Capital markets in United Arab Emirates
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP handles DCM and ECM work including both conventional and Islamic deals for issuers and banks. Khalid Garousha advised the underwriters on Emaar Development's IPO: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, First Abu Dhabi Bank and EFG Hermes. Turning to debt products, Anzal Mohammed assisted the joint lead managers with Damac's $400m issuance of trust certificates listed in Ireland and Nasdaq Dubai; another agenda-setting deal was advising the government of Sharjah on issuing RMB2bn of "panda bonds" (a renminbi-denominated instrument issued on the Chinese markets by a non-Chinese entity). In addition, Bilal Ahmed acted for the joint lead managers of Oztel Holding's $600m issuance of secured notes, which were issued in order to refinance Omantel's purchase of Zain; Ahmed also has a track record of handling Islamic deals such as advising the managers of Mazoon Electricity Company's debut sukuk. Other clients include the joint lead managers of Bahrain's issuance of $2.15bn of bonds and $850m of sukuk. In public M&A, Andrew Schoorlemmer advised Abraaj Capital on selling its 5.5% stake in Euronext-listed petrochemicals company OCI, among other block trade-related work.
At Clifford Chance, Mike Taylor handles ECM work, some of which crosses into the Saudi market. Turning to debt instruments, Stuart Ure advised Emirates REIT on an issuance of five-year trust certificates, and on the other side of the fence assisted banks including Arab Banking Corporation and Emirates NBD with Albaraka Turk's issuance of $205m of sukuk, which qualified as Basel III-compliant regulatory capital. Other clients include the Omani government, which Ure advised on establishing its global medium-term note (GMTN) programme.
Linklaters handles both equity and debt deals, with the latter including some more unusual issuances. In ECM, Scott Campbell advised Emaar Development as international counsel on its $1.3bn IPO on the Dubai Financial Market, working alongside the firm's London office. In debt work, Jonathan Fried assisted Omantel as international counsel with its issuance of $1.5bn of notes under Regulation S. Fried also acts for investment banks; he advised a consortium of banks including arranger HSBC (and also several others as dealers and manager) on the emirate of Sharjah's establishment of a sukuk programme. Other highlights include advising Standard Chartered as lead manager on Qatar National Bank's issuance of $720m in Formosa bonds: bonds sold by non-Taiwanese issuers in Taiwan denominated in non-Taiwanese currency - managing associate Dalia Nammari was part of the team handling this matter. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is another client.
White & Case LLP's 'knowledgeable team' was bolstered by the arrival of Sean Johnson, who rejoined the Dubai office from New York. He, Matthew Wood and Michael Watson advised Emirates Sembcorp on issuing $400m of bonds to refinance a 760MW, 600,000m3/day energy and desalination plant. The trio also assisted Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline LLP, a subsidiary of Adnoc, with issuing $3bn of senior secured bonds connected to the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline project. Sukuk specialist Debashis Dey advised cornerstone client Saudi Aramco on its debut sukuk issuance programme, of which SAR11.25bn was issued, and also acted for the government of Dubai on an update to its $6bn trust certificate issuance programme. In other work, Dey advised the arrangers and dealers on Saudi Arabia's update to its $12.5bn GMTN programme. Sami Al-Louzi, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP, handles work including advice to investment banks.
Al Tamimi & Company
Al Tamimi & Company stands out for its 'extensive local experience and relationships and global best practice, enabling it to provide solutions for its clients'. Husam Hourani has 'a unique ability to identify and resolve regulatory and transaction-related challenges for publicly offering and listing companies in the UAE'; he advised Emaar Development as local counsel on its IPO, which raised $1.3bn. The firm also assisted Ithmaar Holding with gaining a secondary listing on the Dubai Financial Market. Mohamed Khodeir and senior associate Yousef Al Amly advised Union Cement on a take-private, including delisting its shares from the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). In Abu Dhabi, Alex Ghazi advised Wahat Al Zaweya Holding on listing its shares on ADX's secondary market. Other ECM clients include United Arab Bank, which Hourani assisted with a rights issue. Turning to debt capital markets, Jody Waugh advised Acwa Power on the local law elements of a bond issuance connected to existing power projects. Divya Abrol Gambhir has securitisation expertise, including matters concerning novel revenue streams. Andrew Tarbuck, who is based in the firm's Dubai office, is a new hire from Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP. Ahmed Ibrahim is now at Matouk Bassiouny & Ibrahim- in association with Amal Advocates and legal Consultants.
Dentons handles a range of sukuk work, as well as some conventional debt matters. Alex Roussos advised the joint lead managers (including Standard Chartered and Emirates NBD) on Emirates REIT's $400m issuance of trust certificates listed in Ireland and offered to the US market under Regulation S, and on the issuer side assisted Mazoon Electricity Company with $500m of trust certificates issued under Rule 144A and Regulation S. Other issuer side work includes advising Damac on a tender offer of existing debt, and a new senior unsecured sukuk issuance to replace it.
King & Spalding LLP handles a range of capital markets work, however sukuk is very much a core strength. The group advised Emirates NBD Bank on issuing a $125m private placement sukuk issued by Damac, and also assists the same investment bank and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector as joint lead managers with a proposed issuance by Bin Haider group. On the issuer side, the team acted for Barwa Bank on creating a $2bn Irish-listed trust certificate programme. James Stull handles ECM matters and listed REITs work. Hamed Afzal is a key senior associate. Rizwan Kanji joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in May 2019.
At Latham & Watkins LLP, Nomaan Raja advised Nogaholding on creating a $3bn GMTN programme, and the subsequent issue of $2bn of notes due in 2027. He also assisted JP Morgan with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's issuance of Formosa bonds due in 2047. Islamic financing highlights include advice to Standard Chartered on Noor Bank issuing a five-year sukuk totalling $500m, for which there were orders of $1.07bn. Also in the sukuk space, Harj Rai assisted NCB Capital Company with Maaden Phosphate Company's issuance of a SAR3.5bn sukuk. Craig Nethercott, who divides his time between London and Dubai, is another notable name, as is Basil Al-Jafari, who was recently promoted to counsel. Nethercott worked with Raja on several issuances of Saudi Arabian sovereign notes. One notable restructuring highlight is that of the Dana Gas sukuk, replacing the existing one, which is subject to high-profile litigation, with a new one using a more Islamically-conservative wakala structure.
Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla's Mazen Boustany, working with the firm's teams in Cairo and London, advised EFG Hermes as sole global coordinator on DIFC-registered company Ades International Holding's IPO on the London Stock Exchange. He also assisted the banks underwriting the IPO of Aster DM Healthcare, and acted for Dar Al Takaful on an AED50m rights issue on the Dubai Financial Market. Matthew Shanahan handles cryptocurrency-related work.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP handles a range of work concerning block trades and private placements. Haitham Hawashin advised Tabarak Investment on a 40% acquisition of United Arab Bank via block trade on ADX. In debt capital markets-related work, Hawashin advised Abu Dhabi Financial Group on a $100m guaranteed note issuance.
Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP has expertise in sukuk, advising multilateral financial institutions on sovereign issuances, among other matters. Rahail Ali is the firm's global head of Islamic finance, with Imran Mufti also a key contact. Clients include the IFC, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and the government of the Ivory Coast.