Trowers targets Saudi launch after axing alliance

Trowers & Hamlins is set to launch its own office in Saudi Arabia after ending its affiliation with Saudi firm Riyadh-based Hassan Mahassni.

Trowers is in “advanced negotiations” to open its own office in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Under Saudi regulations, only a local lawyer can open in the country.

The move follows the recruitment of Naeif Rawaf, a Saudi national, from Riyadh investment bank The Capital Group. Although junior, Trowers is understood to have big plans for Rawaf.

As revealed by The Lawyer (19 February), Trowers hired Rawaf and Jordanian lawyer Rami Abu-Ghosh, who is expected to join Rawaf in Riyadh. The pair expand Trower’s Saudi offering to corporate law from the current project finance.

Trowers Dubai-based project finance partner Leroy Levy said: “We know the market very well and we now have a fantastic opportunity to establish something new.”

The move comes as Trowers has taken a leading role on another multi-billion dollar independent water and power project in Saudi Arabia, the $2bn Shuqaiq project. Trowers also advised a consortium on the Shuaibah IWPP project last year, the first of its kind, where the firm worked alongside Allen & Overy, which handled the financing aspects.

This time Trowers has advised the consortium on all aspects, including financing, while A&O advised the lenders and Clifford Chance advised the Saudi government.

Levy advised the winning consortium of Saudi’s ACWA Power Projects, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and the regional Gulf Investment Corporation.

White & Case, meanwhile, has disputed rumours it is in talks to save its affiliation with Saudi Arabian lawyer Mohammed Al-Sheikh.

Al-Shiekh, a former White & Case associate in New York before he returned to the Kingdom, is understood to have been approached by several other US firms.

White & Case EMEA project project and infrastructure finance head Philip Stopford said: “I am quite convinced our relationship with Mohammed is strong. We continue to work together, and for as long as he is a lawyer we will work with him, in some form or another.”