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  1. Islamic finance
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Allen & Overy LLP is noted for its full-service practice in London led by the highly regarded Atif Hanif. Hanif advised Maybank Investment Bank as coordinator of the consortium of banks handling the $2.3bn commodity murabaha facility provided to SapuraKencana Petroleum, while Jamie Durham advised UK Export Finance on Emirates Airlines’ $913m sukuk for the purchase of four Airbus A380s, which was the world’s first ECA-supported sukuk issuance. Saudi Electricity Company and Credit Suisse are also clients.

Clifford Chance’s team is headed by leading individual Qudeer Latif in Dubai and has a presence in various key Islamic finance centres, including London, where partners regularly handle complex shari’ah-compliant transactions such as the $913m ECA-backed sukuk by Emirates Airlines (where it acted for the joint lead managers and structuring agents). Credit Suisse and Advanced Energy Systems are also clients.

Dentons’ practice has a diverse workload in keeping with the breadth of its Islamic finance expertise; recent mandates include structuring socially responsible sukuk investments, handling complex real estate deals and acting for the Government of Ras Al Khaimah on the update of its $2bn trust certificate issuance programme. Key London-based contacts include global practice head Richard de Belder and Matthew Sapte, who specialises in debt capital markets and derivatives matters.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice is spread across the firm’s offices in Riyadh, Dubai – where asset finance expert Rustum Shah, team head and structured finance and capital markets expert Rahail Ali, and new recruit Anthony Pallett, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP, are based – and London, which handles shipping and aviation-related financings. Saudi Hollandi Bank and Pakistan International Airline are clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice handles a broad range of matters, and particularly impresses on high-profile real estate deals and work in the aviation sector. In a reflection of its ‘excellent knowledge’ in the latter area, a cross-office team of London, Dubai, Singapore and US lawyers advised Emirates Airlines on its $913m ECA-backed sukuk to fund the acquisition of four Airbus A380s. Farmida Bi in London and Mohammed Paracha in the UAE are recommended.

Ashurst’s practice comprises 20 partners globally and is led from London by the highly regarded Abradat Kamalpour. It acts for an impressive roster of banking clients including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Goldman Sachs, for which it handles a regular diet of sukuks and real estate financings.

At Foot Anstey, practice head Imam Qazi is noted for his ‘thorough knowledge of shari’ah-compliant structuring, which he combines with a commercial and friendly approach’. He is particularly active in the real estate space and advised Greenridge Investment Management on the financing of its £70m acquisition of the National Air Traffic Control Services HQ. Fara Mohammad is a key contact for corporate finance.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Islamic finance practice is led by Nadim Khan in Dubai and debt capital products specialist Andrew Roberts in London. Recent highlights include advising ArcelorMittal on the shari’ah-compliant financing of a steel pipes joint venture in Saudi Arabia. Other highlights included acting for Dubai Islamic Bank on a $70m murabaha financing for the Government of Pakistan.

K&L Gates LLP is singled out for its ‘seamless global service’. Its cross-office team includes London-based Jonathan Lawrence, who has ‘stunning in-depth knowledge of structuring shari’ah-compliant transactions’; the ‘strategic and client-focused’ Amjad Hussain in Doha; banking and finance partner Simon Mabin in Dubai; and new Singapore-based arrival Markus Blenntoft, who joined from Dentons. Deutsche Bank, Emirates REIT and QInvest are key clients. Barry Cosgrave joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP impresses with its breadth of expertise and ‘high industry knowledge’. Names to note in the sizeable team include Salman Ahmed, who splits his time between London and Bahrain and whose recent deals include a construction financing as well as a high yield sukuk issue; Sarah Gooden, who is a key adviser to North Real Estate Partners; and property finance specialist Neill Gibson. The firm became the first international law firm to open an office in Malaysia, where Nicholas Edmondes is a key contact.

At White & Case LLP, London-based Tom Bartlett handled a number of high-value Saudi Arabia related deals, including advising Saudi Aramco on $10bn revolving credit facilities involving two Saudi Riyal murabaha tranches. Project finance is a particular strength; Kirsti Massie acted alongside Philip Stopford for Al Nowais Investments as sponsor on a coal-fired power generation plant in Egypt.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s key London contact is finance and projects partner Paul Salsbury; his recent clients include Bank of London and the Middle East as well as Maybank.

At Clyde & Co LLP, practice head Adil Hussain ‘sets himself apart by being able to draw on his knowledge, as well as his relationships with scholars and practitioners, to offer practical and up-to-date guidance’. The fast-growing practice has added Natixis, Beehive Group and NBF Capital as new clients.

Druces LLP continued to expand its practice with the arrival of Simon Pullen from Howard Kennedy LLP; he brings strong ties to new client British Arab Commercial Bank. Christopher Axford handled a number of property deals in 2015.

King & Spalding International LLP is noted for its track record in shari’ah-compliant project and infrastructure, asset, capital markets and real estate financings. The practice is headed globally by Isam Salah, who splits his time between New York and Dubai, and includes project finance expert Michael Rainey, who is a key London contact.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP stands out for its project finance expertise, and also recently advised the underwriters on a $5bn offering of bonds and sukuk certificates by Petronas. John Dewar heads the practice.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, Ben Shorten acted for the lenders on a solar power project in Dubai, and Barney Reynolds assisted Abu Dhabi Global Market with its establishment as an international financial centre. Sanja Udovicic is a key contact for project finance. Barry Cosgrave joined K&L Gates LLP .

At Simmons & Simmons, Ahmed Butt in Riyadh regularly handles shari’ah-compliant UK real estate deals. Dubai-based Muneer Khan heads the practice and is a key contact for Islamic banking and finance matters.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s London team, which includes Rodney Dukes as well as corporate and project finance expert Hamid Yunis, has been active in real estate deals. Habib Ullah in Dubai has handled a number of fund-related matters.

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