Foreign firms in Qatar
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP focuses on conventional and Islamic banking, project development and finance, and cross-border M&A. Managing partner Samer Eido, who is noted for providing ‘first-class legal support’, recently advised Qatar Foundation Endowment on the acquisition of a 51% stake in Vodafone Qatar. In the finance space, Eido advised Barwa Bank, as arranger, on a QAR910m syndicated murabahah facility provided to Vodafone Qatar for the development of its fixed-line services and 5G mobile telecoms infrastructure. Further, the team acted for Qatar National Bank in relation to the financing provisions for a number of luxury residential and hospitality projects. Also recommended is counsel Anthony Traboulsi, who specialises in capital markets transactions.
Dentons’ ‘extremely service-oriented’ team ‘consistently provides high-quality, speedy and efficient service’. Indeed, the team is ‘professional, productive and well-managed’ and advises on a wide range of cross-border corporate, banking and commercial transactions. Managing partner Safwan Moubaydeen advised real estate developer Ezdan Holding Group on a financing transaction with The Commercial Bank QSC, and Zaher Nammour assisted Castlelake with its purchase and leaseback of 25 used Airbus aircraft from Qatar Airways. Also recommended is Andrew Jones, who heads the construction group in Doha. Other key clients include Qatar Mining and Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company.
Simmons & Simmons Middle East has an established reputation in the Qatari market, where it regularly advises on high-profile M&A, commercial arrangements in the real estate, energy and infrastructure space, and high-value financing deals. The team is jointly headed by Andrew Wingfield and Philip Norman, the latter of whom is providing ongoing commercial and dispute management advice to the State of Qatar in relation to the construction of a cargo port and a new naval base. Further, Wingfield, who is noted for his 'detailed advice and supportive manner', advises The Commercial Bank on multiple debt programmes, which has recently included an update of its $5bn EMTN programme, the establishment of a $350m European commercial paper programme and a $450m US commercial paper programme.
White & Case LLP has experience of project development and finance, cross-border M&A, capital markets deals and disputes resolution, especially in the construction and infrastructure sectors. In one particularly stand-out matter, Michiel Visser advised United Arab Shipping Company on its $14bn merger with Hapag-Lloyd, which created one of the world's five largest container shipping lines and marked the largest cross-border M&A involving a Middle East-headquartered company in roughly a decade. Additionally, working alongside colleagues in the firm's London office, Visser acted for Qatar Petroleum in relation to the integration of its affiliates QatarGas and RasGas, which has created the world’s largest LNG company. Also recommended are Michael Turrini and Charbel Abou Charaf, the latter of whom was promoted to local partner in 2018.
Clifford Chance regularly advises Qatar-based corporates on high-value joint venture arrangements and M&A. Headed by Jason Mendens, the team has also handled capital markets deals, conventional and Islamic asset and real estate finance, and project finance and development in the energy and mining sectors.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP has broad experience of corporate and commercial matters in the real estate and energy sectors, and also handles commercial disputes including financial recovery claims and shareholder disputes. The team is acting for Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company in a subrogation claim concerning damages following a warehouse fire. Key contacts include the ‘always approachable’ Laura Warren, David Salt, who has expertise in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and Lee Keane, who specialises in the food and beverage and healthcare sectors. Also recommended is recently promoted partner Emma Higham, who is able to ‘identify the business issues for any project and adapt to changing business priorities with ease’.
The ‘friendly and pro-active’ team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has strengths in contentious and non-contentious mandates, and is active in the banking, real estate and construction, tourism, and energy and infrastructure sectors. Headed by managing partner Dani Kabbani, the team was appointed by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to assist with the drafting of tender contracts for the development of school projects in Qatar. Kabbani also advised Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Company on its $500m acquisition of the iconic Tornado Tower building. On the contentious side, Middle East head of litigation Richard Ward is handling ICC and LCIA arbitration for a well-known multinational corporate and a prominent bank. Shalagh Massingham was promoted to partner in May 2018.
K&L Gates has strengths in project development, cross-border corporate matters and capital markets transactions, and dispute resolution, where it is particularly active in construction, engineering and personal injury disputes. The team is jointly headed by Matthew Walker and Amjad Hussain, the latter of whom is acting for fund manager Amwal in relation to the launch of Doha Bank’s ETF on the Qatar Stock Exchange. Similarly, Hussain advised Masraf Al Rayan on the establishment of its first ETF, which is the largest shari'ah-compliant ETF on the Qatar Stock Exchange.
Baker & McKenzie Limited has considerable experience of real estate transactions and construction development mandates, and also advises on a wide range of conventional and Islamic financing transactions including project finance, aircraft finance and acquisition finance. Basel Barakat is acting for Saudi Binladin Group, a joint venture partner in the QD-SBG JV, in relation to the development of the Khalifa Avenue master plan. Similarly, Gavin Witcombe advised a consortium comprising Saudi Binladin Group, Porr Bau and Hamad bin Khalid Contracting on certain commercial and construction aspects of the $2.4bn Doha underground project. Also recommended is practice head Ian Siddell, who advises on the development of energy projects, and Mohsin Iqbal, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP in October 2017.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has expertise in real estate and project finance, development and acquisition, and has particular experience of PPP-structured hospitality, infrastructure and energy projects. Simon Green heads the Qatar office, and also leads the firm's Middle East real estate, hotels and hospitality group. The team is also noted for its litigation and arbitration practice, which includes Patrick Gearon, who heads the commercial disputes team, and Bahrain-based Paula Boast, who specialises in construction disputes.
The team at Addleshaw Goddard advises on contentious and non-contentious corporate, finance and construction matters, and has complementary experience of consumer protection issues, IP law, labour and employment, and immigration. In April 2018, former practice head Martin Brown left Qatar and joined Keystone Law; he was replaced in the same month by Ahmad Anani, who joined the firm from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP and now heads the Doha group. Also recommended is Robin Hickman, who specialises in real estate and project finance.
Badri and Salim El Meouchi LLP acts across the gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters in the construction, real estate, infrastructure and energy sectors. Practice head Chadia El Meouchi advised LeapLearner on certain corporate structuring matters and also assisted the client with a $10m series A convertible loan financing transaction.