In Africa & Middle East, we brought all our skills and we are capable to assist on a vast range of practice areas, especially corporate, M&A, project finance, international taxation and transfer pricing, international arbitration, construction, anticorruption and IP.
We cover all key industrial sectors in Africa & Middle East, building on the synergies and skills of our focus teams. We are on hand to lead you through arbitrations, compliance programmes, and anti-corruption policies. And for those considering setting up business in the continent, we are at the ready to guide you through the maze of legal and tax regulations and identify the best structure for your business from a legal and tax standpoint.
If you are an African & Middle East company, you can rely on us for high added-value legal services in all these areas.
Particularly from our Dubai office, the services we are most focused on are corporate and M&A, international arbitration and litigation and banking and finance: we are capable to assist international clients involved in deals that are subject to the laws of the jurisdictions in which we are present. The sectors where we can boasts higher expertise are construction and engineering, energy, luxury, shipping and commercial distribution.
CORPORATE and M&A
Africa is experiencing a steep and constant increase in M&A levels in the last decade: from 2009 seeing only 86 M&A deals involving Africa targets, to 2019 seeing 161 – with the vast majority being international deals. International private equity firms continue to go from strength to strength in Africa evidence by the total deals value of $24.6 bn in 2019 versus $18 bn in 2018.
The Middle East region is increasingly becoming an easier place to do business, an easier place for foreign direct investment, and a more attractive destination to invest. According to the latest reports, the value of mergers and acquisitions with Middle Eastern involvement reached $ 53.8 bn in 2019.
Against this background, foreign businesses need the support of lawyers with remarkable experience in large and complex cross-border deals. Our multidisciplinary, international team are experts in managing, in close collaboration with decision makers and financial advisors, the structuring and execution of complicated, high stake cross-border deals involving African countries – particularly those that require sophisticated legal planning and outstanding legal judgment. In the ever-evolving world of M&A, we continue to make a real contribution to the success of each deal. Our ability to come up with groundbreaking solutions and deliver optimum results is renowned – some of the most innovative structures conceived by our lawyers have become market standards.
We are your reference law firm whether you are a business looking to expand in Africa & Middle East or an African & Middle East business looking to expand in Europe. In particular, we are unrivalled on M&A and corporate matters, public and private stock and asset sales, mergers, and other combinations, private equity and investment companies’ formation, as well as on the deployment of their funds through investments and subsequent exits in various industries and sectors throughout the GCC, Levant, and Africa, and on joint venture structures involving entities located throughout the region and across various industries and sectors.
Over the last decade, we have seen international arbitration in Africa & Middle East flourish, with numerous regional arbitration centres opening and new national arbitration laws being introduced. But of all African countries, Egypt boasts the largest number of bilateral investment treaties – more than 100 – and hosts the most arbitrations, in large part administered at the well-known Cairo Arbitration Centre. We have assisted on arbitrations involving the domestic laws of 50 different countries. With specific regard to Africa, these include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda.
In addition to the Cairo Arbitration Centre, another leading centre in the area is the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, which is the reference point for arbitrations in the Gulf area.
We are also well-versed in working on international arbitrations in a range of languages (e.g., English, French, and Spanish) under various rules (e.g., ICC, LCIA, ICSID, SCC, CRCICA, IACAC and DIAC), national laws and legal systems, in Africa, America, Latin America, Europe and the Far and Middle East.
As counsel, our arbitration experts have assisted on 20 international arbitrations that did not involve Italy or Italian law – for both international companies and consortiums. As arbitrator, our team members have arbitrated more than 50 international disputes.
Our Team has also specific expertise in serving sovereign governments, state-owned entities, and sovereign wealth funds in protecting against and confronting litigation in judicial forums worldwide: we represent States in the most complex, high stakes and high-profile disputes thanks to the multidisciplinary approach of our Focus Team and the unique skills of our professionals.
Whether you are an international investor, an African or Middle East business or a Sovereign Government, we are your reference law firm in Africa & Middle East, especially in Egypt, Ethiopia and United Arab Emirates.
It is common knowledge that taxation is a vital source of funding for African governments to feed development and growth. African countries are now more focused on setting up tax systems that reflect the highest international standards to ensure effectiveness, accountability and transparency.
Against this backdrop, it is key for multinationals and international investors to examine tax matters with a fine tooth-comb to ensure no stone is left unturned when it comes to exploiting opportunities and minimising tax risks without infringing local regulations.
We have a unique expertise in all areas of international taxation. Our high reputation is built on the advice and guidance we have given, and continue to give, to Italian and international clients, concerning corporate tax, international taxation and transfer pricing.
In Africa & Middle East we offer support in the following areas:
- Structuring cross border investments
- Advising in restructuring and acquisition transactions
- Advising on complex issues of international tax, including tax planning for multinational groups with presence in Africa or with a regional hub in Dubai
- Advising on transfer pricing with regards to the following issues:
- Setting up group transfer pricing policies
- Business restructurings
- APAs and mutual agreement procedures under the existing double taxation conventions
- Tax audits and litigation
- Compliance (with specific reference to the local laws and regulations)
If you are a corporation or an investor with branches in Africa and Middle East, we are your reference law firm to structure your tax business in the most efficient way, thanks to our renowned expertise and our fully-fledged team of international tax specialists supported by our partners in Egypt, Ethiopia and United Arab Emirates for local legal aspects.
Infrastructure and energy projects are widely recognised as the key drivers of the socio-economic development in Africa and Middle East. This is particularly true for Egypt, where the vast majority of the $ 6.7 bn of foreign investment planned is focused on these sectors. Indeed, Egypt is working to create a more balanced diversification of its energy mix (renewables, gas and coal) and capitalise on its strategic location as a gateway between Africa, Europe and Asia. The country is also taking great strides to improve its port, road and railway infrastructure.
Our firm is well positioned to support investors keen to capture investment opportunities in this area under both Italian law and common law. We have a strong understanding of the industries and business models, thanks to our years of experience in the sectors: power generation and transmission, oil and gas, renewable energy (photovoltaic, wind, biomasses, geothermic) and infrastructure (roads and highways, hospitals, railways). We are your reference law firm in Africa, especially in Egypt, where we can combine our expertise with that of our colleagues and partners in Bahaa-Eldin Law Office where local and international expertise cooperate to provide first class legal services across Africa and the Middle East. The members of our Energy & Infrastructure Focus Team have won praise for their technical ability and their commercial approach. Indeed, our project finance experts offer a comprehensive service to banks, funds, ECAs, sponsors, contractors and sub-contractors: advice on project structures, development of procurement strategy, legal due diligence investigation, analysis and allocation of risks and review of the bankability of project and finance agreements. We can also leverage a rich blend of specialist skills and commercial perspectives from our “Best Friends” network of law firms for operations involving European investors or requiring common law competencies. This friendship allows us to create cost-efficient cross-jurisdictional teams who are highly skilled at guiding clients through the complexities of large ‘multi-border’ projects. If you are an investor or a developer/constructor, we are your reference law firm for energy and infrastructure projects financed on a project finance or export finance basis, for which we combine our recognised leadership in Europe with the local law expertise of our local partners.
Our Construction & Engineering team is unmatched in its knowledge of the sector, developed over decades of assisting major players in the infrastructure, oil, chemical and energy sectors in Italy and throughout the rest of the world, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
We guarantee our clients comprehensive, coordinated assistance with contracts, project financing, tenders, claims during work in progress and dispute management.
We represent Italian and international clients prepare and negotiate contracts for projects in Africa and the Middle East for major infrastructure works, industrial facilities and public and private construction (e.g., schools, hotels, hospitals and shopping centres). Our professionals have experience in the use of the various techniques and forms of contract for major international tenders and project financing.
Our firm is unique also in terms of our experience assisting employers and contractors in the construction stage, the handling of claims and the resolution of disputes. Our team includes leading experts on arbitration with vast experience in managing disputes connected to tender contracts and in acting as counsel in international arbitration cases concerning major works. A number of our partners are frequently appointed arbitrators in domestic and international arbitration concerning tender contracts.
Our team is a multidisciplinary group of professionals from different legal backgrounds, who guarantee our clients high-calibre advisory in the following areas of law:
- contract law
- administrative law
- banking & finance law
- disputes & arbitration
- environmental law
Creating a simple, efficient and modern compliance programme is clearly a must for companies investing abroad, especially in high-growth areas such as Africa & Middle East, which is characterised by cash-based economies, by challenges in obtaining licences and authorisations, and by the need to establish joint ventures with local players. Indeed, studies suggest that the continent loses an estimated $50 bn annually due to illicit financial flows – in the form of both tax fraud and money laundering. We offer a comprehensive range of services in the fields of business ethics and anti-corruption – all tailored to the specific requirements and nature of your business:
- Review: we can carry out a detailed review of your compliance programme and offer recommendations to enhance it based on the applicable regulations and international best practices
- Global compliance programme: we can draft a programme tailored to ensure that global-wide business ethics and anti-corruption policies:
- comply with the applicable regulations
- meet best practice standards
- support the business objectives by facilitating the adoption of legally and ethically correct forms of conduct throughout the business
- provide management with effective supervisory and monitoring instruments
- Opinion: we can provide an opinion concerning any aspect of your programme that you have concerns about
- Monitoring: we can monitor employees’ knowledge of the programme and its implementation
- Code of ethics: we can review your existing code of ethics or draft a new one from scratch – based on the latest applicable international best practices
- Training: we can run training programmes for your employees, for top management, and for your own trainers
Whatever your business interest in Africa & Middle East our ethics & corporate compliance and white-collar criminal law teams, joining forces with our local partners for African & Middle East law aspects, are on hand to keep your business in the continent ‘on the straight and narrow’.
Protecting brands, products and services is a key aspect for the success of business initiatives, especially when a company decides to operate in a foreign country. This is particularly true, and is of even greater importance, for an investor who wishes to expand its activities in Africa.
Specifically in Africa, we regularly support local players and international companies that need legal advice about intellectual property rights. Our clients can rely on our experience in a wide range of IP services: from the registration of trademarks, patents, industrial design and copyright applications to IP dispute resolution.
Our team is composed of highly-experienced professionals based in Africa that work closely with our IP team from the European offices. This team is made up of 17 lawyers with a strong international background and deep knowledge of the key industrial sectors that typically characterize the African market.