Advisory firm Ankura sets up Mid-East restructuring practice


Dubai (Reuters) – Advisory and forensic accounting firm Ankura Consulting said on Thursday it has launched a turnaround and restructuring practice for the Middle East out of its Dubai office, as it expects large deal flow in the region amid growing economic uncertainty.

Several advisory firms have recently set up or expanded restructuring operations in the region, where companies face higher borrowing costs after interest rates rose at a rapid clip amid global concerns about inflation.

Ankura’s new practice will be led by Karim Labban, based in Ankura’s Riyadh office that opened last year, and Geraint Thomas, based in Dubai, the firm said in a statement. Both have the title of senior managing director.

Labban was previously a turnaround and restructuring partner at Deloitte and Thomas was executive director for restructuring and turnaround at Abu Dhabi sovereign investor ADQ, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

“On the one side you have turnaround and restructuring work that is coming out of the volatility,” Thomas told Reuters.

“But we also on the other side see a lot of performance improvement and operational restructuring work coming from the sovereign funds.”

Ankura has around 60 employees in the Middle East and will grow to around 200 in the next two years, Labban said, declining to say how many people would be hired for the new practice.

“We will build a core senior team in the Middle East this year. And the idea being that as we get increased mandates, we’ll obviously grow the team in order to meet that demand,” Thomas said.

Labban said he saw demand in the construction sector particularly, as well as the industrial sector. The aviation sector is also an opportunity, though “from a less distressed perspective,” as the sector navigates post-pandemic growth.

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