Vinson & Elkins (V&E) has been very active in the Saudi market for over 20 years. In 2011, V&E entered into an association with the Law Office of Looaye M. Al-Akkas in Riyadh to offer its clients dedicated, on-the-ground services in the Kingdom.
The team in Riyadh brings deep understanding of Saudi Arabian business, legal, and regulatory systems and a long history of advising clients doing business in the Kingdom. In addition to Mr. Al-Akkas, the team is made up of Saudi-licensed, and U.S., and Jordanian qualified attorneys, including five native Arabic speaking lawyers who have practiced on the ground in both Riyadh and Jeddah. The team’s international reach combined with this local legal and cultural knowledge provides clients with efficient and proactive advice and award-winning client service.
V&E’s Saudi practice focuses on corporate, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity; project finance and development; energy; construction and infrastructure; capital markets and securities; Islamic finance and investment; and restructuring and reorganization. We have a strong track record of advising on complex and sophisticated local and cross-border transactions involving local, regional, and international corporations, financial institutions, and family entities. (View accolades for our Middle East experience.)
Corporate, M&A, and Private Equity
V&E is regularly recognized as a leading law firm for corporate, commercial, M&A, and investment fund work in the Middle East, and partner Sami Al-Louzi is currently ranked in Band 1 for Corporate/Commercial work in Saudi Arabia by Chambers Global (2013). Our Saudi team has particular experience representing both foreign investors and Saudi companies in complex joint ventures and V&E is a recommended law firm for Saudi Arabia Corporate and M&A work in the Legal 500 EMEA (2013) and IFLR1000 (2013) guide.
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).
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, and governance, and general corporate advice to our public company clients.
Islamic Finance and Investment
V&E prides itself on being one of only a very small number of international law firms with the ability to advise clients on structuring and documenting complex Islamic finance and investment transactions. Our lawyers have worked with clients across more than 30 jurisdictions (including in the MENA, the European Union, North America, and China) on a wide variety of Shari’a-compliant investments and financial products. We have excellent working relationships with prominent Shari’a advisers worldwide and are at the forefront of legal, regulatory, and policy developments affecting Islamic finance transactions and opportunities globally. Our award-winning regional practice was named “Best Law Firm” for Cross-border and M&A by the 2012 Islamic Finance news Law Poll. In addition, Chambers Global (2013) recognized V&E as a leader for Middle East Islamic finance.
Restructuring and Reorganization
V&E’s restructuring and reorganization 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.
* Based upon the number of lawyers named in the Guide to the World’s Leading Energy Lawyers.