Trowers steers $500m Islamic raising for Gulf Finance House

Finance partner Neale Downes led the Trowers team that advised the longstanding client on a $300m rights issue and the first of two $100m tranches of Islamic finance fundraising.

The full $500m of investment will be completed by a second tranche of Islamic finance that is expected to close next year.

Downes was joined by corporate partner Bill ­Jefferies on the now fully subscribed rights issue. Merrill Lynch acted as ­broker, with legal advice understood to be handled in-house by the bank.

Trowers has advised Bahrain-based GFH on a series of deals since it was founded more than a decade ago.

The initial round of murabaha Islamic financing is believed to be the first of its kind to allow conversion into the shares of the company raising the fund.

“The Islamic finance ­elements break new ground and put into place robust sharia-compliant structures that we hope can be used in future deals,” said Downes. “The successful fundraising is another illustration of the revival of the Islamic finance market.”

Deutsche Bank acted as arranger and agent. The Deutsche Trustee Company was trustee for the noteholder, essentially acting as participant in the deal.

Allen & Overy acted for Deutsche Bank on the ­transaction, with senior associate Atif Hanif taking the lead role. Slaughter and May provided advice for the trustee, led by associate ­Caroline Sanderson.

The second tranche – also of $100m – is taking place through the Macquarie Group.

It is understood that the fundraising will be used to strengthen GFH following its restructuring earlier this year. The bank divided into two branches, with a real estate arm supplementing its more established investment banking business.