Advising Kuwaiti investors in the largest ever ICSID claim against Egypt
|People in Who’s Who Legal||0|
|People in Future Leaders||0|
|Pending cases as counsel||8|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$250 million|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||4 (2 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||2|
Name partners John Matouk and Omar Bassiouny founded this Cairo-based firm in 2005 with an emphasis on corporate and M&A, project finance and capital markets, and disputes work.
The team has experience as counsel in ICSID and ICC cases as well as matters before Egypt’s main arbitral institution, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.
Matouk heads the 16-attorney disputes group and practices arbitration across the Middle East and North Africa. He is a New York-qualified lawyer and a US–Egyptian dual national.
Partner Amr Abbas acts in commercial and investment treaty cases and also serves as an adjunct professor in a Hamburg University–Cairo University joint degree programme.
A recent addition to the team is partner Mohamed Shehata, a former general counsel at Emirati-owned mobile operator Etisalat Misr. Ahmed Abdelhakeem and Mohamed Sallam received promotions to counsel in 2020.
Growing from its Cairo headquarters over the past decade, Matouk Bassiouny has expanded by opening offices in the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Sudan and Libya. Many of the 16-lawyer disputes team are trilingual in English, French and Arabic.
Who uses it?
Telecoms sector clients such as Telecom Italia and the UAE’s Etisalat Egypt regularly use the firm. So do energy industry clients including Unión Fenosa Gas, Aquaterra Energy and Dana Gas. Matouk Bassiouny has also represented sports teams such as Egypt’s Nogoom Football Club.
Matouk Bassiouny paired with Latham & Watkins in 2015 to represent Luxembourg steelmaker ArcelorMittal in a US$600 million ICSID claim against Egypt concerning the construction of a steel plant near the Red Sea. The dispute settled in 2016.
In the courts, it has helped a Japanese carmaker block claims worth US$1 billion by enforcing an arbitration clause.
Spanish Egyptian Gas Co., which is majority owned by Spanish–Italian venture Unión Fenosa, turned to the firm for representation in a US$459 million ICC dispute against the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. The dispute, which settled amicably, concerned Egyptian Natural’s breached agreement to supply natural gas to Spanish Egyptian.
The firm provided local law advice to Unión Fenosa Gas in relation to its US$2 billion dispute with Egypt concerning an LNG plant. Egypt finally settled the dispute in 2021 with a cash payment of US$395 million over three years.
The firm advised Unión Fenosa Gas on Egyptian law matters and negotiated with government opposing parties relating to an annulment proceeding that Egypt initiated against Unión Fenosa’s ICSID award from 2018 in a dispute that exceeded US$2 billion. The matter settled in December 2020.
The firm has teamed up with King & Spalding to represent a group of Kuwaiti investors in a dispute with Egypt over a cancelled project to build a new city south of Cairo. The investment treaty claim is worth more than US$10 billion and is believed to be the largest ICSID claim the state has ever faced.
Matouk Bassiouny won an award for Reliance Heavy Industries at the Cairo Centre against South Valley Cement Company over a management contract. The tribunal dismissed all counterclaims against the firm’s client, with the award valued at over €44 million.
Partner Mahmoud Selim left the firm to become managing director of Kobre & Kim’s Dubai-based Middle East and Africa operations.
Assem Osman of Reliance Heavy Industries in Egypt says the company retained Matouk Bassiouny for a technical dispute against an Egyptian cement plant over a management and maintenance agreement. The company won its US$10 million claim as well as dismissal of the opponent’s US$24 million counterclaim, and it has continued to retain the firm in further work.
Osman says the firm “went beyond our expectations in understanding the technicalities of the cement plant’s operations . . . we thought they became engineers at the hearing”.
Matouk Bassiouny’s Dispute Resolution Group has maintained a dominant position in the Egyptian market based on its successful representation of multinational clients in high value cases.
The Dispute Resolution Group’s primary goal is to effectively manage risk and resolve disputes pursuant to clients’ strategic interests – whether through amicable negotiation, litigation or arbitration.
Comprised of eight partners and over 70 attorneys trained in both common and civil law jurisdictions with high standing in regional and international levels, Matouk Bassiouny’s Dispute Resolution Group provides clients with comprehensive dispute resolution services in both English and Arabic.
The Dispute Resolution Group specializes in arbitration cases held before international and regional arbitral institutions including, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), as well as Egyptian civil, commercial, criminal, administrative and labor courts.
The Group has a wide experience in fields including:
- International Commercial Arbitration
- Investment Treaty Claims
- Competition Law Matters (including Investigations and Disputes)
- Agency, Franchise and Distribution Disputes
- Energy & Natural Resources
- Healthcare & Life Sciences
- Hospitality & Leisure
- Industrial Manufacturing
- Infrastructure & Transport
- Real Estate
- Share Purchase Agreements
- Securities & Private Equity Disputes
- Media & Technology
- Construction Disputes
- Regulatory Compliance
- Restructuring and Insolvency
- Tax Litigation
- Consumer Goods & Retail
- Product Liability
- Labor and Employment
- White Collar Investigations
- Administrative Law