Monday, March 28, 2016

Enforceability of Omani Court Judgments in Foreign Jurisdictions

Pursuant to the Omani Civil Procedure Law (promulgated by Royal Decree 29/2002 as amended), it is stated that the Omani Courts will enforce a final and binding non-appealable foreign court judgment only if there is a bilateral agreement between Oman and a foreign nation whereby the countries have agreed to reciprocally enforce each other’s judgments. Stated differently, the Omani Courts will recognize and enforce a final, non-appealable foreign court judgment only if the courts of that very same country recognize and enforce final, non-appealable Omani Court judgments.

The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) signed a bilateral treaty in 1996, titled the “Treaty for the Enforcement of Judgments, Judicial Delegation and Court Summons,” wherein the GCC member states agreed to reciprocally enforce all GCC-rendered final and binding civil and commercial court judgments without a review of the merits. Accordingly, any final, non-appealable civil and commercial court judgment rendered in any country within the GCC is per se enforceable (without review of the merits) within any other jurisdiction in the GCC.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Sale and Purchase of Founders' Shares in Oman Independent Power and/or Water Project - Matters for the Selling Founder and the Purchaser to be Aware of


Founder shareholders of an Oman independent power and water project company often seek to divest themselves of a portion of their project company shares after the project company’s successful conversion to an SAOG in accordance with the Founders’ contractual obligations with respect to the project, and the expiry of any period in which the Founders’ right to dispose of their shares is contractually restricted.

This type of share sale transaction, being the sale of Founders’ shares in an electricity and water sector SAOG, may be subject to particular statutory approvals (e.g., under the Sector Law), and specific approvals and conditions precedent under the project and finance agreements, to which an ordinary SAOG share sale would not be subject.

Identifying Requisite Approvals and Conditions Precedent at the Outset

At the outset of the proposed share sale, the selling founder should comprehensively identify the legal and regulatory approvals required in relation to the transaction under the Sector Law, the project company’s licence and the Capital Market Law. In addition the project and finance agreements should be reviewed to identify any approvals required from either the project agreement counterparties or the project lenders, and the conditions to be satisfied to obtain such approvals. All such approvals should be identified and sought at the earliest possibility to ensure that the share sale can proceed in accordance with the law and will not be delayed. Notification to the potential buyer or bidders information memorandum and instructions to bidders in the event of a competitive bidding process) as to the applicable regulatory regime and required approvals before the share sale can be effected is also advisable.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Registration Fee for Lease Contracts and Sale of Real Estate Units

Under the Tenancy Law (Royal Decree 6/1998), a tenant is entitled to utilize a leasehold property in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement. Corporate bodies and individuals may lease property from the government or individual landlords for specific purposes. Such lease can only be transferred if the prior written consent of the landlord has been obtained.

It is mandatory for the landlord to register the lease agreement, unless the landlord and tenant agree that the registration will be carried out by the tenant. In order to avail the rights and privileges provided to the landlord and tenant, it is necessary to register the lease agreement as required under the Tenancy Law. In the event the landlord fails to register the lease agreement within a period of one month from the date of signing the lease agreement, the tenant may do so within the specified period.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Curtis wins major U.S. trade case for Omani manufacturer and Sultanate of Oman

In a final determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce on March 7, allegations made by U.S. producers of PET resin that OCTAL was the recipient of unfair subsidies were dismissed.

The determination represented a comprehensive victory for Curtis’ client, OCTAL, a leading global manufacturer of PET resin products, which had been threatened with the prospect of countervailing duties being applied to its exports of PET resin to the United States. It is significant for the Sultanate of Oman, which successfully defended key aspects of its economic development policy.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Islamic Project Finance Part 1

Islamic project finance has grown in significance and is now widely used to finance different projects (particularly large, longer-term infrastructure and power projects) in the Middle East. There is considerable potential for the Islamic finance industry to play an important role in the financing of major projects due to its ability to employ innovative financing structures which can make use of a project’s underlying assets.

This is the first part of a series of articles discussing Shari’ah-compliant structures used by Islamic financial institutions in project financing transactions. This article seeks to explain the structure predominantly used by Islamic financial institutions for project financing in Oman and the rest of the Middle East, namely, the Istisna’a – Ijarah structure.