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Firms in the Spotlight Banking and finance (including Islamic finance)

ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners

ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners logo

ASAR ‒ Al Ruwayeh and Partners (ASAR) is an award winning law firm operating in the Kingdom of Bahrain since 2008 and a market leader in cross border transactions and financing legal work. With offices in the Kingdom as well as Kuwait, ASAR’s diverse group of highly-skilled lawyers’ and their deep understanding of the local …

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Banking and finance (including Islamic finance) in Bahrain

Baker & McKenzie Limited

Baker & McKenzie Limited has a strong pedigree for structuring complex and innovative financings across a number of key areas, including project finance, Islamic finance, contractor finance, receivables finance and securitisation. The group is led by Ian Siddell, who splits his time between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and has expertise in multi-sourced financings and shari’ah compliant transactions. Fatima Alhasan, recently promoted partner Delwar Hossain and Mohsin Iqbal are other key individuals in the group, which is seen as a first port of call among Bahrain-based banks, corporates and government. Senior associate Nadeem Kunwar is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ian Siddell

Key clients

The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C. (c) (nogaholding)

Bahrain National Gas Company (B.S.C.)

ABC Islamic Bank (E.C.)

Gulf International Bank B.S.C

Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C (Alba)

Bahrain Islamic Bank B.S.C

Arab Bank plc

Ahli United Bank B.S.C

The Saudi National Commercial Bank (Bahrain)

National Bank of Pakistan, Bahrain

ACWA Power International

Olayan Financing Company (OFC)

Arabian Centres Company

Alawwal Bank

Samba Capital & Investment Management Company

Saudi Fransi Capital

The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB)

Riyad Bank

NCB Capital

Metito Group

Mowah Co.

Textron Financial Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for the lenders in relation to the first tranche of the refinancing made available to Bahrain National Gas Expansion Company (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Government of Bahrain’s oil and gas arm, nogaholding), to secure conventional and Islamic financing for the operation of a gas processing plant (CGPIII) with a capacity of 350 million standard cubic feet per day.
  • Advising Ahli United Bank B.S.C. in relation to its open banking requirements to comply with the newly passed Central Bank of Bahrain new regulations on open banking, including the preparation of a pro forma open banking agreement for the bank.
  • Acting for Arab Bank plc in relation to release and settlement of facilities provided to a corporate obligor with its headquarters in Dubai for the purposes of meeting funding requirements for the development of certain wind and solar projects in Jordan and Turkey and certain bonding requirements in respect of such projects.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Underlining its credentials as a market-leader, Trowers & Hamlins LLP has a strong track record in big-ticket conventional and Islamic finance matters, as well as capital markets transactions. Led by managing partner Jeremy Ingham, the practice is highly active in transactional work and regulatory compliance advice to clients. Salman Ahmed in Oman leads the firm's Islamic finance practice in the region. Bilal Kahlon's practice has gained momentum since his arrival from Baker & McKenzie Limited in Janaury 2020, with him winning a number of key mandates.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Ingham

Other key lawyers:

Salman AhmedBilal Kahlon

Testimonials

‘Trowers have never failed to impress us with their in-depth knowledge of and expertise in Islamic financing. The team is always accessible and their tactful yet cordial approach when it comes to negotiation helps in attaining the desired outcome while maintaining our relationship with the counterparties untarnished.’

A great team who are knowledgeable, commercial, friendly and approachable.’

Honesty, clarity, beyond the engagement, friendly, always available and diligent.

Key clients

GFH Financial Group

Central Bank of Bahrain

National Bank of Bahrain

Citibank BBK B.S.C.

Al Salam Bank B.S.C.

Ahli United Bank B.S.C.

Bahrain Development Bank BSC

First Energy Bank B.S.C

Bahrain Steel B.S.C

Kuwait Finance House B.S.C

Venture Capital Bank B.S.C

Bank Muscat

Arab Banking Corporation

Al Salam Bank Bahrain

Shariyah Review Bureau

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

Mizuho Bank Ltd, Labuan Branch

Gulf International Bank B.S.C

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank ABC and NBB (as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners) on the drafting, negotiating andfinalising of an amended and restated facility agreement for each of four Oman-based energy company.
  • Assisting Bank ABC as lead arranger and a syndicate of other leading Bahraini and regional banks (including Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, National Bank of Bahrain, Mashreqbank, Arab Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank) in relation to amendments to separate financings to four leading power companies in Oman.
  • Advised Bahrain Steel on all of their financings enabling them to continue operating the world’s only fully integrated single site steel manufacturing facility.

Zu'bi & Partners, Attorneys & Legal Consultants

Zu’bi & Partners, Attorneys & Legal Consultants regularly advises on complex Islamic financings, including sukuk transactions and project finance mandates, as well as syndicated loans and secured commercial loans. Senior partners Qays H. Zu’bi, Hatim Q. Zu’biEman Omar , Dareen Abdul Rahim and Naveen Thakur co-head the team, which is also noted for its expertise in licensing and regulatory issues. Associate Noor Al Taraif  has experience of bond and sukuk issuances.

Practice head(s):

Qays H. Zu’bi; Hatim Q. Zu’bi; Eman Omar; Dareen Abdul Rahim; Naveen Thakur

Testimonials

‘Great team of lawyers, always willing to step in and resolve the most difficult issues facing clients. Naveen Thakur is strong technically, and gives sound practical advice. He’s not afraid of standing up to clients when he knows that his advice is legally accurate.’

Naveen Thaker is solid, knows his stuff.’

Key clients

Investcorp Holdings BSC.

UBS AG

Bahrain LNG W.L.L.

Bahrain Development Bank BSC

Khaleeji Commercial Bank B.S.C.

NATIONAL BANK OF PAKISTAN

GE Capital Aviation Services

JP Morgan Chase Bank

The Oil and Gas Holding Company BSC(c) (nogaholding)

Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC

Work highlights

  • Acted as the Bahraini counsel to KHCB (Obligor) on the issuance of sukuk worth $159m and advised on all Bahrain law aspects of the transaction.
  • Acted as the Bahraini counsel to Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company in the $600m tender offer to acquire the Trust Certificates due 2021 and advised on all Bahrain law aspects of the transaction.
  • Acted as the Bahraini counsel to Bahrain Ministry of Finance and National Economy and the CBB in the issuance of $1bn Trust Certificates and advised on all Bahrain law aspects of the transaction.

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company, which is highlighted for its strong presence across the Middle East and North Africa, advises domestic and international banking clients on a wide ambit of Islamic finance and conventional banking matters. Its varied portfolio of transactional work spans areas such as bilateral and syndicated lending, aircraft finance, project finance, trade finance, derivatives and securitisation. Team head Rafiq Jaffer , whose practice is split between Bahrain and the UAE, has over a decade of experience in debt capital market transactions. Also recommended is senior associate Natalia Kumar.

Practice head(s):

Rafiq Jaffer

Other key lawyers:

Natalia Kumar

Testimonials

They are easily accessible, listen to your viewpoint and recommend legal way out accordingly. Besides they are pretty knowledgeable and experienced in their respective law fields.

‘We believe they have given a standout service to our bank.’

‘The team is knowledgeable and responsive when needed. This makes the firm stand out against their peers in Bahrain.’

‘The individuals in the team are very approachable with a can-do attitude. Rather than being theoretic, individuals are pragmatic and advise is always practically achievable.’

‘Excellent. The law firm is friendly, open and responsive to the needs of its clients. These lawyers are very approachable and pleasant to work with. They have shown by their tireless endeavours that the work is not merely an assignment to them, it is something they work on with passion.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain) B.S.C.

ICICI Bank Limited

Credit Suisse AG – Foreign Branch

Julius Baer (Bahrain) B.S.C. (C)

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited

Mashreq Bank P.S.C.

National Bank of Bahrain

Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK)

Citibank N.A.

Habib Bank Limited

United Gulf Holding Company B.S.C.

DLA Piper Middle East LLP

DLA Piper Middle East LLP fields a sizeable banking team in Manama, which advises borrowers and lenders on the gamut of conventional and Islamic financing matters. Practice head Mohamed Toorani, who made partner in May 2021, handles a range of domestic and cross-border transactions for clients such as Gulf International Bank. His team works with Paul McViety, who is a key contact in Dubai, and leads the firm’s Islamic finance practice. McViety is also active in a myriad of other conventional financing transactions. At associate level, Jenan Benahi is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed TooraniPaul McViety

Other key lawyers:

Jenan Benahi

Testimonials

The DLA team has shown professional and innovative approach in term of collaboration, diversity and people behaviours.’

The fee flexibility combined with excellent services and closed relationships during the pandemic are uniquely shown for client. Clients engage with well-equipped professional knowledge of the financial industry and Islamic finance products in particular.’

The team was very helpful and with the right expertise for the case we had. When needed, partners from UAE came to Bahrain and met with with our legal team.’

Key clients

Bahrain Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications (MTT)

Venture Capital Bank

GFH Financial Group

Mashreq Bank

Kuwait Investment Authority

NCB

Al Salam Bank

Gulf International Bank

Rain Financial

Arab Bank

Environmental Chemical Corporation

Kuwait Finance House

Bahrain Islamic Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising the Bahraini Ministry for Transport and Telecommunications on the procurement of a 109km above ground metro line PPP project.
  • Advised KFH on a deal involving major banks in  Bahrain providing murabaha facilities to Eskan Bank BSC.