Islamic Finance

About

We are one of the most active international law firms when it comes to advising clients on Islamic finance.

Our Islamic finance specialists have extensive experience in structuring, documenting and negotiating complex transactions and developing innovative Shari'ah-compliant techniques, including in relation to asset finance, bank finance, regulation, project finance, hedging and derivatives transactions, funds and other structures including Sukuk issuances (both asset-based and asset-backed).

Our team has not only built up a strong track-record in Islamic transactions but is also comprised of experts in structuring conventional transactions. Having this breadth of experience provides us with the ability to deliver legal and structuring solutions across a wide range of product areas.

Our clients benefit from a team of highly experienced Islamic finance specialists with up-to-date experience and knowledge and who have decades of combined experience in structuring, documenting and negotiating complex transactions and developing innovative Shari'ah-compliant techniques.

Middle Eastern laws and regulations

Our lawyers on the ground in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh guide Middle Eastern clients on compliance with laws governing Islamic finance and derivatives transactions in the region. As many of the English and Arabic speaking lawyers have worked in the Middle East for a number of years, White & Case can draw on their extensive international and regional knowledge of laws and regulations as well as their contacts in key government departments and entities.

As one of only a handful of international firms with a local presence and ability to work closely together within those markets to address local regulatory requirements, our clients who do business in the Middle East benefit greatly from our on-the-ground expertise.

Relationships with the leading Shari'ah Scholars

We also have longstanding relationships with the leading Shari'ah Scholars who sit on the various Shari'ah boards of advisory banks active in Islamic finance. We have also led on formulating the listing policies for Sukuk in international exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange, the Irish Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai and we have consulted with regulatory authorities in respect of the amendment of existing legislative frameworks and the drafting of new laws to accommodate Sukuk issuances.

Seamless service delivery

We offer clients teams that have successfully worked together on many transactions and projects and have Islamic finance experience in the region and globally. Our ability to field teams that are able to provide seamless advice whilst being based across multiple jurisdictions and time zones stands us apart from our competitors. We know how to successfully close deals through working together in an effective and efficient manner—allowing our clients to receive high quality legal advice. Indeed, White & Case's Islamic finance lawyers have built up a strong track-record of working together on large-scale, complex, multi-sourced and multi-jurisdictional transactions across the region and throughout the globe.

 

Unique experience with a track record of "firsts"

Our 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, including:

  • The largest ever profit rate swap (Zain)
  • Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company's inaugural domestic issuance (SAR 11 billion Sukuk Issuance Programme)
  • The debut issue and one of largest-ever emerging markets sovereign sukuk issues (establishment of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Reg S/ Rule 144A sukuk programme and debut issuance of US$9 billion across two issued series).
  • The largest-ever corporate sukuk issued out of Kuwait (EQUATE Petrochemical Company K.S.C.C. and the Kuwait Olefins Company K.S.C.C. on the establishment of EQUATE Sukuk SPC Limited's US$2 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme).
  • The largest-ever Saudi Riyal financing of its kind (Saudi Aramco's landmark US$10 billion revolving credit facilities, including two Saudi Riyal murabaha tranches in an aggregate value of US$3 billion).
  • Saudi Aramco's first sukuk Issuance Programme (issuance of up to SAR 37.5 billion (US$10 billion) sukuk, and its debut SAR 11.25 billion (US$3 billion) sukuk issuance thereunder).
  • The largest US$ 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 & RECOGNITION

"Commentators praise the firm for its strengths in project finance and sukuk, noting that it benefits from important institutional relationships that it has built up over years."
"Specialists in Sukuk and Islamic finance."
"They're one of the best law firms we've ever worked with….."
"We finished each other's sentences, we debated in a constructive manner, it was a seamless experience."
" They have an ability to source different lawyers from different areas for different tasks. The quality of work has also been outstanding."
Chambers Global, 2019

"White & Case has excellent cross-border and cross-office capabilities."
"They have offices everywhere you need them – it's basically a one-stop shop approach."
Chambers Europe-wide 2017, Capital Markets: Structured Finance

Best Law Firm – UAE
emeafinance Middle East Banking Awards, 2018

Best Law Firm – Middle East
EMEA Finance Middle East Banking Awards 2017, 2016

Ranked Band 1 for Capital Markets in Saudi Arabia
Chambers Global, 2019

Ranked Band 1 for Banking & Finance in Saudi Arabia
Ranked Band 1 for Banking & Finance in the UAE
Legal 500, 2018

Experience

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Advising J.P. Morgan, Citi and HSBC on the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's debut 144A/Regulation S Sukuk Programme and issuance of US$9 billion Sukuk in equal tranches of US$4.5 billion due 2022 and 2027 respectively. This deal was recognised as "Islamic Capital Markets Deal of the Year" by the Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Middle East Awards (2017), as well as "Sovereign Deal of the Year" and "Saudi Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News Awards (2018).

Advising the Bank of China Limited, London Branch, BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC Bank plc, ICBC International Securities Limited, J.P. Morgan Securities plc, Merrill Lynch International, Mizuho International plc, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc, MUFG Securities EMEA plc, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Limited, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank on the 2018 update of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Global Medium Term Note Programme, and represented BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, Goldman Sachs International, ICBC International Securities Limited, Merrill Lynch International, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Limited, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank as Dealers on the 2018 update of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Trust Certificate Issuance Programme and the US$2 billion Sukuk issuance thereunder.

Almarai
Advising First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Gulf International Bank, J.P. Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank on the establishment by Almarai Company (through Almarai Sukuk Ltd.) of a Regulation S US$2 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme, and on the inaugural issuance thereunder of US$500 million Trust Certificates due 2024. This debut offering represents the first US dollar denominated Sukuk issuance by a GCC food and beverage company, the first international investment grade non-government related corporate issuance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the largest orderbook oversubscription ever achieved by a Saudi corporate.

DP World
Advising Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, HSBC Bank plc, Emirates NBD P.J.S.C., Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank on the 2018 update of DP World Limited's Rule 144A / Reg S US$5 billion Global Medium Term Note, and Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, Dubai Islamic Bank P.J.S.C., Emirates NBD P.J.S.C., First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, HSBC Bank plc and Standard Chartered Bank on the 2018 update of DP World Limited's Rule 144A / Reg S US$3 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme. In parallel with the new issuances under the programmes, the Firm also advised the dealer managers on DP World's tender offer for existing trust certificates issued by JAFZ Sukuk (2019) Limited, whereby in excess of US$400 million of such securities were tendered and accepted for purchase, with tendering holders being offered priority in the allocation of DP World's new trust certificates.

The Republic of Indonesia
Advising the Arrangers and Managers on the update of The Republic of Indonesia's (RoI) Rule 144A/Reg S Trust Certificate Issuance Programme and the subsequent US$2.0 billion dual tranche Sukuk offering under the Program. The offering involved the issuance of a tranche of US$1.25 billion Sukuk and a tranche of US$750 million Green Sukuk, the proceeds of which will be exclusively used to finance and re-finance "Eligible Green Projects", as set out in the RoI's Green Bond and Green Sukuk Framework.

Farabi Yanbu Petrochemicals Company
Representation of the lenders in connection with the SAR2.15 billion Islamic project financing for the construction of a new petrochemicals complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The complex, which is being developed by Farabi Yanbu Petrochemicals Company, a subsidiary of Farabi Petrochemicals Company, will produce LAB, paraffins and derivative products. This deal has recently been recognised as "MENA Petrochemicals Deal of the Year" by IJ Global.

Saudi Aramco
Advising Saudi Aramco on the establishment of its first Sukuk Issuance Programme for the issuance of up to SAR 37.5 billion (US$10 billion) Sukuk, and its debut issuance of SAR 11.25 billion (US$3 billion) Sukuk thereunder. This deal was recognised as "Local Currency Bond Deal of the Year" by the Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Middle East Awards (2017).

Advising Saudi Aramco (one of the joint-venture sponsors of Sadara Basic Services Company) in connection with the public offering by Sadara Basic Services Company of SAR 7.5 billion (approximately US$2 billion) Sukuk al-Musharaka as part of the proposed US$20 billion financing plan for the construction of the Sadara petrochemical complex. The Sukuk were listed on Tadawul. This was the largest-ever project finance Sukuk offering and the first-ever Sukuk to provide initial (as opposed to supplemental or replacement) funding for a green-field project. The project also included two additional Islamic bank facilities.

Advising Saudi Aramco on its landmark US$10 billion revolving credit facilities. The facilities are divided into two US dollar conventional tranches (in an aggregate value of US$7 billion) and two Saudi Riyal murabaha tranches (in an aggregate value of US$3 billion). The Sharia compliant murabaha facilities represent the largest ever Saudi Riyal financing of its kind. This deal was recently recognised as "Saudi Arabia Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News (2015).

EQUATE Petrochemical Company K.S.C.C. and the Kuwait Olefins Company K.S.C.C.
Advising EQUATE Petrochemical Company K.S.C.C. and the Kuwait Olefins Company K.S.C.C. on the establishment of EQUATE Sukuk SPC Limited ‘s US$2 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme in December 2016 and the Regulation S offering of US$500 million trust certificates under this Programme. This issuance was the largest-ever corporate Sukuk issued out of Kuwait. This deal was recognised as "Hybrid Deal of the Year 2017" by Islamic Finance News Awards (2018).

National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed)
Advising J.P. Morgan, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Mashreqbank on the 2018 debut issuance by National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) through Tabreed Sukuk SPC Limited of US$500 million Regulation S Trust Certificates, utilising a capacity structure.

Investment Corporation of Dubai
Advising Investment Corporation of Dubai in connection with the US$1 billion issuance of trust certificates by ICD Sukuk Company Limited under its US$2.5 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme. The Trust Certificates, which were issued in a single tranche maturing in 2027, were offered pursuant to Regulation S and are listed on the Nasdaq Dubai and on the Irish Stock Exchange, and have a profit rate of five percent per annum.

ENBD REIT (CEIC) Limited
Advising ENBD REIT (CEIC) Limited, the Shari'ah compliant real estate investment trust managed by Emirates NBD Asset Management Limited, in connection with a US$75 million (AED 275 million) Murabaha finance facility.

Etihad Airways
Advising Etihad Airways PJSC (Etihad) in relation to a US$300 million Syndicated Islamic Facility made available by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC and Emirates NBD Bank PJSC to assist funding the company's continued expansion and growth plans.

Almotasaliha Co. LLC
Advising Dubai based Gargash family in connection with a dual tranche Islamic and conventional acquisition finance facility made available by Mashreqbank PSC in connection with the acquisition of 100 percent of the shares in Gargash Enterprises LLC (Gargash Enterprises). This is considered as one of the largest leveraged buyout transactions in the automobile industry's history. Gargash Enterprises is one of the largest independent distributors for Mercedes Benz passenger cars and commercial vehicles in the world.

Nakheel
Advising Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Samba Financial Group in relation to AED 1.5 billion financing provided to Nakheel for a residential property project in Dubai. This deal has been recognised as "Ijarah Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News (2018).

Galadari
Advising the heirs of Abdul Latif Ibrahim Galadari in connection with their buyout of the remaining shareholders (the Investment Corporation of Dubai and the heirs of Abdul Rahim Ibrahim Galadari) in the Galadari Brothers group. The acquisitions were partially funded by a credit facility provided by Mashreqbank psc. The bridge facility was recognised as "Local Currency loan deal of the year" by Bonds, Loans & Sukuk awards, Middle East (2018).

Al Ghurair Investments
Advising Al Ghurair Investments in relation to its AED 1.2 billion syndicated real estate development financing for a Dubai based real estate development.

United Arab Shipping Company and Hapag-Lloyd
Advising United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) on its financial restructuring following its merger with Germany-headquartered Hapag-Lloyd AG, in a multi-billion deal that is the largest cross-border M&A deal involving a Middle East-headquartered company in the last 10 years and the largest-ever M&A deal involving a DIFC company. This transaction was recognised as "Restructuring Deal of the Year" by Islamic Finance News (2018).