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Nishith Desai Associates to open Munich office

NDA Munich: Local dresscode optional
NDA Munich: Local dresscode optional

Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) is set to open an office in Munich, moving one lawyer there full-time this month to target in- and out-bound corporate work from Germany and Europe.

NDA recently received its approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to open in Germany, said NDA founder Nishith Desai, adding that the German bar’s permission to open as a foreign law firm there was in the final stages and “should not be a problem”.

The office, which will open on 5 September, will be headed by associate Ruchi Biyani, who joined the firm in 2008 after one-and-a-half years as a management trainee at HDFC and graduating from GLC Mumbai the same year. She is also a qualified company secretary and holds a 2005 bachelor of commerce in accounting and finance from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics.

Biyani said that while Germany was not usually a jurisdiction where holding companies were based, in that German funds do not usually invest in developing markets, Munich was a hub of listed companies and private equity houses, and an originator of many joint ventures, technology transfers, and inbound and outbound mergers and acquisitions.

Furthermore, the office would help service private clients with interests in Europe, and funds being set up from the Netherlands or in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), said Biyani, who has been studying German.

Desai added that while Frankfurt was Germany’s financial centre, Munich was the country’s business hub.

“In the world today, the most developed region, the US, has again begun to grow a little bit… Europe is still sagging, except Germany,” explained Desai about his decision to open an office in Europe. “The difference with the European region is they have a lot of technology but they don’t have a market. Therefore, in spite of slowdown in the Indian market place, the only thing that Europe can do is to transfer technology, particularly from the manufacturing sector to India.”

“Our belief is that there will be lot more technology transfer and joint ventures that will happen from Europe to India. Not only Germany, but also Italy or Spain – they have very nice technology mainly housed within family-owned companies,” he said. While India was going through a “temporary slow down, everybody hopes it will come back in two or three years, and this is a good time to make acquisitions”. Even hostile takeovers of Indian companies would happen in the next year or two, he predicted.

Biyani noted that being based in Munich would also be useful for NDA lawyers travelling to Europe who could work from Munich for a short time, while many European and global clients were also nearby geographically.

NDA had opened an office in Basel, Switzerland, in 2009, which was shuttered a short while later. The firm also has offices in Singapore, the Silicon Valley in the US, and in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.

Photo by Alisha Rusher

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