Editorial analysis

    Active in India for over 25 years, Linklaters has established an impressive track record working with international investors expanding into the country, as well as native corporates seeking investments overseas. The firm set up a dedicated India practice in 2000, which today consists of 45 fee earners from offices across Europe, Asia and the US. The team offers clients coverage in a range of areas, including corporate transactions, private equity, capital markets, banking, project finance, outsourcing, regulatory, IP and disputes.

    Sandeep Katwala oversees the India practice as well as acting as regional managing partner of the firm’s emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa practice. Sources praised his work in corporate and finance transactions covering such areas as pharmaceuticals, energy, infrastructure and telecoms.

    In the past year Linklaters lost India capital markets specialist Arun Balasubramanian to Freshfields, where he now serves as co-head of the India team, but more than made up for this with the recruitment of India M&A specialist William Kirschner from White & Case, where he was Asia head of the corporate practice; the arrival of Narayan Iyer, who rejoined the firm from Talwar Thakore & Associates (with which the firm has a “best friends” relationship); and the promotion of Savi Hebbur, who was elected to the partnership. In the past few years, Linklaters has been involved in some of India’s most significant deals, including BP’s landmark $9bn acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in 23 oil and gas production blocks from Reliance Industries (the largest investment of capital into India on a single deal), Standard Chartered Bank’s India listing (the first ever listing in India by a foreign company), and Zain’s $10.7bn disposal of its African business to Bharti Telecom (the second largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian company).

    More recently, the team has advised Reliance Industries on its $450 million joint venture with Sibur; Infosys on its acquisition of the Lodestone group; Bharti Infratel in relation to its $760 million initial public offering and listing on the Indian stock exchanges; Standard Chartered and Barclays Bank on the $150 million 5.75 per cent convertible bonds due in 2017 issued by Jaiprakash Associates; and the arrangers on a US$275million term loan facility for JSW Steel Limited to finance the redemption of its foreign currency convertible bonds.