There is no single reason why Spanish companies are now increasingly expanding abroad as each is driven by its own strategic needs, but recurring legal themes do arise when businesses move abroad, says Francesc Segura Roda, partner and Vice- Chairman of Roca Junyent.
“It is never easy to be specific about business sector trends, clients feel different pressures and see variable solutions. But the international spread of Spanish businesses is no longer merely a matter of delocalising operations for purely cost savings, instead we are seeing a more sophisticated approach taken: how best to target new markets or reinforce existing opportunities.”
The international option is never an “easy” one, he emphasises. Companies may wish to better balance their operations and reduce exposure to regional downturns, but success often comes down to ensuring that a clear business rationale exists, that the required finance required is in place, and fundamentally the necessary legal protections are in place.
“Prior to launching internationally, companies are undertaking deep market analyses and product studies. They want to know that what they propose is viable and that their interests are protected.”
He notes a recurring commercial interest by Spanish companies in mature markets such as Europe and the US, but also a turn away from some traditional markets, notably Argentina, where there is decreasing confidence of legal certainty.
“We are seeing regions such as the Magreb in northern Africa, and Asia, particularly China, grow in attraction. There is a sense that here lie real economic green shoots, but there is also however awareness that these can be challenging markets in which to operate and the right preparation needs to be done.”
A company’s external lawyers can only truly assist their international growth if they can offer more than the mere translation of legal or business concepts, believes Segura Roda.
“Firms have to demonstrate on-theground experience and expertise in order to hold the client’s hand and explain the rationale behind regulatory processes. If a business is to balance both the risks and rewards it has to understand all the potential issues it may face and be presented with the best legal options to overcome them.”