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Clifford Chance

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Regional coverage

Middle East

We are the Middle East's market-leading international law firm, with more regional Tier One directory rankings and award winning deals than any other firm. We work with clients throughout the Middle East and North Africa and have offices in Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Dubai, Istanbul and Riyadh*.

The region's market-leading international law firm

We opened our first Middle East office in 1975. Today we have offices in Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Dubai, Istanbul and Riyadh*.

Our teams' outstanding work and our close working relationships with clients have won us International Law Firm of the Year at both the IFLR Middle East Awards and Middle East Corporate Counsel Awards in 2016. We consistently lead the Tier One rankings in the Middle East categories of the Chambers Global, Legal 500 and IFLR directories.

We advise regional and international clients on their business interests across the Middle East and North Africa. When we advise clients who want to build or expand their international business we work closely with colleagues from our international network.

An in-region team with an impressive track record

We base our lawyers – over 110 of them – in the region. We've found that clients get the best results when their team is familiar with the region's languages, cultures, laws and business processes.

So we've built an on-the-ground team with sophisticated capabilities and a wide range of expertise. We regularly work on intra-region and outbound transactions and our track-record shows that we have one of the strongest teams in the region.

Our teams regularly advise on the region's most cutting edge and high profile matters including advising on:

  • the first ever statutory merger of two UAE public companies
  • one of the largest ever public takeovers to be successfully implemented in the Middle East; Mannai and EFG Hermes on their recommended cash offer for Damas International Limited
  • the £117 million IPO of NMC Health, the first premium listed, FTSE-index eligible equity-raising by an Abu Dhabi business on the London Stock Exchange
  • the first takeover bid for a listed company in Saudi Arabia, Almarai Company on its US$250 million bid to acquire Hail Agriculture Development Company
  • the first restructuring in Dubai involving a filing under Decree 57 and also the first time a court-based process has been used to rescue a major UAE business in financial difficulty – the award-winning Drydocks World restructuring and subsequently, the landmark restructuring of Drydocks World’s US$2.2 billion of syndicated debt
  • the successful landmark restructuring of Nakheel's conventional and Islamic liabilities of over US$35 billion in 2011, including the legal separation of the Nakheel group from the rest of the Dubai World group which took Nakheel out of the jurisdiction of the Dubai Special Tribunal; Restructuring Deal of the Year – ALB Middle East Law Awards 2013; Restructuring Deal of the Year, IFLR Middle East Law Awards 2012
  • the largest EUR denominated loan for a Middle East borrower, Aabar EUR3.6 billion facility
  • the award-winning Emirates Airline's US$913 million sukuk, marking a world's first for utilising UKEF-backed sukuk for aircraft financing
  • five ground breaking multi-billion Euro IPP power projects in Iran
  • a number of Qatar 2022 FIFA World CupTM projects, including the main stadium
  • on the development of the UAE's first carbon capture project and the world's first commercial scale carbon capture project to Masdar (Abu Dhabi National Energy Company)
  • the Az-Zour North 1 power and water project, the first such project to be implemented under Kuwait's new Public Private Partnership (PPP) Laws 2013
  • the development of Iraq's largest gas field, the multi-billion dollar Akkas gas field in Anbar Province, which is also one of the world's largest undeveloped gas fields
  • the first true PPP in the Middle East in the oil & gas sector – the Bahrain LNG.

* Clifford Chance co-operates with AS&H in Saudi Arabia. 

Recent highlights

Recent assignments (deals and other client work)

  • DP World on the acquisition of Economic Zones World from Port and Free Zone World for US$2.6 billion
  • multi-billion dollar auction sale of Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate's (Al Kharafi family) majority stake in Americana, the Middle East's leading food and beverage business comprising franchises such as KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI Friday, Costa Coffee and Krispy Kreme
  • Saudi Public Investment Fund on the acquisition of a significant minority stake in Posco Engineering & Construction Co Ltd for US$1.1 billion
  • Citi on the sale of its consumer banking business in Egypt to Commercial Bank International (CIB)
  • Saudi Ground Services, the only ground handling services provider that operates across all the airports in KSA, on its SAR2.82 billion IPO (US$752 million) on the Saudi stock exchange
  • Dubai World in its successful negotiations with 130 lenders for the extension of more than US$14.6 billion of debt facilities
  • on domestic murabaha (Saudi riyal) and international conventional (dollar) US$4.7 billion facilities in aggregate to Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company Limited (YASREF)
  • Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) on its multi-billion dollar Clean Fuels Project, the first time that KNPC has sought to access debt markets
  • Ras Markaz Crude Oil Park in Oman, to be one of the world's largest crude storage and export facilities when completed
  • a range of renewables projects including the Fujeij IPP and Tafila wind IPP in Jordan, the Gulf of Suez wind IPP and Benban solar PV projects in Egypt and the Sweihan solar PV IPP and DEWA solar IPP projects in the UAE
  • Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation's (APICORP) US$3 billion issuance
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, US$100 million sukuk issuance
  • Emirates Global Aluminium  on a US$4.9 billion conventional and Islamic facilities for the refinancing of an existing project finance facility of EMAL (Emirates Aluminium)
  • the Government of Sultanate of Oman on their 5-year and 10-year dual-tranche US$2.5 billion issuance
  • DP World on the establishment of their Islamic sukuk US$3 billion issuance programme 

Awards and milestones

  • International Law Firm of the Year: Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards 2016, 2014
  • International Law Firm of the Year: IFLR Middle East Awards 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007
  • Best Islamic law firm: The Asset Triple A Islamic Awards 2016
  • Middle East Pharma, Medical & Biotech M&A Legal Advisor of the Year and Middle East Financial Services M&A Legal Advisor of the Year: Mergermarket Middle Eastern M&A Awards 2016
  • Middle East Deal of the Year: Airfinance Journal Awards 2016
  • Innovation in Islamic Finance: Euromoney Awards 2016

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

  • Consistently achieved the highest number of Tier One rankings in Chambers Global and Legal 500 in the Middle East than any other competitor.

Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016

  • Tier One in Capital Markets
  • Tier One in Corporate/M & A
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution
  • Tier One in Islamic Finance
  • Tier One in Projects & Energy
  • Tier Three in Investment Funds

Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015

  • Tier One in Islamic Finance
  • Tier One in Projects & Energy
  • Tier One in Capital Markets
  • Tier One in Corporate & Commercial 
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution 
  • Tier Three in Investment Funds

Client comments

  • "Their response was amazing. They engaged teams all over the world, and made sure people could achieve the results in time."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "The lawyers do not just look at legal aspects of transactions but look at operational aspects too."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "Great people, great support and great service."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "We get very, very useful advice from them through their knowledge of regional precedents - they did a very good job."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "Excellent drafting and negotiations support, availability and responsiveness."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "Prolific activity in the Islamic finance sphere and the depth of its practice"
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2016
  • "A stellar international firm, with a substantial practice. They are able to do the big-ticket cases that require teams of associates."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "They are extremely knowledgeable and consistently provide considered advice. They are extremely commercial in their outlook."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "Exceptionally responsive - they provide you with a great deal of quality advice."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "They bring a lot of expertise to bear on all issues."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "The team is responsive and has a proactive, solution-oriented approach."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "They've been really good, very attentive to our needs and with a high level of consistency of staff."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "They are very responsive and flexible with respect to changing deadlines."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015
  • "We see them a lot - they have an extensive reach in the region and do a lot of high-value arbitration work."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2015