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

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has a ‘deep partner and associate bench‘ in its corporate finance and Islamic finance practice. The team is capable of fully resourcing complex financings and has been active in all the key Islamic finance centres across London, the Middle East and Asia. Qudeer Latif heads the global Islamic finance practice and has extensive experience advising on Islamic financial services and products, from sukuk and financial regulation to project and infrastructure finance. Mohamed Hamra-Krouha and Richard Parris are key names to note in the firm’s project finance group. Stuart Ure and Graham Brewer are also noted. Changes in the team include Nicola Reader‘s promotion to partner in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Qudeer Latif

Other key lawyers:

Richard Parris; Mohamed Hamra-Krouha; Robin Abraham; Edmund Boyo; Graham Brewer; Stuart Ure; Nicola Reader

Testimonials

A deep partner and associate bench with a second to none reputation in the market.’

Stuart Ure, Graham Brewer, Nicola Reader, Qudeer Latif – all of whom have been in the region and with Clifford Chance for over a decade. They display in-depth market knowledge and take a pragmatic/commercial approach to transactions.’

Key clients

Government of Maldives

Islamic Corporation For The Development Of The Private Sector

Standard Chartered Bank

EBRD

Mobile Telecommunications Company K.S.C.P.

HM Treasury

DP World

Emirates NBD

Dubai Islamic Bank

Boubyan Bank K.S.C.P.

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

Work highlights

  • Advised the Joint Lead Managers in connection with the Arabian Centres Sukuk II Limited issue of $650m Trust Certificates due 2026 with Arabian Centres Company (“ACC”) acting as Obligor.
  • Advised Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank as arrangers on certain amendments and restructuring to the 2014 financing in respect of Dubai Parks and Resorts (Bollywood Park, Dubai Parks Hotel, Legoland Park and Motiongate Park).
  • Advised the Government of the Maldives on the establishment of its Reg S/144a $1bn sukuk programme and debut issuance of $200m thereunder.

Dentons

Dentons has a sizeable banking and finance practice in the region and is a go-to firm for large bilateral or syndicated transactions. In May 2021 Alex Roussos was appointed as the head of the banking and finance practice in the UAE and the Middle East. Roussos specialises in debt, hybrid and equity-linked capital markets transactions (both conventional and Islamic). Qasim Aslam heads the Islamic finance practice in the region and advises across the full spectrum of Islamic finance. Middle East managing partner Paul Jarvis is also noted and has a particular interest in ship and aircraft finance.

Practice head(s):

Alex Roussos

Other key lawyers:

Qasim Aslam; Paul Jarvis

Testimonials

Dentons is one of the firms we reach out to directly for our large bilateral or syndicated transactions. The team is solid and its quality of work gives the comfort that any banking or corporate client looks for. They are definitely a firm of choice for our banking transactions.’

The team gives a great sense of confidence to us as an in-house counsel. They are easy to reach, very responsive, user friendly and apply a practical approach when finding solutions for problems which is key.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB)

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC (ADIB)

Aldar Properties PJSC

Banco Santander S.A

Commercial Bank of Dubai PJSC

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB)

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

HSBC Middle East Limited

Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

Kuwait International Bank

Khaleeji Commercial Bank

Mashreqbank PSC

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Snam

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

Work highlights

  • Advising Aldar Properties on a sustainability-linked loan of AED 300m from HSBC Bank Middle East.
  • Advising Banco Santander S.A., and a syndicate of banks, in relation to an English law governed $166m syndicated lease financing of international logistics group Tristar.
  • Advising IsDB on the issuance of $2.5bn trust certificates under its $25bn trust certificate issuance programme.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP handles a broad range of mandates within project finance, development finance and corporate finance. The firm advises clients in both the private and public sectors including banks, asset managers, brokers, insurers, fintech entrepreneurs and sovereign wealth funds. Claire Matheson Kirton leads the leveraged finance group and works closely with some of the leading banks in the region. Alexander Malahias in Abu Dhabi is a key name to note within the firm’s project finance offering. William Watson was promoted to partner in the debt finance practice in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Claire Matheson Kirton; Alexander Malahias; William Watson

Key clients

The Red Sea Development Company

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC)

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)

Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC)

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co.

Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC)

Gargash Enterprises

Emaar

Metro Jeddah Company (MJC)

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank

HSBC

National Commercial Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Gulf International Bank

J.P. Morgan

Citigroup

Goldman Sachs International

Deutsche Bank

Emirates NBD

Societe Generale

Dubai Islamic Bank

IHS Towers Limited

Dar Al-Handasah Consultants

Work highlights

  • Advised The Red Sea Development Company on the signing of key finance documents for Phase One of The Red Sea Project, the revolutionary tourism giga project currently under development on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.
  • Advised EWEC in connection with the PV2 IPP involving the development of a 2GW solar project, together with a grid station and associated facilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • 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 $800m refinancing.

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company is a ‘one stop shop for all legal services‘ and has ‘unparalleled‘ knowledge of local banking and finance laws. The team’s specialties are wide ranging, from project finance and Islamic finance to asset finance and derivatives. Practice head Jody Waugh is ‘brilliant and commercially oriented‘. Mamoon Khan focuses on bilateral/syndicated lending, structured trade finance and aircraft finance transactions. Mark Brown is also noted and advises on transactional lending, product development, insolvency and project finance.

Practice head(s):

Jody Waugh

Other key lawyers:

Mamoon Khan; Mark Brown

Testimonials

‘ATCO’s corporate finance team in UAE is involved in most of our high profile transaction in the market. Their knowledge of the nuances of all free zones in UAE is unparalleled and they provide very competitive fee arrangements.’

‘Jody Waugh is a brilliant and commercial oriented partner, with an outstanding knowledge of local laws.’

Tamimi is a one stop shop for all legal services. The team is always very practical in giving advice and will often focus on the real issues to simplify matters. They are on top of all law updates and our “to go to” firm for all queries on new laws and to find practical solutions to problems.’

The team has a “can do” attitude to all of our assignments and will always try and find practical solutions to problems. This is key for us and to any corporate or banking client. The team is very approachable and user friendly.’

Key clients

ADNOC

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Standard Chartered Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

ACWA Power Global Services Limited (“ACWA”)

ICICI Bank Limited

Bank of India

Mashreq Bank

Arab African International Bank

UAE Central Bank

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has a sizeable banking and finance practice with expertise in Islamic finance, conventional and ECA financing across the full range of loan products. Julian Johansen, who has extensive expertise advising on major financing transactions involving roads, rail and infrastructure PPPs now heads the practice. Samer Eido and Kyle Nevin have a broad conventional and Islamic finance practice. Anthony Traboulsi is another key name to note and heads the firm's civil law banking offering in the region.

Practice head(s):

Julian Johansen

Other key lawyers:

Samer Eido; Kyle Nevin; Sajjad Juma; Anthony Traboulsi

Key clients

ADCB

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Mubadala

Meraas

Emirates Global Aluminium

GEMS

Standard Chartered Bank

Credit Suisse

BNP Paribas

JP Morgan

Work highlights

  • Advised Japan Bank for International Cooperation and NEXI on a total co-financing amount of approximately $927m for the development of a waste-to-energy facility in Warsan, Dubai.
  • Advised the National Bank of Bahrain BSC on a high-profile GBP150m term loan facility to McLaren Group.
  • Advised Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and Saudi National Bank (the mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners) on the $3.76bn term loan and revolving credit facility. The financing qualified as a green finance credit facility – securing its status as a green project.

Linklaters

Linklaters has a team of Islamic finance specialists with experience handling multi-sourced conventional and Islamic transactions. Kieron Zaman heads the UAE finance group and advises UAE and international banks and companies on development financing, investment grade financing, acquisition finance and real estate finance. Dubai and Saudi-based Omar El Sayed advises on all aspects of bank lending, particularly syndicated loans and Islamic financings. Counsel Reem Al Sayegh is also noted and has a strong syndicated and secured financings practice. Andrew Jennens has relocated to the London office.

Practice head(s):

Kieron Zaman; Omar El Sayed; Reem Al Sayegh

Other key lawyers:

Iina Pakkala

Testimonials

‘Kireon Zaman and Reema Al Sayegh are excellent.’

‘We work on a regular basis with Linklaters teams based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We do appreciate their commitment to the client and ability to consistently meet deadlines. Team members are approachable and always keen to provide detailed explanations.’

‘Kieron Zaman is my go-to lawyer for Islamic finance. Reem Al Sayegh is the next-generation partner and always able to deliver quality works. Among the associates, Iina Pakkala is worth mentioning.’

Key clients

Emirates NBD Bank

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)

Alinma Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Samba Financial Group

Mashreqbank PSC

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC

Citibank NA

Dubai Islamic Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Gems Menasa (Cayman) Limited

Central Bank of the UAE

National Commercial Bank

Ahli United Bank B.S.C

Work highlights

  • Advising the creditor committee on the debt restructuring of Drake & Scull International PJSC.
  • Assisted GEMS Education in raising $150m under a privately placed high-yield note with funds provided by US and European investors.
  • Advising Meydan City Corporation on the restructuring and recapitalisation of its existing indebtedness.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has an experienced transactional banking practice that covers general banking, real estate finance, export credit finance, trade finance, acquisition finance and asset finance. Banking and Islamic finance practice head Mohammed Paracha has extensive expertise in real estate finance, project finance, sukuk, Shariah governance and regulatory matters. Robin Balmer is a key contact in the region and heads the banking and finance practice in Saudi Arabia. Nicholas Robinson is another key individual in the firm's UAE offering.

Practice head(s):

Mohammed Paracha

Other key lawyers:

Robin Balmer; Nicholas Robinson

Key clients

HSBC

Standard Chartered Bank

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch

Societe Generale

BNP Paribas

First Abu Dhabi Bank

EmiratesNBD

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Mashreqbank

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Work highlights

  • Advised the book-runners and mandated lead arrangers on a $1.75bn sustainability-linked credit facility to EmirateNBD Bank PJSC (ENBD), involving a syndicate of leading international banks.
  • Advising the lenders to ACWA Power and GIC in respect of the development and financing (both conventional and Islamic) related aspects of the 900MW photovoltaic fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
  • Advised APICORP and National Bank of Fujairah in respect of all aspects of the structuring and financing by Total Solar of a portfolio comprising 30 rooftop solar projects in the UAE as part of the Dubai Shams Rooftop initiative.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell has a full service banking and finance practice and advises on matters relating to structured finance, acquisition finance, Islamic finance, project finance and regulatory work. Senior consultant Amjad Ali Khan co-heads the practice alongside Bashir Ahmed, who specialises in loan and credit facilities, syndications, Islamic finance and regulatory matters. Senior associate Rahat Dar is also noted and has expertise in Islamic and conventional financing structures.

Practice head(s):

Bashir Ahmed; Amjad Ali Khan

Other key lawyers:

Rahat Dar

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP advises on structured and trade finance, corporate borrowing and real estate financing. A key area of focus is multi-sourced financing structures for energy and infrastructure projects. Managing partner and practice head David Charlier has extensive project financing experience across the full spectrum of the energy and infrastructure sectors. Senior associate Natasha Kavanagh advises both sponsors and lenders on the structuring and financing of projects.

Practice head(s):

David Charlier

Other key lawyers:

Natasha Kavanagh

Testimonials

The partners and team have experience and knowledge of the local dynamics.’

Key clients

Asyad Group

Lamar Holding W.L.L.

Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Limited

Vision Invest

ACWA Power International

DP World

Alinma Bank

Gulf International Bank

Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi British Bank

SAMBA

SMBC

SMTB

ADNOC

Work highlights

  • Advising ADNOC, as procurer, on two independent sub-sea high voltage direct current systems, comprising of cables and onshore and offshore converter stations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on a build-own-operate-transfer basis.
  • Advising the commercial lenders on the Marubeni-led project financing for the development, design, financing, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the Tanajib IPP, a new cogeneration independent steam and power plant.
  • Advising the funders on the financing of the expansion, construction, operation and maintenance of a container terminal operated by DP World at Jeddah Islamic Port.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's banking and finance practice is divided into four key areas: conventional finance, Islamic finance, asset finance (marine and aviation) and financial services regulatory advice. Adil Hussain acts as the Middle East head of banking and finance, as well as the firm's global head of Islamic finance. Financial services and insurance specialist Peter Hodgins is highly regarded. Other key individuals include Ian Chung, who focuses on corporate finance, and aviation finance expert Michael Nelson.

Practice head(s):

Adil Hussain

Other key lawyers:

Peter Hodgins; Ian Chung; Michael Nelson; Matthew Shanahan; Abdelhak El Kinany

Testimonials

‘First class service and knowledge of our sector which is insurance, lending, debt and structuring.

I cannot speak more highly of Peter Hodgins. I treat him like a member of our team and he is always on hand to assist when we need advice and guidance.’

‘Clyde is a professional client-focussed legal firm. Able to respond and act swiftly to clients requests.’

‘Abdelhak El-Kinany – He is passionate about his job, has extensive knowledge of the LMA agreements, strong ability to explain and express his views and position to client, good communication skills and ability to resolve conflict and disagreements. Committed and available to client.’

‘The team are proactive, helpful and commercial in their approach. Clyde’s as a firm is very commercial and their fees for quality advice are very reasonable.’

Key clients

Capital For Life FZE Ltd

DEX Holdings Limited

Stanford Asia Holding Company

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC

Kenya Airways

Flynas

Air Arabia PJSC

Dell Bank International DAC

EDM Capital Ltd

Bank of Singapore Ltd

National Marine Dredging Company

Work highlights

  • Advised on the debt restructuring of Stanford Marine Group’s $308m facility by SHUAA Capital.  
  • Advising a new fintech start-up, DEX Holdings Limited on the establishment of operations in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
  • Advised National Marine Dredging Company in relation to the contribution of 100% shares of NPCC to NMDC in exchange for a convertible note subscribed by SENAAT (shareholder of NPCC) that will become, further to the conversion of the note, the majority shareholder of NMDC.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises on both conventional and Islamic finance for clients on the borrower and lender side. Key areas of focus include real estate finance, asset and project finance, sukuks, restructuring and insolvency. Paul McViety heads the firm’s UAE banking and finance practice and is the head of Islamic finance practice for the region. Managing partner Peter Somekh advises on a range of finance and restructuring mandates. Head of finance, projects and restructuring James Iremonger is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Peter Somekh; James Iremonger; Paul McViety

Other key lawyers:

Robert Harker; Richard Dassin

Testimonials

‘The practice always tries to find structural solutions on our Islamic financing structures. They are very customer friendly.’

‘Great banking & finance practice & great value. Their advice is always clear and concise.’

‘Paul McViety and Richard Dassin are excellent lawyers within this field.’

‘Quick turnaround, competitive pricing, always available and consistently delivering output to a high standard.’

‘Rob Harker is a very practical and sensible practitioner who is always available for clients.’

Key clients

Alvarez & Marsal, the liquidators of Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited

Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain) B.S.C. (KFH)

Emirates Islamic Bank

Boubyan Bank KSCP

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

BHabib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International has a broad domestic and cross-border practice that covers Islamic financing, trade financing, real estate financing, infrastructure/project financing and acquisition financing. Sandeep Puri heads the UAE banking and finance practice and has expertise in both conventional and Islamic finance across a range of asset classes. Mazen Boustany has extensive banking and finance experience particularly in Islamic finance, structured finance, securitisation and private equity, among other areas.

Practice head(s):

Sandeep Puri; Mazen Boustany

Testimonials

‘The corporate finance team is composed of very highly qualified and bright individuals who deliver to the highest standard. They are supported by other, all very qualified departments and a very responsive admin team to ensure the entire experience, from engagement to closing, is a seamless experience. It is hard to get this level of service outside of London and NY and they have achieved it.’

‘Sandeep Puri is excellent to work with. He is sharp, focused and understands his client’s needs with tremendous astuteness.’

‘Very speedy and responsive, even at the most senior levels. Provide excellent legal advice and supports the client throughout any difficulties and challenges faced, especially when legal advice is challenged.’

‘Mazen Boustany – fantastic, knowledgeable, approachable, and well connected. Takes complicated requests and simplifies them. Helps solve business solutions from a legal context’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD

Credit Agricole

HSBC

MUFG Bank Ltd

Standard Chartered Bank

Government of Egypt

Wasl Group

Five Holding Limited

Dar Al Takaful PJSC

Agility

Mashreqbank PSC

The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

Warba Bank

Burgan Bank

Dubai Health Care City FZ LLC

Work highlights

  • Acted as legal counsel to the Egyptian government, acting through the Ministry of Finance, on the signing of a $2bn syndicated financing transaction.
  • 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 strong local expertise and frequently advises on acquisition finance, corporate restructuring and Islamic finance mandates. The practice has an experienced project finance offering and regularly advises sponsors on large projects. Practice head James Farn has expertise in leveraged finance, property finance, development funding, trade finance and project finance. Alan Rodgers focuses on Islamic finance and project finance.

Practice head(s):

James Farn; Alan Rodgers

Testimonials

‘Great bench depth across the banking team.’

‘Alan Rodgers is a superb practitioner with rigorous intellectual skills combined with a pragmatic commercial approach.’

Key clients

KBBO Group

Drake & Scull International P.J.S.C.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADEX)

Work highlights

  • Advising a large diversified investment group headquartered in the UAE that operates in four principal sectors (healthcare, food, retail, and education) on the ongoing financial restructuring of the Group.
  • Advising a global industry leader that delivers state-of-the-art projects and solutions across its high-performance sectors, on its current financial restructuring.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP has a strong client base that includes financial institutions, government-related entities, private equity firms and funds. The practice has a broad range of expertise and is led by Villiers Terblanche, who specialises in complex infrastructure transactions and regulatory reform projects. Chirag Sanghrajka has extensive experience advising clients on all phases of development and financing of energy, telecoms and infrastructure projects. Key changes to the team include the return of Christian Adams from an in-house position, bolstering the firm's finance and restructuring capabilities in the UAE.

Practice head(s):

Villiers Terblanche

Other key lawyers:

Chirag Sanghrajka; Christian Adams; Peter Norris

Testimonials

‘Their key strengths are being: solution orientated, knowledgeable, responsive, helpful, able to think out of the box.’

‘Their exceptional level of responsiveness with tailored solutions and consistently high-quality work product despite time differences, pandemic-related constraints and tight turnaround times.’

‘Appreciated working with Chirag Sanghrajka. His professional candid demeanour is assuring and he strikes one as being extremely competent, efficient and effective in his field of expertise and this is well reflected in the services received. When engaging with him protracted interactions are not needed as his depth of subject matter knowledge and prior relevant experience allow him to quickly grasp the issues and propose a feasible solution.’

Key clients

Public Investment Fund

Global Infrastructure Partners

Saudi Ports Authority

TruKKer

Jabal Omar Development Company

HSBC

The Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited

Nedbank

Riyad Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its landmark $15bn multi-currency revolving credit facility.
  • Advised the EBRD, the OPEC Fund, the AfDB, and Arab Bank on a $114m financing package, also involving financing from the Green Climate Fund, for the construction of ACWA Power Kom Ombo solar power plant in the Aswan Province, Egypt.
  • Advised a consortium on bridge financing in connection with a minority investment agreement with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for the consortium to invest in select ADNOC gas pipeline assets.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP advises a range of domestic and international banks and has expertise in assisting clients with both the borrower and lender side. The practice has a strong focus on the renewable energy space and is regularly instructed by developers and lenders. Practice head Clint Dempsey focuses on project finance, trade finance, real estate and development finance and Islamic finance.

Practice head(s):

Clint Dempsey

Testimonials

‘Overall I would call out Eversheds for being super responsive on our last transaction. The team fully aligned with the client side and we avoided the need for lengthy video calls to explain the commercial position.’

‘We worked primarily with Clint Dempsey. Clint was on hand at all times leading the team and his inputs gave us a high level of confidence that we had bankable documentation for an end-user start up.’

‘Quick response and efficient.’

‘Clint is very responsive.’

Key clients

Classic Fashion Apparel Ltd Co

HSBC Bank Middle East

Omnix International Co. LLC

Voltalia

Bank Julius Baer

Scatec

Rasmala Investment Bank

Rasmala Real Estate Fund

HFW

HFW has a strong focus on infrastructure and project finance, ship and aviation finance and leasing and Islamic finance, among other matters. Practice head Shyamal Jeewoolall has extensive experience advising airlines, aircraft leasing companies, banks and financiers. Asset finance partner Tien Tai focuses on ship and project financing matters. Vince Gordon has a broad finance practice that covers project finance, funds and financial regulatory work.

Practice head(s):

Shyamal Jeewoolall

Other key lawyers:

Tien Tai; Vince Gordon; Barbara Pansadoro

Testimonials

‘I was particularly impressed by the performance of Senior Associate Barbara Pansadoro on a recent transaction. Barbara has very strong work ethics and a sense for defending her clients’ interests with a poised, reasonable approach. In addition, I was impressed with Barbara’s ability to turn around reviews, questions, e-mails or take phone calls over an astonishingly long timespan each day, making the time-difference virtually inexistent.’

Key clients

Banque de Commerce et de Placements S.A.

COSCO Shipping Ports Limited

UBS Bank of Switzerland

Windcrest Limited, (investment company)

Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank

Caterpillar Finance

Work highlights

  • Advised Credit Agricole Indosuez and other lenders on the restructuring of McDermott International’s rig operations in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia.
  • Assisted CA-CIB with a commercial loan transaction in respect of a new Airbus A350-900 to be leased to Cathay Pacific Airways.
  • Advised Windcrest Holdings on introducing to the UAE market a new business in high specification off road vehicles.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP advises on both conventional and Shariah compliant financings across real estate finance, acquisitions, funds, asset finance and project finance. Managing partner Jawad Ali has extensive experience developing and implementing Shariah compliant financing and investments. Nabil Issa has a strong cross-border M&A, private equity and finance practice. Other key names to note include Michael Rainey and Asal Saghari.

Practice head(s):

Jawad Ali; Michael Rainey; Andrew M. Metcalf

Other key lawyers:

Nabil Issa; Michael Rainey; Asal Saghari

Testimonials

‘The team is deeply experienced and well connected across the GCC region, which brings real-world solutions to each situation.’

‘The individuals have a good sense the cultural norms which makes cross border transactions easy and efficient.’

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)

NBK Capital Partners

KFH Capital Investment Company

Dimah Capital Investment Company

Riyad Capital

Soor Capital

Samba Capital

Gulf Capital

GFH Financial Group

Qatar First Bank

Derayah Capital

Global Gate Capital

Cerberus Capital

Franklin Templeton

The Northern Trust Corporation

KAMCO Investment (DIFC) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Windcrest Holdings on structuring the acquisition of a private Swiss fund, among other matters.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has an experienced Shariah compliance practice that handles multi-sourced financings, Islamic finance, corporate finance and project finance. Ayman Khaleq heads the practice and has extensive experience advising on Islamic finance, particularly in relation to sustainable sukuk issuances. Changes to the team include the departure of Victoria Mesquita.

Practice head(s):

Ayman Khaleq

Testimonials

‘The firm has a good understanding of what Shariah advisors look at in order to endorse a structure as Shariah compliant, close communication with the Shariah advisor to facilitate understanding.’

‘Ayman Khaleq is very hands on and has a strong understanding of what we, as Shariah advisors look at in undertaking the review and endorsement process of a particular structure/transaction. Ayman is also quick to suggest alternative ways and easy to discuss and brainstorm with in order to make a structure work.’

‘Ayman Abdel Khaleq impresses me with his technical depth, high level of knowledge regarding the region and excellent command over latest industry trends.’

Key clients

Al Ahli Holding Group

Al Futtaim Investment Management Limited

Dubai Islamic Bank

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

Fly Dubai

FWU AG

Gulf Capital

Humania North Africa

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

Mashreqbank PSC

NBK Capital Partners

Noor Bank

SHUAA Capital

Work highlights

  • Represented SHUAA Capital in a $50m sukuk issuance by Pure Harvest Smart Farms, one of the leading high-technology vertical farms operators in the region.
  • Advised Humania North Africa Holding Limited and its majority owner, the Bait Al Batterjee Medical Company, on an equity investment from three development banks of up to $108.5m.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP frequently receives instructions on cross-border transactions, both secured and non-secured. The team also works closely with export credit agencies and development finance institutions. Practice head Matthew Escritt advises on all aspects of structured cross-border finance. Other key names include project finance specialist Tim Armsby and Tom Bicknell, who focuses on clients in the financial services including fintech start-ups and insurers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Escritt

Other key lawyers:

Tim Armsby; Tom Bicknell; Matthew Dyson

Testimonials

‘Helpful approach and responsive to client requests.’

‘Mathew Dyson has been efficient and helpful, with a commercial approach.’

Key clients

Meraas Holding

Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation

Lulu Group

Mashreqbank

YES Bank Limited

Emirates NBD

Bank of Muscat

Al Fahim Group

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Mizuho

Dubai Islamic Bank

Consolidated Contracting Company

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium of Saudi and international banks on the 300MW solar power plant being procured in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising Meraas Holding LLC on a broad range of Islamic finance mandates.

Stephenson Harwood

Under the expert leadership of Nijoe Joseph, the 'commercially savvy' team at Stephenson Harwood assists both borrowers and lenders with the full spectrum of banking and finance matters across the Middle East region and beyond. Aviation, shipping, energy, infrastructure and real estate are sectors of particular expertise. In February 2022, Rustum Shah joined from Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP to head up the firm's Islamic finance offering.

Practice head(s):

Nijoe Joseph

Other key lawyers:

Rustum Shah

Testimonials

‘The experience with Stephenson Harwood LLP over the years has been remarkable. The firm has been successful in delivering within the committed timelines and the attention of partners to matters entrusted is quite commendable. Further, the firm’s fee proposal has been quite competitive without any compromise on quality of work.’

‘Nijoe Joseph is an excellent lawyer and someone who understands the specific requirements of his clients and provides assistance based on those needs. He gets involved quite deeply into matters that are entrusted to him which gives clients the comfort that the advice provided by the firm is effective and in their best interests. Being a relationship partner as well for us, he has managed the relationship quite efficiently and has always been in touch. Nijoe provides practical advise to his clients highlighting the pros and cons of a matter and hence is highly recommended for sound legal advice.’

‘They are very commercially savvy. They help get the deal done while protecting our interests.’

‘Nijoe Joseph is a trusted partner that I can count on. He’s proactive and very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

EnTrust Global’s Blue Ocean Funds

Yellow Door Energy Limited

National Bank of Fujairah PJSC

Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited

Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

China Construction Bank

ICICI Bank Ltd

Axis Bank

ICBC Bank

FIM Bank (Malta)

Bank of Baroda

Jumbo Electronics

Work highlights

  • Advising EnTrust Global’s Blue Ocean Fund on a loan facility to United Overseas Group in relation to its acquisition of United Arab Chemical Carriers, a Dubai-headquartered international shipping company.
  • Advising Yellow Door Energy on the project financing of five solar power plants in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, led by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
  • Advising the National Bank of Fujairah on a $45m financing for Stanford Marine Group.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams advises on a range of secured and unsecured debt financing transactions for banks and financial institutions. Practice head Andrew Baird focuses on cross-border asset and project finance and is praised for his ‘commercial and solutions driven attitude‘. Other key names to note include Michael Savva and associate Charlotte Knight, who is ‘results driven‘ and ‘intelligent‘.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Baird

Other key lawyers:

Michael Savva; Charlotte Knight

Testimonials

‘Very impressed by the firm in all aspects, main strengths include: broad and deep knowledge of the renewable energy sector; very strong on financing documentation and portfolio financing in particular; legal advice – never loses sight of the commercial realities; very patient, flexible and supportive when encountering delays and unforeseen events; access to expertise from more mature markets, in particular their London team.’

‘Andrew Baird – extremely knowledgeable, easy to deal with, commercially minded, strong network, patient.’

Without doubt the best experience we have had with any lawyers in the UAE, hence the reason we have returned to them for multiple work streams. The main differentiator has been the clear and unambiguous advice they give, their commercial mindset, their market expertise and sector knowledge, and the patience and support they provide at all steps of the way without constantly trying to increase fees like most other lawyers.

‘Andrew Baird: Long-standing experience in maritime sector, both with banking or other finance parties and industry clients. Extensive knowledge of international maritime corporate finance related issues and transactions. Deep knowledge of shipping industries, its problems and practices. Problem solver and bridge builder never losing sight of client’s interest. Commercial and solution driven attitude based on his experience and understanding of the sector. Hard worker, delivering on promises.’

Charlotte Knight: Results-driven, intelligent, knowledgeable and hard-working lawyer who knows her way in the maritime sector. Delivers as promised, never loses overview in complicated transactions, bringing all parts of a transaction successfully together. Strong with people, whether client or not always focusing on delivering high quality work within agreed time frames.

Key clients

Viken Aurum Shipowners Holdings Limited

Maritime Equity Management LLC

Siraj Power Holding Limited

Various clients

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to VASHL in respect of the pre-delivery financing of two Aframax-type LR2 vessels equipped with Liquified Natural Gas propulsion currently under construction at Guangzhou Shipyard International.
  • Advised Maritime Equity Management LLC on the DIFC law aspects of a wider restructuring transaction in relation to United Arab Chemical Carriers Limited.
  • Acted for Siraj as the borrower under a groundbreaking $50m secured portfolio project financing of rooftop solar PV assets.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard advises both borrowers and lenders on a broad range of debt restructuring transactions. Robin Hickman has extensive experience in the region and has a strong finance and restructuring practice. Changes in the team include the promotion of Philip Chalmers to managing associate, and the arrival of Victoria Mesquita, who strengthens the practice's ability to service instructions concerning Islamic finance.

Practice head(s):

Robin Hickman

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Mesquita; Philip Chalmers

Key clients

HSBC

Mashreqbank PSC

Standard Chartered Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank

JP Morgan

Barclays

National Bank of Fujairah

Emirates NBD Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Work highlights

  • Advised Mashreqbank PSC who, through its Islamic finance division Mashreq Al Islami, provided $260m Islamic facilities to the Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC).
  • Acting for the steering committee of creditors (on behalf of 38 banks) in respect of the multi-billion-dollar restructuring of KBBO, a UAE investment group in healthcare, consumer products and payment systems.
  • Acting for the steering committee of creditors (on behalf of 26 banks) in respect of the $1.3bn restructuring of Finablr Plc, the formerly LSE-listed holding company which controls payments companies UAE Exchange and Travelex.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird has in-depth Islamic finance expertise with a particular focus on aviation finance. The practice is led by Gregory Man, whose arrival in late 2020 from Norton Rose Fulbright has bolstered the firm’s finance and regulatory capabilities in the UAE. Legal director Ganna Vlasenko is another key name to note and has expertise across debt and equity capital markets, structured finance and securities regulation.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Man

Other key lawyers:

Ganna Vlasenko

DWF Middle East LLP

DWF Middle East LLP acts for a range of clients in the UAE including lenders, financial institutions, funds, sponsors, borrowers, and issuers. Practice head Umera Ali specialises in Islamic finance and structured finance and advises clients in the financial services, energy and transportation sectors. Ali has been increasingly active in the renewable energy and sustainable finance space.

Practice head(s):

Umera Ali

Key clients

Bin Sulaiman Holding Company

VIP Investment Holdings

Novelis Incorporated

Novelis Incorporated

Link Lease Finance PLC

Al Hamra Real Estate Development LLC

International Polymers Company

BodySmart Finance Limited

Neutral Capital Finance PLC

Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries PSC (“Julphar”)

Novelis MEA LTD.

UNICUS Investments Holding Limited

GFH Westside

Ibrahim & Partners

Ibrahim & Partners advises on a broad range of banking and finance matters and has expertise in ADGM and DIFC regulatory matters. May El Ghamry has a strong background in banking and her expertise covers project finance and syndicated loan transactions, feed-in tariffs and PPP. Ahmed Ibrahim specialises in ECM transactions and corporate restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Ahmed Ibrahim; May El Ghamry

Testimonials

Highly supportive, well-experienced/highly exposed, and very prompt in providing their feedback and service in the agreed upon timeline.’

May Adel is always available and ready to assist even during holidays.’

The team working with us has the following strengths: 1- They are well organized. 2- Well acquainted with our requirements. 3- Highly supportive. 4- Prompt with their feedback. 5- Excellent lead time in providing the required service.’

Key clients

Arab International Bank

Allied Partners PSC

Arab African International Bank (UAE)

Amanat Holdings PJSC

Commercial International Bank

Linklaters

Meraas

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised AIB on the credit facility with Orascom Construction S.A.E and Orascom Construction PLC with an amount of up to 800 million Egyptian Pounds (appx. $51m), as well as compliance with the LIBOR regulations.
  • Acted as the CIB’s legal counsel in connection with a credit facility extended by the CIB to Starwood Industries, LLC (Egypt) as the borrower, and Starwood Industries LLC (UAE) as the guarantor.
  • Advised Amanat Holdings PJSC in relation to a common terms agreement of up to AED 405 million.

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's UAE banking and finance practice is led by Amir Ahmad, who joined the firm in 2019. Ahmad has expertise advising lenders and borrowers on multi-sourced (Islamic) and ECA-supported financings, leveraged finance, real estate development, project finance and general corporate financings. He is supported by senior associate Umbreen Meenai, who also has a broad conventional and Islamic finance practice.

Practice head(s):

Amir Ahmad

Other key lawyers:

Umbreen Meenai

Testimonials

The team are forward thinking legal experts providing commercial solutions in a complex market place. They have advised in a simple and straightforward manner to ensure stakeholders are engaged. They have gone above and beyond in meeting the client’s needs. They have an incredibly diverse team providing us with plurality in thought when advising.’

Amir Ahmad has led the team, providing restructuring and insolvency advice. He has become the trusted advisor to the corporate, navigating us through complex insolvency matters to ensure compliance and value add. His management skills ensure his team deliver cutting edge advice in a timely manner. Amir’s understanding of the commercial and practical realities sets him apart from his competitors.’

The team is well versed in conventional and Islamic banking and finance, making them one of the very few firms in the regions and globally able to provide legal advice that is commercially tailored to client’s needs.’

I have worked with Amir Ahmad and Umbreen Meenai who were very supportive, detail oriented and provided the best possible advice to the benefit of the lenders and negotiated to lenders’ advantage with the borrower’s counsel.’

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a full-service finance practice with a global presence, covering a range of areas including project finance, acquisition finance, ECA financings, restructuring and Shariah compliant financing. Philip Stopford and Abu Dhabi-based Laleh Shahabi co-head the UAE banking and finance practice. Shahabi was promoted to partner in July 2021 and has expertise in project finance and development transactions.

Practice head(s):

Philip Stopford; Laleh Shahabi

Other key lawyers:

Claire Hunter

Key clients

Mubadala Capital

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East has a strong sector focus and advises on a wide range of transactional banking matters, including asset finance, project finance, derivatives and restructuring. Advising on funds is another area of focus. Muneer Khan heads the practice and is an Islamic finance specialist.

Practice head(s):

Muneer Khan

Key clients

J.P. Morgan

Work highlights

  • Acted for J.P. Morgan as lead counsel on its Islamic structured products programme.