William Watson

Partner, Dubai



William Watson is a partner in our Debt Finance practice, based in our Dubai office. William has extensive experience across a broad range of issues in debt finance, including restructurings, leveraged-finance and general corporate finance in the Middle East, London and Africa. William has experience advising banks, ECAs, sponsors and borrowers (corporate and sovereign) in relation to conventional and Sharia-compliant transactions. William has been seconded to financial institutions in both Dubai and London.

Bars and Courts
England and Wales
High Court of Australia
Bachelor of Laws (Hons H1)
Monash University
Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
Monash University


Representative examples of William's experience include:

Representation of Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) in relation to an AED 5.5 billion dual conventional and Murabaha financing in connection with the initial public offering of Empower.

Representation of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in relation to a AED 10 billion term Murabaha facilities agreement entered into with Emirates NBD Capital Limited and Dubai Green Fund Capital as lead arrangers.

Representation of an Abu Dhabi Government related entity in connection with a US$900 million financing for a strategic acquisition.

Representation of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, acting through the Department of Finance in connection with the signing of a strategic Abu Dhabi Government backed financing relating to a AED 1.99 billion green loan term facility for Etihad Rail Company PJSC (First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC (FAB) acting as lender, agent, security agent, account bank and mandated hedge provider) for the construction of passenger stations and rail track extensions to connect with the existing Etihad Rail freight line and associated infrastructure.

Representation of FIVE Holdings (BVI) Limited in relation to its inaugural green financing, consisting of US$350 million senior secured guaranteed green notes and the linked US$200 million senior secured revolving credit facility.

Representation of Arabian Centres Company (ACC), Saudi Arabia's leading shopping mall owner, developer and operator, on its dual currency US$1.9 billion refinancing package. The refinancing consists of a senior unsecured US$500 million debut Reg S/144A five-year Sukuk issuance, alongside a senior secured dual (USD and SAR) currency US$1.2 billion (equivalent) Ijara and Murabaha term facilities and a senior secured dual (USD and SAR) currency US$200 million (equivalent) revolving Murabaha facility.

Representation of Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co., a leading diversified fashion, beauty, and food retailer in Saudi Arabia with international operations across 13 countries and long term relationships with more than 80 leading international retail brands, on its dual-currency US$800 million refinancing package. The refinancing consists of a senior secured dual-currency (USD and SAR) US$650 million (equivalent) Murabaha term facility and a senior secured dual-currency (USD and SAR) US$150 million (equivalent) revolving Murabaha facility.

Representation of IHS Holding Limited and its subsidiaries in relation to a consent solicitationu for the US$940 million and US$510 million senior notes issued by IHS Netherlands Holdco B.V. and the amendment and restatement of its US$270 million pari passu senior revolving credit facilities agreement and certain additional bridge and senior facilities.

Representation of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in respect of a USD 35,000,000 financing and capital investment arrangement in respect of Sunset Hospitality Group, a leading UAE based hospitality provider.

Representation of Zakher Marine International, an Abu Dhabi-based offshore vessel service company, in relation to a US$ 500 million financing, consisting of a senior bridge to high-yield facility and senior facilities conventional and Ijarah facilities agreements.

Representation of the finance parties in respect of a dual US$ and EUR sustainability linked financing to Ülker Bisküvi Sanayi A.Ş., provided on both a conventional and Shari'a compliant basis (being the first reported sustainability linked Murabaha financing within Turkey).

Representation of DP World on its US$1.2 billion acquisition of syncreon.

Representation of 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 funded in part by a AED1.675 billion (approx. US$456 million) bridge credit facility provided by Mashreqbank PSC.

Representation of the Emirati Gargash family in relation to Islamic and conventional syndicated facilities made available by Mashreqbank PSC for the acquisition of the whole shares in Gargash Enterprises.

Representation of GSO Capital Partners LP on its provision of a EUR375 million unitranche financing facility to a US private equity investment company in order to finance the acquisition of a construction group.

Representation of Gulf International – Saudi Arabia, Commercial Bank of Dubai psc, and National Bank of Bahrain B.S.C., Riyadh Branch as arrangers in respect of a SAR 478,700,000 syndicated facility.

Representation of York Capital in relation to a EUR vendor loan agreement provided in relation to the disposal of an interest in a pharmaceutical company.

Representation of GFH Financial Group in relation to a Murabaha backed financing relating to certain real estate interests.

Representation of a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund in relation to the rescue financing of a retail business.

Representation of SACE and the Finance Parties in connection with an ECA backed financing to the Government of Sharjah through the Ministry of Finance under the SACE PUSH program.

Representation of the Co-ordinating Committee and Lenders in relation to the US$200 million restructuring of a UAE based corporate group, achieved by way of 100% creditor consent.

Representation of Middle East Specialized Cables Co., a KSA listed entity, in relation to the restructuring of its syndicated facilities and government backed support packages.

Representation of certain creditors in relation to the restructuring of NMC Health plc.

Representation of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (CDP) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) as arranger and agent respectively, together with a group of lenders on the negotiation of the restructuring of a SACE covered facility to a UAE based developer.


Author of "Restructuring reforms energize the Middle East", June 2023.

Author of "The increasing importance of Private Credit within the UAE and the Establishment of ADGM Private Credit Funds Rules", May 2023.

Author of "Directors Duties: a stark reality following the recent 'Marka Ruling' and subsequent amendments to the UAE Bankruptcy Law", December 2021.

Author of "New implications following Decree No. 34 of 2021 on the Dubai International Arbitration Centre", September 2021.

Author of Debtwire article "Middle East debt markets step up as economic outlook improves", September 2021.

Author of the UAE chapter in the 2021 INSOL publication entitled "Treatment of Secured Claims in Insolvency and Pre-Insolvency Proceedings II"

Author of "Spotlight on Debt Finance: opportunities in the United Arab Emirates", October 2020.

Author of "Mortgages of Movable Property: a welcome update", May 2018.

Awards and Recognition

14th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards – The M&A Advisor 2023