Firm Profile > Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy > Cairo, Egypt
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy Offices
12 MOHAMED ALI GENAH STREET
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy > The Legal 500 Rankings
Banking and finance Tier 1At Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy, 'responsiveness and commerciality are what distinguishes the firm compared to many others', according to one client. Mahmoud Bassiouny has an impressive client roster that includes Banque Misr, HSBC and Credit Suisse. The firm also advises borrowers on debt finance transactions and capital markets issuance, and acts for private equity investors. Senior associate Nadia Abdallah and counsel Ashraf Hendi are other names to note.
‘Mahmoud Bassiouny is a pleasure to deal with and encapsulates the firm’s responsiveness and commerciality.‘
‘Hend El Kharboutly, a junior associate, shows significant promise. A strong communicator who always goes far above and beyond when it comes to getting transactions closed out.‘
‘Nadia Abdallah is one of the best lawyers I’ve worked with. She provides incisive advice and has exceptional transaction management skills.‘
‘Responsiveness and commerciality are what distinguishes this firm compared to many others. Mahmoud Bassiouny is a pleasure to deal with and encapsulates the firm’s responsiveness and commerciality.’
EFG Private Equity
Lekela Egypt Wind Power BOO S.A.E.
Dubai Aerospace (DAE)
Syndicated lenders, led by Arab African International Bank, National Bank of Egypt, HSBC and Arab Bank
Export-Import Bank of China, Bank of China Ltd., Beijing branch and China Development Bank
Credit Suisse AG, London Branch and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited
EFG Hermes IB Limited
Coca Cola Bottling Company in Egypt S.A.E.
Middle East Glass Manufacturing Company S.A.E.
Uniboard for Paper & Cardboard Manufacturing Company S.A.E.
Financial Holdings International Ltd
Tanemyah Microfinance S.A.E
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy 'provides a unique level of service to foreign clients, as the team offers international quality legal advice at a sophisticated level'. The 'always accessible' Omar Bassiouny leads the corporate practice, which works extensively with international law firms including Clifford Chance LLP and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. New partner Amr Baggatto, formerly of Helmy, Hamza & Partners (member firm of Baker & McKenzie International), has expertise in M&A and capital markets work. The firm recently handled flagship transactions in the oil and gas, healthcare, hospitality, education and FMCG sectors.
‘Matouk Bassiouny provides a unique level of service to foreign clients. Their team offers international quality legal advice at a sophisticated level in the English language. They have expertise in local law, policy and practices as strong as any Egyptian Law firm but they are able to deliver the right advice to foreign clients in a way that they can understand and drive decision making. This is not easy to find in Egypt.‘
‘Omar Bassiouny deals with issues immediately when they are raised. He runs a busy practice and is often travelling but he still manages to make his clients feel valued.‘
Helios Investment Partners
EFG Private Equity
Sherman & Sterling
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Allen & Overy
Slaughter and May
Clyde & co
NBK Capital Partners
Solvay Alexandria Sodium Carbonate
Dhunseri Petrochem Limited
Development Partners International
Arabian Holding Company
Hassan Allam Holding
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy frequently works in partnership with international law firms to handle cross-border arbitration. It recently worked with King & Spalding LLP to secure a $2bn award for Union Fenosa Gas from the Egyptian government. The practice, which is led by Amr Abbas and John Matouk, acts for blue-chip clients in high-value matters in many fora across Africa and Europe, and has a successful track record in cases involving the telecoms, energy, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, finance and construction sectors.
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy has one of the largest practices in Egypt and frequently works with international law firms in high-value commercial, employment and white-collar disputes. Amr Abbas, who mainly handles arbitration but also plays a key role in the litigation practice, practice head John Matouk and Mohamed Shehata, who rejoined the firm from telecoms company Etilsat Misr, are key names. Associate Momen Rezk is also noted.
‘Amr Abbas is a very bright litigator. He knows the laws and regulations in Egypt very well and is able to find legal support for most arguments in a dispute.‘
‘John Matouk is very commercial. He takes charge of matters and is quick to suggest commercial solutions to move things forward when the regular legal processes are taking time. He has been a valuable participant in negotiations for us, by bridging cultural and language differences.‘
‘The team, led by John Matouk from day one of a very litigious and time-consuming mandate, has been very profound in its legal evaluation of the matter. All predictions which were very clear have proved to be supported by the Egyptian courts. In addition the team was very responsive and to the satisfaction of the common client always available with helpful information.‘
‘John Matouk stands out as a very experienced and profound counsel who not only is truly international but also has much insight into the Egyptian legal system and the functioning of the courts. He is very clear in his advice which also proved to be confirmed by the Egyptian courts.‘
Sun Infinite Energy
Skoda Auto (Volkswagen Group)
Egyptian Resorts Company
Union Fenosa Gas
Energy Tier 1
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy's energy practice brings together expertise from its finance, corporate and litigation groups to advise lenders, borrowers, contractors, project developers and sponsors on oil, gas and power projects. One of the first firms in Egypt to work on renewable power projects, it maintains a prominent role in that fast-growing market. Head of finance and projects Mahmoud Bassiouny is the key contact.
Projects and infrastructure Tier 1
At Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy, the corporate and finance practices combine to work with international law firms on market-leading projects, frequently in the energy sector. Mahmoud Bassiouny leads the finance and projects group in both the Cairo and Sudan offices, and works for sponsors, developers, contractors and suppliers on large projects. Counsel Ashraf Hendi who joined from Al Tamimi & Company is also noted.
Maridive Oil & Services
Sonker Bunkering Company
Maridive Offshore Projects
Sterling & Wilson
Union Fenosa Gas/ Spanish Egyptian Gas Company S.A.E
TMT Tier 1
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy climbs the ranking having formalised its TMT practice with the return of litigator and practice head Mohamed Shehata from his role as general counsel at major telecoms operator Etisalat Misr, which is now among the firm's key clients. The practice co-ordinates corporate, finance and litigation skills. Its media work includes a landmark trade mark enforcement action for Sony Pictures.
Employment Tier 2
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy enters the ranking following the establishment of a dedicated employment practice that not only handles labour issues concerning corporate restructuring and M&A transactions, but also advises domestic and international clients on contracts, regulations, employee benefits, recruitment and dismissals, remuneration, investigations and disputes. Corporate partner Tamer El Hennawy, litigator Menha Samy and senior associate Yomna Elshibawi are the key contacts.
‘I have enjoyed working with Yomna Elshibawi and the team at Matouk Bassiony. They have been helpful and knowledgeable.‘
DLA Piper UK
DLA Piper US
Projects of Mounir Nakhla
Intellectual property Tier 2
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy enters the ranking having grown its client base under the guidance of legal manager and IP specialist Menna Elsherif and corporate partners Omar Bassiouny and Tamer El Hennawy. Following a watershed case for a US entertainment company, in which it recovered rights to content owned by an Egyptian TV channel, the firm has developed a strong caseload of IP prosecution and registration matters, as well as handling due diligence in corporate transactions.
‘The firm has an efficient and responsive team of lawyers, with an in-depth knowledge of Egyptian law and practice.’
Arqaam Securities Brokerage S.A.E.
Arqaam Capital Egypt Holding for Financial Investments S.A.E.
Arqaam Capital for Promoting Underwriting and Financial Advisory for Financial Securities S.A.E
Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy > Firm Profile
The firm: Matouk Bassiouny was officially established in 2002 as a partnership between John Matouk and Omar Salah Bassiouny; and became part of DLA Piper’s global network of offices shortly afterwards.
Since establishment, the firm has been providing full legal services to clients in corporate and M&A matters; banking and project finance; capital market matters; as well as dispute resolution, whether in litigation or arbitration.
The firm is now an independent law firm, and has significantly grown as regards the number of lawyers and clientele size, with a leading position in Egypt and regionally; and has built on its name and expanded by opening offices in Dubai, UAE, and Khartoum, Sudan. The firm also has offices in Algeria and Libya.
Areas of practice: Corporate and M&A: The Corporate/M&A group can assist with all aspects of corporate transaction, from initial term sheets and due diligence to negotiations, drafting and completion. The team specializes in providing general corporate and M&A advice to a wide range of multinational corporations, private equity firms, fund managers and blue-chip investors in Egypt and the region.
Capital Markets: The Capital Markets group specializes in securities-related transactions involving the Egyptian Exchange and the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (including bond issuings), funds management, IPOs, listing and dual securities listing.
Dispute Resolution: The Dispute Resolution group’s primary goal is to effectively manage risk and resolve disputes pursuant to our client’s strategic interests – be it through amicable negotiation, litigation and arbitration.
Finance and Projects: The Finance & Projects group has substantial experience in providing local legal advice on asset-based finance, infrastructure finance, project finance and real estate finance, as well as on the strengths and weaknesses of local security available to lenders in the Egyptian market.
|Corporate and M&A||Omar Salah Bassiouny (Founding Partner and Head of Corporate/M&A)|
|Corporate and M&A||Tamer El Hennawy (Partner and Co-Head of Corporate and M&A)|
|Capital Markets||Mohamed Abd El Fattah (Partner and Head of Capital Markets)|
|Dispute Resolution||John Matouk (Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution)|
|Finance and Projects||Mahmoud Bassiouny (Managing Partner, Head of Finance and Projects)|
Staff FiguresPartners : 16 Fee Earners : 137 Support Staff : 82
Doing Business In
Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East and the third most populous in Africa, with over 100 million inhabitants. Egypt occupies a strategic position. It is in the heart of the MENA region and is a major country in both the Arab world and Africa. Egypt has one of the largest and most diversified economies in the Middle East, which is projected to become one of the largest in the world in the 21st century. It has the third-largest economy in Africa and the world’s 40th-largest economy by nominal GDP.
The Egyptian economy is gaining momentum since the government has been strongly promoting economic reforms.
The Egyptian legal system is based on the civil law system. Its most important legislation is the Civil Code, which mirrors principles of the Napoleonic code. It also adopts Islamic law principles in specific areas, such as family law and personal status matters. In recent years, many of Egypt’s investment-related laws were reformed.
Companies Law Reform
In January 2018, Law no. 4/2018 amending the Companies Law was issued. Among other amendments, the aforementioned law introduced the sole person company for the first time. The sole person company is owned by one person, either a natural or a juristic person, who retains all the management powers. The minimum share capital of a sole person company is EGP 50,000 to be paid in full upon incorporation. The sole person company is essentially a limited liability company with one shareholder who is only liable within the limits of the capital of the company, except in limited cases where the corporate veil of the sole person company may be pierced.
New Investment Law
The new Investment Guarantees and Incentives Law no. 72/2017 (the “Investment Law”) was issued in May 2017 and further established and consolidated the one-stop shop system that enables investors to obtain permits and licenses directly from the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) instead of multiple government entities.
Tax Law Reform
Presidential Decree 96/2015 was issued in August 2015, amending the Egyptian Income Tax Law as follows:
Personal Data Privacy Law
The Egyptian Parliament approved a new data protection law on February 24, 2020. The law will be published in the official gazette upon the President’s ratification. The new law defines personal data and sensitive data.
The new law sets out obligations on data controllers and processors concerning the required consent of individuals and legitimacy of collection and processing. The new law grants individuals a number of rights pertaining to their data such as the right of providing explicit consent on data collection and processing, rescinding consent, correction and erasing their data as well as the right to be informed of any breach thereto.
The new law includes establishing the Personal Data Privacy Centre as the regulator of data privacy, the mandate of which will include issuing licenses, ensuring compliance with the new law, and investigating complaints.
The Parliament is discussing a draft law proposing amendments to the law no. 67/2010 of public-private partnership (PPP). The draft law adds the operation and utilization of existing projects to the scope of PPP projects, and presents new methods of awarding projects other than public tenders. In addition, the proposed amendments cut red tape such as the prequalification requirement and restrict the mandate of the petition committee.
On the other hand, the Cabinet approved a draft law amending the banking law. The law will be introduced to the State Council and the Parliament for discussion and approval. The draft law, if passed, will include for example: (i) increasing the minimum capital requirements for banks; (ii) licensing e-payment and fintech businesses; (iii) authorizing the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to regulate cryptocurrencies; and (iv) requiring all banks’ fiscal years to start in January.
FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN EGYPT
Joint Stock Companies
Generally, joint stock companies must be formed with a minimum share capital of EGP 250,000. The minimum required capital amount may be higher depending on the activity of the company and the regulations related thereto. Only 10% must be paid at the time of incorporation, to be increased to 25% within 3 months, and the remaining amount of the nominal value of the shares is to be paid up within 5 years.
At least three founding shareholders and at least three directors must be appointed in the company. Directors are required to hold regular meetings, which provides for higher level of corporate governance. It is easier for a JSC to raise funds, as its shares can be offered to the public and traded on the Egyptian Exchange.
Founding shares and shares issued in return for in-kind (i.e. non-cash) contributions may not be transferred until the financial statements of two full fiscal years are published. The Prime Minister can waive the above restrictions in relation to joint stock companies established under the Investment Law.
Directors and shareholders need not be Egyptian nationals, unless the company carries out one of the restricted activities set out below. Forming an Egyptian joint stock company takes five business days as of the date of submitting all documents in good order to the competent authority.
Limited Liability Companies
FOREIGN INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS
In principle, there are no nationality restrictions in connection with foreign investment in Egypt. However, specific activities such as commercial agency and importation with the purpose of trade include nationality requirements. Certain regulatory approvals are required for foreign and local investments in Egyptian banks and insurance companies exceeding 10% of the issued shares. Foreign ownership of land is restricted in the Sinai Peninsula.
According to CAPMAS, Egypt inflation rate reached the lowest level in nearly a decade in October 2019 to reach 2.4% compared to 17.5% a year earlier. Despite slight fluctuations in inflation rates in the following months, CAPMAS further announced that the annual inflation rate fell to 6.8% in January 2020, compared to 12.2% in January 2019.
Main Trade Sectors
Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat and one of the largest producers and exporter of potatoes, after the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Oil and Gas
This guide does not constitute legal advice, nor does it purport to address every legal issue or summarize the current rules, structures or regulatory frameworks.
Mahmoud Bassiouny, Managing Partner and Regional Head of Finance & ProjectsMahmoud Bassiouny explains how he is adapting to clients’ changing needs
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Matouk Bassiouy & Hennawy from your competitors?
We are very proud at Matouk Bassiouny to have created a diverse workplace, where people from different genders, backgrounds and nationalities can exchange ideas and consolidate on existing knowledge. This is far from being an “achievement”, as we are aware that diversity, inclusion, and knowledge sharing must be a continuous work in progress that takes into account both the shifting dynamics and realities in our region, as well as the nature of the business of law, which has sometimes pushed lawyers to hoarding and self-centred approaches in regard to work and clients.
What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?
We believe in specialization. In 2013 we were the first firm in Egypt to decide on implementing core practice groups (as opposed to the then prevailing generalist model). We have also started implementing sector groups that cut horizontally across the practice groups, with the aim being to create a space for lawyers from the different practice groups to focus and foster knowledge in specific sectors. We are seeing an exponential increase in knowledge sharing and a reduction in the time lawyers need to understand a specific issue.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Some industries will die!
Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?
We firmly believe that our role is to add value to the business, and not just explain the legal requirements. This value was most evident during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, and the years succeeding that, where we had to implement creative structures to diffuse and mitigate labour unrest (our Disputes Resolution group), implement structures that reduced tax and liability exposure (our Corporate and M&A group), and help clients structure project financings in high risk times and move trapped cash out of Egypt (our Finance & Projects group).
Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?
Clients operating in the region have to deal with fast paced political changes regionally, and disrupting technologies globally. We are seeing this affect our clients in many ways, but we are optimistic as we believe that challenges push us towards evolution and change.
Published: August 2019
Authors: Ahmed Abdel Gawad Dina Hussein Sherif
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Technology laws and regulations that may occur in Egypt.
Egypt: Lending and Secured Finance
Published: April 2020
Authors: Mahmoud Bassiouny Nadia Abdallah Amgad Nagy Nourhane Hegazy
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Lending and Secured Finance laws and regulations that may occur in Egypt.