IFLR India M&A 2019: meet the speakers

Author: Karry Lai | Published: 13 Aug 2019
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This year's IFLR’s India M&A forum will bring together industry experts, private practice practitioners and leading counsel to debate the future of M&A in the region. Key discussion points include: complexities of cross-border transactions, data privacy in M&A, the state of private equity in India, dispute resolution in M&A transactions and an in-depth look at the technology and healthcare sectors. 

Click here for more information on the forum, to view the agenda or register to attend.

IFLR's Karry Lai spoke with some of the speakers from the forum to discuss day to day activities, trends and obstacles they face in the Indian markets.

What do you spend most of your time doing at the moment?

P M Devaiah, partner and group general counsel at Everstone Capital Advisors

Fine tuning process and methodologies for legal, compliance and risk management. Team building and talent enhancement for the team.

Taral Ajmera, senior legal counsel & compliance head, India at Cleantech Solar Energy

I focus on corporate compliance, including due diligence and ensuring our investments and land acquisition for renewable energy projects comply with the law.

Harish Suryavanshi, senior corporate counsel, Tech Mahindra

As a senior corporate counsel, I work on multiple things, including managing commercial contracting, and advising on critical contractual disputes for the APAC region. I also work on multiple cross border M&A transactions where I look at term sheets and sale and purchase agreements and conduct thorough due diligence. As part of my role, I conduct training programmes for lawyers and non-lawyers in our organisation. 

Kapil Chaudhary, corporate counsel, Autodesk India

It is important for the legal team to align with our company strategy, to build enduring relationships with our customers and to deliver innovative technology that provides valuable automation and insight to the design and production processes. 

Subhrarag Mukherjee, Asia Pacific & Japan region lead counsel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

 I spend a lot of my time helping the company win information technology contracts and strategic projects that reflect an acceptable level of risk and are aligned to the core business and growth areas of the company.  I also take time to review local legal compliance for various business processes and practices of the company.

What are the biggest trends/themes in your market?

P M Devaiah

Uncertainty and sluggish market conditions, regulatory and policy uncertainties that are being cleaned up by the new government and coping with the consequences.

Taral Ajmera

India has a long way to go when it comes to attracting foreign investors. It is still very challenging to raise funds from a compliance and taxation perspective. Compared to countries like Singapore and Malaysia, India is very inflexible.

Harish Suryavanshi

For the IT industry, the major market trends are around increased compliance requirements, including global data protection and export control regulations. In term of the M&A market, I have to be aware of the latest developments in jurisdiction based local compliance requirements. While there is increased competition and disruption happening in the technology field, in order to be more competent and for expansion of the business, we are always looking out for acquisition of companies in niche technology areas to develop our capabilities and service offerings globally.

Since we do business with US we have to be aware of entities they have banned from doing business, and do internal risk assessments as well. For example, with the recent ban by the US administration against Huawei and its affiliates companies, we had to conduct necessary internal checks and risk assessments to do business with them globally.

Kapil Chaudhary

India’s regulatory landscape is trying to become even more enabling as we are poised to become a $5 trillion economy. We are trying to keep a close eye on the emerging legal and regulatory landscapes such as the data protection legislation. The union government has just introduced two labour code bills, merging 17 existing laws related to wage and the occupational safety of workers.

Subhrarag Mukherjee

Companies are continuing to revamp their business models by focusing on their core business areas and getting rid of non-core businesses. Companies are increasing the adoption of technologies that use machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to add automation and improve efficiencies in their operations and businesses.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle/challenge for companies in India?

P M Devaiah

Scaling up business, exploring new themes for investment and making stakeholders happy.   

Taral Ajmera

Attracting foreign investors to invest in Indian projects.

Harish Suryavanshi

The challenges and obstacles for companies in India depend upon their nature of business and whether they are public or private companies. One of the major obstacles for private companies in India is  competition,  to survive in the market they need to spend constantly on research and development and offer innovative products and services for growth. For public limited companies, flow of capital markets and spending on key market areas or niche technologies, and finding reliable partners for the same is a big challenge. You need to constantly look out for strategic partnerships and innovative technologies to leverage your business. While working with UK businesses, we would also need to consider and assess the impact of Brexit. When working on outbound and inbound transactions, you need to keep yourself abreast of the various regulatory compliance requirements.

Kapil Chaudhary

To understand the implications of the emerging regulatory landscape on our respective businesses. 

To continue to reinforce the message of compliance, corporate governance and setting high ethical standards on our respective workplaces. And, to continue to contribute to India’s ambitious economic growth story by collaborating with all relevant stakeholders. 

Subhrarag Mukherjee

Local regulatory compliance is going to be a key challenge for all companies. This has assumed special importance as the largest national party in the country has just won a second term of five years and is implementing new laws focusing on data privacy and revamping existing laws on various critical areas like company and the environment. Various state governments have also adopted changes to labour laws, and internal governance, ethics and anti-bribery compliance are going to be challenges for companies in the country.