CC bags European Islamic Investment Bank first

Clifford Chance has bagged the lead role to advise on the first UK dual-fund sharia-compliant real estate transaction.

Clifford Chance’s real estate team, led by partner Mark Payne, advised the European Islamic Investment Bank’s (EIIB) Pan-European Islamic Real Estate Fund on a portfolio purchase bought from Islamic fund Albait UK Real Estate.

Payne told The Lawyer: “Islamic finance is becoming increasingly important in financing in a wide range of areas. This deal is a good example of the growing importance of sharia-compliant structures and financing.”

The deal involved collapsing the existing sharia-compliant structure in order to refinance the portfolio.

EIIB used £18bn from its own balance sheet as bridge financing until the fund’s first closing, which is expected in early June.

Payne commented: “The deal was very innovative and was an interesting transaction for us to work on. The firm has good experience in Islamic financing so we’re well equipped to work on these types of transactions.”

Norton Rose advised Albait on the transaction. The firm’s team was led by partners Alison Lympany, Cathy Pitt and Mathew Ryan.