Banking and finance in Oman

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard specialises in the financing and refinancing of high-value projects in Oman, which utilise both conventional and Islamic financing. The team is led by Roger Byrne, who is praised by a client as 'arguably the best finance/banking lawyer in Oman'. Associate James Shaw is the other key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Roger Byrne

Other key lawyers:

James Shaw

Testimonials

‘We work and have worked with them very closely in Oman where are definitely one of top tier firms in this area. Combine very good knowledge of Omani law with excellent knowledge of Omani market. ’

‘Highly recommend Roger Byrne as partner that both leads their team, and does a substantial amount of work on matters on which work with them. He combines very good knowledge of Omani law together with excellent knowledge of Omani market that facilitates delivery of excellent service.’

‘Roger Byrne is arguably the best finance/banking lawyer in Oman. He and his team have advised on 3 separate loans made by Z-Corp group companies to a UK listed entity; and on Project Tango (a $50m acquisition financing). ’

‘Roger Byrne is highly recommended. He is assisted by Andrew Johnson and James Shaw.’

Key clients

Bank Muscat SAOG

Sohar International Bank SAOG

National Bank of Oman SAOG

HSBC Bank Oman SAOG

Oman Telecommunications Company SAOG

Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG

BankDhofar SAOG

Bank Nizwa SAOG

Ahli Bank SAOG

Standard Chartered Bank

Mizho Bank, Limited

The Commercial Bank (PQSC)

The Zubair Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for BankDhofar SAOG on the project financing for the Oman Tank Terminal Company facility for $300m and associated security package for the oil and gas tank storage facility at Duqm adjacent to the refinery plant owned by Oman Oil Company.
  • Acting for Bank Muscat SAOG as Mandated Lead Arranger to the syndicate on the bridge facility financing for Oman Electricity Transmission Company SAOC.
  • Acting for Sohar International Bank SAOG on the conventional and Islamic project financing for the Sanvira Carbon plant facility and associated security package for the petroleum coke calcining facility was laid at the company’s site in Oman’s Sohar Free Zone.

Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co

Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co is 'known for its quality, not just in Oman, but also in the GCC'. It advises on a wide range of banking and financing matters for Omani and international clients. The firm's asset finance practice includes working for both lenders and borrowers, and in addition, the firm acts for clients in areas such as project finance and trade finance. The team is jointly led by Mansoor Jamal Malik and Marcus Pery. Associate Robert Calleja has a specialism in aviation finance. Asad Qayyum left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Mansoor Jamal Malik; Marcus Pery

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Coddington; Robert Calleja

Testimonials

‘The law firm is known for its quality, not just in Oman, but also in the GCC. Experienced in many sectors of law, the firm is unique for its prompt advise and experience in many aspects of Banking and Finance.’

‘Mansoor Malik and Marcus Pery are very knowledgeable with the highest profile in the market.’

‘The strong and efficient team that manages the cases referred to their firm makes them different from the other firms. ‘

‘AMJ is my first choice in Oman for banking and finance matters. We advise on the largest project finance and debt finance matters in Oman. We go to AMJ for high quality technical advice which often involves extensive liaison with local regulatory authorities. AMJ “gets it” and it shows in the practical nature of the advice and responsiveness.’

‘Robert Calleja is very professional, attentive, responsive, and solution-oriented.’

‘The qualities valued in them are their wide expertise, their multi-linguist lawyers and their clear value added assistance provided to us in many aspects of banking and finance.’

‘Robert Calleja is very communicative, paid attention to details and always available for a call/clarifications. He was keen to understand the financial aspects of the financing transaction which was interesting.’

‘I would consider them to be the preeminent law firm in Oman. They are generally on all the major financing deals that we work on. Their lawyers are knowledgeable and personable.’

Key clients

Al Bashayer Meat Company SAOC

Ad-Dhahirah Generating Company SAOC

Alizz Islamic Bank S.A.O.G.

Arab Banking Corporation B.S.C.

Arab Bank Plc

Bank Muscat SAOG

Bank Dhofar SAOG

Eagle Hills Properties LLC

Emirates NBD PJSC

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

Government of Oman – Ministry of Finance

Habib Bank Limited

HSBC Bank

Meethaq Islamic Banking – Bank Muscat SAOG

Moon Iron & Steel Co SAOC

National Bank of Oman SAOG

Octal SAOC FZC

Oman Arab Bank SAOC

Oman Shipping Company SAOC

Sohar International Bank SAOG

Saraya Bander Jissah SAOC (Muscat Bay)

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising the Government of Oman (as obligor), Oman Sovereign Sukuk S.A.O.C. (as issuer) and each of bank muscat S.A.O.G. (including Meethaq Islamic Banking), Alizz Islamic Bank S.A.O.G. and Bank Nizwa S.A.O.G. (together the Issue Managers and Joint Lead Managers) on the establishment of the first-ever local Omani Rial sukuk issuance programme by the Government of Oman and the issuance and listing on the Muscat Securities Market of R.O. 300,000,000 (approximately USD 790,000,000) sukuk.
  • Advising Oman Arab Bank SAOC in connection with an OMR 34,000,000 facility to Al-Asalah Hotels & Resorts Management Company SAOC (the W Hotel, Muscat).
  • Acted as sole legal counsel to Bank Muscat S.A.O.G (Meethaq Islamic Banking) on the preparation and drafting of the financing and security documents relating to the offering of a diminishing musharakah-structured financing valued at OMR 32,636,000 by the client to Osool Poultry S.A.O.C for the purpose of setting-up a large-scale broiler breeder project at Haima Al Ghaftain.

Dentons

Dentons' practice spans a wide ambit of matters, including capital markets transactions, project finance and acquisition finance transactions, and advisory work on regulatory changes. The team also advises on transactions compliant with shari'ah banking principles. The practice is led by Sadaf Buchanan, who has almost 20 years of experience in this sector. Counsel Justine Harding is another key contact, and has more than ten years of experience working in Oman, in addition to undertaking in-house roles at financial institutions in the UK and New Zealand.

Practice head(s):

Sadaf Buchanan

Other key lawyers:

Justine Harding

Testimonials

‘Very responsive, prompt and knowledgeable service. Head and shoulders above its peer firms in the region.’

‘Sadaf Buchanan and her team including Justine Harding are stand-out individuals. I value their local knowledge and high standards of client care.’

‘Dentons demonstrated extensive knowledge in banking and finance sector.’

‘Sadaf Buchanan is very responsive and co-operative. What distinguished her is that she has a pro-active approach in providing legal advice. This enlightens clients about different issues that may not have been thought of before.’

‘They have a good understanding of our business and strategy; display patience and ask the right questions to co-create and develop meaningful legal and holistic solutions; are able to successfully pull in experts from other part of the firm to provide perspective and options (i.e., Islamic Financing, Securitization options); are well connected in market developments and are always happy to share where relevant; and are overall humble, supportive and truly feel like part of our extended team. ‘

‘Sadaf Buchanan really stands out for the PDO team. She is naturally collaborative and brings in good perspective and alternatives to enable us to come up with win-win solutons. She also has my trust that, as a client, our interests will always been managed first. She has a great network, not just at Dentons but with the financial institutions as well and has really helped us connect with the right people in Oman and the Region to support our financing initiatives.’

Key clients

Bank Dhofar SAOG

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

National Bank of Oman SAOG (NBO)

OQ Gas Networks SAOC (formerly Oman Gas Company SAOC) (OGC)

International Company for Water And Power Projects (ACWA Power)

International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA)

Work highlights

  • Advising ACWA Power on all Oman law matters related to the bid and project agreements for the Ibri II photovoltaic (PV) solar independent power project (IPP), together with the finance documents for both the primary and EBL financing, including drafting the local law security documents.
  • Issued an informal country update to the members of ISDA addressing specific questions in relation to the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement (Multicurrency-Cross Border) and the 2002 ISDA Master Agreements from an Oman law perspective and highlighting the issues around netting under Oman law .
  • Advising National Bank of Oman SAOG on a potential $300 million perpetual tier 1 capital securities issuance.

Al Alawi & Co. Advocates & Legal Consultants

Al Alawi & Co. Advocates & Legal Consultants is noted by clients for its strength in Islamic banking. Its work in this area includes handling shari'ah-compliant financing transactions, as well as advising financial institutions on the development of Islamic banking products. The key figure to note is Riza Ismail, who is praised by clients as 'exceptional' and 'absolutely great'. Ismail leads the banking and finance team, which sits within the broader corporate group led by Sahil Taneja.

Practice head(s):

Riza Ismail; Sahil Taneja

Testimonials

‘They have a strong Islamic finance practice, with an Islamic finance specialist based out of Oman, which is a huge positive since most such other specialists are based out of UAE or other Middle East countries, and it can be difficult to interact face to face with them.’

‘We have been dealing with Ms. Riza Ismail for a long time in relation to Islamic finance, and her work and promptness are exceptional. ’

‘I have closely worked with Al Alawi team for Islamic Banking documentation and I observed that the team is well equipped with the Islamic Banking products’ structures, underlying Shari’ah principles and relevant rules and regulations. Specific mention is Riza at Al Alwai whose work is absolutely great and supporting as in the Oman local market finding a firm having expertise in Islamic finance legal documentation is difficult. ’

‘I think Al Alawi expert team in Islamic finance legal documentation makes Al Alawi unique in the market. ’

‘Good understanding among team members, coordination and support is good among the team members’

‘Prompt and responsive quick advice and strong follow-up.’

Key clients

Alizz Islamic Bank S.A.O.G.

Ahli Islamic, Ahli Bank S.A.O.G

Ahli Bank S.A.O.G

Qatar National Bank Q.P.S.C, Oman Branch

Oman Arab Bank S.A.O.C

Al Yusr Islamic Banking Unit, Oman Arab Bank S.A.O.C

Salalah Free Zone Company S.A.O.C

Blue Star Limited

Majan Glass Company S.A.O.G

Qatar National Bank Q.P.S.C, Singapore Branch

Work highlights

  • Advised the financier, Alizz Islamic Bank, on financing of the development and construction of a commercial shrimp farm in Al Qurun by Natural Shrimp Aquaculture L.L.C.
  • Advised in the restructuring of Islamic finance documents (corporate and retail) for Ahli Islamic, Ahli Bank.
  • Acted for Qatar National Bank Q.P.S.C, Singapore branch, as the financier, on credit facilities granted to Hilong Holding Limited and Hilong Oil Service & Engineering Co. Ltd, Oman branch.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP's banking and finance practice excels in advising corporate clients on cross-border trade finance and project finance transactions. Elsewhere, the team assists institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, with their investments into funds. In a notable development, Leopold Zentner retired from private practice and was succeeded by Mehdi Al Lawati (who made partner in November 2019) as the head of the department.

Practice head(s):

Mehdi Al-Lawati

Key clients

Ahli Bank

Oman Arab Bank

Bank Nizwa

Al Izz Islamic Bank

National Bank of Oman

Bank Muscat

Bank Dhofar

Taageer Finance Company

Oman Broadband Company

Oman Technology Fund

Oman Investment Authority

Oman Chlorine SAOG and Oman Industrial Development Company SAOC

Credit Agricole Indosuez SA

Work highlights

  • Advising Oman Investment Authority, an Omani sovereign wealth fund, on its investment activities, including its participation as an investor in private equity funds.
  • Advising Oman Technology Fund, an Omani state sponsored technology fund, and its subsidiaries on their ongoing governance matters and respective investment activities. This includes the structuring and offering of interests in the fund, negotiating the terms of JV agreements with certain strategic partners, and advising on the terms of the fund’s and subsidiaries’ investments in certain private equity deals and private equity/venture capital funds.
  • Acted for Oman Broadband and the sponsor Oman Investment Fund on a US$230,000,000 project development and project financing of nationwide telecommunications and fibre optic infrastructure for use by licensed telecom providers. This comprised advising Oman Broadband on all project and financing related legal issues, and working together with the advisors of Oman Broadband. Also advised on existing project documents, new project documents and due diligence of the project, with the view of a proposed long-term project financing by AIIB.

Said Al-Shahry & Partners (SASLO)

Said Al-Shahry & Partners (SASLO)'s banking and finance team is experienced in advising financial institutions on capital markets transactions and assisting with the financing of acquisitions and developments. Many of the firm's transactions comply with shari'ah principles. The key figures in the practice include practice head Thamer Al Shahry and Graham Mouat. Also recommended is special counsel Jeremy Pooley, who joined the team from White & Black Limited in September 2019.

Practice head(s):

Thamer Al Shahry

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Pooley; Graham Mouat

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Ahli Bank SAOG

Ahli United Bank B.S.C.

Al Hilal Mena Fund

Alizz Islamic Bank

Baader Bank AG

Bank Muscat SAOG

Barka Desalination Company SAOC

Barwa Bank

Capital Market Authority

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

GIB International Bank (UK) Limited

HSBC Bank Oman SAOC

LaSalle Investment Management

Lone Star Fund

Muscat Finance SAOG

OCBC Bank

Oman Development Bank SAOC

Oman Growth Fund

Oman Shipping Company SAOC

Shinsei Bank

World Bank Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Ahli Bank on exercising a Green Shoe Option in the issuance of 20,000,000 Perpetual Bonds as an Additional Tier 1 Capital Instruments (“Bonds”), for the purpose of increasing its capital adequacy.
  • Legal adviser to Bank Muscat SAOG on an Islamic financing of a Five-Star hotel project in Salalah, the capital and largest city of the southern Omani governorate of Dhofar.