Dubai, 21 March 2017
Dentons, in collaboration with HKA, assembled practitioners from across a number of industries in Dubai this week to discuss how to structure a successful PPP project and how to avoid disputes avoidance and resolution on PPP projects.
Dentons’ Middle East Senior Partner Neil Cuthbert discussed the essential prerequisites of a successful PPP project and the need to identify, allocate and mitigate key project risks, with a particular focus on construction risks. He also examined key issues of concern for lenders financing PPP projects and specified the importance of having direct or implicit government backing for projects in emerging markets.
“The Middle East, outside of utility projects, has a chequered history of successfully implementing PPP projects,” Neil said. “The new laws passed by a number of countries over the last few years are no guarantee that the pipeline will suddenly be bursting with projects. But the budgetary problems currently facing many countries may produce fundamental changes in procurement practices that otherwise just would not happen.”
Hongbin Cong, Vice Chairman, International Relations, Falcon and Associates, gave a keynote introduction on the market and the dynamics of working with Chinese companies. Mr Cong also shared his personal experience of working on PPP projects in China and other markets such as the US.
“PPP as a form of financing is useful and helpful to support the provision of needed public services,” said Mr Cong. “However, it is a very complicated scheme, which requires vast knowledge and common understanding among all parties involved. It is very critical for government officials to be truly engaged through the tenure of a project to ensure its success.”
Ben Highfield, Executive Vice President at HKA, explored the areas of loss and expense that parties to a PPP project experience, and how to avoid incurring those losses. He also focussed on approaches to recovering loss and expense using real-life project examples. Providing the closing remarks, Mr Highfield said, “PPPs in the Middle East bring much-needed private finance into local projects at a time of low liquidity.”
Dentons has one of the largest regional networks of any international law firm in the Middle East with nine offices in seven jurisdictions. Many of the Firm’s lawyers have dual English/Arabic language skills and can advise on local as well as international law.
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