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Trio lead pack in IPO rankings in financial year to date

Legally India research has revealed Amarchand Mangaldas as the top IPO dealmaker of this financial year so far, while Khaitan & Co and Luthra & Luthra are in close contest for the runner-up spot. International and domestic firms are competing in a tightly bunched mid-field of the ranking.

We have analysed 45 draft initial public offering prospectuses (IPOs) that have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) between 1 April and 1 October 2009 (see table).

Amarchand Mangaldas has advised on a total of 16 IPO filings, which is more than the combined tally of the next two firms in the rankings Khaitan & Co and Luthra & Luthra, both of which have put in a strong showing.

Amarchand amassed a total of 11 mandates acting for companies, most recently bagging the instruction for Sahara Prime's bid to raise Rs 3,450 crores. Luthra & Luthra advised the banks on Indian law and US firm Milbank Tweed on international law from London.

Khaitan & Co put in a very strong showing with a total of seven mandates, of which four were for the listing companies. The firm's most recent instruction is the IPO of visual effects company DQ Entertainment, on which it was the sole adviser. It was also the sole adviser to two other issues.

Khaitan & Co's capital markets practice is led out of Mumbai by partners Nikhilesh Panchal and Vibhava Sawant, who both joined from Mumbai's Little & Company around 2005 after its merger with FoxMandal.

Khaitan & Co has acted for an almost equal number of issuers and banks in the last half-year. Panchal commented: "As far as capital markets is concerned, you tend to cater to both clients who are your own and wanting to do an IPO and you have clients coming from merchant banks as well.

"And on many occasions you get instructed for the whole issue, depending on the comfort level of various parties and how you choose your role in the transaction."

Luthra & Luthra too had a particularly strong finish to the first half of the financial year, which saw a flurry of submissions to beat the six-month audited accounts validity deadline for IPO purposes.

The firm's team, led by former Amarchand capital markets partner Madhurima Mukherjee from Delhi, filed four deals in the run-up to 1 October, bringing its total up to 6 IPO mandates this half-year.

Mukherjee commented: "The markets have recovered substantially and we're seeing a frenzy of equity offerings right now."

"But let's see how much the pace sustains itself and no one knows how long the rally will last," she added, conceding that overall volumes were still lower than the boom times.

International firms have dominated the rest of the table out of Singapore, with Dorsey & Whitney and Jones Day cleaning up the majority of international mandates for the banks, with five and four instructions respectively.

Clifford Chance and Linklaters both had roles on three IPOs each.

However, domestic firms have created a tight mid-field, with five firms on three or two transactions each.

Vaish Associates, Crawford Bayley, AZB & Partners and S&R Associates have picked up three IPOs each. Vaish most recently scooped the mandate for Cantabil Retail as sole adviser to the issue.

AZB's most recent IPO role was the domestic advise to the banks on the D B Realty issue, which also involved Luthra & Luthra for the company and Jones Day as international counsel.

S&R Associates most recently acted opposite Dua Associates and Linklaters for real estate developers Emaar MGF Land, which looks to raise Rs 3850 crores in its second attempt at listing.

S&R partner Sandip Bhagat said: "People have the ability to acess equity right now and people are more flexible in doing it." He explained that other types of financing such as convertible debt instruments were also increasing in popularity as there was still a lot of angst about the debt markets.

Strong entrants at the bottom of the table are Kanga & Co and Rajani Associates, who each advised on two deals. Kanga has acted as sole adviser to the issue of ARSS Infrastructure Projects and Rishabhdev Technocable.

Rajani Associates most recently acted opposite Amarchand on the IPO of realty company Kumar Urban Development.

Amarchand, AZB & Partners, J Sagar Associates (JSA), Luthra & Luthra, S & R Associates and Crawford Bayley acted on the majority of qualified institutional placements (QIPs) in the same time period, according to Legally India research.

IPO legal adviser rankings 1 April - 1 October 2009

Firm Total mandates Company mandates Underwriter mandates
1 Amarchand Mangaldas 16 11 5
2 Khaitan & Co 7 4 3
3 Luthra & Luthra
6 4 2
4 Dorsey & Whitney 5
5 Jones Day 4 - 4
6 Vaish Associates 3 3 -
7 Crawford Bayley 3 2 1
8 AZB & Partners 3 1 2
9 S&R Associates 3 1 2
10= Clifford Chance 3 - 3
10= Linklaters 3 - 3
12= Kanga & Co 2 2 -
12= Rajani Associates 2 2 -

Source: Legally India

Methodology: legal advisers to all draft prospectuses filed with SEBI in the period 1 April - 1 October 2009. Ranked by total mandates, followed by company mandates.

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