Linklaters’ regional managing partner for EMEA and national head of its India group, Sandeep Katwala (scroll down for video interview), managed to fit in a three-month sabbatical into a year in which he oversaw the firm’s alliance with South Africa’s Webber Wentzel and the historic BP Reliance Industries deal in India.
While working on the South African alliance, he witnessed the change in the way clients are viewing Africa. “The alliance with Webber Wentzel is something I’ve been heavily involved in… I was involved at the inception of the idea in terms of how do we tackle the African market?,” he says.
“The market has grown because our clients are going into Africa in a way that hasn’t been seen in previous years. Across the region that’s been one of the major changes from the previous year. It’s also the breadth of activity that’s going on. It used to be energy and natural resources but now it’s healthcare, retail and financial services.”
His work on the BP deal took place against a backdrop of, in his words, “paralysis”. Naming it as his highlight of the year, he says: “I think the BP deal with Reliance Industries was a lot of fun.
“It was a complicated transaction and the largest ever single investment into India – $7-8bn. It was complicated but exciting because it was the first time a major has ever invested in India in this way.”