Gide Loyrette Nouel, Morocco


€8m (£5.24m) (across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia)
Managing partner: Hicham Naciri
Number of partners: Two
Number of lawyers: 25
Main practice areas: M&A, banking and finance, project finance, real estate, litigation
Clients: Attijariwafa Bank, EHC Maroc, Medi Telecom, Risma
Offices: One
Location: Casablanca

Gide Loyrette Nouel has the distinction of being one of only a handful of international firms present in Morocco.

Just three years after the French firm joined up with Moroccan independent Naciri & Associés, the office has a workforce of 25 and is acting on a host of hefty deals.

The Casablanca office is managed by Hicham Naciri, who originally worked with Gide in Paris between 1995 and 1998.

After a stint at Norton Rose in Paris, Naciri returned to Morocco to join his father at Naciri & Associés. The two firms merged in 2003, with Naciri becoming managing partner and his father retained as a consultant focusing on litigation and arbitration.

The Casablanca office is working increasingly closely with its fellow North African outposts in Tunisia and Algeria, and clients are asking for the three offices to undertake joint pitches for work.

Naciri sees this as a trend that will continue and says that Morocco is a perfect base from which to serve other Francophone African countries.

“Casablanca will not necessarily be an office serving only Casablanca,” he says. “It’s also a hub to work with other African countries like Mauritania, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.”

Recent deals the firm has worked on include the e600m (£392.94m) refinancing of Moroccan telecoms operator Medi Telecom, which is owned by Iberian group Telefonica, and investment fund Colony Capital’s investment in new tourist city Taghazout, valued at around e1.5bn (£982.36m).

The partnership ranks at Gide Morocco are newly swelled this year with the promotion of Yassir Ghorbal, who has been made up after two years with Gide. Jhorbal joined the Casablanca office from an in-house position at a Moroccan bank.

Naciri says the firm is benefiting from the tourism sector in Morocco, which is actively seeking to develop its infrastructure to attract more tourists to the country.

It is also the biggest French firm in Morocco, competing only with Gallic rivals CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre and UGGC & Associés.

In November 2006 Spain’s largest firm Garrigues set up an office in Casablanca, which underlined the growing opportunities for law firms in the region.

“The market is really evolving and getting more and more sophisticated,” says Naciri. “It’s applicable to every type of project. The people in the market are more and more keen on getting lawyers associated with their project. The real development has been in infrastructure, projects and real estate and hospitality developments.”

Gide is well placed to take advantage of the buoyant market, employing a mix of local expertise and international business experience.