Canadian equity funds and companies with business connections with India are interested in Indian infrastructure, says Patricia Koval in Lexpert

March 01, 2007

India, the world's largest democracy, is on the move, scouring the world for energy, money, and infrastructure and legal expertise. Canadian companies--and their lawyers--are helping to meet the demand.

India's population of more than 1.1 billion drives the fourth-largest economy in the world, with an anticipated GDP growth rate of 9.7% this year. Foreign direct investment stood at C$7.7 billion in 2005 and 2006, reflecting a growth rate of 37%.

India is rapidly integrating into the global system of production, with both trade and capital flows increasing well beyond GDP, a trend that has been consistent for the last decade and looks to continue in the foreseeable future. India's frenetic pace means that it is coming up short in several areas where it needs resources of one kind or another. One of those areas includes certain kinds of legal advice.

India's global push embraces a wide range of hot industries, including pharmaceuticals, IT, outsourcing and auto parts.

But the Canadian legal profession as a whole is lagging behind the efforts of its American and British counterparts.

"India is no longer beneath the radar," notes Patricia Koval. "We've been watching closely for about three years."

Infrastructure expertise in particular may become a much-demanded legal service, says Patricia. "There is tremendous interest in Indian infrastructure both on the part of Canadian equity funds and companies that have business connections with India. We have already structured some deals for private equity infrastructure funds in India."

On the other side of the equation, Indian companies are starting to bid for Canadian interests, says Patricia. "There's been an M&A and investment upsurge from Indian companies in the last 18 months." Torys' clients ICICI Bank and Aditya Birla Group are other notable Indian companies that have invested in Canada, as has the State Bank of India.

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