experienced and practical.” Famed for his multifaceted practice encompassing finance, real estate and projects, he also has a superb track record of advising on both cross-border investments and domestic acquisitions.’

‘Paras Shah is a luminary commercial practitioner with a versatile skill set and a diverse practice which sees him regularly handle matters in the real estate space. He is frequently instructed to advise on conveyancing issues and has a wealth of experience concerning property acquisition and disposition. He acts for a range of clients including investors and operators.’

‘The “excellent” Paras Shah is noted for his corporate expertise in relation to energy projects. He is frequently instructed by notable oil and power firms to advise on project financing and various other matters from PPAs to shareholder and host government agreements.’– Chambers and Partners, 2021

‘One of Kenya’s pre-eminent legal practitioners, Paras Shah remains a leading figure in the banking and finance market, with a plethora of high-profile banking clientele. He possesses excellent abilities in debt financing, loan facilities and sovereign bond mandates, with sources remarking that he is “super impressive all round,” and asserting that “a deal can never get stuck when Paras is involved.”‘–  Chambers and Partners, 2020

‘I have tried other lawyers in Kenya, but Paras topped them for international-standard advice.’

‘Paras has the ability to communicate with clients in a way that they expect from their international counsel.’

‘Paras focuses on the commercial interest of his clients and understands their budgetary pressures, proposing win-win packages for costs.’

‘Paras manages to sort information in a way that provides the essentials to international clients.’ –  Client Choice Winner 2020 – Lexology

‘Paras Shah, in particular, is ‘incredibly responsive’, ‘very pragmatic’, ‘solution-oriented’ and ‘technically excellent’.’ –  Legal 500, 2020

‘Paras Shah is a highly distinguished practitioner with a formidable reputation in the market. Sources consider him to be “very knowledgeable in M&A matters across the region” and describe him as “a master negotiator. He has a commercial mind and is able to figure out solutions to any obstacle, ensuring that the transaction closes.” His recent highlights include big-ticket acquisitions and private equity investments.’

‘The inimitable Paras Shah is regarded as a skilled real estate practitioner who is highlighted for his presence on significant transactions. One interviewee described him as “an experienced lawyer who handles more complex transactions, where he comes up with creative solutions.” He is also adept at handling commercial leasing, real estate finance, purchases and divestments.’

‘Paras Shah applies his broad and impressive experience to assisting clients with PPP development and project financing. He handles big-ticket transactions in the region, including energy-sector M&A and lending. Among his recent notable activity are some innovative oil and gas mandates, including Tullow Oil’s proposed pipeline.’

‘Paras Shah is a highly respected practitioner in the field of banking and finance, commended by the market for his handling of complex and innovative mandates. One source noted him as “a strong funds partner,” while another remarked: “I have a lot of trust and respect for Paras’s opinions.” His recent work highlights include acting on the Kenyan government’s USD2 billion sovereign bond issuance, and he is frequently involved in syndicated and cross-border financings.’– Chambers and Partners, 2019

‘Although he is more of an M&A lawyer, he is knowledgeable about many other aspects and is often my go-to person when in need of advice.’ – IFLR 1000, 2019

‘Paras Shah is highly valued by clients for his accessibility, swift turnaround times and pragmatic approach. They say: “He gets the big picture, but also comes right in for the detail.” He often acts for banks on structured lending mandates and has notable experience in trade and project finance. Sources add: “He’s very strong on financing and very knowledgeable in the area of bank financings in particular.”‘

‘Paras Shah is considered to be “a phenomenal corporate/M&A lawyer” and enjoys a sterling reputation among international law firms and major regional companies. He is lauded for his “top availability and responsiveness,” with commentators going on to say: “He’s pragmatic and really understands what international private equity investors are looking for.” In addition, he is also a recognised figure in real estate law.’

‘Head of department Paras Shah frequently advises international finance organisations and private equity funds on their lending and investment activity in the region, and is notably involved in a number of social infrastructure projects. He is also acknowledged for his handling of M&A transactions in the energy sphere. Clients say: “Paras is a talkative, approachable guy with a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond Kenya.”‘– Chambers and Partners, 2018

Publications & Insights