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Linklaters in the UAE

On-the-ground in the UAE since 2006 

 

With over four decades of presence in the region, and nearly two decades of on-ground experience, clients appreciate our understanding of market and the culture. They come to us for our complex and innovative advice to help them successfully pursue opportunities, realise investments and manage risk in this market.

As the deals in the region are becoming more complex, driven both by the diversification of projects and greater sophistication of financing methods, clients are increasingly looking to us as one of the leading firms who can assist them with their most important and challenging matters. We continue to advise on some of the largest and most high-profile deals in the market.

Our in-depth regional and commercial knowledge of 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 established ourselves as one of the leading firms in the region capable of advising on large cross-border or complex matters for our clients. To provide a seamless service, we also leverage our global network and draw on our market-leading expertise across our offices, practices and sector teams.

Read more about our Middle East offering.

Explore all our office locations in the Middle East by selecting a map pin. Unselect the map pin to return to the summary.

Our offering in the UAE

Banking

The UAE is known as a hub for global trade and investments, serving as a major financial centre in the region. With the financing options becoming more complex and innovative, businesses and investors need to work with a law firm that can help them navigate this changing landscape.

We are recognised leaders in the banking and finance sector in the region and we have been involved in some of the most significant high grade syndicated finance, acquisition finance, debt restructuring, real estate and project development finance and structured finance transactions in the Middle East. You can also benefit from our comprehensive experience in financial regulation, having previously advised on strategically important regulatory reform projects, such as the LIBOR transition projects.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • Emirates NBD Bank: advising on the region’s first sustainability-linked loan.
  • DP World: advising the arrangers on the US$9bn facilities for the take-private of DP World.
  • Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA): advising the mandated lead arrangers on several facilities for TAQA, including on a US$3.5bn RCF.
  • Reem Hospital, Reem Island: advising Reem Hospital LLC and Blue Apple Property Management LLC as borrowers in connection with Shariah-compliant refinancing facilities of the post-completion development financing of the Reem Hospital estate on Reem Island, Abu Dhabi.
  • Du Telecom: advising the arrangers on the AED 4.5bn dual conventional and Islamic term and revolving credit facility agreement to Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (Du Telecom).
  • Meydan Group: advising the company on its multi-billion-dollar reorganisation and debt restructuring.
  • Limitless LLC: advising the company on its debt restructuring plan.
  • Port & Free Zones World: advising the financiers on the US$1.1bn conventional and Sharia compliant facilities for Ports & Free Zones World.
  • International and local banks: advising on their LIBOR-transition and remediation projects covering a wide ranging of financing products.

Capital Markets

With the Middle East considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing markets in the capital markets sector, the UAE has been showing record levels of activity. This provides organisations and shareholders new avenues for growth and we are here to support our clients in navigating this trend successfully.

Our capital markets team advises many of the biggest players in the market on their most significant and complex capital markets transactions. In recognition of this, our award-winning team is consistently ranked in the top tier by all legal directories, and has been recognised as the best capital markets team twice in the past three years.

From helping clients navigate through challenging mandates, through to acting on some of the most structurally complex transactions across the UAE and the wider MENA region, our experience ranges from debt, sukuk and equity issues through to derivatives and structured finance.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • Emirate of Abu Dhabi: advising on its US$2bn sovereign debt issuance.
  • Emirate of Sharjah: advising on the US$1bn Sovereign Sukuk (ijara/ murabaha).
  • Emaar Properties: advising on annual updates of Emaar Sukuk Limited’s US$2bn Trust Certificate Programme, its listing on NASDAQ Dubai, and issue of several series of trust certificates thereunder.
  • TAQA: advising on the update of its US$9bn Global Medium Term Note Programme and the global issuance pursuant to Reg S/ Rule 144A of US$500m 4.00 per cent. Notes due 2049 thereunder.
  • Emirates Islamic Bank: advising on the update of US$2.5bn Certificate Issuance Programme and issuance thereunder of US$500m 2.082 per cent (wakala / murabaha).
  • DP World Limited: advising the dealers and managers on the US$5bn GMTN Programme by DP World Limited and multiple issuances thereunder.
  • HSBC Bank plc: advising as lead manager on the US$1bn trust certificates due 2028 issued by Sharjah Sukuk Programme Limited – this is the first sukuk issuance programme established by Sharjah.
  • JAFZA: advising the joint lead managers on the issue of US$650m trust certificates by JAFZ Sukuk Limited (part of the multi-sourced secured financing for Jebel Ali Free Zone, the first ever pari passu secured sukuk/Islamic facility).

Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions

Businesses and investors continue to show significant strategic interest in opportunities in the UAE as the economic diversification drives an increased deal activity in this market.

Recognised as one of the leading corporate/M&A practices in the UAE, our team works with corporates, financial sponsors and investment banks on their most significant and complex transactions in the market. We cover the full spectrum of corporate work advising buyers, sellers and financial advisers on public takeovers, private M&A, equity capital markets, private equity, joint ventures and commercial partnerships, disposals and corporate restructurings. Our end-to-end approach brings together our leading transactional expertise with the full range of specialist areas including antitrust, employment and incentives, environmental, intellectual property and technology.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • e&: advising on their US$400m investment in exchange for a majority stake in Careem’s Super App.  With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the greater Middle East.
  • Burjeel Holdings: advising on its IPO on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the first listing by a privately owned company in the UAE in 2022.
  • Meraas Leisure and Entertainment LLC: advising on its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of DXB Entertainments PJSC, the first ever all cash tender offer in the UAE.
  • Emaar Malls: advising on its acquisition of e-commerce trader Namshi and its subsequent sale to Noon for US$335m.
  • Emaar Properties: advising on the US$2bn acquisition of Dubai Creek Harbour from Dubai Holding, making Dubai Holding the second biggest shareholder in Emaar Properties.
  • ADNOC Pipelines: advising members of the consortium on the US$10.1bn investment into Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's natural gas pipelines in the UAE, the largest foreign direct investment into the UAE (MENA Infrastructure Deal of the Year, PFI Awards 2020).
  • Eni: advising on its US$3.9bn acquisition from ADNOC of a 20% equity interest in ADNOC Refining.
  • Majid Al Futtaim: advising on its acquisition of Retail Arabia (Geant) (Consumer M&A Legal Advisor of the Year, Mergermarket 2018).
  • DP World: advising on its US$3.7bn global joint venture with Canadian pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
  • SHUAA Capital psc (SHUAA): advising on its merger with the Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), a leading investment group with assets under management of US$11.5bn.

Energy & Infrastructure

Given the UAE’s focus on energy diversification and infrastructure development, clients need to work with a law firm that can draw on its regional expertise and international best practice to advise them on their complex, large scale transactions in this market.

Our energy & infrastructure team specialises in large scale, market-leading projects – covering a variety of sectors including power and water, hydrogen, refining and petrochemicals, oil and gas, PPP/PFI, infrastructure, energy and natural resources, mining and minerals. The team has extensive experience of complex, multi-tranche financings, with a mixture of conventional and Islamic structures, Export Credit and DFI/Multilaterals, international and regional lenders.

The breadth of our practice helps us to draw on our experience across different sectors and jurisdictions, enabling us to provide solutions to our clients’ most challenging transactions in the UAE and across the MENA region.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • Mirfa IWPP: advising the lenders on the original US$1.5bn TAQA and Engie-sponsored Mirfa IWPP in Abu Dhabi, as well as on the subsequent US$1.08bn refinancing (MENA Refinancing – Power & Water Deal of the Year, IJ Global Awards 2022).
  • Mirfa 2 IWP: advising the lenders to a bidding consortium on the Mirfa 2 IWP in Abu Dhabi, as well as the provider of an equity bridge facility to the project company.
  • Al Dhafra 2GW PV solar project: advising lenders on the Equity Bridge Loans for the Al Dhafra project in Abu Dhabi (MENA Renewables Solar Deal of the Year, IJ Global Awards 2020).
  • Hamriyah IPP: advising JBIC/NEXI and six commercial banks on the US$1.8bn project financing of the 1.8GW Hamriyah gas-fired combined cycle power project in Sharjah (MENA Power Deal of the Year, IJ Global Awards 2020).
  • Shams 1 CSP (Masdar): advising the sponsors on the ground-breaking project financing of a 100MW greenfield solar thermal power plant in Abu Dhabi (UAE). This was the first significant renewable energy transaction in the Middle East and one of the largest solar power projects in the world.
  • University PPPs in Abu Dhabi: advising Abu Dhabi Education Council on the three university PPPs to have been financed in Abu Dhabi – the UAE University, Paris-Sorbonne and Zayed University projects.

Litigation, Arbitration & Investigations

Clients in the United Arab Emirates come to our litigation, arbitration and investigations team for its specialist expertise in handling the most sensitive, complex and strategically important disputes for them.

We cover a broad range of litigation and arbitration matters, and have extensive experience in disputes involving construction, energy and infrastructure; M&A; and various types of complex commercial disputes, including joint venture disputes; financial sector disputes and regulatory matters; property and finance disputes; technology-related disputes; banking litigation; and contentious insolvency.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • A prominent state-owned UAE company: advising in a high-stake, high-profile arbitration. The dispute related to the termination of joint venture and concession agreements.
  • An international energy and water company: acting in a US$94m DIFC-LCIA arbitration brought by an international energy and water company in relation to the breach of clauses intended to govern the business, territory and associated exclusivity of the operations of the parties’ joint venture interests.
  • An Abu Dhabi-based major telecommunications company: advising in winning an arbitration brought by a minority shareholder in a company that operates a mobile telephone network, as well as in various court proceedings on an investment in Africa.
  • A construction company: advising on multiple disputes arising between partners in a Middle Eastern company, including a DIFC-seated arbitration.
  • A leading Middle Eastern media company: advising in several ICC arbitrations relating to the performance and termination of various cooperation and service agreements.
  • A Middle Eastern gas company: advising in an arbitration against the buying state under long-term petroleum supply contract.

TMT

In line with the wider region, the TMT sector in the UAE has seen considerable growth, with investments in emerging technologies and telecommunications being at the forefront of the country’s and the region’s transformational economic agenda. As this sector continues to rapidly transform businesses, markets and everyday life, our priority is to help clients at all stages of growth maximise opportunities and navigate the threats in this increasingly interconnected, regulated, dynamic and demanding world, using our deep extensive experience in this field.

With a unique mix of expertise in data, privacy, AI and other emerging technologies, digital infrastructure, telecoms and fintech, our Middle East TMT practice is supported by a deep bench of complementary practices with knowledge of the tech sector clients and their pressing issues. The breadth of our team, led by our Middle East-based experts and drawing on our global expertise, allows us to support our clients on complex projects, ranging from regulatory advisory matters, data and privacy compliance, complex technology commercial transactions, licensing of intellectual property rights to due diligence and transaction document workstreams in corporate or financing transactions.

Highlights of our work in the UAE include:

  • e&: advising on their US$400m investment in exchange for a majority stake in Careem’s Super App.  With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the greater Middle East.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre Authority: supporting the Commissioner of Data Protection Office in updating the framework governing extra-jurisdiction transfers of personal data, as well as in designing and drafting new regulations under the DIFC Data Protection Law governing the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the processing personal data.
  • UTC blockchain platform: advising Etisalat on the establishment of the first-of-kind UTC blockchain platform to streamline trade finance transactions in the region.
  • Starzplay Arabia: acting for the consortium, including Etisalat and an Abu Dhabi-based SWF, on the acquisition of Starzplay.
  • Emaar Malls: advising on its acquisition of e-commerce trader Namshi and its subsequent sale to Noon for US$335m.
  • ByteDance: advising on its US$10m Series A+ investment in iMile, a Dubai-based last-mile delivery start-up bridging Chinese sellers to emerging markets.

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