Established in 1953, Zaki Hashem & Partners (“ZH&P”) has grown into one of the largest leading full-fledged business law firms in Egypt and the entire Middle East. The Firm was founded by the late Cabinet Minister, H.E. Dr. Zaki Hashem (1920-2014), a prominent renowned international lawyer and arbitrator specialized in Oil & Gas, arbitration and international private law. Dr. Hashem also served as the President of the Egyptian Society of International Law for a decade and was its Honorary President for life.
For over 60 years, the Firm has expanded its areas of expertise to accommodate new areas of focus, in line with the continued developments and innovation in new businesses and contractual concepts. Corporate and Commercial law issues remain to constitute the main focus and practice at the Firm. This includes advising international and local clients on doing business in Egypt; setting up local companies, subsidiaries, branch and representative offices, establishing joint ventures, etc. The Firm also specializes in all aspects of legal consultation related to the day-to-day management of the clients, which includes the drafting and reviewing of contracts, drafting and advising an all employment contracts and matters, social security, tax, regulatory, all to ensure the compliance of the client with all local laws and regulation.
The Firm’s solid connections with all departments of the State strengthen its performance and existence in the market, particularly in the corporate sector. The Firm has established thousands of local entities under the Corporate Law, Capital Market Law, Investment Law, Banking Law, Insurance Law, etc., some of them capitalized at over billions of Egypt Pounds.
The Firm represents clients doing business directly in Egypt, as well as those acting through agency and distributorship agreements, where it performs franchising, leasing, and licensing services for its clients. ZH&P advises on other related fields of Egyptian law for corporate clients including taxation, doing business in free zones, and intellectual property rights.
ZH&P has been a leading firm in Egypt in the areas of oil and gas, as it was almost exclusively in charge of the execution of all the oil concessions in Egypt and the Middle East in the period between the 1950’s and 1970’s. In 1963, the firm successfully obtained the first Petroleum Concession Agreement granted to a foreign company. With the discovery of natural gas in Egypt, the Firm saw through the landmark deal in the gas sector by establishing the legal structure of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Egypt. The Firm also became heavily involved in carrying out all legal gas-related activities like the distribution of natural gas to residential and industrial areas, which included the incorporation of dominant companies in the market, specialized in the distribution of natural gas.
The Firm also prepared the first complete legal framework study for the introduction of petrochemical industries for the Government. It continues to provide extensive services to major clients in petrochemical industries, mainly fertilizers industries, which involves devising the corporate structure up to the conclusion of all project agreements, such as, EPC, O&M, feed stock supply and off-take agreements.
With the Open Door Policy that opened Egypt to the world in the early 1970’s, giving impetus to private and foreign investments, the Firm became heavily involved in catering to the interests of private investors and governmental authorities.
ZH&P has also played a key role in the large scale privatization process as of the early 1990’s. The Firm has handled several conversions of companies from public to private. It was involved in mergers and acquisitions, share purchase agreements (“SPAs”), and sale of public companies to both foreign and Egyptian investors, in some cases representing the Government and in others representing the private sector.
Finance and banking are yet other areas in which the Firm has extensive experience, especially in the fields of restructuring, project financing and loan agreements of complex natures. Its clients include Egyptian banks, subsidiaries of foreign banks in Egypt, insurance companies ,other financial institutions as well as borrowers. It has a wide experience in conducting due diligence investigations and reports, drafting, negotiating and concluding loan agreements, advising banks, other financial institutions and multinational financial organizations on all aspects of financing documents and security packages. ZH&P have drafted, negotiated and concluded large project financing loans, as well as numerous and various loans and syndicated loan agreements in local and foreign currencies for local and/or international financial institutions.
Due to its extensive experience in the corporate area, since its inception, ZH&P has developed extensive experience in the Capital Market and M&A practice and is considered now a leading player in the Egyptian M&A arena, where it has conducted capital raising transactions in the billions of Egyptian Pounds for listed and non-listed clients and closed hundreds of transactions on behalf of its foreign and local clients. Proudly, it has recently undertaken the largest four M&A transactions in Egypt, post the January 2011 Revolution through public tenders. The Firm has handled several conversions of companies from the public sector to private, mergers and acquisitions, sale of shares and sale of public companies to both foreign and Egyptian investors. In such kind of transactions, it undertakes drafting, advising, amending and negotiating the necessary documentation, including the SPA, shareholders’ agreement, escrow agreement and any other ancillary documents, as well as supervising the implementation process before the competent authorities and performs all the necessary procedures, as well as any corporate measures until the finalization of the transaction process.
ZH&P has an outstanding track-record in the areas of Initial Public Offerings (“IPO”), private placements, bond issuing and all other routine matters pertaining to listed companies, including regular dealings with the Egyptian Stock Exchange (“EGX”) and the Egyptian Financial Services Authority (‘EFSA”). In particular, it has played a dominant role in the IPO of companies on EGX, which took place in the Egyptian market during the six years preceding the January 2011 Revolution.
ZH&P specializes in the field of securitization and bonds. The Firm advised on and completed large bond offerings and securitization of receivables (oil and real state backed). Currently, it is advising a major financial lease company on the securitization of its financial leases portfolio, to be one of the largest on the Egyptian market.
The Firm has also incorporated the first Factoring Company in Egypt in 2011, in accordance with Investment Law No. 8 of 1997.
The Firm has also been very active in the implementation of project financing in all its forms, from traditional early generation BOTs and BOOTs to PPP projects. It has also advised various consortiums on their preparation of bid documents and contract negotiations for power, water, infrastructure and port BOTs and BOOTs. ZH&P has advised the Egyptian Ministry of Finance on the first PPP project in Egypt ever, up to the stage of the drafting of the main concession agreement and the direct agreement, which became the bases for the PPP law promulgated subsequently.
The late 1990’s witnessed the explosion and development of the telecommunications industry and electronic commerce. Here again, the Firm was at the forefront. ZH&P drafted and negotiated the first private provision of telecommunications service license in Egypt (public payphone), drafted and negotiated the mobile telephone services license in Egypt (being the first license ever issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency). Thereafter, the Firm has been involved with all telecommunication licenses by representing the recipient of the private data network (PDN) licenses, v-sat, marine cables, triple play, hosting, land line and international gate way licenses. The Firm also advises various operators and value added service providers in the field of telecommunications on all legal aspects. The telecommunications experience of the Firm led to the appointment, by Ministerial Decree, of Mr. Yasser Hashem, the Firm’s Managing Partner, as a member of the new Telecommunication Act Drafting Committee, commissioned by H.E. the Minister of Telecommunications.
Very early on, ZH&P has harboured most prominent litigation and arbitration departments. It has one of the largest litigation departments in Egypt and has over the years litigated thousands of cases all over Egypt and at all different courts. Many of its members, past and present, have assumed counselling or arbitrating many landmark arbitrations, like the Westland Helicopters Case in the 1970s, the Taba Arbitration in the 1980’s, the Ahmad Hamdy Tunnel bellow the Suez Canal in the 1980’s, the Abyie Arbitration in 2009, as well as major ICSID cases and many other local and international commercial arbitrations, involving both public or private entities, relating, inter alia, to construction, commercial agencies, acquisitions of shares, sale and purchase transactions, hotel management and hospitality, shipbuilding, and insurance. Currently, the Firm is counsel in one of the largest arbitrations around the world in the field of telecommunications, with a stake of just under two billion US Dollars.
The unique culture and composition of the Firm has made it possible for it to become the leading law firm in Egypt on all matters of Public International Law. Past and present members of the Firm have defended Egypt and several other States before the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) or sat on the Court as Judges. Among the cases they have entertained, before or with the ICJ, are the Libya-Chad Territorial Dispute Case (1994), the Advisory opinion on the “Legality of the Treat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (1996), Cameroon-Nigeria Maritime boundary Case (2002) and the Advisory Opinion on the “Wall” (2004). The Firm also deals extensively with Diplomatic and Consular privileges and immunities on a regular basis and advises many foreign embassies and consulates in Egypt.
The Firm’s labour and employment team serves as counsel to management in a wide range of industries and represents multinational and local companies at every stage of the employment relationship. It gives general advice with respect to all issues of the Egyptian Labour Law, including employment agreements, corporate restructurings and acquisition of businesses and companies, benefits, social security, pensions, as well as expatriate and visa issues. It conducts employment related due diligences. The Firm also represents its clients before the competent courts in all sorts of disputes relating to employment. It handles in-house investigations for its clients.
ZH&P has traditionally maintained a Real Estate Department composed of well-experienced lawyers and clerks covering all authentication offices in most governorates throughout Egypt. It has assisted its clients with their real estate requirements including purchase, sale and lease of land, buildings, offices or residences. It has also acted for clients to recover real estate property, which had been previously sequestrated and property that had been fraudulently acquired by other parties. The Firm has also established and assisted real estate companies in Egypt in the acquisition of the largest plots of lands offered by the Government through public auctions, as well as negotiated major large properties for development. It also continues to help clients who seek to obtain lease financing for their properties from banks, by negotiating, drafting and finalizing the relevant agreements.