Addleshaw Goddard Broadens GCC Capability

Addleshaw Goddard has continued to strengthen its GCC offering with the appointment of Private Equity specialist Andrew Johnston as part of the firm’s strategy of investing in new relevant service lines in growth areas beyond the firm’s established core offering in Dubai of international arbitration and construction litigation.

His appointment follows the hire earlier this month of corporate partner Ben Gillespie.

Both partners are recognised practitioners in the region with established local and international client bases. Andrew has been based in Dubai since 2007, relocating from London as a senior associate with Clifford Chance and more recently as a partner with K&L Gates as head of private equity for the GCC. Ben joins from Clyde & Co where he was a partner in its Middle East Group and has been based out of Dubai for the last seven years.

Commenting on the appointments, International Division Managing Partner, Andrew Carpenter, said: “Andrew and Ben’s hires are the latest in a series of exciting investments we have made to broaden our international capability and to accelerate the growth of our GCC team.

“Both partners have significant experience of acting in Dubai and the wider region and have practices that can be leveraged across our three GCC offices and the UK as well as complimenting the investment we have already made in the UAE. Their hires are an exciting milestone and are indicative of our progress and ambitions.”

Addleshaw Goddard opened its Dubai office in September 2012, following the appointment of international arbitration and construction litigation expert Andrew Greaves. Since then, the firm has accelerated its growth in the region by opening two further offices in Muscat and Doha and making four partner appointments – Roger Byrne and Charles Schofield in Muscat and Hussein Damirji and Martin Brown in Doha.

Andrew and Ben will support Andrew on the day-to day running of the Dubai office and work alongside corporate partners Keith Johnston and Tim Field whose practices include advising clients active in the UAE.

Andrew has significant regional experience and has worked on high profile matters in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Jordan. His practice focuses on cross border M&A, private equity transactions, corporate matters including joint ventures, restructuring and corporate governance, commercial agreements and advisory matters for high net worth individuals and family groups. His clients include a number of regional and international private equity houses and sovereign related investment groups.

His recent transactions include:

  • The Jordan-based Rassam family in relation to their disposal of a 49% interest in Nabil Foods to the Carlyle Group
  • A Dubai based sovereign linked private equity style investor in relation to the disposal of an interest in its Singaporean based portfolio company and the restructuring of associated shareholder debt
  • An Abu Dhabi based sovereign linked entity in relation to a significant required joint venture
  • A prominent Qatar based trading group in relation to the restructuring of a non core business and potential joint venture with an international investor
  • An international private equity house in relation to its acquisition of a significant minority interest in a pan-GCC catering and food manufacturing business.

Ben also has extensive knowledge of the local market and has an established reputation for advising multinational corporations, regional businesses and household names on a wide variety of corporate transactions including international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and private equity investments. He is a recognised thought leader in the region and is author of the ‘United Arab Emirates’ chapter of the Directors’ Duties and Liabilities Handbook published in 2009. Ben has been quoted by Legal 500 as a “calm, patient negotiator who is knowledgeable about customs and practices in the region”.

His recent transactions include:

  • Advising a major European plc on a planned merger of its UAE operations with that of a dominant local player which would create the market leading business in its sector
  • Advising a leading GCC service provider to the oil and gas industry in connection with the reorganisation of its business and affairs in connection with a US$300 million plus banking facility
  • Advising a major US plc on its joint venture with a Government of Abu Dhabi owned entity and the subsequent establishment and structuring of operations in the GCC
  • Advising major UAE family group on the restructuring of its operations throughout the GCC and beyond for enhanced flexibility, efficiency  and governance
  • Advising major UAE education and healthcare companies on matters relating to private equity investment and regional acquisitions
  • Advising US fortune 500 company on its acquisition of a software company in Kuwait and operations in the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

www.addleshawgoddard.com


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