Ashraf Ihab

Founding Partner

A leading legal figure with more than 40 years of diversified experience, he had a profound understanding of financial tools and their practice in the Egyptian and international markets and he is always abreast of the legal developments in banking and project finance field.

Before co-founding Zulficar & Partners, Ashraf Ihab was a senior partner, member of the executive committee and head of contracts and advisory group at Shalakany Law Office.

Ashraf Ihab is specialized in banking and project finance transactions, his breadth of expertise enables him to successfully structure and close high profile and complex financing transactions. He drafted, negotiated and executed a long-line of sophisticated syndications, club and multilateral transactions, credit facility agreements, debt rescheduling agreements and related security documents. His expertise also extended to different financial activities such as, ISDA transactions, T-bonds, derivatives, asset financing, real estate financing, factoring, consumer finance, microfinance, incorporation and licensing of financial institution. Moreover, Ashraf assisted major banks in the preparation of banking standard forms as well as Islamic finance agreements. He opines on regulatory matters, financial litigations and dispute settlement.

In addition to his credentials in banking and project finance fields, Ashraf developed an expansive experience in capital/ debt capital market field, he acts as the legal advisor of numerous successful transactions like issuance of public and private bonds, green bonds, securitization bonds, sukuk issuance (Ijara/ Sustainable Musharakah), transfer of business, private and public offerings, IPOs and companies restructuring.

Ashraf Ihab’s list of credentials includes ground breaking, award winning and precedent transactions such as but not limited to:

  • Issuance of the First Future Securitization Bonds Program in the Egyptian Market. The Program amounts to EGP 2,000,000,000 (two billion Egyptian pounds), and the first issuance under the Program is amounting to EGP 800,000,000 (eight hundred million Egyptian pounds) in three (3) tranches. This issuance is an exceptional achievement, as it is the first application of the rules issued by the Financial Regulatory Authority for this type of bonds, and is a benchmark for all similar issuances in the future Cairo Investment for Real Estate Development SAE (CIRA);
  • The IFLR1000 award winning “Best Structured Finance Deal of the Year in North Africa”, Canal Sugar Company multi-tranches Syndicated Facility Agreement for up to US$ 700,000,000;
  • The first issuance of a Green Bonds issued by a private sector in Egypt amounting to US$ 100,000,000. The proceeds of the issuance will be directed to finance environmental projects that will use clean energy and mitigate the factors that lead to global warming in a number of existing green projects, including green buildings, renewable energy and energy efficiency within the bank’s lending portfolio by Commercial International Bank – Egypt (CIB);
  • The first private placement to qualified investors of the first Short- term Bonds Issuance Programme, executed under FRA decree No. 172 of 2018 amounting to EGP 2,000,000,000 by EFG-Hermes for Brokerages (HSB);
  • Issuance of the first Ijara Financial Sukuk compatible with the provisions of Islamic Shariaa to be tradeable on the EGX amounting to EGP 600,000,000 (six billion Egyptian pounds) by Cairo Investment for Real Estate Development SAE (CIRA);
  • Issuance of securitization short term bonds program amounting to EGP 5,000,000,000 (five billion Egyptian pounds) with a tenor of two (2) years, with a No. of 3–4 expected issuances throughout the aforementioned tenor by B-Tech for Trading and Distribution (B-Tech);
  • Voluntary Tender Offer on Ahli United Bank Egypt, SAE for 14.52% of the shares of the Bank;
  • The first GSM Telecom Concession to Orange Egypt (previously known as MobiNil).

Since the early 1990s, under the Egyptian government’s privatization program, Ashraf was involved in the privatization of several Egyptian public sector companies. Representing sellers or buyers, he handled numerous merger and acquisition transactions for private sector companies in Egypt, conducting legal due diligence and carrying out all the required procedures for the transfer of shares before the Capital Market Authority, as well as drafting shareholders’ agreements and sale of shares agreements.

Ashraf Ihab was a Board Member in the Egyptian Industrial Development Bank, Cairo, Egypt from 2000 to 2005, and he was the General Counsel of Mashreq Bank, Dubai – UAE from 2005 to 2006.

With a commitment and believe in community activism, Ashraf helps in drafting and reviewing new economic legislation as adviser such as the Investment Law and the new Banking Law. Moreover, Ashraf was providing legal courses at the Arab Academy for Science Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT).

Since 2015, Ashraf has been consistently ranked by international legal directories like IFLR1000, Legal500, Chamber& Partners and other directories, quoted from the testimonials written on him: “The leading and eminent Egyptian lawyer in banking and finance”, “A leading lawyer highly recommended in banking and project finance field”, “A well versed in the challenges of representing prominent financial institutions, he assists with all aspects of syndicated loan and credit facility agreements, and has a notable specialism in microfinance”.

In 2023, Ashraf was recognized in Chamber & Partners Global Guide by clients as “A leading Banking and Finance figure with exceptional commercial and legal acumen”; “He is respected by bankers and companies alike – a trusted adviser.”. He was recognized at the Legal500 EMEA 2023 Edition as “Leading Individual”.

Ashraf Ihab has obtained a BSC in Law from Cairo University in 1985, and he has been a member of the Egyptian Bar Association and International Bar Association since 1985.