David Johnston

Senior Associate
Mohammed Al-Ghamdi Law Firm - In Association with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP*

Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
T:+966 11 279 5455
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
T:+966 11 279 5455
David Johnston

David Johnston

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Biography

David Johnston is a senior associate in our Corporate, M&A and securities team and is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. David is an experienced commercial lawyer who recently spent two and a half years working in-house in the mining and metals industry, and has a further eight years' experience in private practice acting on large, high profile, project financed utilities and industrial projects. 

David has recently moved to our Riyadh office, having spent the last two and half years acting as divisional GC for the Aluminium strategic business unit of Ma'aden, the national mining company of Saudi Arabia. While there, he was responsible for all legal advice and support provided to the Aluminium business, which in FY 2020 generated approx. USD 2 billion in revenue and held assets of approx. USD 10.3 billion. 

David had spent the previous six years in Norton Rose Fulbright's Bahrain office advising on major project finance transactions across the Middle East, primarily in the renewables, conventional power, oil and gas, petrochemicals, process plant, water and wastewater, waste management, district cooling, real estate development, and transport sectors.


Professional experience

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  • MA (Hons.), University of Glasgow, 2001
  • LLB, University of Glasgow, 2007
    • Glasgow University Law Society
  • Diploma of Legal Practice, Glasgow Graduate School of Law, 2008
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Acting on the capital increase of a substantial publicly traded GCC corporate through the conversion of USD 800 million debt to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) through the  issue of new shares to PIF to that value.
  • Restructuring and recapitalising a subsidiary company of a substantial GCC corporate, involving the purchase of a US shareholder's 25.1% interest in the company; renegotiation of the shareholder, project and commercial documentation; the assignment of USD 800 million of the subsidiary's debt to the parent company; and amendment of the finance documentation relating to the subsidiary's remaining facilities.
  • Advising on a number of EPC contract disputes related to the construction of a major metals project by a substantial GCC corporate, involving providing strategic advice to the project team, EPC contract review and initial advice, drafting and reviewing correspondence, drafting settlement documentation, and engaging and managing external counsel.
  • Carrying out a major post-investment review of a USD 8 billion multi-site phosphate project for a substantial GCC corporate, involving reviewing and reporting on six contract packages, including multiple EPC contracts, EPCM contracts, and cost-reimbursable construction contracts, as well as key FEED, PMC, raw material supply, offtake and logistics contracts.
  • Advising a substantial GCC corporate on a broad range of shareholder, operational and offtake matters relating to its 50% interest in a captive caustic soda and EDC plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
  • Leading the drafting, negotiating and finalising of a range of commercial documentation relating to the sale of primary aluminium by a substantial GCC corporate to downstream customers and trading houses, including sales, marketing, shipping, logistics and warehousing contracts, import/export forms and compliance documentation.
  • Leading the drafting, negotiating and finalising of a range of commercial documentation relating to the sale of rolled aluminium coils by the wholly-owned subsidiary of a substantial GCC corporate for use in the beverage can and automotive industries, including sales, marketing, shipping, logistics and warehousing contracts, import/export forms and compliance documentation.
  • Refinancing the commercial debt facilities of the wholly-owned subsidiary of a substantial GCC corporate, involving the repayment of existing facilities and the negotiation of new facility documentation with a group of in-Kingdom lenders. The value of the new facilities was USD 350 million.
  • Drafting the legal and regulatory sections of a feasibility study for two GCC governments into the development, construction and operation of a USD 5 billion causeway between the two.
  • Advising the sponsors in relation to the USD 1.2 billion airport expansion of an international airport in Madinah. This was the first airport privatisation deal to close in Saudi Arabia and the first ever PPP deal in the region to be entirely Sharia-compliant.
  • Acting for a GCC government on the development of a USD 900 million LNG terminal project, the first LNG PPP project in the Middle East. This project was named IJ Global MENA Midstream Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2016, and Middle East LNG Deal of the Year 2016 by Project Finance International Magazine.
  • Advising a GCC electricity and water authority in connection with phases II and III of the largest single-site renewable energy project of its kind in the world, comprising two solar photovoltaic power plants structured as IPPs.  Phase II was named `Middle East and North Africa Deal of the Year - Solar' in the IJGlobal Awards 2015.
  • Advising a GCC water authority on the procurement of a sewage treatment plant through a PPP model.
  • Acting as lender's counsel on the construction and operation of a 250,000m3/day seawater desalination expansion to an existing IWPP plant near Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising a multi-national consortium on its bid for the financing, development, construction, ownership, operation, maintenance, insurance and transfer of six new residential compounds being built to accommodate the labour accommodation requirements of an oil pipeline project.
  • Advising the lenders to a multi-national consortium on its bid for the financing, development, construction, ownership, operation, maintenance, insurance and transfer of a residential compound being built to accommodate the labour accommodation requirements of a natural gas facility construction project.
  • Advising the lenders to a bidding consortium in respect of their bid for a 300MW solar photovoltaic power project located in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom's first utilities-scale solar power project.
  • Advising a multinational lender group on the project documents in respect of the refinancing of an operational IPP project located on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising the lenders to a bidding consortium in respect of their bid for a 400MW wind power project, located in north-western Saudi Arabia. This project is Saudi Arabia's first wind farm project and will be the largest in the Middle East when completed.
  • Acting for a leading international solar energy developer on the development, construction, financing and operation of two 50MW solar photovoltaic plant projects in Jordan.  These projects were structured on an IPP basis, and were awarded as part of the second round of Jordan's direct proposal renewable energy project scheme.
  • Advising two multilateral development banks on all aspects of the project documentation relating to two 50MW wind farm projects in Jordan.
  • Advising a leading German renewables project developer in relation to a pilot wind and solar project in Bahrain. 
  • Advising a Spanish-led consortium selected by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) to develop, operate and finance a 250,000 m3/d desalination plant in Oman.
  • Advising lenders on a consortium's bid for an 80,000 m3/d water desalination project in Oman.
  • Advising the developers in relation to the financing, design and construction of a SAR 1.2 billion sugar refinery project at King Fahd Industrial Port, Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.
  • Acting for a private sector petrochemicals developer on the financing, design and construction of a 666,000 metric tpa anode grade calcined petroleum coke plant, 70 MW power plant, associated infrastructure, utilities and off-sites in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising a major private sector petrochemicals developer on a USD 2 billion petrochemicals plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to produce ethylene vinyl acetate and low density polyethylene.
  • Advising the lenders in relation to the financing, construction and operation of the development of a SAR 736 million district cooling and potable water project at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This project was named 'Middle East and North Africa Deal of the Year - Water' in the IJGlobal Awards 2015.
  • Advising the lenders in relation to the financing, construction and operation of a SAR 500 million BOT district cooling project in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, including in relation to the subsequent expansion of the project.
  • Advising a GCC government on the USD 1.8 billion procurement of a wastewater treatment plant and sewage pipe transmission system under a DBFOM contract.
  • Advising a GCC government department in relation to the construction and operation of a USD 300 million wastewater treatment plant in Muharraq (on a BOO basis).
  • Notary Public (Scotland)
  • Czech
  • English
  • Spanish