The Iran office will focus on corporate work including due diligences of Iran-based assets, joint venture agreements, share purchase agreements, merger control issues and trade and regulatory issues. Its local lawyers in Tehran will be fully integrated and will work closely with the relevant practices of Colibri’s five other offices.
The Iranian team will be led by partner Otabek Suleimanov, an emerging markets transactional lawyer, Nasim Gheidi, a well-known Iranian lawyer and practice head with extensive legal experience in Iran, and Assel Nassimoldina, a Kazakhstan-based senior managing associate with 10 years’ worth of banking & finance experience.
Playing the long game
According Mr Suleimanov, it took three years for the firm to shape its Iran entry strategy and another year to finalise negotiations. He commented: ‘Iran is the largest market to open up in the post-Soviet era and we see endless opportunities, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, energy, industrials and consumer goods.’
Colibri’s strategy meant that the firm was already in the final stages of negotiation when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in July last year. Also known as the Iran Deal, it saw the country reduce its stock of uranium in return for relief in US, EU and UN sanctions.
Looking to Iran
Two weeks after the sanctions were lifted CMS became the first international firm to open an office in Iran. It is understood that a number of UK firms have been discussing opening in Iran including Clyde & Co, Eversheds and Pinsent Masons, and French firm August & Debouzy has launched an Iran desk to support its French corporates with their projects in the region.