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2010-11 IPO rankings: Luthra, AZB chip at Amarchand dominance; DLA debuts big-time

Exclusive: Amarchand Mangaldas has lost ground in its lead over Luthra & Luthra and surprise performer AZB & Partners in the initial public offering (IPO) league tables for the 2010-11 financial year, while DLA Piper came from nowhere to top the rankings of foreign firms ahead of Dorsey & Whitney and Jones Day.

Amarchand acted on 32 IPOs over the last financial year (FY) with a massive total of 22 company mandates and 9 mandates for banks, according to exclusive research by Legally India (see methodology page bottom).

However, Amarchand’s total tally actually decreased by 7 from 39 in Legally India’s 2009-10 FY IPO league tables.

While the firm – which also topped the FY’s QIP rankings this week - managed to retain its lead over the competition, others narrowed the lead.

Luthra racked up three more than the previous year at 18, and AZB climbed to third from fifth place in the previous year by almost doubling its IPO volumes to 16 from only 9, after what is understood to have been heavy investment into the practice.

Amarchand Mumbai managing partner Cyril Shroff (pictured left) said that the firm did not comment on the competition but that he believed Amarchand continued to be the market-leader.

“We continue to have the deepest and largest team across the country and are continuously focused on training to ensure that we are delivering quality consistently on all our transactions,” said Shroff. “Our team is in a different league altogether.”

Even if market shares might reduce marginally, he added, Amarchand would continue to be advising on the largest and most complex IPOs in India.

“We’re making good progress and slow and steady will win the race - we’ve gained ground and we continue to chip away at the old block,” said Luthra & Luthra partner and capital markets head Madhurima Mukherjee (pictured right), who is based in Delhi and joined Luthra in 2006 from Amarchand to set up the practice.

“And as long as we continue to do things right,” she added, “the meek will inherit the earth.”


Busiest domestic IPO law firms 2010-11 financial year
Rank 2010-11 ('09-10) Firm Total mandates FY ‘10-11 ('09-10) Company mandates FY ‘10-11 ('09-10) Bank mandates FY ‘10-11 ('09-10)
1 (1) Amarchand Mangaldas 32 (39) 22 (30) 9 (9)
2 (2) Luthra & Luthra 18 (15) 11 (7) 7 (8)
3 (5) AZB & Partners 16 (9) 10 (3) 6 (6)
4 (4) Crawford Bayley & Co 14 (11) 13 (10) 1 (1)
5 (3) Khaitan & Co 11 (14) 7 (10) 4 (4)
6 (7) J Sagar Associates (JSA) 6 (6) 3 (4) 3 (2)
7 (-) Linklegal (including Zenith pre-merger) 6 (0) 5 (-) 1 (-)
8 (6) S&R Associates 6 (8) 2 (1) 4 (7)
9 (9) Kanga and Company 5 (5) 5 (4) 0 (1)
10 (-) ALMT Legal 4 (1) 4 (1) 0 (1)
10 (8) Rajani Associates 4 (5) 4 (5) -
12 (10) Vaish Associates Advocates 3 (4) 3 (4) -
12 (13) Trilegal 3 (2) 3 (2) -
14 (-) Alliance Corp lawyers 2 (1) 2 (1) -
14 (-) Dua Associates 2 (1) 2 (0) 0 (1)
Source: Legally India research

Crawford Bayley managed to increase its tally to 14 from 11 in fourth place.

However, Khaitan & Co in fifth and S&R Associates in seventh both saw a moderate decline from 14 to 11, and 8 to 6 mandates respectively.

JSA held steady at with 6 instructions taking it up one place to sixth position, while Kanga and Co too held course to come in at ninth position.

One success story of the year was Zenith India Lawyers, which merged into Link Legal in January and reeled in a total of 6 smaller IPOs (including one post-merger) from zero the previous year. Linklegal therefore debuts ahead of S&R in seventh place.


DLA Piper came out of left-field to seize the debut in the league table and take the surprise lead among international firms, leapfrogging last year’s leaders Dorseys and Jones Day with nine mandates. The previous financial year DLA had only one single Indian IPO to its name but both Dorseys and Jones Day’s numbers now decreased by three mandates each.

DLA’s Peepels (left) is a former Jones Day man who was poached in 2007 to create a stronger Asian capital markets practice for DLA. Jones Day Singapore-based partner Manoj Bhargava said that the firm did not wish to comment on the mandates of other firms but added that Jones Day continued to be busy, having completed a total of 11 IPOs in the 2010 financial year.

O’Melveny Myers was another firm that upped its game to three IPOs but Clifford Chance dropped dramatically from third place last year with 6 IPOs to only two IPOs into fifth place.

Fossil fuel momentum

The fiscal year in IPOs was dominated by the mammoth Coal India disinvestment, that soaked up Rs 15,199 in investors’ cash, as well as a number of other major government sell-offs.

Follow-on public offers (FPOs) floated by public sector units (PSUs) such as Engineers India, Hindustan Copper, Shipping Corporation of India and Power Grid Corporation of India also garnered good response from the markets and kept their legal advisors busy.

Amarchand acted on three of the four FPOs while Luthra tallied up Engineers India alongside DLA Piper for international book runners.

Again, tellingly Coal India involved number one firm Amarchand Mangaldas for the underwriters, second-ranked Luthra & Luthra for the company and now first-ranked foreign firm DLA Piper.

Busiest international IPO law firms 2010-11 financial year
Rank '10-11 ('09-10) Firm Total mandates FY '10-11 ('09-10)
1 (-) DLA Piper 9 (1)
2 (1) Dorsey & Whitney 8 (11)
3 (2) Jones Day 7 (10)
4 (-) O’Melveny & Myers 3 (1)
5 (3) Clifford Chance 2 (6)
5 (6) White & Case Pte 2 (2)
5 (6) Ashurst 2 (2)
5 (5) Linklaters 2 (3)
Source: Legally India research

When pitching for the deal there were significant competitive downward pressures on the legal advisers, as reported by Legally India in June of last year.

“I think you can’t do it endlessly,” agreed DLA partner and Asia capital markets head Stephen Peepels about the comparatively low pricing on disinvestments. “But these are really important, some of India’s most important industries.”

“One of the reasons we’ve approached the government disinvestment transactions is that these transactions are highly demanding, incredibly time pressured because the companies tend to be quite large,” he added. “So my team really has dug into these very big and complicated transactions and I think the training we’ve received is priceless. These are tough deals and you are learning advanced issues.

“As a result we are going to have the kind of experience that are going to be valued in the market,” said Peepels. “When we talk our clients we would expect them to appreciate that.”

Amarchand Delhi capital markets partner Prashant Gupta added that government disinvestments were likely to continue this year.

A year of two (corrupt) halves

Luthra & Luthra - Lahoty Manan
Luthra & Luthra - Lahoty Manan
As reported by the Asian Lawyer earlier this month, India’s corruption scandals have affected deal flows across the board but in capital markets especially investor confidence has been hit alongside general market turmoil.

“I would view the last fiscal in two parts – the first half was hectic with a large number of deals closing,” agreed Luthra & Luthra Mumbai-based capital markets partner Manan Lahoty. “On the other hand, the markets were listless in the second half on account of negative news from India on corruption, high commodity prices and resulting inflation and also global political issues.”


Jones Day’s Bhargava (right) added: “No doubt there has been a general decline in Indian capital markets activity in the last few months - primarily as a result of the volatility in the Indian stock indices. We believe this volatility is in turn caused by a number of factors such as high inflation, uncertainty in the Middle East, the recent corruption scandals and high oil and gas prices.”

“The sentiments for new share issuances, especially for IPOs by private issuers have been less encouraging,” noted Lahoty, citing a sell-down by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in the first couple of months of 2011, which even affected the number of qualified institutional investments in the last two quarters.

Overall, however, overall activity has been good according to DLA’s Peepels. “It’s been a good year to have a presence in the Indian capital markets I think. Like other companies in Asia a lot of companies had to sit on the sidelines but we were anticipating a resurgence in the market and that’s happened.”

Meanwhile, Amarchand Mumbai capital markets partner Yash Ashar predicted that “strong consumer stories” would be approaching the market in the coming financial year. “These are companies which are generating cash and providing good returns on equity to their existing shareholders.”

Methodology: legal advisers to all draft prospectuses filed with SEBI and ROC in the period 1 April 2010 - 31 March 2011. Ranked by total mandates, followed by company mandates; cut-off for inclusion two mandates minimum.

Additional reporting by Neha Chauhan

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