27 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM advised on a total IPO value of $1.67 billion, including Mankind Pharma, Mamaearth, Cello World, SAMHI Hotels and Concord Biotech. Meanwhile, Latham advised lead managers on two marquee IPOs – Tata Technologies and Nexus Select Trust. Bhargava expects increasing work from India in 2024. “The India IPO market had a strong finish in 2023, and we see signs that this will continue into 2024. In our view, most major banks expect 2024 to exceed 2023 for both completed deals and revenues.” ELECTIONS AND OUTLOOK FOR 2024 Some experts do believe that the flurry of IPOs in the second half of 2023 was to get ahead of the market cycle close to India’s upcoming general election in April. Traditionally, businesses have tended to go slow on large M&A and capital markets deals as national elections approach, but this does not mean a cooling off period for legal work. “There may be a slow-down on deal launches just before the elections. However, we expect issuers to continue with IPO plans, complete the regulatory review and approval process and be in a position to launch after elections,” says S&R’s Chandra. Adds Latham’s Gupta: “The first half of 2024 could be slow with the upcoming Indian general elections although we expect the attractive and buoyant markets in India to propel a flurry of listings in the second half of 2024.” Bhargava goes a step further and says that there seems to be a general consensus around the re-election of Prime Mininster Narendra Modi, and the IPO market will not see any effects from the upcoming polls. “While nothing is certain, the consensus in India’s political landscape seems to be that Modi’s re-election is the most probable outcome in the upcoming India general election. As a consequence, the elections will likely have minimal impact on the IPO market, but we would expect some cooling off in launches, but not in work for lawyers, in the lead up to the elections themselves,” he notes. But all three experts agree that 2024 is likely to bring more work than 2023. “Compared to 2021 which marked the listing of many of the home-grown start-up companies, 2023 saw more mature companies from the relatively traditional sectors hit the market. The funding winter and the increased regulatory scrutiny in the start-up space played a role in this. In 2024, we expect some of the PE-led start-up companies, such as those in fin-tech, EV, multi-channel retail and other new age sectors, to take steps towards going public. The InvIT and REIT space is also expected to see continued activity,” says Chandra. The year 2024 has already seen five listings so far, including Medi Assist Healthcare Services’ $141 million IPO and Jyoti CNC Automation’s $120 million IPO. Electric vehicle giant Ola Electric is set to go public this year in a $700 million listing. Omnichannel retailer FirstCry also has plans to raise $600 million on the INDIA REPORT stack market. E-commerce SaaS platform Unicommerce, digital payments company PhonePe, food delivery platform Swiggy and hotel aggregator Oyo are all looking at large size IPOs this year. Further, U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq has held talks with Indian authorities on potentially allowing local Indian companies to list directly on foreign stock exchanges, Reuters reported in January, bringing more work to law firms in the Indian IPO market. “The outlook for India IPOs in 2024 and beyond remains strong for a number of reasons. Investors continue to be attracted to India due to its strong economic growth, large and young population, stable political landscape and rule of law, growing levels of domestic demand, favorable government policies which support FDI, and large levels of government investment in sectors like infrastructure which are set to maintain India’s high growth rate,” Bhargava says. Adds Chandra: “This trend of increased deal activity and the related conditions are expected to continue in the coming year – many issuers and their shareholders (including PE players) have been waiting for the right time to go to market and 2024 is expected to be a busy year.” Gupta also anticipates that market conditions will be conducive to larger IPOs in 2024. “With the Indian markets continuing be buoyant, we expect larger IPOs to hit the market in 2024. We expect the IPO market to be busier in 2024 compared to 2023,” he says. TOP ADVISORS TO IPO ISSUERS BY DEAL NUMBER Sl. No. Law Firm Total number of IPOs Total value ($ millions) 1 Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas 11 1902 2 Khaitan & Co. 9 1257 3 Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. 8 1254 4 J. Sagar Associates 6 664 5 Crawford Bayley & Co 4 145