January 27, 2014
For the third consecutive year, Islamic Finance news has named Latham & Watkins its “Best Law Firm—Project & Infrastructure Finance.” In addition, the firm was recognized for its work on five “2013 Deals of the Year,” including:
- Mobily ECA Financing, which was named both “Murabaha Deal of the Year” and “Trade Finance Deal of the Year.” Latham advised Mobily, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading telecom operators, in connection with two Murabaha facilities, worth US$646 million in total. This financing was recognised for being the first Shari’ah-compliant ECA financing for the telecom sector in Saudi Arabia, as well as for being the largest transaction ever supported by Finnvera in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
- Ooredoo Inaugural Sukuk, which was named the “Qatar Deal of the Year.” Latham advised Ooredoo, Qatar's biggest phone operator, on the establishment of its US$2 billion airtime sukuk programme and issuance of US$1.25 billion trust certificates thereunder. Not only is this sukuk the first to be issued under a program that utilizes an innovative airtime sukuk structure, but it also demonstrates an innovation in Islamic finance: namely, the ability to structure a sukuk based on the assets that an underlying obligor has available to it (in this case, airtime minutes).
- Department of Finance, Government of Dubai Sukuk, which was named “UAE Deal of the Year.” Latham advised the government of Dubai on its issuance of US$750 million trust certificates, a sukuk that is of critical importance to the government in terms of setting its yield curve. With a number of government debts approaching maturity during 2013-14, the deal will likely serve as a proxy for the level of confidence that international investors have in the government’s credit.
- Maran Nakilat Refinancing, which was named “Tawarruq Deal of the Year.” Latham advised Maran Nakilat, a Qatari shipping company, in connection with its Shari’ah-compliant refinancing. This transaction was recognised for being the first Shari’ah-compliant refinancing of conventional debt entered into by Qatar Gas Transport Company.
Craig Nethercott, Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Global Islamic Finance Practice, said: “We are honoured to have received recognition for our work on some of the region’s most innovative Islamic transactions. Our award-winning transactions demonstrate the exceptional talent held within our finance and capital markets practices and our leading reputation in the Islamic finance space.”