Tourism and real estate in Morocco

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has developed a strong real estate practice since opening its Casablanca office in 2016. Christophe Bachelet leads a group that handles large transactions in the retail, tourism, hotel and leisure sectors. It is closely involved in the flagship development of Zenata Eco-City.  Its recent work encompasses town planning reform and the modernisation of the legislative framework for OPCI - the Moroccan equivalent of a REIT.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Bachelet

Key clients

Yamed Capital

Société d’Aménagement Zenata (CDG Group)

CDG Capital

Mondelēz International

Immorente (CFG Bank)

Mfadel Group

Aradei Capital

Bin Otaiba Hotels

Eagle Hills

Décathlon Maroc

Generali

IFC

Work highlights

  • Advising Yamed Construction on the negotiation of a general contractor agreement for the construction of a real estate complex in the centre of Casablanca.
  • Assisting Yamed Capital with the drafting of several of its construction agreements.
  • Advising a major state developer in Morocco, Société d’Aménagement Zenata – CDG Group, on the disposal of plots of land between 3,000 and 20,000 sq. m to land developers to be used for the construction of a residential real estate complex which is part of the Zenata Eco-City (the first eco-city in Africa).

Fraikech Associés

Fraikech Associés' 'practice is unique for its availability and engagement'. It acts for Moroccan and multinational companies on all aspects of their corporate activity and real estate developments. Oussama Fraikech, who 'always delivers', leads a practice that counts GFI Informatique, Soprima Immobilier and Capital Gestion among its clients.

Practice head(s):

Oussama Fraikech

Testimonials

The main individual we work with is Oussama Fraikech, who always answers and always delivers.

This practice is unique for its availability and engagement. And always wise in its advice.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sadem, the state-owned company that produces phosphates, on the development of a new city of 1,300ha in Morocco.
  • Advised a UAE-based group on a key tourism project in Marrakech, which included the drafting and negotiation of all commercial contracts required for the project.
  • Acted for Capital Gestion, an investment bank and various funds, on multiple corporate transactions, including the drafting of shareholders’ agreements, in areas including property development.

Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca

Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca has the only fully dedicated real estate team in the market, with four full-time real estate lawyers, who provide 'advice tailored to the particular needs of the company'. Counsel Loris Marghieri leads the practice, which handles every stage of construction projects. The group also advises on the sale and acquisition of large-scale real estate projects, particularly off-plan developments, and also assists with the negotiation of lease agreements. Former practice head Jean-François Levraud and projects partner Wacef Bentaibi are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Loris Marghieri

Testimonials

The team is quick to reply. It shows a willingness and ability to understand the client’s business.

Wacef Bentaibi is very responsive, and reasonable when agreeing on fee structures.

Counsel Loris Marghieri, who did most of the work for us, was especially responsive, always available, very quick and proactive, with excellent English and French.

They offer advice tailored to the particular needs of the company and are receptive to client input in changing the way they work to suit the client’s needs.

Consultant Youssef Benamar is informative and endeavours to explain the concepts associated with cross-border matters with simplicity. They are receptive to taking on board client comments in proposals and working with us to achieve the best outcome.

Key clients

Banque Centrale Populaire du Maroc – BCP

Challenge Account-Morocco Agency

China Communications Construction Ltd,

Immorente Invest

Ajarinvest

Onomo Hotels

M.H. Alshaya Co

Foncière Chellah – CDG

MedZ Sourcing

Abu Dhabi Capital Group

Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc (SGTM)

Casablanca Finance City Authority

Work highlights

  • Assisting Tekcim, the project company of group SGTM (Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc), on an investment programme exceeding MAD2.6bn for the construction of a cement plant in Oulad Ghanem.
  • Assisting BCP with a construction project concerning a 26-floor office tower (the client’s future headquarters of the BCP) to be built within the Casablanca Finance City area.
  • Advising Immorente Invest on a sale-and-leaseback transaction regarding a property asset (logistics offices and buildings) owned and managed by Engie Contracting Al Maghrib, covering around 56,000 sq.m. and located in the Bouskoura municipality near Casablanca.

LPA-CGR

LPA-CGR advises Moroccan and foreign companies, institutions and multilateral development banks on real estate matters, and is also a key adviser to public institutions on project development and regulatory matters. Lead partner Romain Berthon has more than eleven years of experience in real estate in Morocco and leads a practice with specialist associates who focus on real estate and tourism.

Practice head(s):

Romain Berthon

Key clients

Elsan

MAN Energy Solutions

Louvre Hôtels

Bouygues Immobilier

CBRE

Open Golf Club

Work highlights

  • Assisting MAN Energy Solutions, the world’s leading provider of large-bore diesel engines and turbomachinery for marine and stationary applications, with its operations in Morocco.
  • Advising Louvre Hôtels Group on various matters in Morocco, including hotel management agreements and corporate matters.

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy fields a multidisciplinary team of specialists who cover the full spectrum of real estate transactions. The group includes practice head Hicham Naciri and counsel and professional architect Lamiae El Abbouti, who handles real estate and infrastructure project development and construction. Areas of expertise for the team include large residential, office, hotel, industrial developments and infrastructure real estate projects for private, local, international and institutional investors, as well as the Moroccan government.

Practice head(s):

Hicham Naciri

Work highlights

  • Advised an urban development agency on the sale of a portfolio of real estate assets for property development, more specifically housing accommodation, office facilities and mixed-use property developments.
  • Assisted shareholders of O Tower with the development of a MAD4bn tower in Rabat.

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright, corporate partner Alain Malek leads a practice that frequently handles large real estate transactions, including some of the benchmark deals in Morocco. Counsel Mathieu Dahan is a specialist in real estate and infrastructure projects  in Morocco, North Africa, the Middle East and France. Clients include PSA Peugeot, Attijariwafa bank and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy.

Practice head(s):

Alain Malek

Key clients

Abdul Latif Jameel

Abengoa

Aksal Group

Al-Futtaim

Alliances développement Immobilier

Assoufid Properties

Attijariwafa bank

Bombardier

Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion du Maroc

GRIT Real Estate

InfraMed/InfraMaroc

Label’Vie

Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy

PSA Peugeot

Work highlights

  • Advised Assoufid Properties Development S.A., a housing promotion group based in Morocco, on the negotiation of hotel contracts with Marriott Group for the creation of the St Regis Marrakesh Resort.
  • Advised Grit Real Estate, which owns properties across Africa, on the acquisition of hotel at a Senegalese Club Med resort.
  • Assisting Aksal Group, the mall and retail leader in Morocco, with the construction of two malls, each called the “Morocco Mall”, one located in Rabat, the other in Marrakesh.

Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP

Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP advises leading companies in the real estate industry on the implementation of tourism and real estate projects, with a particular focus on financings, acquisitions and disposals. It routinely handles investment agreements with the state authorities, the establishment of partnerships and contracts pertaining to delegated project management. Kamal Habachi and Salima Bakouchi are the lead partners.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Habachi; Salima Bakouchi

Key clients

Compagnie Générale Immobilière – CGI

Emaar Group

Upline Group

Al Omrane Group

Abengoa Group

Attijariwafa bank

Attijari Factoring

BMCE Bank

Umnia Bank

Total Maroc

Vivo energy “Shell”

ZIZ (Energy Fields)

WAFA Imma

AXA Assurance

SANAD Assurance

Work highlights

  • Assisted Al Omrane Group, a strategic public enterprise incorporated by the state to create a developer-operator for the implementation of a state policy on housing and urban development, to set up a public-private partnership.
  • Assisting CGI, a Moroccan subsidiary of real-estate development company CDG, with a real estate and tourism project.
  • Advising Emaar Group and Amelkis on real estate and tourism projects, including the Marrakesh Amelkis project and Tangier project.

CMS

CMS handles the acquisition and sale of industrial and/or commercial land and buildings, construction projects, leases, co-ownership of tourist and residential complexes, real estate finance and environmental matters. Marc Veuillot oversees a practice that includes 'very dedicated' senior associate Maïlys Thomas, who advises foreign and Moroccan companies, owners and tenants.

Practice head(s):

Marc Veuillot

Key clients

Yazaki Morocco

Barid Al Maghrib

Ambassade de France

Aptiv

Matiere

NSK

Pestana

Work highlights

  • Assisted Yazaki Morocco with negotiating and drafting finance and construction contracts to realise an industrial plant in the Atlantic Free Zone of Kenitra.
  • Advising Barid Al Maghrib on a project to create a Tier 4 data centre.
  • Acted for Ambassade de France on negotiating, drafting, renewing and terminating all lease agreements in Morocco.

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra, which recently merged local operations between Dentons and Sayarh & Menjra Law Firm, has a solid reputation in tourism and real estate for assisting local and international clients with large construction projects. Local managing partner Omar Sayarh leads on corporate, real estate and finance matters. He advises on invitations to tender, setting up structures for construction works and preparing services, management, construction, architect and lease agreements.

Practice head(s):

Omar Sayarh; Christophe Simonnet

Key clients

Hilton Worldwide

Faurecia

Trelleborg

Tesca Group

Foncière Emergence

Pragma Group

Groupe Sadiki

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Belhassa Group

MADAËF

New Marina Casablanca

Société Développement des Hôtels du Nord B

Société de Développement de Resorts à Mdi’q

SDRT Immo

Société Hôtelière de Nador

Med Resort

Work highlights

  • Assisting with the sale of three hotels for a total value of €75m.
  • Assisting Zenata Development company with a feasibility study and analysis of the legislative and regulatory framework for the design and development of a smart city in the Zenata area.
  • Advising the subsidiary of a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund on the sale of six hotels for a total value of €130m.

Garrigues Maroc Sarl

Garrigues Maroc Sarl has a broad real estate practice that handles purchases and leases of property, real estate due diligence reviews, construction contracts and agreements with constructors’ suppliers. The only major Iberian law firm with an on-the-ground presence in Morocco, it frequently acts for Spanish and Portuguese clients, including Barceló and Oásis Atlântico Hóteis. Jose Ignacio Garcia Muniozguren is the lead partner.

Practice head(s):

José Ignacio García Muniozguren

Key clients

Barceló

Azinor Group

Tasaciones Inmobiliarias

CBRE

Oásis Atlântico Hóteis

Work highlights

  • Advised Barceló on the €22m acquisition of Moroccan company Société Financière d’Africa Palace Maroc, S.A.
  • Acted for Barceló on its €16.5m acquisition of Société Palmeraie Maroc-Emirats, S.A.
  • Acted for Barceló on its €3.4m acquisition of Moroccan company Wahate Aguedal, S.A.

Kettani Law Firm

Kettani Law Firm frequently assists major international operators and large domestic clients with the structuring and implementation of investments in the real estate and hospitality sectors. Its work encompasses the financing of construction projects in major cities and tourist areas, as well as the negotiation of hotel management contracts and hotel leases. Nadia Kettani is the key name.

Practice head(s):

Nadia Kettani

Mernissi - FIGES

Mernissi - FIGES handles a considerable amount of real estate work as part of its market-leading projects practice. Focused on energy and infrastructure project finance and development, the practice, which is led by Mohamed El Mernissi and Lamya El Mernissi, handles major projects with real estate elements, including many that form part of the reorganisation of Morocco's energy sector, which involve assistance with renewable energy infrastructure.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed El Mernissi; Lamya El Mernissi

El Amari & Rouissi

El Amari & Rouissi has a track record of involvement in significant real estate projects including the Port de Casablanca train station project, on which it advised national rail operator ONCF. It also handles the development of projects in the tourism sector including vacation villages and leisure parks, including the Sindibad project for Somed, which included residential units and hotels. Mohieddine El Amari and Mariam Rouissi are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Mohieddine El Amari; Mariam Rouissi

Key clients

Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF)

Sotravo

Jet Contractors

BP Real Estate Management

Work highlights

  • Advising on the structuring and commercialisation of real estate projects for Office National des Chemins de Fer.
  • Assisting with the drafting and negotiation of a land lease contract for Jet Contractors relating to a hotel project to be constructed by the lessor on the leased land.

UGGC & Associés

At UGGC & Associés, corporate lawyer in Ali Bougrine handles complex real estate matters. He recently advised a major international telecoms company on its activities in Morocco, which involves extensive real estate work.

Practice head(s):

Ali Bougrine