Regional project finance: Six key lawyers

28 March 2008

The leading lawyers working on the region’s financing deals: Jonathan Inman, Malcolm Turner, Bimal Desai, Dominic Harvey, Craig Nethercott and David Wadham.

Jonathan Inman

Position: Partner, Linklaters

Biography: Jonathan Inman joined Linklaters in 1991 and began to focus on Middle East project work after returning to London from Tokyo in 2001. He quickly made his mark in the industry by advising the export credit agency Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) on the 2003 Sohar refinery transaction in Oman, JBIC’s first project finance deal in the Middle East. In 2006, he moved to Linklaters’ new Dubai office to help develop the firm’s energy and infrastructure team. He has worked with several major clients in the region, including developer International Power, the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Italian export credit agency Sace. He has also advised sponsors and lenders on power and water deals across the Gulf. Inman is currently advising the Saudi government on the expansion and construction of the Saudi railway network, including the Saudi Landbridge project.


Malcolm Turner

Position: Partner, Clifford Chance

Biography: Malcolm Turner joined the London office of Clifford Chance more than 20 years ago, before moving to Asia in 1991, where he worked for 10 years in Tokyo and Singapore. He has been working in the project finance sector for the past 15 years and moved to the firm’s Dubai office in 2004. Turner has been instrumental in leading Clifford Chance’s energy and infrastructure team in the region, cementing a relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Water & Electricity Company (WEC), resulting in him working on all the utility firm’s power and water deals, including the Ras al-Zour independent water and power project. He has also led teams on the financing for two Saudi mobile phone licences - Mobily and MTC/Zain - and on petrochemicals and metals and minerals projects such as Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (Yansab) and Qatar Steel (formerly Qasco).


Bimal Desai

Position: Partner, Allen & Overy

Biography: Bimal Desai joined Allen & Overy in 1995 from UK-based Macfarlanes and soon became a partner, before heading to Dubai in 2001 to boost the firm’s project finance team. Since then, he has worked on some of the biggest deals in the Middle East, including the $5bn National Chevron Philips petrochemicals project in Saudi Arabia, and the $2.5bn Oman liquefied natural gas project and $1bn aromatics project. More recently, he worked on one of the first pub—lic-private partnership deals in the region - the accom-modation project for UAE University. In July 2007, he also worked on the first commercial mortgage-backed securitisation issued in the UAE. Other clients he has worked for include Emirates Airline and Union Water & Elec-tricity Company (Uwec), the Abu Dhabi-owned utility company.


Dominic Harvey

Position: Head of Bahrain practice, Norton Rose

Biography: Dominic Harvey has become a key figure in the Middle East legal sector and has been working in the region for more than a decade. He is well known for his close relationship with the government of Bahrain, and since becoming managing partner of the Bahrain office three years ago, he has supervised significant growth in the firm’s regional banking and finance practice. Recently, he has worked on several large deals including the $1.5bn Sipchem joint Acetyls Complex project in Saudi Arabia and the Kuwait Para-xylene Production Company aromatics facility. He is working on several independent water and power projects and is advising Bahrain’s Finance Ministry on its privatisation programme. He also specialises in acquisition finance, sovereign debt, export credit agency and emerging market work, distressed debt and restructuring and Islamic finance.


Craig Nethercott

Position: Partner in energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance group, White & Case

Biography: After joining White & Case in 1994 in New York, Craig Nethercott spent time in the firm’s Jeddah office, before relocating to London. His clients include Saudi Aramco, Etisalat and Qatar Petroleum (QP). He represented the lead arrangers for the $4.7bn Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter bank financing, and Aramco for the $9.9bn PetroRabigh refinery and petrochemicals project. He also represented the sponsors in the $500m financing for the construction of the Ghazlan II power plant for the Saudi Electric Company and its subsequent restructuring. Nethercott is also co-head of the firm’s Islamic finance unit and has helped structure innovative deals such as the $2.9bn Islamic financing for Mobily in Saudi Arabia, which was based on airtime, and the $2.5bn Murabaha Islamic facility for MTC in Saudi Arabia.


David Wadham

Position: Partner, Ashurst

Biography: Formerly general consul for International Power (IP) in Abu Dhabi, David Wadham came to Ashurst in 2006 with significant experience in the Middle East projects market. Alongside Joss Dare, who specialises in the infrastructure sector, Wadham has boosted Ashurst’s regional project finance capabilities since launching the Dubai office in 2005. His clients include IP, Calyon, Citigroup, JBIC and Marubeni. He specialises in the power sector and has worked on the $2.96bn financing for the Fujairah F2 independent water and power project (IWPP) in the UAE, and represented the sponsors on the $1.8bn conventional and Islamic financing for Umm al-Nar IWPP in the UAE and the Ras Laffan B IWPP in Qatar. He is currently advising the commercial and export credit agency lenders on the $3bn Ras al-Zour IWPP in Saudi Arabia, and the lenders on a bid for the Shuweihat S2 IWPP in the UAE.


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