Largest Maryland Trade Mission to India Coincides with Liberalization of Indian Securities Laws
Maryland is working hard to actively develop new business and investments in India. Late last year, more than 100 state officials and business leaders, accompanied by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, traveled to India for six days to foster new commercial relationships. This, the largest Maryland trade mission to India and the only one headed by a sitting Maryland governor, was primarily self-funded by the participants. O’Malley cites upwards of ten Maryland businesses that signed term sheets or actually entered into joint ventures with India business partners during the trade mission for a touted $60 million in investments to date. The business deals signed ranged from consulting and engineering transactions to biotech and pharmaceuticals and should aid in continuing to fuel increased trade to and from India evident in the Port of Baltimore trade statistics, registering a 49% increase in India trade from 2010. This Maryland initiative comes at an opportune moment in India’s business development as India’s Securities and Exchange Board recently liberalized the Indian securities market regulations to permit certain investors meeting specified requirements (“Qualified Foreign Investors” or “QFIs”) to directly invest in India public companies. While there are still protocols to follow, an individual QFI can now hold up to 5% of the share equity in an Indian company and can sell such shares and receive bonus shares and dividends. For further details on this developing opportunity, see a Client Advisory Note from our affliate Mumbai office, "Qualified Foreign Investors Can Now Invest Directly in Public Companies." Maryland has opened a trade office in India to support its states’ entrepreneurs in utilizing the momentum instigated by the recent trade mission and expects the positive outcome from the mission to continue to develop, aided by the facilitating changes in the Indian equity markets. Kelley Drye & Warren welcomes the opportunity to partner with Maryland business owners to expand their reach into India, take advantage of the more permissive Indian securities regulations and offer our firm’s already well-established ties to India and our colleagues resident there.