We have been present in Abu Dhabi since 2011 and our office there is led by Nicholas Edwards (Partner, Corporate/M&A) and Andrew Jennens (Partner, Banking). Our presence in the UAE capital has been an invaluable contributor to our regional success and has greatly enhanced our international legal offering.

With over 40 years’ experience in the Middle East, we continue to advise a strong client base of government organisations, financial institutions and international and regional publicly and privately-owned businesses; acting on complex, high-profile transactions throughout the region, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. 

Our in-depth regional and commercial knowledge in the UAE is founded on a detailed understanding of local markets and legal regimes. This local expertise, coupled with the strength of our technical abilities and access to the resources of our global network, allows our team to provide the highest quality advice to our clients on their strategic and most challenging transactions. We have built long-lasting relationships with key clients throughout the Emirate.

Linklaters is acknowledged as a market leader for, amongst others, corporate/M&A, banking, energy & infrastructure, capital markets and Islamic finance transactions. The firm’s track record includes acting on some of the most significant and innovative deals in Abu Dhabi and the wider region.

Multi-jurisdictional coverage

From our offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi we cover transactions across the GCC, Africa, CEE and South Asia. The Middle Eastern practice works closely with our offices in all key financial centres including London, Singapore, New York and Hong Kong. We are well known for our ability to service the largest multi-jurisdictional transactions by deploying integrated, cross-practice teams from across our global network.

Middle East Coverage Map

Pioneering advice

We are one of the few firms in the region capable of advising on leading cross-border transactions, and our clients regularly instruct us on their most complex deals.

Highlights of our regional experience includes advising:

Banking

  • the creditors’ committee for the unsecured and partially secured lenders on all aspects of the US$10bn restructuring of Dubai Group, one of the most complex restructurings to have taken place in the Middle East to date
  • on the acquisition of Travelex from Apax by UAE Exchange
  • on a US$400m Term Sharia Compliant Bank Facility provided to Emirates Steel Industries PJSC
  • the lead arrangers on the US$3.1bn refinancing of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company ("TAQA")

Capital markets

In 2020/21 we have advised on:

  • $17bn and €1.5bn of global sovereign issuances by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • $10bn of global sovereign issuances by the Arab Republic of Egypt
  • $750m issuance of senior notes due 2025 by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC
  • $10bn in aggregate of issuances of senior notes by Qatar National Bank in US in US dollar, CNY and IDR denominations
  • $5bn in aggregate of Tier 1 and Tier 2 issuances by The National Commercial Bank (Saudi Arabia), Ahli Bank (Qatar), Kuwait International Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and Riyad Bank
  • Issue of $250m Hybrid Fixed Rate Resettable Non-Cumulative Series E Preference Shares by Investcorp Holdings (Bahrain)
  • Issue of $300 million Perpetual Subordinated Tier 2 Fixed Rate Reset Notes by QIC (Cayman) Limited

Corporate/M&A

  • Eni on its US$3.9bn acquisition from ADNOC of a 20% equity interest in ADNOC Refining
  • Barclays Bank plc on its disposal of its retail portfolio in the UAE to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC, this represented Barclay’s exit from their retail business in the UAE
  • COSCO Shipping Ports Limited, the largest integrated shipping company in the world, in relation to the landmark container terminal concession agreement for container terminal 2 at Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi
  • ADNOC Distribution on the acquisition of 75 retail stations and a fuel terminal from Emarat in the Northern Emirates
  • PIF on the acquisition of a 50% in Americana (IFLR Middle East M&A Deal of the Year 2017)
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) on its AED1bn rights issue
  • PAL Cooling Holding LLC on its strategic investment with International Holding Company PJSC (IHC), a publicly listed company on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)
  • DP World on its acquisition of P&O Ferries
  • DP World on its US$3.7bn global joint venture with Canadian pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the sale to the joint venture of its Vancouver and Prince Rupert container terminals
  • DP World on its acquisition of Dubai Maritime City and DryDocks World
  • Dubai/ICD on the merger of EMAL and DUBAL to create a US$15bn entity
  • Al Noor Hospitals Group plc on the combination Al Noor Hospitals Group plc with Mediclinic International Limited and on its listing and IPO on the London Stock Exchange

Energy & infrastructure

  • on the financing of the US$1.2bn Mirfa Power Project in Abu Dhabi
  • on the financing of the US$1.5bn Madinah Airport Expansion Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • on the financing of the US$1.5bn port project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • on the financing of the US$14bn Jubail SATORP refinery and petrochemicals project in Saudi Arabia sponsored by Saudi Aramco and TOTAL
  • on the financing of the US$2bn integrated Acrylates Complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

International arbitration

  • a leading UAE state-owned company in an arbitration relating to the termination of a concession agreement in Africa
  • a leading Middle Eastern media company in several ICC arbitrations relating to the performance and termination of various cooperation and service agreements
  • a leading international bank and a U.S. construction and engineering
  • company in an arbitration relating to a project in Iraq
  • a leading European energy company in an arbitration under the LCIA Rules brought by two Middle Eastern companies

Regulatory

  • on UAE, DIFC and ADGM legal and regulatory implications of the development of new financial technologies including, e-KYC, digital identification processes, crypto-asset business activities and the use of distributed ledger technology such as blockchain in financial services
  • on regulatory restrictions on and requirements for the marketing and promotion of financial products including conventional financial instruments such as equities, debt instruments and fund units as well as innovative instruments such as crypto-currencies and other types of virtual assets
  • on data protection regimes applicable to financial institutions operating in the UAE or those that process personal data of UAE residents

Sukuk

In 2020/21 we have advised on:

  • Establishment of $1bn trust certificate issuance programme by Boubyan Bank (Kuwait) and issuance of $750m sukuk certificates due 2025 thereunder
  • $1.25bn sukuk AT1 issuance by The National Commercial Bank (Saudi Arabia)
  • $300m AT1 sukuk issuance by Kuwait International Bank
  • SAR2bn AT1 sukuk issuance by Banque Saudi Fransi
  • $1.5bn tier 1 sukuk issuance by Riyad Bank
  • $2bn trust certificate issuance programme establishment by Dukhan Bank
  • Sukuk programme update by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia