The Strengthening Climate in India and Investment Opportunities

Our Firm

1. What distinguishes your firm from others in your market?

AZB & Partners, a premier Indian law firm, founded in 2004, provides full-service advice to clients, across all sectors. Our greatest strength is an in-depth understanding of legal, regulatory, and commercial environments, in India and elsewhere. This strength enables us to provide bespoke counsel to help our diverse clients negotiate any dynamic or volatile business environment.

2. What words describe the culture of your firm?

Energy, expertise, execution – unmatched.

3. How does your firm participate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives?

We are known to be socially conscious and have a strong sense of responsibility. We do a significant amount of pro bono work and provide discounted rates to charitable organizations, not–for–profits, and social enterprises. We were awarded the ‘Trust Law Recognition of Excellence’ by Thomson Reuters for our efforts in advancing pro bono work in India (2016). We regularly advise domestic and international organizations involved in humanitarian work, as well as some of India’s largest philanthropic organizations. Our Founding Partners also serve on the boards of some of India’s finest non–profit and charitable organizations. Additionally, we have an active microfinance practice, where we advise some of the best microfinance institutions organized as not–for–profits, operating in some of the most challenging areas. Our Firm has demonstrated thought leadership and been involved in legislative and regulatory reform efforts relating to the microfinance sector.

The Firm also works regularly with various regulators on a pro bono basis to assist with the drafting and of law, serve on various committee and otherwise engage in advocacy, in various diverse areas, for instance with the Ministry of Company Affairs, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Our Founding Partners have played a significant role in shaping the recent bankruptcy law in India, as well as the antitrust regulations.

Further, as a Firm we support various NGOs, by holding exhibitions for them at our offices and sourcing our annual gifts from them. On a more individual level, several of our lawyers and staff have enrolled in a payroll giving program, where a certain amount every month is donated to various charities directly from their salaries.

As a full service firm, we draw on the experience of our multidisciplinary partners to provide commercial, litigation and regulatory advice that helps clients understand and develop their ESG policies.

We educate company management on the requirement for ESG policies and their importance in the evolving landscape, along with advice on the concurrent risks and opportunities. This includes:

  • Counselling boards on ESG issues and how and when to engage in social and political issues
  • Weaving ESG considerations into transactional documents
  • Assisting companies in formulating ESG committees, policies, and charter documents, focusing on climate issues and advising record-keeping
  • Advising on key disclosures to be made to investors regarding a company’s ESG efforts
  • Integrating ESG due diligence into M&A, capital markets and real estate transactions
  • Assisting companies on investing sustainably and responsibly, incorporating ESG factors into their research, voting and portfolio management
  • Advising on litigation, reputational and regulatory risks arising from evolving ESG requirements

4. Are there any new and exciting initiatives, practice areas or industry focuses in your firm?

We are witnessing a lot of activity in our FinTech practice.

Additionally, the public M&A market has once again picked up pace and control deals by private equity firms have increased. This also includes the trend of delisting by various companies.

We have also seen a trend of investors flocking to Indian tech companies.

Our investigation and white-collar crime practice continues to expand. Whistleblowing has become almost a natural part of the problem that a listed company and its Board must deal with.

With the developments in the Indian Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code which, despite the moratorium, continues to be viable, restructuring has proved to be a busy area for us.

Doing Business in India

1. What is the current business climate in your jurisdiction including major political, economic and/or legal activities on the horizon in your country that could have a big impact on businesses?

The Indian economy is gradually recovering from the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, supported by several government policy measures, targeted fiscal relief and rapid rolling out of the vaccine across the country. The Indian Government has undertaken several measures to strengthen the economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures and as part of its recent budget has introduced programs to address various economy-related challenges by raising FDI limits across key sectors, launching the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme that offers incentives on incremental sales for products manufactured in India and expanding the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) project to attract investment in India. The Private Equity and Venture Capital sector doubled in value by recording investments worth USD 20 Billion in the initial five months of 2021 in comparison to 2020.

2. From what countries do you see the most inbound investment? What about outbound?

Inbound Investment: USA, UK, and Singapore

Outbound Investment: Mauritius, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands

3. In what industries/sectors are you seeing the most opportunity for foreign investment?

Service, Computer Hardware & Software, IT, Telecom, Chemicals, Pharma and Automobiles

4. What advantages and pitfalls should others know about doing business in your country?

    Advantages:

    • Business reforms & government initiatives
    • Attractive consumer market
    • Digital technology & innovation powerhouse
    • Low operational cost

    Pitfalls:

    • Bureaucracy
    • Complicated tax system

    5. What is one cultural fact or custom about your country that others should know when doing business there?

    India is a multilingual and multicultural society with notable nuances in ethnicity and culture. Great reliance is placed on cultivating and building long-term business relationships.