Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

Khalid Al-Thebity Law Firm In Affiliation With Squire Patton Boggs’ banking group has a breadth of experience in project finance matters, particularly across the real estate and infrastructure, and power sectors. Riyadh-based Ahmed Butt leads the group.

Banking and finance in Saudi Arabia

Legal Advisors, Abdulaziz I. Al-Ajlan & Partners in association with Baker & McKenzie Limited

Legal Advisors, Abdulaziz I. Al-Ajlan & Partners in association with Baker & McKenzie Limited has an excellent reputation and continues to dominate the banking market in Saudi Arabia, spearheaded by Ian Siddell. Underpinned by its strong regional presence across Qatar and Bahrain, the team holds leading domestic banks and corporates as key clients and advises them across the full spectrum of works, with specialty in project finance, Islamic finance, and DCM (including sukuk) transactions. Jeddah-based Basel Barakat has extensive experience advising on shariah-compliant transactions, and Fatima Alhasan and Delwar Hossain handle project financing transactions. George Sayen retired from the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Ian Siddell

Other key lawyers:

Basel Barakat; Fatima Alhasan; Delwar Hossain; Mohsin Iqbal

Testimonials

‘Baker & McKenzie team is overall highly professional, hardworking and capable, with excellent work quality, attention to detail and prompt response times. They also have on the ground presence with lawyers in both Jeddah and Riyadh, so they are always easily accessible and available in our two main locations. This makes our dealings easier, instead of arranging travel from other locations, particularly under the current circumstances.’

‘Basel Barakat leads our group’s account and transactions with the firm. Our experience in dealing with him is consistently superb and first rate. In terms of strengths, his work is always thorough and of the highest quality, his advice is clear and concise, he has very deep knowledge of Saudi Arabian laws and practices, understands our needs and offers practical and pragmatic advice and is always available to address our requirements.’

The team has full bilingual (Arabic & English) capabilities. They are responsive, take ownership of matters assigned to them, and their deliverables meet expectations. Ian Siddle and Delwar Hossain are key names.’

Key clients

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and related companies

Banque Saudi Fransi

Khair Inorganic Chemical Industries Company (InoChem)

Saudi Binladin Group Company Limited

The National Commercial Bank / NCB Capital

Arab National Bank

Riyad Bank

ACWA Power International

Al Rahji Banking and Investment Corporation

HSBC Saudi Arabia/The Saudi British Bank (SABB)

The Saudi Investment Bank

Gulf International Bank B.S.C. / GIB Capital

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP)

Ministry of Finance

ABC Islamic Bank (E.C.)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Ministry of Finance of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the issuers’ counsel on a complex mudaraba based subordinated perpetual financial “equity-like” instrument.
  • Acting as borrower’s counsel for Methanol Chemicals Company on its murabaha-based refinancing syndicated facility.
  • Acting as legal counsel for Thakher Development Company (TDC) and Mohammed Alsubeaei & Sons Investment Company (MASIC) (a major shareholder in TDC) on a real estate financing for the purposes of what is expected to be one of the largest mixed-use development project called “Thakher City” in Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm (AS&H) in co-operation with Clifford Chance

Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm (AS&H) in co-operation with Clifford Chance has a solid market reputation and advises both domestic and international banks on Islamic financings, cross-border transactions and project finance. Yasser Al-Hussain and Michael Quigley jointly manage the team.

Practice head(s):

Yasser Al Hussain; Michael Quigley

Khoshaim & Associates

Khoshaim & Associates regularly advises banks, contractors, and Islamic financiers on the financing of real estate and infrastructure projects. Overseen by Karim Wali who has solid experience advising on both conventional and Islamic financing transactions, the team also acts for lenders and borrowers on PPP projects. Counsel Paul Matrosov handles renewable energy and power transactions. Managing partner Zeyad Khoshaim is also of note.

Practice head(s):

Zeyad Khoshaim; Karim Wali

Other key lawyers:

Naryman AlKassimi; Paul Matrosov

Testimonials

‘They are thorough, responsiveness, and have local knowledge.’

‘Karim Wali and senior associate Naryman AlKassimi are extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and solution-oriented individuals.’

Key clients

NEOM

Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health

Vision Invest

Samba Financial Group

HSBC Saudi Arabia

Banque Saudi Fransi

Riyad Bank

Saudi British Bank

Saudi National Bank

Arab National Bank

Al Rajhi Bank

Tatweer Buildings Company

Saudi Aramco

Work highlights

  • Advised Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and Saudi National Bank on acting as Mandated Lead Arrangers on the first Riyal-denominated credit facility to be granted the Green Financing accreditation.
  • Acting for the lenders; Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation; Arab National Bank; Bank AlJazira; Banque Saudi Fransi; Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank; Gulf International Bank – Saudi Arabia; National Bank of Kuwait and Samba Financial Group in relation to a refinancing of a senior secured term murabaha facility.
  • Advising HSBC Saudi Arabia on the restructuring of a Sukuk, approval process and Saudi requirements.

Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi in association with Latham & Watkins LLP

Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi in association with Latham & Watkins LLP has strengthened its bench with the hire of Ahmed El Gaili from The Law Office of Looaye M. Al-Akkas in Association with Vinson & Elkins LLP who brings expertise in project financings, particularly multilateral financings. The group remains a market leader and handles the full scope of banking work for leading clients including BNP Paribas and Arab Bank, on lending, shariah-compliant financings and high-profile restructurings. Salman Al-Sudairi leads the group with counsel Amar N Meher, and handle equity and debt capital markets work.

Practice head(s):

Salman Al-Sudairi; Amar Meher

Other key lawyers:

Ahmed El Gaili

Testimonials

‘The Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi provides exceptional support to its clients. the firm is staffed with experts from all areas, and the team is always updated with new laws and regulations.’

‘Amar Maher is always eager to provide any needed legal support. He always pays extra efforts to fulfill client’s demands.’

‘Detailed on-the-ground knowledge combined with practical knowledge of how to implement the law. Wide relationships with banks / Courts and corporates.’

‘Straight answers to complex questions, none of the normal reticence to express a view and a refreshingly straightforward approach. Amar Meher is a key member of the team.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Mashreqbank

HSBC Bank Plc

The Saudi British Bank

Davidson Kempner European Partners, LLP

Arab National Bank

Banque Saudi Fransi

The Saudi British Bank

Samba Financial Group (now known as Saudi National Bank)

Riyad Bank

The National Commercial Bank (now known as Saudi National Bank)

EIG Global Energy Partners

Ministry of Finance, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund)

African Development Bank (AfDB)

Arab Bank

ArcelorMittal Tubular Products Jubail Company

Public Investment Fund

Kingdom Holding Company

Tadawul Real Estate Company

Jabal Omar Development Company

Carillion Construction Limited

Al-Rajhi Bank

Abdullatif Alissa Group Holding Company

Work highlights

  • Advising the Creditors Committee on the proposed settlement of Saad Trading/Al-Sanea.
  • Advised EIG Global Energy Partners on one of the largest infrastructure financings in the MENA region, an acquisition project finance of a 49% equity stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company, a joint venture formed with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Aramco) to hold a 25-year lease over Aramco’s stabilized crude oil pipeline network.
  • Advised on the first ever green ECA financing for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hermes-covered financing in connection with the King Abdulaziz Transportation project.

The Law Office of Megren M. Al-Shaalan in cooperation with White & Case

The Law Office of Megren M. Al-Shaalan in cooperation with White & Case has a six-decade long track record operating in Saudi Arabia and is highlighted for its project development and financing expertise acting for a host of marquee clients. The team is active in all areas of finance, particularly in the energy and project sectors. Doug Peel remains a key member of the group and heads the overall Middle East group; others include Ivan Paskal (who splits his time between Dubai and Riyadh) who advises clients on debt financings, and Alec Johnson who advises sponsors and lenders on multijurisdictional projects. The team has strengthened its project finance offering with the hire of Din Eshanov from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Doug Peel; Adam Pierson; Ivan Paskal; Alec Johnson; Ibrahim Bakhurji; Din Eshanov

Testimonials

‘They are great. best in class.’

Key clients

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden)

Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC)

Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC)

National Water Company (NWC)

Water & Electricity Company (WEC)

King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre

National Commercial Bank (NCB)

Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)

USAID / Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co.

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Red Sea Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, The Public Investment Fund, on the signing of key finance documents for Phase One of The Red Sea Project.
  • Advised Saudi Aramco in its $12.4bn sale of a 49% equity stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company to a consortium led by EIG Global Energy Partners.
  • Advising Saudi Aramco on the $12bn Jazan Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) project.

Alshahrani Almansour (in collaboration with DLA Piper)

With offices in Riyadh and Al Khobar, the banking team at Alshahrani Almansour (in collaboration with DLA Piper) is active in project finance work, and advises both lenders and borrowers on landmark projects across Saudi Arabia and the GCC region. The team is led by Paul Latto and Dubai-based James Iremonger who is the overall head of Middle East group. The team is well equipped to handle both conventional and Islamic finance and is increasingly active in the fintech space. Energy specialist Keith Bullen handles a significant amount of solar and wind PPP projects in Saudi Arabia and has over a decade of expertise operating across the region.

Practice head(s):

Paul Latto; James Iremonger

Other key lawyers:

Keith Bullen

Key clients

Sadara Chemical Company

Standard Chartered Bank

Creditors‘ Coordinating Committee for Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi Brothers & Company

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Work highlights

  • Advising Sadara in relation to the restructuring of $9.2bn worth of conventional and Islamic financing facilities (including Sukuk related facilities), which were initially utilised in 2013 for the development, design, construction, financing, ownership, operation and marketing of a world scale integrated chemicals complex located within Al Jubail Industrial City.
  • Advising Japan Bank for International Cooperation on a significant facility to Saudi Electricity Company.

Derayah LLPC – Saudilegal

At Derayah LLPC – Saudilegal, the banking practice advises on large-scale project financings mandates, particularly in the renewable energy sector. Led by Ali Abedi, the group also advises regional energy companies on financing and refinancings. Asad Abedi is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Ali Abedi

Other key lawyers:

Asad Abedi

Key clients

Marubeni Corporation

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa)

Al Raha Al Safi Food Company

Al-Jomaih

Engie

NESMA

Mowah

Work highlights

  • Advising Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and the UAE-based Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) on their bid for the planned Marjan cogeneration independent steam and power plant (ISPP) and Tanajib desalination plant.
  • Advising the consortium of Marubeni Corporation and Al-Jomaih Energy & Water Company on various legal aspects of the 300MW Rabigh Solar PV Independent Power Project (IPP).

The Law Firm of Hassan Mahassni

The Jeddah-based banking team at Law Firm of Hassan Mahassni has a specialism in project financing matters in the renewable energy space, particularly wind and thermal energy storage. The group, led by Atif Mulla, advises lenders on Islamic transactions related to construction and development projects in the Kingdom. Associate Faisal Linjawy is a core member of the team, noted for project financing.

Practice head(s):

Atif Mulla; Faisal Linjawy

Work highlights

  • Acted for ACWA Power for the bidding of the Noor Midelt-1 Solar Power Project.
  • Acted for ACWA Power as local counsel for the closing of the BenBan PV Solar Power Project in relation to various financing arrangements.
  • Acted as Saudi Arabia counsel for Atrafin on the closing of two Ex-Im Bank guaranteed equipment finance loans to borrower, Al Hidada Ltd. (“Hidada”) of Saudi Arabia, part of the $44bn Xenel Group.

King & Spalding in Affiliation With the Law Office of Mohammad Al-Ammar

At King & Spalding in Affiliation With the Law Office of Mohammad Al-Ammar, the banking practice has notable strength in financings, particularly shari’ah-compliant, acting for both Saudi Arabian and foreign lenders and borrowers. Zaid Al-Farisi jointly manages the team with Jawad Ali, handling Islamic finance matters and restructuring work which has been an area of growth. Nabil Issa who splits his time between Riyadh and Dubai is well-versed in Shariah-compliant investment funds work, whilst Michael Rainey, also in Dubai is the name for GCC wide investment matters. Senior counsel Mohammed Alammar is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jawad I. Ali; Zaid Al-Farisi

Other key lawyers:

Nabil Issa; Michael Rainey; Mohammed Alammar

Key clients

The Saudi National Bank

Arab National Bank

The Saudi British Bank (SABB)

Banque Saudi Fransi

Riyad Bank

Gulf International Bank

JPMorgan

Emirates NBD Bank

Credit Suisse

SAIMCO

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

Work highlights

  • Advising two major Saudi banks on Shari’ah-compliant facilities extended to construct a tower in King Abdullah Financial District.
  • Advising a Saudi borrower on the restructuring of SAR multi-billion Shari’ah-compliant construction facilities.
  • Advising a Saudi borrower in connection with the restructuring and refinancing of an approximately SAR 1.5 billion facility provided by a major Saudi bank.

Mohammed Al-Ghamdi Law Firm in association with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Mohammed Al-Ghamdi Law Firm in association with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP focuses on advising Saudi banks and foreign financial instructions on cross-border financing transactions. The team has a specialism assisting banks in establishing shariah-compliant derivative products and is led by Riyadh-based practice head Robin Balmer who splits his time in Dubai. Associate Hesa Al Saad advises lenders and sponsors on project finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Robin Balmer

Other key lawyers:

Hesa Al Saad

Key clients

National Commercial Bank

Banque Saudi Fransi

Al Rajhi Bank

The Saudi British Bank

HSBC Saudi Arabia

Standard Chartered Bank

Riyad Bank

Alinma Bank

MUFG Bank Ltd.

Samba Financial Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the National Commercial Bank as senior lender to a consortium comprising The Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu (Marafiq), AlAmwal AlKhaleejiah AlThaniya and Veolia Middle East on the Shariah-compliant financing and project documentation for the Jeddah airport independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP).
  • Advised on the Shariah-compliant financing and project documentation for the Wave 1 of the schools infrastructure development programme PPP for Banque Saudi.

Z&Co

Housed in Riyadh, Z&Co has a reputable banking practice and is active in high-end Islamic financings and transactional mandates. The group leverages its regional presence in Dubai to handle large cross-border Murabaha-compliant transactions for banking clients. Practice head Omar El Sayed is noted for his syndicated loan work in the Gulf region and is supported by key partners Martin Creek and head of the Middle East energy practice Matthew Keats. Experienced associate Mustafa Darwich in Dubai is also a recommended contact. The team has sector strength across real estate, infrastructure, and transport.

Practice head(s):

Omar El Sayed; Kieron Zaman; Andrew Jennens; Matt Keats; Martin Creek

Other key lawyers:

Mustafa Darwich

Testimonials

‘Strong team and very active in the market.’

Key clients

Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia

National Commercial Bank

Alinma Bank

Banque Saudi Fransi

Riyad Bank

Mawarid Holdings

Saudi Electricity Company

Brookfields

Technical Link Services

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)

Al Rajhi Holding Group

Kingdom Holding Company

NEOM

Ministry of Finance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

HSBC Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising National Commercial Bank on its debut jumbo syndicated Islamic financing.
  • Advising Alinma Bank as financier on the Musharakah, Ijara and Bai Ajel facilities to Alinma Jeddah Economic City Real Estate Fund.
  • Advising the lenders HSBC Bank plc and Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on a Hermes covered green ECA loan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to finance 842 buses for the new Riyadh public transport network.

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company is active in project financing matters, particularly across the water desalination and infrastructure areas, and is overseen by Dubai based partners Jody Waugh  and Rafiq Jaffer. The team acts as counsel on large financings projects and advises on banking regulatory matters. Senior associate in Riyadh Agathi Trakkidi has a specialism in syndicated loans transactions.

Practice head(s):

Rafiq Jaffer; Jody Waugh

Other key lawyers:

Agathi Trakkidi

Key clients

HSBC Saudi Arabia

The Saudi British Bank (SABB)

International Company of Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power)

First Abu Dhabi Bank – KSA Branch

FAB Capital

Credit Suisse Saudi Arabia

Credit Suisse Riyadh Branch

Work highlights

  • Acted as local KSA counsel for ACWA Power in connection with the $700m project financing relating to the Jubail 3A seawater desalination plant in KSA.
  • Advised HSBC Saudi Arabia on the refinancing of syndicated facilities extended to Shuaibah Two Water Development Project Company to finance the development of the SHUAIBAH 2 IWP (STPC) in KSA.

Law Office of Mohanned bin Saud Al-Rasheed in association with Baker Botts L.L.P.

Law Office of Mohanned bin Saud Al-Rasheed in association with Baker Botts L.L.P.’s banking practice is led by Stephen Matthews who splits his time between Dubai and Riyadh. The group handles banking transactions across the region and has expertise in global inbound investment work. Shadi Haroon is a further name to note.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Matthews; Shadi Haroon; Mohanned Bin Saud Al-Rasheed

Key clients

The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB)

Derayah Financial

McDermott International

Work highlights

  • Assisting McDermott on the Saudi Arabian elements of a world-wide secured syndicated exit finance facility and letter of credit facility, both of which are led by Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank.

The Law Firm of Wael A. Alissa in association with Dentons

The Law Firm of Wael A. Alissa in association with Dentons has a presence in both Riyadh and Jeddah, and its banking team is highlighted for its project financing expertise, including on power, water and infrastructure PPP projects. Underpinned by the wider Dentons network, the team is able to handle multijurisdictional transactions, Islamic financings, and sukuk issuances. Practice head Mahmoud Abdel-Baky handles cross-border deals across the region and is supported by teams in Dubai where Qasim Islam, who heads the Middle East Islamic Finance practice, is a key name.

Practice head(s):

Mahmoud Abdel-Baky

Key clients

The Saudi National Bank (SNBSNB)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

HSBC Saudi Arabia

Standard Chartered Bank

The Commercial International Bank (CIB)

Ministry of Finance – Saudi Arabia

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited

Bidaya Home Finance

Work highlights

  • Advising the The Ministry of Financing on a number of local lending transactions which are part of critical national programmes worth SAR3 billion that have been rolled out by the Saudi Arabian Government to stimulate the Saudi Arabian economy and complete the development of critical infrastructure projects (mainly schools and hospitals) during a challenging period.
  • Advising The Saudi National Bank (SNB) on a SAR1.4 billion financing for the purpose of developing a mixed-use real estate project in the Eastern Province.
  • Advising Metro Jeddah Company on the feasibility, procurement and tendering of the Obhur Creek Bridge project in Jeddah.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co’s team is led by global head of the Islamic Finance practice Adil Hussain in Dubai, and advises on Islamic and asset financing mandates as well as regulatory matters. Managing partner of the Riyadh office Abdulaziz Al Bosaily is also a key name.

Practice head(s):

Adil Hussain

Other key lawyers:

Abdulaziz Al-Bosaily