'Indian govt should get the little things right': Houlihan Lokey

Houlihan Lokey's co-president Scott Adelson says India can grow by improving transparency

Salil Panchal
Published: Dec 2, 2014 06:36:43 AM IST
Updated: Dec 3, 2014 01:53:19 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

'Indian govt should get the little things right': Houlihan Lokey
Image: Joshua Navalkar

Global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, which led last year’s M&A advisory rankings in the US for transactions under $3 billion, has been a front runner in debt restructuring operations for some Indian companies through its Indian partner Avista Advisory (completing advisory deals worth more than $5 billion).

Houlihan Lokey’s co-president Scott Adelson told Forbes India that there are indications that Indian companies are looking to accelerate investments. However, he added, M&A activity globally has not returned to 2007 levels. “In the US, M&A activity is strong and almost back to pre-crash levels. The rest of the world is far behind.” US M&A volume totals $1.11 trillion in 2014, up 27 percent year-on-year, while globally M&As stood at $227.1 billion, its lowest monthly level in three years, according to Dealogic data.

Houlihan and Avista have worked together from before 2010. “We thought there would be more M&A activity in India, at that time. But the markets turned weak and restructuring forms a very big part of our business here,” Adelson said. But, he says, corporate sentiment has started to improve. “As the regulatory regime improves under the current administration and perceived stability increases in the medium-term, we have heard that many Indian corporates are looking to accelerate investment.”

Adelson is bullish about India’s growth prospects and reforms. “India’s government should get the little things right, like improving transparency and enforcing a rule of law, besides taking measures to entice capital. Facilitating unregulated lending, which brings in different types of capital, is also required.”

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(This story appears in the 12 December, 2014 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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