Trowers names new UAE chief for embattled Middle East practice

Trowers & Hamlins has named Bahrain partner Abdullah Mutawi as the new head of its United Arab Emirates practice in a strategic effort to reassert its presence in the Middle East.

Trowers & Hamlins has named Bahrain partner Abdullah Mutawi as the new head of its United Arab Emirates practice in a strategic effort to reassert its presence in the Middle East.

Mutawi will work with Nick White and Andrew Rae, resident managing partners of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, to expand the firm’s corporate offering in the UAE while the Bahrain office remains under the stewardship of partner Dominic O’Neil.

The move follows a difficult year for Trowers in the Middle East, which has included a steady exodus of lawyers from its Dubai and Riyadh offices, the temporary closure of its Cairo and Bahrain offices due to political unrest and the permanent closure of its Jeddah base (23 May 2011).

Trowers’ head of international Martin Amison said: “We have always been proud of our longstanding presence in the Middle East and our Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices continue to perform well in trying economic times. Expanding our corporate finance capabilities in the UAE is a key part of our strategy going forward particularly as we have started to see significant deals coming to the market.

“Abdullah is the perfect man to lead this. He is a corporate heavyweight with a great reputation and has built a significant client base in the region.”

He added: “I am confident our clients will welcome his gravitas, his enormous experience and his ability to work seamlessly between Arabic and Western business environments.”

Mutawi has acted for both buyers and sellers on a number of the region’s M&A deals and has a particular specialisation in the telecom sector.

His clients include the Central Bank of Bahrain, Capital Management House, Unicorn Investment Bank, Vodafone, Orange, Bloomberg, Zain, the Bahrain Social Insurance Organisation, Cable & Wireless and Qatar Telecom.

Commenting on his new role, he said: “Investor confidence and deal flows are on the increase, making this an exciting time to add to our offering in the region.”