The idea behind the first of its kind merger between Qatar Navigation and Qatar Shipping is to eliminate redundancy and create better capacity, Al Tamimi & Company’s Qatar head and partner Ahmad Anani said.
The law firm, the largest in the Middle East region with over 360 staff, established its office in Doha in association with Mohammed Al Marri, a lawyer.
“We are currently advising on the merger which will be the first to be completed in a series of mergers expected this year,” Anani a Harvard Law School graduate, told Gulf Times.
“We do a lot of advising on transportation and vessels. Right now, Europe is looking for ways to lessen their dependence on Russia and Qatar looks like a very good alternative if the LNG supply can be guaranteed and continuous.”
According to Anani, the resource-rich country’s approach thus far had been eastwards and now wants to turn it westwards.
The challenge, he said, is that there are only seven articles under the law (related to mergers) and trying to come up with the best precedent is a difficult task.
“So we are also examining all the best practices and trying to come up with the one that fits well with the Qatari legal environment,” he said.
In addition to mergers, the firm’s five main practice areas are corporate, commercial, banking, finance, insurance, property and construction, intellectual property and litigation and resolution.
“Qatari market does not tolerate too much specialisation yet. The specialisation will only happen with the increase in volume of business in those areas. Our focus is to bring in investors and participate in the legal reform process that is taking place,” Anani said.
As part of that effort, the firm has also launched a comprehensive investor guide ‘Setting up in Qatar’ that is aimed to serve as a one-stop shop for businesses arriving in Qatar. The book, including a CD, features introduction on Qatar, immigration and customs, regulatory environment, business structures, employment and housing issues, as well as local customs and traditions.
“The idea is that Qatar is one of the places where access to information is not that easy so the guide should really facilitate that,” the official said.
On reforms, the lawyer said: “Qatar has done a lot of work on the judiciary; it has established administrative courts that will review decisions made by government officials within the context of their job, is establishing a constitutional court, in addition to a court under the Qatar Financial Centre which will also have more sophisticated and specialised judges who understand the financial world.”
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