Banking & Finance: India (Desks Based Abroad)
THE FIRM Allen & Overy has a reputation as a leading global finance practice, and its India-related work holds true to that reputation. It is regularly instructed on headline-grabbing deals, typically in the area of acquisition and project finance. Amongst many highlights, it recently advised ICICI in connection with a USD250 million loan facility extended to a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, and acted for the mandated lead arrangers on GVK's USD1.26 billion acquisition of coal and infrastructure assets in Queensland, Australia.
Sources say: "Tries to find a win-win solution. The team has lots of experience, so it's good at coming up with practical alternatives."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kayal Sachi is universally respected by sources. Her list of notable clients includes Standard Chartered, Axis, ICICI and Bank of India. She has many years' experience acting for Indian and international lenders in project and acquisition finance transactions.
Clients also appreciate the "very practical approach" of London-based Sanjeev Dhuna. He recently advised Standard Chartered on its role as mandated lead arranger to the Piramal Healthcare Group regarding its high-profile acquisition of Decision Resources.
THE FIRM This magic circle heavyweight maintains an impressive showing in India-related finance work, with aviation and acquisition finance being amongst the team's key areas of expertise. Demonstrative of its aviation finance strength, it advised Investec Bank on the sale and leaseback of four Boeing 737s to Jet Airways, and acted for Air India in connection with its acquisition of the first 787 Dreamliners to join its fleet. In another highlight, it guided John Deere India on its debut external commercial borrowing (ECB) financing in India.
Sources say: "Strong connections to the institutional lenders."
KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based Ranbir Hunjan "is responsive, helpful and knowledgeable," remarked one source. He is particularly noted for his aviation finance practice.
THE FIRM Clients and fellow practitioners alike applaud this global powerhouse for the strength of its finance practice and the depth of its relationships with lenders. The group has a long history of advising on complex, innovative and high-stakes financings, both inbound and outbound. It represented the arrangers of a EUR370 million facility to fund the Samvardhana Motherson Group's multi-jurisdictional acquisition of a controlling stake in the Peguform Group and a 50% interest in its subsidiary, the Wethje Group. Other highlights include advising The Carlyle Group in relation to a major refinancing transaction intended to enable the acquisition of a minority interest in Housing Development Finance Corporation by a Carlyle Group entity.
Sources say: "Undoubtedly leads the pack." "Very practical in its approach, and always has all the answers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers acknowledge that Philip Badge has "years and years of experience in India-related banking work" and commands great respect throughout the industry. He is based in Singapore.
THE FIRM This firm maintains strong relationships with a number of major Indian corporates, perhaps most notably the Tata Group, which continue to bring it notable borrower-side mandates. It acted for the Tata Group's upstream oil and gas division, Tata Petrodyne, regarding its loan facility from Standard Chartered valued in the region of USD60 million. On the lender side, it advises on a broad range of matters, including ECBs, equity restructurings, syndicated loans and other acquisition financings. Major clients include Standard Chartered, ICICI and the Asian Development Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Debt finance specialist Clive Barnard has substantial experience representing Indian clients. He recently advised Standard Chartered and BNP Paribas on a major loan facility to India's IDBI Bank.
THE FIRM Milbank's Indian banking practice encompasses restructuring as well as project and acquisition finance matters. Members of the team are based in Hong Kong, Singapore and North America, offering a substantial international network to clients. Recent highlights include advising the lead arranger - state-owned German bank KfW IPEX - on a USD2 billion facility to Reliance Industries underwritten by Euler Hermes Deutschland.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The principal contact partner is Glenn Gerstell, based in Washington, DC.
THE FIRM Norton Rose lays claim to an extensive and well-established India practice. Project finance makes up a substantial proportion of its work. For example, it is advising the lenders' syndicate, led by Standard Chartered, regarding the funding for the GMR Group's development of a 800 MW power project in Singapore. The firm is also engaged on several matters for Standard Chartered, including a USD130 million facility partly intended to pay back intra-group loans.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Singapore-based Jeff Smith is the firm's head of South-East Asia. He has a particular focus on finance matters, and recently acted for DBS Bank in connection with a multicurrency loan to Hinduja Foundries.
THE FIRM Baker & McKenzie's impressive global network sees its Singapore branch acting on a high number of financing transactions with an Indian component. Of late, the team has been particularly active on Japan–India transactions, including several acting for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. In one such matter, it represented the bank, along with two other additional lenders, in relation to a syndicated loan to Indian Oil, valued at USD250 million.
Sources say: "The team's accuracy and speed are what I value most." "Compares very favourably to other firms - in terms of fees, and because they deliver what we need in such a prompt manner."
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, one of James Huang's greatest strengths "is his demeanour. He's patient and will explain things in a calm, logical manner." Sources were also quick to highlight his impressive work ethic and deal management skills.
THE FIRM White & Case maintains a strong relationship with global client Deutsche Bank, for which it continues to handle a number of India-related mandates. For example, of late it has represented the bank in connection with a USD85 million financing for a slum redevelopment scheme, and guided it on a syndicated ECB to Adani Power. Other notable mandates include advising a consortium of Chinese banks on a loan estimated at USD1 billion to Reliance Communications, as a means of refinancing existing foreign currency convertible bonds.
Sources say: "Active on interesting deals."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients recommend Kate Allchurch for her hands-on approach. According to sources: "She doesn't just delegate to senior associates, then disappear. She stays involved and remains available if necessary."
Banking & Finance: Mid-Market: India (Desks Based Abroad)
THE FIRM This compact practice continues to expand its India operations, with the recruitment of new asset finance partner Simon Coles (formerly at Simmons & Simmons). It represents a wide range of lenders - including Export-Import Bank of India, YES Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda - the latter of which it advised in connection with a working capital facility, valued at USD25 million, to Gujarat NRE Coking Coal. Ship finance and revolving credit facilities are other areas of expertise.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard McBride has close to 20 years' experience in the legal industry, and formerly held a senior in-house position at Barclays, which lends a considerable practical experience to his legal understanding. His ability to "give crystallised opinions" and to "stick to the priority of a project" were particularly singled out for praise.
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