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CMS in the Middle East: keeping clients ahead in their chosen markets

Annual Review 2017-2018

June 2018

The Middle East market has seen significant growth in the energy, oil & gas, infrastructure, technology, real estate and hotels & leisure sectors. To support our clients who operate in this region, we have consolidated and expanded our presence
in the Middle East.

CMS opened its Dubai office in 2012. Expansion into Turkey and Oman, as well as associated offices in Lebanon and Iraq, followed quickly. However, our office that opened in Iran in 2016, shortly after sanctions were lifted, differentiates our regional offering. Additionally, in 2017 CMS entered into an exclusive agreement with Feras Al Shawaf Law, a Saudi Arabian firm.

Our regional presence has been further strengthened by the merger of CMS, Nabarro and Olswang, bringing together legacy CMS and Nabarro offices in Dubai. This has created a strong platform to export our expertise across the region.

Our nine-partner, 30-lawyer team in Dubai provides legal services to local and international clients that are operating in the UAE, and also to those clients that are looking at opportunities globally. In the last twelve months, our team has advised on transactions worth over USD 30bn and has been appointed to the global panels of ZonesCorp, TAQA, Lukoil, BP, KOGAS, Schlumberger, GEMS and Honeywell.

The team in Oman advises governments, trade organisations and businesses of all sizes on projects, transactions and undertakings across the Middle East & North Africa region. Founded in March 2014, the CMS Oman office has been retained on some of the most significant corporate and commercial mandates in Oman with particular focus across energy, real estate and construction.

Despite Turkey’s delicate political situation in recent times, our office in Istanbul continues to thrive. Turkey is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. We have advised clients in Turkey for the past two decades, launching our own office there five years ago.

Significant recent mandates include advising a Turkish gas company on its joint venture with Turkey’s largest flat steel producer. Furthermore, we advised an American aerospace company on the implementation of an international engineering programme covering several project states where Turkey is an important production location.

In terms of advising Turkish clients abroad, deal highlights include representing Belgian and Turkish investment companies on the potential acquisition of two wind power plants in Ukraine, with a total capacity of 100MW and 250MW respectively.

Iran is an exciting opportunity for CMS and our clients. After the lifting of sanctions there, we saw a clear growth opportunity and became the first international law firm to launch in Tehran in 2016. The energy, technology and automotive sectors are particularly buoyant.

Our own CMS lawyers work in Iran and advise on Iranian law. They cover all the legal areas expected of a major international law firm. The client base comprises multinationals and large SMEs from all over the world, as well as from within Iran itself. CMS has already advised on the important cooperation agreement between Daimler and Iran Khodro Diesel SSA.

Our associated office in Lebanon, meanwhile, advises multinational clients including the likes of Diageo, Medtronic, Erste Bank, Dufry, Eni, Repsol and Lukoil, across a range of matters. We are currently working with government entities and major investors on supporting the country’s readiness for the planned roll-out of various major infrastructure projects across
the country.

From Beirut, we also coordinate a team of lawyers in Iraq to provide on the ground support to clients there.

CMS partners with Feras Al Shawaf Law, a Saudi Arabian firm based in Riyadh, in an exclusive agreement. In addition to referral work, we seek new opportunities for working together in Saudi Arabia, where clients require not only local know-how but also the expertise of an international firm in various areas of law and industry sectors.

With the expansion into Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East, CMS is now connecting key business locations across the region.

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