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José Vicente Morote and Iñigo Rodríguez-Sastre Co-Managing Partners at Andersen: “Hindering investment opportunities is not a good idea, facilitating operations is key”

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José Vicente Morote and Iñigo Rodríguez-Sastre believe there is “a lot of money to be moved in the market”, are not keen of restrictive measures, such as the so-called “anti-takeover bid shield”, which could jeopardize large transactions

The takeover bid of the Australian giant IFM Global Infrastructure over a 22.69% of the share capital of Naturgy, stimulated the Spanish markets at the end of January of this year. However, the excitement has been limited, as the operation has not only had to overcome the usual difficulties foreseen for a transaction which moves 5,06 billion Euro, but also has had to deal with the so-called “anti-takeover bid” shield, a royal decree approved in March 2020, in order to prevent foreign companies to “fish” in the turbulent waters of triggered by the Covid pandemic.

The success of the transaction will depend on whether the Spanish cabinet approves it, a procedure which legal experts view with distrust given the current situation. “Hindering investment opportunities is not a good idea”, points out Iñigo Rodríguez-Sastre, co-managing director of Andersen’s Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla offices and responsible for the arbitration department of the Firm, an opinion shared entirely with his co-managing partner, José Vicente Morote, also responsible for the Firm’s Public and Regulatory practice, who adds that “at a time where economic growth is key, operations must be enabled”.   

Indeed, this line of work is what both stress out of the new Biden era in the US. As an international firm with headquarters in Chicago, the Spanish Firm pays particular attention to US politics and regard the new US President as “less protectionist than Donald Trump, expected to generate greater agility within the international market with more open-minded measures”. They are anxious to see how customs politics are in fact going to change, as they admit that their clients in the food sector have suffered significantly as export costs to key countries such as the US have increased.

The protective wave joined in by many European countries at the beginning of the pandemic, is not viewed well by large international funds. Not in vain do they state that “there is a lot of money to be moved”, so they have no doubt that, as soon as the pandemic is fairly under control in Spain with a more extended vaccination “there will be an increase in economic growth”. They are quite optimistic regarding the second quarter of 2021.

Which sectors will contribute to the economic growth in 2021? Rodríguez-Sastre has no doubt and states that besides the energy sector, which has never stopped contributing, the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, as well as the environmental sector will also do so.  One of the large pillars of the European funds aimed at the recovery, of which Spain will receive 140 billion, lays with making companies more environmentally viable, which adds to the order given by the brand-new President of the United States of America to return to the Paris Treaty in order to put a stop to the climate change.

José Vicente Morote adds public procurement to the list. In spite of the 1,306 trillion Euro debt as of the end of October 2020, the last published figures by Banco de España, this option may be vital for the economic recovery, as stated by the expert.

While awaiting the much-desired economic recovery, the co-managing partners also look to the United Kingdom, one of the Firm’s strategic objects at a global level, despite Brexit. “The UK will not stop being a global power. Even to this day, many large funds continue to operate from the UK in Spain”, they state.

A strong impulse regarding digital law

The digital transformation is unstoppable in all economic sectors. This is the main reason that it is crucial for Andersen to reinforce its advice regarding this sector, described by the new co-managing directors as digital law. For this reason, one of the strategic objectives of José Vicente Morote and Iñigo Rodríguez-Sastre’s mandate leading the Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla offices, which began on 1 January 2021, is to reinforce advice on cyber-security, digital platforms of electronic commerce or energetic diversification.

With a clear focus on Madrid, where they foresee organic as well as inorganic growth, both co-managers also consider it important to further develop the Sevilla office opened in 2018, in order to improve its position in such an important arena as the south of Spain (Andalucía). Also, they are exploring to expand within the Spanish territory, with the opening of an office in the Basque country, due to their “strong industry and beneficiary tax laws regarding the establishment of companies in this territory”. 

You can see the interview in Expansión.

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