Lovells plunders DWS for Dubai launch

Lovells has raided Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) for a three-partner team to launch an office in Dubai.

Senior banking and finance partner Rahail Ali, who heads up DWS’s global islamic finance practice, is joining Lovells’ new Dubai office.

He will be be joined by banking and finance associate Rustum Shah and corporate and capital markets associate Imtiaz Shah who will both become partners at Lovells.

Between them the trio have acted on more than $12bn of deals in the last 12 months, including advising the underwriters on the $1bn Islamic bond financing for the expansion of Dubai airport and advising on the financing of Dubai Ports World’s $5.7bn acquisition of P&O.

The office, which is expected to be up and running by early May 2007, will be headed by London banking and project finance partner Shibeer Ahmed who will be joined in Dubai by a London corporate partner later in the year. Lovells aims to build a practice of around 25 to 30 lawyers and other staff by the end if the first year.

Lovells managing partner David Harris said: “From soundings we have taken from our clients, there is a real opportunity for us to develop and grow a significant presence in Dubai.”