Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

The team at Khalid Anwer & Co.  advises a host of major banks on various high-profile and sensitive contentious matters. It represents banks such as the National Bank of Pakistan in high-value recoveries and has also handled matters such as challenging the vires of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2016, a law under which banks were being required to arbitrarily divulge private and confidential information.
The group at Vellani & Vellani is adept at advising financial institutions, sponsors and developers on domestic and cross-border project and corporate financings. It also has a wealth of knowledge across Shariah-compliant structures, including Sukuk transactions and Murabaha financings.

Banking and finance in Pakistan

Haidermota & Co Advocates

Haidermota & Co Advocates advises across a broad spectrum of financial products from syndicated lending and convertible loans as well as leveraged and acquisition financing. The team is well-versed in all aspects of structured financing, securitisation and all modes of Islamic financing. It has a strong track record of working on significant cross-border transactions and counts many foreign financial institutions and multilateral agencies as clients. The team’s experience extends to advising on the establishment of microfinance banks and institutions in Pakistan and it has a wealth of experience of advising on all aspects of banking regulatory matters. The team under the leadership of Khozem Haidermota, Mohammad Anwer and Zahra Abid are regularly asked to help major foreign financial institutions with the establishment of their operations in Pakistan. In other highlights Rahmat Kamal Ghanghro was promoted to the partnership.

Other key lawyers:

Rahmat Kamal Ghanghro

Testimonials

‘Out of the box thinking and commitment to deliver. Solutions orientated approach . Zahra Abid and Khozem Haidermota. The team delivers top quality work in a timely manner. As compared to other firms, HMCO’s quality of work including out of box thinking and looking at alternatives to solve client issues is much better’.

‘Khozem Haidermota was the key person we dealt with. In addition to the quality of work and turnaround time, he is very accessible which brings in a lot of efficiency in the work we do’.

Key clients

Habib Bank Limited

United Bank Limited

Citibank N.A. Pakistan

Standard Chartered Bank

Clifford Chance Pte. Ltd.

Credit Suisse International

Kot Addu Company Limited

Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company

National Bank Limited

BankIslami Pakistan Limited

Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd

Cinepax (Private) Limited and Cineflix (Private) Limited

National Bank Limited

International Finance Corporation

Deutsche Bank A.G

Work highlights

  • Acting as legal counsel for Habib Bank Limited and other syndicate members in relation to local currency long term syndicated financing facilities of an aggregate amount of up to Pakistani Rupee Forty-Three Billion Five Hundred Million in relation to 900 MW combined cycle RLNG power generation facility (BPQS III) to be constructed at Bin Qasim Power Station Complex of K-Electric Limited.
  • As part of Government’s efforts to promote housing finance in Pakistan,  the team assisted and advised Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company (Pakistan’s first housing refinance company) from a Pakistani law perspective on the establishment of a risk sharing facility in the form of a credit guarantee trust fund scheme established by the federal government with the client as trustee. Pursuant to a finance agreement between the Federal Government of Pakistan and the International Development Association (“IDA”), the Federal Government was given $10m by IDA for onward lending to the client for the capitalisation of a risk sharing facility for eligible financial institutions to cover the partial loss, by virtue of being issued guarantees by the trust, in case of defaults by end-borrowers on their eligible mortgage loans.
  • Acting for Standard Charted Bank in relation to Sinosure and Hermes supported foreign currency facilities of an aggregate amount up to  ($412,000,000/-) in relation to 900 MW combined cycle RLNG power generation facility (BPQS III) to be constructed at Bin Qasim Power Station Complex of K-Electric Limited.

Ijaz Ahmed & Associates

Ijaz Ahmed & Associates is well-known for its work on a broad range of financing transactions such as large transactions for local corporates as well as significant restructuring work. The firm advises an impressive array of foreign clients and frequently works on large cross-border transactions. Ijaz Ahmed and Altaf Qureshi co-head the practice that works with various major international law firms. Other areas of expertise include advising on various regulatory matters as well as syndicated loans, real estate finance and microfinance.

Practice head(s):

Ijaz Ahmed; Altaf Qureshi

Testimonials

‘The practice follows a thinking outside the box ethos and is willing to listen to the Client and work with them’.

‘Altaf Qureshi is an excellent support with in depth knowledge of the legal and regulatory regime as well as an understanding of commercial matters’.

 

Key clients

Allied Bank Limited

Bank Alfalah Limited

Barclays Bank plc

National Bank of Pakistan

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited

Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (Pvt.) Limited

Telenor Microfinance Bank

Pakistan Stock Exchange

PwC A.F. Ferguson & Company

Mobilink Microfinance Bank

Colgate Palmolive

Century Paper

Kabraji & Talibuddin

Kabraji & Talibuddin has a varied portfolio of clients including leading banks and financial institutions as well as multinational companies. It is well-versed in all aspects of project financing as well in a whole host of other areas such as regulatory matters and the banking elements of inward foreign investment matters. The group is highly regarded for its work in the energy and power sectors and has acted on a number of pioneering power projects in the country. The firm has been increasingly acting on a number of investment funds mandates, and through its senior partner Kairas Kabraji the group is well-regarded for its work in aircraft finance. Other notable figures at the firm are Danish Shah, Maheen Faruqui and Syed Ali Bin Maaz, all of whom are also recommended for their work on a range of complex onshore and multi-jurisdictional financial transactions.

Other key lawyers:

Zara Tariq

Testimonials

K&T has a deep bench of lawyers, with extensive practical experience on the ground as well as an excellent understanding of the expectations of international investors. They provide commercial and pragmatic advice‘.

A number of the lawyers at K&T provide very thorough advice, in a very pragmatic and commercial manner. Ali Maaz and Maheen Faruqui are both excellent. Zara Tariq is a rising star‘.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

Asian Development Bank

Islamic Development Bank

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

The Export-Import Bank of China

CDC Group plc

China Development Bank

Commercial Bank of China Limited

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Meezan Bank Limited

Bank Alfalah Limited

National Bank of Pakistan

Habib Bank Limited

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (previously Overseas Private Investment Corporation)

Promotion Et De Participation Pour La Coopération Économique S.A. (Proparco)

DEG- Deutschu Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

Uch/Uch-II Power (Private) Limited

The Hub Power Company Limited

Hub Power Holdings Limited

K-Electric Limited

Shanghai Electric Power Company Limited

Paypal Holdings Inc.

Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the International Finance Corporation, DEG, Meezan Bank, Al Habib Limited and Bank Alfalah Limited on the Super Six Wind Projects, a first-of-its-kind program to finance six wind power projects totalling 310MW.
  • Advising International Finance Corporation (IFC) on all local law and regulatory matters in relation to its loan to Engro Vopak Terminal Limited.

Liaquat Merchant Associates

Liaquat Merchant Associates has a strong range of expertise in banking matters, including project finance, leveraged and acquisition financing in addition to electronic banking matters. In addition it is renowned for its experience in Islamic financing and Sharia compliant modes of financing and it routinely advises major national and international banks on their Islamic banking products and documentation. Head of department Faresa Jafarey Ahsan has a broad practice that covers the full spectrum of the space, and name partner Liaquat Merchant is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Faresa Jafarey Ahsan

Other key lawyers:

Liaquat Merchant

Key clients

Pak Brunei Investment Company Limited

PAIR Investment Company Limited

JS Bank Limited

United Bank Limited

Bank AL Habib Limited

Habib Bank Limited

Faysal Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Drafted various financing documents for Pak Brunei Investment Company Limited to various customers, the aggregate portfolio of such financing adds up to a total of PKR3.8bn.
  • Advised Faysal Bank Limited, JS Bank Limited, Bank AL Habib Limited during the pandemic on the implementation structure and documentation required in respect of the relaxation in loan payments and deferrals advised by the State Bank of Pakistan.
  • Drafting the Islamic and conventional housing finance legal documentation for Bank AL Habib Limited and Soneri Bank Limited pursuant to State Bank of Pakistan’s Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (low-cost housing) scheme.

Mohsin Tayebaly & Co

Mohsin Tayebaly & Co has a significant number of banks and financial institutions that are retainer clients. The firm advises on the full array of financial transactions and has recently been involved in a number of important rescheduling and restructuring transactions. With Irfan Tayebaly  at the helm, the versatile team is also recommended for its work on a wide range of regulatory matters. Mehreen Manto  is highly sought after for her work on a range of financing deals such as acquisition and asset financings. Vaseeq Khalid is another seasoned practitioner. Work with financial institutions participating in the Naya Pakistan Housing Initiative - a government housebuilding initative - have been a recent bright spot for the practice.

Practice head(s):

Irfan Tayebaly

Other key lawyers:

Vaseeq Khalid ; Mehreen Manto

Testimonials

‘Extremely responsive with practical answers to legal questions‘.

Irfan Tayebaly and Vasiq Khalid – both provide quick to the point responses and solutions to all corporate transactional queries‘.

Key clients

MCB Bank Limited

Meezan Bank Limited

Habib Bank Limited

National Bank of Pakistan

Dubai Islamic Bank Limited

BankIslami Pakistan Limited

United Bank Limited

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited

Askari Bank Limited

Bank Al Habib Limited

RIAA BARKER GILLETTE

RIAA BARKER GILLETTE is regularly involved in major local and cross-border financing transactions. The stellar team advises sponsors, developers and lenders in a broad range of sectors and has particular expertise in energy, power, mining, transport, logistics and infrastructure projects. It handles a wide range of bank and capital market financings and is well-placed to advise on issues as diverse as debt to equity conversions as well as syndicated loan transactions. The firm also has substantial Islamic finance expertise which it deploys on structures including murabaha and musharika deals. Ahsan Zahir Rizvi  is a prominent member of the team that is led by Bilal Shaukat. Shaukat is experienced in both conventional and Islamic financing and regularly advises banks in Pakistan on their finance and security arrangements for various power projects.

Practice head(s):

Bilal Shaukat

Other key lawyers:

Adil Tirmizey ; Ahsan Zahir Rizvi

Testimonials

‘The team at RIAA Barker has a very diverse skill set which at the same time is augmented by its depth of knowledge of multiple industries and corresponding regulatory frameworks. The team is very efficient in time management and delivering on the complex transactional structures. The team is generally very solution orientated and has the ability to provide structural solutions and safeguards while making the client fully understand the risks’.

‘Mostly worked with Adil Timizi.  Adil is the senior partner and we have a very valued relationship with him. Given his vast experience in multiple industries, he is extremely good in proposing new and innovative ideas of managing the transaction structures. His grip on the regulatory frameworks is very strong. From his experience, he highlighted very pertinent points during documentation that helped to mitigate any future risks of litigation’.

They are very approachable and have a very positive attitude  with the intention to solve the problem. The team has been very supportive all the time. They have comprehensive experience of corporate laws especially  in the power sector’.

 

Key clients

Din Energy Limited

Lakeside Energy (Private) Limited

Indus Wind Energy Limited

MCB Bank Limited

A syndicate of local banks (including MCB Bank Limited, Bank of Punjab, and Allied Bank Limited)

A syndicate of banks led by the Bank of Punjab

A syndicate of banks led by National Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited and the Bank of Punjab.

Fatima Energy Limited

Habib Bank Limited Pakistan

Habib Bank Limited UAE

Syndicate of Banks including National Bank of Pakistan, Bank Alfalah Limited, Habib Bank Limited, Askari Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited and Meezan Bank Limited

Habib Bank Limited

Elite Estates (Private) Limited

Siddiqsons Energy Limited

Sapphire Textile Mills Limited (STML)

Work highlights

  • Advising Indus Wind Energy Limited, developer of 50 MW wind power project in Jhimpir, Sindh which project is one of the projects labelled as ‘Super Six’ by the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”).
  • Acted as legal counsel to the syndicate of banks in relation to the project finance, bridge finance, funded working capital facilities, Islamic finance and non-funded standby letter of credit facilities for the 1200 MW RLNG based power plant at Jhangbeing developed a public sector company of the Government of the Punjab.
  • Advising Pakistan’s only listed hospital company (Shifa International Hospitals Limited) in relation to the debt investment by IFC for inter alia the establishment of the largest tertiary care hospital project in Tanzania.

Ahmed & Qazi

Ahmed & Qazi acts for a sizeable number of banks and financial institutions in Pakistan, including numerous microfinance institutions. It has handled a diverse range of matters recently from asset finance through to restructuring, an area in which it has also handled a significant number of restructuring matters for many banks and financial institutions. Saim Hashmi who was recently promoted to senior counsel, has played a pivotal role in many project financing transactions and debt security issues. Nazif Ahmed is another key member of the group.

Practice head(s):

Nazif Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

Saim Hashmi

Key clients

The OPEC Fund for International Development

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector

Deutsche Investitions- Und Entwicklungsgesellschaftmbh

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Askari Bank Limited

The Bank of Punjab

Allied Bank Limited

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited

Faysal Bank Limited Bank Alfalah Limited

Dubai Islamic Bank (Pakistan) Limited

MCB Bank Limited

Meezan Bank Limited

National Bank of Pakistan

Sindh Bank Limited

Summit Bank Limited

Pak Brunei Investment Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented local and foreign currency lenders in a PKR16.2 bn cement expansion project finance.
  • Representing more than 100 creditors in one of Pakistan’s largest schemes of arrangement.
  • Conducted a due diligence of The Bank of Punjab’s entire NPLs and export transactions’ portfolio to submit a State Bank of Pakistan-required report.

Akhund Forbes

Akhund Forbes is known for its work on a variety of high-value and complex transactions. Rabel Akhund heads the team and works with some of the largest companies and financial institutions in Pakistan and beyond. Sahar Iqbal is also recommended. The practice has a solid reputation for its work on asset finance and is also well-regarded for its real estate financing advice, as it frequently works with many property developers.

Practice head(s):

Rabel Akhund

Other key lawyers:

Sahar Iqbal

Testimonials

‘The team is very good, in terms of legal quality and communication efficiency. Rabel Z. Akhund Solicitor (England & Wales) Advocate (Pakistan) Founder and Managing Partner‘.

Key clients

Act Polyols (Pvt) Limited

Bank of Punjab

Arif Habib Group

edotco Group Sdn Berhad

Edotco Pakistan (Private Limited)

Aisha Steel Mills Limited

Facebook

Mastercard

Deutsche Bank

Clifford Chance Pte Ltd

Credit Suisse

Datang Pakistan Karachi Power Generation (Pvt.) Limited

K-Electric Limited

China Development Bank

Habib ADM Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited, as Pakistani counsel, as lender to the Ministry of Finance of Pakistan on the latest in a series of Credit Suisse-MoF financings.
  • Advising Facebook on its first ever foreign lending/debt funding in Pakistan to Naya Tel (Pvt) Ltd, a telecoms operator in Pakistan.
  • Advised Aisha Steel Mills Limited on multi-million dollar vendor financing to enable the client to manufacture steel and steel products in Pakistan, including rendering a legal opinion on the Pakistan law aspects of the transaction and advising on the regulatory compliance required for the transaction.

Cornelius, Lane & Mufti

Cornelius, Lane & Mufti fields an experienced team that advises on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious banking and finance matters. Through its offices in Lahore and Islamabad, it frequently works with leading international law firms and advises numerous large national and international corporates. Senior partner Salman Butt heads the department, and Shehzad Elahi has a wide range of expertise too. Elahi regularly advises on diverse issues such as structuring financing transactions in the power, oil and gas sector. The team is also recommended for its work on cross-border transactions including those involving Islamic financing and project financing. Munawar Us-Salam  is another primary contact.

Practice head(s):

Salman Butt

Testimonials

‘The team is available like 24/7. We deal with Shehzad Elahi and his team‘.

‘Munawar us Salam is highly experienced and hands on and is innovative, solution orientated and genuinely competent‘.

Cornelius, Lane & Mufti is a law firm with expertise in contentious as well as non-contentious legal matters. In banking and finance, the firm has top of the range and a  diverse team of people who are available to assist its clients on any transaction or dispute, as the case maybe. Be it project financing, lenders agreements, complex mortgage transactions, recovery suits or other dispute resolution matters domestic or international, the firm is capable enough to advise its clients in a timely and positive manner. What makes the firm unique is its equally good experience in both contentious and non-contentious work which is very, very rare in the Pakistani legal market. Unlike other old firms in Pakistan, CLM has kept itself and its staff updated with the technological developments in the legal market in Pakistan‘.

‘Munawar us Salam and Waleed Khalid are excellent performers and their ability to understand the clients’ needs and come up with the best possible strategy and solution is what makes them stand out. All of them are available round the clock, their turnaround time is exceptional and their attitude is positive and welcoming towards the clients‘.

‘CLM is an excellent organisation with a professional team. Each team member works very diligently and with full responsibility. They go above and beyond. The best part of the organisation is that senior team members are always accessible to help you out‘.

‘Personal attention to details makes the CLM the best among competitors. Each assignment is worked out with extensive dedication and hard work‘.

‘Very professional, deep knowledge. Shehzad Elahi is a brilliant lawyer with vast knowledge and expertise‘.

Key clients

MCB Bank Limited

United Bank Limited

Fazal Cloth Mills Limited

Almoiz Industries Limited

Packages Real Estate (Private) Limited

Veda Transit Solutions (Private) Limited

Descon Engineering Limited

Pak China Investment Company Limited

Karandaaz Pakistan

Work highlights

  • Representing MCB Bank Limited in a case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging the amendments made in the applicable laws with respect to the Banking Mohtasib.
  • Advising Veda Transit in relation to syndicated term financing for its metro bus project.
  • Advising Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt.) Limited  on project financing for an amount of over $800m.

Orr, Dignam & Co.

Orr, Dignam & Co. operates out of its offices in Karachi and Islamabad and covers a wide range of Islamic financing matters in addition to project financing and acquisition financing matters. It handles a myriad of other complex matters too such as asset financing, securitisation and export credit deals. It is well-placed to advise various foreign financial entities on a whole host of issues. Asim Nasim is one of the primary contacts at the firm.

Key clients

United Bank Limited

Citibank Pakistan N.A.

Credit Suisse

Faysal Bank Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

BE Energy Ltd

Institute of Bankers Pakistan

Deutsche Bank AG and the Bank of Singapore

Magnus Investment Advisors

Work highlights

  • Advising Citibank N.A. on Pakistan banking laws, financial market infrastructure questionnaires, exchange control regulations, ISDA and GMRA matters.
  • Advising BE Energy Ltd on conventional and Islamic based financing arrangements with several financial institutions.
  • Assisting the Institute of Bankers Pakistan on its legal module for training sessions on real estate financing for bankers.