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ASAR addresses Public Private Partnership in Kuwait

ASAR, Kuwait’s leading and most prominent corporate law firm, and one of the region’s top tier firms recently discussed a number of laws concerning public private partnerships (PPP) projects in Kuwait along with the current and upcoming PPP projects. The event was held at the British Embassy for the members of the British Business Forum.

During the event, Partner-Mr. Ibrahim Sattout and Senior Associate-Mrs. Akusa Batwala at ASAR highlighted the legal framework within which such PPPs may be structured and procured. They further discussed the procurement process and potential opportunities created by the projects.

ASAR was also able to demonstrate practical insight through their recent involvement in the structuring and procurement of the Az Zour North (Phase 1) independent water and power producer (IWPP) project, which was the first PPP project successfully procured under the new PPP legal regime in Kuwait. The firm’s role consisted of providing advice to the PTB on all aspects of the project, including the procurement and award process, assistance in the drafting and reviewing of the project documents, providing critical Kuwaiti law advice relating to local compliance matters, the incorporation of the project company and the IPO.

Ibrahim Sattout said “We are pleased to have made this presentation to the British Business Forum members which provided a rare opportunity to the membership who are involved in various business sectors, to gain crucial knowledge on the fundamental aspects of  public private partnership projects in Kuwait and the business opportunities presented by the same.”

Akusa Batwala said, “Although relatively new to the public private partnership regime, Kuwait has embraced the concept as evidenced by the diverse pipeline of projects that have either commenced or are actively being considered. The projects span across various business and industry sectors including power, transportation, health, waste water, real estate development and telecommunications sectors providing a vast opportunity for investment.”

Under the PPP law, it was provided that the procurement process for solicited projects is initiated by a government entity / authority where in the Partnership Technical Bureau (PTB) and the sponsoring public entity will appoint a Transaction Advisor (TA) who is then required to carry out a feasibility study which will include a project procurement plan that has to be approved by the Higher Committee (HC) in order for the project to proceed. The Higher Committee will also determine the system under which the project will be structured and procured (e.g. BOT, BOOT, or other similar systems).

Further, in the case of unsolicited projects, an investor may present a proposal to the PTB which should include a pre-feasibility study on the project proposed and its viability.  The pre-feasibility study will be reviewed and considered by the PTB and the relevant public entity selected by the HC. The Bureau will then present its analysis and recommendations to the HC for consideration and if approved by the HC, the project will proceed to procurement following the same procurement process for solicited projects. The initiator will be reimbursed for the comprehensive study and granted certain benefits with respect to the proposal submitted, if it bid for the project.

Ibrahim Sattout added that, “The country’s eagerness in providing the necessary support by crafting the new laws and facilities to make such partnerships successful between the investor and holders of public and private initiatives is a positive step towards increased participation and attraction of local and foreign capital through the promotion of transparency and equal opportunities for fair distribution of wealth.”
With dedicated offices in Kuwait and Bahrain coupled with its associated offices and relationships, ASAR provides clients across an extensive range of industry sectors with comprehensive legal advice and support for their business activities in Kuwait, across the GCC and beyond.

The firm has been consistently rated as the leading corporate and commercial law firm in Kuwait by reputable legal guides such as the Chambers Global Guide, International Financial Law Review and the Legal 500. In 2013, ASAR was named as the “Best Law Firm in Kuwait 2013” by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR), the market-leading guide for financial law firms worldwide. The firm also won the “Best Restructuring Deal in the Middle East” award by IFLR during the same year.