Overview

Our dedicated restructuring team on-the-ground in the Middle East has many years of local and international experience. Our specialist restructuring expertise and experience enables us to deliver exceptional service and proven commercial results to both our lender and borrower clients.

The team is headed up by Peter Somekh, one of the most experienced restructuring specialists in the region, who has worked extensively in Europe and the Middle East.

We serve a diverse client base encompassing debtors, lenders, government entities, trustees, shareholders, senior executives, and distressed debt and asset buyers and investors. The team is ideally placed to deal with all non-contentious restructuring assignments together with contentious recovery matters for financial institutions and insolvency practitioners.

Our restructuring team in the Middle East is part of our Global Restructuring Group, which is one of the world's leaders. With dedicated restructuring lawyers across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, we have the knowledge, experience and resources to address our clients' restructuring and insolvency needs on a national and international basis. Around the world, our specialist restructuring lawyers 'on the ground' have extensive knowledge of local markets and the associated challenges our clients face.

Capabilities

We counsel clients on all aspects of restructuring and insolvency/bankruptcy, whether in anticipation of them or in dealing with their consequences.

We advise clients on:

  • Debt and asset tracing and recovery
  • Disposals, including pre-packaged solutions, distressed M&A and real estate workout
  • Distressed debt trading
  • Financial restructuring
  • Formal insolvency/bankruptcy procedures and creditor committee representation
  • Insolvency/bankruptcy-related investigation, litigation and enforcement
  • International restructuring and reorganisation strategy and procedures
  • Operational restructuring
  • Re-organisation of businesses and group company structures on a non-distressed basis
  • Refinancing and fundraising
  • Security enhancement

Experience

We advise clients across a wide range of industry sectors and have particular strength in energy, financial services, healthcare, hospitality and leisure, real estate, retail, sports, technology and transportation.

Some significant restructuring matters we have recently worked on include:

  • A'ayan Leasing and Investment Company – Advising on its complex restructuring, which has led to its acceptance under the Financial Stability Law of Kuwait. This matter involved a number of innovative restructuring techniques, which have been tailored to work within a Kuwaiti legal and regulatory context. Our ability to provide a cross-regional team with all of the Islamic structuring experience required on this deal was a significant commercial benefit to the client.
  • Dubai developer – Advising a major Dubai developer on its contractual arrangements in respect of a number of its projects, including: advising on the impact of recent legislative changes in Dubai and, in particular, Law No. 13 of 2008 relating to the interim real estate register; documenting variations to the existing purchase terms, including varied arrangements in relation to the payout of funds from the escrow account; and advising the client on the impact of proceedings brought in the real estate court in relation to termination of existing contracts.
  • Family Business Reorganisation – Acting for a significant Middle Eastern business family in relation to the non-distressed reorganisation of its multiple business group and structure.
  • International Investment Group (IIG) – Advising IIG in relation to the restructuring of its Shari'a compliant facilities and capital markets issues. We dealt with a number of bilateral, syndicated and sukuk creditors with differing and competing interests. We advised on innovative ways to restructuring the debt, due to a large number of creditors under a large number of facilities and certificates, in a Shari'a compliant manner and within the constraints imposed by the relevant facilities and sukuk documentation.
  • Kuwait Finance House – Our team was mandated by Kuwait Finance House (KFH), one of the world's largest Islamic banks, to work in conjunction with their financial advisors to develop and implement strategies for the restructuring and turnaround of a number of underperforming assets held by KFH. This multijurisdictional instruction involved advising on local litigations, cross-border arbitration, restructuring agreements, debt refinancing and employment and corporate governance issues. In light of the tight Central Bank of Kuwait deadlines for resolving financial issues for licenced investment companies, our team had to take a fast acting and flexible approach to its role.
  • Major Private Company Group – Advising the Steering Committee of the largest private group of companies in Qatar in relation to a debt restructuring. This involved creating a structure akin to a debt-for-equity swap, which was the first of its kind in the Middle East.
  • Local bank – Reviewing the entire distressed lending portfolio of a local bank. We assisted in restructuring a number of such lends and, where necessary, took appropriate recovery measures.
  • International and local banks – Advising international and local banks on their documentation and drafting and providing advice in relation to their loan, security and over-the-counter derivatives documentation.