Clifford Chance's Casablanca regional office is the leading international legal advisory firm in Morocco, a gateway to Francophone Africa and a strategic hub for business across the African continent.
We have unparalleled experience in North Africa and West Africa and are able to coordinate these efficiently and seamlessly from a single hub, ensuring that each step is taken with an eye to both the "big picture" and the nuances of individual jurisdictions. By combining international best practice and deep local knowledge, we offer a unique service in Africa.
The nerve centre connecting clients to Africa
Our Casablanca office is key to our work in Africa. It is a nerve centre that connects clients from across the world with our on the ground resources in Africa, and gives Africa-based clients access to the capabilities of our international network.
We offer the full spectrum of legal advice that clients can expect from a leading global legal advisory firm. We have very strong capabilities and unrivalled experience in both M&A/Private Equity and Finance transactions.
Our leading team of local and international associates are fluent in French, English and Arabic. We offer advice in Moroccan, French and English law and are also well versed in OHADA law. It also has a close working relationship with regulators and is frequently called upon to participate in the drafting of legislation and regulations.
Our Casablanca office is part of a dedicated Africa practice which has been active in Africa for 40 years. Our African expertise is recognised globally by our clients, all the major legal directories, as well as the business world.
Our associates work closely together, mobilising the firm's resources in Morocco and in our other international offices to provide you with optimum client service. In addition to this, we possess a carefully selected network of the best local African legal advisory firms in jurisdictions where the firm is not directly represented.
- Algeria's move towards relaxing certain foreign investments restrictions
17 June 2020
- Utilisation de la signature électronique au Maroc
20 May 2020
- Renewable energy in Morocco: A reform called for by operators
7 February 2020
- Opportunities and Challenges in "Game Changing" Tunisian Solar and Wind Tenders
18 October 2019
Awards and Milestones
- Continuously ranked Band 1 in Chambers Global, Legal 500 and IFLR for Morocco
- Regional Law Firm of the Year: Francophone Africa 2021 - Chambers Africa Awards
- African Wind Deal of the Year 2018 – Taiba N'Diaye, Senegal – IJ Global Awards
- African M&A Deal of the Year 2018 - AIIM acquisition of SEGAP stake - IJ Global Awards
- Africa Deal of the Year 2018 - Government of Morocco's debut sovereign Sukuk Ijarah of MAD1 billion – Islamic Finance News Awards
Please refer to the specific key jurisdictions and regions to find out about other awards in Africa.
We advise across all aspects of finance, examples of work include:
Highlights in Morocco
- Islamic Finance – Advising a consortium of four international development finance institutions on a US$125 million Islamic financing facility to private healthcare company Humania (Bait Al Batterjee Group) to develop greenfield general hospitals in Morocco and Egypt.
- Financial Regulation – Advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the drafting of a new act on security interests over movable assets which was then approved by the Finance Committee of the Moroccan House of Representatives on 1 April 2019 and came into effect on 22 April 2019.
- General Banking and Finance
- Advising development finance institutions on a US$108.5 million equity financing package to support the development of the healthcare sector in Egypt and Morocco
- Advising on the financing of the construction project for the PSA-Peugeot Citroën production plant in Kenitra
- Capital Markets
- Advising Maghreb Titrisation and the Moroccan Ministry of Finance in relation to the structure of the debut sovereign Sukuk issuance issued by the Kingdom of Morocco
- Advising Banque Centrale Populaire on the first international Green Bonds issuance (total amount of EUR135 million with a 10-year maturity) in the banking sector in Africa
- Project Finance
- Advising in connection with the financing of the 180 MW wind farm in Midelt, Morocco in the context of the 850 MW Wind Independent Power Project
- Advising Engie, Nareva and Mitsui consortium on the US$2.6 billion financing of a 1,386 MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired independent Safi Power Project
- Advising in relation to the financing of the construction of a new terminal in the Port of Agadir
- Restructuring – Advising on the EUR550 million debt restructuring of Maghreb Steel
- Asset finance – Advising on a EUR100m financing for Royal Air Maroc
Highlights across Africa
- Multiple jurisdictions -Advising the lender on the financing of Atlantic Financial Group's acquisition of BNP Paribas' subsidiaries in Africa
- Benin – Advising the sponsor on the 128MW Dogo Bis hydroelectric power plant
- Côte d'Ivoire – Advising in relation to a financing for Petroci for the exploitation of its offshore gas fields
- Côte d'Ivoire – Advising Vantage Capital on EUR19 million mezzanine facility provided to Pétro Ivoire, the first-ever leveraged management buyout in Francophone West Africa
- Ghana – Advising a Moroccan ports operator in relation to the public tender launched by Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority for the concession of the Dry Bulk Terminal in the port of Takoradi
- Niger – Advising a Moroccan ports operator in relation to the public tender for the concession of the Dry Port of Dosso
- Senegal – Advising on the development and financing of the Taïba N’Diaye wind farm, Senegal’s first industrial-scale wind project and currently the largest wind farm planned in West Africa
- Senegal – Advising the Republic of Senegal on the inaugural CFA 100 billion sovereign sukuk issuance
M&A / Private Equity
We advise across all aspects of M&A / Private Equity, examples of work include:
Highlights in Morocco
- Financial Services – Advising on the partnership of Amethis and AfricInvest with CFG Bank
- Industrial Sector
- Advising Heidelberg Cement in the sale of a minority stake (7.8% of the share capital) in Ciments du Maroc, for an aggregate amount of EUR140 million.
- Advising on Amethis Finance's investment in Groupe Premium, the pan African Industrial service supplier
- Education – Advising on the investment by Helios in KMR Holding Pédagogique
- Real Estate – Advising on the structuring, development and financing of the healthcare center and the retail park of the new city of Zenata
- Energy - Advising on the strategic partnership of MASEN with the French industrial group Alcen and the Atomic Energy and Sustainable Energies Commission (CEA)
Highlights across Africa
- Multiple jurisdictions - Advising A.P. Møller Capital in relation to its acquisition of grain terminal operator Mass Céréales al Maghreb
- Multiple jurisdictions – Advising an energy and resources private equity firm on the creation of a new power platform in Africa
- Multiple jurisdictions – Advising CDC Group in its investment in the pan-African hotel group Onomo operating in various African cities
- Multiple jurisdictions – Advising AIIM on its private equity investment in African airports in Gabon, Congo and Côte d'Ivoire
- Multiple jurisdictions – Advising a private equity house in relation to their investment in SGI Africa for the development of shopping malls across Western and Central Africa
- Tunisia – Advising Honoris on its strategic partnership with the higher education group ESPRIT
- Tunisia, Algeria – Advising Actis on the acquisition of a controlling equity interest in Medis, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tunisia and with operations in Algeria
- Côte d'Ivoire – Advising Swiss Re on the acquisition of a minority stake in Manzi Finance, a financial services holding company based in Côte d’Ivoire which owns NSIA Participations
We are committed to the development of Morocco and are involved in a number of pro bono/community programmes:
- Bourse Clifford Chance / AJAM – Attribution of a grant to Moroccan students with an outstanding academic track record who wish to become business law practitioners
- Africa Book Aid Program – Establishment of a long-term, cross-border program that will coordinate the donation of legal textbooks to the libraries of eligible law schools in Africa and in particular in Morocco
- Association Amani – Donation towards the creation of a library within their Centre of Excellence. Association Amani is a Moroccan organisation dedicated to the education of underprivileged children and to the accompaniment of their families
- Association Atlas – Donation towards the financing of solar panels. Association Atlas is a Moroccan organisation dedicated to the development of rural, isolated mountain communities and focuses its initiatives on two key sectors: education and ecotourism
- International firm that remains a hugely-respected player in the Moroccan commercial law market. Particularly well regarded in the domain of banking and finance, serving numerous international and regional banks. Active on private equity transactions. Provides expertise in M&A in sectors as diverse as education, insurance and hospitality. Also noted for its expertise and experience in the energy and infrastructure sectors.” Commentators appreciate that "the whole team is efficient, and they do everything to solve the problem.“ Sources praise the team's "attention to detail," adding: "They are technical and responsive, and can work under pressure."
Chambers Global: Morocco, 2020
- From its Casablanca office, Clifford Chance covers work spanning a considerable part of Africa, handling M&A, disposals, joint ventures, private equity, regulatory compliance, funds and general corporate matters. Mustapha Mourahib and co-head of the firm's Francophone North Africa sub-group Franck Coudert lead a practice that counts EBRD, Helios Investment Partners and Vantage Capital among its clients. Senior associate Nathalie Zanardo is also noted. Sources say: "They are proactive, showing expertise and responsiveness." "They are subject matter experts who are responsive and have strong communication skills."
- Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2020
- Clifford Chance handles the full spectrum of banking, capital markets and finance transactions, including project finance, Islamic finance, acquisition finance, asset finance, cross-border financing, restructurings, debt issuance, corporate lending and structured finance. Mustapha Mourahib's team has been particularly active in project finance, notably for wind energy projects, as well as helping to draft new laws governing security interests over moveable assets and short-selling. Counsel Ouns Lemseffer is another key name. Sources say: "Proactive and responsive, the firm has experts with strong local knowledge."
Legal 500 - Banking, Finance, and Capital Markets – Morocco, 2020
- Clifford Chance's team is 'very responsive, efficient, technically excellent and very thorough'. Practice head Mustapha Mourahib handles large-scale M&A, private equity, PPP and project finance transactions. His team works on projects across Morocco and Francophone Africa, and frequently acts for international and Moroccan sponsors and lenders on market-leading projects, notably in the energy sector. Rising star associate Ouns Lemseffer specialises in acquisition and project finance. Sources say: "The firm is a pleasure to work with – always available and attentive to clients' needs." And also, "I recommend the firm for the quality of its work and its timely responses. It has strong communicators who are proactive, as well as being experts in local law."
Legal 500 – Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2020
- Clifford Chance is highly regarded for its work in high-profile M&A, joint venture and private equity transactions. Leading light Mustapha Mourahib, key partner Franck Coudert and counsel Ouns Lemseffer are all recommended.
Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2019
- Clifford Chance's Casablanca office is led by the co-head of the firm's Africa practice Mustapha Mourahib, who has a long track record in complex domestic and cross-border banking and capital markets matters. Mourahib advised Maghreb Titrisation on a groundbreaking structured finance transaction. Counsel Ouns Lemseffer is a rising star.
Legal 500 – Banking, Finance and Capital Markets – Morocco, 2019
- At Clifford Chance, co-head of the firm's Africa practice Mustapha Mourahib leads the projects and public law group, which acts for banks, international financial institutions, governments, asset-managers, insurers and multinational corporates.
Legal 500 – Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2019
- This international firm remains a hugely well-respected player in the Moroccan commercial law market. It is particularly well regarded in the domain of banking and finance, serving numerous international and regional banks. Alongside this, the firm provides expertise in M&A in sectors as diverse as education, insurance and hospitality. The team is also noted by peers for its expertise and experience in the energy and infrastructure sector. One peer stated plainly: "They are very good in the financing of projects." Others emphasise the quality of the firm's global supporting network, describing it as "an Anglo-Saxon war machine" which has the support of offices across a variety of countries."
Chambers Global: Morocco, 2019
- Clifford Chance provides 'the high quality of work one would expect from a leading international firm'. Mustapha Mourahib is 'a brilliant finance and M&A lawyer'. He advised BMCE Bank on a €100m financing for Royal Air Maroc, and OCP on a €500m hybrid bond issuance. Associate Ouns Lemseffer is also noted.
Legal 500 - Banking, Finance and Capital Markets– Morocco, 2018
- Clifford Chance provides 'an excellent level of service'; clients strongly recommend Mustapha Mourahib and Franck Coudert.
Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2018
- Clifford Chance is 'a central player' and has 'sharp expertise and an innovative approach'. Mustapha Mourahib is 'widely recognised as the country's best projects lawyer'. He advised Attijariwafa Bank on a €450m wind farm project. Associate Ouns Lemseffer is recommended for project finance.
Legal 500 - Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2018
- This highly esteemed team is singled out for its reputation in the international and local markets. It is particularly active in corporate and M&A work, and also handles finance and regulatory matters as well as significant project finance deals. Clients note its work on joint ventures and insurance transactions. Sources report that the Casablanca team brings "the full Clifford Chance experience to their work," with another adding: "They were very good advisers, very commercially driven and aware of the business implications of everything we discussed."
Chambers Global: Morocco, 2018
Other African Jurisdictions
- The North Africa team at Clifford Chance is led from its Casablanca office where it handles a range of cross-border M&A, private equity, projects, restructuring, dispute resolution and regulatory mandates for clients and investors across the financial services, industrial, oil, gas, power, construction, transport and public sectors. Managing partner of the Casablanca office Mustapha Mourahib handles a raft of M&A, private equity, PPP and project finance transactions. Franck Coudert is noted for M&A, infrastructure projects, joint ventures and commercial contracts work. Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin, who focuses on projects and project finance instructions, is another key figure.
Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2020
- Clifford Chance is the firm of choice when it comes to complex M&A work, restructuring and dispute resolution in North Africa. The practice, which is led out of the Casablanca office, handles significant Tunisia-based matters, including advising on regulatory activities. Managing partner Mustapha Mourahib and Franck Coudert are the key figures to note, along with Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin.
Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2019
- The Casablanca-based team at Clifford Chance has a 'very good understanding of the region'. The practice advises financial institutions; industrial conglomerates; energy, construction and transportation companies; investment funds; mining companies; and public institutions and agencies on transactional and contentious matters. Mustapha Mourahib is an 'excellent lawyer with excellent legal and interpersonal skills'.
Legal 500 – Algeria, 2019
- Clifford Chance has an active North Africa practice, led by Casablanca based Mustapha Mourahib. Finance, infrastructure and energy deals are all strengths and contentious work is also handled.
Legal 500 – Algeria, 2018
- Clifford Chance excels in corporate transactions, regulatory issues and various other matters with a nexus to Tunisia. It has a first-class reputation for acting for financial institutions, investment funds, oil and gas sector operators and service providers, and mining companies, among other clients. Mustapha Mourahib in Casablanca, Delphine Siino Courtin and David Préat in Paris, and Spencer Baylin in London are key team members.
Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2018