John Cunha > ASAR - Al Ruwayeh & Partners > Kuwait City, Kuwait > Lawyer Profile

ASAR - Al Ruwayeh & Partners
Levels 36, 37 (main reception) & 38 Assima Tower
Othman Bin Affan St

Work Department

Banking & Finance; Capital Markets & Securities; Competition; Corporate; Mergers & Acquisitions; Private Equity




John is a banking and finance, capital markets and M&A partner based in Kuwait and has been with the firm since 2006. Aside from practising law in Kuwait, John is also admitted as a solicitor of the Senior Courts in England and Wales and as an attorney in the High Courts of South Africa.

John has extensive experience advising on debt capital markets transactions in Kuwait and regularly advises issuers, arrangers and underwriters in relation to a wide range of debt and liability management transactions. Added to this, he advises local and international financial institutions on national regulations, derivatives, repo’s and securities lending and credit support documentation.

John also has a multi-faceted international banking and finance practice and has acted for both lenders and borrowers, ranging from local bilateral deals to complex cross-border syndicated facilities and project financing.


Kuwait Sovereign Bonds Issuance: Advised the State of Kuwait, acting through the Ministry of Finance and represented by the Kuwait Investment Authority, on the establishment of its Global Medium Term Note (GMTN) Programme and Kuwait’s inaugural dual-tranche, US dollar-denominated international debt capital markets issuance thereunder. The Notes issued on 20 March 2017 for USD8-billion, were offered and sold in reliance on Rule 144A and Regulation S and were admitted to trading on the Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
USD3.4-billion Acquisition of Kuwait Food Company (Americana): Provided counsel to the acquirer of a 93.4% stake in Kuwait Food Company (Americana) a then Kuwaiti listed entity. This was a complex public acquisition transaction with a record-breaking deal value of approximately USD3.4-billion. The transaction set several precedents and landmarks in addition to winning the prestigious IFLR M&A Deal of the Year Award for 2017.
ECA Financing: Offering guidance to a syndicate of lenders consisting of seven Export Credit Agencies in relation to the financing of Kuwait National Petroleum Company Clean Fuels Project. The overall cost of the project is KWD3.4-billion (USD11.35-billion), and is part of the Kuwait’s KWD30-billion (USD100-billion) economic development plan.
Privatization of the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Boursa Kuwait): Advised the  Capital Markets Authority (the CMA) of the State of Kuwait in relation to the landmark privatization of the Kuwait Stock Exchange (now known as Boursa Kuwait) which culminated with the sale by the CMA of 44% of its shares held in the capital of Boursa Kuwait through a developed bidding process. This resulted in the winning bid being placed by the international consortium comprised of the Athens Stock Exchange, National Investments Company, Al Oula Investment and Arzan Financial Group.


English, Portuguese and Afrikaans


Admitted as a Solicitor (England and Wales), 2007
Admitted as an Attorney (South Africa), 2000
Member of the Legal Practice Council of South Africa, 2000
Member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, 2007

Member, of the International Bar Association, 2024



Master of Laws (LLM) in International Trade Law, University of Stellenbosch, 2007
Master in Business Administration (MBA), University of the Free State (in collaboration with De Paul University in Chicago, USA), 2001

Baccalaureus Procurationis (B.Proc.) in Law, University of the Free State, South Africa, 1998

Lawyer Rankings

Kuwait > Banking and finance

(Leading individuals)

John CunhaASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners

ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners‘ banking and finance practice ‘stands out as a beacon of excellence in Kuwait‘, and the team’s ‘unwavering dedication and meticulous approach have cemented their reputation as the crème de la crème‘. The sizeable group is home to senior partner Sam Habbas, Rob Little, Ibrahim Sattout, Ezekiel Tuma and John Cunha; the quintet’s expertise spans bilateral and syndicated financing, private equity matters, project finance, trade finance and Islamic finance. Tuma has particular expertise in handling acquisition financing and restructuring mandates, and Little is singled out for his strength in assisting with securities and Sukuk transactions. In the capital markets space, Cunha is instructed by issuers, arrangers and underwriters on debt capital markets transactions.

Kuwait > Commercial, corporate and M&A

(Leading individuals)

John CunhaASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners

ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners‘ corporate practice is home to a team of ‘seasoned professionals with deep knowledge of the local market‘. The group stands out for its strength in handling M&A transactions and corporate governance matters. Rob Little and Sam Habbas have extensive experience in M&A and restructuring, and Paul Day advises domestic and international clients on franchise and distribution matters and establishing operations in Kuwait. Recent instructions include John Cunha and Luis Cunha advising Saudi Arabian company Jadwa Investment on its acquisition of a 35%  stake in the Gissah Perfumes Company. Ezekiel Tuma is well versed in handling commercial and corporate transactions in Kuwait, and Ibrahim Sattout stands out for providing ‘excellent, clear and useful advice‘.