Alex Saleh is a Founder and Managing Partner of GLA & Company and takes a leading regional role within the firm with respect to its M&A and Private Equity practice.  With over 25 years of experience in both the GCC markets as well as the US, he has accumulated sizable expertise in the areas of banking & finance, mergers & acquisitions, capital market deals and infrastructure projects.  His experience garners praise from the leading legal directories as he is annually awarded “Market Leader” by the IFLR1000, “Band One” by Chambers & Partners and “Leading Individual” by Legal 500.  Alex’s transactions regularly win Deals of the Year by the same institutions and organizations.

With respect to his corporate practice, Alex has closed on a significant number of GCC merger & acquisition transaction in various industries including logistics, education, health care, construction, and finance.  He has also represented many private equity firms in various investments in the same industries developing and building a good relationship with that community over the years.

He also represents many GCC-based financial institutions in all facets, including basic bilateral facility agreements, syndicated loan transactions (conventional and Sharia-compliant) and project finance.  He has also been involved in many of the large bond and sukuk debt capital market issuances in the region.

Finally, Alex has also acted in many large infrastructure projects such as power generation plants, water desalination plants and wastewater projects, in the context of both public private partnerships and more traditional structures.  On various transactions, he has alternatively represented GCC governments, private sponsors and project lenders depending on the particular project.

Education

  • Georgetown Law School – Washington D.C. USA, Juris Doctor
  • Wayne State University – Detroit, Michigan USA, Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude)

Professional Memberships

  • (US) Commonwealth of Virginia Bar;
  • (US) State of Michigan Bar;
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia & Michigan; and
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Recent Experience

Corporate

  • Represented DSV Panalpina in its acquisition of the logistics division of Agility Public Warehousing Company as MENA counsel in an all-share deal worth US$ 4.1 billion, the largest merger & acquisition transaction in the MENA region in 2021;
  • Acted as GCC counsel on behalf of Softbank’s Vision Fund II, which led the Series C US415 million funding into Kitopi, which was the largest private equity transaction in the MENA region in 2021;
  • Acted on behalf of a joint venture of Vectrus Systems Corporation and Kuwait Resources House in the establishment of their GCC operations with respect to the LOGCAP V contract awarded to Vectrus from the US Army in support of the US Military worldwide;
  • Represented NCH Ventures SPC, a consortium of over 50 international and GCC banks including Standard Chartered Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Gulf Bank, in an US$ 100 Million sale of 70% of all its shares in Global Investment House to KAMCO Investment Company;
  • Acted as GCC counsel on behalf of Softbank’s Vision Fund II, which was lead investor in the Series C investment of US$ 250 Million into Zeta, a banking tech start-up;
  • Acted on behalf of the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Kuwait Life Sciences Company, in their capacity as shareholders of NewBridge Pharmaceuticals Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company based in the UAE, in a US$ 50 Million reorganization and consolidation of shareholders in the same from past Series A, B and C rounds;
  • Represented Kuwait Life Sciences Company, a fully owned subsidiary of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the sovereign fund of Kuwait, in an acquisition of a food chemical company based in UAE with branches throughout the MENA region;
  • Represented Schindler Pars in the sale and divestment of its business operations in a GCC state;
  • Acted on behalf of Al Aman Investment Company and a private equity group in an US$60 Million acquisition of four (4) K-12 schools in the State of Kuwait from a private holding company group.
  • Represented the KIPCO Group in the acquisition of over 60% of the shares in Jassim Transport & Stevedoring Company, a leading logistics company, from Global Investment House and the Boodai Group for US$175 Million;
  • Acted as Kuwait counsel for Goshawk Aviation, a joint venture between Investec Bank and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, in an agreement to acquire the fleet of 15 Airbus A320s for US$ 507 Million from Jazeera Airways;
  • Represented the shareholders of FasTelco, Kuwait’s leading internet service provider, in the sale and disposition of the company to Ooredoo Kuwait, one of Kuwait’s three mobile telecommunications operators for US$ 40 Million;
  • Acted for various corporate sellers in the majority sale of shares in Gatehouse Capital for Economic & Financial Consultancy Company to Gatehouse Bank PLC, an English bank, for over US$ 40 Million;
  • Represented Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in the Kuwait aspect of its acquisition of Union National Bank banking operations;
  • Represented Federal Express as Kuwait counsel in its acquisition of TNT Express with respect to its Kuwait assets and businesses; and
  • Acted as lead counsel to Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company and United Business Company, two members of the KIPCO Group, in their acquisition of Insha’a Holding, a building materials company, from A’ayan Leasing & Investment Company for US$ 50 Million.

Capital Markets

  • Represented DXB Entertainments, an UAE company, in the issuance of an AED 1.23 Billion convertible bond with the majority shareholder, Meraas;
  • Represented Dana Gas, an UAE listed company, in the restructuring of a US$700 Million Sukuk, which has both a convertible and non-convertible tranche of US$ 350 Million each;
  • Acted on behalf of Shuaa Capital, an UAE listed financial institution, in a complicated US$ 30 Million Voluntary Acquisition Offer transaction of Amwal Investment Company, a financial company listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange;
  • Represented HSBC Bank plc and Citigroup Global Markets Limited, in their joint capacity as Arrangers, with respect to a US$ 500 Million Euro Medium Term Note Programme with Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait KSCP;
  • Representing Warba Bank, in its capacity as Issuer, in a US$ 500 Million Tier 1 Sukuk issuance, which is being led by Standard Chartered Bank as Lead Manager;
  • Represented Boubyan Bank, in its capacity as Issuer, in the first Tier 1 Sukuk issuance in the State of Kuwait for US$250 Million, which was led by Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC as Joint Lead Managers;
  • Represented Rasameel Structure Finance Company, as Lead Arranger, in the structuring of the first Sharia-compliant securitization of consumer receivables from Yusuf A. Al-Ghanim & Sons, the largest electronic retailer in the State of Kuwait (awarded IFN Sukuk Deal & Kuwait Country Deal of the Year for 2012);
  • Represented United Real Estate Company, as its capacity as Issuer, in a KD 60 Million unsecured bond composed of two tranches of fixed and floating rates which was led by KAMCO, Burgan Bank and Gulf Bank as Joint Lead Managers and Arrangers;
  • Acted as sole legal advisor to Commercial Bank of Kuwait, in its capacity as Issuer, and KIPCO Asset Management Company, in its capacity as Lead Arranger and Placement Agent, with respect to an unplaced issuance of a KD 120 Million conventional subordinated Tier II bond compliant with BASEL III regulations under Kuwaiti laws;
  • Represented Capital Investment & Brokerage, as Lead Arranger, on a JD 85 Million ($120 Million) Sukuk for Al Rajhi Cement – Jordan PSC. The Sukuk, which was structured as an Ijara, was the first one ever completed in the Kingdom of Jordan and was subscribed to by local Jordanian banks (awarded the Sukuk Deal of the Year 2011 from IFN);
  • Represented Liquidity Management House, as Lead Arranger, on a KD 92 Million ($331 Million) Sukuk al Wakala for First Investment Company, used as a debt restructuring of its various bilateral Murabaha and Wakala facility agreements with several local banks (awarded IFN Kuwait Country Deal for 2011);
  • Represented West LB, the Mandated Lead Arranger, in a successful closing of a US$150 Million Musharaka Trust Sukuk for Investment Dar;
  • Advised Liquidity Management Centre, the Mandated Lead Arranger, for the largest Sukuk issue in Kuwait, at the time, for Al Ahlia Gulf Holding Company in the successful closing of a US$200 Million Lagoon City Islamic Musharaka Sukuk;
  • Represented BNP Paribas, the Senior Joint Lead Manager, in its first Sukuk transaction in the State of Kuwait regarding a US$ 100 Million Sukuk Musharaka transaction with United Real Estate Company; and
  • Acted on behalf of Global Investment House under a US$ 2 Billion Euro Medium Term Note Program that was approved by the United Kingdom Finance Services Authority in which the arranger was Dresdner Kleinwort..

Banking & Finance (Conventional & Sharia-Compliant)

  • Acted on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank, which was the lead bank in the acquisition financing in the amount of US$ 2.4 Billion to Alabbar Enterprises, a UAE company, in its acquisition of Kuwait Food Company (Americana) KCSP, a major Kuwait listed company;
  • Acted on behalf of the Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate, in the structured finance transaction wherein its receivables from several African nations were rolled up and sold to an ADGM SPV, which in turn borrowed from ICICI Bank in India on a non-recourse basis;
  • Appointed as transaction co-counsel with respect to a US$ 200 Million financing from Natixis to ALAFCO with respect to five aircraft;
  • Represented Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait in a cross-border finance transaction with Egypt Kuwait Holding Company, an Egyptian company, in lending US$ 108 Million for the finance of certain gas projects in Egypt and the acquisition of a major stake of a listed Kuwait entity;
  • Acted as lead counsel for Warba Bank in its Sharia-compliant structured finance acquisition of an US$ 66 Million auto finance portfolio from Al Mulla International Finance Company;
  • Acted as lead counsel for Commercial Bank of Kuwait, as Lead Arranger, in a syndicated loan financing transaction for Mohammed Al-Kharafi & Sons with respect to a major contract with the Amiri Diwan valued at KD 365 Million (US$ 1.2 Billion) regarding New Jahra Hospital in Kuwait;
  • Acted as sole legal counsel to National Bank of Kuwait on a US$ 200 Million financing (included both credit instruments and cash facilities) of submersible oil pumping stations for Al Khorayef Group Company with respect to Kuwait Oil Company;
  • Represented Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in a US$ 350 Million Term Loan Facility to Kuwait-based Burgan Bank, which was syndicated with the participation of several European and MENA based banks;
  • Advised DVB Bank and National Bank of Kuwait in the acquisition financing of three (3) new Airbus A320 aircrafts to Jazeera Airways totalling US$ 90 Million and the mortgaging of said aircraft;
  • Represented Kuwait International Bank in a syndicated Murabaha Financing Facility in the amount of US$ 320 Million provided by Arab Banking Corporation and Bank ABC Islamic as Mandated Lead Managers;
  • Represented Rasameel Structured Finance Company, as Lead Arranger, in acquiring several large vehicle lease portfolios from multiple leasing companies by use of complex set of Sharia-compliant finance transactions totalling over US$ 20 Million;
  • Acted on behalf of both Commercial Bank of Kuwait in a KD 25 Million (US$ 90 Million) conventional and Kuwait Finance House in a KD 146 Million (US$ 520 Million) Sharia-compliant syndicated financing transaction for National Industries Group involving complicated structuring of security in Kuwait and abroad;
  • Represented National Bank of Kuwait and Boubyan Bank, as Lead Arrangers, on a dual conventional/Sharia-compliant KD 48 Million ($173 Million) syndicated facilities for Al Khorayef Group with respect to a major construction contract with the Kuwait Oil Company;
  • Represented National Bank of Kuwait and Ahli United Bank, as Mandated Lead Arrangers, on behalf of local and foreign creditors, on a KD 145 Million ($527 Million) debt restructuring of Kuwait Finance & Investment Company, which included separate tranches of US Dollar, KD conventional and KD Sharia compliant creditors as well as a debt for equip swap; and
  • Represented Ahli United Bank (Bahrain) and Ahli United Bank (Kuwait) in their first Sharia-compliant transaction in Kuwait with respect to the granting of a KD 30 Million ($108 Million) facility (Murabaha and Ijara) to Kuwait Telecommunications Company (Viva).

Projects, Energy & Infrastructure

  • Acted for National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House, as Lead Arrangers, with respect to the syndicated project financing of US$ 800 Million to Limak Insaat, a Turkish company, with respect to the construction of the New Kuwait International Airport;
  • Acted for Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, a state-owned entity, in connection with a Sharia compliant syndicated finance deal for an amount of US$ 460 Million from Warba Bank, Ahli United Bank and Kuwait International Bank, which was used to purchase eight (8) oil tankers;
  • Represented Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company, a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, in securing US$ 2.3 Billion in finance from both local and foreign banks to fund its liquified natural gas project;
  • Represented Kuwait National Petroleum Company, as the borrower, in a corporate syndicated financing of up to $10.3 Billion for the upgrade and expansion of the Mina Abdullah Refinery and Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery in Kuwait known as the Clean Fuel Project;
  • Represented a consortium of international banks and agencies led by Japanese Bank of International Cooperation, Nippon Export & Investment Insurance and National Bank of Kuwait with respect to the Az-Zour North IWPP Project and its related US$ 1.2 Billion plus financing, which is expected to provide approximately 1,500 MW of additional power generation capacity and 100 MIGD of desalinated water. The project was the first one to be completed in Kuwait on a Public Private Partnership basis;
  • Representing the State of Kuwait as part of a consortium with HSBC and the Fitchner Group with respect to the Umm Al Hayman Wastewater Project, which will comprise the design, financing, building, testing, commissioning, operating and maintaining of a wastewater treatment plant with a treatment capacity of 450,000 m3/d and to be done on a Public Private Partnership basis;
  • Representing two separate international consortium groups in relation to the KABD Municipal Solid Waste Project, a PPP Project with the Kuwait Municipality, advising on the design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance of a waste-to-energy facility;
  • Represented an international consortium group in relation to the Kuwait Schools PPP Development Program, a PPP Project with the Kuwait Ministry of Education, by advising on the development of nine new schools and an Olympic-size swimming pool;
  • Represented the State of Kuwait as part of a consortium with HSBC and the Fitchner Group with respect to the Abdaliya Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Project, which will be developed as the first solar thermal power plant in Kuwait and will have a total capacity of 280 MW and a solar contribution of 60 MW and to be done on a Public Private Partnership basis; and
  • Represented Utilities Development Company, a subsidiary of Kharafi National, in relation to a US$ 608 Million financing (containing both a conventional and Sharia-compliant tranche) with respect to both the refinancing of original debt and financing the expansion of the Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment & Reclamation Plant, which was originally completed on a build, operate and transfer basis..

Speaking Engagements & Publications

  • Presenter at the Global Independent Law Firms Forum Partnership in London, England;
  • Presenter on Foreign Investment Law in Kuwait, co-hosted by Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority and Al Tamimi & Co (“ATCO”) in Dubai;
  • Chair & Speaker on New Private Public Partnership Law at Kuwait Projects Conference hosted by MEED;
  • Chair & Speaker on New Private Public Partnership Law & Islamic Finance hosted by Islamic Finance News;
  • Chair & Speaker on Board Governance at the Governance, Risk & Compliance Seminar hosted by Thomson Reuters;
  • Presenter on Family Businesses, Growth, Governance & Structure, co-hosted by PWC and ATCO;
  • Chair & Speaker on Funding & Financing Kuwait’s Future Expansion at the Kuwait Projects Conference hosted by MEED;
  • Presenter on Pre-dispute & Dispute Resolution Strategies, hosted by ATCO;
  • Presenter on The New Kuwait Companies Law, Initial Thoughts hosted by ATCO;
  • Chair & Speaker on Overview of the Kuwait Legal Environment at the Energy and Infrastructure Projects Kuwait Conference hosted by MEED;
  • Presenter on Sukuk Legal Framework at the Asset Monetization & Debt Capital Markets in the GCC Seminar hosted by Rasameel Investment and Finance Company;
  • Chair & Speaker on IPO Procedures within the PPP Framework at the Infrastructure Investment Kuwait Conference hosted by IQPC;
  • Chair & Speaker on Procurement & Financial Strategies in the Projects Sector at the Kuwait Energy & Infrastructure Projects Conference hosted by MEED;
  • Chair & Speaker on The Overview of the Project Company & The Contractual Structure under the PPP Law and Moderator at the PPP Investment Summit Kuwait, hosted by IQPC in partnership with the Partnerships Technical Bureau;
  • Presenter on Capital Markets Authority Law – Initial Thoughts & Observations, hosted by ATCO; and
  • Chambers Global Practice Guides Merger Control – Contributor and author of the Kuwait, UAE, KSA and Qatar chapters.