Expanding our law firm’s global reach and commitment to serving clients doing business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the GCC and beyond, Vinson & Elkins (V&E) opened its Abu Dhabi office in 2007. Our attorneys in Abu Dhabi work closely with our attorneys in our Dubai and Riyadh offices and are integrated with V&E’s worldwide network of offices, resulting in efficient delivery of legal advice across nearly every business sector, regardless of client location. Our Abu Dhabi office advises on project finance and development; energy; construction; infrastructure; restructuring and reorganization; mergers and acquisitions; capital markets and securities; real estate; and aviation matters, with particular strength in the energy, construction, infrastructure, healthcare, telecommunications, media, and financial services sectors.
The Abu Dhabi team includes U.S., English, and regionally qualified lawyers, many of whom are native Arabic speakers. A number of V&E’s lawyers in the UAE are bi-lingual or multi-lingual with Arabic, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish language capabilities. These language skills allow us to more effectively and efficiently represent the interests of our clients and maintain a robust catalog of precedent documents that provide cost savings.
Our firm understands the unique legal, business, and regulatory issues facing clients located in, and doing business in the Middle East. V&E lawyers have been actively involved in the ongoing development of the region’s energy sector; commodities markets and regulations; healthcare infrastructure; restructuring regulations; and many other areas impacting business in the UAE and internationally. This knowledge, coupled with our understanding of UAE-specific laws, frameworks, and customs, is integrated with our worldwide network of offices, ensuring efficient project management and excellent service whenever and wherever clients need it. (View accolades for our Middle East experience.)
V&E’s acclaimed local, regional, and international corporate, and M&A practice is regularly recognized regionally and globally among the best by Chambers Global, Legal 500, International Financial Law Review (IFLR 1000), Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and other prominent publications. Our UAE team has significant experience advising sellers, purchasers, targets, dealer-managers, and financial advisors on general corporate, M&A, joint venture, private equity, and other transactional matters throughout the MENA region, including those with Shari’a-compliant structures. We also maintain excellent working relationships with local counsel contacts whom we can call upon for assistance in virtually any jurisdiction, as needed.
V&E has been recognized by Euromoney as the World's Leading Energy Law Firm (1995 - present).* As a result of our nearly century-long commitment to the energy industry, we have extensive experience in the legal aspects of virtually all areas of the energy sector. Our award-winning regional practice includes deep knowledge in oil and gas; LNG; petrochemical; power; renewable and alternative energy; climate change; water; and minerals and mining. Clients include multinational companies; independent energy, mining, and related-service companies; government-owned energy entities; large industrial groups; international contractors; institutional, foreign, and private investors; investment banks; and some of the world's largest commercial banks, Islamic financial institutions and export credit agencies.
Project Finance and Development
V&E has an internationally recognized project finance and development practice that includes bi-lingual Arabic and English speakers (among other languages) who are familiar with relevant local and regional legal and regulatory requirements. Our lawyers are regularly selected to work on high-profile, bespoke energy and infrastructure developments throughout the MENA region, across a broad array of sectors including power and water, renewable and alternative energy, oil and gas, petrochemical and refining, metals, infrastructure, and transport, both regionally and internationally. We advise in equal proportion regional and international developers, lenders, governments, and advisors in relation to development and construction/EPC, conventional and Islamic finance, corporate/commercial, M&A and private equity, capital markets, regulatory, and arbitration and litigation work related to complex, large-scale projects across nearly all industry sectors in the MENA the region. We have particular strength in innovative and non-standard multi-sourced project financing deals that involve commercial lenders, export credit agencies, Islamic financial institutions, and bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, as well as project bonds issued in the capital markets. Our highly acclaimed project finance practice was recently named “Projects & Energy Law Firm of the Year” at the ALB The Brief Middle East Law Awards, 2012. In addition, four UAE partners are recognized as leaders in this field by Legal Media Group's (Euromoney) Expert Guide to the World's Leading Banking Finance and Transactional (Project Finance) Lawyers, 2012.
Our regional team has advised on numerous complex, innovative, and award-winning deals worldwide, including the US$17 billion Basrah Gas project in Iraq; phase I and II of the Emirates Aluminium project (EMAL) in the UAE (named “GCC Industrial Project of the Year” at the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2012, as well as receiving "Deal of the Year” awards from Project Finance International and Euromoney); and the US$4.1 billion cross-border Dolphin pipeline project (named 2009 “Oil & Gas Deal of the Year” by Infrastructure Journal and 2009 "Middle East Oil & Gas Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International).
V&E’s Abu Dhabi lawyers are familiar with UAE-specific construction issues and have broad experience advising governments, sponsors, project companies, lenders, and contractors in connection with a wide variety of construction and facilities matters. Our lawyers have particular experience in structuring, negotiating, and drafting EPC and other related contracts such as technology and process licenses, EPCM, EPCA, and FEED contracts, including those utilizing a number of different pricing models.
Capital Markets and Securities
V&E’s award-winning capital markets and securities law practice consistently ranks among the best, including being ranked in the top 10 in 13 categories in Bloomberg’s Year-End 2011 Global Legal Adviser League Tables. V&E lawyers in the Middle East and around the world advise on a broad range of debt, and equity transactions, such as high-yield and investment-grade debt issuances, 144A/Reg S matters, and bonds (including Sukuk). In addition, our Middle East lawyers also advise on conventional and Shari’a-compliant derivatives matters and provide disclosure, governance, and general corporate advice to our public company clients.
Restructuring and Reorganization
V&E’s restructuring and reorganization law practice has been active for more than 25 years with leaders in workout and restructuring law worldwide, including a market-leading practice in the Middle East. The firm’s MENA lawyers have advised on the largest and most complex restructuring matters to date in the GCC (including the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait) and regularly provide clients with legal, business, and regulatory guidance in connection with corporate reorganization and debt restructuring, including various Islamic financing components of restructuring and reorganization matters. Additionally, we were named "Best Law Firm" for Insolvency and Restructuring in the 2011 Islamic Finance news Law Poll.
V&E’s UAE lawyers have represented airport owners; regional, national, and international carriers; governments; equipment suppliers and manufacturers; service providers; and financial institutions in connection with market-leading aviation industry projects and transactions, including the expansion of Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan and the Shari’a-compliant aircraft sale and lease-back arrangement utilized to fund the operation of Gulf Air. Our UAE practice is backed by a team of global lawyers who regularly advise on some of the aviation sector’s most high-profile matters, such as the merger of Continental Airlines and United Airlines.
V&E’s Middle East lawyers understand all sides of a real estate transaction and regularly act for a wide variety of industry participants, including developers, contractors, financial institutions, insurance companies, private equity funds, design professionals, consultants, and governmental entities.
* Based upon the number of lawyers named in the Guide to the World’s Leading Energy Lawyers.