25 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM eight mainboard IPOs in 2023, taking its tally to 29 in the last three years. BRIGHT SPOT Indeed, more international law firms are looking at India for IPO work in the coming years, owing to its resilient performance despite a general slowdown in global listings. “While we don’t compete with Indian law firms because we do not practice Indian law, we are seeing a greater number of international law firms entering the India IPO market,” Bhargava says. His bullish view is echoed by Rajiv Gupta, a capital markets lawyer at U.S. law firm Latham & Watkins, which has advised on a number of Indian IPOs this year including 2023’s marquee $366 million Tata Technologies listing. “Even though the global markets were slow, India remained a shining star with stable and attractive markets,” he says. PwC’s global IPO report found that India’s $5.9 billion worth of IPOs was third globally in respect of IPO proceeds raised in 2023, behind only China and the U.S., reflecting a shift in the sources of capital and maturing local markets. “The NSE has surpassed Hong Kong in terms of market capitalisation in November reaching nearly $4 trillion driven by strong economic growth and benefiting from geopolitical shifts such as ‘China plus one’ supply chain de-risking,” the report found. International geopolitics, a US recession, the Federal Reserve’s pause in interest rate hikes and global inflation, which India combated better, played a strong hand in keeping market optimism up in Mumbai. Jabarati Chandra, a partner at Indian law firm S&R Associates, which also advised on the Tata Technologies IPO, attributed India’s growth to political stability and fiscal prudence. “In 2023, India proved to be a bright spot in the IPO space while other jurisdictions continued to remain relatively subdued due to various global political and economic developments, including conflicts. The increased deal activity in India could be attributed to stability in government policies, increased participation by domestic investors, particularly from retail investors and deals being reasonably priced.” The regulatory reforms in the market also egged companies and investors to invest in India’s stock markets. The Securities and Exchange Board of India halved the IPO listing timeline to three days from six days earlier, in June. SEBI explained that the move will likely benefit issuers who would receive securities listed in a shorter period, as well as investors who have not been allotted securities as they will get refunds quicker. INDIA REPORT “We guided clients in navigating through new regulatory requirements, including the shift to the accelerated T+3 settlement cycle. We had three deals that launched and closed on the same dates which presented its own set of unique challenges while testing the T+3 regime,” Chandra says. Adds Bhargava: “The India IPO market has benefited from regulatory reforms in recent years, with a number of new measures introduced to streamline the IPO process and protect investor interests. While not hurdles, it is important to ensure that Indian regulators continue to imbibe the best from more developed markets and their regulators to ensure we stay on top of the latest developments, particularly in a dynamic and fast paced market like India.” SIZE VERSUS NUMBER While 2023 saw a record turnout in the number of listings, the number of large IPOs was fairly low when compared to previous years. The average offer size has shrunk from $228 million in 2021 to $108 million in 2023. This is due to the failure of big-ticket IPOs, indicating to issuers and bankers that India is an investor-driven market rather than a seller’s market. Life Insurance Corporation’s $2.7 billion IPO – one of the largest globally in 2022 – listed at LAW FIRMS ADVISING LARGEST ISSUERS IN MAINBOARD IPOs Sl. No. Issuer Issue size ($ millions) Issuer’s law firm Sector 1 Mankind Pharma 530 Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Pharmaceuticals 2 Nexus Select Trust REIT 385 Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Real Estate 3 Tata Technologies 366 Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Technology 4 JSW Infrastructure 342 Khaitan & Co. Infrastructure 5 Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency 259 Saraf & Partners Finance