Ahmed has extensive experience in advising lead bank arrangers on complex structured syndicated financings with cross border security, primarily specialising in Shariah compliant syndications in the Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia and South East Asia. His particular expertise is advising, drafting and negotiating on murabaha (both goods and commodity), ijara, musharaka, mudaraba and istisna contracts.
Ahmed's experience in the Islamic finance arena, coupled with close working relationships with Shariah co-ordination teams of banks, has led to an awareness and understanding of the varying Shariah principles of Shariah boards of Islamic banks. He has been the lead counsel on a number of high value financings with values in excess of US$1 billion.
During the global financial crisis, he has acted on a number of high profile restructurings and refinancings, including advice to financial institutions on co-ordinating and steering committees on their exposure to the Dubai debt crisis and the Bahrain political crisis. Ahmed has also reviewed and advised on Shariah compliant banking products such as bank to bank murabaha deposits.
- Recent Work
- advising Standard Chartered Bank, ABC Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD and Noor Islamic Bank as arrangers on debut syndicated murabaha financings, with an aggregate value in excess of US$1 billion, for Turkish participation banks including Albaraka Turk, Bank Asya and Kuveyt Turk
- advising the International Finance Corporation (the investment arm of the World Bank) on its US$1 billion Global Trade Liquidity Program. This innovative structure involved various types of participation agreements to support trade in developing markets and address the shortage of trade finance resulting from the global financial crisis
- advising Dubai Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro as Mandated Lead Arrangers on a US$1 billion syndicated ijara facility for the Government of Dubai, Department of Civil Aviation. This land mark financing was the world's largest ijara financing at the time and related to the development and expansion of Dubai International Airport
- advising Samba Financial Group and HSBC Bahrain on a US$280 million syndicated murabaha financing for Viva Bahrain - a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company. This complex, dual currency US Dollar and Saudi Riyal murabaha financing with shared cross-border security, related to the Saudi Telecom Company's expansion of its Bahraini operations
- advising Citibank as arranger on a US$200 million syndicated murabaha financing for National Petroleum Services Group (Qatar). This multi-jurisdictional financing included the provision of cross-border security spanning nine jurisdictions across the Middle East, Europe and South East Asia
- advising ABC Islamic Bank, BNP Paribas, Emirates NBD and The Saudi British Bank as Mandated Lead Arrangers on a US$100 million syndicated murabaha financing for Munshaat Real Estate and Projects Company relating to the King Abdul Aziz Endowment for the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah (Saudi Arabia).
Ahmed Butt is admitted as a solicitor of the supreme court of England and Wales, and he is a registered foreign lawyer in Saudi Arabia. He has practised in the Middle East since 2006, primarily focusing on syndicated financings and Islamic finance.
He is a member of Simmons & Simmons' award winning Islamic finance team within the financial markets practice and has participated as an expert at international conferences on issues relating to Islamic finance. Ahmed is recognised as a "Leading Lawyer" by the Islamic Finance News Law Poll 2012 in the categories of banking & capital markets, cross border and structured finance. He is regularly invited to author and contribute articles in specialist Islamic finance publications.
Prior to joining Simmons & Simmons, Ahmed worked with international law firms in London and Dubai. He has also spent a period on secondment as legal counsel to Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai.