ASAFO & CO. MOROCCO Sarl has quickly built up a strong finance practice and its three lead partners Alain Gauvin, Patrick Larrivé and Benoit De Monval continue to be involved in high-value financings, project development transactions and lending matters on behalf of financial institutions, private companies, public sector bodies, lenders, project companies, developers, investors, contractors and government entities. They recently advised CIH Banks on the structuring and negotiation of a facility agreement concluded with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Banking, finance and capital markets in Morocco
Alain Gauvin; Patrick Larrivé; Benoit de Monval
CREDIT IMMOBILIER ET HOTELIER (CIH BANK)
African Development Bank
- Advising CIH BANK in connection with the structuring and negotiation of a facility agreement concluded with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
- Advising Casa Transports in connection with the drafting and negotiation of a €190m loan agreement for the financing of the rolling stock of the lines 3 and 4 of the Casablanca tramway.
- Advising the AfDB in connection with the structuring and negotiation of a facility agreement to be concluded with the Fonds d’Equipement Communal to refinance local Moroccan communities.
Clifford Chance has ‘an exceptional team which has developed great expertise’. The firm has a distinguished track record in complex domestic and cross-border deals, including market-first innovations such as the country’s first synthetic securitisation. It recently advised Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund on a local currently bond issue by Senegal’s Port Autonomy de Dakar. Mustapha Mourahib and newly promoted partner Ouns Lemseffer, who are co-heads of the Francophone Africa practice, are ‘reactive, agile and innovative’.
Other key lawyers:
‘Clifford Chance has an exceptional team that has developed great expertise, which helps maintain its leadership in Morocco and Africa.’
‘Our partnership with Clifford Chance is enhanced by the individual skills of the team. For example, the skills of Mustapha Mourahib and Ouns Lemseffer are a treasure.’
‘Pragmatic, adapted, relevant advice taking into account both legal and business requirements.’
‘Mustapha Mourahib and Ouns Lemseffer are reactive, agile and innovative. They know the legal framework extremely well, which is a given, but know how to adapt it to the client’s needs.’
BCP – Banque Centrale Populaire
Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF)
Enel Green Power
- Advising OCP Group on the very first synthetic securitisation operation in Morocco and in Africa.
- Advising Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) on a local currency bond capital market bond issue by Senegal’s Port Autonome de Dakar (PAD), the owner of the Port of Dakar.
- Advising Banque Central Populaire on the financing of the acquisition by Maghrib Hospitality Company SA of the hotel assets held by ONCF.
DLA Piper has a vastly experienced partner in Fabrice Armand, who frequently acts for banks, major corporations, insurance companies, credit institutions, local authorities and sovereign entities in matters concerning debt capital markets, derivatives, alternative investment funds and insurance issues. His work includes deals in France and across Africa, as well as in Morocco. ‘The team offers local expertise combined with the steady quality and breadth of network from a global firm’.
‘DLA Piper’s Moroccan Banking, Finance and Capital Markets team offers local expertise combined with the steady quality and breadth of network from a global firm.’
‘Fabrice Armand is an articulate lawyer that’s able to combine technical legal knowledge with a solid grasp of commercial drivers of its clients.’
Société Générale Marocaine de Banques
ECP Maroc, Eczacıbaşı Holding
Kettani Law Firm has one of Morocco's outstanding finance partners in Nadia Kettani who frequently advises on cross-border lending, project finance transactions and the structuring of shari'ah-compliant sukuk bond issuances, as well as securities law issues, derivatives and financial regulation. The firm acts for an impressive roster of domestic and international banks, though it also assists large corporate borrowers with their financing needs in Morocco and across the MENA region.
Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy
Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy ‘has all the qualities of a large practice in terms of size of the teams, specialisation and access to an international network, but on top of that they are able to combine it with the agility and togetherness of the small firms’. Lead partners Hicham Naciri, Antoine Haddad and Yassir Ghorbal combine market-leading expertise in corporate and syndicated loans, receivables financing, project finance and ECA-backed deals, acting for both banks and borrowers across the Middle East and Africa.
Hicham Naciri; Antoine Haddad; Yassir Ghorbal
‘In our dealings, we have the chance of working with the various practices in the marketplace. Naciri with A&O is the standout performer. It has all the qualities of a large practice in terms of the size of the teams, specialisation and access to an international network, but on top of that it is able to combine these with the agility and togetherness of the small firms. One of its main strengths is that the team always provides you with a complete, unbiased and 360 degree recommendation, looking at the problem from different angles pulling from everyone’s expertise. They are the only ones I trust as a true adviser beyond purely being a law firm.’
‘Clearly the lynchpin is Hicham Naciri who is a standout individual. He is a terrific negotiator with a very strong technical background, but what sets him appart is his extensive experience in deal making, combined with his ability to understand your position as an executive not only from a legal perspective but also the various other aspects that influence your decision making (P&L, market standing, strategic considerations…). Also his humility is pretty impressive given all his achievements, meaning that he really listens to you and your issues. In conclusion, his recommendations are a lot more thorough and useful than anyone else I have worked with.’
‘Reactive team, experts in diversified industries, aware of new techological changes in the industries that they counsel.’
‘I’ve had the pleasure to work closely with both Hicham Naciri and Yassir Ghorbal for the past 20 years. Aside from their keen expertise, they are very proactive and always suggesting new ideas.’
Bank of Africa
- Advised Holmarcom on the MAD450m (approx US $50m) investment by IFC in Holmarcom Insurance Activities (HIA).
- Advises Aradei Capital S.A (Aradei), a major commercial real estate player in Morocco, on its IPO on the Casablanca Stock Exchange for a global amount of MAD600m (more than US $60m).
- Advised OCP Group in relation with a bond issue on the international markets for a total amount of $1.5bn.
Clients of Norton Rose Fulbright praise ‘the team’s experience, expertise and its knowledge of the Moroccan market’. The practice led by Alain Malek recently acted for Banque Centrale Populaire group in the €133m financing of part of the construction costs of Container Terminal 3 at the Tanger Med 2 port in Morocco, operated by Tanger Alliance. The firm’s work encompasses advising on banking operations, project financing, financial restructuring and corporate lending transactions, as well as both equity and debt capital markets issuance.
‘Experience, expertise and their knowledge about the Moroccan market.’
Alliances Développement Immobilier
Banque Centrale Populaire
Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy
- Advising Masen on solar programme Noor midelt using hybrid technologies for an aggregate capacity of 800MW.
- Advised Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) group on the €133m financing of part of the construction costs of Container Terminal 3 (TC3) at the Tanger Med 2 port in Morocco, operated by Tanger Alliance.
- Advised Label’Vie, a company listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange, with respect to the structuring and establishment of a real estate securitisation fund, funded by the ipo of various classes of bonds.
ADNA, formerly BFR & Associés, has an office network that spans North Africa, in which the Casablanca office plays a pivotal role. Lead partner Safia Fassi-Fihri, who was recently appointed chair of the legal committee of the Moroccan business association CGEM, is experienced in private equity transactions, capital markets, cross-border financing and regulatory matters. She recently advised Chinese construction companies on a joint venture to develop the Tanger Tech Free Zone.
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
CCCC (China Communication Construction Company)
CRBC (China Road Bridge Corporation
Vantage Data Centers
- Currently representing CCCC and CRBC on the closing of a joint venture to be incorporated in Morocco between BMCE Bank of Africa, TMSA and CCCC for the development and construction of Tanger Tech Free Zone.
- Assisting Meridiam, GIP, CDC with the acquisition of certain Moroccan Suez assets owned by Veolia.
- Assisting Vantage Data Centers (Colony Capital) with the sale of 100% of the shares and voting rights of Etix Everywhere Maroc to Orange.
Afrique Advisors, which is the correspondent firm for Mayer Brown in Morocco, is building a strong track record in restructuring, capital markets financing and regulatory matters, thanks to lead partner Laila Slassi‘s experience in LBOs, tax law and cross-border financing. Partner Hajar Benyachou has extensive experience in exchange control regulation and project finance. The firm recently opened an office in Washington DC to develop relationships with institutional investors.
Laila Slassi; Hajar Benyachou
Bakouchi & Habachi – HB Law Firm LLP has significant experience in stock exchange law and capital markets issuance, as well as restructurings and cross-border finance transactions. Salima Bakouchi and Kamal Habachi lead the practice, combining their expertise in finance, corporate transactions and litigation to handle high-value mandates for a growing roster of clients, among them International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation and Attijariwafa Bank.
Salima Bakouchi; Kamal Habachi
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation
Attijari Finance Corp
Compagnie General Immobilière
Dentons Sayarh & Menjra
Dentons Sayarh & Menjra is ‘a very good firm with vast experience and the services provided are to very high standards’. The firm assists both local and foreign companies with financing transactions in Morocco. It recently advised EBRD on the negotiation of a €7.7m loan with Lamatem S.A.R.L. and a subsequent second loan agreement. Kenza Bounjou and the ‘sharp, very responsive and business-oriented‘ Christophe Simmonet are the lead partners. Simmonet has ‘vast experience and can be creative when needed to unlock deadlocks in negotiations’.
Kenza Bounjou; Christophe Simonnet
‘Very good firm, with vast experience and well connected in Morocco. The services provided are to very high standards and reasonably priced.’
‘I have been dealing mainly with Christophe Simonnet (Partner). He’s an excellent lawyer, sharp, very responsive and business-oriented. He has vast experience and can be creative when needed to unlock deadlocks in negotiations.’
Hilton Worldwide Limited
Société Hôtelière Réalités S.A.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Assisting EBRD with the negotiation of the loan agreement and related securities between EBRD and Land’Or Maroc Industries S.A.R.L.
- Assisting EBRD with the negotiation of the second loan agreement and related securities between EBRD and Lamatem S.A.R.L. in addition to the previous €7.7m loan.
- Assisting Arena Capital S.A. with the negotiation of the loan agreement and related securities between Arena Capital S.A. and Attijariwafa Bank for the acquisition of 100% of Arena Property Development S.A. from Aevitas Group.
EAR & CO.
EAR & CO. is a key player in major infrastructure and industrial projects in Morocco, hence its in-depth understanding of project finance transactions. The firm is currently assisting a consortium of banks, among them Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Central Populaire and BMCE, on the restructuring of Maghreb Steel’s long-term debt through a partial waiver of debts up to MAD1.2bn. Mohieddine El Amari and Mariam Rouissi are the lead partners and both have extensive experience in private equity, banking, real estate corporate transaction and associated financing requirements.
Mohieddine El Amari; Mariam Rouissi
Syndicate of banks: AWB; BCP; BOA; BMCI; CDM; SG
Fonds d’Equipement Communal (FEC)
FINEA (Subsidiary of Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion)
Maroc Telecom (IAM)
Crédit du Maroc
Banque Centrale Populaire
CIH Bank S.A. (Crédit immobilier et hôtelier)
Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca has a team of local and international lawyers who frequently act for local and foreign banks, institutional finance institutions such as IFC and EBRD, as well as borrowers on bank financing, project financing and structured finance. Wacef Bentaibi leads a practice that is well versed in securitisation, bond issuance, loans and hedging arrangements, and which is called up by foreign banks to assist with local banking, finance and debt capital market regulatory issues.
TEKCIM SA (NOVACIM)
International Finance Corporation
- Advised SPE Capital in relation to the financing of ADEMAT’s acquisition.
- Assisting Westmont Hospitality group for the restructuring of a hotel project (Sheraton Casablanca) financing in the context of its acquisition by Westmont Hospitality.
- Advising International Finance Corporation in relation to a $35m loan to the Region of Fes -Meknes for the financing of a regional rural road program and Covid-19 related expenditures.
The Casablanca office of Jeantet handles both lending and capital markets transactions. Its work includes high-value domestic transactions and deals across the MENA region and sub-Saharan Africa. It frequently acts for lenders on cross-border matters and is also known for its expertise in Islamic finance, which sees it advise on the structuring of shari'ah-compliant deals. Philippe Malléa's broad practice spans corporate, infrastructure and litigation matters. Structured finance and project finance specialist Mamoune Kettani is another key partner.
Philippe Malléa; Mamoune Kettani
Mernissi - FIGES
Mernissi - FIGES is a key player in the development of major projects in Morocco and its work includes high-value financing and capital markets transactions for large energy projects. Key partner Lamya El Mernissi recently advised Fonds d’Equipement Communal on a €100m loan from the African Development Bank, and acted for EBRD in a €50m unfunded risk participation facility with BMCE Bank of Africa. Following the sad passing of founder Mohamed El Mernissi, Saad El Mernissi has joined the firm from DLA Piper.
Other key lawyers:
Mokhtari & Brahma Avocats
Mokhtari Avocats frequently advises lenders on high-value cross-border financing transactions. Much of its work is for international financial institutions and founding partner Ghalia Mokhtari, whose previous experience included stints in the real estate and project finance team of Linklaters in Paris, recently assisted EBRD with a loan of up to £100m to BCP as part of its Covid-19 solidarity package.
Baker & McKenzie Maroc
BFF LAW FIRM
BFF LAW FIRM is frequently a key adviser on large project finance transactions, including the recent development of factories and commercial centres, as well as having a key role in the financing of new projects in the aviation and automotive sectors. The firm is called upon to act as local counsel for international law firms, among them Eversheds Sutherland (France) LLP. Bouchra Belouchi, who acts for investment funds and multinational corporations, and Fatima-Zahra Fassi-Fihri are the key partners.
Bouchra Belouchi; Fatima-Zahra Fassi-Fihri
Fraikech Associés has the expertise in lending and capital markets transactions to advise domestic banks and international investment banks on sophisticated deals. Oussama Fraikech, who has recognised knowledge of banking and finance law, exchange regulation and securities, is the lead partner. He recently assisted foreign finance companies on their dealings with Moroccan counterparts, and is engaged in reviewing loan agreements or promissory notes under Moroccan law.
UGGC Africa has a longstanding reputation for high-quality work in cross-border transactions, especially in the project finance and PPP spaces, though it is also known for advising clients in the banking and finance sector on regulatory matters in Morocco. Ali Bougrine and Laurent Sablé are the main contacts in Casablanca, though Jean-Jacques Uettwiller, who works in both Morocco and Paris, is also a key practitioner.
Other key lawyers:
Laurent Sablé; Jean-Jacques Uettwiller
Centre Monétique Interbancaire (CMI)