Commercial, corporate and M&A in Morocco
Sayarh & Menjra Law Firm
Kamal Nasrollah leads the corporate practice at Baker & McKenzie Maroc, which advises major local and multinational clients on large M&A deals, such as acting for French company Suez on the carve-out of GE Water & Process Technologies, and assisting Laureate Education with the sale of Université Internationale de Casablanca. Associate Keltoum Boudribila is a rising star.
Bennani & Associés LLP combines in-depth local knowledge with extensive experience in cross-border M&A matters, often working in partnership with international firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Bennani acted for Sweden's Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology in the negotiation of a new distribution agreement.
Clifford Chance is highly regarded for its work in high-profile M&A, joint venture and private equity transactions. Leading light Mustapha Mourahib, key partner Franck Coudert and counsel Ouns Lemseffer are all recommended. They advised growth market investor Actis on its acquisition of private engineering school EMSI Group.
Dentons Sayarh & Menjra
Dentons Sayarh & Menjra climbs the ranking this year. It has experienced partners in Patrick Larrivé and Christophe Simmonet, who handle cross-border M&A, private equity deals, leveraged buyouts and corporate restructurings. The Casablanca office also has a specialist China desk. Larrivé acted for Zalar Holding in the sale of $25m in newly issued shares to Mitsui & Co.
DLA Piper is 'strongly committed to clients and its fast-growing, dynamic and young team has a positive entrepreneur-oriented attitude'. Christophe Bachelet (who has 'genuine enthusiasm for building strong relationships'), Mehdi Kettani and rising star associate Camilia Benani are the key contacts. US private equity fund Brookstone Partners is a notable client.
During the last 15 years, Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca has established itself as a key player in the M&A market. It assists local and foreign clients with major M&A transactions in Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa. Simon Auquier and star senior associate Chloé Joachim de Larivière advised Wendel on the $155m sale of its holding in Saham Group.
Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy
Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy has 'the best technical expertise, a deep local network and great credibility'. Hicham Naciri , who advised Saham Group on the $1bn sale of its insurance business, is 'by far the best lawyer in the market', according to one source. 'Very reactive' counsel Soumaya Essadaoui and senior associate Moulay El Amine El Hammoumi Idrissi are recommended.
At Benzakour Law Firm, managing partner Rachid Benzakour assists foreign clients with their investments in Morocco. He advised KT&G and Philip Morris on legal matters in the tobacco industry, and provides ongoing support to Club Med in relation to its leisure sector interests. For Belgian company Orone, he handled the sale of shares.
BFR & Associés is 'a new player in the market but is growing fast and is seen as one of the best independent law firms'. Managing partner Safia Fassi-Fihri, who is chair of the Legal Commission of the Confédération Générale des Entreprise du Maroc, and Romain Rabillard are the key contacts. The firm is exclusive adviser to Airbnb on its activities in Morocco.
Best known for its tax practice, CMS is also involved in large, cross-border M&A transactions. Its work frequently centres on the implementation of large industrial projects and joint ventures. Marc Veuillot and senior associates Matthieu Laval and Rachida Charifi acted for Gestamp Palencia in its joint venture agreement with Tuyauto.
Garrigues Maroc Sarl
The team at Garrigues Maroc Sarl is 'friendly, easy to talk to, easy to reach and very helpful'. Jose Ignacio Garcia Muniozguren leads the practice, which counts principal associate and rising star Jaafar Laidi among its ranks. For hotel group Barceló, the pair handled the acquisition of Moroccan company Société Financière d’Africa Palace Maroc.
Jeantet 'brings vast experience to the table and value to discussions', and climbs the ranking. Partners Philippe Malléa and Mamoune Kettani are 'always available and have strong legal and business experience'. Senior associate Mohamed Ali Khelil Charef is a rising star. The firm advised Aluminium du Maroc on commercial contracts, and 6Temik on setting up a local subsidiary.
Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP climbs the ranking this year having handled significant M&A and corporate governance matters for a growing roster of local and foreign clients. Salima Bakouchi and Kamal Habachi recently acted for Attijari Invest in its MAD13m equity investment in Watec Distribution.
BFF LAW FIRM
Belouchi Fassi Fihri climbs this year's ranking. An Africa-focused firm, it assists domestic clients with outbound investments, as well as international clients accessing the continent through Morocco. Bouchra Belouchi who advised Averda on waste management contracts with Moroccan municipalities, and Fatima-Zahra Fassi-Fihri are the key lawyers.
El Amari & Rouissi joins the ranking thanks to the extensive experience of key partners Mohieddine El Amari and Mariam Rouissi. El Amari acted as local counsel for Groupe Altice in its €50m acquisition of BPO provider Intelcia. He also advised Red Med Finance on the sale of the share capital of business school École Supérieure de Commerce de Marrakech.
At LPA-CGR, 'the lawyers have good understanding of industry requirements; I appreciate their flexibility ', according to one client. Lina Fassi Fihri, finance specialist Alain Gauvin and real estate partner Romain Berthon are the key contacts. Berthon handled numerous corporate matters last year for Louvre Hôtels Group.
Mernissi - FIGES
Highly respected as a projects firm, Mernissi - FIGES is also involved in high-profile M&A transactions and provides ongoing commercial advice to multinational corporations. Lamya El Mernissi assists PepsiCo's local subsidiary with all of its corporate matters. Key partner Mohamed Mernissi is also recommended.