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Doing business in Kuwait: independent water and power projects
Contributed by Al Markaz Law Firm
This article discusses the legal aspects of undertaking an independent water and power project in Kuwait. The main focus of this article shall be on the legal framework of doing business in Kuwait and managing certain aspects of legal risk.
Legal market overview
In 2015, Kuwait’s cabinet – despite sectarianism and concerns over significant revenue reduction caused by the sharp drop in international oil prices – managed to secure the parliament’s approval of a five-year development plan that envisages spending $116bn on projects, as well as increasing the size of the private sector share of the economy.
This change of direction for an economy historically mired in public sector ennui was somewhat pre-empted as construction contracts and related legal work soared in 2014, with big-ticket awards including $12bn in contracts for the clean fuels refinery upgrade project and also the $4.8bn construction of a terminal, runway and 30 passenger gates at Kuwait International Airport.
The petroleum industry, which accounts for nearly half of GDP and 95% of export revenues and government income, remains in public sector hands and continues to bar the world’s international energy companies from active participation. As a result, external legal work in the sector is limited, although there is still good work to be found in serving the oil services companies that are required to assist the state-owned Kuwait Oil Company and the Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation in facilitating their projects.
Of the international law firms, only DLA Piper and regional heavyweight Al Tamimi & Company have forged alliances in Kuwait, with the resultant benefit of gaining access to the local courts. A number of local firms have developed extra-jurisdictional foreign law capability by hiring foreign qualified lawyers, notably including the highly ranked ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners.
Legal Business: country analysis
Behind the veil – Can Islamic finance live up to the sales pitch?
Islamic finance flourished during the downturn and has
emerged as a significant practice for both Middle East and international firms. How sustainable is the workflow and what lies ahead for the key players?
Click here to read the feature.
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Following completion of the acquisition of the Lake Region Medical groupe by Greatbatch, Inc. and the renaming of Lake Region Medical into INTEGER, Greatbatch contributed in multiple capital increases own shares to Swiss-based P Medical Holding AG/INTEGER (Switzerland) GmbH, which were swapped against shares in the Irish-based Lake Region Medical Holdings Limited. The transaction was completed by a down-stream merger of P Medical Holding AG into its subsidiary INTEGER (Switzerland) GmbH.
SyCipLaw acted as Philippine counsel for the dealers, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in a back-to-back tender offer of perpetual securities and issuance of new perpetual securities.
The Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs and State Administration of Taxation of China jointly issued a circular (“Joint Circular ”) relating to the taxation policy on the cross-border e-commerce retailing imports, with effect as from April 8, 2016.
On February 12, 2016, the recently constituted Philippine Competition Commission (“PCC”), which was created under the Philippine Competition Act (Republic Act 10667 or the “PCA”), issued Memorandum Circular No. 16-001, Series of 2016 (the “Transitory Rules”), which provides for the transitory rules and guidelines relating to mergers and acquisitions that were, or are to be, executed or otherwise implemented after the effectivity of the PCA on August 8, 2015 but before the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations (the “PCA IRR”). Given the special nature of transactions effected through the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Transitory Rules will not cover such transactions and will be covered by a separate issuance by the PCC.
SyCipLaw acted as Philippine counsel to a syndicate of Philippine banks (composed of BDO Unibank, Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company and Philippine National Bank) and Asian Development Bank for the financing of the rehabilitation and development of the Mactan Cebu International Airport that was awarded by the DOTC and the MCIAA under the private-public partnership program of the government to the consortium between Megawide Construction Corporation and GMR Infrastructure. The financing is composed of (1) Php20 Billion (approx. US$446,773,200) commitment of the Philippines syndicate banks and (2) US$75 Million commitment of ADB.
On February 16, 2016, the recently constituted Philippine Competition Commission (“PCC”), which was created under the Philippine Competition Act (Republic Act 10667 or the “PCA”), issued Memorandum Circular No. 16-002, Series of 2016 (the “PSE Transitory Rules”), which provides for the transitory rules and guidelines relating to mergers and acquisitions that were, or are to be, executed or otherwise implemented through the Philippine Stock Exchange (“PSE”) and after the effectivity of the PCA on August 8, 2015 but before the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations (the “PCA IRR”).
SyCipLaw contributed the Philippine Chapter of the 2016: Insurance Regulation in Asia Pacific – Ten things to know about 20 countries published by Norton Rose. The 2016 edition of the summary guide provides an overview and practical checklist of ten common regulatory issues for insurance companies. The Philippine chapter was contributed by SyCipLaw partner Hiyasmin H. Lapitan.
In the recent case of Pyrrho Investments Limited and another v MWB Property Limited and others  EWHC 256 (Ch), the High Court of England and Wales approved the use of predictive coding software in electronic discovery.
SyCipLaw Partners Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez and Franco Aristotle G. Larcina, with support from Senior Associate Ruben P. Acebedo II, participated in the World Bank Group’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2016: Comparing regulatory good practices. The report examines regulations that impact private enterprise in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. The report aims to promote smart regulations that ensure safety and quality control, as well as efficient regulatory processes, that support thriving agribusinesses.
Hospitality and food service industry company Mövenpick invests in Chinese wine wholesaler Cheers by acquiring a strategic stake. Cheers has 30 branch offices in the greater Beijing area and currently generates annual revenues of roughly three million Swiss francs. Mövenpick is a Swiss group of companies with global presence. Its core competency lies in the hospitality business, with a focus on gastronomy, hotels, wine and premium branded products.
Pitmans has advised Premier Marinas Limited on its acquisition of Noss Marina, which is just outside Dartmouth, from the Administrators Duff & Phelps.
Following last year’s autumn statement, HMRC has now published draft legislation which introduces the proposed new apprenticeship levy. The levy will have effect from 6 April 2017.
The Department of Justice has issued a practice direction in connection with the new insolvency express trials pilot.
Many businesses will be liable for increased business rates following last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Woolway (Valuation Officer) v Mazars LLP.
Pitmans LLP has acted on behalf of its longstanding client, Westcoast (Holdings) Limited on its acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Limited.
The management team were backed by Maven Capital Partners with PNC providing debt facilities.
Pitmans today announced that Oliver Kelly (corporate) and Matt Heyworth (private client) will become partners as of 1 May 2016.
SOUTHAMPTON -- LV=, represented by Pitmans LLP, have won a case involving a fraudulent household insurance claim worth almost £50,000.
VEGAS LEX Manager of Life sciences projects Maria Borzova has discussed recent legislative initiatives relating to the compulsory licensing of medicines in her presentation at the first meeting of Pharm Salon.
In cases involving M&A transactions, a detailed evaluation of the economic risks and opportunities as well as the associated legal issues is indispensable.