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Islamic finance awards 2012: Best legal advisory firm

One of Clifford Chance’s standout deals this year was its advisory role in HSBC Middle East’s issuance of a $500 million sukuk. The sukuk incorporates an innovative dual structure, using both mudaraba and wakala elements.

Clifford Chance also advised on the financing of phase two of the Ma’aden aluminium project, and advised Emirati real estate developer Nakheel on a Dh8.5 billion ($2.3 billion) sukuk programme. The Nakheel sukuk is the first sukuk in the GCC to incorporate tap mechanics: these enable Nakheel to issue fully fungible certificates into a pre-existing series.

Lateef Qudeer, Clifford Chance, Best Islamic legal advisory firm
Lateef Qudeer, Clifford Chance, Best Islamic legal advisory firm

The firm also advised the arrangers – Citigroup, HSBC and Standard Chartered – in the issuance of a $3.5 billion trust certificate for First Gulf Bank. Like HSBC Middle East’s sukuk issuance, the First Gulf Bank sukuk programme utilizes a dual wakala and mudaraba structure, incorporating unique buy-back and cancellation mechanics.

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