Allen & Overy considers future in Saudi as local firm deal ends

Allen & Overy (A&O) is mulling its future in Saudi Arabia as its contract with local sponsor Abdulaziz AlGasim expires.

A&O is currently tied up with Riyadh firm Abdulaziz AlGasim Law Firm, in line with local law which demands that western firms opening in Saudi Arabia have an association with a local firm.

The association was launched in 2007 as part of a five-year deal (11 May 2007).

That contract expired yesterday (18 June). The two firms have now entered into an automatic one-year roll-over period. The A&O spokesman also added that the firm was now speaking with Abdulaziz AlGasim about whether to continue the association but that no timeline has been put on the two parties reaching an agreement.

A&O’s spokesperson added that the firm was committed to Saudi Arabia and was not considering pulling out of the Kingdom. The spokesperson also added that A&O was not talking to any other potential sponsor firms at present.

When A&O first opened in Saudi Arabia, it parachuted in banking and finance partner Julian Johansen, who remains in the Riyadh office now.

Johansen has since been joined by corporate structured finance partner Johannes Bruski, while the firm also hired a local partner from Abdulaziz AlGasim in 2010 (4 August 2010).