Matthew focuses on complex, large-scale project financing matters in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
A partner in the Firm's Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance group based in the UAE, he regularly takes a leading role in major projects, as well as working within legal teams from the Firm's offices around the world. Clients value his ability to provide strategic business advice and to structure, negotiate and document project and financing agreements to suit their specific needs.
Recent representative transactions include the financing of a series of seven solar power projects in Jordan, which saw the implementation of a highly innovative financing model. He has also worked on the US$1.5 billion financing of the Mirfa Independent Water and Power Project, the US$1.3 billion refinancing of the Emirates Steel Industries Project and the Phase II Expansion of the US$10.2 Billion EMAL Project.
Prior to moving to the UAE in 2010, Matthew spent eight years in the Project Finance Practice in London. He has also undertaken a six-month secondment within the legal department of BNP Paribas in Paris, where, among other matters, he advised on the financing provided by a syndicate of international banks to TAQA in Abu Dhabi, and the borrowing base facility provided to MND Exploration & Production Ltd for a gas field in Pakistan.
Matthew was part of the team which advised International Finance Corporation and a group of other lenders on a series of seven solar power projects in Jordan. The Firm adopted a unique approach for the transaction, working with IFC to develop a financing model that was rolled out successfully across seven separate photovoltaic solar power projects. Each project developer benefited from this streamlined approach and the resulting efficiency in these financings' execution. These seven projects comprise the majority of the Round 1 solar power programme in Jordan, which was implemented by the government to encourage the development of renewable energy projects in the country.
Matthew worked as part of the financing team which advised the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) on the successful financial closing of the US$1.5 billion Mirfa Independent Water and Power Project. This was an important project for Abu Dhabi, and demonstrated the continued success of the ADWEA privatization model. The power and water desalination facility, which is scheduled to begin preliminary operation in the summer of 2016, will be developed and managed by GDF Suez, following the award of a 25-year contract.
Matthew co-led the team that advised 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, and was split into conventional and Islamic facilities. The scale of the refinancing, which combined elements of both corporate and project finance, made this one of the standout financings to be completed in the GCC in 2014. The financing was significantly over-subscribed by both conventional and Islamic banks.
Matthew advised the lenders on the Phase II expansion of the landmark US$10.2 billion Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) smelter project in Abu Dhabi. Upon completion of Phase II, the project will be one of the largest single site aluminium smelters in the world, with an annual production capacity of approximately 1.3 million tonnes. The continued development of the EMAL smelter project is a significant step for the aluminium market in the Middle East.
Matthew advised the lenders on the ground-breaking US$1.2 billion financing of Indorama's nitrogenous fertiliser complex in Rivers State, Nigeria, the largest fertiliser plant in Africa. The financing was provided by a diverse group of international and Nigerian lenders, comprising a number of development finance institutions, international banks and leading Nigerian banks. This transaction demonstrated to the international and domestic markets that a private sector financing of this scale could be successfully closed within the Nigerian petrochemical market.
Matthew co-led the team which advised the international lenders on the financing of Reliance Power's Rs.21.745 million (US$392 million) Rajasthan Sun Technique solar power project in the state of Rajasthan, India. The financing for this project was provided by Asian Development Bank, FMO and US Ex-Im Bank, together with Indian commercial bank, Axis Bank. This transaction represented a hugely significant step for the Indian solar power market.
In a transaction which won Project Finance Magazine's Middle East Renewables Deal of the Year 2010, Matthew advised the mandated lead arrangers on the US$612 million financing of the Shams 1 solar power project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The financing for this project, which will be the first solar farm in the Middle East and the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, was provided by a group of eight international and two local commercial banks: BNP Paribas, KfW IPEX-Bank, Mizuho, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Natixis, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Union National Bank and WestLB.
Matthew advised the banks financing the third stage of the development of the passenger terminal at Zvartnots International Airport in Armenia. The expanded airport was a significant step in supporting Armenia's transition from a Soviet republic to a vibrant, commercially oriented nation. The deal had a novel financing structure, with ADB, EBRD and DEG providing senior parallel loans to Armenia International Airports.