Bolstered by two experienced projects, energy and infrastructure partners joining the office from the firm’s global and regional network
International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has launched in Riyadh after it was one of the first international law firms granted a licence to establish its office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The office will initially focus primarily on energy, infrastructure, M&A, projects and project & structured finance.
Two partners, Alexander Currie and Phil Hanson, will join partner Joza AlRasheed, who is the managing partner of the Riyadh office. Alexander, Phil and Joza will work closely with the firm's regional team of eight partners and 30 associates to deliver market-leading advice and legal support to the firm's Saudi and international clients operating in the Saudi market.
Joza AlRasheed is a corporate lawyer who specialises in advising governments, private entities and other public bodies on domestic and international M&A and disposals, JVs and structuring, policy and regulatory compliance. She works in the energy, infrastructure, mining and metals and construction and engineering fields. She has extensive experience working on high-profile M&A transactions in the energy transition, including renewables, power, hydrogen and green ammonia, and upstream and downstream projects. Joza has expertise in working on Saudi government projects and advising on innovative and market-leading structures and solutions.
Alexander Currie is a leading energy and infrastructure lawyer with over 25 years' experience, 18 years as a partner, acting on the development of projects, project financing, acquisitions and disposals of energy and natural resource assets, and restructuring distressed projects. His sector experience includes a wide range of oil and gas, energy transition, power, natural resources and infrastructure assets across many jurisdictions. Alexander is one of the most experienced international projects lawyers in the world, having previously worked extensively in London, the Middle East, Moscow and Sydney.
Phil Hanson is a projects and project finance lawyer acting for sponsors, lenders (including export credit agencies, multilaterals and Islamic banks) and procurers across a broad range of international project finance and projects work. He has over a decade of advising on Saudi Arabian and other Middle East projects, specialising in the energy and infrastructure sectors, with a particular focus on power, water and wastewater, social infrastructure and transport, and has acted on some of the most high-profile projects in the region in recent years.
Joza AlRasheed, managing partner of the firm’s Riyadh office, commented:
“Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and our Riyadh office provides us with the ideal platform to continue to service key Saudi, regional and international clients. We look forward to delivering through our Riyadh offering the top-quality legal services that our existing and future clients require in the Kingdom. I look forward to working closely with Alexander, Phil, the Riyadh team and our Middle East and international practices to provide bespoke support to our clients on their significant and innovative mandates both locally and internationally.”
Stuart Paterson, the firm’s managing partner of the Middle East region, commented:
"The opening of our Riyadh office is a milestone for our Middle East practice and the firm. It charts a new chapter in the exceptional growth of our leading practices across EMEA. Our Middle East strategy is focused on investing in the firm's energy, infrastructure and natural resources offering. This includes a commitment to enhance our Corporate and Project Finance capabilities to complement our thriving Projects practice. We look forward to expanding the Riyadh team and continuing to build our presence in the region."
About Herbert Smith Freehills Middle East practice
The firm has been operating in the region for 45 years, advising international and local clients on their significant transactions throughout the Kingdom and the wider Middle East. Herbert Smith Freehills’ multidisciplinary team acts for international and regional clients conducting business throughout the Middle East and North Africa advising on notable deals in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Jordan and Egypt.
Some of the firm’s key clients in the region include Marubeni, Engie, Advanced Petrochemicals Company, Emaar and Uber.
The firm has recently advised on:
- Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) in relation to its Share Purchase of 9.9% interest in Ivanhoe Electric (Ma'aden's first international share acquisition which is on the NYSE), coupled with the formation of a 50:50 joint venture with Ivanhoe Electric to explore 48,500 sq km of land across the Kingdom.
- Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) on the formation of two 50:50 joint ventures with Barrick Gold to explore Um Ad Damar and Jabal Sayid exploration blocks.
- Advanced Petrochemicals Company on the development and US$ 3.3 billion financing of polypropylene and propane dehydrogenation plants in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The project is the largest petrochemicals project financing for some time in Saudi Arabia and the largest in 2022. It will make Advanced Petrochemicals Company one of the largest polypropylene manufacturers in the world ('MENA Petrochemical Deal of the Year', IJ Global Awards 2022 and 'Project Finance Loan Deal of the Year', Capital Markets & ESG Finance Saudi Arabia Awards 2023).
- The lenders on the refinancing of Tibah Airports Development Company (Tibah), which holds the concession to operate Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Tibah is owned by TAV Holding and Al Rajhi Holding Group ('Transport Finance Deal of the Year', Capital Markets & ESG Finance Saudi Arabia Awards 2023).
- The lenders, Banque Saudi Fransi and Alinma Bank, in relation to a secured SAR 455 million refinancing and SAR 240 million capex facility for the expansion of industrial plants located in Saudi Arabia used in the production of methanol and other petrochemical derivatives ('MENA Petrochemical Refinancing Deal of the Year', IJ Global Awards 2022).
- The mandated lead arrangers to ENGIE for the 450,000m³/day Yanbu 4 IWP (reverse osmosis plant) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ('Middle East & Africa PPP Deal of the Year', PFI Awards 2021 and 'Utility Project of the Year', Middle East Energy Awards 2022).
- Marubeni Corporation on the 2.4GW Fujairah 3 IPP in Fujairah, UAE ('Power Deal of the Year Middle East and Africa', Project Finance International Awards 2020, and MENA Power Deal of the Year, IJ Global Awards 2020).
- Uber B.V. on its US$ 3.1 billion acquisition of Careem, the largest provider of internet-led transportation in the Middle East.
- Aramex, a leading listed logistics provider, on the disposal of Infofort, a multi-jurisdictional part of its group by way of a competitive auction process, in the MENA region.
- Lagardère Travel Retail on its acquisition of a majority share and controlling interest in HWH's food & beverage operations at Dubai Airport.