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Indian infrastructure remains top of world as Luthra wins first-half rankings, chased by India Law Services, Amarchand, AZB

Luthra & Luthra was the most active project finance legal advisers both by value and volume in the first half of 2010, followed by India Law Services, SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors,  Amarchand Mangaldas and AZB & Partners and SN Gupta & Co, according to data compiled for Legally India by data provider Dealogic.

India continued to lead the ranks globally for concluding 57 deals worth $34.5bn, which was an eight per cent rise from 1H 2009 and more than twice the value of deals done in the next-nearest country of Saudi Arabia.

Luthra & Luthra advised on seven projects with a total deal value of $5.4bn , grabbing a market share of 20 per cent in India and again led the rankings as against the same period last year when Luthra, India Law Services and Amarchand also dominated the global league tables.

Luthra & Luthra was legal advisors on two of the ten biggest H1 2010 projects with Centennial Steel and the Tata Steel Expansion Project that were both signed on 30 April of this year and led from the Mumbai office by partner Vijaya Rao.

Luthra & Luthra Delhi projects partner Sameen Vyas said that infrastructure projects activity had been increasing with "quite a few" projects coming up again.

He also added that international banks were increasingly involved in Indian projects, which increased liquidity. "If you see in the past two or three years it was mainly driven by Indian banks, now we see some interest even of international banks," he said.

Mumbai-based firm SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors (India) made a new entry to the table with four deals worth $3.8bn.

Projects finance specialist India Law Services, which primarily advises lenders on project deals, garnered roles on six major deals worth a total of $4.4bn while it also advised on two of the top 10 project deals in the road and telecom sector – the Maharashtra Tata Telecom Project and the PPP Taj Expressway Project.

India Law Services partner Tushar Desai said: "As far as we see there is no let up in the project activities and is growing at healthy pace."

He said that the firm had not not seen any significant change in the lender profile. "The public sector lenders remain dominant in the field and form major part of consortium lending."
Top 10 projects H1 2010 (by value)
$2.2bn Chhattisgarh Thermal Power Plant Project - SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors
$2.1bn Taj Expressway PPP Project - India Law Services
$1.9bn 3G Telecom Bharti Airtel Project - AZB & Partners and SN Gupta & Co
$1.8bn Centennial Steel Project - Luthra & Luthra
$1.8bn Jaypee Nigrie Super Thermal Power Project – AZB & Partners
$1.8bn Vadinar Oil Refinery Plant Project – Amarchand Mangaldas
$1.7bn Tata Steel Expansion Project – Luthra & Luthra
$1.6bn Idea Cellular Network Project – adviser not known
$1.2bn Hinduja National Power Plant Project – SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors
$1.2bn Maharashtra Tata Telecom Project – India Law Services

India Law Services also topped the global deal values in PFI and PPP projects with two deals worth $2.2bn,beating Spanish firm Garrigues Abogados y Asesores Tribuatios, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Freshfields.

Amarchand Mangaldas, which was ranked third by Dealogic for standard Indian infrastructure projects over the same time last year, slipped to the fourth position this half-year. The firm signed four new projects worth a total of $3,5bn in the last six months.

AZB & Partners had advised on three projects worth $2.9bn in the first half of the 2010 calendar year.

S N Gupta & Co, Khaitan Jayakar Sud & Vohra, Allen & Overy, Vats Gupta & Co and Trilegal each advised on one project each according to Dealogic, and were the other top 10 ranked law firms. Together those firms had almost a 25 per cent of the market share of project finance related work.

Allen & Overy was the sole international law firm that made it into the Indian rankings of players in this domain.

Some law firms that were a part of Dealogic’s India project finance league table last year for the same period did not made it into the top 10-ranked category this year.

These firms are Koura & Co, DSK Legal, M V Kini & Co, Singhania & Co, Dave & Girish & Co and Praxis Partners Solicitors.

Globally Luthra & Luthra was ranked sixth this year down from first place in the same period last year. This year Linklaters found itself in first place after advising on 19 signed projects worth $14.9bn worldwide, Taiwan Commercial Law Offices was in second with the single $12.8bn Taiwan High Speed Rail Project Refinancing, Allen & Overy came third, Clifford Chance fourth and White & Case fifth.

State Bank of India came first globally as provider of global project finance loans.

H1 2010 Indian project finance legal advisers
Rank Firm Value ($m) # of deals market share (%) H1 2009 rank
1 Luthra & Luthra 5,328 7 20.2 1
2 India Law Services 4,381 6 16.6 2
3 SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors 3,820 4 14.5 -
4 Amarchand Mangaldas 3,547 4 13.4 3
5 AZB & Partners 2,890 3 10.9 -
6 SN Gupta & Co 988 1 3.7 -
7 Khaitan Jayakar Sud & Vohra 877 1 3.3 -
8 Allen & Overy 735 1 2.8 -
9 Vats Gupta & Co 675 1 2.6 -
10 Trilegal 628 1 2.4 -

Source: Dealogic

Dealogic compiled only infrastructure project financings that signed within the previous half-year and specifically excluded real estate projects (except PFI and PPP deals), shipping or aircraft financing, equipment financing, agriculture and manufacturing. Legal advisers are counted if they advised a borrower, concession awarder, commercial lender, multilateral lender, ECA, guarantor or divestor). If two or more firms advised on the same project, the attributed project value was evenly divided between the advisors.
According to data provider Dealogic's latest infrastructure project finance rankings for the first half of 2010 Luthra & Luthra was the most active project finance legal advisers both by value and volume followed by India Law Services, SJ Law Advocates & Solicitors,  Amarchand Mangaldas and AZB & Partners and SN Gupta & Co.
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