Thursday, March 15, 2007

Abe's Shameless Malarkey Refuted

Do I now have your full attention? Ready to take a break from cross-border legal updates?

Yes, this is in fact a North Korean news headline, in one of those priceless English translations. Here are a few excerpts:

"Abe's Shameless Malarkey Refuted

Pyongyang, March 14 (KCNA) -- Japanese Prime Minister Abe's reckless remarks aimed to throw the past crimes committed by Japan into the limbo of oblivion remind one of the saying that "Leopards don't change their spots," observes a Minju Joson analyst Wednesday.

Noting that he totally negated Japan's past crimes, letting loose a string of rubbish woefully lacking common knowledge, the analyst goes on: . . . . "

The next time I am out of good arguments on a client's behalf, I will simply accuse the other side of spouting "shameless malarkey" and of "letting loose a string of rubbish woefully lacking common knowledge."

By the way, the satellite image of North and South Korea shows in the starkest terms how economic development can turn dark into light. Whatever your political persuasion, many of us can agree that our cross-border efforts and market liberalization can lead to something positive.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

India's Growth - Don't Overlook Manufacturing (and the Consumer Market)

We just received an update from one of our India-based contacts - the Indian economy continues to steam ahead, and note the importance of manufacturing to this growth. This economy has much more in its favor than software and back-office outsourcing.

"Goldman Sachs has projected that India will sustain over 8% growth until 2020 and become the second largest economy in the world ahead of the United States, by 2050. In their words- “…we project India’s potential or sustainable growth rate at about 8% until 2020...”. Standard & Poor’s, the global rating agency, has raised India’s sovereign credit rating to ‘Investment Grade’ (BBB-/A-3).

Recent reports released by the Central Statistical Organisation (“CSO”) and the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) further affirm the above facts. According to CSO, real gross domestic product (“GDP”) growth accelerated to 9.2% in the second quarter from 8.9% the preceding quarter and 8.4 % a year ago, led by manufacturing and services sectors. The manufacturing sector with double digit growth of 11.5% maintained its position as key driver of industrial activity, contributing almost 91.2% of the growth in industry. Growth in the services sector accelerated to 10.6 %."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Middle Market Companies Go International - A Terrific Conference

How many conferences really focus on the special needs of middle market companies as they expand abroad through acquisition, manufacturing, distribution and otherwise? What about the exploding interest among private equity firms in helping their portfolio companies into new markets and in exploring direct investments in China, India and elsewhere?

I was pleased to be part of a fine group of international committee members who organized ACG Chicago's "Is the World Really Flat? Middle Market Companies Competing in the Global Economy."

The February 28 event drew about 300 participants and featured Fareed Zakaria as our lunch keynote speaker (congratulations on a fine presentation, Fareed) as well as Julie Sell of The Economist and her cross-border dealmaker roundtable with Jay Jordan of The Jordan Company and Steve Pagliuca of Bain Capital (which I thought really went to the heart of many of the middle-market's cross-border challenges).

In addition to working with Julie, Jay and Steve on their panel, I put together and moderated our "Sourcing Cross-Border Deals" session. As described below (click on the images to enlarge), I was joined by senior dealmakers from Illinois Tool Works (a very international Fortune 100 company), Cathay Fortune Corp. (a China-based private equity firm) and S.H. Lang & Co. (Scott Lang, formerly of Brown Gibbons Lang, the mid-market investment banking firm).