SANJIT (SUNNY) SINGH SODHI: Connecting East & Westby MIKE FUNSTON [The Toronto Star]
Doing business with Indian companies is all about planting the seeds of relationships and carefully cultivating them until they bear fruit.
Sanjit (Sunny) Singh Sodhi, a lawyer with Torys LLP in Toronto, Canada , has been doing just that. He recently returned from a month spent on the trade mission to India led by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. He was also on a federal government trade mission there in 2005.
Since returning, a team from Torys that includes senior partner Pat Koval and Sodhi, has been working to complete the recently announced $6 billion deal involving the purchase of Novelis Inc., a Canadian corporation, by Hindalco Industries Limited of India.
Based in Mumbai, Hindalco is India's largest non-ferrous metals company and a flagship of the Aditya Birla Group. Novelis is the world's leading producer of aluminum rolled products.
With all the hard work now paying off, Torys, an international business law firm based in Toronto and New York, is aggressively pursuing more Indian business.
"You can't ignore what's happening in India ... one of the two fastest-growing economies in the world," Sodhi says.
The firm has placed great importance on learning about India and the issues confronting Indian companies looking to invest in Canada, he says.
"In 2005 I made some good connections with the legal community there and now I'm working on the business community," says the Canadian-born Sodhi.
"It's a tough place to make inroads. Every country is knocking on India's door saying we want to do business with you. My goal is to build a network of individuals there who know me and have confidence in Torys and in what we can do for them."
Sodhi and a senior partner in the firm worked on helping ICICI Bank, India's second largest, obtain a licence to operate in Canada in 2003.
That came about after a referral from an existing client and because of Torys' reputation and expertise on regulatory issues involving financial institutions, Sodhi says.
"We've done a lot of work in this area and helped in the incorporation of other banks. That went a long way in connecting us with ICICI."
Sodhi has also advised the Aditya Birla Group - an industrial, financial services and telecommunications conglomerate - on its $126-million takeover of Toronto-based Minacs Worldwide Inc., through the Indian giant's TransWorks Information Services subsidiary.
A key part of Sodhi's role is helping shed light on Canadian business practices and securities laws for Indian companies to make them comfortable in doing business here, he says.
[Courtesy: Article - The Toronto Star. Photo - Lucas Oleniuk]