Tourism and real estate in Morocco

DLA Piper

Real estate is one of DLA Piper's core areas of focus in Casablanca. It frequently handles real estate joint ventures, leases, and land and asset acquisitions, particularly in the hotel and leisure sector. The firm has a leading role in the structuring of real estate investment trusts in Morocco, as is evidenced by it recently advising Société Générale Maroc and Yamed Capital on the establishment of Nema Capital. Also notable is that the firm's high-profile work in the tourism sector included assisting Yamed Capital with the negotiation of a hotel management agreement with Hilton. Managing partner Christophe Bachelet is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Bachelet

Key clients

Société d’aménagement de Zenata (Eco city of Zenata)

Yamed Capital

Société Générale Maroc

Decathlon

Aradei Capital

Immorente (CFG Group)

Work highlights

  • Advised Aradei Capital, a leading Moroccan real estate fund, in Public Investment Corporation’s acquisition of a 13% equity stake in its capital, a $50m million investment done on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), a South African retirement fund.
  • Advised Société Générale Maroc and Yamed Capital on the establishment of Nema Capital, a joint management company for real estate investment trusts (Organismes de placement collectif en immobilier or OPCI).
  • Advising Yamed Capital on the negotiation of a hotel management agreement with Hilton in the context of the construction and operation of the first “Canopy by Hilton” hotel in Casablanca.

Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca

At Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca, one of its clients recently noted that 'the team was outstanding, really dedicated and available to help meet its clients' needs'. The firm has the only fully dedicated real estate team on the market, with four full-time real estate lawyers, and it frequently handles high-profile property purchases and construction projects. It is assisting Société Générale Marocaines de Banques with the construction of an office tower for its headquarters. 'Dedicated and very professional' counsel and real estate specialist Loris Marghieri leads the practice. 'Outstanding partnerJean-François Levraud, whose practice is split between the Paris and Casablanca offices, and projects partner Wacef Bentaibi are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Loris Marghieri

Other key lawyers:

Jean-François Levraud; Wacef Bentaibi

Testimonials

‘I worked with a team from Gide Cuatrecasas Casablanca led by Loris Marghieri. The team was outstanding, really dedicated and available to help meet its clients’ needs.’

‘They were able to maintain a high level of communication and personal dedication throughout the deal.’

‘Jean-François Levraud is an outstanding partner, who is able to cut to the core of certain issues and help gain perspective on legal matters. Loris Marghieri is dedicated and very professional.’

Key clients

Casablanca Finance City Authority

Katara Hospitality

Westmont Hospitality

Millennium Challenge Account Morocco-Agency (MCA)

M.H. Alshaya Co

Foncière Chellah – CDG

Abu Dhabi Capital Group (IMKAN)

Foncière Chellah – CDG

Onomo Hotels

Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc (SGTM)

Banque Centrale Populaire du Maroc – BCP

Ajarinvest

Air Liquide Maroc

Melià Hospitality

Pestana

AccorInvest

IFP Training SA

Norma Capital

Louis Vuitton Maroc

Work highlights

  • Assisting Ajarinvest (subsidiary of Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion and CIH Bank) with setting up the first locally registered Moroccan real estate investment trust (OPCI) and obtaining the first OPCI license ever issued by the Moroccan Financial Market Authority (AMMC). This authorisation granted by the AMMC is paving the way for a new investment vehicle that has proven to be very popular in other markets (notably in France).
  • Assisting Société Générale Marocaines de Banques (SGMA) with the construction of an office tower (future headquarters of SGMA) to be erected within Casablanca Finance City area.
  • Assisting the Millennium Challenge Account Morocco with the implementation of a public-private partnership pilot transaction consisting in the development and revitalization of two existing industrial zones and one new industrial zone to be developed and managed in the Casablanca-Settat region.

LPA-CGR

LPA-CGR combines an in-depth understanding of local regulations with experience of international matters. It frequently acts for Moroccan and foreign companies, financial institutions and multilateral development banks, as well as public institutions. The team is notably active in regulatory matters and high-profile real estate transactions, particularly in the tourism and housing sectors. Industrial real estate is another one of its strong suits. Romain Berthon is experienced in land acquisition, leases and project finance transactions. He recently advised the real estate brand of the Yamed Capital Group on joint ownership of the Terre Océane project.

Practice head(s):

Romain Berthon

Key clients

Elsan

MAN Energy Solutions

OPEN GOLF CLUB

Yamed

Work highlights

  • Advised YAMED on the drafting of a horizontal joint ownership by-laws for the project “Terre océane”.
  • Assisting YAMED with the drafting of horizontal joint ownership by-laws for the “Terre océane” project developed by Yamed Promotion, a real estate brand of the Yamed Capital Group which aims to shape the new landscape of real estate in Morocco through the development and promotion of ambitious and unique high-standing and luxury projects.

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy fields a multidisciplinary team of specialists covering the full spectrum of real estate transactions. It is known for its role in real estate development, investments, lettings, financings, fund and corporate transactions relating to residential, office, hotel, urban, industrial and infrastructure developments. Hicham Naciri and Yassir Ghorbal, whose work together spans finance, construction and corporate matters,  lead the practice. Trained architect Lamiae El Abbouti has ten years of experience in managing real estate and infrastructure project development and construction. The firm acts for private, local, international and, institutional investors, as well as the Moroccan government.

Practice head(s):

Hicham Naciri; Yassir Ghorbal

Work highlights

  • Advised Agence d’Urbanisation et de développement d’Anfa (AUDA) on the sale of a portfolio of real estate assets (residential, hotels and office space) for a total amount of more than MAD2bn.
  • Advised Groupe Immohold in relation to the property leasing for a factory located in an offshore area in Tangier.
  • Advised Mubadala Group on the sale of assets and real estate rights relating to a portfolio of villas located in Casablanca.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright handles cross-border investments in the infrastructure, transport and energy sectors in Morocco, as well as advising on major transactions in the commercial and housing property markets. The firm's recent work in the tourism sector included assisting GRIT Real Estate with the acquisition of the Club Med resort in Senegal. Lead partner Alain Malek and corporate and real estate counsel Mathieu Dahan handle real estate and infrastructure projects acquisition and development in Morocco and across North Africa and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Alain Malek

Other key lawyers:

Mathieu Dahan

Key clients

Abdul Latif Jameel

Abengoa

Al-Futtaim

Alliances Développement Immobilier

Assoufid Properties

Bombardier

Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion du Maroc

GRIT Real Estate

ONCF

PSA Peugeot

Work highlights

  • Advised GRIT Real Estate on the acquisition of Club Med resort in Senegal.
  • Advised Assoufid Properties Development on the negotiation of hotel contracts with Marriott International Group.
  • Advised SAPST the company for planning and promoting the touristic station of Taghazout Bay.

ADNA

ADNA is involved in the corporate and finance aspects of major projects, as was evidenced when it acted for China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and China Road and Bridge Construction on the joint venture between BMCE Bank of Africa, TMSA and CCCC for the development and construction of Tanger Tech Free Zone. Corporate and real estate partner Safia Fassi-Fihri and project finance partner Romain Rabillard are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):

Safia Fassi-Fihri; Romain Rabillard

Key clients

CCCC (China Communication Construction Company)

Mixta

Duet (Private Equity)

AfricInvest

Proparco

ING Bank

Google

Vantage Data Centers

Ardian

Sunpack

EBRD

Aramex

Expedia

GKC Partners

Mondi Group

Socotec group

ONDA (National office of Airports)

Mituc

Mindra

Hiliventures

Jumia Group

Saham Group

De Richbourg

Calm Group

Bosch

Bayer

Attijari Finance Corp

Aramex

Africinvest

Global Motors

Abraaj

ENGIE

Nareva

Airbnb

Bayer

Hili Ventures

UPC Renewables

EBRD

Leica Geosystems

Label Vie Group

Ciech Group

Alliances Group

Dahua Technology

SoLocal Group

Ministry of General Affairs and Governance

Société Générale

Africa Capital Partners

ESL / Agence Publics (ESL AP Maroc)

EMID – Al Rashideen Group (the exclusive distributor of Philip Morris in MENA Region)

Mediterrania Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • 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 Argos Wityu (PE Fund) in connection with the acquisition of EJ Barbier SA.
  • Legal assistance to Everis Spain in connection with the acquisition of Teyame Group.

Baker & McKenzie Maroc

Baker & McKenzie Maroc is praised for 'the unparalleled technical skills that the firm puts at the service of its clients'. Also noted is the 'very high quality of the business and personal relationships' of managing partner Kamal Nasrollah, who oversees the firm's corporate, employment and real estate practices. It is increasingly involved in both domestic and cross-border deals, and frequently advises hotel operators on both real estate and contractual matters.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Nasrollah

Testimonials

‘Regarding the multidisciplinary team of Nasrollah law firm, associated with Baker McKenzie, I simply believe that there is no better firm in Morocco, especially in M&A, corporate, commercial and litigation.’

‘The innovations in customer service, availability, reliability, diversity and the quality of client relations meet the highest international standards.’

‘In addition to the unparalleled technical skills that the firm puts at the service of its clients, it is necessary to praise the very high quality of the business and personal relationships established, in particular in the Kingdom of Morocco, by the partner Kamal Nasrollah.’

‘A professional team that quickly responds to client needs.’

‘The team anticipates clients’ needs and prepares the work in advance. It shares good practices internationally and facilitates communication and information transfer between headquarters abroad and the local branch.’

Key clients

Alpha 55

Booking

Grand Circle

Carlson Wagonlit

Alshaya

Laureate Education Inc.

Accor

Work highlights

  • Advising Accor on its activities in Morocco and in particular with real estate issues and hotel management contracts.
  • Advising Alpha 55 on the conclusion of a lease agreement for the implementation of its flagship store in the Anfa Place Mall.
  • Advising Booking on its implementation and activities in Morocco.

Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP

Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP's experience in banking, finance, commercial and capital markets matters puts the firm in a strong position to advise real estate developers on major housing, tourism, business and shopping centre projects. Partners Salima Bakouchi and Kamal Habachi recently advised Eagle Hills, a subsidiary of Dubai-based Emaar Properties, on contracts and financial aspects of its developments in Morocco.

Practice head(s):

Salima Bakouchi; Kamal Habachi

Key clients

Marsa Maroc

Wafa Assurance

Emaar Group

Samsung

AL OMRANE Group

Abengoa Group

Attijariwafa bank

Attijari Factoring

BMCE Bank

Lesieur Cristal

Total Maroc

(Vivo energy “Shell)

ZIZ (Energy Fields)

Wafa IMMA

AXA Assurance

Sanad Assurance

Microsoft Corporation

Alpargatas “Havaianas”

MAGIDEUTZ

Air Arabia

Société Marocaine des Tabacs

British American Tobacco

Wafa Immobilier

ATLAS NORD HYDROCARBURES (“Cepsa”)

Work highlights

  • Assisted Groupe Al Omrane with drafting partnership agreements and internal rules, after several consultations & meeting with the managers of various subsidiaries throughout the Moroccan territory and based on the analysis of the existing contractual documentation.
  • Assistance and legal support for Compagnie Général Immobilière (CGI) with its projects, drafting and negotiating, drafting contracts and all the documentation related to its real estate projects and financial transactions.
  • Advising Emaar Morocco, the subsidiary of a global leading developer based in Dubai, on its housing, tourism, business and shopping-centre projects.

CMS

CMS predominantly handles tax and corporate matters involving the real estate sector, with a particular focus on developments in the energy and telecoms industries. Its work spans high-value leases, real estate investment projects and construction contracts. Corporate and tax partner Marc Veuillot oversees the real estate and construction practice. He also assists clients with their dealings with Moroccan state authorities.

Practice head(s):

Marc Veuillot

Fraikech Associés

Fraikech Associés, which acts for large domestic companies and overseas investors, has a strong profile in the real estate arena and matters connected with the tourism sector. The firm recently handled the acquisition of a large group of villas, providing real estate and corporate advice, as well as assisting one of the buyers (an investment bank) with financing and capital raising issues. Corporate partner Oussama Fraikech and associate Sara Moussaid are the key names.

Practice head(s):

Oussama Fraikech

Other key lawyers:

Sara Moussaid

Garrigues Maroc Sarl

Garrigues Maroc Sarl handles corporate transactions in the real estate and tourism sectors, as well as handling property purchases and leases, real estate due diligence reviews and construction contracts. As the only major Iberian law firm with an on-the-ground presence in Morocco, it frequently acts for Spanish and Portuguese clients, including major hotel operators. Corporate and tax specialist José Ignacio García Muniozguren is the lead partner. Principal associate Jaafar Laidi focuses on commercial, real estate and administrative law matters.

Practice head(s):

José Ignacio García Muniozguren

Other key lawyers:

Jaafar Laidi

Key clients

Barceló

Azinor Group

Oásis Atlântico Hóteis

Hinojosa Packaging Solutions

Amistat

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra

Dentons Sayarh & Menjra is frequently involved in large construction projects, handling invitations to tender, setting up structures for construction works and preparing services, management, construction, architect and lease agreements. It also handles large sale and purchase transactions in the real estate and hospitality sectors. Managing partner Omar sayarh and corporate partner Mehdi Mezgari are the main practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Omar Sayarh

Other key lawyers:

Mehdi Mezgari

El Amari & Rouissi

El Amari & Rouissi's practice is jointly led by Mohieddine El Amari and Mariam Rouissi, who have a wealth of experience handling infrastructure and industrial projects, many of which involve significant real estate transactions. A recent example of Rouissi's work involved her advising Banque Centrale Populaire in the takeover of a real estate development project in the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region. Other work directly involved the tourism sector, including the acquisition by Soprima of a hotel unit and a retail complex.

Practice head(s):

Mohieddine El Amari; Mariam Rouissi

Key clients

Banque Centrale Populaire

Sotravo-AXA Assurances

Soprima S.A.

Fonciere Jade

Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF)

Jet Contractors NOBP Rem (a subsidiary of Banque Centrale Populaire)

Work highlights

  • Advised Banque Centrale Populaire on the drafting and negotiation of the contractual documentation related to the takeover of a realestate development project in the Skhirat-Témara prefecture, in the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region.
  • Advised Sotravo-Axa Assurances on  the acquisition, construction and lease of an industrial plant in Kenitra Morocco (part of the automotive cluster located in the Kénitra Free zone), dedicated to the manufacturing of glass mirrors for the Peugeot production line.
  • Advising Soprima S.A. on the negotiation and drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition by an African group of a number of real estate assets, including a hotel unit and a retail complex (mall).

Kettani Law Firm

Kettani Law Firm is known as a highly capable firm for corporate and finance matters, which gives it a role in both domestic and cross-border investments in the real estate and hospitality sectors. Acting for major international operators and domestic clients, it handles the financing of construction projects in cities and tourist destinations, as well as the negotiation of hotel management contracts and leases. Nadia Kettani is the lead partner.

Practice head(s):

Nadia Kettani

Mernissi - FIGES

Mernissi - FIGES is heavily involved in major project developments, particularly in the energy sector, and handles real estate work as part of its broader projects and public law practice. The practice is led by Mohamed El Mernissi and Lamya El Mernissi, who recently acted for ONEE, Morocco's National Power and Drinking Water Office, on its negotiations with MASEN to reorganise the country's energy sector; this matter will see significant real estate assets being transferred to MASEN.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed El Mernissi; Lamya El Mernissi