BLP to open an office in Abu Dhabi

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) announced today that it has received approval to open an office in Abu Dhabi from the Executive Council of the Emirate.

The office will be staffed by a team that is transferring from BLP’s London office. Partner John Sipling, who specialises in the hotel and leisure sector, will head the office, supported by four other solicitors. The firm expects that the office will open in early 2009.

BLP’s work in the region includes:

  • Advising Aldar Properties, which is investing $80bn in Abu Dhabi over the coming years, on major hotel contracts;
  • Supporting Saraya Aqaba in $700m negotiations concerning Jordan’s largest construction contract;
  • Advising Delta Oil in relation to a $3bn investment in a joint venture to develop two major facilities in Saudi Arabia;
  • Acting for the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company in relation to the $1bn Barka II Independent Water and Power Plant project;
  • Developing $1.8bn Shari’ a compliant secured ship financing for the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia; and
  • Helping to resolve a dispute through international arbitration on behalf of a specialist Kuwaiti contractor.

Neville Eisenberg, BLP’s managing partner, said: “It makes sense for us to open in Abu Dhabi for two main reasons. First, we already have a good flow of work from the Emirate. Second, Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest Emirate in the UAE in terms of gross domestic product and average income per citizen and is a major, growing commercial centre, from where it is possible to serve other clients across the region, so there are many opportunities for BLP. Once established in Abu Dhabi, we intend to look at the other opportunities in the region.”

John Sipling added: “As a result of our work with many major clients in the region, we have a large number of lawyers spending an increasing amount of their time in the region. The opening of the office will make it easier to serve our clients here and give them the outstanding service that BLP is known for. It will also make it easier to serve UK clients who want advice on doing business in the region, since personal contacts and local knowledge are extremely important in this market.”

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