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K&P Receives Certificate from Energy Charter Secretariat

On 14 October 2019, Khalifeh & Partners’ Khaldoun Nazer (Partner) received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Energy Charter Secretariat, recognizing the firm’s contribution to the 2019 Energy Investment Risk Assessment (EIRA). Notably, Khaldoun Nazer, Siwar Saket (Associate), and Dana Mubaidien (Associate) have been mentioned as individual contributors in Jordan. K&P was contacted by the Secretariat early last year to provide advice and information about the energy sector in Jordan for its flagship publication, EIRA, which would assess specific policy, regulatory, and legal risks in the energy sectors of various countries, including Jordan. EIRA 2019 was successfully completed and launched on 30 September 2019, after development under the Albanian Chairmanship of the Energy Charter Conference. The International Energy Charter has further launched a website to outline EIRA, offering up-to-date information on the regulatory frameworks of the participating countries, including Jordan.

Within the last year, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has ratified and entered into force the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).The Jordanian Parliament ratified the Treaty in April 2018, making the country the 51st Contracting Party of the ECT. Additionally, on 11 December 2018, Jordan joined the 1994 Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects (PEEREA) which requires participating states to formulate clear policy aims for improving energy efficiency and reducing the energy cycle’s negative environmental impact.

The Secretariat believes that the ECT will enhance confidence in the investment climate in the energy sector in Jordan and attract foreign investments for infrastructure projects in this field, in addition to strengthening the Kingdom’s position as a transit country for energy projects, where transit across its borders is secure and stable and facilitating technical assistance, especially oil and gas pipelines and electricity interconnection projects.

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K&P Awarded “National Firm of the Year”

For the past several years, Khalifeh & Partners has been ranked ‘Tier 1’ by all major legal directories, including Chambers & Partners, IFLR 1000, and The Legal 500. Recently, Khalifeh & Partners achieved the ranking of National Law Firm of the year (Jordan) on October 17th during IFLR 1000’s 2018 Middle East Awards. The event took place at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and celebrated the most innovative legal work over the past 12 months across six categories, as well as the  teams behind it.

 

K&P was recognized for the firm’s leading roles on numerous financing transactions, including a number of high-value projects such as the USD $1.4 billion Attarat Um Ghudran Oil Shale Fired Power Plant, in addition to several M&A transactions including Pepsico’s sale of 52% shares to CIB Investments SPC Limited, and ADP’s acquisition of shares in Airport International Group (AIG). The firm was also recognized for its pioneering work in other sectors, including Jordan’s sports and entertainment law through its submission of several successful appeals to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Federacion Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).  Finally, K&P also advised the Energy Charter Secretariat on the barriers and risks related to foreign investment in the energy sector in Jordan.  K&P’s role is anticipated to support Jordan as it moves to sign the Energy Charter Treaty, the only legally-binding international treaty that establishes a multilateral framework for cross-border cooperation in the energy industry.

 

“We are honored to be the recipient of such an award”, says Managing Partner Ala’ Khalifeh. “Khalifeh & Partners always strives to provide the most comprehensive and efficient advice to our clients, and our lawyers receive cross-sector training and experience so that they are able to think critically and innovatively about every transaction. This award speaks to the dedication and diligence of our team, and I couldn’t be more proud.” Gratitude to K&P’s clients was expressed by Khaldoun Nazer, who says “the trust of K&P’s longstanding clients has led us to the top of the legal market in Jordan. We will continue to provide our clients with the excellent services they deserve as we strive to understand their business needs and provide them with tailored legal advice.” Iyad Hamarneh, Partner and head of litigation at K&P offers further explanation and praise, saying “In every corporation, there are several factors that provide a foundation for success. We at Khalifeh & Partners are blessed and proud to have a dedicated and hardworking team who spare no effort and work closely together to establish and maintain the firm’s excellent reputation. Without this team, we could not have won this award.  For each one of you, thank you very much for this achievement. ”

 

K&P would like to thank its clients and partners both in Jordan and abroad for their cooperation and hard work during the past year, and would also like to congratulate all of the winners.

 

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K&P Hosts Working Group with Delegates from the Energy Charter Secretariat

On 21 June 2018, a team from Khalifeh & Partners including Ala’ Khalifeh (Partner), Khaldoun Nazer(Partner), and Siwar Saket (Associate) met with representatives from the Energy Charter Secretariat during the Secretariat’s working visit to Jordan to discuss barriers and risks to investment in the energy sector in Jordan. Earlier this year, K&P was contacted by the Secretariat to provide advice and information about the energy sector in Jordan for its flagship publication, the Energy Investment Risk Assessment (“EIRA”), which will assess specific policy, regulatory, and legal risks in the energy sectors of various countries, including Jordan.

Though Jordan has not yet signed the Energy Charter Treaty (”ECT”), it is an observer to the Energy Charter Conference, having signed the International Energy Charter political declaration at a ministerial level summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, in May 2015. It has also signed the European Energy Charter Declaration of 1991 and has completed the relevant technical procedures in order to accede to the ECT.

The Secretariat believes that the ECT will enhance confidence in the investment climate in the energy sector in Jordan and attract foreign investments for infrastructure projects in this field, in addition to strengthening the Kingdom’s position as a transit country for energy projects, where transit across its borders is secure and stable and facilitating technical assistance, especially oil and gas pipelines and electricity interconnection projects.

Currently, the ECT is being reviewed by the Jordanian Parliament. It is expected that the Kingdom will move to ratify the ECT in the near future.

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ADP Takes Control of Queen Alia Airport

A team from Khalifeh & Partners including Khaldoun Nazer (Partner), Dina Issa, (Associate) and Mouawyeh Tarawneh (Associate) worked with Clifford Chance LLP (DIFC Office) on the sale of 85.7% of the shares of Airport International Group (AIG), the Concession Holder of Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). The transaction is valued at approximately USD $530 million. K&P acted for the sellers’ group comprised of Abu Dhabi Investment Company, Noor Financial Investment Company, J&P-Avax S.A., Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Ltd, and Edgo Investment Holdings Limited, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Obeidat Freihat acted for the buyers.

This transaction allows ADP International S.A. to hold approximately 51% of QAIA, and gives it exclusive control of AIG. There are also new co-shareholders in AIG: Paris-based Meridiam Eastern Europe Investments 2 S.A.S and Abu Dhabi-based Mena Airport Holding Ltd, while Edgo retains its co-shareholder status.

In November 2007, under the terms of a 25-year design, build, operate, and transfer (DBOT) concession agreement, AIG became the Jordanian entity responsible for the operation of QAIA. Funding for the project was secured through the International Finance Corporation, the Islamic Development Bank, a syndication of commercial lenders, and shareholder equity. K&P previously acted for a consortium that bid for the project.

The DBOT concession witnessed the rehabilitation of the airport’s facilities, and the construction of a new passenger terminal. Since 2007, it has already increased the capacity of QAIA to host more than 6.2 million passengers, inaugurated a new terminal, and became the second airport in the Middle East to earn the Airport Carbon Accreditation.

ADP’s objectives for the remainder of the concession include strengthening the airport’s route network, improving the quality of service offered to its passengers, enhancing the performance of aeronautical and commercial activities, and ensuring sustainable and social responsible development for the remaining duration of the project.

Khalifeh & Partners is a full-service law firm that offers comprehensive expertise to our clients across many practice areas and jurisdiction, and is ranked “Tier 1” by Chambers and IFLR 1000. Please visit www.khalifehlaw.com for additional information about our practice and lawyers.

Victory Off-Field for Jordanian Football Club

The 2017 Arab Club Championship was held in Alexandria, Egypt in August of this year. With the final match between Esperance de Tunis, a Tunisian club, and Al-Faisaly Football Club from Jordan running into overtime, the excitement and suspense escalated quickly until a controversial call from one of the referees during overtime allowed Tunisia to take gold, leaving Jordan with silver.

The ensuing confrontation between several Al-Faisaly players and the referee who made the call resulted in the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) issuing disciplinary sanctions of one-year suspensions against five Al-Faisaly players and one club official, as well as financial penalties against both the sanctioned players and the Club itself. Given that the players who were sanctioned are key members of the team – four also play on the Jordanian National Team – the suspensions were likely to have a massive impact on both Al-Faisaly and the Jordanian National Team.

Later that month, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was requested to extend the UAFA sanctions on an Asian-wide level, and AFC’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee agreed. Working in tandem with the Jordan Football Association (JFA) and Al-Faisaly, and with the unwavering support of the His Royal Highness Prince Ali bin Hussein, Chairman of JFA, Khalifeh & Partners submitted 16 appeals to AFC’s Appeals Committee in an effort to dismiss the sanctions.

AFC’s Appeals Committee convened on November 13th, and the decision was made to uphold the appeals that were submitted by K&P and to set aside the motion of the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee to extend the sanctions. “This is a great achievement; the result has been awaited by practically everyone in Jordan”, says Managing Partner, Ala’ Khalifeh, who led the K&P team that filed the appeals.

Khalifeh & Partners is quickly becoming a leader in the areas of sports and entertainment law, having worked with both the Jordan Olympic Committee and JFA, as well as numerous Jordanian athletes. Still, the odds were against Al-Faisaly – more often than not, AFC dismisses appeals and chooses instead to uphold disciplinary measures. Ala’ emphasized the efforts of his colleagues, saying, “I’m very proud of our team. The fact that our appeal was upheld speaks to the standard of work that our lawyers adhere to and produce.”

The success of the appeal also has positive implications for the future of Jordanian athletics. Jordan’s sports industry is continuing to develop and has recently garnered more visibility on a global scale, as evidenced by the ambitious plans of the Jordan Olympic Committee and Ahmad Abu Ghaush’s gold-medal taekwondo performance at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But increased prominence and activity also increases the likelihood of encountering sanctions, suspensions, and other legal issues in the future, which requires niche legal knowledge of sports laws and regulations. The success of this endeavor indicates that Jordan is well-prepared to continue its progress and development in athletics both on and off the field.

 

Khalifeh & Partners is a full-service law firm that offers comprehensive expertise to our clients. Khalifeh & Partners would like to thank HRH Prince Ali bin Hussein, the Jordan Football Association, and Al-Faisaly Football Club for their confidence in Khalifeh & Partners and for their encouragement and support during the appeal process.

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