Islamic Finance | White & Case
Islamic Finance Law

Islamic Finance

Our Islamic finance lawyers have extensive experience in structuring, documenting and negotiating complex transactions and developing innovative Shari’ah-compliant techniques, including in relation to Murabaha, Ijara, Wakala, Istisna, Salam, Mudaraba, Musharaka and other structures including Sukuk issues. Our knowledge and insight enable clients to successfully navigate the complexities surrounding these structures. We have built excellent relationships with the leading Islamic banks and Shari'ah scholars.

Clients benefit from our significant on-the-ground presence in the Middle East through our offices in the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Riyadh and Doha. These offices are supported by our global teams, allowing us to complete Islamic finance transactions around the world. Our Islamic finance capabilities span capital markets, banking, project finance, asset finance, restructuring and investment funds.

Our regional Islamic finance team has worked on some of the largest and most high-profile Islamic finance transactions in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, including advising on many of the "firsts" in Islamic finance:

  • the largest US$ Sukuk offering by a sovereign issuer to date in Asia (Republic of Indonesia)
  • the first international Shari'ah compliant financing for a Russian financial institution (AK BARS Bank)–US$60 million Murabaha facility
  • the largest US$ denominated Sukuk offering to date (State of Qatar)
  • the largest project finance Sukuk offering to date and the first greenfield project Sukuk (Sadara Basic Services Company)
  • the first US$ denominated Sukuk issued by a Japanese corporate (Nomura Holdings Inc.)
  • the first Islamic public-private partnership (PPP) financing in Saudi Arabia (Hajj Terminal)–US$205 million Ijara/Istisna facility
  • the first Sukuk in the Middle East qualifying as bank capital for regulatory purposes (Saudi Hollandi Bank)
  • the first Rule 144A offering by a Saudi Arabian corporate issuer and the first high yield Sukuk offering by a GCC issuer (Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company)
  • the first long-term Islamic project financing (Qatargas II)–US$530 million Istisna facility
  • the largest Islamic project financing (at the time) in Saudi Arabia (Petro-Rabigh Phase 1)–US$600 million Ijara facility

 

AWARDS

Project Finance Team of the Year
Islamic Finance News 2014

Sadara Chemical Project

Project Finance Deal of the Year
IFLR Middle East Awards 2013
Global Finance Deal of the Year, Project Finance, Middle East
The American Lawyer 2013
Project Finance & Infrastructure Deal of the Year and Saudi Arabia Deal of the Year
Islamic Finance News 2014
Middle East Petrochemical Deal of the Year
Project Finance International 2014

Best Sovereign Deal of the Year
Republic of Indonesia Sukuk
Finance Asia Achievement Awards 2014

Syndicated Deal of the Year
Gulf Marine Middle East FZE
Islamic Finance News 2014

Middle Eastern Mining Deal of the Year
Emirates Steel Industries Refinancing
IJGlobal, Middle East 2015

Europe Deal of the Year 2011
AK BARS Bank
Islamic Finance News 2012

Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2011
PT AXIS Telekom Indonesia Financing
Islamic Finance News 2012

Republic of Indonesia, 2014
Representation of the Republic of Indonesia in connection with the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of US$1.5 billion Sukuk al-Ijara due 2019, under its US$5 billion Sukuk program. The Sukuk were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. This was the largest-ever Sukuk issuance by an issuer in Asia and was recently recognized as "Best Sovereign" at the Finance Asia Achievement Awards 2014.

State of Qatar Sukuk, 2012
Representation of the State of Qatar (SoQ) on the US$4 billion two-part bond issuance by SoQ Sukuk A Q.S.C. This deal has been recognized as "Deal of the Year 2012" by ASIAN-MENA COUNSEL; "Qatar Deal of the Year 2012" by Islamic Finance News; and "Deal of the Year 2012" by EMEA Finance's Achievement Awards.

Sadara Chemical Project, 2013
Representation of Saudi Aramco in connection with all project development and project financing aspects of the US$20 billion Sadara Chemical Project, a joint venture with The Dow Chemical Company. The transaction is the largest-ever project financing in the chemicals sector and raised US$12.5 billion from multiple financing sources. We also represented Sadara Basic Services Company on the issuance of US$2 billion in sukuk for the project, the largest-ever offering of sukuk in a project finance context.

EMAL Phase II, 2014
Representation of commercial banks in connection with the financing for Phase II of the EMAL project, including conventional and Islamic tranches totalling US$3.4 billion, as well as four ECAs (US Export-Import Bank, Hermes, Coface and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (K-EXIM)) with respect to direct and export credit agency (ECA)-supported tranches totalling US$600 million. This project was recognized as "Middle East Industrial Deal of the Year" at the Project Finance International Awards (2014). We also previously advised the commercial lenders in connection with the initial US$4.7 billion financing of Phase I of the same project.

Zakher Marine International, 2014
Representation of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), as sole bookrunner and initial mandated lead arranger, and a group of other lenders on a US$420 million Islamic financing provided to Zakher Marine International Inc. The facility arranged by ADIB will fund Zakher Marine's new shipbuilding program that includes 15 vessels and three self-elevating accommodation barges. Zakher Marine provides services to the offshore oil and gas industries and to offshore marine construction companies, and currently operates more than 35 offshore support vessels.

Gulf Marine Middle East FZE, 2013
Representation of the arrangers in connection with the US$410 million Islamic Ijara facilities to support the growth and expansion program being implemented by Gulf Marine Services Group in preparation for Group's IPO on the London Stock Exchange during the first half of 2014. This deal was the first Islamic-financed syndicated leveraged recapitalization in the UAE, and was awarded "Syndicated Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News 2014.

Emirates Steel Industries Refinancing, 2014
Representation of the lenders on the US$1.3 billion refinancing of the Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The financing was provided by a group of 19 international, regional and UAE commercial banks, split into conventional and Islamic facilities. It was principally applied to refinance the existing US$1.1 billion project financing provided to ESI in 2010 in relation to the expansion financing of its steel production facility in Abu Dhabi. The transaction also allowed Senaat, the UAE's largest industrial conglomerate and Emirates Steel's parent company, to consolidate its steel assets under Emirates Steel. This deal was recognized as "2014 Middle Eastern Mining Deal of the Year" by IJGlobal: Middle East 2015.

AK Bars Bank, 2014
Representation of AK Bars Bank of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia on its US$100 million syndicated Islamic financing. The financing, which will be used to fund Shari'ah-compliant assets and investment projects in the Republic of Tatarstan, has been provided by a syndicate of 11 international banks. Citi, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Emirates NBD Capital Limited acted as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners of the facility. This is the bank's second Sharia-compliant financing following its debut US$60 million Murabaha facility, closed in 2011 and on which we also advised.

Barzan Gas Project, 2012
Representation of Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil as the joint-venture sponsors of the US$10.3 billion Barzan Gas Project in Qatar. The financing consisted of US$7.2 billion of commercial bank, export credit agency (ECA) and Shari'ah compliant facilities. The US$850 million Shari'ah-compliant tranche which was structured as a Istisna-Ijara facility. This deal was recognized as "Global Deal of the Year 2011" by Project Finance, as one of the "Best Deals of 2011" by Global Trade Review and "Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2011" by Project Finance International.

National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) Restructuring, 2011
Representation of the co-ordinating committee of (Islamic and conventional) banks in connection with the restructuring of approximately AED 2.8 billion of Tabreed's debt. Tabreed is an Abu Dhabi-based utility company and the largest district cooling provider in the world. The transaction involved the restructuring of six Shari’ah-compliant facilities and a number of conventional facilities into two conventional and four Shari'ah-compliant facilities.

Islamic Finance
About

Our Islamic finance lawyers have extensive experience in structuring, documenting and negotiating complex transactions and developing innovative Shari’ah-compliant techniques, including in relation to Murabaha, Ijara, Wakala, Istisna, Salam, Mudaraba, Musharaka and other structures including Sukuk issues. Our knowledge and insight enable clients to successfully navigate the complexities surrounding these structures. We have built excellent relationships with the leading Islamic banks and Shari'ah scholars.

Clients benefit from our significant on-the-ground presence in the Middle East through our offices in the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Riyadh and Doha. These offices are supported by our global teams, allowing us to complete Islamic finance transactions around the world. Our Islamic finance capabilities span capital markets, banking, project finance, asset finance, restructuring and investment funds.

Our regional Islamic finance team has worked on some of the largest and most high-profile Islamic finance transactions in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, including advising on many of the "firsts" in Islamic finance:

  • the largest US$ Sukuk offering by a sovereign issuer to date in Asia (Republic of Indonesia)
  • the first international Shari'ah compliant financing for a Russian financial institution (AK BARS Bank)–US$60 million Murabaha facility
  • the largest US$ denominated Sukuk offering to date (State of Qatar)
  • the largest project finance Sukuk offering to date and the first greenfield project Sukuk (Sadara Basic Services Company)
  • the first US$ denominated Sukuk issued by a Japanese corporate (Nomura Holdings Inc.)
  • the first Islamic public-private partnership (PPP) financing in Saudi Arabia (Hajj Terminal)–US$205 million Ijara/Istisna facility
  • the first Sukuk in the Middle East qualifying as bank capital for regulatory purposes (Saudi Hollandi Bank)
  • the first Rule 144A offering by a Saudi Arabian corporate issuer and the first high yield Sukuk offering by a GCC issuer (Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company)
  • the first long-term Islamic project financing (Qatargas II)–US$530 million Istisna facility
  • the largest Islamic project financing (at the time) in Saudi Arabia (Petro-Rabigh Phase 1)–US$600 million Ijara facility

 

AWARDS

Project Finance Team of the Year
Islamic Finance News 2014

Sadara Chemical Project

Project Finance Deal of the Year
IFLR Middle East Awards 2013
Global Finance Deal of the Year, Project Finance, Middle East
The American Lawyer 2013
Project Finance & Infrastructure Deal of the Year and Saudi Arabia Deal of the Year
Islamic Finance News 2014
Middle East Petrochemical Deal of the Year
Project Finance International 2014

Best Sovereign Deal of the Year
Republic of Indonesia Sukuk
Finance Asia Achievement Awards 2014

Syndicated Deal of the Year
Gulf Marine Middle East FZE
Islamic Finance News 2014

Middle Eastern Mining Deal of the Year
Emirates Steel Industries Refinancing
IJGlobal, Middle East 2015

Europe Deal of the Year 2011
AK BARS Bank
Islamic Finance News 2012

Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2011
PT AXIS Telekom Indonesia Financing
Islamic Finance News 2012

Experience

Republic of Indonesia, 2014
Representation of the Republic of Indonesia in connection with the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of US$1.5 billion Sukuk al-Ijara due 2019, under its US$5 billion Sukuk program. The Sukuk were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. This was the largest-ever Sukuk issuance by an issuer in Asia and was recently recognized as "Best Sovereign" at the Finance Asia Achievement Awards 2014.

State of Qatar Sukuk, 2012
Representation of the State of Qatar (SoQ) on the US$4 billion two-part bond issuance by SoQ Sukuk A Q.S.C. This deal has been recognized as "Deal of the Year 2012" by ASIAN-MENA COUNSEL; "Qatar Deal of the Year 2012" by Islamic Finance News; and "Deal of the Year 2012" by EMEA Finance's Achievement Awards.

Sadara Chemical Project, 2013
Representation of Saudi Aramco in connection with all project development and project financing aspects of the US$20 billion Sadara Chemical Project, a joint venture with The Dow Chemical Company. The transaction is the largest-ever project financing in the chemicals sector and raised US$12.5 billion from multiple financing sources. We also represented Sadara Basic Services Company on the issuance of US$2 billion in sukuk for the project, the largest-ever offering of sukuk in a project finance context.

EMAL Phase II, 2014
Representation of commercial banks in connection with the financing for Phase II of the EMAL project, including conventional and Islamic tranches totalling US$3.4 billion, as well as four ECAs (US Export-Import Bank, Hermes, Coface and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (K-EXIM)) with respect to direct and export credit agency (ECA)-supported tranches totalling US$600 million. This project was recognized as "Middle East Industrial Deal of the Year" at the Project Finance International Awards (2014). We also previously advised the commercial lenders in connection with the initial US$4.7 billion financing of Phase I of the same project.

Zakher Marine International, 2014
Representation of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), as sole bookrunner and initial mandated lead arranger, and a group of other lenders on a US$420 million Islamic financing provided to Zakher Marine International Inc. The facility arranged by ADIB will fund Zakher Marine's new shipbuilding program that includes 15 vessels and three self-elevating accommodation barges. Zakher Marine provides services to the offshore oil and gas industries and to offshore marine construction companies, and currently operates more than 35 offshore support vessels.

Gulf Marine Middle East FZE, 2013
Representation of the arrangers in connection with the US$410 million Islamic Ijara facilities to support the growth and expansion program being implemented by Gulf Marine Services Group in preparation for Group's IPO on the London Stock Exchange during the first half of 2014. This deal was the first Islamic-financed syndicated leveraged recapitalization in the UAE, and was awarded "Syndicated Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News 2014.

Emirates Steel Industries Refinancing, 2014
Representation of the lenders on the US$1.3 billion refinancing of the Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The financing was provided by a group of 19 international, regional and UAE commercial banks, split into conventional and Islamic facilities. It was principally applied to refinance the existing US$1.1 billion project financing provided to ESI in 2010 in relation to the expansion financing of its steel production facility in Abu Dhabi. The transaction also allowed Senaat, the UAE's largest industrial conglomerate and Emirates Steel's parent company, to consolidate its steel assets under Emirates Steel. This deal was recognized as "2014 Middle Eastern Mining Deal of the Year" by IJGlobal: Middle East 2015.

AK Bars Bank, 2014
Representation of AK Bars Bank of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia on its US$100 million syndicated Islamic financing. The financing, which will be used to fund Shari'ah-compliant assets and investment projects in the Republic of Tatarstan, has been provided by a syndicate of 11 international banks. Citi, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Emirates NBD Capital Limited acted as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners of the facility. This is the bank's second Sharia-compliant financing following its debut US$60 million Murabaha facility, closed in 2011 and on which we also advised.

Barzan Gas Project, 2012
Representation of Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil as the joint-venture sponsors of the US$10.3 billion Barzan Gas Project in Qatar. The financing consisted of US$7.2 billion of commercial bank, export credit agency (ECA) and Shari'ah compliant facilities. The US$850 million Shari'ah-compliant tranche which was structured as a Istisna-Ijara facility. This deal was recognized as "Global Deal of the Year 2011" by Project Finance, as one of the "Best Deals of 2011" by Global Trade Review and "Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2011" by Project Finance International.

National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) Restructuring, 2011
Representation of the co-ordinating committee of (Islamic and conventional) banks in connection with the restructuring of approximately AED 2.8 billion of Tabreed's debt. Tabreed is an Abu Dhabi-based utility company and the largest district cooling provider in the world. The transaction involved the restructuring of six Shari’ah-compliant facilities and a number of conventional facilities into two conventional and four Shari'ah-compliant facilities.