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Indian law firms top of world thanks to Indian projects boom

Luthra & Luthra, India Law Services and Amarchand Mangaldas have leapfrogged to the top of global project finance deal rankings over the last six months, benefiting from Indian project finance deals rising by 158 per cent against the same period last year to almost $32bn (Rs 154,000 crore).

The three firms held the top three spots of data provider Dealogic's global league table for the first half-year of 2009, having together advised on deals of a higher value than the next six largest law firms.

Luthra & Luthra advised on six project finance deals worth a total of $6.3bn (Rs 30,000 crore), Mumbai-headquartered project finance specialists Indian Law Services advised on a total of 14 deals worth $6.0bn, and Amarchand advised on five deals worth $5.8bn.

Over the same period last year the three firms were only in 24th, 40th and 25th place respectively.

The Indian firms racked up their totals by advising mostly lenders, with Luthra & Luthra in particular leading for the lenders of the $3.8bn Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, which was the largest global private finance initiative / public private partnership (PFI / PPP) this year (see box).

Total PFI / PPP deals increased in India by from $1.4bn to $8.3bn compared to the first half of the year 2008, signalling the increasing popularity of the structure.

Indian firms benefited, with Luthra & Luthra also leading the PFI/PPP table with three deals worth $2.9bn, followed by DSK Legal with one deal of $1.9bn and India Law Services advising on seven deals worth $1.8bn.

White & Case, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper and Latham & Watkins were the highest ranked anglo-saxon international legal advisers in the total projects top 10, with Ashurst, Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also making an appearance in the PFI / PPP rankings.

The world's top projects financial adviser by far was State Bank of India, which was involved in a total of $22.7bn of project financing, making up almost a third of all project finance deals globally.

The world's top four sponsors of project finance deals were the Indian Government (on $5.9bn), Reliance Industries (on $3.8bn), the Vodafone Group (on $3.4bn) and Adani Group (on $3bn).

By country, Brazil was the overall runner-up in the project finance table, where deal volumes had increased by 488 per cent over the same periods, though the total deal values were still only little over half of India's totals.

Project finance deal values in the US, which came in third place, fell by 47 per cent. Spain and the UK came in fourth and fifth places, with total deals falling by 29 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.

Largest deals:

Luthra & Luthra:
$3.8bn Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (for lender)
$2.6bn Dahej Ethylene Cracker Plant (for consortium)
$1.8bn Mundra Thermal Power Project Phase 4 (for lender)

India Law Services:
$3.3bn Vodafone Essar Seven Circles GSM Network Rollout (for lender)
$1.3bn Gondia Coal-Fired Thermal Power Project Phase 1(for lender)
$886m NH1 (Panipat - Jalandhar Section) Six Laning Highway PPP (for lender)

Amarchand Mangaldas:
$5.5bn IOC Paradip Refinery project (for lender)
$2.6bn Dahej Ethylene Cracker Plant (for lender)
$1.7bn Jharsuguda 2400MW Coal-Fired Power Plant Project (for lender)

Source: Dealogic

Click here to download the complete PDF of Dealogic's global project finance league table.

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