Projects and public law in Morocco

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, ‘the practice benefits from strong local knowledge that makes its advice particularly valuable in the context of project documents negotiations and local law due diligence'. The firm excels in project finance transactions, where it acts for international and Moroccan sponsors and lenders on renewable energy projects (both wind and solar). Mustapha Mourahib, who is the local managing partner and co-head of the firm-wide Africa practice, and counsel Ouns Lemseffer, recently advised Enel Green Power and Nareva Holding on the financing of a 300MW wind farm in Boujdour.

Practice head(s):

Mustapha Mourahib

Other key lawyers:

Ouns Lemseffer

Testimonials

‘The practice led by Mustapha Mourahib benefits from a strong local knowledge and anchor that makes kits advice particularly valuable in the context of project documents negotiations and local law due diligence. ’

‘The firm shows accessibility, availability, strong local law expertise, and strong local anchorage and networking.’

Key clients

MUFG Bank

EBRD

BMCE Bank of Africa

Enel Green Power

Nareva Holding

Marsa Maroc

BCP – Banque Centrale Populaire

Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers

CDG – Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion

Masen

Work highlights

  • Advised Enel Green Power and Nareva Holding on the financing of the 300MW wind farm located in Boujdour, in the context of the 850MW Wind Independent Power Project. The 850MW Integrated Wind Energy Project, composed of the five wind farms, is an important component of the national energy strategy, whose objective is to reach 52% of the installed electricity capacity based on renewable energy by 2030.
  • Advised a consortium of banks (JBIC, NEXI, SMBC, MUFG Bank and BMCE Bank of Africa) in connection with the development, financing and operation of a 150MW wind farm in Taza, Morocco developed by EDF Renouvelables and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. In the long run, the Taza wind farm should produce up to 150MW – an important component of the national energy strategy, whose objective is to reach 52% of the installed electricity capacity based on renewable energy by 2030.
  • Advised Enel Green Power on the acquisition of Aferkat SPV, which is developing a 100MW wind farm in Morocco, and on all aspects related to the development and financing of the project in the framework of law 13-09 which allows the production and sale of electricity from renewable sources to private clients.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's projects, energy and infrastructure practice is 'very experienced, and open-minded enough to adapt, even with the most innovative transaction structures'. The group is led by Saad El Mernissi, who frequently acts for both private and public sector clients on strategic infrastructure projects, as well as being a key adviser to banks and international financial institutions. He recently assisted Attijariwafa Bank with the €25m financing of a waste management project in Morocco, and supported the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development in its renewable energy programme.

Practice head(s):

Saad El Mernissi

Testimonials

‘They are very experienced in project finance schemes and they have a good knowledge in both international law and local laws. DLA Piper are also very available and very disposed to help and add value to their clients and the different transactions they are on.’

‘Very experienced, and open-minded enough to adapt even with the most innovative transaction structures. Very available for their clients and very supportive Very patient with transactions when there are major delays.’

Key clients

Zalar Holding

Attijariwafa Bank

EBRD

The Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines & Sustainable Development

Work highlights

  • Advising Zalar Holding, a leading Moroccan company in the poultry sector, in connection with the financing of the expansion of its grain storage facilities by a loan granted by the European Investment Bank for an amount of €25m.
  • Advising Attijariwafa Bank in connection with the financing of a waste management project in Morocco for a total value of €25m.
  • Advising the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development with the reform of law No. 13-09 pertaining to renewable energy.

Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca

Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca, which is 'very respected in the market', was one of the first international law firms to open an office in Casablanca. It has built a strong presence in major infrastructure projects, acting on behalf of private operators, public entities and financial institutions. Wacef Bentaibi leads a team of local and internationally trained lawyers, and works with the firm's global projects group to advise international sponsors on concessions, BOT and PPP-related matters in the transport, water and power sectors. Senior associate Frédéric Pia is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Wacef Bentaibi

Other key lawyers:

Frédéric Pia

Testimonials

‘The firm is very respected in the market, it seems.’

Key clients

Naval Group

Millennium Challenge Account Morocco

Conoco Philips

Nareva Holding

Green Yellow Energie

Helios Towers

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen)

SDX Energy

EDF

Bouygues UK

Total Maroc

Averda

Voltalia

Work highlights

  • Assisting Nareva Holding and Green Yellow Energie in relation to the Tender tender for the construction of four solar power plants with a combined capacity of 50MW launched by the Millennium Challenge Account-Bénin II (MCA-Benin II) program, an initiative supported by the US government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to foster economic growth in Benin.
  • Assisting IFC in the audit phase, structuring, drafting and negotiation of a loan to the Region of Fès Meknès. The firm provided in-depth analysis of public law related matters, including in relation to the status, budgetary process and prerogatives of Moroccan regions together with the audit of the underlying projects.
  • Assisting PwC and Masen with the setting-up of a new institutional framework for household waste management. The firm handled in-depth analysis of public law related matters, including in relation to the identification of the territorial collectivities competencies for household waste management, contractual mechanisms available to organise household waste management and assessment of the opportunity to set up a new public entity at the national level.

Mernissi - FIGES

Mernissi - FIGES has significant involvement in projects and public law matters. It advises private sector companies on their involvement in public projects, most notably in the energy, water and transportation sectors. The firm has played a central role in the financing of the most significant infrastructure deals in Morocco, particularly large PPP projects. Mohamed El Mernissi and Lamya El Mernissi are the lead partners.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed El Mernissi; Lamya El Mernissi

Work highlights

  • Advising BMCE Bank of Africa in connection with the world’s largest seawater desalinisation plant under construction in the Agadir area (Chtouka) for drinking water and irrigation.
  • Advising the Moroccan state-owned utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) on various public tenders, in particular with General Electric (Alstom) and Vinci Group.
  • Advising Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), Crédit Agricole CIB, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd, BNP Paribas, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Islamic Development Bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JIBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance on the financing of the Safi coal-fired power plant, the largest in Morocco with a capacity of 1,386MW.

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy has long been involved in the most innovative and complex projects in Morocco, particularly those involving multilateral and export credit financing. As part of the firm's global projects, energy and infrastructure group, the team in Casablanca frequently acts for sponsors, governments, construction companies and lenders on project development and financing transactions. Managing partner Hicham Naciri has extensive experience of project finance and regulatory matters. Finance partner Antoine Haddad and projects specialist Yassir Ghorbal are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Hicham Naciri; Antoine Haddad; Yassir Ghorbal

Work highlights

  • Advising Oragroup and Banque Ouest-Africaine de Développement (BOAD) as co-arrangers mandated by Eranove and the lenders (including BOAD, AFC and commercial banks) on structuring, arranging and syndicating financing in Euro and CFA Francs for the construction, operation and maintenance of a project for a tri-fuel thermal plant.
  • Advising EDF Renouvelables and Mitsui on the financing of the development, construction, operation and maintenance of the Taza Wind Farm in Morocco.
  • Advising Masdar, EDF Renouvelables and Green of Africa Development on their successful bid to develop, finance, construct and operate and maintain the 150MW-190MW Noor Midelt hybrid PV and CSP solar power project in Morocco.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has a 15-year track record in advising corporates, financial institutions and state entities on energy, infrastructure, transport, telecoms and construction projects. Well versed in the intricacies of corporate law and project finance, the local practice led by corporate partner Alain Malek works closely with lawyers in the firm's global network to handle flagship projects, including its recent work for the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy on Noor Midelt solar energy development, and its advice to transport company Bombardier on public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Alain Malek

Key clients

Abengoa

AFD

Akwa group

Attijariwafa bank

Bombardier

Caisse de Dépot et de Gestion du Maroc

Engie

Inframed/InfraMaroc

Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy

PSA Peugeot

Work highlights

  • Advised Bombardier in the context of a public procurement bid in Morocco.
  • Advised Masen on the project financing of solar programme Noor Midelt for an aggregate capacity of 800MW.
  • Acting as lenders’ legal counsel in connection with the project financing of container terminal 3 at Tanger Med Port II.

ASAFO & CO. MOROCCO Sarl

ASAFO & CO. MOROCCO Sarl was launched in 2019 by a group of partners who previously worked in the Casablanca offices of prominent international law firms. The firm's work in the transport sector includes advising Casa Transport on the development of Morocco's tramway and BRT network. Elsewhere, it is involved in renewable energy projects, and its infrastructure work encompasses road, airport and automotive projects. Practice head Louis Dubois specialises in administrative and public law, public contracts and private finance initiative (PFI) matters.

Practice head(s):

Louis Dubois

Key clients

Agadir Mobilité SA

Casa Transports

Agence d’urbanisation et de développement d’Anfa

Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports (MDJS)

Société du Tramway de Rabat Salé

Société Nationale des Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM)

Work highlights

  • Advised Casa Transports on the entire project to implement the new bus transport network in the Casablanca agglomeration, which included structuring and implementation of the institutional scheme for the project; and drafting and procuring of the contract for the acquisition of rolling stock (350 buses).
  • Advised Société du Tramway de Rabat Salé on the drafting, procurement and negotiation of the new operating and maintenance contract of the tramway network of Rabat, which included structuring and implementation of the institutional scheme for the project; and drafting, procuring and negotiation of the contract for operating and maintaining the tramway network.
  • Advising Société Nationale des Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) on the procurement of a facility management contract for all the Moroccan motorway network in Morocco.

Kettani Law Firm

Kettani Law Firm is best known for its project finance work, which sees it frequently acting for lenders and sponsors on major infrastructure projects. Much of its work is in the renewable energy sector, but it is also involved in conventional energy projects involving coal, oil and gas. The practice, which is led by Nadia Kettani, is also a key adviser to export credit agencies, lenders and bidders on the development of industrial plants.

Practice head(s):

Nadia Kettani

Mokhtari Avocats

Mokhtari Avocats has seen its work for international financial institutions (notably EBRD) grow considerably since the firm was founded in 2018. Ghalia Mokhtari is a recognised expert in project finance and her work spans many diverse sectors, including solar, water, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. She recently advised EBRD on a loan to Tuyauto Gestamp S.A to finance the construction of a new facility in the Atlantic Free Zone in Kenitra.

Practice head(s):

Ghalia Mokhtari

Afrique Advisors

Afrique Advisors focuses predominantly on business law, tax and institutional relations, but has also built up notable expertise in public law. The practice, which is led by Laila Slassi, recently advised a local development company, Casa Transport, on a call for tenders as part of its role in the sustainable development programme for Casablanca.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi

Key clients

Casa Transport SA

Ministry of Trade

Work highlights

  • Assisted CASA TRANSPORT SA, a local development company (SDL) in charge of “sustainable and solidarity development” in the city of Casablanca, with various legal matters including a call for tenders.
  • Assisting the Ministry of Industry and Trade with legal advice in the context of commercial defence investigation proceedings.

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra, which offers a blend of local and international expertise, has a strong track record in major infrastructure projects. It also frequently advises on public law matters. Local partner Omar Sayarh, who focuses on industrial projects and real estate development, is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Omar Sayarh

El Amari & Rouissi

El Amari & Rouissi excels in assisting Moroccan and international clients with the implementation of infrastructure and industrial projects. Its recent work included advising Derichebourg Environnement on structures to manage municipal lighting infrastructure. The lead partners are Mariam Rouissi, who has in-depth expertise in project finance and capital markets, and Mohieddine El Amari, who handles both corporate and finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Mariam Rouissi; Mohieddine El Amari

Key clients

ARMA Holding

Association Maroc Cultures

Derichebourg Environnement

CDG Capital

Derichebourg Maroc

Work highlights

  • Assistance to ArmaHolding, a leading company in the collection of household waste in Morocco, with the context of contesting the attribution of a public contract of delegated management.
  • Advise Association Maroc Culture on the Mawazine Festival, including the drafting and negotiation of artists’ contracts.
  • Acting as legal adviser to Derichebourg Environnement on the structuring of a partnership with Agadir local authorities to managed municipal lighting infrastructure.

FIDAL

French law firm FIDAL has made a name for itself since opening an office in Casablanca in 2018. The main contact is senior associate Julie Claude, who is a co-head of the firm's Africa group, and relocated there from Paris to focus on public business law and public procurement contracts. She increasingly advises public entities, private operators, financial investors and banks on PPP projects. Recent work included supporting Moroccan rail authority ONCF with the development of the high-speed rail link between Tangiers and Casablanca.

Practice head(s):

Julie Claude

Testimonials

‘The teams are composed of professionals that are both in Europe and in situ in Africa, knowing extremely well the local context and having great networks. This delivers unique advices hand crafted for Africa and allows for local support.’

‘They are reactive, humble and they accept being challenged. When they don’t know, they say it and they seek external support. Also, they won’t go by the easy answer and will look for real solutions and not just a copy and paste of another opinion, as in too many cases in Africa.’

Key clients

Office National des Chemins de Fer (Moroccan Railway National Agency)

Republic of Côte d’Ivoire represented by the Ministry in charge of Transportation

Win Win Afrique and Ivoire Agora S.A (SPV)

Technip

Chambre de Commerce of Djibouti

Expertise France on behalf of European Union

Work highlights

  • Legal assistance to ONCF (Moroccan National Railway Agency) in connection with the design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance of Al-Boraq, the Moroccan high-speed railway line which connects Tangiers and Casablanca. This is the very first high-speed train in Africa.
  • Advising Republic of Côte d’Ivoire represented by the Ministry in charge of Transportation on the most ambitious mass transit project in sub-Saharan Africa, the Abidjan metro, which will equip the Ivorian capital with a world-class public transport system when completed.
  • Legal assistance to WinWin Afrique and Ivoire Agora SA with the construction of neighbourhood sporting facilities infrastructures serving the education, health and local economic development of the Ivorian Ministry of Sport, as well as its duplication framed by the sovereign loan by the French Treasury.