Cleary and A&O bag major North African takeover

Paris-based corporate partners Pierre-Yves Chabert and Gamal Abouali led the team at Cleary.


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has advised the world’s biggest cement-maker Lafarge on its £6.32bn purchase of Egyptian rival Orascom Cement, making it North Africa’s biggest ever M&A deal.

Paris-based corporate partners Pierre-Yves Chabert and Gamal Abouali led the team at Cleary. Chabert has a longstanding relationship with French-headquartered Lafarge. Cleary advised the company on a $2bn (£970m) bond offering in 2006.

Meanwhile, Orascom Cement, which is a subsidiary of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), turned to Allen & Overy (A&O), with a team led by corporate partner Andrew Schoorlemmer, who manages the relationship with Orascom.

The Sawiris family are the founders and majority shareholders of OCI and will reinvest sale proceeds of EU2.8bn (£2bn) in Lafarge, in return for 11.5 per cent of Lafarge’s share capital. This makes the family Lafarge’s second-biggest shareholder and Nassef Sawiris, who heads up OCI, will take a place on Lafarge’s board. The Sawiris family was also advised by A&O.

A&O worked with Egyptian firm Shalakany Law Office on local law issues, where corporate partner Mona Zulficar led. She is the Sawiris family’s go-to adviser.

Cleary teamed with Cairo-headquartered Ibrachy on local issues.

Orascom Cement has a market-leading position in the Mediterranean and Middle East with revenues of $2.6bn (£1.3bn).