Saturday, 17 July 2010 08:57

Domestic lessons helping to drive international success - Herbert Smith

International expansion is a question of risk control, but the experiences energy companies have gained overcoming domestic challenges is helping them succeed abroad

A wide number of factors are driving energy business to look beyond Iberia for new opportunities, but the depressed domestic economic situation and uncertainty over forthcoming feed-in tariff changes in the renewably sectors are having an inevitable impact, says Miguel Riaño, partner with Herbert Smith in Madrid.

The depth of expertise that many energy companies have gained at home is now what is assisting many of them to grow and to succeed abroad.

“The experience gained and the development in recent years, first in the wind energy sector and subsequently within solar energy, is precisely what is allowing many companies to expand to new markets.

But coupled with this, opportunities have emerged in a number of countries that have approved very favorably economic frameworks to develop renewable energies,” he says. Among the markets in which there is growing interest, reflecting the heaviest investment and potential rewards, he suggests as the US – initially regarding wind energy, but also now solar power, notably with the encouragement of the US Stimulus Plan and subsequent incentives – Italy, the Middle East and, in general, North Africa for solar power projects.

“Energy companies and constructors are looking for markets that are going to provide more stable, less uncertain, returns and that is why we are seeing companies looking to some of these markets where wind or solar energy is now a strategic policy focus.”

But despite the evident international attractions, issues and challenges do recur, says fellow partner Ignacio Paz.

“The main barrier clients face is correctly understanding the applicable regulations in each country and the degree of legal certainty and protection it provides to long-term investments.”

In such circumstances, lawyers’ roles often therefore consist of helping clients to make international investments on terms that are similar to that which they are accustomed to in Spain.

“We liaise with the client to receive instructions, and coordinate with local counsel, ensuring that any internal corporate policies and standards the client would normally seek in similar transactions are met wherever the projects happen to be,” says Paz.

Often the legal team must help provide the investment with greater legal protection, as well as be alive to the added need for immediacy and responsiveness, adds Eduardo Soler Tappa.

En medio de un complicado entorno económico y regulatorio, las nuevas oportunidades de desarrollo para muchas empresas de energías renovables se encuentran ahora en el extranjero, según los abogados de Herbert Smith. Pero el reto está en cómo identificar y optimizar dichas oportunidades. Para algunos, esto significará tener que cambiar el “chip” que define sus estrategias.

A former State Advocate, he previously worked within the Energy and Industry Departments of the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade.

State Advocate who was working at the Spanish Industrial Ministry “The aim is to be permanently accessible, to hold regular meetings with the client and to monitor the status of the project – often the preference being for meetings to be held in Spain to avoid any unnecessary travel.”

Riaño is now the partner in the Madrid office in charge of inbound and outbound investment in Asia. Paz has the same role in relation to Latin America, particular Brazil, where opportunities in the energy and infrastructure sector are truly significant, they note.

It is now not merely therefore the leading energy companies looking for international opportunities. Mid-size players, technology manufacturers, service providers and sector-focused investment funds are all looking to capitalise on new international opportunities.

“In some respects we have to help companies change the ‘chip’ or ‘programming’ within them, to help them look and operate more internationally. Others are already much more open to new markets. But in either case, we have to help them manage their risks, both the ones they already know and new ones over the horizon. International growth is fundamentally a question of risk control,” says Riaño.

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the IberianLawyer website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more

I agree

What do I need to know about cookies?

A cookie is a small text file that’s stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. We use them to:

  • Remember your preferences
  • Tailor our sites to your interests.

There are different types of cookies

First party cookies

These are set by the website you’re visiting. And only that website can read them.  In addition, a website might use a separate company to analyse how people are using their site. And this separate company will set their own cookie to do this.

Third party cookies

These are set by someone other than the owner of the website you’re visiting. 

Some IberianLawyer web pages may also contain content from other sites like Vimeo or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. Also, if you Share a link to a IberianLawyer page, the service you share it on (e.g. Facebook) may set a cookie on your browser.

The IberianLawyer has no control over third party cookies.

Advertising cookies

Some websites use advertising networks to show you specially targeted adverts when you visit. These networks may also be able to track your browsing across different sites.

IberianLawyer site do use advertising cookies but they won’t track your browsing outside the IberianLawyer.

Session cookies

These are stored while you’re browsing. They get deleted from your device when you close your browser e.g. Internet Explorer or Safari.

Persistent cookies

These are saved on your computer. So they don’t get deleted when you close your browser.

We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.

Other tracking technologies

Some sites use things like web beacons, clear GIFs, page tags and web bugs to understand how people are using them and target advertising at people.

They usually take the form of a small, transparent image, which is embedded in a web page or email. They work with cookies and capture data like your IP address, when you viewed the page or email, what device you were using and where you were.

How does the Iberian Lawyer use cookies?

We use different types of cookies for different things, such as:

  • Analysing how you use the IberianLawyer
  • Giving you a better, more personalised experience
  • Recognising when you’ve signed in

Strictly Necessary cookies

These cookies let you use all the different parts of Iberian Lawyer. Without them services that you have asked for cannot be provided.

Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • Signing into the IberianLawyer
  • Remembering previous actions such as text entered into a registration form when navigating back to a page in the same session
  • Remembering security settings which restrict access to certain content.

Performance cookies

These help us understand how people are using the IberianLawyer online, so we can make it better. And they let us try out different ideas.
We sometimes get other companies to analyse how people are using the IberianLawyer online. These companies may set their own performance cookies You can opt out of these cookies here.Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • To collect information about which web pages visitors go to most often so we can improve the online experience
  • Error management to make sure that the website is working properly
  • Testing designs to help improve the look and feel of the website.
Cookie nameWhat it's for
Google DoubleClick The IberianLawyer uses Google DoubleClick to measure the effectiveness of its online marketing campaigns.Opt-out of DoubleClick cookies
Google Analytics From time to time some IberianLawyer online services, including mobile apps, use Google Analytics. This is a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics sets a cookie in order to evaluate use of those services and compile a report for us.Opt-out of Google Analytics cookies