BLP and Goltsblat BLP held an international seminar "Russia goes global: legal considerations and opportunities for Russian businesses"

29.10.2012

On 26 October 2012, Goltsblat BLP, the Russian practice of the international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, held an international seminar "Russia Goes Global: Legal Considerations and Opportunities for Russian Businesses", which gathered over 100 participants: top managers from major Russian and international companies, general directors, heads of legal, directors handling overseas projects, investment projects, mergers and acquisitions. These included: Sberbank, TNK-BP Management, Rusal, Akron, Megafon, Mechel, Jaguar Land Rover, SUEK, Uralsib, Nokia Siemens, Reckitt Benckiser Group and many others.

The discussions at the seminar covered the most current issues relating to Russian business, such as: EU Anti-Trust Investigations into Russian businesses; cross border M&A transactions; prospects relating to Russia’s accession to the WTO, as well as legal aspects of the activities of Russian businesses on international markets, practical recommendations for entering these markets, specifics of local regulations on foreign investments and regimes for doing business in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore), the Middle East (the UAE, Israel) and the European Union.

During the seminar, leading lawyers and heads of BLP international offices in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, the UAE, Israel, and the European Union, as well as partners of the Russian practice of BLP, Goltsblat BLP, shared their hands on experience, gave practical recommendations for planning and developing businesses in these regions and examples of use of legal mechanisms in relation to specific countries.

In his welcome speech, Andrey Goltsblat, Managing Partner of Goltsblat BLP, noted that he saw one of the aims of such meetings as providing Russian business with greater opportunities for becoming stronger and more global. The possibilities of a company like BLP provide an opportunity for becoming acquainted with experience of working in various jurisdictions and under different conditions. Neville Eisenberg, Managing Partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), spoke in detail about the company’s spheres of activity and the services it offers. 

The seminar moderators were: Evgeniya Klimchuk, Vice President, Asset Management, AIG Investments; Irina Nesvetova, Head of Legal and Compliance for Russia, Deutsche Bank; Dmitry Popov, Vice President, Legal & Compliance, ABB Russia. 

The participants in the seminar described in detail the economic climate in China and other South-east Asian countries, based on the work experience of BLP practices. David Robins, Senior Partner at the company’s Hong Kong office, and Partner Michael Tam noted that the traditional growth model used by China, consisting of exports and direct investment in industry, had already virtually exhausted itself. A new investment wave is already orientated on such spheres as healthcare and education.  Even so, the complex approval system can still make things difficult for investors: implementation of many major projects is at the discretion of local authorities. It was noted that the strong system of protection for minority shareholders in the PRC restrains capital growth. The speakers also touched on the question of Chinese investment in the Russian economy.

Alistair Duffield, head of the BLP practice in South-east Asia, described a number of advantages of the investment climate in such countries as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, in particular, absence of restrictions on foreign participation in companies and the low initial cost of assets.

Paul Miller, head of the BLP practice in Israel, spoke about the functioning of the general law system in this country. He noted that the most favourable spheres of the national economy for foreign investment were information technologies, medical technologies, means of communications, and the medico-biological sector.

Mohammed Kamal, head of the BLP practice in Dubai, dwelt on the development problems of such branches of the economy of the United Arab Emirates where there is a particularly great demand for highly qualified legal services: real estate, the hotel business, logistics.

The discussion within the scope of the seminar centering on the investment climate in Europe was quite detailed.  David Anderson, head of the BLP Brussels office, spoke about a number of new EU legislative acts and their significance for Russian investment in the European economy. He focused particularly on the anti-trust legislation and control over mergers and described court practice connected with cases involving cartels.

Roland Fabian, head of BLP’s practice in Germany, described the state of the real estate market in this country. He noted a certain drop in the volume of transactions and talked about a number of major developer projects.  Also described were the tax aspects of investing in the German economy.  Proposals and recommendations were made for Russian investors. 

Goltsblat BLP Partner Vladimir Tchikine and BLP  Brussels office Associate Director Vasiliki Avgusidi described how Russian companies interact with EU structures.

Mercedes Bonet, representative of the Trade and Economic Section of the European Union Delegation to Russia, took part in the discussion of the investigations conducted by the European Union and its market regulation powers.

The seminar’s information partners also included leading media, such as: Vedomosti, The Moscow Times, Business FM, Corporate Counsel, Mergers & Acquisitions, Legal Insight, Lawfirm, Cbonds and Yurist Kompanii.

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