Banks turn to Lovells Dubai for major Saudi sukuk

A TEAM from Lovells’ Dubai office has closed its first major deal since the firm opened in the emirate in May.

The firm’s global head of Islamic finance Rahail Ali led a team advising a consortium of banks on a $1bn (£490m) sukuk for Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company. Senior associate Imran Mufti and associates Claire Matheson and Hassan Al-Jarrah were part of the Lovells team.

The banks involved were Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, ABC Islamic Bank, Arab National Bank, Gulf International Bank, Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) and Unicorn Investment Bank. The sukuk, believed to be the largest for a Saudi Arabian corporate entity, is due to list on the Dubai International Financial Exchange as well as Malaysia’s Labuan International Financial Exchange.

According to Ali, the sukuk is significant as it paves the way for further sharia-compliant capital markets transactions coming out of Saudi Arabia. He added that it proves there is considerable appetite for sukuks across the region.

Lovells acted as international counsel, advising the banks on English law, which Dubai financial laws are based on.

White & Case advised the lenders on Saudi aspects. Dar Al Arkan was advised by Kuwait’s Al-Sarraf & Al-Ruwayeh. Maples and Calder gave advice on Cayman law.