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Leading individuals

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Under the leadership of the ‘very thorough and knowledgeable’ Rabel Akhund, the team at Akhund Forbes ‘exceeds expectations’, according to clients. The group is noted for its expertise in M&As, joint ventures and corporate regulatory work in particular, and is lauded for its ‘availability and timely responses’ and clients note how it ‘works hard to achieve deadlines and to provide a seamless service’. In a large private M&A, the team advised Edotco Group SDN Berhad (Deodar) on the structuring of a complex demerger of the tower business of Mobilink and Warid and on the regulatory aspects of the deal. Gemini Office Holdings and Pakistan Catalyst Fund 1 are also clients. The ‘excellent’ Sahar Iqbal is another key figure who is singled out for ‘finding solutions’.

HaidermotaBNR has an active team that has developed considerable expertise in complex restructuring and reorganisation mandates. Khozem Haidermota heads the department that routinely advises clients such as Nissan Motor Company and Dawood Hercules Corporation. In one standout instruction, Karachi-based Ali Vasi led the advice to Fullerton Financial Holding (which is part of the investment arm of the Singaporean government and the majority shareholder of NIB Bank) on the merger of NIB Bank with MCB Bank.

Mohsin Tayebaly & Co is a ‘great firm that stands out from the others due to its turnaround time, quality of work and competitive rates’. The team has a particular focus on mergers/demergers, acquisitions, IPO and private equity work. Key clients include TPL Trakker, Byco Petroleum Pakistan, as well as Askari Bank. Irfan Tayebaly heads the group which includes Vaseeq Khalid, who is ‘widely known as a problem solver’ and is praised for his ‘great eye for detail’. Senior associate Mikael Rahim is described as a ‘very promising resource'. 'He is our go-to person when it comes to queries under the Companies Act,’ says one client.

Orr, Dignam & Co. has a thriving and diverse corporate practice. Recent highlights included Sajid Zahid leading on the advice to a UAE-based multinational company on the incorporation of a local firm and on the establishment of an industrial plant in Pakistan. Elsewhere, Zahir Riaz led the advice to Weatherford International on the local aspects of the complex, multi-jurisdictional sale of the business. Maudood Khan, Asim Nasim and Aliya Yusuf are other names to note in the team.

Practice heads Salman Chima and Khalid Ibrahim jointly lead the team at Chima & Ibrahim, which is particularly rated for its handling of shareholder agreement negotiations and its work on key transactional matters in Pakistan.

Kabraji & Talibuddin has been involved in a number of significant deals. The team acted for CDC Group plc in relation to its investment in a 50MW wind farm. In another key mandate it acted for Stora Enso South Asia Holding in connection with the divestment of its shares in Bulleh Shah Packaging. Sastaticket and China Machinery Engineering Company are also clients. Kairas Kabraji  is recommended.

The ‘responsive and commercially aware team’ at LMA|Ebrahim Hosain provides ‘robust advice’ to multinational companies and foreign clients. Its key strengths lie in due diligence, joint ventures, M&A and corporate restructuring. It was appointed by Pak Oman Asset Management Company to advise on all aspects of the corporate and regulatory approvals for its outright acquisition of Askari Investment Management. Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Tranasia Refinery, Hemani Pakistan and Chubb Insurance Pakistan are also clients. Hira Ahmad is ‘experienced in energy-related transactions’. Senior associate Ali Qaisar is lauded for his ‘depth of legal knowledge and for his ability to handle matters efficiently’. Khwaja Hosain and Darakhsan Vohra are other names to note.

RIAA BARKER GILLETTE's team recently conducted legal due diligence for Daelim Industrial of Farooq Energy in connection with the acquisition of the 500MW Chakoti Hattian hydropower project. The group also regularly assists Uber on various corporate and regulatory matters, and also counts Sapphire Textile Mills, Chevron Pakistan Lubricants and Nokia Corporation as clients. Bilal Shaukat is a key contact.

Vellani & Vellani is a well-established firm that handles the full array of corporate matters including advice on joint ventures, M&A and divestments. Named partner Badaruddin Vellani is the main contact for corporate matters.

Ahmed & Qazi's ‘knowledgeable’ Naveed Zafar is ‘very capable, dependable and extremely responsive. He is good at finding solutions’. In recent significant instructions, the team has been engaged by a large media group to advise on a myriad of corporate and commercial issues on an ongoing basis. The department's client base also includes the Abbas Steel group of companies, Taung Gold International, Azgard Nine, as well as Shanghai Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Engineering Company.

Past work for Khan & Associates includes advising the Government of Pakistan on its $600m debut issue of Sukuk which were listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. In another significant matter, the firm advised on the local law issues that affected a Sharia-compliant renewable energy fund. Mansoor Khan is a name to note.

The team at Mandviwalla & Zafar is well equipped to advise on all aspects of M&As and company takeovers. Mehmood Mandviwalla is the name to note.

MJLA LEGAL often acts as legal advisors to foreign corporates interested in doing business in Pakistan. The team advises on various matters including corporate governance and ownership, as well as M&As. Clients include Cisco Inc, ICI Pakistan, Engro Foods, General Cable Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan. Mujtaba Jamal is well regarded in the market.

Qureshi Law Associates is adept at advising on takeovers and joint ventures. The team has particular skill in energy and infrastructure projects. It counts Sino Energy Consortium, Water & Power Development Authority, Bank of Punjab and Pakistan Railways as clients. Adnan Aslam Qureshi and Ameena Sohail are names to note in the team.

ABS & CO. ADVOCATES AND CORPORATE COUNSELS regularly advises Punjab Skills Development Fund on a diverse range of mandates, including procurement laws as well as more general commercial and corporate advice. The Government of Punjab, Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department and Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development & Management Company are also clients of the firm. Sarjeel Mowahid heads the team.

Axis Law Chambers is known for its work in corporate restructuring, M&As, and on various compliance matters. It is also adept at advising on takeover laws and merger approval, and has expertise in major project financings. Ali Zahid Rahim and Mian Tariq Hassan are well-regarded practitioners. Major clients include MOL Pakistan Oil and Gas and Escorts Investment Bank.

Cornelius, Lane & Mufti recently advised on a number of M&As, including on the acquisition of a majority stake in an Islamic bank, and routinely advises its clients on a range of matters including vendor supply contracts, joint ventures, as well as concession agreements. In the past, the firm advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in an Islamic commercial bank. Munawar us-Salam and Shehzad Elahi are notable practitioners.

The team at Ijaz Ahmed & Associates acts for a host of impressive clients, including Bank Alfalah, Pakistan Telecommunication Company and Hum Networks. Lahore-based senior partner Ijaz Ahmed is recommended for corporate instructions.

In a recent standout mandate, the team at Rana Ijaz & Partners advised one of the world’s leading hotel chains on a long-term lease and sale agreement for a large shopping and hotel complex in Lahore. Rana Sajjad Ahmad is well respected for corporate matters.

Sajeel Mirza Mann & Shah's ‘knowledgeable' Ishaq Shah receives praise for being 'a logical thinker who has the ability to solve even the most challenging of problems’. The team's clients include private equity providers and acquirers, listed companies, advisors, brokers and small to medium-sized companies.

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