Morocco

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Association des Barreaux du Maroc

Competition authority: Conseil de la Concurrence

Financial regulator: CDVM: Le Conseil Déontologique des Valeurs Mobilières 

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporate

Jurisdiction overview

As no real legislation is in place to limit foreign association, the Moroccan legal market is heavily dominated by international firms of English, American, French and Spanish origin. Domestic firms are falling by the wayside somewhat, in a dynamic market that is nearing saturation point. 

The formation of the Casablanca Financial City has caused a stir in the Maghreb region as many international corporations have opted to establish it as a financial hub for both northern and western Africa, particularly the francophone speaking jurisdictions. 

The market has seen several changes over the last year, Dentons and DLA Piper have both established offices, the former taking a considerable capacity from French firm UGGC. Another French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel and Spanish firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira formally tied up their Casablanca offices, as part of a wider agreement to share resources in many jurisdictions. 

A shared common language has ensured a strong attendance of French firms in the market, as well as those already mentioned, JeantetAssociés, Lefèvre Pelletier & Associés and CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre are active. Clifford Chance continued its swift ascendancy up our rankings this year, joining fellow magic circle firm Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy in Tier 1.

There is currently little in the way of practice area specialisation in the market, but that is liable to change as the environment inevitably becomes more sophisticated. 

Financial and corporate
Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is a leading firm in Morocco active in the financial and corporate space and has strength in projects work.

In recent banking work the firm advised borrowers on project financings and debt restructurings deals. 

In capital markets work it represented an issuer on a green bond issue.

The M&A team worked for sellers in deals in the education sector and acquirers in deals in the oil and gas and technology sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•KMR Holding Pédagogique $52 million acquisition of Université Internationale de Casablanca 

•Magna acquisition of Viza

•Midelt 180MW wind farm

BFF Law Firm

BFF Law Firm is a Moroccan firm active in the financial and corporate areas.

During the research period the firm’s work in banking included advice to a lender on a financing. It also acted as counsel to borrowers on financing matters.

In capital markets work the firm advised the noteholders on a bond issue.

The M&A team worked for sellers on deals in the food and real estate sectors.

 

Client feedback

"Both our firm and our clients were highly satisfied with BFF's assistance. The firm was responsive and pragmatic, we had good communication with them."- M&A

"The firm is very professional and worth of trust." - M&A

"We worked with Bouchra Belouchi and Fatima Zahra, they were both outstanding in resolving local law complexities and unusual issues in such a difficult jurisdiction." - M&A

"The law firm has exceeded expectations of all parties involved in the transaction with their work ethic, integrity, interpersonal skills, and most of all, knowledge, knowhow and ability to solve problems and design solutions despite ambiguous legal environments. We did not notice any weakness within the scope of our current or previous assignments so far." - M&A

"The firm is proactive, very responsive and available. It is well on top of law trends, it provided a 360 degree support." - M&A

"The firm provided an excellent work and advisory." - M&A

"Fatima-Zahra Fassi-Fihri and Bouchra Belouchi are both excellent lawyers. Their attention to detail, responsiveness and good communication with both us and our clients are among the highlights." - Investment funds

"Bouchra is a very smart, reactive partner with strong skills, one of the best in the M&A area in Morocco. She is able to meet very hard deadlines and always with a very positive way. BFF has also a very strong expertise and experience in all areas of business law required for projects and M&A deals." - M&A

"Overall, very good team and I appreciate mainly their commitment, reactivity, technical skills and attitude on managing the counterparts." - Private equity

"The firm has a team of a good professionals, a good business and local environment understanding and solid legal expertise." - Restructuring and insolvency

"BFF Law Firm lawyers are very responsive, immediately anticipate the possible issues and always propose pragmatic solutions." - Banking

"The firm provided precise expert counselling and project management. It has a speedy reactivity, and a good knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry environment." - Project development

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a tier one firm in Morocco with a strong financial and corporate and project development practices.

In recent banking work the firm worked for lenders and borrowers on project financing and debt restructuring deals.

In capital markets work the firm acted as counsel to an issuer on its sukuk issue.

The M&A team represented mainly acquirers on deals in the financial services, healthcare, education and infrastructure sectors. The firm also advised joint venture partners in a deal in the construction industry. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Alliances Développement Immobilier €90 million debt restructuring

•Maghreb Titrisation €200 million sukuk issue

•Midelt 180MW wind farm 

Client feedback

"The firm had an excellent performance combining commercial acumen and strong understanding of doing business in Africa." - Private equity

Dentons

In Morocco, international firm Dentons is active in the financial and corporate space and has a focus on project development work.  The firm has a China Desk to support its Chinese clients in Morocco and Francophone Africa.

In banking work the firm recently advised lenders and borrowers on corporate financings.

The M&A team worked for acquirers on deals in the education, food and beverage and healthcare sectors. It also represented sellers in the consumer goods sector.

In project development work the firm acted as counsel to contractors, project companies and sponsors on infrastructure and energy projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Korhogo 25MW photovoltaic power plant

•The Euromena Funds acquisition of a minority stake in Novamed

 

Client feedback

"The firm has a very strong team, with hard workers and a very solid leader (Patrick Larrive)." - M&A

"The firm has been very thorough, well organised and meticulous, especially in its due diligence pertaining to cross-border regulations." - M&A

"The firm provided an excellent level of work quality. Strengths : high skills, reactivity and deal maker." - Private equity

Garrigues

Spanish firm Garrigues is primarily active in M&A work in Morocco.

During the research period the firm advised acquirers on deals in the construction, tourism and real estate sectors. It also worked for sellers in aluminium and manufacturing sector deals.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Barceló Hotels €22 million acquisition of Société Financière d’Africa Palace Maroc 

•Barceló Hotels €16.5 million acquisition of Société Palmeraie Maroc-Emirats 

•Socotec acquisition of Axe

Hamzi Law Firm

Hamzi Law Firm is a local firm active in the financial and corporate space.

In recent banking work the firm advised a lender on a loan provided to a borrower in the cement industry. 

In restructuring and insolvency work the firm was often mandated counsel debtors on their restructurings, with work involving clients in the retail, consumer goods and telecommunications sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Atlantic Cement €156 million financing

•Decathlon restructuring

•Ericsson restructuring 

LPA-CGR

LPA-CGR is a French firm active in the financial and corporate areas in Morocco with a focus on banking and finance.

In banking work recently the firm advised lenders on corporate financing and Islamic financing deals.

The firm has also been advising investors on private equity deals and on the establishing investment funds.

Client feedback

"The firm provided excellent legal opinions, with a very transparent and fluid communication to reach full satisfaction on the document delivered. The firm has a very high level of knowledge of the financial law." - Capital markets: Derivatives

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy

Naciri & Associés is a top tier firm in Morocco active across all financial and corporate and project development areas. The firm is the Casablanca branch of Allen & Overy and services both Moroccan and North and Francophone African clients.

In recent banking work the firm advised lenders and borrowers on corporate financing and project financing deals. 

In capital markets work the firm advised issuers on IPOs in the real estate and consumer goods sectors.

The M&A team worked for acquirers on deals in the education, food, consumer goods and financial services industries and for sellers on deals in the insurance and health sectors. It also worked for joint venture partners on merger deals in the financial services and media industries. The firm was also active on private equity deals and equity investments. 

In project development work the firm worked for arrangers, developers and sponsors on the construction, operation and development of energy projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Mitsui & Co $25 million acquisition of minority stake in Zalar

•Mutandis $42 million Moroccan Stock Exchange IPO

•Sanlam $1 billion acquisition of Saham’s insurance business

 

Client feedback

"Excellent firm. We work with four of the five international firms in Morocco, and Hicham Naciri systematically overperforms. Excellent in every regard." - M&A

"On the basis of my experience and in my opinion, Naciri & Associes Allen & Overy is the best legal firm I have worked with either on projects located in Morocco or in sub-Saharan African countries, as this firm offers services combining the best international practices with a deep knowledge of local specificities. Their teams have a deep understanding and experience in all of the major sectors such as energy, infrastructures and other industries. The firm is truly competent, professional, reactive, always available and able to deliver high-level quality works." - Project finance