ASAR Provides Legal Counsel to National Bank of Kuwait on one of the GCC’s Largest Ever Capital Securities Issuances

ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners (ASAR), Kuwait’s leading and most prominent corporate law firm, and one of the region’s top tier firms, acted as Kuwait legal counsel to the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) on its US$700 million Perpetual Tier 1 Capital Securities issuance which completed on 9 April 2015. The Capital Securities were listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and represents Kuwait’s second Basel III compliant regulatory capital issuance. HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Global Coordinators and Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, NBK Capital and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers on the issuance. Union National Bank acted as a co-lead manager. The transaction was well received by both regional and international investors, with the order-book closing in excess of US$1,400 million, thus representing a two times oversubscription for the issuance which followed an extensive series of investor road show meetings across the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Commenting on the latest deal, Mr. Rob Little, Counsel at ASAR said: “It gives us utmost pride to work side-by-side with leading financial institutions such as NBK. NBK’s latest transaction is the first rated issuance by Moody’s in the Middle East, which sheds light on the bank’s credit strength. Additionally, this transaction is planned to boost NBK’s capital to comply with the Basel III Capital Adequacy framework as adopted by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK).”

Mr. Ibrahim Sattout, Partner at ASAR said: “The Kuwaiti market is currently witnessing high growth, and we strongly believe that the market will further enjoy high potential in growing its private sector with similar deals like NBK’s bond issuance.”

Also commenting on the transaction, Mr. John Cunha, Partner at ASAR said: “We are delighted in having acted on behalf of the National Bank of Kuwait in this landmark transaction. The Capital Securities issuance is only one of a small handful of capital markets issuances of this nature in the region which has been structured in accordance with Basel III guidelines following implementation of these rules in Kuwait. The successful conclusion of this transaction is the result of the hard work of the National Bank of Kuwait, the Joint Lead Managers, legal counsel and the relevant regulators in Kuwait. This deal serves to reflect our firm’s capability as a leading specialist in providing legal counsel in the debt capital markets space, and in particular, our ability to assist our clients in the financial industry to meet their corporate and overall business strategy objectives.”

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 (IFLR) and the Legal 500. In October 2014 ASAR won the “IFLR National Law Firm of the Year Award” and the “Project Finance Deal of the Year Award”. In addition, ASAR also won the prestigious “2014 Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year” and the “2014 Best Banking and Finance Legal Team –Kuwait” awards from Acquisition International Magazine in 2014. ASAR lawyers also received multiple awards under different categories in the Fourth Edition of “Best Lawyers” in Kuwait.

The National Bank of Kuwait

The National Bank of Kuwait was founded in 1952. It is the largest financial institution in Kuwait, with branches and subsidiaries in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, and Singapore, and a regional presence across the Middle East in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and the UAE.