Trowers & Hamlins has won the mandate to advise on the $1bn expansion of the Mosque of the Prophet in Saudi Arabia’s Holy City of Medina.
Trowers, through its Dubai office and association with Jeddah-based firm Law Office of Hassan Mahassni, is advising the Saudi Binladin Group.
“The Binladin Group is becoming a major client, and as transactions it is involved in become increasingly sophisticated, they are turning to outside counsel more, and we are benefiting,” said Trowers Dubai-based partner and head of the Saudi practice Leroy Levy.
Trowers is developing a close relationship with the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s largest construction company and business empire run by the Binladin family.
Trowers has also been appointed to advise on the financing of a second culturally prestigious site for the Islamic world, the 240m Sarah Tower in Mecca. Levy is leading the advice on both Islamic financings.
Clifford Chance is advising the lenders, understood to include Samba Financial Group, part of the Saudi America Bank.
The Mosque of the Prophet is generally recognised as the second most important mosque in the Islamic world, and contains Mohammed’s tomb. The current Mosque area is thought to be able to hold up to one million worshippers at a time.
Levy said: “In this day and age and current climate it would be unspeakable to finance the extension without it being done in an Islamic-compliant way.”
The deal is expected to rank as one of the largest shariah compliant financings to date.