Dentons in local tie-up for coveted Saudi market

Denton Wilde Sapte has secured a prized tie-up with a Saudi Arabian practice as it becomes the latest City firm to launch an associated office in Riyadh.

The firm has joined forces with Saudi lawyer Wael Abdulrahman Alissa and hired local Fulbright & Jaworski corporate and commercial senior associate Amgad Husein as a partner to lead the new venture. Husein is US-qualified and has practised in the Middle East since 1999. The firm is planning more hires in coming months.

The news comes as it emerges that top 10 City firm Norton Rose is in advanced talks with a Saudi firm and a US-qualified lawyer to spearhead a potential launch. It is understood the office could be open as soon as September.

Dentons Dubai managing partner Neil Cuthbert said: “You need a good local lawyer with their own practice and someone who can help open some doors. Wael Abdulrahman Alissa can do both of those.”

Dentons is already advising on a number of Saudi deals including Sumitomo Chemical on the $9.9bn (£5.2bn) Rabigh petrochemical expansion project in Saudi Arabia, after being instructed in December. Herbert Smith was formerly advising Sumitomo on the deal.

Norton Rose global head of banking Stephen Parish said: “There is a huge amount of work in Saudi and a limited number of local law firms.”

The moves follow a rush by UK firms to shore up their links in region. Last month Allen & Overy agreed a tie-up with Riyadh’s Abdulaziz Al Gasim Law Firm, while earlier this month Trowers & Hamlins arranged a tie-up with Feras Al Shawaf.