Richard Harney

Richard Harney

Managing Partner
Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP
T: +254 20 289 9000
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Richard Harney is a member of the partnership board of the pan-African law firm Bowmans and the managing partner of the Kenya office, Coulson Harney LLP. Richard co-founded the office in 2008. 

Richard is consistently involved in the most prominent transactions in the region.  Having spent the past 22 years in Kenya, Richard has a wide array of experience advising domestic, regional and international clients on M&A deals, capital markets, finance, restructuring and corporate law.  Prior to moving to Kenya, in the early 1990s, Richard worked as a solicitor at two leading law firms in the City of London.

He is listed in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame, a Leading Lawyer in IFLR1000 and a Tier 1 Lawyer in Chambers Global where clients acknowledge “he has a good feel for what is and isn’t practical in Kenya, and for how it will work in the local environment.’”

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

  • Kenya Airways on its turnaround strategy and capital optimization programme.
  • Imperial Bank Limited (in receivership) shareholders and directors on issues arising from the statutory receivership of the bank.
  • Orange S.A. on the disposal of all of its shares and shareholders loans, comprising 70% of Telkom Kenya, to Jamhuri Holdings Limited, owned Helios Investment Partners.
  • Old Mutual Property Africa Investment Company Pty Limited on its USD 55 million investment to acquire 50% of the shares in Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi, the largest mall in East and Central Africa.
  • Certain long term lenders in regard to the receivership of Pan-African Paper Mills (EA) Limited.
  • Eaton Towers in respect of its acquisition of the Kenya tower infrastructure of Bharti Airtel covering African countries.
  • East Africa’s leading dairy produce business Brookside Dairy Limited on the investment of a 40% shareholding by Compagnie Gervais Danone.
  • East African Breweries Limited on its KES 11 billion corporate bond listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • Lafarge and Holcim on Kenyan regulatory approvals required in Kenya for their global merger.
  • LafargeHolcim on shareholders matters concerning the East African Portland Cement Company Limited.
  • The acquisition of control of UAP Holdings (a publicly traded financial services group) by Old Mutual Holdings.
  • E.A. Trading Limited on its offer to acquire all the ordinary shares not already owned by it in R.E.A. Vipingo Plantations Limited, a company listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange – the first contested takeover on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • France Telecom on its USD 390 million acquisition of 51% of Telkom Kenya from the Government during the privatisation of Telkom Kenya Limited.
  • Equity Bank in the USD 185 million equity investment by Helios Investors.
  • Project sponsor on the establishment of a 50MW wind farm close to Nairobi including negotiations with the Kenya Power & Lighting on a power purchase agreement.
  • Dimension Data Holdings plc on its take-over of 100% of the issued share capital of AccessKenya Group Limited, an internet service provider listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • Saham Finances in the acquisition of a controlling stake in Mercantile Insurance Company Limited through its subsidiary Colina Holdings.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners consistently ranked Richard in Band 1 for Corporate/ Commercial for the past five consecutive years (2016 to 2020) and Spotlight Table for Capital Markets for the past two years (2019 and 2020).
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide consistently rated Richard as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for Restructuring and insolvency, Energy and infrastructure, Banking and M&A for the past five consecutive years (2016 to 2020).
  • Richard was recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2018 for Mining.
  • In 2018 the Legal 500 listed Richard in Hall of Fame, which highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence and recommended Richard as a Leading Lawyer for his work in Commercial, Corporate and M&A as well as Banking, Finance and Capital Markets in 2016 and 2017.
  • Richard received the World Bank Award for Excellence for his work on the privatization of Kenya Airways.

“Incredibly great lawyer on complex transactions” who is “very good at understanding the commercial side and grasping what risks there are.” – Chambers and Partners, 2020

“He’s able to think through complex matters and design unique solutions.”

Commended for his “wealth of knowledge” and understanding of the Capital Markets Authority, he is equally valued for his ability to “think through complex matters and design unique solutions.” -Chambers and Partners, 2019

“Output/feedback and response is prompt and of quality. Richard Harney has a great deal of practical expertise and advice in the area of commercial law as it applies to Kenya – he is not hesitant in giving his measured opinion to his client.”

“Excellent lawyer with very broad experience. Led the legal process on a highly complex cross-border restructuring. A trusted adviser to governments, creditors and corporates.”

“Excellent practitioner.” -IFLR 1000, 2019

“He knows his stuff and he is experienced.”

“a switched-on negotiator.” He has a formidable insolvency and restructuring practice – notably acting for Kenya Airways – and has further expertise in M&A, capital markets and competition matters. Peers add: “He continues to stand out as a top-tier lawyer.” Chambers and Partners 2018

Richard Harney is particularly active on M&A, capital markets and finance deals. He advised Eaton Towers on the financing of its acquisition of Bharti Airtel’s tower infrastructure across multiple East African countries. Peers agree that he is deserving of his reputation in the market, and one client remarked: “He has a very clear vision of an M&A deal and knows exactly what is required.” – Chambers and Partners 2017

“true business partner” – Legal 500 2017

“delightful to work with.” – Chambers and Partners 2016

Publications & Insights