Firms To Watch: Commercial, corporate and M&A

Meysan Partners‘ corporate practice is led by Michel Ghanem and handles cross-border M&A transactions and foreign direct investments, particularly across the energy and healthcare sectors.
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Firms in the Spotlight Commercial, corporate and M&A

Hamdan Law Firm

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The Hamdan Law Firm was founded in 1961 by Ahmad Hamdan and offers a full range of legal services. It is one of the oldest law firms in Lebanon and is today managed by Abdel Ghani Hamdan.

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Commercial, corporate and M&A in Lebanon

Abou Jaoude & Associates Law Firm

Abou Jaoude & Associates Law Firm is well placed to handle large cross-border transactions and complex restructurings for large multinationals. The team is known for its pharmaceutical sector work headed by Simon El Kai, and counts Moderna as a key client amidst the ongoing- Covid-19 crisis in Lebanon; El Kai also heads up the corporate offering. Souraya Machnouk leads the M&A team at the firm. Managing partner Carlos Abou Jaoude and Ibrahim Barraj are likewise recommended.

Practice head(s):

Simon El Kai; Souraya Machnouk

Other key lawyers:

Ibrahim Barraj

Key clients

3M Group

Chevron (Al Khalij)

Moderna

Ericsson

Midis Group

Samsung

Philip Morris

Carlos Ghosn

CIPLA

Adidas

Lego

Accenture LLP

Libanpost

Benta Group

Sioufi Group

Malia Group

Elie Saab Group

LBCI

Fadaat Media Group

Doctors without Borders

Riot Games

CardioDiagnostics Group

Work highlights

  • Advised renowned businessman Carlos Ghosn on the multi-million acquisition of an equity stake in the“Save-Our-Startups” Fund (SOS Fund) which aims to invest in 13 pioneer tech start-ups operating out of Lebanon through a highly complex structure involving 4 distinct dual- currency financing rounds of “fresh” and “local” US Dollars among the participating investors.
  • Advised Moderna on the regulatory framework governing the distribution of their Covid-19 vaccine in Lebanon, including advertising, registration, labelling and pharmacovigilance under complex healthcare sector regulations.
  • Advised Benta on the multi-million cross-border acquisition of a pharmaceutical plant in France involving a highly complex government-supported reorganization plan.

Alem & Associates

Alem & Associates brings together a cross-border team spanning Riyadh and Dubai to advise on corporate transactions and M&A. Overseen by senior partner Mohamed Alem, the group is active in advising on the corporate structures of project developments and PPP projects. Managing partner Rola Tabsh  who also serves as a member of the Lebanese Parliament, is also a key member of the team handling international transactions, particularly in the real estate and construction area.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed Y. Alem; Rola Tabsh

Testimonials

‘The team is very coherent and diversified in specialities yet at the same time when you have many different activities at one time you still feel you are dealing with one team’

‘They take each case at heart and you truly feel that you are in safe hands whilst at the same time you have a very strong force behind you’

Key clients

Huawei Technologies

Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited

Uber Netherlands BV

Beirut Chamber of Commerce

Lebanese Economic Organizations

Malia Group

E-Technical Consulting

Recygroup

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

IBC SAL

Lebanese Association for Certified Public Accountants

Radian Oil & Gas Services Company

Public Health Invesment Ltd

General Electric Company

GLB Invest SAL Offshore

Booz Allen Hamilton Lebanon SARL

Work highlights

  • Advising stakeholders through a grant from EBRD on the legal and regulatory requirements for designing, building and operating a 300MW solar farm in the Tufail area in the Bekaa Valley.

Badri and Salim El Meouchi LLP

At Badri and Salim El Meouchi LLP, the well-regarded banking group is jointly managed by Chadia El Meouchi  and Carine Farran from Beirut, and handles an assortment of transactions and corporate advisory work. Main strengths for the team include advising foreign clients on entry into the Lebanese markets, commercial contracts, and investments. Salim Meouchi remains the preeminent practitioner in the team.

Practice head(s):

Chadia El Meouchi; Carine Farran

Other key lawyers:

Salim Meouchi

Testimonials

‘Amazing customer service and reactivity. Quick to understand our needs and extremely efficient and clear in their advice. They have taken gender equality to a whole other level and this is testimony to great leadership and an amazing culture. Offering pro-bono services to non-profits despite the economic crisis shows their engagement in their community and a culture that is quite unique.’

‘Chadia Meouchi (Managing Partner) and Carine Farran (Deputy Managing Partner) must be the most knowledgeable and professional lawyers I’ve ever worked with during my 24 years of experience working in the US, Europe, Asia and now Lebanon. They are always go above and beyond what we ask of them. It is very rare for lawyers not to be focused on billing time and to be so generous with their time and advice, even when they are completely overworked.’

Key clients

Banque Misr Liban

GazpromBank

Holdal Group

Saint-Gobain Middle East

Construction Development Company International

Projects Development Company

Intel

Fransabank

Audi Saradar Private Bank

Macquarie Airfinance

PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Work highlights

  • Advised on the expansion and development of Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport.
  • Advising the EBRD, as lead Lebanese legal counsel working along an international lead consultant, in the context of two PPP projects.
  • Advised on the global and China structuring of Leaplearner, an education technology company.

Chedid Law Offices in association with Dentons

Despite market challenges, Chedid Law Offices in association with Dentons remains a solid firm and is instructed by telecoms giants on various corporate mandates including commercial contracts, market entry, and transactional work. Practice head Elias Chedid retains his sector strength in the energy, technology, and media areas and is noted for his strategic advice. He is supported by senior associate Georgette Salamé. Anti-corruption matters are dealt with by seasoned practitioner Raymond Chedid.

Practice head(s):

Elias Chedid

Other key lawyers:

Georgette Salamé; Raymond Chedid.

El-Aref International Law Office

Highlighted for its international transactional strength, the corporate team at El-Aref International Law Office advises global giants, investment banks, and public sector clients on large M&A matters in the Lebanese market. Under the leadership of Aref El-Aref who is a ‘fantastic lawyer’ according to clients, the team is often co-counsel alongside international law firms on multi-million dollar acquisitions and joint venture matters. Associate Nathalie Awada has experience handling cross-border mergers across Europe and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Aref El Aref

Other key lawyers:

Nathalie Awada

Testimonials

‘Highly approachable, client/customer centric, and solution driven.’

‘We have instructed the firm since 1997 and we feel safe when we assign them a case, project or transaction. The results we’ve got are amazing and the most important, is the value of money, it is really reasonable compared with other firms in the region.’

‘Aref El Aref,  Katia Daou and Mohamed Ramadan are the three individuals that I’ve dealt with. They are available 24/7 and we feel the personal touch in their dedicated work; they are very qualified and have great knowledge in terms of  International Standards. In short such talented , precise and reliable people are stand outs and our work is in safe hands.’

‘EL Aref Law firm is very dedicated to deliver the best product. They are professional and knowledgeable. They are committed to excellence, have the ability to adapt, are very resourceful and well-connected within the industry.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and have expertise with clear and simplified legal opinion. Lawyers are ready to support, explain and clarify the legal opinion or legal advisory work. They have a clear focus on customer service and quality of service. They are flexible on fees and payments.’

‘Aref EL Aref, is a fantastic lawyer, a tireless worker, a creative problem solver and a bona fide nice guy. He is by far the best lawyer in the country.’

Key clients

AbbVie

AstraZeneca

Novo Nordisk

ATKearney

NABED Ltd

Rotana Audio Visual, LLC.

Associated Press

BBC

World Fuel Services Corporation

ABB

B.B. Energy

Faisal Holding

Bloomberg

Work highlights

  • Advised Rotana in connection with the sale of minority stake to Warner Music.
  • Advised TCQ Power on private placement investment by Fuel Supplier in project equity interest in a power generation project in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Advised sponsor Primesouth on sale of equity stake and Project interests related to power generation projects in the Middle East.

Abousleiman & Partners

At Abousleiman & Partners, the practice is active in handling corporate transactions across the GCC region and beyond for several domestic and foreign clients. Practice head Randa Abousleiman remains the key name. Ghina El-Zibawi who was noted for her banking expertise has now left the firm for a senior legal counsel position with Majid Al Futtaim.

Practice head(s):

Randa Abousleiman; Marie-Jo Tabet

Key clients

Cigna International

American University of Beirut

BRAKKET Group

Qatar First Bank SAL

Fransabank Group

First National Bank Group

Obegi Consumer Products Group

IBL Group

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

BLC Bank SAL

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Heineken International Beer B.V. and Brasserie Almaza SAL

Schindler Lebanon (an international global mobility provider)

The Council for the Development and Reconstruction

Blom Bank S.A.L.

Qatar National Bank S.A.L.

Arab Lebanese Insurance Group S.A.L.

The World Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition by MERIT of 100% of the Lebanese nut-retailing company, the Rifai Group, a market leader in the nuts and appetizers business.
  • Advised on the acquisition by Rentokil of Boecker World Holding, a Middle-East environmental health business.

El-Khoury & Partners Legal Counsel (EKP)

Managing partner Ziad El-Khoury oversees the corporate team atEl-Khoury & Partners Legal Counsel (EKP) which handles cross-border regional transactions for both local and foreign investor clients. Major corporations, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector, instruct the firm on regional expansion and market entry matters. Bassem Chalhoub is the name for corporate restructuring matters. In Saudi Arabia, the main contact remains Wissam Hassem who co-heads the practice. The team has strengthened its capacity with several partner hires including Scott Hutton from Squire Patton Boggs.

Practice head(s):

Ziad El-Khoury; Wissam Hachem

Other key lawyers:

Basset Chalhoub

Testimonials

‘Hadi Melki did a fantastic job!’

‘Intelligent diligence, attention to details and sound advise based on profound knowledge of both global and domestic markets.’

‘Pleasant, professional, cultured and patient with excellent grasp of industry nuances’

‘The team at EKP is extremely knowledgeable in many areas of the law. They are always available to assist us with a legal opinion whether it is commercial, workplace, governance, government or other areas of the law. They have high availability and always reply to enquiries in a timely manner.’

‘The most important aspect of dealing with EKP, other than their legal experience, is their availability. They are always a phone call away and happy to give opinion on the fly when needed. A special mention to Ziad El Khoury and Bassem Chalhoub who are extremely dedicated to our business and have assisted us in many of our legal needs over the last few years.’

Key clients

M&C Saatchi MENA

Mideast Data Systems (MDS) Group

Skin Society SAL

G Management SAL

Health Essentials SAL

Posh Investment Holdings (Lebanon) PTE. Ltd

Pharmasystems Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising M&C Saatchi MENA on various growth initiatives across the ME region, restructuring of the Saatchi and related Quantum Groups in regions.
  • Advising Mideast Data Systems (MDS) Group on corporate and tax structure, compliance and policies, and various commercial projects in KSA.
  • Assisting the founders of Skin Society SAL by incorporating the company and advising on the most efficient corporate and tax structure in order to carry out their business in Lebanon.

HNS Legal

HNS LEGAL was established in summer 2022 following a merger between Hayat Law and NSP Legal. Key names on the corporate side include Ali El Maoula, Joseph Nasrallah and Jad Skaff, who splits his time between Lebanon and the UAE. Nassim Riachi is a key contact for commercial work and Mia Chbeir is the name for franchising agreements. The group has sector strength in TMT and advises on local investment work, day-to-day regulatory work, and corporate finance matters for clients in the energy and media industries.

Practice head(s):

Ali El Maoula; Joseph Nasrallah; Jad Skaff

Other key lawyers:

Nassim Riachi; Mia Chbeir

Testimonials

‘Jad Skaff leads a very capable team in Lebanon. He has a deep understanding of the local legal market and custom. He is able to provide insightful advice beyond the black letter of the law, therefore informing strategies in a meaningful way that truly adds value. He is responsive, detailed and pragmatic’.

‘Jad Skaff is a very capable partner in the practice. Clients like him, he is an excellent local counsel and we feel we gain a deeper understanding of local legal practices and customs – including how courts approach matters and apply the law.’

‘International law firm experience helps the firm understand how to deal with complex matters and simple things which can be a struggle in this market such as sticking to deadlines. The partners have done a tremendous job in navigating a very difficult situation in Lebanon to be able to deliver their services seamlessly.’

‘Jad Skaff stands out as a voice of knowledge and experience in transactional work in Lebanon and consistently delivers.’

‘Professional and efficient. Jad Skaff and Joseph Nassrallah, Innovative thinking and accrued experience’

‘The team of the firm is very much integrated under the supervision of the partner Joseph Nasrallah. The firm is very reliable and provides its services in an efficient and timely way. Speediness and quality are definitely something that distinguishes the firm compared to the other ones in the region. NSP Legal meets Western standards.’

‘Joseph Nasrallah is an outstanding lawyer with strong commercial ability and communication skills. When he is on a deal you definitely feel accompanied and on the safe side.’

‘The team is made up of highly professional and courteous people who take the time to understand the business before offering their valued advice. The personal care given to us as a firm has been exceptional and we truly value all the advice that they provide us, let alone the regular legal work.’

‘We work very closely with Jad Skaff who gives us all the attention we need, despite his role as a Partner. We value the kindness and true commitment to our business and his experience allows for us to grow with the firm together. He stood by us in difficult times and we appreciate all the flexibility he offered.’

‘Hayat Law’s main strength lies in its partners, especially the Managing Partner, Ali El Maoula (as explained below).

‘Hayat has recently upgraded it’s tech capabilities. This allowed us to have good virtual contact and meetings without any glitches or issues. In terms of diversity, Hayat Law’s team is composed of a majority of accomplished female associates. Overall the team is diverse on all levels, including gender, legal and social backgrounds’

‘Ali el Maoula, Managing Partner at Hayat is outstanding. Mr. Maoula prioritizes the quality of the product delivered by the firm. Him and his team of associates always showed to be on top of the matters assigned to them.

Mr. Maoula has also proven to be a very strong legal strategist, with creative and innovative legal approaches.’

‘Hayat Law’s practice is unique thanks to the exceptional level of professionalism and dedication it never fails to deliver, which is exactly what a client looks for in a law firm. This firm, as opposed to other Lebanese Law firms, was particularly able, during the pandemic to maintain the same level of excellence even though the whole country was on lock-down. This was facilitated by the fact that their system, library and archives are on online easily accessible and secure platforms.’

‘I mostly work with Me Ali el Maoula. His integrity and hard focused work are the main assets the firm’s values rely on . His advising style is extremely direct and client oriented, with a peculiar attention to details.’

Key clients

Al Kabida

Bitar Group

CIBCO

Iffco

LIBD

Omatra Group

Sama

S-Com

TabbCo

National Aviation Services Group

Transmed

Careem

Amnesty International

Halvest Holding

Diwan Group

Abchee Group

Shooting Stars

Tech Hub SAL

Nucleus Ventures

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP

AdDelshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP

Coty Middle East FZCO

P.O. Tech: Paths of Technology

Tornet

CCHO SAL

Initiativez Management Consultants

Tri-Sat Communication Company

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading Dubai-based consumer goods company on a $14bn corporate restructuring and intra-group transition.
  • Advised Al Kabida/Sama, a leading broadcast company, on the launch of “Sama Flix”, a new Lebanese IPTV platform, which involves the delivery of television content over the internet.
  • Retained by Bitar Group, a large Lebanese holding company to manage several corporate and restructuring projects, as well as develop a new commercial and sales platform in Dubai, as part of its international expansion.

Law Offices of Naoum Farah

Highlighted as ‘exceptional’, the well-established corporate practice at Law Offices of Naoum Farah handles commercial transactions, and restructurings for national clients, with specialty in terrestrial and TV broadcasting issues. Managing partner Naoum Farah is the name for M&A and is supported by overall head of the corporate group; Marie José Chemaly. Employment matters also feature in the caseload including advising on staff reorganizations and individual contracts. Yara Wakim is the expert on hospitality law.

Practice head(s):

Naoum Farah; Marie José Chemaly; Yara Wakim

Testimonials

‘Very good knowledge of both, the Lebanese different laws & the international laws for matters relating to commercial activities.’

‘Availability & quick advice on important matters by Naoum Farah and Yara Wakim.’

‘One of the better legal practice in Lebanon, clients are treated not as cash machine. communication with the client is exceptional complicated legal issue are clearly explained in terms that are understood.’

‘I have only has to deal with Naoum Farah and Yara Wakeem and both were exceptional.’

‘Naoum Farah is very responsive and experience in commercial matters.’

Key clients

IBL Bank (Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon sal)

Mr. Yordan Obegi (Obegi group )

Bellevue Medical Center (BMC)” Hospital

G. Bazerji et Fils (GBF) sal (Nabil Bazerji)

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International sal (LBCI)

G.A. Bazerji & Sons SAL (GABS) (Nabil Bazerji)

T.G.F Holding sal

TGF (Toufic Gargour and Fils) sal

GHSA (GARGOUR HOLDINGS S.A.) Luxembourg

Joseph Khoury Holding sal

SOFIDAL Holding sal (Assad Dagher)

Burotec (Michel Nadim)

Georges Hakim Group

Work highlights

  • advises one of the major shareholders in a large business family group (Obegi group) in various sectors (industrial, banking, food and design) on several legal matters.
  • Advising on the restructuring and reorganization of Sofidal Holding established in Lebanon, Europe and Africa.
  • Advised Lebanese bank IBL Bank on all legal matters related to its activity.

Obeid & Partners

Obeid & Partners routinely advises both large Lebanese clients and blue-chip companies on a range of transactional matters and acquisitions. The team is active in the healthcare and technology sector and is singled out for its expertise in insurance and re-insurance work. Practice head Ziad Obeid  in Beirut manages the team alongside Counsel Marie Hayek who splits her time between Beirut and Paris, and is often co-counsel with international law firms. The team is supported by a handful of experienced associates. Zeina Obeid is also a noted practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Marie Hayek; Ziad Obeid

Other key lawyers:

Zeina Obeid

Key clients

Audi AG

Starbucks

Astellas Pharma

United Biscuits

KPMG

TUV Nord

Ergomed PLC

Sabre

ICMP

Biotest

Work highlights

  • Advising on the largest global coffee alliance between STARBUCKS and NESPRESSO.
  • Advising ASTELLAS PHARMA, a major Japanese pharmaceutical company, regarding the structure of its operations in Lebanon.
  • On the instructions of KPMG International, the firm has advised on the acquisition of a Lebanese business comprising of a PCC and an offshore joint stock company.

Eptalex - Aziz Torbey Law Firm

The corporate finance team at Eptalex – Aziz Torbey Law Firm focuses on restructurings, financings, and commercial contracts and is led by managing partner Ramy Torbey and Marie Maalouly Torbey . The firm has been involved in a number of high-profile matters across the banking and insurance sectors for a ready stream of clients, particularly amidst the current financial crisis. Aline Tanielian is also a key contact for arbitration work.

Practice head(s):

Ramy Torbey; Marie Torbey; Aline Tanielian

Testimonials

‘The team is young, entrepreneurial and has wide presence in the market. Ramy is a close friend and a strong lawyer’

Work highlights

  • Assisting the majority shareholder in a major Lebanese financial institutions in recapitalizing their share capital in the bank by 20% in accordance with Circular 532 of Lebanon’s Central Bank (Banque Du Liban).
  • Advised on the reinsurance coverage of one of the world’s leading hotel chains’ damages following the Beirut August 4th blast for an initial claim of approximately $100m.

Hamdan Law Firm

At Hamdan Law Firm, the corporate practice group is jointly managed by Abdel Ghani Hamdan (who is based between Beirut and Paris) and managing partner Ahmad Hamdan, and advises investors, banks, and large companies on contractual obligations, project developments, and foreign investment. GCC high-net-worth individuals also instruct the team on various contentious issues. Valérie Gouttebaron is the key name for French clients.

Practice head(s):

Abdel Ghani Hamdan; Ahmad Hamdan

Other key lawyers:

Valérie Gouttebaron

MENA City Lawyers

MENA City Lawyers’ corporate practice group advises both domestic and foreign clients on all matters related to sales and purchases. The team is led by a trio of partners including Fady Jamaleddine Mirvat Mostafa , and Corinne Baaklini  who is noted for franchising and distribution work. Other key areas of work include commercial contracts and joint venture agreements.

Practice head(s):

Fady Jamaleddine; Mirvat Mostafa; Corinne Baaklini

Obeid & Medawar Law Firm LLP

Obeid & Medawar Law Firm LLP handles region wide transactions across the UAE and Saudi Arabia for an assortment of blue-chip companies. Amer F. Obeid  has experience in emerging markets and advises investors, banks, and insurance companies across Lebanon. Co-head of the group Rachad A. Medawar  advises on mergers with a specialty on tax law. The firm opened a new office in Dubai which has bolstered its regional presence.

Practice head(s):

Amer Obeid; Rachad Medawar

Testimonials

‘Rachad Medawar’s competence is one of the best I’ve come across in the field. He was very fast in turning around on several items in our work. Communication and responsiveness were beyond my expectations.’

‘Obeid & Medawar has the most qualified team in town. They are very professional and very experiencedLawyer:Amer Obeid is the best deal maker in town, he always puts his clients interest as a top priority. Ms. Zeina Azzi is an excellent and brilliant young lawyer. She is very devoted to her clients.’

‘Respond quickly to email and always ready to address our legal queries swiftly. They handle the corporate finance in a good manner when it comes to M&A and have a permanent presence in the UAE.’

The firm culture is very strong, and through their international expansion and relocation of some of the senior staff, the dedication and attention remained intact.’

Amer Obeid’s continuous drive and interest in expending his knowledge.’

Key clients

Add Mind SA

Advanced Lines Group

AEM Holding SAL

Aton Capital Markets Limited (ADGM)

B.O.T Bridge Outsource Transform SAL

Batco Group

Beyond your limits events LLC

Beyond your luck Offshore SAL

Bifem Paralu

Blink Experience LLC

Chalhoub Group

Chez Sami SAL Holding

Clap Milano SA (Italy)

Clinique du Levant SAL

Crown Services SAL

Crystal Mountain SAL

Cumberland Insurance and Reinsurance SAL

DOT NGO

Ebtikar Venture Capital (ADGM)

Edenred SAL

Em Sherif SAL

Em Sherif Cafe SAL

Em Sherif By the Sea SAL

Eurofore SAL

French Consulate in Lebanon

General TV Production FZ LLC

Global Blue SAL

Gulftainer SAL

Housetex LLC

Hussein Madi Foundation

INEVERT GLOBAL LTD

Inventis Services SAL

Inventis Corporation Offshore SAL

Infiouest LLC

Jordan Company for Lottery Development and Management

Lavajet Holding Ltd – ADGM

Lavajet KSA LLC

Lebanese Parliament

Legacy Line Family office

M Group SAL

Maram Foundation (Lie.)

Maria Group SAL

Matic SAL

Medbox SAL

Megastores of Lebanon SAL – Virgin Megastores

Memerlab SAL

Menzies Middle East and Africa Offshore SAL

Middle East Venture Fund L.P or MEVF I

Middle East Venture Partners or MEVP

Nebula X Gaming SAL

Nebula X Gaming Ltd (UK)

PBM SAL

RMB Group

Sauce Capital Investments SPV LTD

Societe de Gestion Des Restaurants SAL

Stepahead Ltd

Tamayyaz Sal

Team Nine Boats

The Building Block Equity Fund Sicar

The Health Bank DMCC

The Impact Fund by MEVP

The Summit Lounge SAL

Total Care Lebanon SAL

Two Floors Restaurants and Café LLC

Wintergreen SAL

Yap Holding Limited (UAE+ UAE Freezones)

Zaarour Club SAL

Work highlights

  • Advised and assisted Lavajet Group, on the restructuring of their branches in different territories: Lebanon, UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Morocco.
  • Advised the Jordan Company for Lottery Development and Management in negotiating the terms of the concession agreement with the government with regards to the implementation and creation and sale of the lottery business in Jordan.
  • Advised Nebula X Gaming a Limited (UK) on day-to-day support to the client with regards to structuring, funding, incorporation and set-up of one of the most promising e-gaming platforms in the region.