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White & Case LLP

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United Arab Emirates

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP handles work including project finance and bank lending for highly prestigious regional clients. Clare Matheson Kirton  advised a consortium of lenders led by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Standard Chartered on a $300m loan to Meydan Group for financing its Meydan One project, in a transaction insured by Italy's export credit agency Sace. On the borrower side, she also advised Etihad Airways on borrowing $300m from Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD via a commodity murabaha. Antoine Cousin also has project finance expertise, and is advising Saudi National Commercial Bank on a proposed financing of a PPP-procured airport project surrounding Ta'if Regional Airport in Saudi Arabia, located 70km from Mecca. Other clients include Nomura and, on the borrower side, Emaar. Matthew Wood is now at Ashurst LLP.

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Capital markets
Capital markets - ranked: tier 1

White & Case LLP

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.

Leading individuals

Debashis Dey - White & Case LLP

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Commercial, corporate and M&A
Commercial, corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP handles heavyweight deals and in particular is instructed by businesses with connections to several GCC governments. Michael Watson advised Saudi Aramco, a cornerstone client of the firm, on purchasing a 50% stake in a Petronas refinery and petrochemicals business in Johor and assisted Adnoc with a partnership with Baker Hughes, which involved the latter purchasing 5% of Adnoc Drilling for $550m and Adnoc becoming the exclusive user of Baker Hughes' services in the UAE. Sami Al-Louzi, who returned to the firm in 2017 from Latham & Watkins LLP, worked with Ali Shaikley in advising NMC Health on the acquisitions of majority stakes in Cosmesurge and Al Salam Medical Group for $207m. Abdulwahid Alulama is another key contact; he acts for Mubadala and Etisalat, as well as a number of key family-owned businesses. Marcus Booth relocated to Dubai from London in September 2018.

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Construction - ranked: tier 2

White & Case LLP

At White & Case LLP in Abu Dhabi, Michael Turrini acts both for governments and main contractors on large projects such as airports and major power infrastructure. Luke Robottom advises procurers of projects, including advising the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy on developing its request for proposals for the Taweelah Reverse Osmosis desalination plant.

Leading individuals

Michael Turrini - White & Case LLP

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Energy and infrastructure
Energy and infrastructure - ranked: tier 1

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has 'a solid team at both partner and associate level'. Michael Watson, who handles water, education and energy projects, is 'unfailingly reliable, responsive and knowledgeable about the downstream oil and gas industry, having worked on some of its largest deals in the past few years'. Capital markets issuances for project finance are an area of expertise - Sean Johnson and Watson are advising a subsidiary of Adnoc on issuing bonds to generate revenue from its mid-stream infrastructure and to purchase the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline, which provides an alternative route for crude oil to the Strait of Hormuz. Saudi Aramco is a cornerstone client - Antoine Cousin advises it on the Fadhili co-generation project.

Leading individuals

Michael Watson - White & Case LLP

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Islamic finance
Islamic finance - ranked: tier 3

White & Case LLP

Work for sovereign issuers is a key area for White & Case LLP: Debashis Dey worked with the firm's London office and Saudi affiliate on Saudi Arabia's debut sovereign sukuk, which raised $9bn. Dey also advised the Investment Corporation of Dubai on the issuance of a $1bn sukuk. Also on the issuer side, Clare Matheson Kirton assisted Etihad with a $300m syndicated commodity murabaha.

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Legal Developments in United Arab Emirates

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Regulatory Authorities of UAE Economic Substance Regulations announced

    Further to our previous inBrief dated 7 July 2019, which disucssed UAE Cabinet Resolution 31 of 2019 Concerning Economic Substance Regulations (the UAE Economic Substance Regulations or the Regulations), and inBrief dated 10 October 2019, which discussed the Guidance on UAE Economic Substance Regulations issued by the UAE Ministry of Finance, Cabinet Decision No. 58 of 2019 has now designated the regulatory authorities (the Regulatory Authorities) to regulate compliance with the UAE Economic Substance Regulations. 
  • Emirates Development Bank appointed to maintain Register of Finance Leases

    Pursuant to UAE Federal Cabinet Resolution No. 56 of 2019, Emirates Development Bank has been appointed to maintain the register of finance lease contracts created pursuant to UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2018 on Finance Lease (the Finance Lease Law or the Law). 
  • UAE Ministry of Finance Issues Guidance on Economic Substance Regulations

    A previous inBrief dated 7 July 2019 discussed UAE Cabinet Resolution 31 of 2019 Concerning Economic Substance Regulations (the UAE Economic Substance Regulations or the Regulations).
  • Gulf Tanker Attacks: Implications on Costs

    Tanker attacks have a long history indicating that it could be a powerful weapon in international conflict, which can significantly destabilize an economy. During the Iraq-Iran War in the 1980s, oil terminals and tankers were under severe attacks, which directly affected the economies of both nations, in addition to the safety of maritime traffic.
  • Funding Your Start-Up In The UAE

    Funding options for start-ups in the UAE are on the rise. Traditionally, most start-ups in the UAE have tended to be bootstrapped or financed by conventional lenders such as banks and financial institutions. However, over the last few years, business incubators and accelerators have flourished in the UAE, creating a conducive and cost-effective environment for entrepreneurship in the UAE. This has led to a gradual upsurge in activities in the angel investment, crowdfunding, private equity, and venture capital space. Notably, the technology space has seen a boost as the UAE government has announced various initiatives for entrepreneurs and has been actively promoting the fintech space.
  • UPDATE: Medical Liability Law in the UAE

    Doctors in the UAE face considerable legal risk when treating patients. Thus, it’s important for casualties as well as medical practitioners to know their rights and get their cases evaluated by legal experts.
  • The New DIFC Employment Law- What Has Changed?

    DIFC Employment Law no. 2 of 2019 (“New Law ”) has recently been enacted which repeals and replaces the DIFC Law no. 4/2005 as amended by DIFC Law no. 3 of 2012 (“Previous Law ”). There has been an ongoing debate about the implemented changes introduced by the New Law. Some changes have been enacted to protect the employers, such as the limitation of liability period of 6 months and the provisions which allow employees to waive their rights under the New Law subject to agreements put in writing. Other changes have been enacted to protect the employees, such as provisions for non-discrimination and non-victimization, the penalties imposed by the DIFC for employer’s non-compliance, and forbidding the employer to retain the employee’s original passport (although the latter was always the legal position in the UAE).
  • UPDATE: New DIFC Wills and Probate Rules

    The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) has been established as an official mechanism for non-Muslims to register their wills and have it enforced through the DIFC Courts. Previously there was a lot of uncertainty with regards to the registration of wills of non-Muslims since Shari’a principles govern inheritance throughout the UAE. If an expatriate living in the UAE dies without having a will in place, Shari’a principles will most likely apply, and family members may be forced into an heirship regime without fully understanding the consequences. The best way to ensure certainty over your assets upon death is to register a will with the DIFC WPR. Although the Registry has its own complex rules and laws that would be applicable, it provides a relative freedom of disposition of assets upon death. The DIFC WPR has gone through a number of changes since its establishment in 2015 and has consistently strived to better protect testators and their assets. The DIFC WPR’s jurisdiction has now officially expanded to include assets outside of Dubai.
  • Right of Set off under the UAE Civil Transaction Law No. 5 of 1985 and the view from the DIFC

    In a 2018 judgment the DIFC, discussed and decided upon the concept of set-off under the UAE Civil Transaction Law No. 5 of 1985 (the “Civil Code”).

    Since a very long time, FIDIC (The International Federation of Consulting Engineers) is commonly used a standard for international construction and engineering contracts and is very frequently used in UAE. It mainly governs the construction works within the country and in GCC.