(L-R) Awards host Shadia Bseiso; Alan Rodgers, head of banking and finance, and Sadiq Jafar, managing Partner, Dubai, Hadef & Partners; awards judge Mona Hussein, director of legal and compliance, Addidas 

Finalists: Al Tamimi & Company (Highly Commended); Baker McKenzie; Clifford Chance; Eversheds Sutherlands; Fichte & Co; Hogan Lovells; Shearman & Sterling; Stephenson Harwood.

Hadef & Partners’ corporate team helped the firm pick up its second prize at this year’s corporate counsel awards for its work on the first mandatory convertible bond to be approved by the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority.

The team advised the issuer – Abu Dhabi-based insurer ADINC – on the deal, which needed to be deeply subordinated to the insurer’s senior debt so the credit rating agency would treat the bond as equity. One hitch: the concept of subordination is not recognised under UAE law. That meant having to devise wording in the bond’s documentation that achieved the same result while ensuring it would be approved by the regulator.

The bond was also the first to be issued under the new Commercial Companies Law, which had challenging implications for how the new provisions would be interpreted by regulators and how the bonds would be treated when converted to equity. The firm said the bond’s successful issuance was vital to the insurer to boost its capital and maintain its current credit rating, which had been at risk of downgrade.

“This is a substantial and permanent reinforcement of the company’s capital adequacy, which we now view as extremely strong,” rating agency Standard & Poor’s said after the bond was issued.

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