Overview

Mayer Brown has significant experience advising on various structures and arrangements for finance transactions that comply with Shari'ah principles. These transactions range from real estate finance, through to structured finance and derivatives, restructuring and capital markets transactions. We have advised on the development of Shari’ah-compliant structures for leveraged real estate investment funds, including the development of an alternative to the Ijara leasing structure as the basis for investment by a proposed Islamic Fund. We have also advised a number of Lloyd's underwriters and company market insurers on Shari'ah-compliant insurance and reinsurance (takaful and retakaful) arrangements.
Our team comprises experienced finance lawyers in Europe and Asia who have been at the forefront of structuring Islamic transactions including in Sukuk, Islamic funds and Islamic project finance structures. In addition to our work on Shari’ah-compliant finance structures, we also have broader experience of the operation of Shari’ah, including acting in arbitrations where the governing law was Shari’ah. With this broader experience, we can offer our clients an understanding of the application of Shari'ah principles that goes beyond arrangements and structures that have been developed to date.

Experience

  • We acted as international counsel to The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation and Cagamas Berhad (the national mortgage corporations of Hong Kong and Malaysia respectively) in preparing master program documentation for the Malaysian joint venture that they established to provide residential mortgage guarantees to Malaysian mortgage lenders. The program offers two types of products initially - a conventional guarantee in the form of a bespoke credit default swap based on ISDA documentation and an Islamic guarantee in the form of a Kafalah/Wakalah structure.
  • We have drafted Sale and Purchase Agreements and Repurchase Agreements to satisfy the specific requirements of banks' Shari’ah advisory committees. These include drafting a Master Islamic Repurchase Agreement, which was structured flexibly for use with different forms of repurchase agreements, allowing our client to offer a comprehensive Islamic service without having to create specialized documents for each type of transaction while simultaneously allowing flexibility for our client's customers in the type of transactions they entered into.
  • We have advised on loans to various Islamic investment houses to fund the acquisition, using Shari'ah-compliant structures, of real estate investment assets. Shari’ah-compliant structures on which we have advised include sale and leaseback transactions and debt financing.
  • We have advised on Shari’ah-compliant structures for multiple joint ventures created to invest in real estate such as an industrial property joint venture with a fund sponsored by Boubyan Bank, a Kuwait-based Islamic bank.
  • We acted for the Nationwide Building Society, one of the biggest commercial real estate lenders in the UK, in funding the acquisition by Gulf Finance House of a landmark building at Gatwick Airport, London using an Ijarah structure.
  • We advised a major European bank on the development and implementation of a Murahaba-base arrangement permitting Islamic financial institutions to make deposits with a bank in a Shari’ah compliant manner.
  • We acted for the German bank Aareal Bank in making a facility available to Gulf Finance House, and in funding the purchase by a managed fund of Kuwait Finance House of a property using an Ijarah structure.
  • We have advised a major US bank on the restructuring of an Istisna'-Forward Ijarah project financing in the United States, one of the only major restructurings of its kind in the United States. Our review and advice was a real test of the transaction's structure and Islamic finance rules under US laws.
  • We advised CIT Group, a private equity investor, on the acquisition and refinancing of the Finsbury Tower building in London for £106 million. The transaction involved the existing facility being refinanced by a master Murahaba facility and a separate mezzanine facility.
  • We represented an international investment bank in connection with the sale of receivables from Saudi obligors, including structuring the transaction as a commodities sale in order to comply with Shari’ah law.
  • We represented an international investment bank in connection with a secured Ijara facility for a large Saudi based construction company and a number of its subsidiaries.
  • We represented a large financial institution in relation to the issuance of a Sukuk for a large Saudi construction company.

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