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Clifford Chance

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Regional coverage

Middle East

We are a market-leading international law firm in the Middle East, with over 30 Tier One directory rankings achieved in the region in 2017, and more award winning first-of-a-kind 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*.

A 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 are consistently awarded 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 landmark privatizations of five of Saudi Arabia's international airports
  • the largest sukuk issuance for the Sultanate of Oman, marking its return to international debt capital markets
  • the world's largest ECA financing for corporate purposes, advising Kuwait National Petroleum Company on the KNPC Clean Fuels Project
  • 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.

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

Recent highlights

Recent assignments (deals and other client work)

  • the landmark privatizations by Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of five of Saudi Arabia's international airports. The deals are the first to be signed as part of Saudi Arabia's reinvigorated plan to privatise its international and domestic airports by 2020
  • DP World on the acquisition of Economic Zones World from Port and Free Zone World for US$2.6 billion
  • the landmark acquisition by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise of 80% of Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Limited (Joramco) from the Abraaj Group
  • 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
  • the sale of the National Titanium Dioxide Company's domestic and international titanium dioxide to Tronox Limited, in return for US$1.673 billion cash and 24% of the shareholding in Tronox
  • 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
  • the world's largest ECA financing for corporate purposes, advising Kuwait National Petroleum Company on a US$6.25 billion export credit agency financing for the KNPC Clean Fuels Project
  • 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)
  • 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
  • the largest sukuk issuance for the Sultanate of Oman, marking its return to international debt capital markets
  • the establishment of the State of Kuwait's GMTN programme and debut dual-tranche US$8 billion issuance
  • Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation's (APICORP) US$3 billion issuance
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, US$100 million sukuk 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
  • Regional M&A Law Firm of the Year; Financial Services M&A Law Firm of the Year: Mergermarket Middle Eastern M&A Awards 2017
  • Islamic Finance Deal of the Year: ALB Malaysia Awards 2017
  • Deal of the Year; UAE Deal of the Year; Saudi Arabia Deal of the Year: IFN Awards 2016
  • 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

Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017

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

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

Client comments

  • "Full spectrum capabilities and very proactive and client-driven approach."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "Outstanding team and a strong choice for large transactions."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "Confirmed leader in the market with an enviable reputation."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "Pitches its advice at the right level."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "They have a very, very strong reputation in the market and the work product supports this."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "They give you the reach on multi-jurisdictional deals."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "Strikes the right balance between commercial savviness and excellence in terms of legal work."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • They have strength and depth, and we always find we have lots of people we can call upon to give quality advice."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "They are very good at making sure you have the right person working on each particular matter."
    Chambers Global: Middle East, 2017
  • "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