Banking and finance: Corporate finance (including Islamic lending) in United Arab Emirates

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has a broad client offering, which includes project finance, Islamic finance and asset finance transactions. The practice has been increasingly active in the Middle East region's growing ECA-backed financing work, which involves advising on bank-arranged or led financings, as well as undertaking work for corporates. In addition, the firm has an on-the-ground Financial Products Group, which integrates expertise in derivatives products alongside Islamic structuring techniques and associated financial market regulations. Richard Parris and global Islamic finance head Qudeer Latif are key names to note. Mohamed Hamra-KrouhaRobin AbrahamEdmund BoyoGraham Brewer and Stuart Ure are also recommended. Changes in the team included the recent retirement of Peter Avery, who now acts as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Richard Parris; Mohamed Hamra-Krouha; Robin Abraham; Edmund Boyo; Graham Brewer; Qudeer Latif; Stuart Ure

Testimonials

‘During the negotiation process, we were satisfied with the high level of expertise, hard work and efficiency showed by Clifford Chance team.’

Key clients

Emirates NBD Capital Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Islamic Corporation For The Development Of The Private Sector

Citibank N.A., London branch

Dubai World

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation

Saudi Telecom Company

HSBC Bank Middle East

Meezan Bank Limited

Dangote Industries Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised on the issuance of US$1.25 billion trust certificates due 2029 under STC Sukuk Limited’s US$5 billion trust certificate issuance programme (with STC as the obligor under the Programme.
  • Advised the financiers (ICD and MBL) on the financing of a 50MW wind power project located in Jhimpir, Sindh Province, Pakistan. The facility structure is an Istisa’a forward lease facility in USD (for ICD) and two musharakah facilities in PKR for MBL
  • Advised the Financiers in relation to the construction and development of two flagship hospitals in Alexandria, Egypt and Casablanca, Morocco, backed by the owners of the Saudi German hospital group.

Dentons

Dentons has a 'very knowledgeable' and 'responsive' banking and finance team, which advises clients ranging from governments and corporations to financial intermediaries and brokers. Reflective of its standing in the market, the group advises the leading international and domestic financial institutions. Also notable is that it has a strong presence in the transport sector, particularly aviation. Practice head Qasim Aslam is a well-recognised name in the Islamic finance space. Another key individual is Middle East managing partner Paul Jarvis, who has broad experience of both domestic and cross-border financings involving all types of assets, with a particular focus on ship and aircraft finance.

Practice head(s):

Qasim Aslam

Other key lawyers:

Paul Jarvis

Testimonials

‘In-depth knowledge of subject matter, availability of counsel, turnaround time’

‘Qasim Aslam: very knowledgeable partner with good attention to detail. Jane Flournoy: very dedicated and detail-oriented’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and more importantly very responsive. Turn around time are very short and they are always available to take your call or respond to your emails.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB)

Mashreqbank PSC

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC

Noor Bank PJSC (acquired by DIB in Jan 2020)

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC (ADIB)

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

Commercial Bank of Dubai PJSC

Mizuho Bank Limited

Etihad Airways PJSC

Work highlights

  • Advised ACWA Power and the sponsors consortium in reaching financial close of the Ibri II PV IPP solar project – the largest utility-scale solar park in Oman
  • Advised Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) on its first sustainable sukuk issuance – the first AAA-rated institution in the world to have issued a sustainable sukuk, and the first issuance in the format of a sukuk aimed at raising proceeds to tackle the effects of the pandemic.
  • Advised Banco Santander and a syndicate of banks on the US$166 million syndicated lease financing of Tristar, an international logistics company, to part finance the purchase of six chemical tankers from a shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP advises on a broad range of banking and finance matters, including those involving corporate finance, Islamic finance, syndicated lending, derivatives and structured finance. The team is also particularly experienced in handling project finance and development finance transactions. Practice head Claire Matheson Kirton and her ‘exceptional‘ group go the ‘extra mile‘ and have a ‘wealth of knowledge‘. Abu Dhabi-based partner Alexander Malahias has extensive experience of advising on project finance transactions across the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Claire Matheson Kirton; Alexander Malahias

Other key lawyers:

Adrianus Schoorl

Testimonials

‘Claire Matheson and her team are exceptional. They go the extra mile in terms of client handling and engagement. Truly understanding the client and their needs, bringing a wealth of knowledge about financing, the market and the dynamics to the table. ’

‘Diligence, market knowledge, communication skills and professionalism.’

Key clients

Arabian Centres Company

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co.

IHS Towers

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC)

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)

Standard Chartered Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank

HSBC

Noor Bank

National Commercial Bank

Gulf International Bank

J.P. Morgan

Citigroup

Goldman Sachs International

Deutsche Bank

Emirates NBD

Societe Generale

Dubai Islamic Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Work highlights

  • Assisted Arabian Centres Company with their debut US$500 million Regulation S/Rule 144a Sukuk issuance and their US$1.4 billion (or SAR equivalent) multicurrency term and revolving facilities (on Ijara and Murabaha basis) for refinancing of existing indebtedness and general corporate purposes.
  • Advised Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co., a leading diversified fashion, beauty, and food retailer in Saudi Arabia, with international operations across 13 countries, in connection with its US$800 million refinancing.
  • Advised IHS Towers (IHS Netherlands Holdco B.V.) on its US$500 million and US$800 million dual-tranche bond issue and on its US$500 million (equivalent) US dollar and Nigerian Naira pari passu senior credit facilities agreement.

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company advises a broad range of financial institutions across the UAE and GCC, as well as borrowers, on all aspects of the structuring, negotiating and documenting of finance transactions. The team advises on both conventional and Islamic law matters, and advises clients on matters ranging from boutique regulatory advice to large corporate transactions. Practice head Jody Waugh has 'outstanding depth of knowledge' and Mamoon Khan is a 'standout partner' who is 'extremely responsive and knowledgeable'. Mark Brown is praised for his 'hard working' and 'all rounded' approach.

Practice head(s):

Jody Waugh

Other key lawyers:

Mamoon Khan; Mark Brown

Testimonials

‘Second to none for local law matters. ’

‘Mamoon Khan is a standout partner, extremely responsive and knowledgeable.’

‘One of the strongest banking and finance teams in the region. Their knowledge of local laws and regulations, as well as ability to liaise with local governmental bodies, is unparalleled. They act as a one-stop shop for all our legal needs. ’

‘Jody Waugh: Outstanding depth of knowledge and always available to assist.

Mark Brown: Very approachable, hard-working, all-rounded approach and always delivers within the toughest timelines. ’

Key clients

Emirates NBD

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

ACWA

Dubai Islamic Bank

Barclays

Citibank

Standard Chartered Bank

HSBC

JP Morgan

Credit Suisse

Bank of Singapore

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Mashreqbank

State Bank of India

MCB Bank

Bank of China

Agricultural Bank of China

ICICI Bank

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has an 'extremely knowledgeable team' that supports clients on complex financings with UAE-based expertise in Islamic finance, conventional and ECA financing across the entire spectrum of loan products. The practice continues to handle high-profile and complex restructurings and distressed situations. Managing partner Ian Ingram–Johnson advises  sponsors, governments, lenders and project companies in sectors such as power, petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecoms, transport and infrastructure. Christian Saunders, who leads the banking practice in the Middle East, is praised for his 'commercial mind' and 'unparalleled knowledge of the sector'. Michael DiosiKyle Nevin and senior associate Sajjad Juma are also recommended. Bimal Desai left the firm in July 2020.

Practice head(s):

Ian Ingram–Johnson; Christian Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Michael Diosi; Kyle Nevin; Sajjad Juma

Testimonials

‘Extremely knowledgeable team in all banking and finance sectors. They are always able to turnaround documentation in a timely fashion also when timelines are extremely tight. I appreciate the time that each member spend to clearly explain legal issues never giving anything for granted. They are my go-to firm when it comes to complex deals. ’

‘Christian Saunders is, in my opinion, the best banking lawyer in the region. Commercial mind, unparalleled knowledge of the sector, always available for a legal discussion.’

‘Sajjad Juma -Provide possible alternatives for the problem to protects client interests – Returns calls promptly.

Key clients

ADCB

Mubadala

Masdar

Aldar

EdF

Meraas

Emirates Global Aluminium

GEMS

Standard Chartered Bank

Société Générale

Mashreqbank

Santander

K–Sure

Merex Investment Group LLC

Aluminium Bahrain

Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company

National Central Cooling Co. PSC (Tabreed)

Emirates NBD

National Bank of Bahrain

Work highlights

  • Advised on AED2.425bn (USD660m) structured Islamic and conventional facilities to a new joint venture borrower (JVCo) established between Meraas Holding and Brookfield Asset Management for the purposes of owning and operating five separate retail projects which were originally developed and operated by Meraas.
  • Advised on the USD1,495,328,750 and SAR2,812,500,000 dual currency refinancing of the original 2010 financing for the Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP) Jubail refinery project.
  • Advised the lenders in respect of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s USD3bn debut syndicated ECA–covered financing.

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP's team has deep expertise in both conventional and Islamic finance, which makes it well-placed to offer clients a broad range of sophisticated financing options. The practice has a strong presence in the projects and energy space with experience advising clients in the transport, real estate, energy and projects, financial institutions, education and healthcare industries. Practice head Rahail Ali leads a 'very commercial and efficient' team and is a 'respected figure' in the Islamic finance industry. Rustum Shah is an 'excellent lawyer' and Anthony Pallett is another key individual. Senior associate Ahmet Kalafat is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rahail Ali

Testimonials

‘Extremely experienced and knowledgeable team of partners who have been in the regions for many years. They are very commercial and efficient in their approach to transactions and always a pleasure to work with.’

‘Rahail Ali is one of the most experienced and respected figures in the Islamic finance industry. Having Rahail on the team makes transactions much easier to manage as he is respected by the Sharia scholars and other Islamic finance lawyers. Imran Mufti and Rustum Shah are excellent lawyers and provide an exceptional quality of service always commercial and efficient.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

EMAAR Properties

ACWA Power

Dubai Islamic Bank

Arab Banking Corporation

Sidra Capital

Noor Bank

Averda

Emirates NBD

Alfanar

Work highlights

  • Advised ACWA Power on the US$1.2bn Taweelah IWP in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
  • Advised Emirates NBD Capital and Noor Bank on the $500 million refinancing of flydubai’s debut five-year sukuk.

Linklaters

Linklaters has a thorough knowledge of conventional finance transactions and a comprehensive understanding of Islamic finance. Working with the Riyadh office, the UAE team excels in handling cross-border transactions. Kieron Zaman leads the Middle East banking practice and specialises in international banking transactions, with a particular interest in inter-creditor arrangements in multilateral financings. Andrew Jennens, who leads the Abu Dhabi team, has a strong background in syndicated and bilateral financings and financial restructuring. He acts for financial institutions, sponsors and large corporates. Reem Al Sayegh is also recommended. The team is praised for being 'pragmatic and responsive'.

Practice head(s):

Kieron Zaman; Andrew Jennens; Omar El Sayed; Neil Miller

Other key lawyers:

Reem Al Sayegh

Testimonials

‘Pragmatic and responsive. Strong negotiators who get the job done.’

‘The team displayed an outstanding combination of a deep understanding of their client, technical ability across a number of disciplines, knowledge of local market practice and pragmatism. ’

‘I predominantly work with Kieron Zaman and Waleed Rasromani. I am pedantic about a pragmatic, efficient and out-of-the-box approach to transactions that will help me arrive at the most efficient deal, transaction and/or Financing arrangement possible. There is a great meeting of the minds with Kieron and Waleed and I enjoy working with Linklaters for this reason, amongst many others.’

Key clients

Al Ahli REIT

Alinma Bank

Arab National Bank

Banque Saudi Fransi

BNP Paribas

Citibank

Deutsche Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

Emirates NBD

Engie

Ezdan Holding Group Q.S.C

Farabi Petrochemicals Company

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

GEMS Education

Goldman Sachs

Government of the Emirate of Sharjah

Government of the Sultanate of Oman

HSBC Middle East Limited

Integrated Telecoms Company

Islamic Development Bank (together with Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector)

JBIC

KfW

Morgan Stanley

Qatar Islamic Bank

Qatar National Bank

Riyadh Bank

Samba Bank

Saudi British Bank

Saudi Electricity Company

Saudi Hollandi Bank

Saudi Railway Organisation

Savola

Standard Chartered Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

The National Commercial Bank

The Saudi British Bank

Vision Invest

Xenel Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on the US$12bn financing of Port & Free Zone World’s takeover offer for DP World – the first take private on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange.
  • Advised the financiers on the ground-breaking triple tranche high yield, conventional and Islamic financings to Advanced Energy Systems, totalling in excess of US$750m in commitments.
  • Advised GEMS Education, the world’s leading provider of private K-12 English-language education by revenues, on a $1.65 billion Term Loan B financing and subsequent partial refinancing via a $900 million 7.125% high yield bond.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright advises global financial institutions, major regional financial institutions and regional corporates. The team advises on a broad range of conventional and Shari'ah-compliant financings, including corporate and syndicated facilities, cross-border financings, project financings, real estate, trade finance and aviation finance. Mohammed Paracha, who heads up the Islamic finance practice in the Middle East and Africa, has expertise in areas such as real estate finance and project finance, to sukuk, Shari'ah governance and regulatory matters. Robin Balmer heads up the banking and finance practice in Saudi Arabia. Nicholas Robinson is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mohammed Paracha

Other key lawyers:

Robin Balmer; Nicholas Robinson

Key clients

HSBC and Mizuho Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale

Lenders to ACWA Power

Lenders to the winning consortium

Dubai Islamic Bank

BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA

Emirates NBD Bank (P.J.S.C.)

SMAA Developments Limited

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited

ABC International Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC and Mizuho Bank as documentation banks on a Shariah-compliant US$1bn Islamic finance facility.
  • Advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a US$500 million bond issuance by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC.
  • Advising the lenders, SCB, Korean Development Bank, MUFG, to ACWA Power in respect of their successful bid for the Umm Al Qwain 150 MG IWP project in the UAE, the first IWP project of its type being tendered by FEWA.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell has a full-service banking and finance practice that covers matters ranging from structured finance and acquisition finance to Islamic finance, asset finance and project finance. Amjad Ali Khan specialises in both conventional and Islamic finance, including structured finance, capital markets and investment products. Bashir Ahmed also advises international and domestic banks on a wide range of matters. Masood Afridi is another key individual, as is Rahat Dar.

Practice head(s):

Bashir Ahmed; Amjad Ali Khan; Masood Afridi

Other key lawyers:

Rahat Dar

Key clients

Citibank

National Bank of Fujairah

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Ajman Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

United Arab Bank

Sharjah Islamic Bank

Mashreq Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising longstanding client Citibank on a range of transactional and regulatory matters.
  • Advising International Capital Market Association (ICMA), International Securities Lending Association (ISLA) and other financial institutions on the status of derivatives and other complex financial instruments under UAE law.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has a wide client offering and offers conventional, Islamic and asset finance capabilities together with treasury and investments expertise and regulatory knowledge. The team also has expertise in debt capital markets, particularly in relation to sukuk issuances. Adil Hussain leads the Islamic and conventional finance practice, as well as the debt capital markets team. Ian Chung specialises in asset and trade finance, while Michael Nelson heads up the aviation finance practice.

Practice head(s):

Adil Hussain; Peter Hodgins; Matthew Shanahan; Ian Chung; Michael Nelson

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

AES Arabia Limited

Frontier Investment Management Partners

National Marine Dredging Company PJSC

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Select Group

Bank ABC

Mizuho Bank

Natixis

Bank of Singapore

Work highlights

  • Advising Humania SGHE 1 Holding Limited on a USD 25,000,000 mezzanine Murabaha facility arranged by NBK Capital Partners.
  • Advising AES Arabia Limited on a SAR100,000,000 Murabaha financing of a dividend recapitalisation.
  • Advising National Marine Dredging Company PJSC in relation to the EUR 73,500,000 Export Credit Facility extended by COÖPERATIEVE RABOBANK U.A. for the financing of the 8,000 m³ trailing suction hopper dredger, to be constructed and delivered by IHC Holland B.V. to National Marine Dredging Company PJSC.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper displays strong cross-border capabilities from its office in Dubai and advises borrowers and lenders, as well as both Islamic and conventional clients from financial institutions and corporates to sponsors and developers. The practice advises across the full spectrum of domestic and international finance transactions including asset and project finance, Islamic finance and sukuks, derivatives and capital markets. Paul McViety heads up the Islamic finance practice, while Trevor Butcher leads the finance and projects team. Regional managing director Peter Somekh has a strong background in finance and restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Peter Somekh; Trevor Butcher; Paul McViety

Testimonials

‘A team managed by Trevor Butcher and Robert Harker. High standing performance. ’

‘Availability and performance of the finance team. Knowledge of the financing and banking market’

Key clients

Alvarez & Marsal

Siemens AG (Siemens)

Bank of London & The Middle East (BLME)

China XD Plastics Company Limited (China XD)

Standard Chartered Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Al Kifah Holding Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Lagoon City Sukuk Company Limited on a first of its kind restructuring involving a $200m sukuk al Musharaka operated through Clearstream and Euroclear.
  • Acted for Siemens in its bid for the Fujairah F3 Independent Power Project, located in the Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.
  • Acted as the lenders’ legal adviser to Standard Chartered Bank and a consortium of lenders, in respect of the bid prepared by International Power S.A. Dubai Branch (Engie) for project financing to the development and construction of the world’s largest solar power plant project involving a 2 gigawatts greenfield solar photovoltaic plant in Al Dhafra in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

BHabib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International offers 'reliable' advice across a broad spectrum of work, including complex domestic and cross-border transactions, Islamic finance, trade finance, real estate finance and infrastructure/project finance. Practice head Sandeep Puri is 'knowledgeable' and 'meticulous'. Mazen Boustany, who heads up the financial regulatory practice, is described as 'very capable' and a 'true problem solver'.

Practice head(s):

Sandeep Puri; Mazen Boustany

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Prestige

Testimonials

‘The UAE market is generally split between international and local firms. Baker McKenzie, and their banking and finance practice, has the exceptional standing of combining the benefits of these two worlds. ’

‘Mazen Boustany is a very capable partner and he is exceptionally skilled in meeting and exceeding client expectations. He is a true problem solver without compromising on proper interpretation of the law.’

‘The teams in Baker McKenzie are very reliable when it comes to advising and drafting on financing structure and documentation either conventional or Islamic financing. It is also easy to get local legal advice from many jurisdictions in the world as the firm has presence in almost all major trading countries. ’

‘The partner whom I am dealing with is Sandeep Puri. He is well experienced and knowledgable in various financing structure and issues and appreciate the urgency and commercial aims of a deal.’

‘Their advice on transaction structuring, documentation and negotiation are specific areas of strength from our experience with Baker McKenzie. They have a practical approach to solving issues which is key for clients and effectively coordinate with foreign legal counsels for transactions where cross-border advice is required.’

‘Sandip Puri (Partner) is very hands-on and available to assist, even on short notice. His depth of knowledge on all matters related to banking and finance is outstanding. He is also able to coordinate well within the Baker McKenzie team i.e. with other partners to make sure that the firm can act as a one-stop shop for all legal matters even those not specifically pertaining to his domain of work. His quick responsiveness and grasp of issues are extremely valued and give us the sort of comfort that any in-house team looks for.’

‘Having a unique and diverse set of professionals gave BM an edge over other firms, especially for cross borders financing transactions. Beside their professionalism, their timely responses and easy access made them a preferred recommendation for the team. ’

‘Sandeep Puri (Partner-BM) and his team, enjoys a friendly and professional attitude, with a hands on opinion. He was able to respond to all our inquiries, irrespective of how meticulous it was, on a timely manner and reached out to other external sources in Dubai to provide us with the best opinion possible. ’

Key clients

Riyad Bank

Dar Al Takaful PJSC

Wasl Group

Five Holding Limited

Mashreqbank PSC

Dubai Health Care City FZ LLC

The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Warba Bank

Burgan Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted in the role of the Lender’s counsel to Riyad Bank in relation to the bid submission by Sojitz for the Jafurah Cogeneration Project in Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising Dar Al Takaful PJSC on the acquisition of Noor Takaful General PJSC and Noor Takaful Family PJSC from Noor Bank PJSC and Noor Investment Group LLC.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners has particular expertise in advising on large project finance deals in the water and power plant space. The practice has significant experience of assisting clients with ground-breaking PPPs and major IWPP projects. Other key areas of work include acquisition finance, property development and other structured finance transactions. Alan Rodgers in Dubai focuses on Islamic finance, project finance and debt capital. James Farn is based in Abu Dhabi and specialises in leveraged finance, property finance and development funding.

Practice head(s):

Alan Rodgers; James Farn

Testimonials

‘Excellent banking team who provide commercial and high quality technical advice. ’

‘Alan Rodgers is the go to partner who is very experienced in all aspects of corporate finance and banking. A very thorough and competent practitioner and good at innovative thinking.’

Key clients

Kraken

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Maersk Trade Finance A/S

JBF RAK LLC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreqbank psc, and Davidson Kempner European Partners LLP (Ad Hoc Coordinating Committee)

Taweelah Asia Power Company PJSC, Asia Gulf Power Service Company Limited, and Asia Gulf Power Holding Company Limited

Taweelah Asia Power Company PJSC – Sector change laws

Taweelah Asia Power Company PJSC – Reverse Osmosis (RO) ACWA project.

Al Khaleej Sugar Co LLC

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Korea Trade Insurance Corporation

Arab African International Bank S.A.E

Work highlights

  • Advised Kraken on particular UAE-financial free zone matters relating to the licensing and operation of a crypto exchange operation in the ADGM in particular with regard to dealings in dirham, deposit taking and protection, insolvency and client money- related issues.
  • Acted as UAE legal counsel to consortium of lenders to Naqa’a Desalination Plant LLC (Project Company for the 150 MIGD Seawater Reverse Osmosis Independent Water Project, Umm Al Quwain).
  • Worked with Clifford Chance Dubai and London and acted for the AHCC. This is the first major debt restructuring involving a UAE entity under the new 2016 Federal UAE Bankruptcy Law.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP demonstrates strong capabilities in commercial lending, restructuring and refinancing, derivatives, project finance (including project bonds), real estate finance and property development, as well as Shari’ah-compliant Islamic financing. Practice head Villiers Terblanche assists lenders and sponsors with matters ranging from regulatory issues to EPC contracts. Harj Rai is another key individual. The team is praised for its 'quality, knowledge, solution orientation'.

Practice head(s):

Villiers Terblanche

Testimonials

‘Quality, knowledge, solution orientation, creativity, communication skills, responsiveness, helpfulness of the lawyers is exceptional and unique.’

‘Craig Nethercot, Chirag Sanghrajka and Peter Norris are exceptional lawyers. They are willing to help clients think issues through and not necessarily on a paid basis. Their counsel in negotiating and structuring strategies is always extremely helpful.’

Key clients

Public Investment Fund

Tasnee

HSBC

Citibank

Etisalat

Standard Chartered Bank

Credit Suisse

Acciona Agua

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acting through the Ministry of Finance

Work highlights

  • Advised the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) on the procurement of three Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreements.
  • Advised on the financing of The Carlyle Group’s acquisition of a significant minority shareholding (between 30-40%) in Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U (CEPSA) from Mubadala Investment Company.  
  • Acted for the sponsor, PT Pertamina EP Cepu, on the project development and financing for the Jambaran-Tiung Biru Project (JTB Project), involving the construction and development of a gas processing facility and pipelines, with an expected allocation of 192-MMSCFC to the gas offtaker located in Bojonegoro Regency, East Java, Indonesia.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP is known for project financing, structured and trade finance, restructuring, Islamic finance, corporate borrowing and real estate finance. The practice advises on complex multi-sourced financing structures, involving both commercial and Islamic facilities. Middle East head of finance and managing partner David Charlier is a key name to note. Charlier specialises in the development, financing and acquisition of energy and infrastructure assets.

Practice head(s):

David Charlier

Other key lawyers:

Natasha Kavanagh

Testimonials

‘They are very proactive team members who are able to think like transactors in key deals where practicality is required.’

Natasha Kavanagh is a very proactive legal team member even worked with her before she was part of the team.’

‘In-depth knowledge of ME Lender side practices.’

Key clients

Gulf Capital

Ittihad International Investment LLC

ICICI Bank Limited

Indorama Corporation

Africa Finance Corporation

MUFG

SMBC

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC)

Work highlights

  • Advised the commercial lenders at all stages of the bid process, including preparing a due diligence report on the RFP project documents from a bankability perspective and proposing relevant mark-ups, as well as negotiating the financing term sheet and commitment letters.
  • Advised Red Sea Gate Terminal on the SAR1.54bn Shari’ah compliant financing provided by Banque Saudi Fransi and Al Rajhi Bank for the redevelopment and modernisation of the northern part of Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising the commercial lenders on the Marubeni-led project financing for the development, design, financing, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the Tanajib IPP.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP, which is noted for its strong international presence, advises borrowers and lenders on a wide range of banking and finance transactions. Its work covers areas such as trade finance and general finance. In addition, the practice also has a strong presence in project finance (particularly clean energy and renewables), and is able to advise on the full project lifecycle. Practice head Clint Dempsey has significant experience of advising on a wide spectrum of banking and finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Clint Dempsey

Key clients

Rasmala Investment Bank

HSBC Bank Middle East

Alubaf Arab International Bank P.S.C.

Al Dahra

Standard Chartered

Classic Fashion

Voltalia S.A

Arab National Bank

IDO (RAK)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Voltalia on the 40MW solar project in Egypt funded by EBRD.
  • Acted as borrower’s counsel to Classic Fashion in relation to a GuarantCo backed USD42,500,000 facility from Standard Chartered Bank.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

HFW

HFW has particular expertise in the transport and energy sector. Its practice is led by Shyamal Jeewoolall, who has a strong background in aviation finance. Tien Tai, who has a broad range of expertise, is particularly knowledgeable about marine finance. Another key individual is Vince Gordon, who advises on general finance, project finance, funds and financial regulatory work.

Practice head(s):

Shyamal Jeewoolall

Other key lawyers:

Tien Tai; Vince Gordon

Testimonials

‘Strong capable responsive team, from partner down. Time-sensitive, deadline specific, accurate and proactive. Higher end of the price spectrum, but you get the higher quality they routinely deliver within deadline, so lender and customers are willing to pay more for that reassurance.’

‘Tien Tai, always responds in a timely manner, commences engagement with a structured timeline for all deliverables and is commercially minded and proactive with advice.’

‘Our relationship for a long time has been with Vince Gordon, who is one of the UAE’s best transactional lawyers. We appreciate his experience, expertise and responsiveness.’

‘Vince Gordon is a stand out for his responsiveness, ability on cross border matters and commercial understanding.’

Key clients

Banque de Commerce et de Placements S.A.

COSCO Shipping Ports Limited

UBS Bank of Switzerland

Windcrest Limited, (investment company)

Emirates

HSBC Bank Middle East

Boubyan Bank K.S.C.P.

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC Bank Middle East and a syndicate of Middle East and Asian banks in respect of a $470 million five-year unsecured conventional and Islamic facility in favour of ALAFCO.
  • Acted for Cosco Ports in their construction and project financing of Khalifa Port in the UAE.
  • Assisting UBS in Geneva with the trade financing of Gulf Petrochem based in the UAE.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP advises regional and international clients on both conventional and shari’ah-compliant finance transactions spanning areas such as real estate finance and acquisition finance, among others. Jawad Ali heads up the team, which includes Nabil Issa, Michael Rainey and Asal Saghari.

Practice head(s):

Jawad Ali

Other key lawyers:

Nabil Issa; Michael Rainey; Asal Saghari

Key clients

Dalma Energy

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

Reem Integrated Healthcare Holdings Limited

NBK Capital Partners

KFH Capital Investment Company

Dimah Capital Investment Company

Riyad Capital

Soor Capital

Samba Capital

Gulf Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Reem Integrated Healthcare Holdings Limited on the successful closing of its construction financing package which will be used to develop a rehabilitation healthcare facility, a family medical centre and a children’s and women’s hospital on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi – UAE

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a wide range of expertise in transactions and projects, advising clients on debt, export credit, bond financing, Islamic financing and project finance. Practice head Victoria Mesquita Wlazlo is an 'outstanding finance lawyer' who has expertise in syndicated and corporate financing. Managing partner Ayman Khaleq is very experienced in advising on shari’ah-compliance.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Mesquita Wlazlo; Ayman Khaleq

Testimonials

‘The team have worked with us on a number of transactions and we have found MLB to have improved in each and every engagement. They have a solid understanding of our internal commercial drivers and our corporate culture. We find MLB to always be very responsive and able to leverage efficiencies of transactions – they will point out deficiencies in documentation and push the redrafting back to the other side, minimising direct spend. ’

‘We have worked with Partner Victoria Mesquita Wlazlo on a number of transactions. We can’t rate Victoria highly enough from the Client side. She’s thoroughly independent of any bank and has an MBA with a specialism in Islamic Finance which is of huge value for any client involved with complex Islamic Financing structures. I believe Victoria was travelling in the US for part of the last transaction, but we would never have known it!

‘Extensive knowledge on finance deals in the Middle East, in-depth knowledge of market practice. ’

‘Victoria Mesquita Wlazlo is an outstanding finance lawyer who offers practical knowledge of the Middle East finance sphere. She is always one to have in your team when doing a finance deal in the Middle East. Friendly, helpful and understanding of her clients’ needs.’

Key clients

Al Futtaim Investment Management Limited

Ahli Holding Group

Arden Group

Dubai Aviation City Corporation

Dubai Islamic Bank

Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC (UAE) and Khaleeji Commercial Bank (Bahrain)

FWU AG

Fly Dubai

Gulf Capital

Humania North Africa

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

Mashreqbank PSC

NBK Capital Partners

Noor Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel representing a healthcare fund as sponsor in relation to the US$125 million project financing.
  • Advised Dubai Islamic Bank on an AED 500 million commodity murabaha financing.
  • Acting as lead counsel to Dubai Islamic Bank on its AED397,500,000 facilities to Reem Integrated Healthcare Holdings.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's expertise spans aviation, shipping, energy, infrastructure, real estate and high net worth individuals/finance houses. Its key areas of activity include acquisition finance, project finance, asset finance, Islamic finance and general bank lending. Practice head Nijoe Joseph is an 'excellent lawyer'.

Practice head(s):

Nijoe Joseph

Testimonials

‘Over the past years working with Nijoe and his team , our experiences were stupendous through and through. The legal team know their craft and walk the extra mile for you. We have worked with the banking and finance team on a number of regulatory projects, such as data protection and consulted several corporate legal matters, and each one of them was handled with utmost care and professionalism, especially the impressive training Nijoe and his team have delivered, bravo! Highly recommended.’

‘Nijoe is an excellent lawyer who is always a phone call away for his client. He explained the law in clear language and outlined the steps that need to be performed in the process. His work is reassuring, clear, knowledgeable and effective. Over the years, we have worked with Nijoe and his banking/finance team. Not only do they do an excellent job every time, but they often surpass others by providing practical advice to protect the best interests of the bank. I strongly recommend Nijoe to anyone who needs sound legal advice.’

Key clients

Axis Bank Limited

ICICI Bank Limited

Gulf Petrochem

Standard Chartered Bank

Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC

China Construction Bank

Falcon Aviation

BNP Paribas

Simatech Shipping

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Fugro Middle East

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

National Bank of Fujairah

Work highlights

  • Advising Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC on the €69 million ECA-backed (Atradius Dutch State Business) structured bill discounting facility to the Damen Group.
  • Advising Axis Bank Limited and Standard Chartered Bank, in relation to acquisition financing for Thomas Cook India Group, the leading integrated travel services group, on its acquisition of a 51% stake in Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging.
  • Advising the Gargash real estate group in relation to a multi-million dirham financing, provided by Mashreqbank PSC, for the construction of a prominent residential tower in Dubai, UAE.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard undertakes a broad range of banking and finance work with Robin Hickman heading the practice. Hickman specialises in conventional and shari'ah-compliant banking and project finance matters, with particular expertise in real estate and debt restructurings. Managing associate Philip Chalmers offers valuable support to the team.

Practice head(s):

Robin Hickman

Other key lawyers:

Philip Chalmers

Key clients

HSBC

Lafarge Emirates Cement

Dragon Oil

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Punjab National Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Barclays

Emirates NBD Bank

Mashreqbank

GEMS Education

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for the creditor committee (on behalf of 44 banks) in respect of the multi-billion dollar restructuring of KBBO, a UAE investment group in healthcare, consumer products and data.
  • Acting for the creditor committee (on behalf of 28 banks) in respect of the USD1.3bn restructuring of Finablr Plc the formerly LSE listed holding company of UAE Exchange and Travelex.
  • Acting for certain lenders in respect of their exposures to NMC Health Plc, the embroiled global healthcare provider that was recently delisted from the LSE. Total debts are estimated to be US$6.7bn.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird demonstrates particular expertise in aviation finance and advises airlines, lessors and financiers on matters ranging from sale and leaseback deals to Islamic finance transactions. Communications and sports are other key sectors of strength. Gregory Man, who joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright, is the new global head of Islamic finance and is also the new head of banking and finance in the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Man; Anders Nilsson

Key clients

EMP structured assets GmbH

Emirates

ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited

Air Arabia PJSC

Telford Offshore Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising on the purchase, lease and ECA backed financing of six (6) A380-800 aircraft in six separate transactions.
  • Acting for Emirates on the refinancing by way of finance lease of two B777-300ER aircraft with Santander.
  • Advised Air Arabia on the purchase of 120 Airbus A320 NEO family aircraft worth USD 14 billion at list prices.

DWF Middle East LLP

DWF Middle East LLP's banking and finance practice is led by Umera Ali, who has experience of advising on matters relating to Islamic finance, conventional finance, debt capital markets, structured finance and acquisition finance transactions. Changes in the team included the departure of Yaser Yaqub, who joined Acwa Power. Majed Al Marshed also left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Umera Ali

Key clients

Itqan Investment Limited

Home Re-2019

Blockshifters GmbH

Burgan Wealth Limited

Rise Wealth Technology

Riyad Bank

Neutral Capital Finance PLC

Linklease Finance PLC

Bahra Advanced Cables Manufacturing Company Limited

Bin Sulaiman Holding Company Limited

Byrne Equipment Rental

Al Ain Finance PJSC

Work highlights

  • Advising Itqan Investment Limited on the settlement of a loan transaction between Olive Summit Limited, as lender, and Itqan Investment Limited as borrower.
  • Acting for Riyad Bank in relation to the SAR 299,925,000 working capital facility agreement which it entered into with Sahara Petrochemicals Company and Ma’aden Phosphate Company.
  • Advising Neutral Capital Finance PLC on its capacity as issuer of a green US$50m medium-term note Eurobond programme. (the “Borrower”).

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's banking and finance expertise is particularly evident in the infrastructure, energy and real estate sectors. In a significant development, Matthew Escritt joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2020 to lead the banking and finance practice. He has experience across all aspects of cross-border finance and is also sought out to advise on restructuring and insolvency mandates. Tim Armsby heads up the Middle East projects and finance practice. Associate Matthew Dyson is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Escritt

Other key lawyers:

Tim Armsby; Matthew Dyson

Testimonials

‘Have worked well with Matthew Escritt in the past and found him to be very technically competent, able to navigate difficult legal issues with a view to getting the deal done.’

‘Matt is a very available partner.’

Key clients

Meraas Holding

Al Rajhi Bank

Lulu Group

Mashreq Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

YES Bank Limited

Emirates NBD

Bank of Muscat

Al Fahim Group

Work highlights

  • Acted as borrower’s counsel to Lulu Group on the financing of its development of the Intercity Hotel, Zurich Airport, Switzerland.
  • Advising Dubai Islamic Bank on a variety of mandates, notably in the real estate and public sector.
  • Advise the Meydan group in relation to various aspects of their real estate and real estate finance (both investment and development).

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP offers expertise in project finance, capital markets, derivatives, structured finance, funds and tax. Iain Goalen has extensive experience advising on specialist banking and finance transactions. Philip Stopford is also noted. The team is praised for its 'availability' and for its 'vast network of experts.'

Practice head(s):

Iain Goalen; Philip Stopford

Other key lawyers:

Sanja Udovicic; Claire Hunter

Testimonials

‘Availability of the team during the tough Covid-19 period was important. The team have provided the insights needed to drive the deal forward. They have made sure that our requirements are met and the objectives and targets of the deal are met within our expected timeline and boundaries set.’

‘Accessibility to the experts of all business aspects is vital in our work, the team have provided us with the expertise from their end or have tapped into their vast network of experts to support us.’

Sanja Udovicic and Claire Hunter of the team were vital team players to deliver on the target, they have proven their values through our constant and multiple meetings and interactions up to the date of delivery for the deal. The capabilities showcased and insights provided to us has managed to help in the completion of the deal.’

Key clients

Mubadala Investment Company PJSC and its subsidiaries

Islamic Development Bank

The Dow Chemical Company

National Commercial Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

Standard Chartered (Dubai)

JBIC

Wafra Investment

ACWA Power

ENGIE

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East displays in-depth sector knowledge in the asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, healthcare and life sciences and TMT sectors. Transactional banking, debt capital and financial regulatory advice are key areas of focus. Muneer Khan heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Muneer Khan

Key clients

SEDCO Capital

Dubai Islamic Bank

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams has a 'very commercial' banking and finance team that offers 'excellent advice', particularly in the energy, transport and real estate sectors. It frequently advises on complex cross-border transactions. Andrew Baird, who is 'exceptional', specialises in cross-border asset and project finance. Oliver Tebbit and Michael Savva are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Baird; Oliver Tebbit; Michael Savva

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Knight

Testimonials

‘Very commercial. Quick to respond. Excellent advice and subject knowledge.’

‘Andrew Baird is exceptional. Charlotte Knight is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable with a great future. One to watch.’

‘The team, both the partner and associate, had been extremely hands on and proactive.’

‘Very responsive especially when you needed their help and reliable deliverability.’

Key clients

Invicta Finance

JP Morgan Securities PLC

Standard Chartered Bank

Ahli United Bank

Bank of London and the Middle East

Gulf Bank KSCP

Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA

BNP Paribas (Suisse)

Northern Shipping Funds

Siraj Power

Work highlights

  • Assisted Kuwaiti Bank with the restructuring of $150m of debt financing arrangements to a Middle Eastern media group.
  • Advising leading UAE distributed solar energy provider, SirajPower, on the US$50m portfolio financing of rooftop solar photovoltaic assets from multilateral development financial institution The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporate (“APICORP”).
  • Advising the Federal Electricity & Water Authority of the UAE (FEWA) on the procurement and completion of the US$800m project financing arrangements and documentation for the largest water desalination plant in the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain.