GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Matouk Bassiouny

Matouk Bassiouny

Professional notice

Advising Kuwaiti investors in the largest ever ICSID claim against Egypt, valued at over US$10 billion

People in Future Leaders1
Pending cases as counsel12
Value of pending counsel workUS$214 million
Treaty cases as counsel1
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments3 (3 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

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 15-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 serves as an adjunct professor in a joint degree programme between Hamburg University and Cairo University. His expertise has also been recognised by the Egyptian government, which appointed him to a committee to amend the Egyptian Arbitration Law in 2022.

In 2020, the firm brought in Mohamed Shehata, a former general counsel at Emirati-owned mobile operator Etisalat Misr.


Growing from its Cairo headquarters over the past decade, Matouk Bassiouny has expanded by opening offices in the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Sudan. It also has a country desk covering Libya. Many of the 15-lawyer disputes team are trilingual in English, French and Arabic.

Who uses it?

Telecoms sector clients such as Telecom Italia (now TIM) and the UAE’s Etisalat Misr regularly use the firm, as do energy industry clients including Unión Fenosa Gas, Aquaterra Energy and Dana Gas. Construction and real estate users include Chengdu Design & Research Institute of Building Materials Industry and Egyptian Resorts Company.

Matouk Bassiouny has also represented sports teams, such as Egypt’s Nogoom Football Club.

Track record

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 Company, which is majority owned by Spanish-Italian venture Unión Fenosa, turned to the firm for a US$459 million ICC dispute against the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company. The dispute, which settled amicably, concerned Egyptian Natural’s breached agreement to supply natural gas to Spanish Egyptian.

The firm also provided local law advice to Unión Fenosa in relation to its US$2 billion dispute with Egypt concerning an LNG plant – including negotiations with the government concerning its bid to annul a 2018 ICSID award. Egypt settled the dispute in 2021 with a cash payment of US$395 million over three years.

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.

Recent events

Together with King & Spalding, Matouk Bassiouny is representing 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.

In 2021, the firm secured a favourable award for Chengdu Design & Research Institute of Building Materials Industry, a global cement manufacturer and engineering firm. The tribunal awarded the client over US$7 million plus interest in the dispute, which arose from a packaging contract for a major Egyptian cement plant.

The firm is defending real estate developer Egyptian Resorts Company in a compliance dispute surrounding the construction of a new resort on the Red Sea – also bringing a counterclaim on behalf of its client.

Ahmed Abdelhakeem, who has worked on disputes in the construction, energy and insurance sectors among others, was promoted to partner.

Client comment

Assem Osman of Reliance Heavy Industries in Egypt says the company retained Matouk Bassiouny for a dispute with a local 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.

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”. His company has continued to use the firm since.

Sergio Alcantarilla of Arabian Cement Company lauds the firm’s speed and reliability, noting that the team achieved a favourable result for his company on very short notice. Abbas and Abdelhakeem were both “very helpful in assessing how to reach our goal”.

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.

Our Dispute Resolution Group is one of the largest and highest-ranked disputes practices in the MENA region. Our primary goal is to effectively manage risk and resolve disputes pursuant to our clients’ strategic interests – be it through amicable negotiation, litigation, or arbitration. Our practice has a highly successful track record over the past decade of managing an average aggregate quantum of USD 3 billion under disputes every year.

Comprised of twelve partners and over 70 attorneys trained in both common and civil law jurisdictions with high standing at regional and international levels, Matouk Bassiouny’s Dispute Resolution Group provides clients with comprehensive dispute resolution services in English, Arabic and French.

Matouk Bassiouny’s Dispute Resolution Group is active in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC), the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), as well as all local courts in Egypt, the UAE, Algeria and Sudan, representing clients in high-value and high-profile disputes in a variety of sectors, including but not limited to, automotive, construction, heavy industry, manufacturing, oil & gas, pharmaceutical, real estate, telecommunications, and tourism sectors.

The Group has a wide experience in fields including:

  • Administrative Law
  • Anti-money laundering
  • Anti-trust regulatory investigations
  • Contract disputes, Agency and Distribution
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Commercial
  • Commodity Trading
  • Competition
  • Corporate litigation
  • Enforcement
  • Financial crime
  • IP Litigation
  • International Arbitration: Commercial & Investment
  • Labor & Employment
  • Mediation and negotiations
  • Product Liability
  • Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Regulatory filings
  • Securities
  • Tax & Customs
  • White Collar Investigations
  • Banking
  • Consumer Goods & Retail
  • Education
  • Energy & Water
  • Fintech, Emerging Companies and Venture Capital
  • Healthcare
  • Heavy Industries & Environmental
  • Hospitality
  • Insurance
  • Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals
  • Non-Banking Financial Institutions
  • Private Equity
  • Public Procurement
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Sports
  • TMT
  • Transport & Logistics


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